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Make it Meta | Hawkeye Shot First

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Hello and welcome back for another weekly segment of Make it Meta! This week I engineered a bit of a red herring on The Prep Area podcast, not because I don't think the uncommon Hawkeye is useful, but because I like so much of what Hawkeye has to offer that I had to talk about the uncommon version somewhere, just not here.

As is ever the case, we need to pick out a Hawkeye to build with. Hawkeye is built for aggressive play where we shut down our opponent's field while paying very little for the privilege. We know that we won't be picking the uncommon, but it's still prudent to go over what each of them offer us before we begin:

  • Heavy targeted removal when fielding (pricey to purchase)
  • Almost guaranteed knockouts whenever engaged
  • First strike allowing safe attacks and blocks for low cost

With these options, I think the rare is going to be our ideal choice. He's an incredibly cheap option that's going to deal heavy damage and force out opponent to choose between losing characters or losing health. Since his biggest weakness is his low defense, we're going to pair him with Nick Fury - WWII Veteran because of the stat bonus that will be oh-so useful. The focus of this team is going to be taking advantage of his high damage and ability to remove your opponents characters so we need a way to give Hawkeye a way to ensure he can get into fights with the right characters, enter Mr. Fantastic. His global will ensure that I can pull my opponent out of position for targeted blocks with Hawkeye. Finally, we may come up against big walls who can survive Hawkeye's damage, so we're going to include Cone of Cold to give us a way to make sure we can slap down the mightiest of defenders.


Now that we have a direction for our team, we have to come up with a win condition and a way to cover our weaknesses. We're already doing well towards our win condition by picking apart our enemy's field, but we need a way to push it over the top. While I usually go for Overcrush as my win condition, Hawkeye doesn't have the raw stats for that, but instead is built to control your opponent's field and allow you to build up for a death swing. To that end, we are going to include and option that deals with sidekicks and boosts our damage substantially: Human Torch - Johnny Storm. He is made for teams with cheap field-swarm win conditions and I'm more than happy to use him here, despite the fact he's already a very established part of the meta, because we're using him differently than usual (he's one of the OP's by association with "Gobby" just like Psylocke is only OP in an energy heavy format with PXG). Finally, to combo with our established team, we're going to toss in Black Widow - Natural. I would love to include Killer Instinct, but we're full up on our single rare count and Natural is still good as a cheap beatstick to field and swing often with Nick Fury's and Human Torch's support.

Before we do anything else, we have one big glaring weakness: we have two characters that want to sit on the field, but no protection for them against our own Mr. Fantastic global. To fix that, we're going to grab the always in fashion Human Paladin - Lesser Emerald Enclave. He makes appearances in a lot of my teams and for good reason. He's going to be a big part of keeping my characters on the field and doing their jobs. My other less obvious weakness is that I'm quite vulnerable to AoE abilities because of my team's weenie nature. To sort that out, I need a way to effectively remove threats that I don't want to trigger via damage such as Hulk. Accordingly, I want to bring Polymorph as it allows me to clear any one threat away at a moments notice and I can breath easily knowing that I won't lose my entire board on my own turn do to the actions of a rogue Hulk. (the global is also a great trick for squeezing the most damage out of your characters.


Finally, we've covered all our bases except one... We need some form of explicit ramp. Going along with my personal boycott of PXG, we're going to need something less ubiquitous, but equally strong. To decide what we want, we need to look at what we have. We have a bunch of cheap dice that we want to get on the field and keep them there. The best way to compliment that is to bring Red Tornado - Lab Creation. He's going to make sure we never have too many sidekicks to worry about and that whenever we make our purchases, we're almost guaranteed to roll them onto the field the very next turn. This is right in line with our aggro strategy and keeps us competitive even without a dedicated energy card (though Black Widow and Nick Fury can easily fit the bill). With his inclusion, we're left with a top end slot for something that can help us close out a game. For that, we're going to include Cyclops - Field Leader who's going to double the direct damage that Human Torch deals our opponent and give Hawkeye a whopping 6 damage to play around with on his level 2 and 3 faces. Beyond that, he's very cheap to field and has high stats himself, even buffing Red Tornado in a pinch. This solidifies our win condition and unifies the team as an unconventional field-swarm weenie team with some -burn lite added into the mix.

Full Build

With this team, you're going to be working to maximize your investment with each turn. You have a lot of characters that you can buy cheaply and slot together for good damage, but you need to establish what you're working against and what your answers are. You have answers and options for just about every scenario you could come across, but you have to have a set of priorities in place. If your opponent looks to be ramping hard and neglecting the field, it's wise to take this time to set up your offense. Hawkeye/Black Widow (depending upon your energy rolls) are going to HURT with Nick Fury backing them up and unless your opponent is setting up a really hefty wall, they're not going to be able to pull your guys into his face without paying a hefty price. If you do take the time to pick up Red Tornado, Human Torch, or just one Nick Fury, make sure you have Human Paladin out as well. If your opponent tries to aggro race you without some seriously gnarly threats like "Gobby" or Tsarina, you're going to have a hefty leg up and should be able to beat him down whenever you soak a swing for free with Hawkeye's effect. Even if your opponent goes for big ticket threats, you have the removal to deal with it and unless they have some hefty non-global damage, you're going to be able to outpace them and bury them in an avalanche of buffed characters.

Just make sure that you stay calm and have a plan and you should be able to pilot this team quite well.

This team is a bit special in that it actually suffers greatly from having limited cards. Accordingly, if you have great cards like BEWD and Tsarina, you should totally play them. They're going to heavily boost your effectiveness and turn this into a powerhouse team. That said, it's not necessary and may take away from the fun of playing a cast of out there characters/strategy. As always, if you have any feedback, I'm always listening. Thank you all for following along, and have a nice day.
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  1. bahamut7's Avatar
    I have seen characters like Celtic Guardian wreck walls of attackers and blockers because of that resolve damage first ability. It can be impressive...and frustrating to go against. The one thing I wonder with this team is the buy order. Who is the top priority? Second? And so on? Whenever I run a team with more than 2 costs 4s and up, I start hitting that wall.
  2. Necromanticer's Avatar
    There is no set buy-order, that's what the final synopsis was alluding to. This team gives you an overarching strategy and it's up to you how best to utilize it to win the match.

    Does your opponent have PXG? Then you probably shouldn't buy Red Tornado.
    Are they running global protection? Try to rush to Toad to ruin their field.
    Do they have a big threat that's going to ruin your day? Pick up Polymorph and abuse it.
    Are they walling hard? Black Widow may not be the best choice.

    You have to adapt to what comes up. This team is built to work with a heavy aggression mindset, but with all the tools needed to play more passively if you need to. Your biggest asset is going to be your 5 attack Hawkeye's, so make sure you're taking advantage of their first strike and you're going to be in a good spot.

    If I had an opponent without PXG and no clear or present threats, I'd grab Red Tornado and Human Paladin first just to set myself up to ramp as hard as possible into all of my character dice that I buy.
  3. bahamut7's Avatar
    I gotcha. A more reactive and Passive team until your Hawkeye/Fury combo starts wailing on them.