The fifth and final Marvel set for Unmatched showcases three smart and strong superheroes: Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and She-Hulk. There is one battleground on the board, the Sanctum Sanctorium, and as always there is some beautiful artwork on the cards. Brains and Brawn also features six Battlefield Item tokens (three scheme items and three combat items), which can be randomly placed in the designated spaces at the start of a game. Let’s take a look at how each of the three characters play:
In Brains and Brawn , Spider-Man has a selection of great thematic cards that have him thwipping all around the board. His Spidey-Sense ability helps keep him safe by learning his opponent’s printed attack value (not including modifiers) before choosing to play a defence card. If you know all the decks really well, this will help you to predict the card your opponent is playing and react accordingly. And even if it’s your first time playing, the ability is still useful in preventing you from wasting a high defence card against a low attack.
A number of Spider-Man’s cards enable him to move away from danger, which suits the character very well. ‘Thwip!’, ‘Wall Crawler’, and ‘Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man’ allow him to be placed in any space in his zone. His ‘Swinging Kick’ attack card moves the opposing fighter a number of spaces up to the amount of damage dealt. His ‘Web Shooters’ defence card is very useful, as it means Spider-Man can’t take more than 2 damage (Tip: If you’re playing against She-Hulk, I recommend using this whenever your opponent tells you the value of their card is 3 - as she has a doozy of a card that lets her spend an additional action to make the card deal a whopping 9 damage instead!).
Brains and Brawn shows that She-Hulk is all about strength (shock, horror!). She has some good counters for playing against Spider-Man, with cards that halt an opponent’s movement and then punish them for being close by. Her special ability, ‘Just Throw Something’ also does this, allowing her to discard a card from hand at the start of her turn to deal damage equal to that card’s boost value to a fighter in the same zone. ‘Green Energy’ is a versatile card that deals 1 damage to each fighter adjacent to She-Hulk after combat. ‘Nerve Cluster Strike’ ensures adjacent opponents can’t leave their space for a turn. Her scheme card ‘Leap Toward’ let’s her charge at the enemy - moving up to 4 spaces - and if she ends up next to them she gains an extra action.
In Brains and Brawn, Doctor Strange is the only hero of this set that has a sidekick. And of course it is the Sorcerer Supreme himself: Wong! His deck focuses on card draw and requires more careful planning than the other characters’. If you’re willing to take a risk, it could pay off in a big way, allowing lots of damage to be dealt without losing many cards from the deck. His ‘Dark Pact’ special rule allows him to spend life in order to retain combat cards. After each combat is resolved, if a card was played, he can take 1 damage and return that card to the bottom of the deck, before drawing another card. His cards have some great names, such as ‘Bolts of Balthakk’ and ‘The Winds of Watoomb’. His trusty ‘Cloak of Levitation’ lets him ignore the value of an opponent’s card if he’s adjacent to them (I like to imagine his cloak has wrapped around them so they’re temporarily unable to attack or defend). The defence card ‘The Mists of Munnopor’ makes an opponent discard their card and then reveal cards from their deck until an attack or versatile card is drawn. They play that card instead and randomly put the rest of the ones they revealed on the bottom of their deck. ‘Seven Suns of Cinnibus’ is a risky card that lets Doctor Strange stick or twist to raise its value - it can be Blind Boosted up to two times but if it’s value goes above 7 it is ignored.
I really enjoy playing with the Unmatched: Brains and Brawn set. It seems as though the game developers have gone to great lengths to ensure the decks feel true to the characters. Spider-Man and She-Hulk are fantastic big-hitters to play as, and Doctor Strange is perfect for tactical risk-takers.