Stinger

At the time of writing this review we have exactly two 1 Cost allies in the game's pool of ally options. Blade is the other one, and both of these cards are incredible as long as you can meet their requirements. This small pool of options however makes it hard to compare Stinger/Cassie Lang directly to other identical cost allies.

That written; we can see from the 2 cost allies that for an effective card cost of 3 the typical statline you get for your ally is 1THW, 1ATT, 2HP and some other upside. There are some exceptions to that, like Ironheart's refund or Hulk's incredible statline but on the whole it is fair to say that Stinger is on par with an average 2 cost Ally for any Leadership based deck for an Avenger traited hero. The absolute floor for her is; she can enter play, attack or thwart for a point and then chump an attack. However, when you start to utilise her specific strengths you'll notice the ceiling for this card is very high.

Stinger not counting against the ally limit is a bonus that's as large as she can sometime grow; and we can highlight just how massive that is by looking at her ability through an alternative lens. Cassie Lang is effectively an ally with a copy of The Triskelion printed right there on her text box. Except it's not actually The Triskelion at all; so you can use both her alongside the support card to reach five allies for Avengers tribal decks. In short, Cassie comes bundled with approximately 2.5 cost worth of value. She is not strictly better than any other ally, but not counting against your Ally Limit is a huge deal, especially for ally swarm style Leadership decks.

I would not categorise Cassie as a staple for all Leadership aspect decks, but for tribal swarm decks using the Avenger trait and looking to use cards like Strength In Numbers, Team Training, Mighty Avengers, Avengers Assemble!, Lead from the Front, Mass Attack, All for One and Band Together this card is an automatic inclusion even if she will rarely be used as a chump blocker in decks that are looking to go wide because of that innate The Triskelion makes it worth keeping her around if you care about having as many allies as possible in play.

fen · 3
Wolverine

Just some new information regarding Wolverine and his claws. Permanent rule change: At step 1 of setup, set aside permanent cards.

Errata; Logan now says: Setup: Put Wolverine’s Claws into play.

Reference RRG 1.5

Amarethus · 247
X-Gene

It's not enough to only look at how many events a hero has but you have to consider the use restrictions. A lot of identity-specific events for the Mutants currently released also have the Superpower trait so often the deck has to decide between X-Gene and Deft Focus. There's also the option to play both but that's not always the case. There are three main differences in how these two cards work and these differences will inform whether the deck wants to play them:

  1. Deft Focus is a Hero Action so you have to be in Hero Form and you can't use it to reduce cost of cards in the Villain phase. In other words, this isn't usable for Defense events like Flash Freeze/Bulletproof Belle.
  2. X-Gene can't pay for non-Event cards. So you can't use it to pay for Organic Steel/Iron Will/etc.
  3. X-Gene is only playable in Alter-Ego. So unless you draw it in your opening hand/mulligan, playing it later requires a trip to AE which not every deck can/want to do on demand.

These are the number of cards that would be affected by either cards for each of the current Mutants:

  • Colossus: 3 XG, 7 DF. Deft Focus is better than X-Gene especially since Colossus has access to Limitless Stamina.
  • Shadowcat: 7 XG, 9 DF. Deft Focus is better than X-Gene. Shadowcat isn't likely to swap to AE often and will have a harder time playing a late X-Gene.
  • Cyclops: 6 XG, 3 DF. Would not play either. Cyclops is often in Leadership and neither pays for Allies so the space is better used for something like Team-Building Exercise.
  • Phoenix: 8 XG, 0 DF. X-Gene is an option although I would play Team-Building Exercise over it as TBE helps her pay for Cyclops or other X-Men allies and her Psionic Upgrades.
  • Wolverine: 10 XG, 5 DF. Would not play either since you're rarely paying for his attacks with resources so these would often be unused.
  • Storm: 9 XG, 7 DF. Storm wants both cards since her events are all very powerful and expensive.
  • Rogue: 10 XG, 8 DF. Rogue wants both cards since she has a bad economy.
  • Gambit: 7 XG, 5 DF. X-Gene is better than Deft Focus.
Neokarasu · 39
I agree with basically all your assessments, except I would push back on the argument that they compete too much for the same slot. 1-cost resource generators are powerful and scarce. I would consider if I want to play Focus and X-Gene independently. And if a hero plays 1 copy of X-Gene, there's still plenty of room for TBE for the heroes you mention — Stretch22 · 273
Squirrel Girl

Our absolute baseline floor for Squirrel Girl is 3 effective cost for a 1 ATT/1 THW/2 HP ally that deals a damage to the Villain when she enters play from anywhere. That's 2 damage split 1 and 1, or 1 damage and 1 threat removal and also a chump blocker. She's not on Maria Hill's level, but that is a very high bar to clear for any ally - especially one that can knock Tough off villains and minions alike.

Her largest benefit is sweeping damage against many minions; which makes minion heavy scenarios the ideal place to use her, with Ultron's Ultron Drones being the ultimate target to use her against. She also has an ability which still works when returned from discard via cards like Make the Call or Rapid Response and she's cheap enough to be a great target for Regroup.

Another huge bonus is that low cost of 2 and the Avenger trait which means she does not only fit in Leadership recursion decks; she also has a place in Avenger based Swarm decks that want as many allies as possible out at a time alongside each Avenger ally also having high impact when they enter play. She's great for cards like Strength In Numbers, Avengers Assemble! or Mighty Avengers.

Also, she scales very well with the number of players because of her wording; the more players out, the more minions that are going to be around for her to ping and possibly defeat. So she has wonderful synergy with Aggression team mates that like to drag out lots of minions and she is a superb ace up your sleeve to help anyone in a pinch as it is not uncommon for minions to just have enough health that they survive an attack with one health. She's a lot of "attacks" for such a low cost.

In short it is rare that I do not want to have Squirrel Girl in a Leadership deck, and I will automatically include her as a Staple when I start deck building; the kind of decks she gets cut from are rare and tend to be other Tribal decks like Guardians or Web-Warriors.

Final Verdict: Leadership Staple Ally alongside cards like Maria Hill, Beast, [Stinger] (/card/12014), Kaluu or White Tiger. Instead of needing a reason to include her in the deck you instead have to have a reason to be not playing her.

fen · 3
All for One

This one doesn't really give you great value damage-wise, as 1 damage per character is basically the minimum expected (there are currently only two Avenger allies with ATK of 0, Power Man and Victor Mancha). The value in this card lies in saving your allies from getting consequential and retaliate damage. It's not a whole lot of value and I don't think I've ever seen this card being core of any deck. Could be useful in retaliate-heavy scenarios.

Alatreon · 25