March 7, 2018 By: PauperTim

This is my Venom deck that I took to a tournament the weekend the Deadpool and Friends set released. I feel it is a very solid deck and packs a little more punch than I originally thought it would. I'll go over the card choices I made and why I made them and where there is room to change some things up and where there are things that need to stay as they are.

Loyal Venom (With Deadpool and Friends)

Deck Archetype: Venom (Loyal)
Deck Author: PauperTim
Card Preview Image

Main Characters

Supporting Characters (29)

Plot Twists (17)

Locations (12)

Equipment (2)

1 Cost

I am running 10x 1 cost characters. 4 Solo, 4 Carnage (or as I like to call him, Carnophage), and 2 Helmut Zemo. Solo often feels like another copy of Loyal Soldiers, that could also attack and if it survived an entire turn, was a gift that kept on giving. An MVP in the deck. You want this in your opening hand ideally. Carnage is also great having 2 health and getting big quick in conjunction with cards like Loyal Soldiers and his abiltiy to keep +1/+1 counters while stunned and gain them while stunning other characters.

The card that might seem like an oddball here is Helmut Zemo. The other two 1 cost characters out preform this character in our deck. We are running Intellect Symbol for Leader already but his ability is counter productive to drawing more cards with Leader(as your opponent is discarding).

So what gives? We needed at least 2 more 1 drops math wise since we aren't running many 3 drops. I feel like with Loyal Soldiers we need to go wide and pump rather than going with something a little slower. There are times when Helmut could have nothing to hit such as against another loyalty deck as well. Looking at your opponents hand before going all in is very valuable and more often than not, you will be playing against a deck that isn't a loyal deck.

Before 3 drops got drastically better, most decks ran only 1 and 2 cost characters and on turn 3 would skip the 3 drop and hope to under drop multiple lower drops. This deck wants to run off of a similar math style of those decks which ran 10-12x 1 drops typically. Each character on the board when you use Loyal Soldiers makes it more potent and even a 2/1 + Merc with a Mouth can hit hard. Depending on the metagame you may want more than 2 Helmut Zemo's in your deck.

2 Cost

At the two cost slot we have 4 Leader. As an aggro deck that can sometimes just vomit it's hand out before your opponent can, this card can fill you right back up. There isn't much explanation needed here. I think there is definitely room to have a couple of Electro floating around if tweaked for a certain metagame. I had been thinking about dropping my 3 drops to run aa couple of Electro in case we ran into a swarm deck like Spider-Man.

We also run 3 of the Mary Walker cards. We play all of them except the defensive one as we don't want to be defensive in this deck. The others are usually good upon their stats and ability alone, though there is a bonus if you get more than one and play the 4/4 one last. I like this more than Rhino due to the fact it can't be shut off and gives you strong attackers where their keyword powers randomly do make quite a bit of difference. The one that gives 2 -1/-1 counters has attacked and gotten rid of 2 x/1's and stunned a third character from the attack a couple of times for me now, though that is obviously the ideal situation.

3 Cost

Ajax and Taskmaster are good. Taskmaster is known to be able to get tons of extra value, but isn't very offense oriented stat wise. I was testing a single copy alongside Ajax to see which card I liked better. Ajax is a card that can work both offense and defense. If your opponent doesn't have any characters with flying, he can protect your entire team for a turn. This isn't often relevant as you are going to be the agressor most games. His 6 attack is something that is relevant when you are the agressor. I couldn't decide between running one or the other for consistency, so I ran one of each and it seemed to do well. Both of these cards I hadn't really decided on but liked both in certain situations.

4 Cost

At the 4 cost slot I have 4 Masacre and 3 Mister Hyde. Masacre is just fantastic and can solve some of our problems like Jessica Jones SC getting in the way, but what had most people surprised is Mister Hyde. He was a finisher in and of himself. A solid attacker as a 5/5 but when you add the fact that he comes back as a 10/10, I would sometimes suicide him turn 4, then turn 5 play Masacre and a 1 drop and finish up the game.

5+ Cost

Fantomex and Negasonic Teenage Warhead may seem tempting to use, but both of them aren't attacking oriented. In a deck that wants to go go go, these charcters are above curve and ideally would want to be attacked rather than do the attacking. I thought about other curve toppers, just in case such as Bullseye with all of the loyal soldiers, Baron Mordo to KO stunned characters, or even running Blackheart. We really want to end thegame quickly, and not have cards that might serve some use if we draw them in very rare circumstances. There wasn't enough reason to put them in, because in most games, they would never be needed.

Plot Twists/Power Ups

The leveling enablers I ran consisted of 3 Venom, 4 Loyal Soldiers, 4 Fair and Balanced along with the supporting character Solo. This allowed me to run consistently enough but quickly was filling up my spots. I was torn between a 4th Venom and a 4th Mister Hyde but in tesitng I didn't need the 4th Venom to level consistently enough.

Not Finished Yet is the reason we are playing the deck as a loyal deck instead of a non loyal deck. This card can allow you to win the game a turn earlier. I have had situations where I've put this card in my row as it wasn't needed or I had multiple copies of it that I didn't need. This is used almost exclusively on your opponent's main character, to speed up how fast you can wound them and end the game.

With a loyal deck, why don't we play all of the Loyal Cards we can right? What about Unwaivering Loyalty? It is very aggressive along with being versatile and defensive at the same time. We need a way to protect all of those counters on our characters don't we? I got that from a lot of people actually.

But when you start to look at how many plot twists we have, we need the additional characters in there to swarm and overwhelm our opponent and not just rely on one big guy to do the attacking.

We also have Merc with a Mouth. This is the reason we don't have room for Unwaivering Loyalty. I'd rather play this and draw extra cards and keep the pressure up. Unwaivering Loyalty can keep counters on characters but I don't see that as a valid enough reason to play it over this and I don't see enough room to play both cards and consistently level up and play characters each turn.

There are so many ways outside of combat to get rid of counters on a character such as a card that specifically removes them, steals them, or can out of combat stun or daze a character, that the argument for running Unwaivering Loyalty instead of Merc with a Mouth because of that reason is mostly a mute point in my book unless we get more characters to add counters so that we wouldn't need Venom SC or Fair and Balanced.

Break the Fourth Wall is another card I opted to play. Adding an extra character on the board as a plot twist without using recruitment points is huge. If you are 20/30/40/etc, see if the tournament judge will allow "you" to be a 1/1 like mentioned in the preview article or run another copy of Venom SC or another character. Often cards that can help your opponent stay alive an extra turn such as a defensive plot twist, an annoying supporting character with shrink, or being dazed/frozen can be overun by just another warm body. We have a plethora of plot twists in the deck that can "Pump you up!".

In the tournament I ran this in the weekend the Deadpool and Friends set came out, I had a hand where I leveled turn 1 and had this token out. There were 3 Loyal Soldiers and a Solo used which made my 3/2 version a 7/6. I had someone ask me if I thought a 2/1 was good enough to run this card. I said yes, of course! In that situation it still would have been a 5/5 attacker. A single Merc with a Mouth can turn even a 1/1 into a formitable turn attacker.


We also have 2 equipment in the deck. The Nullifier which when drawn and timed corectly, can make all of the difference. I've had it get me out of situations that would have been extremely hard to dig myself out of. We don't have a lot of protection to keep characters alive such as a flying wall or moonstone, so it is often a card used to shut off one ability for one turn, you just need to time it's usage out to be most beneficial. It is often used on a Main Character if they have a key ability that they need to use, especially if it is a defensive ability, but there are times where it can be very useful against some supporting characters abilities such as Jessica Jones supporting character so you can use Leader to draw cards.

We also have Darkhold, which works wonders, especially since I only have 2 other 3 drops in this current build. Getting another use out of a plot twist can be game breaking in this deck, turning 1 Merc with a Mouth into 2, giving you +6/+0 and if you stun the defender you draw 2 cards. The ideal situation is to use this with Not Finished Yet and recover your opponent's Main Character twice in a turn.

A lot of people who have been making Venom decks have opted to include Chimichanga in thier lists as well. I originally had Chimichanga in the deck but I never wanted to play it. The 4th turn in every early playtest game I had, I would have rather play a board impacting 4 cost supporting character than plan an equipment to make one of my characters bigger. Due to plot twists and team attacking, the deck sometimes just needs more attackers in play rather than the ability to make one character go over to top. This card can help you level to get that final XP (only grants 1 XP), but I'm usually leveled between turns 1-3 and if I'm not leveled, that means I've been putting down more threats and I'm probably close to winning without it and need to keep the pressure on with more attackers.

Playing the Deck

As far as playing the deck, it takes practice and you don't always want to dump your hand and start playing off the top of your deck when you don't need to. I would let people stun Venom sometimes when I knew I could save him. I did this to play a blue and recover him to get 2 +1/+1 counters on him and get him an XP. All of the Blues and Wilds should go to Venom in most circumstances. Only every great once in a while would I use it for a Leader Activation or wish I had a couple of copies of Electro in there to help clear the way.

Other than that the deck is mostly straight forward. As tempting as it is to play Merc with a Mouth just to draw a card when you know you are getting a stun, remember it is a strong combat trick that can tip the tide over in your favor. I would only play the card to draw when I needed another character or needed another location or plot twist to continue my assault. Don't be afraid to team attack to guarantee a stun or overcomit if you feel that is when someone might use something to slow you down.

About the Author

PauperTim is this websites owner and has always been into games of all sorts. He is a founder of the Pauper format for Magic: The Gathering. You can find him on facebook, twitter or OCTGN as PauperTim or as TheOrangeMitten on Magic Online.