Brains over Brawn

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Phoenix Unleashed! 2 1 0 1.0

adsarf · 414

Deck concept

One of my current projects is to rehabilitate Brains Over Brawn. I don't think it is a strong card for every hero, but for a group of heroes with high THW it can have a real role. The previous deck I published in this series ( sank like a stone, but that's not unusual for my decks because I'm hardly a prominent deck builder, so I'm going to keep trying.

Phoenix is interesting. She is an incredibly strong thwarter when restrained, and a pretty powerful hitter when unleashed but being unleashed has some pretty major downsides so the 'classic' way to play is to set up while restrained and then unleash just in time to win the game. That can be a bit limited against high minion scenarios.

Brains Over Brawn gives Phoenix a way to deal plenty of damage and win the game whilst restrained.

Card choices

To make Brains Over Brawn work, we need to maximise THW power, and that means Heroic Intuition and Surveillance Specialist. Maximising basic THW means it makes sense to lean in to that aspect of the game specifically, and for an X-Man character Utopia seems a really good fit. Two basic thwarts for five each are pretty powerful stuff in solo.

With powerful basic thwarting, then One Way or Another is a classic card to enable a faster build-up. Dazzler and Professor X give access to Alter-Ego, whilst the rest of the allies are mostly there to do damage or (in the case of Forge) accelerate set-up because Phoenix herself can do all the thwarting we are likely to need.

Soul Sisters is just an incredible card. Phoenix should never leave home without it. I preferred X-Mansion to Crew Quarters because you can use it to keep Storm in play until the next time Soul Sisters comes round. Just such a great card.

Playing the deck

The goal with this deck is to accelerate set-up with One Way or Another and settle into a steady rhythm swapping from Alter Ego to Hero side. Alter Ego gives you extra card draw, as well as power counters, Cerebro, and Moira MacTaggert. You should quite quickly get to the stage where Brains Over Brawn is doing 5 damage for you, enough to deal with most minions or make a dent in the villain. Despite her low hit points, it is often safe to take a villain hit on Phoenix herself. She will be going back into Alter Ego for a chance to heal pretty much straight away.

Against Steady villains there's less benefit from the confuse effects, but Phoenix should be able to leave the main scheme clear most turns, so Under Surveillance will give headroom against most main schemes and the basic strategy is the same.

How to lose with this deck

I think this is actually a pretty strong deck, and I don't have much experience losing with it.

Scenarios that start with a minion in play obviously don't help you, because your options for damage output on turn one aren't the strongest. Multiplayer One Way or Another can be a bit of a liability (although the deck worked well tested at 2-player).


This is the strongest Brains Over Brawn deck I've made yet, and also the best Phoenix deck I've made yet (mind you the earlier ones weren't worth publishing, so maybe that doesn't say much). I think this deck really starts to make the case for this as a niche card, but a good card in that niche.