It has been a while since my last strategy guide. Life got hectic, and I got backed up on games to review. I’m finding more and more that I want to focus on strategies for a few great games rather than hopping from new release to new release so look for these sorts of articles to appear more often. Right now my intent is to dive into some strategy for these three games to begin:
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Sentinels of the Multiverse
So stay tunes, as I hope to hit all three of them in January at some point.
But you aren’t here for the future. Rather, you are here to learn how to better manage a time traveling cowboy: Chrono-Ranger.
The two versions of Chrono-Ranger
Standard version Chrono-Ranger – 28 HP, Power: Quick Shot – Chrono-Ranger deals 1 Target 1 Projectile damage.
This version of Chrono-Ranger is pretty darn vanilla, but it gives you a taste of what to expect throughout his entire deck. He’s going to shoot things, and shoot them often. You’ll see a lot of projectile damage being distributed, and most of the time it is a small number like this one being dealt. That might lead you to believe he’s a pretty weak hero, but you’d be wrong. He’s got some cards in his deck that will allow him, and his allies, to ramp up the damage being dropped on whatever you are facing. So while his power here isn’t going to wow anyone, the consistent ability to place damage is a welcome inclusion and works well against any villain that doesn’t contain damage reduction.
The Best of Times version Chrono-Ranger – 29 HP, Power: True Purpose – Select a non-Hero Target. Until the next time you use a Power, all Bounty Cards also affect that Target and are not destroyed when that Target leaves play.
Here’s the sweet spot version of Chrono-Ranger. He needs some cards out to make use of this Power, but odds are you’re going to want to drop out Bounty cards anyway. Being able to make a Bounty card affect a 2nd Target, and keep that Bounty in play if that Target dies, makes this a really strong variant to play. Yes, he’s going to forego the use of a damage-dealing Power himself by using this. But think of this as an almost Bard-like approach: he’s buffing the rest of the team so they can be more effective on their next turn. This is a great variant to use when facing a deck that likes to drop big, or threatening, cards into play that need taken down fast. Tune into the next section, dedicated solely to bounties, to find out why!
The Bounty Cards
By Any Means – Play this card next to a non-Hero Target. Increase Damage dealt to that Target by 1. When that Target leaves play, destroy this card.
Simple, yet effective. This helps you gun down any one non-Hero in play. Yes, this can target the villain card – which is one of the more obvious ways to use the card. However, those decks can have some really nasty surprises in there that you’ll want to deal with and this can also be a great way to eliminate those in a hurry – thus the previous endorsement for the Best of Times version of Chrono-Ranger. You can put this on the villain, and then use his Power as needed to boost damage to whatever comes into play. Best of all about that approach is it will help keep the Bounty card in play for the entire game.
Dead or Alive – Play this card next to a non-Hero Target. At the start of your turn, Chrono-Ranger regains 1 HP. When that Target leaves play, draw 1 card and destroy this card.
This Bounty offers versatility in how you want to use it: put it on something that won’t die soon for the constant HP gain, or drop it on something small for the card draw when it leaves play. And, honestly, it becomes extremely situational. If I am still seeking some key cards to make Chrono-Ranger’s deck run optimally, I’ll likely go for the card draw (unless he’s hurting for health). However, there are better Bounty cards for card draw so the health is likely the better play more often than not.
Kill on Sight – Play this card next to a non-Hero Target. When that Target leaves play, draw 3 cards and destroy this card.
Three times better than Dead or Alive, at least in terms of the card draw. This is one of the best Bounty cards to have in an opening hand as it can really help accelerate the deck. Add in the fact that there are ways to cycle Bounty cards back out from the Discard pile and you’ve got a hero who could potentially cycle most of his deck in a game. You’ll always want to drop this onto the Target most likely to die next. Well, almost always, but we’ll talk about that during the Closers section.
No Executions – Play this card next to a non-Character card Target. When that Target would be destroyed, put it on the bottom of its deck instead. Then destroy this card.
This card may seem underwhelming at first glance. And let’s be honest, most games you won’t be ecstatic to draw this Bounty card. However, there is a very good reason to keep this one around: some decks have really scary cards. Like, you’re going to be in a world of hurt if it comes out. If a deck has any manner of reshuffling, this can be a way to thicken that deck back up with a less intimidating card. It can also be a good way to move out a card that can be pulled from the trash, such as the Goon cards with The Chairman. However, the most interesting way to use this is on the heroes’ cards (that qualify as Targets), allowing you to get them back into your deck if they are destroyed.
The Ultimate Target – Play this card next to a non-Hero Target. Increase Damage dealt by Chrono-Ranger to that Target by 1. The first time that Target deals Damage each turn, you may use a Power.
This is arguably the ultimate Bounty in the deck as it lets you get a free Power usage when that Target deals damage. Suddenly The Best of Times usage isn’t so bad, as you sacrifice one Power usage on your turn to have two cards being the Target of this Bounty. Which means you then swing back twice, dealing an extra damage to each of them. And, if you are set up well, this becomes a lethal situation for the villain…as seen when we talk about Closers.
The Whole Gang – Play this card next to a non-Hero Target. When that Target leaves play, you may destroy a Target with 4 or fewer HP. Then, destroy this card.
As a self-professed lover of Fanatic, this Bounty definitely reminds me of a favorite card of mine: Final Dive. However, it is different enough in the effect. Being able to focus down one target and remove a 2nd one in the process is fantastic. Even better is using this on something that has damage reduction, allowing you to bypass the slow and painful process of killing them (assuming you can get them down to 4 HP).
Any bounty cards in your hand, with maybe the exception of No Executions, is a good opening draw and a fine first turn or two of play with Chrono-Ranger. He takes a little time to set up – he’s not bad out of the gate on his normal version as he can at least do some damage, but you want to be doing more than 1 damage per Power. Here are a few other cards that are nice to see, and play, early in the game for Chrono-Ranger:
Sudden Contract – Search your deck for a Bounty card and put it into play. Shuffle your deck. Chrono-Ranger may deal 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage.
This is arguably the best card to see in an opening hand. With four copies in the deck, I’d even be okay with seeing an opening hand of just this card. Getting Bounties out is one of the key engines for Chrono-Ranger, and being able to pull one out each turn (and put it into play) while also dropping a bit of damage is nice. Better yet, the first play of it should pull out either The Ultimate Target or By Any Means to make that 1 damage a 2 instead. The 2nd use of this would be to snag Kill on Sight, unless you’re desperate for healing or getting swarmed by targets with 4 or less HP.
Displaced Armory – Search your deck or trash for an Equipment card and put it into play. If you searched your deck, shuffle your deck. Chrono-Ranger may deal 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage.
This one is excellent for an opening hand because you’re almost always going to search your deck for whatever card you’re wanting. And when you do, you’re dropping down a little extra damage. What would you want to pull with this card? Well, that depends on who you are facing and what is currently in play. In my mind there are three ideal candidates early in the game:
Jim’s Hat – You may play an additional card during your play phase. At the start of your turn, you may destroy a Bounty card.
This one is the obvious choice to pull for Equipment cards, as it helps accelerate your board state by letting you play an extra card and, if desired, destroy one of those Bounty cards you currently have in play. No matter what the situation is like, this is always a good card to get into play as cheating in extra card plays every turn can help you get ahead of the curve.
Temporal Grenade – Power: Chrono-Ranger deals up to 3 Targets 1 Energy Damage each. You may destroy 1 Ongoing or Environment card. Destroy this card.
A week ago this card wouldn’t even have made it into the article as I severely undervalued this Power. It isn’t even about the dealing damage to 3 targets – although that can be nice (especially if boosted by someone like Legacy). Early in the game, the wrong Environment or Ongoing card can wreck your game. It can slow your decks down so much that the villain gets the upper-hand and maintains that advantage. This was never so apparent as when I finally challenged Iron Legacy last week. Getting this into play when you know there is a card you’ll want to auto-remove in the deck is a helpful defensive maneuver, and that peace of mind can make this worth pulling and playing early.
Neuro-Toxin Dart Thrower – Power: Chrono-Ranger deals 1 Target 1 Toxic Damage. Reduce Damage dealt by that Target by 1 until the start of your next turn.
Previously my go-to here would have been Compounded Bow instead, as it deals 1 damage and 1 damage to a target – essentially doubling Chrono-Ranger’s attack power each turn. However, wisdom has shown me that the damage reduction could be even more important early in the game than a small increase in power. Unless you are playing on a team with some solid healing, every damage reduced is helping to extend the well-being of your entire team as they get things set up to lay the smack down on the villain. If I am running The Best of Times variant of Chrono-Ranger and don’t have an impressive hand of cards at the moment, this would be the Equipment card I’d probably dig for over Jim’s Hat.
Eye on the Prize – Chrono-Ranger may deal 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage. You may draw a card. You may play a card.
The name of the early game with this guy is accelerating his deck, and this does that by giving you an extra draw and an extra play. Bonus points for dropping down a little damage which, if you got out something to boost his damage in Turn 1, this becomes a really nice card to play on Turn 2.
An overall tactic that I tend to employ with Chrono-Ranger is to get set up as quickly as possible. I used to believe that meant getting his damage increased and start hitting as hard and as fast as possible, but my mentality has shifted a little to getting those extra card draws and plays as being the ideal early game for Chrono-Ranger. The extra damage doesn’t hurt, of course, and if you have some early threats that need eliminated he can help fulfill that role pretty well by increasing everyone’s damage. But ideally, his deck is about setting up for some really wild turns later in the game.
This is where Chrono-Ranger can really start to hit his stride. He’s likely not to the point where he’s dropping bonkers damage on the board, but usually this is where 2-3 Bounty cards are consistently cycling into play and back out of the discard pile. All of the aforementioned cards are still great here, but there are a few more cards that really start to function well at this stage of the game (generally speaking).
Ranger’s Mark – Select 1 Bounty card from your trash and put it into play. Chrono-Ranger may deal 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage.
This is one of the key cards that can make this deck hum along. The key is to be aware there are only three copies of this in the deck, so while you want to be cycling those Bounty cards back into play you also don’t want to feel like you’ve made an inferior choice later in the game about how you used these. This card offers you the flexibility to put those Bounty cards on cards from the villain or environment deck, knowing you can resurface that card to put on the main villain when the time comes to focus them down. And, as per the norm with Chrono-Ranger, he’s also pinging them for a little damage in the process (which is likely boosted by now)
Terrible Tech-Strike – Chrono-Ranger deals 1 Target 2 Melee Damage. Chrono-Ranger deals 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage.
Okay, so this card is a fine opener. You always want to do damage, and dropping 3 damage early can be really helpful in a pinch. However, if you happen to have his two damage-boosting Bounty cards out then this becomes a 4 and a 3 instead, making it far more bang for that card play. That can wipe out a stubborn foe, or just drop a chunk off the big baddie. So while this is always a good card to play, it should be at the very least getting boosted by 1 at this point to make it an even stronger play.
Danny-Boy – Power: Chrono-Ranger deals up to X Targets 2 Fire Damage each, where X = the number of Bounty cards in play.
This piece of equipment becomes the star in the middle of the game because it allows you to hit several targets with a single power. Usually at this point you’re pushing back against the swarm of cards a villain pumped out early, and few heroes can distribute even damage like Chrono-Ranger on a consistent basis. If you have a few Bounty cards in play, and you almost always will want to have 2 or more out, you’ll be able to whittle down the ranks of foes. This is especially good in a Vengeance mode, where you have multiple villains to take down. This isn’t the card you look toward to win you the game, but it helps make the board manageable so that you can isolate the big baddie and focus them down.
The mid-game Chrono-Ranger is a lot like the early game Chrono-Ranger, except you’ve hopefully got a few Bounty cards in play. His damage curve should be steadily rising, and you’ll likely find yourself dealing damage virtually every time you play a card and every time you use a Power – his deck is built to drop damage often. His strength here is in board control, because he can almost always do damage and he can hit multiple enemies and boost his attack power AND can use The Whole Gang in order to drop off an additional weakened enemy when he destroys someone else. If this was Chrono-Ranger at his best, he’d still be a solid choice of a teammate. And some battles will never get past this point – either because they never run long enough or the card draws just don’t let you set up the ultimate Chrono-Ranger mode. But when he does get set up…
Chrono-Ranger gets scary toward the end if everything goes well. His damage levels can be impressive, as you’ll see via these three cards. Really only two of them are essential, but the third one (listed first) is just as important at times to make sure he gets set up and remains set up to destroy the enemy as quickly as possible.
Bounty Board – Move all Bounty cards from your trash into your hand. Chrono-Ranger may deal 1 Target 1 Projectile Damage.
There are only two copies of this in the deck, so they should never be burned through lightly. These return to the hand, so having Jim’s Hat to play extra cards will be essential to get set back up as quickly as possible, but this card is great because it allows you to pull every Bounty card back from the trash. So you can use them in the early game to deal with the smaller foes and still retrieve them in time to place them on the bigger threat. Which leads to…
Hunter and Hunted – Increase Damage dealt to and by Chrono-Ranger by the number of Bounty cards in play.
You do NOT want to play this card too early, as it can hurt Chrono-Ranger as much as it helps him. However, the hope would be that this card comes out during the final turn, or the penultimate turn of a game to massively spike Chrono-Ranger’s damage. There are 6 Bounty cards, so adding +6 to your attack is nothing to sneeze at, especially since that would mean you probably already have an extra +2 from having By Any Means and The Ultimate Target on that card as well. And then toss in…
The Masadah – Power: Chrono-Ranger deals 1 Target X Irreducible Energy Damage, where X = the number of Bounty cards in play.
Let’s do some math here: The power potential, assuming no boosts from anyone other than Chrono-Ranger, would be 6 Bounty cards + 6 from Hunter and Hunted + 1 from By Any Means and +1 from The Ultimate Target. This fires off for 14 damage, and if you had Jim’s Hat in play you probably played a card after dropping Hunter and Hunted, which if you played something like Terrible Tech-Strike you’re dropping another 10/9 on the Target. So in a perfect world, you’re looking at dropping around 33 damage in a single turn and, by this point, that should be enough to finish off whatever you’re facing. And if that doesn’t kill it? Well, if it hits you during its next turn you’ll get to use a Power (thanks to The Ultimate Target) for another 14 damage. Assuming you survive.
Overall, Chrono Ranger starts slow but has a massive spike in damage output near the end. I’m yet to hit this theoretical power level in a game, but knowing he can achieve this makes him a top-tier damage dealer in my books. Damage reduction can slow him down immensely early on, but if you can ride out those first turns he should even be able to start dumping consistent damage on even the most stubborn of Targets in the game. I find that most games he ends up being an above average contributor, able to whittle away chunks of damage while helping to boost everyone else’s damage potential. Being able to do +1 damage across the board to the main villain is worthwhile enough to make me want to consider including him any time I’m building a team of heroes.
He pairs best with someone who can boost his damage, especially early. Making that 1 damage on most of his cards into a 2 or a 3 can become a game changer. Additionally, anyone who offers healing or damage reduction can be a great pairing for getting out Hunter and Hunted earlier into the game. He’s got enough card draws in his deck that he doesn’t necessarily need a Tachyon to help with that, although it never hurts, and the same applies to getting extra card plays. He’s a lethal hero to bring in paired with several other damage dealers, and equally as lethal if just paired with support characters whose role is to help Chrono-Ranger do more things every round. He’s a flexible fit into almost any situation, and he’ll almost always be able to carry his weight even if the villains and environments prevent him from ever getting set up effectively. He’s easily one of my favorite heroes in the game, just because he is rarely dead weight in a match because, even when everything goes wrong for his deck, he’s still able to accomplish something most turns (especially when using his base character card).
Depending on how things go, I plan to visit these more often. Right now, based on my current card pool that I own, my intention is to visit Omnitron-X as the next hero covered as I’ve used him a fair amount already, he came in the same box as Chrono-Ranger, and I finally got to see him at his full potential last week against The Chairman.
Should a copy of Oblivaeon enter my possession in the near future, that will certainly change to La Comadora because she is one of my new favorite characters in the game and I want a reason/opportunity to explore playing her even more.