Phil: Nemesis cards are one of the more interesting yet easily overlooked elements of a Hero set. While they add flavor and challenge to a given scenario, they don’t show up too frequently and range from overbearingly tough to underwhelmingly easy to deal with.
Luke: Not all Nemesis sets are created equal, so let’s take a look at what makes for a fun challenge without becoming obnoxious.
Phil: And the easiest way to do that is to create the difficulty range; what are the extremes of the Nemesis spectrum?
Luke: On the easy end of the spectrum, we have Thomas Edison. With 3 health, he’s a pretty quick to defeat, and while he’s protected by other minions unless you’re fighting Ultron or the Mutagen Formula scenarios, it’s unlikely that you’ll have too many adversaries to cover for him. The real threat is his Giant Robot, a minion that is more obnoxious than it is fun to deal with.
Phil: And who knows if this mechanical menace will surface? By the time it does manage to come into play, it’s doubtful that you’ll be far from victory or defeat already.
Luke: Similarly, Yon-Rogg is only as effective as his low-threshold threat; neither are particularly hard to defeat nor do they pose a terribly overbearing threat.
Phil: Yon-Rogg’s stats are rock-solid, but it’s unlikely he’ll stick around long enough to do much, and the events that he introduces to the game are fairly tame.
Luke: On the opposite end of things, Loki is an unmitigated disaster whenever he comes into play. Having a minion that could theoretically never leave the battlefield is infuriating to deal with without some method of looking at the top of the Encounter deck.
Phil: And Family Feud acquires so much threat the moment it comes into play that it becomes a constant, looming issue that is incredibly tough to recover from.
Luke: The fact that these cards come into play with such force could end some games before they even start. They can certainly provide a tight challenge if players have built up their engines a little, but Thor certainly got the shortest end of the Nemesis stick.
Phil: That leaves us with some strong Nemesis sets that will test your skills and put you on edge without throwing your game altogether. My favorite example of this is Baron Zemo. With his Quickstrike and Hit Squad dealing a cool 3+ damage from the onset, Zemo commands the attention of players, putting pressure on your health and threat-levels, making him the center of the action.
Additionally, his Hydra minions can become distracting and relentless, blocking you with Guard and potentially springing into action thanks to Hail Hydra!.
Luke: Baron Mordo shows an equal amount of resilience. Though his stats are weak overall, the fact that he casts a Magic Blast with each attack can make him an imposing foe.
The fact that he cuts off access to one of your Invocation cards can also be rough, but Counterspell and Thoughtcasting are genuinely debilitating, hamstringing your plans by milling your hand and dishing damage or canceling your next event.
Phil: There’s just something about the title “Baron” that really gives a villain some class I guess.
Luke: What make these enemies great isn’t just that they mess with their hero’s abilities, not just that they can be hard to remove from play, but that they have tools that can slow down anyone who runs into them. Your teammate could collide into a Hydra agent and have no choice but to take them down, or be caught off-guard by a Counterspell.
Phil: Killmonger, Whiplash, and Vulture are each great examples of this as well, formidable foes to whomever they oppose.
Luke: Which make the more generic and specific Nemeses like Titania and Taskmaster stand out like sore thumbs, brief roadblocks on the road to success.
Phil: From what we’ve seen of Abomination, he looks like a towering beast that will test Hulk’s raw strength, hopefully falling in line with the pantheon of baddies waiting in the wings to ruin your day.
Luke: What Nemesis is your favorite and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll see you next week!