Dandolo's Guide to Void Guard Mainstay

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Dandolo's Guide to Void Guard Mainstay

Mainstay is a hard hitting street brawler with great defense and the ability to destroy his own cards for additional benefits. He tends to deal most of his damage in medium size hits (around 2 or 3 damage). He'll frequently be able to deal several hits over the course of the round. Mainstay's damage is almost exclusively melee.
 

Objective of this Guide: This guide is meant to provided both a high level view of the character's capabilities and a moderately comprehensive look at the specific tactics you can use as a player to get the most out of this deck. The more general information is toward the beginning of the guide and the more specific interactions are toward the back.

 
Overview:
Best Damage: Drop the Hammer
Best Defense: Durasteel Studded Vest
Best Personal Support: Sweet Rhonda
Best Team Support: Leader of the Pack
Best Utility: Whiplash
Primary Damage Type: Melee
Secondary Damage Types: Projectile, Toxic
 
General Strategy:
Like most heroes, Mainstay likes to build up by filling his play area with his ongoing and equipment cards. However, while most heroes like to continue to build up throughout the game, Mainstay will want to eventually destroy most of his cards in play. One of the great features of Mainstays deck is that he has many ways of gaining multiple benefits from the same card destruction. His cards are useful both when destroyed and when in play; this allows Mainstay to benefit from each ongoing/equipment card he plays twice.

 
Mainstay has cards that reduce the damage he is dealt and a card that can redirect damage to himself. Used together these effects can make Mainstay a top tier tank. Additionally, Mainstay has ways of increasing his damage dealt, but these effects either only last one turn or have a cost to maintain. As such, to get the most out of Mainstay's damage it can pay to set up for individual turns where Mainstay deals as many instances of damage as possible.
 
Deck Composition:
Mainstay's deck contains 3 equipment cards, 2 with 3 copies each and 1 with 4 copies. He has 5 ongoing cards; 4 have 3 copies, 1 has 2 copies. The remaining 16 cards of the deck are all one-shots. Mainstay has 6 different one-shots with 2-3 copies each. All but one of Mainstay's ongoing and equipment cards are limited.
 
The Character Card:
Void Guard Mainstay has 28 HP. His base power is quite flexible in that it allows you to either deal 1 target 1 damage twice or deal two different targets 1 damage.
 
Full Deck Breakdown:
Equipment Cards

Durasteel-Studded Vest (limited): This card give Mainstay a point of damage reduction. This is incredibly useful to Mainstay since he has many cards that cause him to take extra instances of damage. Additionally, this card heals Mainstay for 2 HP when destroyed. This is nice to have - though the damage reduction is so useful generally you will only want to destroy this card if you have another copy to replace it or it's the final round of the game. Lastly, this card also grants you the power to draw 3 cards and discard 2 cards. Though dealing damage with Mainstay is always tempting, this power may actually be Mainstay's best. Mainstay has a lot of limited cards that make painless discards, while the extra draws help him find the cards he needs for a given situation and makes using the card play option on Sweet Rhonda easier.

 
Sweet Rhonda (limited): This card gives Mainstay 1 point of damage reduction against non-target environment cards. Additionally, at the end of your turn, this card lets you either draw an extra card or destroy one of your ongoing cards to gain a card play. This is one of the best ways Mainstay has to benefit twice from the same card's destruction. When this card is destroyed, you draw 3 cards. This on-destruction benefit is quite strong so Sweet Rhonda is often worth destroying, especially when you have another copy of Sweet Rhonda in your hand.
 
Void Belter (limited): This card's power allows Mainstay to deal 3 damage and gives him the option to destroy one of his own ongoing or equipment cards. This is Mainstay's strongest damage dealing power but destroying your cards this way doesn't offer a secondary benefit so it's only worth it in the right circumstances. When destroyed this card allows Mainstay to deal a target 2 melee and 2 toxic damage.
 
Ongoing Cards:
Leader of the Pack (limited): This card allows Mainstay to redirect any damage that would be dealt to hero targets by non-hero sources to himself. This is the most powerful personal redirection effect which lasts more than one round outside of Human Shield. Additionally, this card grants a play and a draw when destroyed. This is a very strong effect but there are only 2 copies of this card, so it's often not worth it to destroy this card without having a means of recovering it or the other copy in hand.
 
Shard-Strength (limited): This effect grants Mainstay a 1 point damage boost and a 1 point reduction to the first damage he is dealt each turn. However, this card has a cost of 2 self-damage per round and uses up Mainstay's 1 point reduction for his own turn. When destroyed, this card grants you a power use. Note that the damage boost from this card will remain in effect when resolving the power caused by this card's on destruction effect.
 
Mano A Mano (limited): This card is played next to a non-hero target and is destroyed when that target is destroyed. This card allows Mainstay to trade 2 damage blows with that target at both the start and end of your turn each round. Mainstay hits first, and can avoid getting hit back if he destroys that target. When this card is destroyed Mainstay regains 2 HP.
 
Headlock (limited): This card is played next to a non-hero target. It makes damage dealt to and by that target irreducible and redirects damage dealt by that target to Mainstay. When this card is destroyed, Mainstay deals 1 target 3 projectile damage, if Mainstay selects the target next to Headlock that damage will still be irreducible. Since Mainstay doesn't particularly want to take a large quantity of irreducible damage, it can be effective to destroy this card the round you play it or play it on a target you can destroy before it has opportunity to deal damage.
 
Preemptive Payback: You may destroy this card whenever Mainstay would be dealt damage. When destroyed, this card allows Mainstay to deal 1 target 3 damage. This is generally most effectively used either by dealing damage to a target to destroy it before it can negatively impact the heroes or by leaving it in play until a card requires destroying one or more ongoing cards. This works great with Sweet Rhonda or with villain cards that destroy a fixed number of hero ongoing cards. This is the only non-limited ongoing or equipment card in Mainstay's deck and it is the only card in Mainstay's deck that only offers a benefit when destroyed.
 
One-shots:
Bad to the Bone: This card provides Mainstay with a 1 point damage boost for the current turn. It then allows him to deal 1 target 2 damage. With just this card and Mainstay's base power that's a 7 damage turn, which is on par with Ra playing Fire Blast and using his base power. However, this card really shines when used as the first card play to kick off a big damage turn, during which Mainstay destroys many of his own cards to trigger as many instances of damage as possible.
 
Drop the Hammer: First, this card allows Mainstay to destroy any number of his equipment cards which can be useful for powering up this card's attack. Then it deals between 1 and 11 irreducible damage based on the number of equipment cards in your trash plus 1 and allows you to either draw or play a card. This is a seriously powerful card if saved until late in the game. It's maximum potential damage is about half that of Tachyon's Lightspeed Barrage but the option play a card a card means Mainstay can use this card (including multiple copies) without giving up the opportunity to play another card.
 
Kick the Tires: This card can be used to destroy a villain ongoing card or another player's ongoing or equipment card and to grant yourself a card draw. Alternatively, it can be used to destroy one of your own ongoing or equipment cards to gain both a card draw and a card play. Used the first way this card's effect is on par an effect like The Wraith's Grappling Hook. Used to destroy one of your own cards, this card replaces itself in your hand and grants you a play. That means using this card this way is generally worthwhile when the on destruction effect of one of your cards is more useful than the benefit the card provides by remaining in play. A particularly interesting use of this effect is to replace a limited card with another copy of itself, which allows you to take advantage of both the in play and on destruction effects of that card.
 
Lonesome Highway: This card causes Mainstay to deal 1 target 2 damage. If Mainstay has the lowest HP of any hero, he then deals an additional 4 irreducible damage to any target. When Mainstay does not have the lowest HP, this card is fairly weak. However, getting Mainstay to have the lowest HP often requires very little work since Mainstay has many cards that cause non-hero sources to target him for damage. When this condition is met, the damage dealt by this card is higher than a card like Ra's Fire Blast.
 
School of Hard Knocks: With Durasteel-Studded Vest in play, this card allows Mainstay to deal 3 damage to each non-hero target without taking damage himself. Otherwise, before Mainstay deals any damage each non-hero target damages Mainstay for 1 damage. Using this card without enough defense to block the damage to Mainstay is often not cost effective. 
 
Whiplash: This card allows Mainstay to deal 1 target 2 damage. If Mainstay destroys a target this way he can deal an additional 3 projectile damage, otherwise you destroy an environment card. Since not destroying a target is fairly easy, this card is generally most useful as environment destruction that also deals damage.
 
Tactics and Combos:

1. The power on Durasteel-Studded Vest can be used in the same manner as Tachyon's Research Grant. Instead of discarding bursts to fuel Lightspeed Barrage, Mainstay can discard equipment cards to power-up Drop The Hammer.
 
2. A particularly effective combination is to use Sweet Rhonda's end of turn effect to destroy an ongoing in order to play Kick the Tires. The effect of Kick the Tires can destroy Sweet Rhonda to draw a total of 4 cards. With the card play from Kick the Tires play another copy of Sweet Rhonda. Sweet Rhonda will then immediately trigger it's end of turn effect allowing you to either draw a fifth card or destroy an ongoing to play another card.
 
3. Destroying Leader of the Pack with Kick the Tire's is a great way to set-up Mainstay for a big turn. The net result of this move is you can draw 2 cards and play 2 cards.
 
4. Durasteel-Studded Vest, Leader of the Pack, Shard-Strength and Sweet Rhonda make for a great defensive set-up. The primary limitation of this set-up is that it only offers 1 point of damage reduction against most target based attacks each round. However, this protection can last indefinitely and Mainstay has twice the HP of his The Sentinel's counterpart. Using this reduction to eliminate 1 damage hits to hero targets and to dramatically reduce the impact of 2 and 3 damage hits leaves the other heroes in a very good place to deal with the bigger hits that come through. Additionally against non-target environment card based attacks Sweet Rhonda offers an additional point of damage reduction. This makes Mainstay a phenomenal source of defense in environments like Insula Primalis and Wagner Mars base.
 
5.Durasteel-Studded Vest and Shard-Strength make Mano A Mano a much more appealing play. Each round, Mano A Mano on it's own typically trades 4 of Mainstay's HP for 4 damage to the chosen target. However, with these cards in play, Mano A Mano instead trades 2 of Mainstay's HP for 6 damage to the chosen target.
 

Variant: Mainstay Road Warrior has 29 HP. His power allows him to retaliate against each target that deals him damage. This can work well since Mainstay has many ways to get targets to deal him extra damage.

Weaknesses: Mainstay does not set-up particularly quickly and he gets a lot stronger if he has time to set up. Almost all of Mainstay's damage is melee which makes him very weak against melee immune targets. A few cards in Mainstay's deck such as School of Hard Knocks and Headlock can be very bad for him if played at the wrong time by an effect like Slamara's.   

Match-ups: -Shu's melee immunity can make fighting the Ennead difficult for Mainstay without allies who can hit Shu. -Headlock is particularly useful against Grand Warlord Voss as it allows the heroes to leave a few Minions in play and focus on Voss without dealing with his flip side. -Headlock is also particularly effective for dealing with The Dreamer's Dark Hero, Citizen Dawn's Citizen Anvil, and The Matriarch's Huginn. -Preemptive Payback can protect the heroes from The Dreamer's Macabre Spectre, and The Chairman's Hired Gun.   Team-ups:

-Ra and Visionary not only can provide Mainstay with a useful damage boost, but can also give him a way to hit melee immune targets.
-Argent Adept can provide Mainstay with damage reduction, damage boosts, extra plays and extra power uses, all of which Mainstay greatly appreciates. 
-Captain Cosmic makes a great ally for Mainstay. Both Wounding Buffer and Energy Bracer work great on Mainstay. Mainstay's base power is great for triggering Dynamic Siphon.
-Doctor Medico can heal Mainstay which allows Mainstay to redirect more damage that would target Doctor Medico. This helps to keep both heroes active.
-Guise can copy all of Mainstay's ongoing cards with Uh... Yeah I'm That Guy. This allows Guise to trigger all the on destruction effects on Mainstay's ongoing cards which can be really powerful.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Edited by: Dandolo on Sep 28 2018 - 1:18pm
TakeWalker
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DW Mr. Fixer would set off the destruction benefits when using Bitter Strike too, right?

I like that note about Guise copying his stuff. :D

Dandolo
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TakeWalker wrote:

DW Mr. Fixer would set off the destruction benefits when using Bitter Strike too, right?I like that note about Guise copying his stuff. :D


Yeah that works and is a great combo.
Powerhound_2000
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An item of note Headlock will remain in play even once the target it is attached is destroyed.  So it can used later for a card play through Kick the Tires or Sweet Rhonda along while still getting the three projectile damage.


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"Look, this is Bugbear we're talking about. Do you really want me to let go before we're sure he's out?"

Great guide as always, Dandolo.

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Great guide! I'll have to give his Road Warrior variant a try. So far I've just used the standard power. 


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I thought Sweet Rhonda also reduced damage dealt to Mainstay by 1 by non-environment targets. So that's actually 2 points of damage reduction against villain targets and boosts his survivability that much more.
I like your point about destroying Sweet Rhonda for the 4 card draw and a play with a kick the tires, but I feel like Sweet Rhonda is such an essential card for his flow that I wouldn't destroy it unless I had another in hand, even more so with the damage reduction.

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Natediggadoggity wrote:

I thought Sweet Rhonda also reduced damage dealt to Mainstay by 1 by non-environment targets. So that's actually 2 points of damage reduction against villain targets and boosts his survivability that much more.
I like your point about destroying Sweet Rhonda for the 4 card draw and a play with a kick the tires, but I feel like Sweet Rhonda is such an essential card for his flow that I wouldn't destroy it unless I had another in hand, even more so with the damage reduction.

It reduces damage dealt to Mainstay by non-target environment cards. So it can be really useful in environments like Insula Primalis and Wagner Mars base where the environment itself is a significant source of damage.

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Yep. I'm mentioning it because there's no reference to that extra point of damage reduction in your guide. Especially in point 4 of Tactics and combos, and reduces his petsonal damage to 0 with Mano a Mano in point 5.

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Natediggadoggity wrote:

Yep. I'm mentioning it because there's no reference to that extra point of damage reduction in your guide. Especially in point 4 of Tactics and combos, and reduces his petsonal damage to 0 with Mano a Mano in point 5.


I think you're getting tripped up by the wording. Sweet Rhonda reduces damage dealt to Mainstay by non-target environment cards not non-environment card targets.

So for example in Insula Primalis it will reduce damage from things like the volcano, lava river, and plant life but won't reduce the T-rex, Pterodactyl, or Raptor damage. It also won't reduce damage from any hero or villain cards.

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Okay, I guess I misread it the first time.

Powerhound_2000
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Dandolo this is what I think Natediggadoggity is talking about 

Quote:

4. Durasteel-Studded Vest, Leader of the Pack, Shard-Strength and Sweet Rhonda make for a great defensive set-up. The primary limitation of this set-up is that it only offers 1 point of damage reduction against most target based attacks each round. However, this protection can last indefinitely and Mainstay has twice the HP of his The Sentinel's counterpart. Using this reduction to eliminate 1 damage hits to hero targets and to dramatically reduce the impact of 2 and 3 damage hits leaves the other heroes in a very good place to deal with the bigger hits that come through.

While Sweet Rhonda is listed in the grouping it makes no mention of how Sweet Rhonda helps to protect other heroes from non-target environment damage like Negative Energy Field, Surprise Shopping Trip, or Supercooled Trisolvent Vat


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Natediggadoggity
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Thanks powerhound, but no. I did actuallly get it wrong. I was positive that he got extra damage reduction vs villain targets included. So I quickly edited my message after I went back and reread the card. *sheepish*

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That’s fine.   It probably should still go a bit into why Sweet Rhonda is listed there.  


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Dandolo
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Powerhound_2000 wrote:

That’s fine.   It probably should still go a bit into why Sweet Rhonda is listed there.  


I added a few sentences on Sweet Rhonda, I used environments with multiple non-target based all hero attacks for 2 or more damage as examples as to where this card adds the most to the combination of Duristeel Chains and Leader of the Pack. Pike Industrial would have been a good choice as well, but Rhonda's effectiveness there varies widely based on which Vats are in play.
Natediggadoggity
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So, after a couple months of playing lots of VG Mainstay, I think he's my favorite character. Since all his stuff has different effects depending on whether they stay in play, or are destroyed, the potential number of strategic options he has at any one time is usually really high, and despite having played dozens of games with him, I'm still figuring out what's the most effective play or destructive effect in every situation.

Stuntman certainly feels a little bit like this, but not this extent. Lots of stuntman's cards are meant to be destroyed, or meant to stay in play and don't have dual uses. Mainstay has a secondary effect for everything and it's great.

To add to the flair of this deck is that you really feel like a barroom brawler, destroying tables, bottles, and your enemy's face as you pile on the damage, and get hurt in return. He has enough healing in his deck to recover from most of it too, 3x studded vests and 3x mano a mano's = 12hp of potential healing.

The one card I always want asap is Sweet Rhonda, I put it out early, or search for it, and never destroy it unless I have another one in hand. It lets you draw 2 or play 2 cards a turn, as long as your first card play was an equipment on ongoing, so you're dealing damage and getting set up more at the same time. He also doesn't need more than 1 or 2 cards in play at a time to be fully effective. His stuff is great destruction fodder and he gets ready to do it again every turn.

I especially love that having several copies of the same card in his hand isn't a bad thing or annoying in the least, unlike most heroes. I love to see 3 copies of any of his ongoings or equipment in hand, because I can immediately start destroying them and getting more out of it.... as long as I have ways of destroying them as needed.

The one card I usually destroy early is the Void Belter, it's worth 7 damage, or 10 if shard Strength is in play. In fact, destroying shard strength to use and destroy void belter, and then play another shard strength is a great combo. Though, it's a good one to keep if you can't find your Sweet Rhonda and need to destroy a Headlock.

Road Warrior notes: He feels a little bit weaker, except maybe in team villain games where he's a little stronger. He's a little more reliant on Shard Strength, since he doesn't deal as much damage during his turn, you gotta remember he needs to be hit at least twice for his base power to equal his regular variant power. (and even then, often less since he doesn't have the advantage of a Bad to the Bone play out of turn.)  Also, his base power expires at start of turn. so he doesn't get the advantage of an extra proc of damage from Mano a Mano at the start of his turn. He uses Mano a Mano and Headlock a little more effectively than his base version though, Leader of the Pack becomes more useful than even Sweet Rhonda, and a School of Hard Knocks can be worth 4-6 damage per target instead of 3-4. Just remember to play it AFTER you've used your base power for the turn. 

 

I like the improvements you've made to the guide Dandolo, and I think you should add a little more. :)