Iron Lightning Rod: Why The Thunderbolts Love Iron Man

MUN is out on MWS and I’m going nuts with it. I’ve already built five decks on it and have two more that are written up in text just waiting to be inputted. My thoughts on the set so far after several games?

Thunderbolts. Are. Nuts.

There, I said it. I’ve played the following deck five or six times. I’ve gone against X-Men, Captain America, a near-mirror match, Secret Society, and a couple others that my mind is hazy on. The deck has lost once against the X-Men due to Wolverine smacking my face off with Berserker Rage/Healing Factor. Every other time, this deck didn’t just win, it dominated. This could very well be the best deck I have ever personally built and I don’t feel like I’m overstepping my bounds in saying that. It is simply amazing and its all thanks to the man with the possibly Skrully plan.

Heroism is Dead


Modern Age

4x Green Goblin, Insanity Unleashed

4x Beetle <> Mach, Discharged
2x Joystick, Fun And Games

4x Radioactive Man, Containment Suit
2x Taskmaster, Superhero Trainer

4x Iron Man, Mighty Avenger
1x Mr. Fantastic, Haunted Genius

4x Green Goblin, Director Of The Thunderbolts

3x Melissa Gold <> Songbird, Caged Angel

1x Carol Danvers <> Ms. Marvel, Mighty Avenger

Plot Twists:
4x Mobilize
4x Call in a Favor
4x Code White
4x Company Of Heroes
4x Speedball Is Dead
4x Heroic Effort
2x I Am Doom

3x Stark Armory

3x Extremis Upgrade

This deck does well on both initiatives, actually. I personally prefer odds. This lets you drop Radioactive Man and hopefully block a search card, use Beetle to swing without stunning (possibly), defend with Iron Man/Melissa Gold, and deal out huge breakthrough with Carol Danvers. Evens works just as amazingly. You get to definitely use Bettle to swing without stunning on turn 4 and you can pick your attacks with Iron Man/Melissa Gold. This deck rarely sees turn 7 so missing out on Danvers’ effect isn’t huge. Mulligan condition is Stark Armory and a 1-drop through Radioactive Man.

Turn Uno is Green Goblin, Insanity Unleashed. One stun and he gives anyone you want a +1/+1 counter. This builds up quickly, especially since you can likely keep Gobbie around for some time since everyone else will be recovering from Iron Man.

Beetle <> Mach is your preferred 2-drop. If you hit Goblin/Heroic Effort on turn 1, he’ll be a 5/3 attacking with no stunback going into turn 3. Well worth the one turn of small statted-ness. Joystick is an alternate 2-drop. 2/3 is decent stats and the fact that she gets invulnerability once you get two +1/+1 counters on her makes her a useful damage soaker in the late game.

Oh my lordie, is Radioactive Man good. All it takes is odd-initiative and one counter (Green Goblin/Heroic Effort are calling) and you’ve locked an opponent out of plot twists that cost 3 or more. And that’s just with one counter. Combine his +1/+1 gaining effect with Iron Man’s recovery and you’ve got a huge 8/7 3-drop that has locked an opponent out of basically every plot twist while he’s ready. Alternately, you’ve got Taskmaster. Taskmaster is horrible so don’t play him unless you must. All he’s good for is to maybe get an extra +1/+1 on someone. Maybe. He sucks and is just there as an alternate that gains +1/+1s. I’ll probably swap him out soon.

Turn 4 is Iron Man, Mighty Avenger. Have I said how much he rocks? Let’s count the ways: 1. Stark Armory makes him a 9/9 on turn 4 and just makes him get bigger every passing turn. 2. Company of Heroes gives him an easy +2 DEF or, with an exhaust, +4 which is nuts. 3. Extremis Upgrade says that even if you pump up and stun him, he’ll still stay face-up. 4. You actually stunned Iron Man twice through his massive wall? Well, looks like Code White is just going to recover him anyways. Nice try but you’re made of sand. So, yeah, Iron Man is borky. There’s also a single Mr. Fantastic who is also kind of crazy but should never be played unless you have to.

Green Goblin stops by again as the main 5-drop. He’s here for a few reasons. Mostly because he likes handing out +1/+1 counters. The other is because he can exhaust to Company of Heroes to give out +4 DEF boosts. Niiice.

Melissa Gold <> Songbird is the turn 6 finisher. 13/12 and every time the opponent hits someone else, she gets bigger. Put her next to Iron Man and watch the opponent squirm.

Carol Danvers <> Ms. Marvel is your “meh, just in case” 7-drop. She’s BlindSided for all your oversize characters. See why she’s good?

Support stuff has mostly already been mentioned: Search via Call in a Favor/Mobilize (everyone important is SHIELD), Iron Man silliness via Stark Armory and Extremis Upgrade, Code White is a free recovery for all your drops from 4-7, Company of Heroes is an instant +2 DEF boost, Heroic Effort gives out +1/+1 counters while I Am Doom does the same but is a bit emo because he’s forced to wait another turn before doing it. And finally, there is my favorite card in the whole deck.

Did you just attack with one of your oversized +1/+1 counter stuffed Thunderbolts characters that is next to Iron Man and not get stunned back? Do you want to be emo like Penance? Now you can with Speedball Is Dead. With a simple self-stun and  some help from Iron Man, you’ll bounce back with an additional three +1/+1 counters. With this simple plan, you can completely lock an opponent out with Radioactive Man, make Beetle a 15/12 2-drop (Actually did this. Was hilarious), or just plain screw with an opponent. All for the low, low threshold cost of 2.

In all seriousness, Speedball Is Dead Is Broke. Insanely good card.

Perhaps I’ve just been really lucky with this deck so far. My draws would probably say otherwise since in every game, I’ve missed at least one important drop (often missing Radioactive or the 5-drop Goblin). Despite this, I’ve still won almost every game. I generally enter turn 6 with at least a 12/12 Iron Man, a 12/12 or larger 2/3-drop Thunderbolt, and Melissa Gold ready to get huge as well. I do not know of many decks that can stand up against three 6-drop sized characters that will all still be around on turn 7 but even bigger.

My only regret about the deck? That it’s not Resolution legal yet I can’t stop playing it. Technically, I should be hard at work on my “real” Thunderbolts deck or my Avengers rally decks. Instead, I can’t stop tinkering with the Lightning Rod. It’s just so good. Test it out when you get the chance. You won’t be sorry.


3 Responses to “Iron Lightning Rod: Why The Thunderbolts Love Iron Man”

  1. I love Thunderbolts and many of these characters dominated out release tournament. Iron Man is an excellent choice on 4, I just wish you had found room for Bullseye (4.)

    Also, the 2-drops for Thunderbolts are terrible. You may want to consider throwing in an alternate from SHIELD. Wasp, perhaps?

  2. kaleeshwarrior Says:

    Sadly, Bullseye (4) is only particularly good in my Thunderbolts Mountain deck where you can hit an attacker on that turn’s drop.

    Alternate 2-drop from SHIELD? I really, REALLY like Beetle ever since I’ve started focusing some of my +1/+1 goodness on him each game. He can get huge AND unstunnable (“My 2-drop will now take down your 6-drop and not stunback.”). Slotting someone in for Joystick seems promising, though. Will consider it.

  3. I don’t know why you’d turn away the Thunderbolt 2 drops. They’re ridiculous though I prefer Joystick. 2/3 starting stats are way better than Beetle’s 3/1. And the fact that he doesn’t stun is kinda pointless, since they get so big and recover for free. You WANT them to stun once Iron Man is out. I’m thinking about playing something like Blinding Rage just to make it so they CAN stun, for the free recovery/counter.

    My big suggestion is dump Normie on 5 and play Holocaust, Age of Apocalypse. I’ve burned for 27 on 6 before.


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