Michael Green
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Taking inspiration from the ever-popular Marvel Legendary Hero Profiles, I decided to start a series of threads profiling Legendary's Masterminds and Villain groups. Big thanks to the complete card text thread whose efforts I'm borrowing from to post card text.

Feel free to discuss strategies/tactics/rules, which Heroes/Schemes you like or hate to use with them, or share stories of amazing wins and crushing defeats.

To keep track of other Mastermind/Villain profile posts, visit the meta thread.

If some of my Marvel lore is ever inaccurate feel free to correct me.

This week’s bad-guys from the Paint the Town Red small box expansion are:

Carnage & Maximum Carnage

Carnage is an alien symbiote, the offspring of its more famous counterpart, Venom. These symbiotes bond with another host creature and enhance their darker emotions. However, while the Venom symbiote bonded with Eddie Brock, a relatively ordinary guy who happened to hate Spider-Man, the Carnage symbiote bonded with a slack-jawed serial killer named Cletus Kasady. Cletus and Eddie Brock shared a prison cell and the Carnage symbiote was left behind when the Venom symbiote broke its host out of jail. Delighting in bloodshed and violence, Carnage became one of Spider-Man’s most murderous foes.

Carnage

Always Leads: Maximum Carnage
Master Strike: Feast on each player. Whenever this Master Strike feasts on a player's 0-cost Hero, that player gains a Wound.
Attack: 9
VP: 6

Drooling Jaws
Fight: Each player reveals the top card of their deck. Then Carnage feasts on the player of your choice.

Endless Hunger
Feast
If Carnage feasts on a 0-cost Hero this way, repeat this process.

Feed Me
Feast
You get + Recruit equal to the Cost of the card Carnage feasts on.

Om Nom Nom
Feast
If Carnage feasts on a 0-cost Hero this way, each other player KOs a Bystander from their Victory Pile.

General Carnage
Carnage is one of my favourite Masterminds as I think he occupies that sweet spot between easy and tough. Although he’s quite beatable, the way he eats through your Heroes can still leave you with the feeling of having triumphed over a tough match.

He revolves primarily around the keyword Feast which KOs the top card of your deck. This can work both ways for you, either thinning your deck or costing you good cards. For this reason it can be worth picking up more Recruit Heroes than you might otherwise get, as they can serve either as fodder or to replace good cards when you lose them. Sidekicks are also extra-useful here as you won’t cry too hard if one of them gets feasted on, and Redwing can help you put a Starter card on top of your deck.

His Tactics all revolve around a Feast effect, so it’s worth pausing for thought before you hit him as you’ll most likely lose the top card of your deck. So if you want to recruit a good Wall-Crawl card, do it after you hit him. Or if there’s only a few cards left in your deck and you know one of them is that sweet rare you picked up earlier, maybe wait and don’t hit him this turn, it may not be worth the risk. If you can get to the point where your entire deck is in your hand or in play, you can hit him without restraint as there are no cards for him to Feast on.

My favourite tactic is Endless Hunger which holds out the promise of KOing lots of your starter cards (though it never actually does so, ever), but I also love Om Nom Nom, just for having a great name.

His Master Strike on the other hand gives you a Wound if it Feasts on a 0-cost Hero, so it only helps thin your deck if you spend a turn healing at some point.

Worthy Opponents
Heroes who can control the top of your deck are particularly effective against Carnage (and Maximum Carnage). For example cards that let you put a card on top of your deck (eg Gambit, Spider-Woman, Iron Man Noir, Longshot) can be used to put a starter card or Wound there ready for you to hit something with Feast. Others who can manipulate the top of the deck, like Falcon, Polaris, Daredevil (Avengers) or Noir Heroes can be used in a similar way. Cheap Wall-Crawl cards that you don’t need can be an effective way of ensuring you don’t lose a better card. For example, I love to Wall-Crawl Black Cat’s Pickpocket to the top of my deck before hitting Carnage to make sure I don’t lose a good card (sorry Felicia!). Finally, even if you’re not building a Spidey deck one or two Spider-Man cards could be useful to get a peek at the top of your deck.

If you have Villains, Spider-Man famously had to team-up with his foe Venom to stop Carnage, so pitching the two of them against him, maybe with some other Spider-Friends as support could be fun.

Evil scheming
Difficulty-wise the toughest challenges with him will be schemes where you lose based on non-grey KOs. Schemes based on a limited number of Wounds could prove challenging too.

Much as I like Carnage though, I do think there’s a scarcity of schemes that really fit thematically for him. He ain’t the smartest cookie in the jar, so despite his murderous intent it’s hard to see him pulling off any sort of grand scheme. He’s more kill now, think later. From his own set (PtTR), Invade the Daily Bugle News HQ seems like the best fit to me, though the others kind of work too.

There aren’t many schemes though where the Mastermind just wants to go out and kill some people (rather than destroy/rule the world etc). Here’s the few I’ve come up with that kind of seem along those lines:
Nitro the Supervillain Threatens Crowds (CW)
Crush Them With My Bare Hands (SWv1)
Deadlands Hordes Charge the Wall (SWv2)
Silence the Witnesses (Noir)
Ferry Disaster (SM:HC)

I can see him stealing dangerous technology and ‘playing’ with it, so eg Massive Earthquake Generator (DC) seems like a decent fit, but that is a particularly tough challenge with all his KOing. Others along those lines might include:
Steal the Weaponised Plutonium (DC)
Intergalactic Kree Nega-Bomb (GotG)
Explosion at the Washington Monument (SM:HC)
Scavenge Alien Weaponry (SM:HC)

Smash Two Dimensions Together (SWv1) or Fragmented Realities (SWv1) kind of remind me of Spider-Verse-y shenanigans. I’ve also had him try to Forge the Infinity Gauntlet (GotG) before, which is a scary thought!

I really like him for Dark Alliance (SWv1), Secret Wars (SWv2) or in the Villain deck for Master of Tyrants (SWv1), as being used for murderous muscle by someone cleverer seems to fit him quite well.

Here’s a few other suggestions that could work for him:
Detonate the Helicarrier (DC)
Build an Army of Annihilation (SWv1; maybe use Spider-Infected?)
Reveal Heroes’ Secret Identities (CW; so he can kill them and their families, eg see his appearance in the Nova comics)
Televised Deathtraps of Mojoworld (X-Men)
Clash of the Monsters Unleashed (Champs)
Horror of Horrors (X-Men; good luck!)

Maximum Carnage
While interred at the Ravencroft Institute for criminally-insane super-villains, Carnage manages to break out and recruits some other Super-Villains to join him as his ‘family’ for a rampage in New York City...

Maximum Carnage

Carrion (2 copies)
Feast
Whenever Carrion feasts on a Hero that costs 1 or more, put Carrion back in the city space where he was.
Attack: 4
VP: 3

Demogoblin (2 copies)
Ambush: Demogoblin captures a Bystander.
Feast
Attack: 5
VP: 3

Doppelganger (2 copies)
Doppelganger's Attack is equal to the Cost of the Hero in the HQ space under him.
Feast
Attack: *
VP: 3

Shriek (2 copies)
Feast
When Shriek feasts on a 0-cost Hero, each other player gains a Wound.
Escape: Each player gains a Wound.
Attack: 6
VP: 4

The whole group utilises the Feast mechanic, so much of what’s said above about Carnage applies to them too.

Shriek was the ‘mother’ of Carnage’s ‘Family’ with the others considered their ‘sons’. Just as insane and violent as Carnage, Shriek has powers to manipulate sound and emotions, which she used to get New Yorkers to turn violently on each other. Shriek gives out Wounds if she feasts on a 0-cost Hero, to you in solo, or to the other players normally. This means you might not want to manoeuvre a starter card to the top of your deck to fight her, it may be better to try and sacrifice a cheap card you don’t need, or best-case scenario get a Wound on top and have her remove it for you (a Wound does not count as a Hero so you won’t gain another to replace it).

Demogoblin is a limbo-demon-possessed Hobgoblin who believes himself to be on a righteous mission to kill sinners, but his definition of sinner includes pretty much everyone except children. He’s pretty vanilla and not too tough but brings a Bystander into play at least.

The Doppelgänger was a creature from another dimension that was transformed into a monstrous version of Spider-Man. His Attack varies with the cost of the Hero in the HQ space below him, so recruiting an expensive Hero below him and hoping for a cheaper replacement is one tactic you can use against him. Alternatively, you can leave Villains in the city to push him into a space with a cheap Hero below it. He’s particularly vulnerable to Spider-Heroes and others with cheap cards, like Elektra. If you can somehow get him into a position with no HQ spaces below him, eg getting him into the HQ in the scheme Invade the Daily Bugle News HQ then he has 0 Attack and can be fought for free. You still have to do the Feast effect though.

Carrion is the result of a genetic virus created by the Jackal, that left him as a living corpse. He resurrects if he feasts on a Hero that costs 1 or more, which is doubly annoying as you both lose the Hero and don’t get the Villain. It’s worth trying to take him out early while your deck is still mostly starter cards, and thankfully his Attack is low enough to make that feasible. Otherwise, if he’s still around or doesn’t show up til later he can be really difficult to put down, requiring either good luck or one of those Heroes who can position a starter card/Wound on top of your deck.

But enough from me...
What are your thoughts on them?
Which Heroes do you like to use?
How many times has Carnage eaten your rares?

Poll
Next week will feature something from the Secret Wars Vokume 1 expansion
Which Villains should we cover?
Nimrod & the Sentinel Territories
Wasteland Hulk & Wasteland
Zombie Green Goblin & the Deadlands
Madelyn Pryor & Limbo
SWv1 unaffiliated Villains & Henchmen
      39 answers
Poll created by dontfeedthegreen

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Tomer Mlynarsky
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Add to the list of top deck manipulators - Anyone with Phasing.

New Recruits help a lot agaisnt Carnage. Not only is his attack low enough that you can probably take him out with just new recruits, but you can also just fill up your deck with new recruits and easily give them up for his feast.

Sidekicks can do the same, but are harder to mass up like New Recruits. Someone like Black Panther or Namor could be useful.

Spiders are also very good against Carnage. Not only do they let you pick at the top of the deck, they also rely more on them being a large and powerful as a group - and care less about individual pieces.
So if you lose just one of them, it's not that big of a deal.


Shang chi is also a solid choice. Because you always know his rare is at the top of your deck. So you never really risk getting him.


Heroes that give you cheap draw fodder you don't mind losing (Black Panther, Storm, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Jubilee etc) are also good choices.

Of course we also have to mention the huge abomination of this game - Dodge Loops. Dodge loops make Caranage a piece of cake. Madame Hydras recycle your deck well enough and even without their infinite loops shenanigans, they still let overflood your deck with filler madame hydras that you can easily ditch for Feast without having any real concerns.


Phoenix, Phoenix Cyclops and Soulsword Colossus can all get the card that Carnage and his gang feast on easily.
This also works in PvP - you can use it to grab cards from other people's decks.

The Guardians of the Galaxy gang are actually very good against Carnage as well. Artifacts are a solid choice, as they never go into your deck, you don't risk losing them to carnage.

Also, you can gather up shards until the point where you drew all of your deck or are secure enough to strike at the right moment.






The worst people against Carnage are probably the Piercing Energy gang. Because losing even a single indidivual piece might ruin you entirely. Phoenix being the exception if you can at least grab the piece back.
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Jonathon M
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GrandMasterFox wrote:
Spiders are also very good against Carnage. Not only do they let you pick at the top of the deck, they also rely more on them being a large and powerful as a group - and care less about individual pieces.
So if you lose just one of them, it's not that big of a deal.


One of our scenarios this month at our local league is Carnage versus a whole mess of Spiders (Agent Venom, Spider-Gwen, Symbiote Spider-Man, Silk, and Ultimate Spider-Man). I'm a little concerned about this one, because I've never played against Carnage. This post is great, though, and is giving me a few ideas on how to deal come game time.
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Michael Green
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OddballNarwhal wrote:
GrandMasterFox wrote:
Spiders are also very good against Carnage. Not only do they let you pick at the top of the deck, they also rely more on them being a large and powerful as a group - and care less about individual pieces.
So if you lose just one of them, it's not that big of a deal.


One of our scenarios this month at our local league is Carnage versus a whole mess of Spiders (Agent Venom, Spider-Gwen, Symbiote Spider-Man, Silk, and Ultimate Spider-Man). I'm a little concerned about this one, because I've never played against Carnage. This post is great, though, and is giving me a few ideas on how to deal come game time.


In that set-up Agent Venom’s cards that don’t cost 2 and have Wall-Crawl, eg Government Payroll, might be good choices for Feast fodder. They won’t fit well in a 2-cost deck which most of the other Heroes are based on, but will prevent you from losing other cards you’ve recruited. Also, with that set-up, I wouldn’t be too afraid, those Heroes work so well together that there’ll be some serious butt-kicking going on.
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Falco Timmerman
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dontfeedthegreen wrote:

Much as I like Carnage though, I do think there’s a scarcity of schemes that really fit thematically for him. He ain’t the smartest cookie in the jar, so despite his murderous intent it’s hard to see him pulling off any sort of grand scheme. He’s more kill now, think later. From his own set, Invade the Daily Bugle News HQ seems like the best fit to me, though the others kind of work too.


Because I always use a randomizer for my game setups my first game against Carnage was him with the Scheme "Master the Mysteries of Kung-Fu", which made me giggle for the entire game.

I like the general design around Carnage and his villain group; Feast makes for an interesting mechanic that makes you think thrice before attacking these characters, especially Carrion can drive me up the wall. However, I really do wish he'd be a bit tougher, I never really get the feeling that Carnage is a real challenge.
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Justin H

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Carnage is a Mastermind I'd rather face off against multiplayer than Solo. Solo, all the feast effects are going for you. At first it doesn't seem to bad, but as you start losing 0 cost Heroes it becomes very disruptive. As mentioned by others, Heroes that manipulate your deck and Heroes with Wall-Crawl can help you decide what gets feasted on with the Tactics, but the Master Strike remains pretty random. If you're playing with Maximum Carnage as well this Feast will drive you bonkers. Shriek will likely add additional wounds to your deck at the beginning of the game, and late game you'll pretty much want to ignore Carrion. Normally I love to see a Henchman group that KOs Heroes, but with these guys that can actually be to your detriment.

In Multiplayer I think they become easier. The Feast effects are spread out from the Villain group, and not everything you're fighting will do it as you add extra Villain groups. It's also a lot of fun when the Master Strike hits to see every player reveal the top card of their deck to see who is losing that high cost Hero they love so much.

Overall Carnage and Maximum Carnage is a fun Mastermind and Villain group. As Michael noted, this grouping hit a pretty sweet spot of Challenging and Fun. The theme of Feast is really cool as well. Pain the Town Red, IMO, has 2 of the best Masterminds around.

And to answer your last question, I've definitely lost of Rare cards to Feast which stings. But not as bad as the time I defeated that Doombot to only end up having to choose between KOing on of 2 Rares in my deck.

On the difficulty charts I'd put Carnage at 6/10.
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I hate playing against Carnage because Feast is hyper-frustrating. There are only so many times I can guarantee losing a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent or Trooper, and the rest of the time it feels more like a brutal blow than if Galactus destroyed the Bridge. I take it personally.

I'm not saying Carnage is overly difficult, or even unthematic. I just don't find him fun because his Set Keyword affiliation is such a punch to the gut.
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Ben R
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I find Carnage/Maximum Carnage's difficulty varies greatly on the the scheme. If the scheme doesn't care about KO'd heroes Carnage and friends will definitely be a bit of a headache to deal with - but usually won't be THE reason you lose.

But if the scheme cares about the number of KO'd heroes then they become a real threat
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Justin H

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SilverFirePrime wrote:
But if the scheme cares about the number of KO'd heroes then they become a real threat


Great point.
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Ha, the last time we fought Carnage in a two player game we beat him but I contributed absolutely nothing to the victory. All my good cards got KO'd and I could barely recruit a Sidekick. It was so frustrating. But my partner was just the opposite. He was able to KO all of his crap cards and had the perfect deck, over time, small and powerful. I think he eventually only had like a total of ten cards left and got to use them all every turn. I had like ten points to his thirty at the end, he destroyed me.
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Michael Green
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Some stats from my 19 (out of 694) games against Carnage:

Win rate:
73.7% vs 47.3% overall.

Mean VP:
50.8 vs 45.2 overall.

Turn Count:
15.4 vs 15.9 overall.

So, statistically he's on the easy side.

Still hurts when he eats that rare though.
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Michael Green
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Also:

Non-Grey Hero KOs:
6.4 vs 3.8 overall

Starter KOs:
8.4 vs 5.8 overall
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Brad Medaris
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Carnage is one of my favorite masterminds to play against. Though he doesn't provide the toughest challenge, he can get nasty. His Maximum Carnage crew also compliments him very well. I think Carnage ranks so high in my mind because the cards seem to bring out what I would expect finding Carnage: a violent, bloody battle, but one where you can outsmart your opponent with a little planning. I think the Paint the Town Red box is worth buying just for the masterminds alone.

As always, thanks for doing the work on this. I enjoy reading about the masterminds and villains that the heroes, so kudos for heading this project!
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Fromper Fromper
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I'm surprised nobody mentioned Mr. Fantastic's Ultimate Nullifier rare card yet. Feast is a fight effect (other than the master strike version), so he just prevents it when you fight Carnage or his posse with him in hand.

Agree with some of the other posters here - Carnage really isn't that tough a mastermind, but he feels tougher than he really is, because of all the feasting and the risk of losing a good card that way.
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Tomer Mlynarsky
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Fromper wrote:
(other than the master strike version)

And Speedball takes care of that
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Michael Green
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I've been trying to play a fun/thematic set-up alongside each of these profiles, and I thought it might be fun to post these set-ups so others can try them. I'm going to focus on mixing elements from multiple sets as that keeps things interesting for me, and set-ups using just the particular expansion +base set come up fairly often in the starter leagues anyway. I'm also going to wait a few days after first posting the profile, before adding the challenge match, as often other people's comments can give me good ideas for what to include.

For Carnage, I thought Spidey was too obvious and went for street-level Heroes trying to stop an uprising of vicious monsters:

M: Carnage
S: Deadlands Hordes Charge the Wall
V: Maximum Carnage, Subterranea, Spider-Infected
H: Daredevil Noir, Luke Cage Noir, Wiccan

I won this one, the three Heroes work great together, though the Subterranea's Burrow ability kept things interesting.

You can compare scores in the challenge league set up on the legendary leagues website. Though feel free to comment below too.

Have fun.
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Dale Stephenson
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I hate Feast, and Feast hates me.
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Arianne H
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Aw. Now I am going to have to go out and buy lots of expansions because this looks like a ton of fun
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Fernando Santos
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ArianneH wrote:
Aw. Now I am going to have to go out and buy lots of expansions because this looks like a ton of fun


That was how they got me! The campaigns, scenarios, leagues!
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Michael Green
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ArianneH wrote:
Aw. Now I am going to have to go out and buy lots of expansions because this looks like a ton of fun


You're Welcome Upper Deck.
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Fromper Fromper
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ArianneH wrote:
Aw. Now I am going to have to go out and buy lots of expansions because this looks like a ton of fun

I really like the masterminds, villains, and schemes in Paint the Town Red. The heroes are ok, but nothing special. Definitely a fun box, overall.
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Mark K.
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Carnage is a cool and thematic mastermind and even though I tend to get sweaty hands each and every time I have to reveal the top card of my deck for Carnage to feast on I very much enjoy playing against him. He is not too hard to hit and the feast mechanic often means that I can do without KO powers - if you hit Carnage or his villain group a few times I'll usually end up with a pretty lean deck.

For that reason, Carnage is also one of my top choices as mastermind for higher player count games. Paired with a henchmen group that allowes for KOing every player should have a decent chance to thin their deck a bit.

Fromper wrote:
I really like the masterminds, villains, and schemes in Paint the Town Red. The heroes are ok, but nothing special. Definitely a fun box, overall.


Agreed! Carnage and Mysterio are both great mastermind designs and make the Paint the Town Red expansion a must buy for everyone who enjoys interesting mastermind mechanics while not being too challenging for players.
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Arianne H
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der_mandarin wrote:
Carnage and Mysterio are both great mastermind designs and make the Paint the Town Red expansion a must buy for everyone who enjoys interesting mastermind mechanics while not being too challenging for players.


PTTR wasn't even on my radar as an expansion to get because I'm not such a spiderman fan, but based on these comments I will definitely add it to my wish list.
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