Kingpin vs. Luke Cage

By: Kirk W Buckendorf

DMG’s first match of March Madness is Jon Phillip’s Kingpin from Gencon 2017 vs. Aaron Johnson’s Luke Cage from Origins 2017 (a.k.a. Thorigins!)

Jon’s Deck can be seen here:!/deck=862
Aaron’s Deck can be seen here:!/deck=432

Here are some notes from the guys on their decks:

Jon Phillips – Kingpin (B.E.W.M.) (Ask Jon or Burt Richardson what that means)

  1. Q) When did you make the deck?
    A) GenCon 2017
  2. Q) What was the idea behind the deck?
    A) I wanted a deck that was not combat oriented so that most other decks (at the time) would have a lot of dead cards. I wanted to play a different game than everyone else.

    Q) What is the deck evolution (is this decks MC still relevant)?
    A) I have been told the deck is still relevant but haven’t played it myself since GenCon because I played it too much in testing. I will say of the “updated” lists shown to me there are some really fun cards I haven’t seen added that I’m surprised of.

    Q) What are the good matchups for the deck (what does it beat)
    A) Any deck that is overly combat oriented.

    Q) What are the bad match ups for the deck (what beats it)
    A) Any deck playing Satana, or other disruption to break up the combo.

    Q) What deck do you think will win March Madness?
    A) A deck named by Burt Richardson. Which one is hard to say, though. He has come up with some cool names and all the other Decks have pretty generic names… this is a naming contest right?

    Aaron Johnson – Luke Cage
    Q) When did you make the deck?
    A) I made the deck about a week before Origins

  3. Q) What was the idea behind the deck?
    A) It was an answer to Thor since we all expected it to become Thorigins.

  4. Q) What is the deck evolution (is this decks MC still relevant)?
    A) I think Luke is still viable if for no other reason than for testing against a stall deck. Nothing changed it other than the new Loyalty cards.

  5. Q) What are the good matchups for the deck (what does it beat)
    A) Good matchups are Thor, and most aggro decks, especially on a clock.

  6. Q) What are the bad matchups for the deck (what beats it)
    A) Bad matchups are control and other stall. The mirror isn’t great either.

  7. Q) What deck do you think will win March Madness?
    A) I think that consistency is key. Best draw, board state,  and least wounds* win.

    On to the match!

    Eric Buckendorf and I played matches for DMG. Eric played Luke Cage and I played Kingpin for this round:

    Kingpin won the dice roll and chose to play first. He placed a Fury 161 and played Wasp targeting Luke Cage with Sting and passed the turn, saving the Green location for later activation if a specific color needed to be searched for. Also, saving it to manipulate the deck for Starhawk later.

    Luke Cage placed a Sanctum Sanctorum and played Hellcat. Hellcat and Luke Cage both took swings at Wasp to KO past her Shrink.

    Kingpin placed another Green and decided to use Expand the Empire to get a Fisk Tower in hand. Kingpin attacked Hellcat, who played a Savage Surprise for the stun back and Kingpin’s first wound. Hellcat also took a wound.

    Luke Cage placed an Academy, and payed 2 resource points for 2 XP.

    Kingpin placed The Sulaco (to Jon’s chagrin, now I know to save the Reds and Earths used for CMO Clemens to discard as they get recovered to Take over the World later in the game). Taskmaster was recruited and attacked Hellcat who had another Savage Surprise and both characters were KOd.

    Luke Cage placed a Training Ground and paid to Level up Luke Cage into a 6/6 Beast. Luke attacked for the second wound on Kingpin.

    Kingpin placed an Earth (Which should be saved for a Clemens discard again) and recruited Wasp to do some defense and try to soak up a few wounds for Kingpin. Luke has been Stung twice and sits with two -1/-1 counters. (I was entertaining playing a Cosmo as well, but remembered that he’s needed to shut off Jessica Jones when I’m ready to Take Over the World).

    Luke placed an Academy, recruited Stick to remove the Wasp Stings putting Luke back to base stats. Then used Power Man and… to search up a Power Fist to put into play. All three defenders team attacked to put a third wound on Kingpin.

    Kingpin placed a Fisk Tower and used the Fury 161 that was placed first to search up another copy of The Sulaco. CMO Clemens and Wasp were recruited, stinging Luke again (I hope he’s not allergic!). They were both placed in front of Kingpin. Here I flipped over a Sulaco and and Earth to heal a wound from Kingpin with Do You Trust Me with a Needle? But I should’ve discard the same two locations copies from my hand (as I ad copies of them here at this time) and they would’ve come back when I eventually Take Over the World. Don’t be like me, kids! Play your decks correctly!


Luke placed another Sanctum Sanctorum, and recruited Jessica Jones (good thing I saved that Cosmo!) and a Hellcat. Hellcat took the first shot at Wasp who shrank and Jessica KOd her. The stung 5/5 Luke needed a team attack with Stick to Ko CMO Clemens, clearing the way for Iron Fist to Iron Fist Punch the stuffing out of Kingpin to put him back to 3 Wounds.

Kingpin placed The Auriga for the first of his Level 2 XP (one more next turn and he’ll level up to 3!). Kingpin had 6 locations in his hand with a Cosmo and Private Hudson, so no real recruiting options for this turn. He decided to move to the front row to throw his weight around and took a swing at Stick, who used his Super Senses to bounce the attack.

Luke placed a face down resource and recruited Valkyrie. (HE gets his Valkyries…) Valkyrie and Hellcat sent a team attack at Kingpin. With the Pounce of Hellcat, Valkyrie was the only choice to strike back against. Kingpin has 4 wounds going into his turn 7.


Kingpin drew two CMO Clemens off the top and placed an Earth to become Level 3. He recruited CMO Clemens and Cosmo targeting Jessica Jones. Kingpin discarded the 3 basic locations to activate Take Over the World (and got them back) to fetch all the locations from the deck and KO. CMO Clemens healed a wound from Kingpin. Clemens then went from healer to aggressor and attacked Hellcat, who was saved by a Shock to the System. Kingpin took a shot at his nemesis’ teacher, Stick who used his Super Sense to bounce the big guy.

The turn was passed, now Kingpin just needed to wait for the rest of the Combo pieces to fall into place. With a Private Hudson and another CMO Clemens in hand (with two basic Locations) it was top deck time.

Luke didn’t place a resource (keeping him at 6) and recruited Vision. He then activated Power Man And… to fetch an Iron Fist from his deck. Power Man punched Kingpin in his fat face. Luke and Stick ganged up to KO the good Dr. Clemens. Valkrie kicked the cosmonaut dog… Man, such bullies. Kingpin is back to 4 wounds.

Kingpin placed The Auriga after drawing iceman and Fanged Leviathon. He recruited CMO, the Fanged Leviathing and Iceman, who told Vision to, “chill out.” Clemmens gave Kingpin some of that sweet healin’ feelin’ putting him to 3 wounds. Clemmens got a wound on Hellcat this time and Kingpin went after Luke Cage, who went to two wounds. At this point I should’ve started using Kingpin’s Expand the Empire to start stacking the deck, but I had a senior moment and thought he just shuffled the deck for some reason so I wanted to save him to work with Starhawk if I drew him… But yeah, use the power t stack your deck and dig for Starhawk and the combo pieces. (I’ll play better next time, i promise.)

Luke placed a training Ground and recruited Ghost Rider who put three -1/-1 counters on Kingpin. Luke moved to the back row, and Ghost Rider attacked Kingpin putting him to 4 wounds. Stick and Valkyrie teamed up to hit Clemmens for more than 6, KOing him.

Kingpin drew an Ash and a Valkyrie, and placed his last remaining Basic Location, The Nostromo. To be fair, better play earlier would’ve had more basics dumped to the Ko Pile for Clemmens and Kingpin activations for better card economy with Take Over the World, but this is how we learn! All 27 resources are finally in play. With only one Taskmaster in the KO pile, the whole combo wasn’t quite there yet. Also, Jessica Jones was oppressing any chance of Valkyrie going off without another Cosmo to shut her down.

Kingpin recruited Ash and gave him to Luke to deal with. Fanged Leviathon sent Hellcat to KO hell. Kingpin attacked Stick, Koing him and passed the turn.

Luke placed a Fortress and recruited Punisher. He moved Ash to the front row. If he’s going to eat Luke’s food, he’s going to do some work. Jessica bit the Ash bullet for a wound and Toughed it out. Ghost Rider and Valkyrie teamed up on Kingpin for his 5th wound. Valkyrie took the strike back for her first wound. Ash suicided into Fanged Leviathon, which made me realize it probably was too send to send him over if I want Taskmaster to copy him! Then Vision took the Leviathon out.

Kingpin drew a second Valkyrie and Cosmo. He chose not to place anymore resources and recruited Cosmo to shut down Jessica Jones, followed by Valkyrie hitting the field. This took 7 of the 27 resource points. Valkyrie’s Chooser of the Slain was activated and Clemmens and Wasp were resurrected with 4 of the 20 remaining recruit points. Taskmaster who used Penance Stare from Ghost Rider to hit Luke Cage with six -1/-1 counters, putting him to 3 wounds. Iceman was also brought back to freeze Ghost Rider. Wasps were then chained to clear away Punisher and put a second wound on Jessica, who did not Tough so she wouldn’t take anymore to stick around and be annoying for next turn.

I think I miscounted here and could’ve put some counters on Vision as well, but my brain was hurting at this point.

Luke Placed another Fortress and recruited a fresh Jessica Jones. Luke’s Valkyrie was activated to bring back Stick and Iron Fist. (This was a mistake we missed! Taskmaster has Jessica Jones’ power, so Valkyrie can’t activate.) Ash chose to stun the frozen Ghost Rider. Vision stunned Iceman, taking his own stun to clear the 4 counters on himself. 8/8 Luke attacked Taskmaster who paid a Training Ground to use Iron Fist’s Punch to hit Luke back. Luke Piad the green to not take a wound this combat, staying at 3.

Jessica Jones went into Wasp first, to make her Shrink. Ash went for the second shot into Wasp and Eric played his Savage Surprise on Wasp to make sure Ash stunned as well so he wouldn’t be face up for a next turn Combo.Stick took out Cosmo, the last protector in the front row. Iron Fist Punched CMO Clemmens hoping to shut down any more healing shenanigans.

Luke’s Valkyrie was not big enough to make any kind of attacks on Kingpin or his Valkyrie.

Kingpin drew Gwenpool and Ash. He rowed the late and now useless Gwenpool and recruited Private Hudson to the Back Row. Kingpin and Valkyrie also went to the front row. (Kingpin kept the Ash on his side for now, opting to use a Yellow later if he could draw a Cosmo and Taskmaster to get the Combo off.

Kingpin attacked Jessica Jones who chose not to tough, to avoid more wounds so she could saty around long enough to keep Valkryrie shut off. Valkyrie Attacked Iron Fist, who had nothing so was KOd.

Luke chose not place a Resource and didn’t have any recruitments. Ash stunned Stick, who went to the Ko pile. Feeling bad for stunning so many, “friends,” Ash made a suicide run into Kingpin. With 3 Locations to fuel Private Hudson’s You Want Some Of This? Luke didn’t have any favorable attacks and but put everyone up front as a threat and sent Ghost Rider into Valkyrie. Private Hudson spent a Red to take care of the little problem for her.

Luke took a shot at Valkyrie next and Hudson gave him some of that too. Luke used his impervious skin to stay at 3 Wounds. Luke passed the turn.

Kingpin drew a Taskmaster and a Starhawk (sighing, finally on both their arrivals. It’s so hard to find good help these days!). He placed a Valkyrie from his hands to get 29 resources and recruited Starhawk who revealed a Gwenpool on the top. Kingpin used his Green Super Power to change the top card of the deck.

This put a second copy of Private Hudson on top…

With only 4 wounds, Kingpin decided to risk it and recruit the Hudson. The one in play gave the Fat Man his 5th wound. This left 20 resource points.

Starhawk revealed a Taskmaster next, who was recruited. 17 Resource Points. Cosmo was revealed next, and recruited to shut Jessica off.

16 resources, 6 of which were used to recruit Ash from hand and ship him to Luke again. Valkyrie was activated and Taskmaster was recruited once, and shipped to Luke’s side, copying Ash’s power.

7 Resources.

A second Taskmaster was recruited, and given to Luke, who KOd due to uniqueness and put a wound on Luke because he was Copying Hudson’s Game Over, Man!. This put Luke to 4 wounds.

4 Resources.

Just enough to recruit another Taskmaster, repeating the combo and giving Luke his 5th and final wound.

Kingpin defeats Luke Cage

My brain hurts, now!

See you next match!

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