Since I did Quicksilver earlier this week, it only seemed right to cover Scarlet Witch today! Remember, folks, I’m leaving aspect cards out of the equation and just doing this breakdown based on how flavorful and thematic Wanda’s unique 15-card deck is.
Wanda Maximoff is your average alter-ego, with 3 Recovery, a hand size of 6, and 10 hit points. Like her brother, she has the Superpowered Siblings ability, which allows her to discard 2 cards and draw 2 new ones (3 if Pietro Maximoff is in play in some capacity).
It’s when we flip over to her Scarlet Witch side that things get interesting. Her stat block is average: 2 Thwart, 1 Attack, 2 Defense, and a hand size of 5. Her ability, on the other hand, is anything but standard. Chaos Control allows you to interrupt a villain’s boost, canceling the current boost card and discarding the next encounter card to count its symbols instead. Is it a gamble? Not if you’re already staring down a high number of boost icons!
Wanda only has a couple of upgrades, though her first–the 1-cost Magic Shield–does have 3 copies. It allows you to block 3 damage that would be dealt to any friendly character, which is pretty solid, especially for such a low resource cost!
She also gets Scarlet Witch’s Crest, a 2-cost card that can be exhausted to either increase or decrease the number of boost icons on a card by 1 for that boost activation. This is awesome–I love the way this character gets to mess with boost icons, and the Crest gives you more control over them than you’d ever have with another character.
Allies & Supports
Scarlet’s Witch’s main ally is, obviously, Quicksilver. A hefty 4-cost card, Pietro offers 1 Thwart, 2 Attack, 4 hit points, and the ability to ready up once per phase (plus, he’ll automatically improve Superpowered Siblings). A bit pricey, but useful if you can get him out.
Her only support is Agatha Harkness, a 1-cost card that can be exhausted to look at the top 3 cards of your deck and draw 1, putting the rest on the bottom of your deck. I dig this because card draw feels a bit like her boost card manipulation; it’s not exactly the same, but it’s in the ballpark, right? It’s like Agatha is practicing a variation of Wanda’s magic.
Scarlet Witch has quite a few events, starting with Chaos Magic. It’s free to play, and it allows you to play any other card from your hand for free, discarding cards from the encounter deck equal to the card’s printed cost. Obviously, this is hugely useful if you have an expensive card you want to get out, and by burning through the encounter deck, it plays into Wanda’s main weakness–burning through that deck so fast that you stack up a ton of acceleration tokens.
Next up is Hex Bolt, which costs 2. You discard the top 3 cards of the encounter deck, and each has a different effect depending on the number of boost icons they have: 0 boost deals 2 damage to an enemy; 1 boost removes 2 threat from a scheme; 2 boost lets you draw a card; and 3 or more boost allows you to place a status card on a character. All good effects! The random element and the encounter card discard both feel perfect for the chaos magic element.
Molecular Decay is a 3-cost event that deals 5 damage and has you discard the top 2 cards of the encounter deck, dealing additional damage for each boost icon on the discarded cards. If you’re very lucky, you could conceivably deal 11 damage with this thing! Like Hex Bolt, it’s appropriately random and encounter deck-centric. Love it!
Finally, Wanda gets a copy of the 1-cost Warp Reality. This card cancels a revealed encounter card, forcing you to then discard cards from the encounter deck equal to the number of boost icons that encounter card had. Any card that can negate a Shadows of the Past is fine by me!
Nemesis & Obligation
Scarlet Witch is unusual in that she has 2 copies of her Obligation, Slipping Sanity, and only 4 cards in her Nemesis deck (rather than the usual 5). If you pull Slipping Sanity, you can do the usual exhaust trick; otherwise, you have to discard the top 5 cards of the encounter deck and for each star icon you discard, you place a threat on the main scheme. That’s… not that bad, honestly. I’m sure there are some scenarios and modular sets that make it much worse, but overall, it’s not terrible.
Her nemesis is Luminous, a creation of that pesky High Evolutionary. She’s a pretty wicked minion, with 2 Scheme, 2 Attack, and 5 hit points; worst of all, after she activates against you, you have to discard the top card of the encounter deck and if 2 or more boost icons are discarded that way, you’re dealt a face-down encounter card. Oof! The side scheme for the set is The Next Evolution, which has 2 threat per player and increases the number of boost icons on all encounter cards by 1. There’s also a nasty attachment called Magical Suspension that increases the cost of every card you play by 1 (luckily, you can get rid of it by exhausting your hero), as well as a treachery called Chaos Manipulation that puts Luminous into play with you and forces you to discard the top card of the encounter deck. If 2 or more boost icons were discarded, Luminous activates against you (which means you’ll be discarding another encounter card after that activation–an unpleasant combo).
I absolutely love Scarlet Witch from a design perspective. Is she my preferred playstyle? No–too risky! Mechanically, though, I think they nailed the concept of chaos magic. She’s extremely fun and unique, and when you can pull off a good attack–like a lucky Molecular Decay, for instance–she feels as powerful as a reality warper ought to.