Web 2.0 Shuri + Zabu Control

Web 2.0: Shuri + Zabu Control Guide – Savage Land Season

Our daily Deck Highlight aims to feature decks from our vast deck database (as we work to implement more filtering features, stats, and data) that our users have put extra effort into sharing, with detailed guides and videos.

Today we share the latest deck guide by Ranona, a modified version of the Shuri Pile deck that was used to reach Infinite with last season. It is a variation of SafetyBlade’s Shuri Zabu deck, using the popular Spider-Man and Absorbing Man combo over Wong and Rescue! Enjoy the full writeup by the author below.

Web 2.0: Shuri + Zabu Control
Created by Ranona
, updated 5 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)

I was finding All-In On Zabu decks weren’t working well for me, so I’m experimenting with Zabu in a modified version of the Shuri Pile deck I got to Infinite with last season. Very similar to a deck SafetyBlade’s posted, which uses  Wong and Rescue over Spider-Man and Absorbing Man – I’ll experiment with those once I pull them, but Spider-Man and Absorbing Man can do some nasty lockdowns together, especially on Turn 5.

The nice thing about this deck is it isn’t aiming to flood the board through Zabu, but your opponents will often play as though you are. Getting your Zabu hit by Enchantress or Rogue can be disastrous in other decks, but here, you’ve already played two 4-drops and gotten enough of a tempo boost. Sandman also is not nearly as catastrophic, as your endgames will often be playing just a single card. That said, the deck is at least partly built around playing Spider-Man and Absorbing Man on Turn 5 to lock your opponent out of two locations, we’d obviously prefer to protect out Zabu.

I’ve had Leader in this deck at times. I find him a dreadfully boring card to play with, but he is effective. Right now, I’m liking this deck without a 6-drop. Magneto would be the one I’d play, but I don’t have that card yet.

Currently playing with a more control-oriented build that adds in Cosmo and Daredevil, in place of Iceman and Scorpion. Which is a pity; the sheer number of free cubes you get from that one-two combo and your opponent retreating is really something. These probably aren’t the absolute optimal cards, but I do think they’re better suited to what I enjoy doing with the deck. Given how often this deck needs a big read on turn 5, either through maximizing Aero’s value or setting off Spider-Man and Absorbing Man, it’s a wonder I haven’t played him more.

Typical Gameplay:

Turn 1 — Pass (unless you get a location that gives you energy, obviously). I ran Iceman for a long-time, and I’d love to find a slot for him, but I’m liking the deck without him

Turn 2 — With three two-drops, you’ll probably have a play. You can set up Daredevil for later, play Armor in a location that’s advantageous (try and “protect” an enemy unit they want to kill, or where you know you’ll have Shang-Chi targets), or just Lizard for the tempo (play on Isle of Silence if you can!)

Turn 3 — Ideally, Zabu. But one reason I love this deck is that it runs fairly smoothly in the games where you don’t draw Zabu or can’t otherwise play him on time. Delaying your Zabu till 4 also has some advantages, in terms of hiding what your deck is doing. Tempo Cosmo is probably the worst option, but even that’s not terrible: the location with Cosmo is now a great place for Turn 4 Zabu!

Turn 4 — If you’ve got Zabu out, try and get as much value out of him as you can, especially if your opponent is running any Ongoing hate tech cards like Enchantress or Rogue. If you don’t have a good two 4-drops to play, it’s again not disastrous to the deck. This can also be a good turn for Zabu himself, although if your opponent Zabu’d last turn, keeping up with them can be tricky.

The ideal turn would probably be White Queen + Shuri (or vice versa, depending on if you want Shuri’s buff this turn or next). Either of those cards are very good plays if you don’t have Zabu down too–White Queen for intel on your opponent’s deck, and potentially to get a 6-drop to play, Shuri to buff Aero or Vision next turn. Other options include White Queen or Shuri and any 2-drop, or any of your 3-drops. If you don’t have Daredevil down yet, this is obviously the last chance to get use out of him.

Generally I prefer to save my Spider-Man for Turn 5, but there are definitely times to play him–sometimes locking down one lane for two turns in a row is better than locking down two lanes for the last, and there are some locations where keeping your opponent out on Turn 5 can be very valuable. 

Absorbing Man is usually a sub-optimal play on Turn 4–you usually want to repeat Spider-Man on 5 or Aero on 6. Shuri into Absorbing Man is not great, but sometimes it’s the best play tempo-wise. It’s rare that Maximus or White Queen’s On Reveals are worth repeating, but corner cases do occasionally crop up too.

Turn 5 — This is where the magic usually happens. You essentially have two main gameplans here, with a lot of decent alternate plays. Your main two options are one of the 5-drops, or setting up Spider-Man and Absorbing Man to lock down two lanes.

If your 5-drop is going to be doubled by Shuri’s effect, you want to snap before you reveal Shuri, as opponents will often retreat if you snap on Turn 5 after Shuri. Doubled Vision is very good, especially for locations you can’t normally get to, or are at least tricky. Also very useful for mind games–lots of opponents forget to consider that Vision can move, and also oftentimes, you don’t even need to. Doubled Aero is two more power, and if you can predict the opponent’s plays next turn (or just have Daredevil active), she can achieve some wonderful disruption.

If you’re going the Spider-Man and Absorbing Man route, you should snap before you reveal–lots of opponents just retreat on the sight of the Spider-Man effect, so make them pay the extra cube. This is especially true if you have Daredevil active, in which case they are definitely retreating when they see what you’ve done. Getting Shuri’s buff on Spider-Man isn’t a bad outcome, in which case he should obviously go to the location where that extra power might make the difference.

And if neither of those plans work (or your Daredevil reveals your opponent is playing around what you’re up to), the deck has a lot of different ways to play Turn 5. Lizard, Maximus, and White Queen are all good recipients of Shuri’s buff, and it should generally be pretty easy to play a good combination of cards here. 

If you haven’t played Zabu, or his effect got stripped, pretty much all the 4-drops can be good plays on their own here, with Absorbing Man obviously contingent on what On Reveal he’s copying. Spider-Man is great if there’s an obvious lane your opponent will be playing into Turn 6, and he’s especially devastating if your opponent is trying to Galactus you. And Galactus decks tend to be easy to see coming. This deck honestly eats Galactus for breakfast if it has the cards and priority: you can Cosmo the lane they’re Galactus-ing or Aero the Galactus into another lane they already have cards in. And of course, you might have Daredevil down.

Turn 6 — You have a lot of options for turn 6. One thing to always consider: is the card you got off White Queen worth playing here? And also, especially if you got their likely Turn 6 play: how do we play around this? It is remarkable how rarely opponents remember that you have their 6-drop in hand. Also remarkable: how often I’ll forget about that 6-drop of theirs in my hand. Not everything you get will be playable, but the intel on your opponent’s hand will still be worth it.

If you played Shuri last turn, any of your 5-drops can be big. If you have priority, be aware that you are massively telegraphing a huge unit; play them on a location with Armor or Cosmo (if Aero’s On Reveal isn’t need) to avoid the world’s most inevitable Shang-Chi. Shuri also works well this turn, especially if the Zabu discount is active. Though worth noting that this deck doesn’t really have as explosive of Turn 6s with three 4-drops like some other Zabu decks, so best not to expect that. The best you can pull off is Shuri into Absorbing Man into White Queen, and 22 power is nothing to sneeze at. But you have better options.

With no discounts available, the best Shuri can do Turn 6 is doubling Lizard, and even that isn’t abysmal, especially as, depending on the board state, you might be able to avoid Lizard’s downside.

Aero’s ability can be completely game-winning on Turn 6. If you’re already winning in two lanes, moving your opponent’s Turn 6 plays to the location you’re conceding is massive. And it’s even easier to be winning two lanes if your play last turn was a 16-power Aero–in which case, you can use Absorbing Man. Ideally, you want to be moving as much as possible, so prioritize locations with fewer enemy cards.

If you played Vision last turn, you also need to decide if you’re moving him. The best advice I have is to play with Vision a while, you’ll get a feel for how best to move him. And I certainly screw it up more than I should. Don’t be afraid to leave Vision parked where he is, especially if he’s been doubled. Obvious top priority is to get Vision over to Sanctum Sanctorum or any other inaccessible / inconvenient locations.

If you’ve pulled off the Spider-Man and Absorbing Man combo and your opponent hasn’t retreated, be wary of some of the plays they might be making that can get around those, which include cards like Ultron, Doctor Doom, Arnim Zola, and various flavors of Wong Wombo Combo. What do they all have in common? On Reveals. What does this deck, that probably has priority going into this turn, run? Cosmo. Play your cosmic good boy and get your 8 cubes. 

If you can, use Absorbing Man to copy Aero’s ability then play Cosmo on the same location to localize and then stop their game-winning On Reveals.

Speaking of Cosmo: if your opponent is playing Invisible Woman, or Dark Dimension is one of the locations, put Cosmo there. It won’t always be On Reveals they’re hiding, but it will be a lot of the time!

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    • Absorbing Man is really good with Zabu, but no, I don’t consider him a vital component of this deck. Check out the SafetyBlade deck I linked to early on that is a more value-oriented version of this shell.

      As for replacements, any high-value four-drop could probably work well. Rescue, Wong if you want to push the Shuri’d stats even higher. If you want the fun of doubling up on Spider-Man’s effect, then Moon Girl could work well!

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