Brains Over Brawn

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Brains over Brawn 0 0 0 1.0

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Deck concept

For a while now I've felt as if Brains Over Brawn gets too much hate. It isn't a strong card for every hero, but for a select few it can perform very similarly to a card like Fusillade that does 5 damage for a cost of three, with some other requirement. A yellow card that hits as hard as a red one should at least be in consideration. In the case of Brains Over Brawn the requirement to make a basic thwart isn't an onerous one since many decks are built to manage threat in exactly that way.

The obvious heroes to prove my point are Spider-Woman, Spectrum, and Phoenix as they all have high native thwart. This is my attempt to make it work with Spider-Woman.

Card choices

To get Spider-Woman to THW 3 is pretty easy, but to get her up to THW 5 we need a bit more set-up. I use the obvious cards: Heroic Intuition and Surveillance Specialist, with R&D Facility available for those special cases where we badly need an extra point of THW or damage.

Since this deck needs a bit of setting up, the rest of the card mix is oriented mostly around accelerating that set-up. One Way or Another and Strength In Numbers are classic cards to draw through your deck more quickly so you can find your key pieces and also the resources needed to play them. The allies are mostly low-cost ones with card-drawing abilities of their own. Under Surveillance helps us get into alter-ego for the bigger hand size and use of Jessica Drew's Apartment.

I pretty much never use double resources for Spider-Woman. They are useful before Finesse goes down, but after that her usual diet of low-cost cards makes them hard to get value out of. This deck has a slightly higher cost-curve than some Spider-Woman decks, but not enough to tempt me back.

Playing the deck

There's no mystery to how this deck plays. None of the allies have great ATK, and you want to use Spider-Woman's basic THW as much as possible, so the damage output depends on Brains Over Brawn and Venom Blast. Venom Blast is great straight away, but Brains Over Brawn needs at least one of Heroic Intuition and Surveillance Specialist unless you are using it on a pretty weak minion. Therefore you need to get through your deck as fast as possible to get those two cards out.

There'll therefore be a set-up phase before you put much effort into hurting the villain. To get the best out of Strength In Numbers you will want to avoid chump-blocking with allies where it is safe to do so. Agent Coulson is the exception to this, but I tend not to always play the Agent Coulson/Rapid Response combo the first time I see it. It is strong, but until you have some resource generators down the cost of two resources each turn to put Rapid Response back into play may just be too much tempo to lose. Use your health as a resource instead to defend your allies.

Once you have both Finesse out it is a different matter. Then each turn can start with a 'free' Rapid Response, leaving you with enough hand to play Brains Over Brawn easily and (with Surveillance Specialist down) another card such as Venom Blast or Contaminant Immunity to get up to THW 6 (or 7 if R&D Facility is in play). You can do this because the response window to draw from Surveillance Specialist and play Brains Over Brawn are the same, so you can choose to draw the card first in order to have the resources to play Brains Over Brawn.

How to lose with this deck

The way to lose with this deck is in the set-up phase if the encounter deck manages to accelerate away from you and leave you with a long, hard slog before you can get Heroic Intuition and Surveillance Specialist down to start hurting the villain. In my testing, this was only an issue against the strongest scenarios as Spider-Woman is such a flexible hero that she can manage most things.

Steady and Stalwart are two keywords that always help Spider-Woman on the way to defeat because Pheromones is otherwise such a key card to her. In this deck Overkill can be a problem because it invalidates the Agent Coulson/Rapid Response combo.


I'm not claiming that Brains Over Brawn should be the next big thing, but I think it can work in true solo expert decks for the right kind of hero.