You’ve been grinding away, gaining Collection Levels, gathering all the cards you need along the way. You reach Level 462 at long last, and your first card is… Death! So what now? You might think you need other powerful Pool 3 cards like Killmonger to build a Death deck, but you can make a competitive list with Death as your win condition with all other cards from Pools 1 and 2!
Now, before we get started, I’d like to make an important distinction: You absolutely must have Wave for this deck. She is equally as important as Death. Unfortunately, she was only obtainable as an Atlantis Season Pass reward, and will not be available otherwise until August. But don’t worry, I’ll be making more guides soon for decks without her! Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s break it down:
Here’s our list. The basic idea behind the popular Death Wave archetype is that if you destroy just two cards (reducing the cost of Death by 2) then after playing Wave you can play a big card like Iron Man or America Chavez alongside Death for a huge game-ender. The cards in the deck can fit into four general categories: Destroy Targets, Destroyers, Combo Pieces and Finishers.
Table of Contents
Nova: Nova typically gets very little value in this deck, since you are trying to destroy cards early as opposed to swarming the board like pre-nerf Nova decks loved so dearly. However, it is one of the very few 1 and 2 cost cards that actually have any benefit at all from being destroyed, so he makes it in.
Bucky Barnes: By far the best Destroy target in the deck. Summoning a 6 or more power Winter Soldier while doing your necessary destruction is a huge help, making that lane a strong contender for Iron Man later in the game.
Okoye: Despite not having any benefit on being destroyed, Okoye fits into the category of cards that have a great benefit On Reveal, then are practically useless afterwards. Playing Okoye turn 1 then eating her with Carnage later is plenty of value. Yondu or even Angel if necessary are often destroyed as well to help discount Death.
Carnage: By far the better of the two Destroyers in the deck. Being able to play Yondu on 1 then Carnage on 2 and already have your Death discounts completed is incredible. Additionally, destroying Okoye lets you get a slight uptick in stats you would otherwise be missing.
Deathlok: In a typical Pool 3 Deathwave build you have access to Killmonger, eliminating the need for such a disappointing Destroy card. 3 mana is a high price to pay for only 5 power, and you don’t even get buffed up like Carnage. That being said, he gets the job done and still squeezes value out of Nova and Bucky Barnes just fine.
Yondu: It’s easy to forget that Yondu’s effect actually discounts death! Yondu on turn 1 with Carnage on turn 2 is all you need to complete your discounts, making him an incredibly strong card for this deck.
Death: The queen herself, Death is the build-around that makes the deck tick. When combined with Wave, this card can put out devastating turn 6 swings to turn any game on its head. Even on her own, she puts out more stats than a turn 6 America Chavez, which can win games on its own.
Wave: If Death is the queen of this deck, Wave is the princess. The ability to make Death cost 2, 1 or even 0 is irreplaceable. This two-card combo is what the entire deck is built around. However, even playing Wave on turn 3 to play Iron Man on turn 4 can have value, or playing Wave on turn 5 just to deny your opponent a big turn 6 combo.
America Chavez: Just Death by herself isn’t a combo, you need another big card to play with her. And what better pairing than the consistency-boosting 10-power closer that always shows up on turn 6? Turn 5 Wave into turn 6 America Chavez + Death is the most common way you will win your games.
Iron Man: Sometimes, the 10 power from America Chavez just won’t cut it. Or sometimes you need something to play on turn 5. Iron Man will take care of both of these issues. Suddenly, those mediocre 5-6 power cards that have been gathering on your board become an extremely dangerous lane, and with Death coming next, good luck!
Jubilee: While more of a midgame card than a finisher, Jubilee takes advantage of the weak 4-slot in the deck by trying to get America Chavez into play, which is great even on its own, but better with a turn 5 Iron Man. Also, if she pulls Deathlok or Carnage, in rare cases, it can still be helpful by pushing you closer to discounting Death as needed.
On turn 4, you can Jubilee if you draw her, or continue playing to locations and developing your discounts. Turn 5, if you have the combo ready, you can play Wave. But if not, you’ve got Iron Man locked and loaded to crush one lane so America Chavez can come in on 6. You can even Jubilee turn 5 if needed to maximize your odds of drawing Death even without the Wave combo.
Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind: If you don’t open Angel, you want to destroy a card as soon as possible to get him out of your deck. Not only does it summon a free body, it also thins your deck to increase your chances of drawing Wave and Death. It’s a card that I despise running in most decks, as it is incredibly inconsistent, but unfortunately feels like a necessity in this particular list for the stats and synergy.
There are a few potential cards that can be slotted into this deck, to gear it towards different gameplans. The most obvious being Nakia. I prefer to keep her out of this list since turn 3 will almost always be devoted to destruction in the form of either 1-drop plus Carnage or just Deathlok.
Another card that jumps to mind is Elektra, as another 1-drop that destroys a card. The reason I have elected not to include Elektra in the deck is she can’t be reliably played on turn 1. As a result, at the earliest you can play her turn 2 and if your opponent doesn’t play a 1-drop on turn 1 then she becomes extremely clunky. Proactive 1-drops like Yondu and Okoye are your best bet.
You can slot more finishers into this deck so it curves out even heavier, like Hulk, but that just comes down to personal preference.
Due to the nature of Wave bringing swarm decks down to a single card on turn 6, I want to mainly touch on some of the more popular slow decks in the meta:
- Against Destroyer (example deck), you want to keep in mind that your Death and America Chavez, which are typically at least as big as anything you will come up against, may not be enough, with Destroyer bringing a hefty 16 base power. Plan your final plays accordingly.
- Against Lockdown (example deck), make sure you’re spreading out your cheap cards just enough to stop Professor X from taking a free lane.
- Last but not least, against Discard Combo (example deck), you need to be extremely careful which lanes you are playing in. Just because they can’t play their Swarms on turn 6 doesn’t mean they can’t buff Collector to the moon.
As with every deck that aims to be competitive on a budget, it’s important to keep in mind that you can always make upgrades. Killmonger for example is absolutely monstrous in this deck. Other big Pool 3 finishers like Magneto are exceptionally strong as well. Every time you pull a new card, assess your Collection. Maybe you can make one of your existing decks slightly better, or maybe you can create a brand new deck like this one!
I’ll be showcasing more decks soon using a single Pool 3 build-around each, so stay tuned if you’re new to Pool 3 or even just looking for new decks to try out. If you enjoyed this article, have any questions on why I made certain decisions, or other feedback, feel free to comment below, join our Discord server, or check out my Twitter @StellaTetris. Congratulations on making it to Pool 3, and good luck snapping your opponents away with Deathwave!
Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, an exclusive badge, and more!