Why I called this deck "Perfected Hela:"
This deck gets rid of a common theme between other Hela decks--they all rely on a metric sh** ton of randomness and luck. That can lead to some 8-cube victories (especially in the lower ranks, not so much in the high ones) but the overall power level/ability to win cubes feels inconsistent, and simply put: WEAK. This is why Hela's deck winrate is consistently below 46%--people are looking through rose-tinted glasses, and aiming for the best case scenario, and therefore the decks end up being a ton of bad discard cards like Blade and Hellcow (the worst offender is INVISIBLE WOMAN in some lists, she's a dead giveaway, only 2-power, and way too easy to disrupt with meta cards like Cosmo and Aero) in combination with big 6-cost cards like Giganto, Magneto, and Death.
In comparison with those lists, we still have some of the bigger cards, with Hulk and Infininaut. A lot of our cards still say "Discard" on them. However, with Ghost Rider and Odin in the mix, we're no longer playing with fire every time we discard while Hela is in our hand--we have a back-up plan now, and other ways to win.
The deck has also been improved over time, as I realized certain cards fit better in this list than some of the originals. That is another reason to say it has been "Perfected"--(RIP Ebony Maw and Captain Marvel, I miss you)
Since this guide was posted on 01/26/2023, Hela's deck win rate is up to 51.89%, drawn: 53.17%, played: 64.7%--thanks to all of you who tried this list out! Now I can add the 'Competitive' tag, because it's not a meme anymore. (Edited on 02/02/2023)
Changes/Suggestions: One of the best things about this deck is how flexible it is to changes. There are 6 great options in the "Deck Suggestions," so you get to tinker with the deck and make it fit your playstyle and favorite cards/variants. Share your changes in the comments below!
After giving you guys some time to test the deck, the stats are starting to show under the "Odin Reveal" page on this website. I have been 100% proven wrong when it comes to Blade--he's actually doing quite well. Sunspot and Ebony Maw are also doing well, but they are used in lots of other Odin decks--so I can't conclude too much with their data. Colleen Wing and Moon Knight aren't showing up, probably because they're too heavily related to Hela + Discard. I noticed that Gambit is performing exceptionally worse than everything else here--even if that's not related to our deck, our deck should have boosted him up. I went ahead and moved Blade into his spot, I guess Gambit is limited to Lockjaw/Silver Surfer combos. Feel free to experiment!
Black Cat increases the value of your Hela and Morbius without spending any energy, but decreases the odds of your Ghost Rider hitting the target that you want (after a Lady Sif, for example.) Finally, Giganto and Captain Marvel are great options for big cards/high roll Hela plays, but lower the consistency of our energy curve.
Here are the non-essential cards listed in order of strength, so you can swap things out accordingly (strongest to weakest): Hulk \<- Colleen Wing \<- Jubilee \<- Gambit \<- Moonknight. What you swap out also depends on the cost and role of the card you're replacing it with (big card, another discard, low cost card etc.)
Introducing The New Team of Hela Supporters:
Odin, Gambit, Ghost Rider, and Colleen Wing--in combination with up and coming Hela staples such as Jubilee, Morbius, and Hulk! (Don't underestimate the HULK SMASH)
The real power of this deck is that the cards leading up to our Hela play provide so much value just by themselves. We're no longer going tunnel-vision on discarding huge bombs, so we can summon them for free with Hela. We don't NEED to make Hela into a 50-power play, and pray that she dodges every discard attempt. If she does end up getting discarded--because we're playing strong tempo cards on turns 4 and 5 (Ghost Rider, Jubilee, Morbius/Colleen Wing + 3-cost cards on 5) and we have a backup plan with Ghost Rider + Odin, WE CAN ACTUALLY SNAP BACK after we discard Hela, if our hand is strong enough. That can result in more 8 cube victories--by baiting the opponent into snapping before we do.
Change #1 - After doing some more testing, I decided to swap Ebony Maw for Hulk. I'll leave the guide as it is, because there's not much that's changed with Hulk added. I left Colleen Wing in, because she still gives us a safe way to discard things like Morbius, Sword Master, and Gambit (he's usually at his strongest on turn 6 anyway) to summon back later.
Hulk is a surprisingly good card, even in Series 3 and beyond. I underestimated him for quite some time, thinking that Giganto, Death, and Magneto would be better fits. However, if you look at Hulk's stats on this website (depending on the season) he often has the highest played winrate out of all the other "big" 6-costs. Well, except for Death--but that has more to do with Wave, Galactus, and Destroy decks which we aren't playing here. I think the reason behind this is that he can be played anywhere (unlike Giganto) and when you play him, he doesn't add more power to the opponents side like Magneto does. Although Magneto does let you make some satisfying plays on occasion--Hulk is more consistent overall, because he's much better at winning a lane where you're behind (hopefully by 10 or 11 points, to surprise them) and gives us another play on 6, just in case things don't go well.
If you set the stats to Series 3+ decks: (played winrates, 02/02/2023) Hulk - 58.26%, Giganto - 57.88%, Magneto - 54.58%. Perhaps Giganto can be a replacement for Hulk, if you don't mind the drawback of having to play him left, and really value the 2 extra power. Hulk may look worse than the other 6-drops on paper (or in theory) but I'm telling you guys... give him a shot in-game, and see what happens! The stats don't lie.
Change #2 - Experimenting with Moonknight over Captain Marvel--deck seemed to be doing better, so I changed Captain Marvel to a suggestion and added Moonknight to the main list. If we don't have a way to Discard on 3 (Colleen might discard our only 3-cost) then we're hurting a lot. We'll still have something to play on 5, whether that's Colleen or Morbius + a 3-cost (best play) or Jubilee/Ghostrider.
Please comment below if you can think of any other good 2 or 3-cost cards to help our early turns!
Edits end, back to the original post:
Card Piloting Guide - How, When, and Where to Play Each Card:
1 cost: Ebony Maw (REMOVED FOR HULK, UNTIL KILLMONGER GOES AWAY) - I almost never play this guy from hand, unless there's a good location for him such as Hidden Dimension or the one that disables ongoing effects etc. Otherwise, playing him will open you up to getting shutdown by control cards such as a combination of Spiderman, Cosmo, Storm, and Professor X, ultimately preventing you from playing Hela (or anything at all) on turn 6. Although, if you like taking risks, and Hela is in your hand and you think it's looking like a Lady Sif/Ghost Rider game--go for it and drop him on 2 instead of Colleen to make sure Ghost Rider hits what Lady Sif discards, and not Colleen's garbage. His main purpose in the deck is to get discarded by Colleen Wing, sort of like an "optional" Black Cat.
2 costs: Colleen Wing - I'd estimate there is a ~50% chance that you'll want to play Colleen on turn 2, or hold her/play something else to keep our discard pool limited to whatever Lady Sif discards. This is one of the most important decisions that we make, so you'll need to get a feel for a deck and understand the play patterns.
In short, when choosing to play Colleen or hold her, you need to keep in mind whether Hela and/or Ghost Rider is in your hand and in that case you'll be looking to go 2. Morbius, instead of Colleen or hold her in hand -> 3. Lady Sif/Other Discarder -> 4. Ghost Rider behind the Sif/Discarder -> (Anything you want on turn 5) -> 6. Odin on Ghost Rider or Jubilee location, to win that lane.
Alternatively, if you haven't drawn a combination of Lady Sif, Hela, or Ghost Rider by turn 2, then you're going to want to play Colleen and do something like 2. Colleen -> 3. Sword Master/Gambit -> 4. Jubilee -> 5. More discards + Morbius if possible -> 6. Hela.
Morbius - Just a solid play to develop before we start discarding stuff. If you also have Colleen on 2, and no Hela in hand (means she's safe, and not getting discarded on Turn 3 unless she's the top deck, in that case she's 100% gone because the game is rigged) then it's always better to play Colleen. I've seen him hit 8 or 10 power in my games, just a great value for the cost.
Lady Sif - Always try to play Lady Sif on an empty lane (to play Ghostrider and Odin behind her) unless your only 6-cost in hand is Infininaut, then it doesn't really matter. Although we have few 6-costs to protect Hela, we still get to play her freely--as this deck is designed to be able to win even if you discard Hela. That will be covered in the Strategy/Combo section later on.
Gambit - Generally speaking, Gambit isn't the best card--but I think he finds a home in this deck because we have Odin. This gives us another "good" card to put Ghost Rider behind, so that we can play Odin there on turn 6 to make a fairly strong play. I really think Gambit's stats should be changed to 4/4 or 4/5 (Gambit needs a power buff, and by turn 4 our opponent should always have a card down to destroy, whereas sometimes they don't play anything on 2 or 3. PLUS there's way too many 3-cost discarders, like four or five of them) so let's get on Twitter and petition for that change, eh lads? =)
Sword Master - He discards stuff, and has a good power for a 3-drop. He also doesn't get ****** by Killmonger, like Blade does. There's not much else to say, he's just a good card to play on 3... Nothing too crazy.
4 costs: Jubilee - I recommend that you play her on an empty lane, so you have the option of playing Odin on that lane and pulling another card if our Hela plan doesn't pan out. If you're playing on PC/Steam, make sure to use the Untapped.GG deck tracker so you know what's in your deck, and what you have discarded. (No sponsorship I promise, I'm just a nobody writing a 3-page essay about how to make Hela good)
Ghost Rider - Ghost Rider is at his strongest if Odin or Hela were discarded by Sif on Turn 3--if she hits Infininaut, then we don't have to play Ghost Rider because we'll have Hela. If you discard Odin, you can do a neat trick and drop Ghost Rider behind a card that Discards (Lady Sif is most optimal, unless you have Hela as your highest energy card) then, Odin will trigger another Discard BEFORE Ghost Rider, letting you pull a 2nd card from your hand onto the lane for just 7 energy. Ghost Rider is the card that requires the most thinking/strategy (and that's why playing Colleen is a huge decision) so I'll elaborate more on him later on.
5 costs: Captain Marvel (REMOVED FOR MOONKNIGHT, FEEL FREE TO KEEP HER THOUGH) - This deck needs a 5-cost, because we don't run Sunspot who would be FANTASTIC if Killmonger wasn't everywhere, and Jubilee didn't hit him 90% of the time that he's still in the deck. Who better to help a high-randomness deck (Hela isn't the smartest, she will often summon 30 power to one lane and leave the others hanging) than a card that moves to win a location. Plus, she's voice acted by the amazing and talented BRIE LARSON (Kappas in the chat, boys!) I mean come on man, you gotta love that "HIGHER, FURTHER, FASTER" at the end of the game as you collect them cubes (and the tears of your opponent, if you're into that I guess)
Pro tip: Play Captain Marvel to the location that you're winning the most (she can't move if the opponent is within 6 power of winning) and hopefully she fills the location, so Hela's summons don't go to there. It also increases the odds that Odin lands behind Hela + a card that discards, to summon another card from your hand.
6 costs: Hela - If you have Odin in your discard pool, I recommend playing her behind something that discards such as Sif or Gambit, so in the lucky event that Odin lands on that lane you can get another summon from your hand. Of course, don't let that deter you from putting her 6 power where it belongs. On turn 5, you can fill up one of your other lanes with a Captain Marvel, to increase the odds of that Odin high roll scenario.
Odin - I looked at high synergy cards for Hela, and at first I was like, wtf... Running Odin in a discard/Hela deck? Really man? However, you really have to play the deck to fully understand how great he fits in here. You'll get an idea of that synergy in the Strategy/Combo section.
Infininaut - He's big. Like really, REALLY big. Maybe a little too big, without Sunspot to help get him out? But how else are we going to win with a card like Hela if we aren't dropping BOMBS?
The Strategy/Combo - How to Win Games WITHOUT HELA:
The way that we win after Hela is discarded is by playing Ghost Rider (58% draw rate) on turn 4, behind Lady Sif/Gambit/Sword Master (Only do this if you didn't play Colleen on 2, as covered previously) If you did discard something in addition to Hela (besides Ebony Maw) then you'll want to play him on an empty lane so Odin can pull something later on.
Odin onto a Lady Sif (or anything that discards, Gambit preferably as a backup) -> Hela summoned by Ghost Rider = Lady Sif will discard your highest cost card, and then Hela will summon that to a different lane. Usually it's Infinaut, who can solo win a lane, but sometimes he's in the bottom 2 or 3 cards, and then it's often times Captain Marvel, which is also pretty good because she helps insure that at least one other lane is winning (Odin/Hela lane is 21 power in this scenario, decent chance to win there) this combo is how we win without Hela.
In addition to discarding hela, if you did discarded something other than Ebony Maw with Colleen (and you play Ghost Rider on an empty lane, as you should) then the play pattern changes slightly. If Ghost Rider pulls Hela, great! Now on Turn 5, we want to discard as much as possible, instead of playing Jubilee/Captain Marvel. Then, we can play Odin on top of Ghostrider + Hela. Ghostrider will pull back a card, and if we're lucky, that will be one of our Discard cards such as Sif, Gambit, or Sword Master. Then, Odin will activate Hela, and she be able to use that discard and summon it to another lane.
If Ghost Rider doesn't pull back Hela, we can still win by playing Odin on either Ghost Rider or Jubilee on turn 6.
What this boils down to, is that even if Hela is discarded, we're not SOL. Opponents will often snap immediately after we discard her, so if we have a good hand, that can lead to 8 cube wins. It also feels VERY satisfying to beat an opponent who snaps right after Hela is discarded. Probably the best feeling in Snap, if I'm being honest. Runner up would be beating people who snap because I'm playing an Agatha deck with Domino. Imagine losing to two of the worst cards in Snap, after you ego snapped earlier in the game... That's just sad! (hilarious from my POV)
The Reality Check - We're Still Playing Hela:
Although we've done just about everything we can to make this deck as consistent/strong as possible, it's still a Hela deck at it's core. Sometimes, things just won't go your way. Sometimes, our opponent will do crazier stuff than us, and end up with more power on turn 6. It's not like this list is going to take Hela up to Tier 1 or 2--but it might come close.
Now that we've covered when/where/how to play your cards out, let's take a look at something that's EVEN MORE IMPORTANT for ranking up: Cube Management.
To begin, snapping early with Hela decks is a huge no-no. Even though this deck is about consistency, we still have three random discards in the form of Gambit, Moonknight, and Sword Master. Therefore, sh** can still hit the fan and blow up in your face if you snap early, no matter how good your hand looks to be.
With that in mind, when can we snap? One of the best indicators would be: "Is Hela in our hand by turn 3?" If she is still in the deck, and we played Colleen on turn 2 + we can play Lady Sif on turn 3, that is a snap-worthy scenario. Although there's no guarantee that we will draw Hela on turns 4, 5, or 6--we can use Jubilee to thin one card and make it more likely. Sometimes you'll snap on turn 3 and never draw Hela, but I think it's worth the risk.
Another good opportunity to snap is when we can go Lady Sif -> Discards Odin -> Ghostrider to win a lane by TURN 4. This is a combo that you'll want to play into a location that your opponent is developing a lot of power--if you play it on a location where they have no cards, they can just ignore that lane and win the other two.
Jubilee is another snap-worthy play, in the scenario where your big cards make up the vast majority of your remaining deck. (Pst, get the Untapped.GG deck tracker on PC) No point in letting them retreat for 1 cube after she pulls out Infinaut, ya know?
Captain Marvel can create interesting snap opportunities--if most of your power is in a single lane (a lot of the time it will be) and you're ahead, you can drop her there and then your opponent has to defend BOTH of the other lanes because you could take either one with Captain Marvel. I especially like snapping on Turn 5, because as always if you snap on Turn 6, your opponent is much more likely to retreat for 1 cube after seeing all the stuff you discarded for Hela (they'll have to assume you top decked her on 6) That being said, sometimes Turn 5 is too late and your opponent will retreat after the snap--so snapping early has it's advantages and that's why it's important to evaluate how strong your hand is.
Retreating is a little more obvious/clear cut than snapping in my opinion. If your opponent snaps, and your hand is garbage (For examples: if Hela was drawn before turn 3, you have no turn 2 play, and/or you can't discard anything on turn 3) then you should retreat right away to lose less cubes!
With that in mind, don't instantly retreat if Hela is discarded on turn 3. As I mentioned, this deck CAN WIN in that scenario and if the opponents snap that equals more cubes for the win. This is especially true if you have Ghost Rider, and Hela was your only discard thus far--then you can do the combo of Ghost Rider behind Gambit/Sif and then Odin the Hela. Sometimes I even SNAP BACK if I have Ghost Rider + Captain Marvel/Jubilee and Odin in hand (Infinaut helps too, especially if you played Lady Sif)
Here's a list of how I would rank the cards in how strong they make your hand/gameplan. This is for turn 3, when most snaps should happen--earlier turns = ego snapper and later turns = you can see the game state and evaluate. Keep in mind that these cards interact/synergize with each other, so it's impossible to be entirely accurate, especially when we have the different 'play routes' of going either Ghost Rider into turn 6 Odin, or playing for Hela.
1. Lady Sif
2. Ghost Rider
5. Captain Marvel
6. Sword Master (Worse than Lady Sif, but as long as you have him or Gambit to fill in for her, you're in good shape)
7. Gambit (Worse than Lady Sif, but as long as you have him or Sword Master to fill in for her, you're in good shape)
8. Morbius (Keep in mind, he can be a good play on turn 5 in addition to a 3-cost discarder leading into a turn 6 Hela or Odin on Hela)
9. Colleen Wing (Same as Morbius, she can be a good play on Turn 5 in addition to a 3-cost discarder leading into a turn 6 Hela or Odin on Hela)
10. Infininaut (Hard to evaluate since we can never actually play him and rely on him getting discarded. Definitely higher up if you have Lady Sif -> Ghost Rider/Hela/Odin play lines)
11. Ebony Maw (Admittedly not the greatest card without Colleen, but he fills a role when you have her)
12. Hela (We'd much rather draw her on the later turns and not by turn 3 which this list is based around)