Early Pool 3 Death with a few tips


The basic strategy of the deck is to gain tempo with your small cards and destroy them to make Death as cheap as possible over the course of the first half of the game. Follow that up by playing Moon Girl - you'll either be copying a cheap Death as your finisher or playing double 0 energy Sabretooth with America Chavez on the final turn (very rarely all of them if you're favored by the locations - great synergy with Death's Domain as an example).

A big advantage of the deck is that the opponent can't quite always anticipate on where and how much power you'll distribute on the last turn if you've pulled of your combo.

The deck is intuitive and easy to pick up, but it does require some setup and is also fragile, it can be easily teched against with Armor and Cosmo in the early game and Shang-Chi on the final turn.

The card choices:

  • Squirrel Girl, all 1-drops have great synergy with the destroy effects, she even more so as there are 3 bodies for the slaughter. If you didn't draw or decided not to play Killmonger, a Nova buffed Squirrel can challenge locations which are hard to reach for the deck such as Sanctum Sanctorum or Luke's Bar.
  • Angel, thins the deck, feels bad if you draw him but silver lining is that you can play him for tempo and/or sacrifice him.
  • Nova, buff whatever that remains, great for Sabretooth if you can play Nova first. Don't be afraid to play him on turn 1 as the deck relies more on the destruction effects, so the buffs we get, while nice, are usually not as substantial as they would be for a more Zoo type deck.
  • Yondu, makes Death cheaper by both playing and destroying him while you're also gambling on hitting a high priority card of your opponents or just thinning their deck for them.
  • Bucky Barnes, early tempo with destruction synergy.
  • Carnage, Killmonger and Deathlok are synergy enablers which also provide tempo with a usually decent statline.
  • Sabretooth, extra stats on the final turn as an alternative win condition if you manage to double him which can be tricky so you don't have to force him in the midgame when you see a better playline (a cheap Death). If you've managed to pop him on a prior turn and you're playing a Carnage or Deathlok on turn 5 instead of Moon Girl, make sure to feed Sabretooth to them again for extra discount on Death.
  • Moon Girl, to be played on turn 4 or 5 to get a larger payoff from Sabretooth and/or Death with the latter being the priority target. If you're copying Death, make sure you can bring her down to a minimum of 3 energy cost on the prior or following turn (based on when Moon Girl's played), otherwise don't bother!
  • America Chavez, consistently drawn on the final turn, increases the chance of getting other cards earlier, helps you plan ahead. Will sometimes be your alternative win condition if you've failed to draw Death.
  • Death, the big payoff of the deck, usually played on the final turn. You can do so earlier if you really can/want/need to push for that extra 9 power from Chavez on turn 6, however this leaves Death vulnerable to Shang-Chi.

When to snap: general rule of thumb dictates doing it after a successful early game (you've managed to gain tempo by popping Bucky Barnes or made a big Carnage as an example) and you're about to transition into your big play by copying Death with Moon Girl or you're about to wipe the opponent's board with Killmonger. So turns 4 or 5 are usually a safe option. Of course, never fail to consider what the opponent's playing and their potential power swings.

On the other hand, you can consider retreating early if you've a good early setup, e.g. 1-drop and just played Bucky Barnes, but you don't hold the initiative and the opponent snapped the moment he hit the board. I'd usually bet that they're about to counter you with Armor or Cosmo which will ruin your tempo as you need those On Reveal destruction effects to go off (of course if you have initiative just play Deathlok/Carnage on turn 3).

I've had some crazy final turns when I've played double Death, Sabretooth (sometimes at 5 power) and America Chavez for a 40+ power swing but those are usually rare and require specific conditions so don't force yourself into doing it all and have fun!