Welcome new readers and returning readers. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read our spoiler article. Also thank you to FFG for sharing this spoiler with us and allowing us to share it with you. Without farther ado, here it is….
I am so excited that we got an ally-focused Leadership card. I can’t stop myself from thinking “VISION!” when I first see this, but I’ll try to remain objective and cover all the bases. There are two ways I see to use and evaluate this card given our current card pool: as an extra instance of attack or thwart from an ally, or an extra use of an exhaust-an-ally ability.
The simplest way to look at this card is to think of it as a “free” attack or thwart by an ally because it readies and heals the consequential damage. Viewed that way, the card almost reads “Hero Action: deal ____ damage or remove _____ threat” where the blanks are filled-in by your ally’s stats. So how much damage or threat do we need to get from this 1-cost event for it to be worth it?
For damage we can look at cards like Haymaker and Uppercut. To be in line with cost-to-damage ratio of those cards, we want the ally targeted by Inspiring Presence to have at least 2 but preferably 3 attack. There’s not exactly a neutral, thwarting version of Haymaker, but you can try to set some baseline expectations with For Justice!. Without counting the “kicker” you get from using a Mental resource, For Justice! removes 3 threat for 3 cards from hand. So an ally that can thwart for 2 makes Inspiring Presence almost as good as one of the best threat removers in the game. If you’re only thwarting or attacking for 1 you’d probably rather run Inspired for the same cost because you might get more uses out of the same size damage/thwart boost. And if you care more about the healing than the readying, First Aid is better for the same cost.
That’s just the minimum expectation for this card, however. To really have fun with it, you want to be boosting a much bigger ally. The in-aspect Vision that I mentioned earlier could be a good target for this effect, as could the neutral Heimdall. Hulk is another good target but requires a separate Aggression deck to be on a team with you. Unless, of course, you’re playing Leadership/Aggression Spider-Woman in the future, but then you may run into a problem of Inspiring Presence having the one resource icon that Hulk doesn’t want to see. Finally, we know that a Leadership ally Iron Man is coming out in Doctor Strange and, given his focus on upgrades, will probably turn into an ally that getting extra uses out of can yield some extreme value.
For the other way to use this card, here are the player-card effects that can currently cause an ally to exhaust: Strength in Numbers and War Machine. That’s it, that’s the list. Now, we also know that Wong (from the Doctor Strange pack) will have an ability requiring him to exhaust. Black Widow ally and the upcoming Quake (from the Black Widow hero pack) also have exhaust abilities, but they both occur during the villain phase so Inspiring Presence will not really grant you any additional actions there, other than the ability to still attack or thwart the turn after you use their ability. That kind of interaction is really just a case of some extra damage which can be evaluated as above. A card to keep in mind with these abilities, however, is Get Ready, which is the better card to ready an ally whose ability isn’t also dealing them damage.
The War Machine bit is interesting if you’re playing Leadership Iron Man, but seems pretty limited overall. I would only concern myself with getting multiple uses out of War Machine in a minion-heavy scenario like Ultron or Mutagen Formula. On top of that, if I’m playing Iron Man then I want as many Energy resource icons as possible, so Inspiring Presence is going to be near the top of my cut list.
Getting back to Strength in Numbers, I am going to assume you’re playing that card in order to dig for Avengers Assemble. I can see playing Inspiring Presence in that deck because most of the good ally targets I mentioned above are also Avengers, and if you fail to find your Avengers Assemble but find this card instead, you can still get some use out of one of your allies and heal a damage to boot.
So if I were going to use this card as optimally as possible in the current card pool, I would build around Vision and Avengers Assemble simultaneously. Vision’s ability wants Energy resources and he’s also an Avenger. Captain Marvel is good at paying for expensive allies, also wants Energy resources, and her signature ally is an Avenger (unlike many others). So I would build a Leadership Captain Marvel with the somewhat-overlapping sub-themes of Vision and Avengers Assemble. Inspiring Presence would be very useful in that deck without being the centerpiece.
My overall thoughts are that Inspiring Presence is not necessarily a marquee card, but can do some work in the kind of decks I have fun playing and has the potential to be very good depending on future card releases and the new deck archetypes they create.
I am a Leadership player, so you can imagine how I felt when I saw that we got the Leadership card from the Hulk Pack. As soon as I read it, I was in love. Playing allies is my jam, although right now I lean towards having all the good ones in my deck and most of them being Avengers. That being said, that is not the only way to play Leadership and Inspiring Presence leans into that other style of play Leadership decks can lean into. Of course that playstyle is, having 2-3 “main” allies that are really strong that you want to keep on the board. Vision being at the top of that list. Hulk is another great choice in a Spider-Woman deck. This is of course not factoring in all the ally boosting cards that makes this card even better. You add those in and you are off to the race. It is a style of play that I think I am going to lean into once more support cards like this one come out. As we get more and better allies, that will also make this style of play even more appealing. The downside is of course, not being able to “sack” them for an enemy’s attack. While this is a problem, with a good partner, you should be able to play and build around this.
Speaking of partners, this card shines in multiplayer. As I mention before, Hulk is another great allies that is worth keeping alive. His value is amazing for an ally and as long as he flips the right cards when he is attacking, you will want to keep attacking with him. Inspiring Presence is an action card, so it isn’t restricted to just you or to your turn. Although, you do have to be in hero form. If your partner has Hulk and Hulk survives, you can play this card and have hulk attack again. Turning Hulk’s potential 4/5 damage for 2, into a possible 8/11 for 3. THAT is insane! And that is just one partner’s ally you could play this card on.
I know what you are thinking, “Why would I play this card when I can play both First Aid and Get Ready in my deck?” Well, first thing I’ll say about that is, who doesn’t love a free attack or thrawt. Yes, you are paying one for the card itself, but you’ll end up in the same place before playing this card healthwise. Get Ready, you have to pay with a damage to yourself for the attack/thrawt. First Aid buys you two attacks/thrawts, but across two turns. You could play Get Ready and First Aid together, but that is two cards you are not only hoping to draw at the same time, but one extra card out of your hand that turn. I can not see why you would not play this as a Leadership player, at least as a 2 of. The only exception I can see is, decks being too tight and your deck being based around “weenies” (small allies) that you will be sacking.
Downsides to me are only a few. It is a mental resource, which means as of right now, it lacks working together with decks focused on one energy type. Not a problem if you are not playing Hulk in your Spider-Woman Leadership-Aggression deck. It’s second downside to me is the Avenger restriction but I mean really, is that an issue right now? It’s final downside is its cost. Don’t get me wrong, I think the cost is not only fair but great. Despite that however, it will always lose slots to Get Ready. 0 cost for a ready will always be amazing, despite in my opinion, Inspiring Presence being a better card.
I will definitely be trying this card out in my leadership decks, replacing Get Ready. I am really excited to get this card on the table and try to keep some more beefy allies on the board for as long as possible. Or just Vision, because Vision is well, one of the best long term allies in the game.
Thanks again for reading this article. You can find more Hulk pack spoilers down here:
Bad Publicity – Crushing Blow
Deck-Celsior Podcast – She-Hulk
Critical Encounters Podcast – Reveal 5/15
Marvel Champions Monthly Podcast/Article – Reveal 5/16
The Side Scheme Podcast/Article – Reveal 5/17
1-2-Punchboard – Reveal 5/18
Card Game Cooperative Podcast – Reveal 5/19
No Responsibility Podcast Article – Reveal 5/20
*Subject to change