Master of Puppets

Card draw simulator

Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Dúo de Pelirrojas Peligrosas 2 0 0 1.0
Jean Grey 0 0 0 1.0
La Flautista de Phoenixlín [LMDT] 8 6 0 1.0
Master of Puppets test edit 0 0 0 3.0
Master of Puppets test edit 0 0 0 4.0
Master of Puppets 2.1.1.a 0 0 0 1.0

VillainTheory · 24398

Are you the puppet, or the puppeteer? Halloween approaches — and this deck is all trick and no treat! Pull the strings and make your enemies tear each other apart!

At the time of posting, this deck has defeated:

  • Expert Zola
  • Expert Tower Defense
  • Expert Mutagen Formula

This deck specializes in minion-heavy scenarios, and works against most villains with an average amount of minions when in multiplayer. It likes to have multiple targets, and can really shine when there are multiple villains as well. With a balance of damage and thwarting, it is suitable at any player count.

♪ ♫ Master of puppets, I'm pulling your strings! ♫ ♪


If you like this deck, feel free to give it a ❤ ! Thank you!

Basic Strategy

  • Step 1: Put Pinned Down on a minion, preferably one with 1-2 ATK.
  • Step 2: Leave the minion doing no damage until you draw Psychic Misdirection
  • Step 3: Use Psychic Misdirection on the villain's attack, choosing the minion
  • Step 4: Watch the villain defeat its own minion
  • Step 5: Cue evil laughter!


You can also use Pinned Down to keep a minion around until you find Mind Control - this is especially good value on some of the high hp minions, or minions with Tough status cards or When Defeated effects.

Minions you've Pinned Down still attack, even with their ATK reduced to 0. If you have retaliate from Phoenix Suit, they will take the retaliate damage. Let them break themselves against you!

You can also use Pinned Down to gather up a few minions then cleave them down with Psychic Blast for amazing efficiency.

Drew a minion as your encounter card and still have Psychic Misdirection in your hand? Use Bait and Switch to have the villain attack, then Psychic Misdirection to have them defeat the minion. Make them dance to your tune!

And don't forget, every good puppeteer needs an assistant. Behold, Jocasta, who so kindly holds your Psychic Misdirection for the perfect moment...

Mulligan priorities are: Black Widow, Team-Building Exercise, The X-Jet, and Utopia.

Pulling the Strings

  • Pinned Down - This card is one of the two key pieces of the deck, and is used to hold minions for all manner of nefarious puppetry. If a minion is on the board with 1-2 ATK and you have this in hand? Pin it down and save it later. It's your puppet now!
  • Psychic Misdirection - The other key piece of the deck. This card not only completely nullifies any damage from an attack, but can outright defeat minions in one go. And, if you get a particularly juicy minion (Lauffey, for example), you can even use this card to make a minion hit the villain, a villain hit another villain in multi-villain scenarios, or have a minion hit another minion! Better yet, if the enemy has overkill, the damage goes through to the villain if a minion is defeated! Use this to make the villain your puppet.

  • Mind Control - If you could put more of these in your deck, this would be the final key piece! Use this on a minion to pull on its strings! Now it's really your puppet!

  • Bait and Switch - Not a great card on its own, and yet... it combos with Psychic Misdirection, letting you use it during player turns if a second target only appeared after the villain had already attacked. Bait and Switch + Psychic Misdirection = 4 threat removal and a defeated minion for 5 ER. It's a bit like an Uppercut and a For Justice in one! Just watch out for boost effects!

  • Jocasta - Your glamorous assistant. Having her to hold Psychic Misdirection smooths out the combos immensely and her thwarting and blocking is a nice bonus!

Things That Go Bump in the Night(crawler)

  • Nightcrawler - At a glance, our BAMFing ally here is a little low on value. He costs 4 effective resources (3-cost + the card itself) for 2 thwarting a blocked villain attack. However, when you incorporate Utopia, he's also a guaranteed ready on every - single - turn. And when you have 3 THW or 3 ATK, that matters! With your hero ability to generate a wild resource, his Interrupt is always on deck.

  • Utopia - Phoenix likes to be readied. This would be worth it even without Nightcrawler, but when you factor him in this deck loves it. It's extremely consistent.

  • Black Widow - What Phoenix doesn't like is Dark Phoenix. This ally helps us dodge both our obligation and Shadows of the Past, and when they're in the clear? She's safe to help smooth out any other problematic encounter cards. She also loves the wild resource from your hero ability.

  • The X-Jet - Quincarrier and Helicarrier had a baby~ We like resources. Especially wild ones. And so do Nightcrawler, Black Widow, and What Doesn't Kill Me. Just don't try to use this thing in alter-ego!

  • Team-Building Exercise - A ridiculous amount of Phoenix's cards have the Psionic trait. A lot in this deck also include the X-Men trait. And you can even use this to play allies or upgrades out of turn order. Your friend has a Patrol minion in front of them stopping them from thwarting? Take an action on their turn to Team-Building Exercise and Mind Control the Patrol minion. Let no minion escape your strings!

  • What Doesn't Kill Me - Did I mention that Phoenix likes readies? This little card lets you do anything you need while topping up your hp. It also loves the wild resources from your hero ability and The X-Jet!

  • The Night Nurse - Phoenix hates being stunned or confused. Especially while Unleashed or without Phoenix Suit. Her cards are expensive and her stats are big, so removing a status effect the hard way is very costly. Night Nurse helps top you up and keeps you ready to go!

  • All Other Allies - While there is some nuance to the allies, generally they exist to help with anything and everything you might need them for. Another block, a little more thwarting, a pinch of damage. Don't tell them, but they're your puppets too!

Telepathic Trickery or Telekinetic Treat

  • Phoenix Suit - In a vacuum, it's a little average at best. But in a deck where you keep minions out for multiple turns with Pinned Down? The retaliate really adds up. Remember that even 0-ATK minions still attack even though there's no damage! And, when not Unleashed, well- No one likes to be stunned/confused, but as mentioned, Phoenix really hates it! Steady is okay in that context.

  • Psychic Blast - Lined up a bunch of allies with Pinned Down? Then they're not puppets any more. They're bowling pins. Use this to knock down groups of minions with ease who you've softened up with your retaliate and/or allies. This bypasses guard and retaliate too since it's not an attack. Just try to have Black Widow out before you go Unleashed!

  • Telekinetic Shield - You can use this to take a few hits from minions you haven't Pinned Down, or ones you have with more than 2 ATK. Wear it down a little through tactical use, then use it's last couple of points to take a villain attack.

  • Rise from the Ashes - This is already one of the better "resurrection" cards in the game, but with Bait and Switch? You choose when it goes off and always benefit from the readying. When at low HP, use your big basic ATK/THW, pop Bait and Switch, then ready up back to full health! It's a 6 ER combo for 7 thwarting and a full heal, or 4 thwarting, 3 damage and a full heal.

  • Telepathic Trickery - In Restrained, it's a For Justice!. Which is to say, it's pretty decent. In Unleashed? It might as well be Swing In. Use it. Even steady villains will break eventually.

  • Telekinetic Attack - And finally, if a minion is unworthy (cough, Elite, cough) of becoming your puppet, you have this little beauty. It's playable in Restrained, and very good in Unleashed.

Good luck, have fun — go pull some strings, Puppet Master!


Oct 05, 2022 Durand · 48

Just a note, Bait and Switch only works on the villain, not minions; maybe you meant that the drawn minion would be a target for the villain?

Oct 05, 2022 Durand · 48

Really cool deck idea.

Oct 05, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

Yes, that is what is meant! You use use Bait and Switch, the villain attacks, and then you can use Psychic Misdirection to redirect that attack's damage to the minion! =)

Oct 05, 2022 Telcontar · 436

This sounds really fun and very thematic. Definitely my pick for first run through with Phoenix.

Oct 05, 2022 PhatRam32 · 1

Thinking about using this deck for the Mutant Genesis campaign solo. How do you think it would fare?

Oct 05, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

The first and last scenario might be a little tricky solo due to a lack of consistent minions, but on Standard I think it will work fine! Scenarios 2, 3 and 4 should be very smooth.

Oct 05, 2022 PhatRam32 · 1

Many thanks! Looking forward to getting this deck in action.

Oct 06, 2022 teamcanadahockey2002 · 7112

@VillainTheory This is brilliant. There's been a lot of good decks released this past week, but I wanted to compliment this one as having the most unique idea. Wow... Pinned Down into Psychic Misdirection is INSPIRED.

hat tip

Oct 06, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@teamcanadahockey2002 Thank you for the kind words! It's been very fun to play. :D

Oct 06, 2022 Brian-V · 43259

Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams! Great deck. :)

Oct 07, 2022 Pots · 7

Just ran this on expert mutagen and wow. Just wow, that was extremely fun and thematic!

Oct 07, 2022 journeyman2 · 21356

Excellent theme and write-up! Played a few games with this deck the other day and it delivers. I did end up swapping The Night Nurse for Unflappable in one of the games, both were excellent. Using Psychic Misdirection definitely made me feel like the Puppet Master vs Mansion Attack!

Oct 08, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@Brian-V @Pots @journeyman2 - Thank you all for the kind words!

Glad you've had fun. I've really enjoyed how different it feels to "classic Protection" in my own games with it, it's refreshing. And yes, Unflappable is a great option I toyed with! Solid choice either way.

Oct 17, 2022 AlwaysAngryJay · 881

Took this for a spin this weekend and had a Psychic Blast! Made Sabertooth rip into Pyro three times making him question if he did something wrong. Very fun list.

Oct 18, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@AlwaysAngryJay Sounds like some excellent puppetry! Poor Pyro haha!

Oct 20, 2022 ChronosOfAllindarri · 1

I'm a bit confused. Twice you give utopia credit for readying Phoenix or an ally in your write up, but it just increases your ally limit by 1. What am I missing? How does it ready anything?

Oct 20, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@ChronosOfAllindarri Hey =) Thanks for the question! So Utopia doesn't just increase your ally limit. Unfortunately, marvelcdb has quite a large number of spelling errors and missing information - Wonder Man is another example of this where a big part of the card text is just not listed.

Check out this link for the full card:

Oct 21, 2022 Sluggie · 4

Between Colossus, Nightcrawler, Polaris, ProfX, PsyMisdirection, you find you are actually hurt much to be able to use 'what doesn't kill me?' & do you have enough 'red mana' to pay for it?

I'm still not convinced B&S is worth using here even with PM...The villain is still getting a boost card for an activation vs you (yeah the damage goes to the other target, but YOU/table wear the boost effect). You could just run 'hard to Ignore' x3 in deck and get the thwart each defense/1turn which PM will happily trigger & you deck-thin.

Oct 24, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@Sluggie Thanks for your comment! The health has never been an issue regarding What Doesn't Kill Me, most villains have a way to hurt you outside of attacks! And since this deck doesn't go alter-ego much, WDKM is effectively the main source of healing.

Bait and Switch is Bait and Switch, it's thematic for the deck and most of the time you don't get a boost effect. 3x Hard to Ignore is a lot slower tempo and this deck isn't often defending with the hero and not taking damage - yes, the deck is built around Psychic Misdirection, but there are only three copies of it and it's not always usable. Bait and Switch also combos with Rise from the Ashes!

You could happily cut both Bait and Switches for some combination of another What Doesn't Kill Me or Unflappable, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Ironheart or Nick Fury if you're really looking to push the power level. =)

Nov 02, 2022 Danimal0808 · 428

Took this through the MG campaign on Standard with relative ease! Great build my favorite for her so far!

Nov 08, 2022 VillainTheory · 24398

@Danimal0808 Nice work! Really glad you enjoyed it!

Nov 15, 2022 nickseiler · 56

Really cool deck concept! Did you consider including Get Over Here into the build? It would be another way to cancel out a potentially disastrous Treachery card while also triggering a villain attack that could be redirected with Psychic Misdirection. Just a thought! Thanks for sharing the deck!

Nov 15, 2022 nickseiler · 56

^^ totally meant for that to be Get Behind Me, whoops! Got the link right but the name wrong.

Jan 04, 2023 VillainTheory · 24398

@nickseiler Thanks! And it's a good idea - I think the odds of having it in hand when Shadow of the Past comes up is too low to be practical, but it could be very useful - especially in multiplayer where you can cancel it or other Very Bad treacheries for other players.

Feb 04, 2023 Cainite62 · 1

Just play it in Scenary 3 of Mutant Genesis, two first one me hero parter was kill just in tiun before we can kill the boss. And in try two we killed him fast.

The deck works very well, just how you say. I only add two Meditaton cards to speed some card dowload.

Mar 17, 2023 BravoNull · 2

Mind Control is so much fun, hitting some of the Green Goblin modular minions is so good. Tombstone especially.

Mar 21, 2023 DMTip · 1

Bravo! About to build this deck and give it a whirl. Any changes you'd make after the Rogue/Gambit wave? Perhaps Karma or Armor allies?

Mar 22, 2023 VillainTheory · 24398

Thanks guys!

@DMTip I would 100% add Karma! Just watch out for the ally limit. As for Armor, it depends - the ally limit is our enemy, and she is quite slow tempo and only contributes to our defense which is already well-handled.

May 25, 2023 Scottydog · 1

I love this deck @VillainTheory ! Just beat Mutagen Formula and it was a great battle. I think Phoenix is much more fun on her unleashed side but it's great having Black Widow for a safety-net for those pesky encounter cards. Nightcrawler was MVP though with the amount of damage he deflected from Phoenix. Protection is my least played aspect but I will definitely be using this deck against as many minion-heavy encounters as possible !