Setback Strategy

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Setback - A Change from Better to Worse

  • Pros: Setback has strong healing and Ongoing and Environment destruction cards. He is immune to Equipment destruction due to having no equipment cards. He has a good mix of One-Shots and Ongoing cards. He has some great support cards and, with luck and the right builds, dish out a LOT of damage.
  • Cons: A lot of his cards cause Setback to deal himself damage or make an ally or enemy deal damage to him. He dislikes external damage boosts thanks to self-damaging cards. Setback can be unfriendly to allies because he causes them to lose cards in one way or another. As he has cards that can be purely harmful in some situations and he has a strong token dependence, he can have very inconsistent gameplay over short games. He is usually slow to build up. He can be a weak damage dealer if he doesn't get tokens or the right cards. He is vulnerable to strong Ongoing destruction due to a semi-dependence on his Ongoing cards. He has a strong token dependence and can be token starved to the point of feeling useless, especially when playing with his Dark Watch promo card.


  • Best Attacks: Looking Up, Exceeded Expectations, Karmic Retribution
  • Best Team Support: Turn of Events, Wrong Time and Place
  • Best Personal Support: Silver Lining, Surprising Fortune
  • Primary Damage Type: Melee
  • Secondary Damage Type: Psychic
  • Worst Card: Uncharmed Life
  • Nemesis: Kismet, Revenant from Friction's Vengeance deck, Heartbreaker in Miss Information's VotM (Villains of the Multiverse) deck, and Plague Rat from VotM.


Setback is all about risk and reward. He contains a mix of healing, tanking, damage and support cards. He has a lot of mid-damage cards (2 to 3 damage) and a few strong spikes. His attacks are mostly single target, with a few AoEs (Area of Effect attacks, hit multiple targets). Setback often deals himself damage to help the team in one way or another. His unique game style is finding the right risks to take to gain the most reward. Setback does very well when given time to build up, but has so many small effects he can apply that building up is not required for him to be effective.

A lot of Setback's cards cause him and/or his teammates harm or difficulty. This can make him a frustrating character to play for those who expect to use him like Legacy or Tachyon. Setback is not consistent, especially in the early game. But that doesn't mean he can't really shine. And for those who enjoy tactical gameplay or those who like to go all-out regardless of the outcome, Setback does not disappoint.

Setback's main mechanic is Unlucky Tokens. Some of his cards grant Unlucky tokens (called tokens from here on) while others spend them. Most cards that hurt Setback grant him tokens, which he can later spend on healing or other effects. This gives a balance of sorts where the self-damage is really just converted to tokens (usually on a 1 to 1 basis). He has some token spenders that grant more than the expected return on these tokens. For example, "Karmic Retribution" restores 2 health for 1 token. It could be viewed that the negative effects he deals to himself are actually just converting health to tokens for future use.

Why should you play Setback? He has some of the strongest card-play based Ongoing and Environment destruction. He can fill multiple roles at the same time. With the right combinations of cards and/or allies, he can make your team nearly invincible or become a damage dealing powerhouse. He can give teammates card draw, power usage, or even pretty strong healing.

Base Powers


  • Pros: Setback's Risk ability helps him play 2 cards a round, making him faster than most other heroes when it comes to setup. Risk also grants him one Unlucky Token each time it is used.
  • Cons: There is a chance that Risk will play harmful or useless cards. For example, Turn of Events with too few tokens, Wrong Time and Place at a bad time, or "Whoops! Sorry!" with no ongoing or environment cards you want to destroy, etc.

The original Setback's base power, Risk, adds one token to his unlucky pool and plays the top card of his deck. This is amazingly good for setting up quickly (see Timeshift and Omnitron-X), but for Setback this can also be amazingly harmful. Setback's deck contains 17 cards that are detrimental in one way or another when risked, 10 cards that can be underwhelming when risked, and 14 that are neutral or positive. Of the 17 detrimental cards, 8 cause Setback direct harm, 6 hurt his allies, and 3 increase the chances of Setback getting seriously hurt soon. That means a first round Risk has a 42.5% chance of hurting himself or his allies (give or take based on starting hand). Use this ability with caution. Usually Setback hurting himself isn't too bad. He's prepared for it. But hurting his allies can get some players very mad. When using Setback's base power, it is recommended you have at least one token in your unlucky pool beforehand. At exactly one token, Plucky Break would be played to its full effect. With 1 or more tokens, it allows cards like Cash Out and Exceeded Expectations to be much more useful. Risk is usually used at the beginning of the game or after a mass-destruction card (like Devastating Aurora). Setback has no limited cards, meaning every Risk will lead to a card play.


  • Pros: Mitigate's damage reduction stacks across uses, and Mitigate can be used at zero tokens.
  • Cons: What damage gets mitigated is usually not controlled by the player. Mitigate uses Setback's usually sparse tokens.

Dark Watch Setback's base power, Mitigate, removes one token from the unlucky pool and reduces the next damage dealt to a hero target by 2. This ability has two nice advantage. First, it doesn't require the token to have been removed for the damage reduction to work. This means you can use it at 0 tokens. Second, this ability doesn't have a limit, much like Wraith's Stealth. If you can use it over multiple turns without taking damage, it can build up to reduce quite a bit. It also brings some negatives. You don't get to choose who gets the protection or how much damage it really is reducing. A villain or environment dealing damage to someone with enough damage reduction to stop it already still uses up the reduction. A 1 point attack or irreducible attack likewise removes the reduction completely. Mitigate can cause Friendly Fire to be unusable for a time if the ally doesn't have a damage boost. With an allied damage boost of 1, however, Mitigate can make Friendly Fire very friendly. Since Mitigate costs Setback an Unlucky Token, it can be relatively expensive to play during his early game when he has few tokens.

General Strategy

The best general strategy with Setback is to go with the flow. Don't plan for a particular strategy, but play what you have. But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of strategies you can end up with this way. Setback can either be played very cautiously as a tank with some damage, very loosely with huge health drops for equally huge token gains and damage to enemies, or something in-between. If you want to try out a particular build, make use of Setback's various card draw and play-from-his-deck mechanics to find the cards for that build.

First Time Play

For your first time playing Setback, I recommend you play Looking Up as soon as possible. You can make use of Risk, Cash Out, and Surprising Fortune to get through your deck as fast as possible in search of it. If you need tokens for Cash Out or Surprising Fortune, use Reckless Rush, Fumbling Fool, or "Whoops! Sorry!". Make sure to ask your allies if they have a card they're willing to destroy before you play "Whoops! Sorry!". When playing Fumbling Fool, there is a chance that the card you discard from the top of your deck is the one you're looking for. Once Looking Up is in play, use it in place of Risk to build up tokens quickly for your other cards.

Setback excels at a few different roles:

  • Support
  • Tanking
  • DPS (Damage dealer)


  • Setback has two different cards that can help control the environment: "Whoops! Sorry!" and Cause and Effect. Both can destroy either ongoing or environment cards, but both have their detrimental sides as well. Cause and Effect deals damage to Setback unless he has no tokens in his pool. "Whoops! Sorry!" destroys another hero's card, if possible. Setback has 3 "Whoops! Sorry!" and 2 Cause and Effect, giving him a total of 5 different times he can destroy a key villain ongoing or nasty environment card. Cash Out can help him find these cards in a pinch.
  • Cash Out provides a 2 point heal to every hero if at least (H) - 1 cards are discarded. With someone who can return cards from the trash (Argent Adept or Tempest for example), that can turn into a lot of healing if players have enough cards to discard. It can also help Setback dig for needed Ongoing or Environment destruction or more copies of Cash Out if the team needs healing.
  • Surprising Fortune allows Setback to give allies card draws, which can help support Cash Out or help them build up as needed.
  • Turn of Events damages Setback to allow his allies an extra power phase. This can be overwhelming or underwhelming, depending on your allies. Base Legacy loves this sort of thing (although Setback really doesn't like damage boosts, thanks to his self-destructive nature). Base Tachyon, however, will find this ability a bit lackluster.
  • Fumbling Fool can, if you're lucky, force a villain to discard an important card. Discarding a Devastating Aurora or Prison Break is amazing. Use with caution when against The Ennead, Citizen Dawn unflipped, and Baron Blade, however, as the discarded cards will trigger The Enneads' abilities, possibly throw Citizens into Citizen Dawn's trash, or fuel Baron Blade's Terralunar Impulsion Beam.

Support card combinations for Setback:

  • Surprising Fortune and Looking Up - This allows Setback to build up tokens to use Surprising Fortune to feed his allies cards. With Looking Up, the card draws are sporadic, since he has to use a power for token replenishment every few turns, but Setback plays as tanky dps (dps means damage per second, i.e. damage dealer), regaining health almost every turn and dishing out a bit of damage the rest of the time. This strategy is pretty easy to build, as it relies on two cards, each of which has three copies in Setback's deck. The strategy is: If you have 0 or 1 tokens, use Looking Up to gain 3 tokens and deal damage. If you have 2 or more tokens, use Surprising Fortune to heal 2 and allow one player to draw 2 cards.
  • Surprising Fortune and Friendly Fire - With this combination, the card draws can be guaranteed every turn, but Setback has no positive health gain from Surprising Fortune. Card draws on himself can lead to the Cash Out, "Whoops! Sorry!" and 'Cause and Effect cards to continue his support style or Fumbling Fool to reduce how often he has to rely on Friendly Fire. This combo does not work well if Setback has a damage boost, as he'll lose more than he gains. The strategy here is: Each turn, if you have no tokens, allow Friendly Fire to trigger once, granting you 2 tokens for 2 damage. On your turn, use Surprising Fortune to recover the 2 health and allow a player to draw 2 cards.
  • Surprising Fortune and High Risk Behavior x2 - This one is straight-forward. Each round, Setback gains 2 tokens at the start of his turn. This is exactly enough to trigger Surprising Fortune, gaining you 2 health and giving one player 2 card draws. Don't allow yourself to have more than 2 tokens at the end of your turn, however, because otherwise you'll take extra damage each time a villain target attacks you. This combo is difficult to achieve, as Setback's deck only has 2 High Risk Behaviors. Cash Out and Surprising Fortune can help him dig for those cards, however, given enough tokens.

Card plays for Setback's Support style:

  • Cause and Effect - Destroying an Ongoing or Environment card is the big support side of this card.
  • "Whoops! Sorry!" - This card plays an odd, but potentially strong spot in Support. It has Ongoing or Environment destruction, continuing the support role, and grants Setback Unlucky Tokens. However, it destroys an ally's card, which can be really good or really bad, as you don't get to choose whether this is done. For some cards, like Bloody Knuckles, it can be really helpful. Talk to your teammates before playing this card, to determine if they're willing to pay its price.
  • Cash Out - If (H) - 1 players are willing to discard a card (if Setback used the token part of Cash Out, he should probably be one of them!), every hero target regains health. This can save lives in a pinch, and with 3 in his deck, he can get it at least once or twice in a game.
  • Fumbling Fool - If the top card of the Villain deck is known, and not wanted (or the Environment deck, or both), Fumbling Fool can take care of it, at a "minor" cost of one card from each player's deck. This card is also potentially party-unfriendly, though, as it might cause someone to discard one of their hard to find and important cards.
  • Turn of Events - If Setback's allies have strong powers to use, they can all use them now. The only cost is Setback's health and his card play. This requires (H) tokens to have any positive effect. Otherwise, it just deals Setback 2 damage.


  • Setback's tanking comes in the form of damage redirection and healing. He has no damage reduction. His redirection cards are: Wrong Time and Place and Uncharmed Life. Both of them require tokens in his pool to be successful. Uncharmed Life allows him to take damage for his allies, but at the cost of tokens, while Wrong Time and Place forces him to take the damage, with the option of spending tokens to redirect it instead. His healing cards are: Cash Out, Plucky Break (if he has 2 or fewer tokens in his Unlucky pool when he plays it), Karmic Retribution (when he has less than 7 Unlucky Tokens when he plays it), Uncharmed Life (the power effect heals him), Silver Lining (if he has 1 or more tokens in his Unlucky pool when he would be defeated), and Surprising Fortune (which requires him to have 2 Uunlucky Tokens in his pool when he uses its power). Karmic Retribution, Silver Lining , and Surprising Fortune all require spending tokens for healing, and Cash Out requires card discards from a combination of him and the other heroes. Uncharmed Life requires a power action and destroying the card. Technically, since it is an Ongoing, it also requires a card play. Setback's healing cards are good on their own, but often are even stronger when used at the right time. Two Plucky Breaks in a row (via Risk) can be a net gain of 6 health, while Silver Lining means Setback can take one huge hit and get back up again. With enough tokens, Silver Lining can potentially restore Setback to full health, although this is rare.

A few good tanking setups for Setback are:

  • Uncharmed Life + Friendly Fire - This is a short-term tank, as Setback loses a lot of health to maintain his tanking, but it is good for saving low-health allies in a pinch (like Raptor Bot). This style doesn't support Silver Lining, as you'll be using those tokens to take the hits in place of your allies. Don't use this method if you are low on health or if the enemy is dealing a lot of damage each turn. The strategy: If you have few or no tokens, when you or an ally hits a villain or environment target, allow Friendly Fire to trigger so Setback gains 2 tokens. Then, when a vulnerable ally would take damage that would defeat it, spend 2 tokens on Uncharmed Life to redirect the damage to Setback instead. Each time this combo triggers, you are taking 2 + X damage, where X is the damage your ally would have taken. However, your ally will still be alive, and hopefully so will you. This combination costs both health and tokens, meaning you are slowly getting closer to defeat and can't rely on Silver Lining to get you back up again.
  • Looking Up + Uncharmed Life - This combination has token generation, allowing Setback to tank 3 hits every 2 rounds, but again is costly on the health. This setup is better than the previous one, as it can support a weak Silver Lining if you don't have to redirect more than one attack a round. Only use Uncharmed Life if it will keep both you and an important ally alive or if keeping the ally alive at the loss of Setback can win you the game.
  • Looking Up + Wrong Time and Place - Setback tanks the first attacks against each character each turn. With this combo, if you have more than 9 tokens at the start of your turn, you can redirect Looking Up's psychic damage to another target as an added benefit. This combination is best used if you have 15 or more Unlucky Tokens or if there is not a lot of damage going against all hero targets. The big drawback is, if your team is hit by an attack that hits multiple targets, you can go through your Unlucky Tokens very quickly. Any remaining damage is dealt to you directly, which can lead to an untimely defeat for Setback. If you have High-Risk Behavior, damage dealt directly to Setback will be very expensive to redirect.
  • High-Risk Behavior x2 + Surprising Fortune - Setback gains 2 health each round, helping him stay the highest health target, while also providing an ally or himself some cards. Just make sure that, after Setback's card play, there are still at least 2 Unlucky Tokens in his token pool to pay for Surprising Fortune, and that, at the end of his turn, he has less than 3 Unlucky Tokens.
  • High-Risk Behavior x2 + Looking Up + Wrong Time and Place - This combination can net at least 5 Unlucky Tokens for Setback each round. At the start of each of your turns, gain 2 tokens from High-Risk Behavior x2. If you can, use Fumbling Fool and "Whoops! Sorry!" to gain more tokens with your card play. Finally, for your power use, use Looking Up to deal some damage and gain 3 more Unlucky Tokens. This is his strongest tanking method, but also the most likely to critically explode if the team takes too much damage. Keep this up as long as you can maintain at least 7 or more tokens each round (the more tokens, the better). It is unlikely you'll be able to pull off this combination in most games, due purely to the fact that he only has 2 High-Risk Behaviors in his deck and only plays one card a turn. Since this combination depends upon 4 different Ongoing cards, it is highly susceptible to Ongoing destruction. If you have to lose cards to Ongoing destruction, lose Wrong Time and Place first, if you are low on tokens. Otherwise, lose High-Risk Behavior. Also note that if a villain target attacks Setback directly, he will have to pay a very large amount of tokens to redirect that damage, potentially emptying his token pool and making Wrong Time and Place a deadly card for him to keep in play. As a safety measure, try and get Silver Lining into play just in case something decides to hit your whole team.

Card plays that help Setback's tanking are:

  • Cash Out - Give your whole team health. You don't even have to spend Unlucky Tokens on the card play if you don't have them to spare.
  • Plucky Break - If you have 2 or less tokens when you play it, Setback regains 3 health.
  • Fumbling Fool - A quick boost of (H) Unlucky Tokens. An okay play at (H) = 3 and an amazing boost at (H) = 5. However, some allies may grumble if they see their really good cards end up in the Discard pile from this card.
  • Silver Lining - As long as you have Unlucky Tokens, Setback, if defeated, he will get back up again and be healed. A great emergency card. And if you find it isn't necessary, you can sacrifice it to Ongoing destruction cards.

DPS (Damage dealing): Setback has many options for direct damage.

  • These include Cause and Effect (with non-zero tokens), Exceeded Expectations (with 1 or more tokens), High Risk Behavior (with a damage dealing card or power and 3 or more tokens), Karmic Retribution (with 7 or more tokens), Looking Up (just requires a power use), Plucky Break (with at least 2 tokens), Reckless Rush and Wrong Time and Place (with a large number of tokens).

The general DPS builds for Setback are:

  • Looking Up + High-Risk Behavior - This gives Setback consistent increasing damage. This combo can be painful to maintain without a strong tank on the team or some other way of keeping Setback from taking damage. The strategy: At the start of your turn, "High-Risk Behavior" grants you 1 Unlucky Token. Regardless of your card play, when you use Looking Up, before you deal damage, Setback gains 3 Unlucky Tokens. This increases his damage from Looking Up by 1. For every 3 tokens more you have, his damage increases by another 1. This combination becomes dangerous at high token levels for two reasons. The first is that villain targets attacking Setback increase their damage dealt to him by the same amount he is increasing his damage to hit them. The second is, with 10 or more tokens, Looking Up starts causing Setback to deal himself 3 psychic damage at the start of each of his turns. If you wish to maintain this combination for long periods, I recommend getting Silver Lining into play as soon as possible. It works as both a safety measure and a kill switch, as, if Setback would die, he instead sets his health to his current Unlucky Token level and removes all of his Unlucky Tokens. This has two results: First, he no longer boosts villain damage deal to him. Second, he has health again. Remember that High-Risk Behavior boosts any damage Setback deals to villain targets. So, if you play cards like Exceed Expectations, Reckless Rush, or Cause and Effect, they will also benefit from the damage boost. Just make sure that when you play them, Setback still has at least 3 Unlucky Tokens in his pool.
  • Looking Up + High-Risk Behavior x2 + Silver Lining - This is the ultimate damage dealing combination for Setback. It grants him a massive increase in damage to villain targets, and Setback also takes a lot more damage. And, if he is defeated, he comes back with a sizeable amount of health. If you are close to being defeated, and it is your turn, you can suicide with Cause and Effect, dealing a bunch of damage, and then come back with health equal to how many Unlucky Tokens you had. This combination is very difficult to set up, as Setback only has 2 High-Risk Behaviors in his deck.
  • High-Risk Behavior + Wrong Time and Place - If Setback has the tokens to redirect damage dealt to teammates and damage dealt to himself, he can use this combination to improve his own gameplay. Wrong Time and Place can redirect his self-inflicted damage from Reckless Rush, Looking Up, and Turn of Events to hit other targets. And, if he has 3 or more Unlucky Tokens when he does this, then he deals increased damage to villain targets. Reckless Rush with 5 Unlucky Tokens goes from "Setback hits an enemy for 3 and himself for 2, then gains 2 Unlucky Tokens" to "Setback hits an enemy for 3 and then hits the same or another enemy for 3." At the start of his turn, if he has Looking Up in play and has 10 or more Unlucky Tokens, he can change that 3 self-inflicted damage to at least 6 damage dealt to a villain target of his choice. As with any situation involving High-Risk Behavior and Wrong Time and Place, this combination is not often viable for more than a few rounds at a time due to the high amount of damage Setback can take while maintaining it.

Card plays that help Setback's damage dealing:

  • Cause and Effect - With a good number of tokens, this hits Setback hard, but it hits the enemy hard first. Add Silver Lining to allow Setback to survive a potentially deadly backlash.
  • Karmic Retribution - At 7 or more Unlucky tokens, this card is a heavy hitter. It reduces future damage gains from High Risk Behavior, but also reduces its risk.
  • Reckless Rush - This card is easily boosted by High Risk Behavior, and also grants 2 tokens. If you have Wrong Time and Place in play, the tokens gained can pay for redirecting the self-inflicted damage Setback would take, further increasing the damage he deals.
  • Exceeded Expectations - For a quick hit against a key target or boss, spend just 1 token. Keep an eye on powers of 3 for a boost from High Risk Behavior to each target hit. Also be careful about how many tokens you spend, as hitting that many targets is not optional.
  • Plucky Break - Gives a card draw and deals an enemy damage, for 2 tokens. When played, this card reduces the effectiveness of High Risk Behavior, but only by a little.

Token Generation

As Setback is very token dependent, he needs token generation. Setback's deck has 17 token generating cards and one base power that grants one token. The division of token generating capabilities for Setback are as follows:

  1. Setback's base ability, Risk - Grants one token, plays one random card. As mentioned above, use with caution.
  2. One-shots (11) - Reckless Rush, Fumbling Fool and "Whoops! Sorry!" all provide a quick token boost, with Fumbling Fool granting the most (between 3 and 5 tokens). Each of these cards grants Unlucky Tokens at a cost. Reckless Rush deals Setback damage, but the other two hurt his allies as well.
  3. Ongoings (7) - Looking Up, Friendly Fire and High Risk Behavior all grant Setback extra tokens. Looking Up requires a power usage, and increases his tokens by 3 before he deals damage, making it combo well with High Risk Behavior. High Risk Behavior allows Setback to add or remove 1 token from his pool at the start of his turn, but also increase damage dealt to Setback from villain targets by 1 for every 3 Unlucky Tokens in his pool. There are two High Risk Behaviors in Setback's deck, allowing +/-2 tokens each round. Friendly Fire allows Setback to (usually) exchange health for tokens at a 1 to 1 ratio on other players' turns. With 1 point of damage reduction, the ratio increases to 2 to 1. With damage boosts, it decreases quickly in the following array 1 token for 1 damage at no boost, 2 tokens for 3 damage at +1 boost, 1 token for 2 damage at +2 boost, 3 tokens for 5 damage at +3 boost, etc.

Looking Up is usually Setback's primary token generator and the one-shots are secondary. In a 5 player game, Fumbling Fool is the strongest one-shot token boost. In a 3 player game, Fumbling Fool and "Whoops! Sorry!" are tied for effectiveness.


One of the keys to playing Setback well is knowing how to manipulate your token count. Some cards work better with high counts, some with low, and some with something in the middle. Plucky Break is amazingly strong...if you have exactly two tokens in your pool. Karmic Retribution works differently at 7 or more tokens than at 6 or less. What are the optimal ways to get these tough cards into play? For small changes, High Risk Behavior is great. For larger changes, look to Looking Up, Fumbling Fool, and "Whoops! Sorry!". There are three situations where I would consider using Fumbling Fool, High-Risk Behavior and "Whoops! Sorry!" to remove Unlucky Tokens instead of gaining them. Those situations are: 1. You have High-Risk Behavior in play, your current Unlucky Tokens are a multiple of 3, and the villains will be dishing out a lot of damage to you on their next turn. In this situation, drop your tokens as fast as possible to 2 or less. 2. You have Looking Up in play and you have 10 or more Unlucky Tokens, but you are low on health. In this situation get your Unlucky Tokens to 9 or less. 3. You have Plucky Break in your hand and you need healing. In this situation, try and get to exactly 2 Unlucky Tokens. If you can't do that, get 1 or fewer.

Examples of Setback Math:

Some cards that have particular Unlucky Token counts we want to reach, and ways to reach them quickly:

  • Plucky Break - We want exactly 2 Unlucky Tokens when we play it.
    • If you have 1 or 3 tokens at the start of your turn, and High-Risk Behavior is in play, trigger it to get to exactly 2 tokens and play Plucky Break that turn.
    • If you have (H) + 2 tokens, you can play Fumbling Fool to reduce your tokens to 2, then play Plucky Break on the next turn.
    • If you have 1 token, you can attempt a Risk to gain 1 token in preparation to play Plucky Break on the next turn. This can backfire, reducing you to 0 tokens, or boosting you to more than 2 tokens.
    • If you have 4 tokens, you can play and use Surprising Fortune in preparation to use Plucky Break on the next turn.
    • If you have 5 tokens, you can play "Whoops! Sorry!" to reduce your tokens to 2 for the next turn.
    • If you have 7 tokens and Surprising Fortune is in play, you can play "Whoops! Sorry!" and then use Surprising Fortune to get exactly 2 Unlucky Tokens for your next turn.
    • If you have 9 tokens, you can play Karmic Retribution to drop to 2 Unlucky Tokens for your next turn.
    • If you have 11 tokens and Surprising Fortune is in play, you can use Karmic Retribution and activate Surprising Fortune to drop to 2 Unlucky Tokens.
    • If you have High-Risk Behavior and 0 tokens, you can play and use Looking Up to gain 3 tokens, then use High-Risk Behavior at the start of your next turn to get exactly 2 Unlucky Tokens.
  • Karmic Retribution (7 damage, 7 tokens required)
    • If you have 0 tokens, but you have Looking Up and High-Risk Behavior in play, you can play Fumbling Fool or "Whoops! Sorry!" to gain 3 to 5 Unlucky Tokens. Then you can use Looking Up for another 3, giving you 6 to 8 Unlucky Token. At the start of your next turn, if you need more tokens, you can use High-Risk Behavior to gain 1 more Unlucky Token and play Karmic Retribution that turn for 7 damage.
    • If you have 7 - (H) tokens, Fumbling Fool will net you the tokens you need so you can play Karmic Retribution on your next turn.
    • Four uses of Friendly Fire outside of your turn will allow you to trigger Karmic Retribution, but likely at the cost of 8 or more health.
    • If you have Looking Up and Friendly Fire in play, but no Unlucky Tokens, you can play Reckless Rush and trigger Friendly Fire to gain 4 Unlucky Tokens. Then use Looking Up for 3 more. On your next turn, you'll be able to play Karmic Retribution for 7 damage. This method costs you 4 health.

Most of the time it is better to have a high token count, but sometimes you need to drop tokens fast. One of those times is when you know a super-damaging villain card is coming out and you have High Risk Behavior in play. That's where the following cards come in handy:

  • Fumbling Fool (remove (H) tokens)
  • Exceeded Expectations (use with caution as the damage dealt isn't optional. If you spend more tokens than the total number of Villain and Environment targets combined, the other attacks have to go against allies)
  • Cash Out (the best token dropper. Gives you cards and heals your team)
  • Wrong Time and Place (redirect as much damage as you can!)
  • Karmic Retribution (remove 7 tokens fast, and hit someone hard!)
  • "Whoops! Sorry!" (Remove 3 tokens, at the cost of an ally's card, and destroys an Ongoing or Environment card.)
  • The fastest way to drop tokens on your turn is to have Surprising Fortune in play and Karmic Retribution in your hand. With these two cards, you can drop 9 Unlucky Tokens in one turn. That's three less damage taken from High-Risk Behavior, or 6 less if you have 2x High-Risk Behavior.

For People Who Find Setback Too Self-Damaging Take a look at these self-damaging cards in Setback's deck, with a slightly different perspective. Let's start with the view that each card has a base value (2 damage to a target, removing an ongoing/environment card, etc.)

  • Cause and Effect - This card is pretty straight-forward. Remove an Ongoing or Environment card. If you have Unlucky tokens, it also does a "zero sum" amount of damage to Setback and one villain target. Zero sum here means you lose as much as you gain.
  • Friendly Fire - On the surface, this card looks to be purely zero-sum. And in a way, it is. Think of it less as hurting yourself to gain Unlucky tokens and more as converting health to Unlucky tokens, which can later be converted back via Silver Lining, Surprising Fortune, Karmic Retribution, and similar healing cards. Note that Surprising Fortune and Karmic Retribution give you overall more value for your tokens, turning your health into health and card draw, or turning 1 token into 2 health.
  • Reckless Rush - This card deals 2 damage to one target and converts 2 of Setback's health to Unlucky Tokens.
  • Turn of Events - Lose H tokens to give each other hero a power, then lose 2 health. This one is positive as long as the other hero targets can cause the party as a whole to gain more than H + 2 benefit. Examples of heroes that can do this on their own are Tempest with Cleansing Downpour, the Sentinels (multiple power uses off of one power use if Sentinel Tactics is in play), or the Scholar with his LEE or LLE engine up (L = Solid to Liquid, E = Mortal Form to Energy).
  • High-Risk Behavior - This one gives a minor benefit of always having at least 1 token on your turn, and a potentially worse-than-zero-sum increase in damage to and from Setback based on your Unlucky Tokens. However, if you have Silver Lining in play, those tokens are just waiting to be put back into your health pool and are increasing the damage you deal. The damage you take is just increasing how quickly they'll be converted back to health. This view only works well if your Unlucky pool is equal to or greater than your current health pool. Every round where you don't take extra damage is a round where you're getting the positive effects of High Risk Behavior (extra damage dealt to enemies) without the negative (extra damage dealt to Setback).
  • Uncharmed Life - Admittedly, this card is very situational. If you can get it into play via Risk or some other free card play, it becomes "use a power to gain 3 health". If you're teamed up with Unity, this card can be "Redirect damage from Mr. Chomps (Raptor Bot) to Setback for 2 tokens". Generally this card is a net action loss and token loss. But if Mr. Chomps or a similar lower-than-Setback health target is also giving a strong positive effect (Raptor Bot, for example, does damage based on the number of golems in play), this can actually be very beneficial for the team as a whole.
  • Looking Up - This card already has positive returns, unless you have 10 or more Unlucky tokens. However, even in that situation, you can consider it changes to Convert 3 health to Unlucky Tokens and deal one target 3 damage. If you have High-Risk Behavior, Looking Up becomes health conversion and "1 extra damage to your attacks from now on". If you have "Wrong Time and Place", the self-damage becomes "Deal one target 3 psychic damage at the start of your turn."

Card Analysis

  • Cash Out (x3) - Amazing for getting cards into Setback's hand, removing tokens, and healing Setback and his allies. Not a great Risk card early on, as low tokens means low card draw. It is helpful for those looking to get a certain combination of cards, or when searching for the single Wrong Time and Place in the deck.
  • Cause and Effect (x2) - Strong at low token counts, or at high token counts if Silver Lining is in play. Mildly negative Risk card due to the self-inflicted damage and the chance there are no environment or ongoing cards to destroy. More party friendly than "Whoops! Sorry!" for ongoing and environment destruction.
  • Exceeded Expectations (x3) - Weak at low token counts or low target counts. Works very well with damage boosts. Mildly positive Risk card, dealing at least one target 3 damage. Best used for large groups of enemies or when High Risk Behavior is boosting the damage it will deal to each target. Very nice to use when an enemy is redirecting damage from other targets to itself (for example, Orb of Delirium).
  • Friendly Fire (x2) - Trade health for tokens on a 1 for 1 basis (better with 1 damage reduction, worse with any damage boost). Very situational card for health-conscious players. A primary token generator for those who prefer to go all-out. Plays well with Plucky Break. Great way to generate tokens on other players' turns. Becomes a health/token exchange battery while Silver Lining is in play. Neutral Risk card, as the damage is optional. An easy choice for card discard or Ongoing destruction fodder.
  • Fumbling Fool - Amazing for gaining tokens fast in mid to high (H) games. Can irritate allies if they end up discarding great cards. Doesn't play well after Vernal Sonata or Reclaim from the Deep. Positive or negative Risk card, depending on how your allies feel about discarding cards from their deck and depending on the villain you are fighting.
  • High Risk Behavior (x2) - Good for slow token build-up. Dangerous at high-token counts. Works very well with Looking Up. Is not limited. Mild positive to strong negative Risk, depending on your current token count and how often Setback is getting hit. Lower tokens make it more positive. Uncharmed Life is a great token dump for those extra tokens if Setback has just a few tokens and is taking damage from area attacks. High Risk Behavior also makes cards like Reckless Rush and Cause and Effect more effective, increasing the damage to villain targets without increasing the cost to Setback. Great token adjuster for token count-specific cards like Plucky Break or Looking Up.
  • Karmic Retribution (x3) - Mild heal or strong hit. Expensive to deal damage with, as it removes 7 tokens. Mildly positive to strongly negative Risk, depending on your goal and token count. If you need more tokens, it is mildly bad at low token counts and strongly negative at high token counts. If you need healing, it is mildly positive. Usually mildly positive. Does not combo very well with High Risk Behavior, as the tokens are removed before the damage is dealt. This card could be considered to be weak due to the following: The healing requires a card play and an Unlucky Token, but only grants 2 health. The damage requires a card play and 7 Unlucky Tokens, but only deals 7 damage.
  • Looking Up (x3) - Best consistent token builder and damage dealer in the deck. Combines very well with High Risk Behavior as the tokens are gained before the damage is dealt. Can be painful at high token counts (10 or more). Tends to replace Risk as the power action for Setback when played. As it is not limited, be careful having 10 or more tokens with multiple Looking Ups in play. This card is, in my opinion, the most important card in his deck. With it, he plays very well. Without it, he can be in a lot of trouble.
  • Plucky Break (x3) - Varies between mildly strong to really strong depending on your token count. Is either a mildly positive or very positive Risk. Mildly positive at 0 or 1 tokens or greater than 2 tokens. Very positive at exactly 2 tokens.
  • Reckless Rush (x4) - Mild or strong damage dealer. Okay token generation. Works very well with High Risk Behavior and Wrong Time and Place. Works very badly with any increase of damage to heroes or by heroes. Usually a mildly negative Risk for health, but mildly positive overall with a token gain and damage dealt to a target. I consider this Setback's defining card, as it epitomizes his gameplay.
  • Silver Lining (x2) - Either a useless card or absolutely amazing, depending on Setback's health and his token pool size. Either a neutral or positive Risk. Neutral at high health or zero tokens, positive at low health and non-zero tokens. Combos very well with 'Cause and Effect or with High Risk Behavior and Looking Up. In high-health games, can be used as Ongoing destruction fodder.
  • Surprising Fortune (x2) - A good tanking and support card. Requires good token generation to maintain (two tokens for each use). Can be used with Friendly Fire feeding it tokens, making it a power to let a player draw two cards. A positive Risk and very team friendly. If Looking Up is in play, Surprising Fortune can be used as Ongoing destruction fodder, if needed. This is a neutral exchange, with a power use and two tokens traded for 2 health and a player gaining 2 cards.
  • Turn of Events (x2) - Strength is dependent on the other heroes in play. Gets stronger with more allies. Works very well with Argent Adept, since Argent Adept can use that power for many effects. Usually a negative Risk, but can be positive at high token counts. If he has less than (H) tokens when he Risks it, he loses all tokens and deals himself 2 damage, with no positive effect.
  • Uncharmed Life (x2) - Good tanking for a team with weak heroes or when Legacy has played Heroic Interception. Is costly in health and tokens. It has an expensive heal, requiring a play, a power, and destroying the card to regain 3 health. Best if used to tank at least one hit before healing or when you don't want to Risk. Neutral Risk as it has no negative side-effects. Works very well to reduce tokens outside of Setback's turn when High Risk Behavior is in play or when Looking Up is in play with more than 9 tokens. Raptor Bot loves this card. Also good for redirecting damage with riders to Setback. For example, La Capitan's Walk the Plank targeting Setback instead of Chrono-Ranger. As it is very situational, it is a good choice for card discard or Ongoing destruction fodder. It is unwise to use this card's tanking ability against villain targets while you have High-Risk Behavior in play, as you are actually increasing the overall damage dealt by that villain. This card can be considered very weak for the following reasons: 1. For the healing, you must play the card and use a power, netting you 3 health. Meanwhile, you have stronger powers and stronger card plays that could be used instead. 2. For the tanking side, you spend 2 Unlucky Tokens to redirect the damage to Setback, but you have no damage mitigation. That means the overall damage hasn't changed and you have used 2 tokens. The only gain is the change of targets.
  • "Whoops! Sorry!" (x3) - Good token generation. Can be very positive or irritating to allies. Negative Risk due to the likelihood of destroying a card an ally really wants to keep. It is helpful to plan out the use of this card with your allies by asking them to play one or more cards you can sacrifice to it.
  • Wrong Time and Place (x1) - Very good with high tokens. Very negative with low tokens. Can work well with Silver Lining for some unique tanking. Also does well with Friendly Fire as, on each ally's turn, they can give Setback 2 tokens and deal him 2 damage. Without boosters, if he has 2 tokens, he can redirect that damage to another target instead. Usually a very negative Risk. Returns to the deck if unwanted, leading to a chance of more negative Risks. With only one copy in the deck, this card is a rare one without extensive card draws. Tough to maintain against any enemies or environments that deal a lot of damage each round to multiple targets (Insula Primalis, Silver Gulch 1883, Ruins of Atlantis, The Final Wasteland, Grand Warlord Voss, The Dreamer, Citizen Dawn). Works extremely well against enemies who deal small amounts of damage at infrequent intervals (Baron Blade usually, an under-control Plague Rat or Spite). This card is arguably Setback's most powerful card as it combos very well with Reckless Rush and Looking Up with 10 or more tokens. When used with Cause and Effect, discarding tokens to redirect the damage converts the redirected damage to 0, reducing its usefulness. Note that this card only redirects the first attack each turn that hits each hero. Can be very detrimental when teamed up with allies that put targets into play, like Unity and Captain Cosmic.

Deck Analysis

The base chance you will draw a card with any particular effect is important with Setback due to his Risk power and the nature of his cards. Here is a quantification of each type of card in his deck:

  • Cards that heal Setback: 15 (6 ongoing, 9 one-shots) % of deck: 37.5
  • Cards that deal damage to Setback: 18 (10 ongoing, 8 one-shots) % of deck: 45
  • Cards that grant tokens to Setback: 17 (7 ongoing, 10 one-shots) % of deck: 42.5
  • Cards that use tokens from Setback: 23 (7 ongoing, 16 one-shots) % of deck: 57.5
  • Cards that deal damage to enemies: 21 (4 ongoing, 17 one-shots) % of deck: 52.5
  • Number of each card type: 14 ongoing, 26 one-shots
  • % card draw match for Super Scientific Tachyon: 65 (65% of the time, Super Scientific Tachyon's ability will succeed when targeting Setback).

From this, we can see that a Risk from a full deck will most likely deal damage to enemies and/or use Setback's tokens. Also, Risking is more likely to hurt Setback than heal him.

% chance of playing negative Risked cards based on current # of Unlucky Tokens: 0 tokens - 3 guaranteed negative out of 36 (8.3%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place), 22 neutral or potentially negative out of 36 (61%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place, Karmic Retribution x3, Friendly Fire x2, Uncharmed Life x2, Cause and Effect x2, "Whoops! Sorry!" x3, Cash Out x3, Reckless Rush x4) 1 token - 3 guaranteed negative out of 36 (8.3%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place), 19 neutral or potentially negative out of 36 (53%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place, Karmic Retribution x3, Friendly Fire x2, Uncharmed Life x2, Cause and Effect x2, "Whoops! Sorry!" x3, Reckless Rush x4) 2 tokens - 3 guaranteed negative out of 36 (8.3%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place), 19 neutral or potentially negative out of 36 (53%) (Turn of Events x2, Wrong Time and Place, Karmic Retribution x3, Friendly Fire x2, Uncharmed Life x2, Cause and Effect x2, "Whoops! Sorry!" x3, Reckless Rush x4) (H) tokens - 1 guaranteed negative out of 36 (2.8%) (Wrong Time and Place), 17 neutral or potentially negative out of 36 (47%) (Wrong Time and Place, Karmic Retribution x3, Friendly Fire x2, Uncharmed Life x2, Cause and Effect x2, "Whoops! Sorry!" x3, Reckless Rush x4) 10 or more tokens - 0 guaranteed negative out of 36 (0%), 18 neutral or potentially negative out of 36 (50%) (Karmic Retribution x3, Friendly Fire x2, Uncharmed Life x2, Cause and Effect x2, "Whoops! Sorry!" x3, Reckless Rush x4, Looking Up x2 - note that it is negative if 1 is in play already)

Dealing with Setback Situations The following are situations Setback may find himself in over the course of one or more games. The first is having zero tokens. The second is being unable to play cards. The third is being unable to use powers.

Zero Tokens

The following one-shot cards that normally depend on tokens are still great without them:

  • Cash Out - (H) - 1 heroes can still discard a card to regain 2 health.
  • Plucky Break - Gain 3 health. Very helpful.
  • Cause and Effect - Destroy an Ongoing or Environment card with no loss of health.

The following cards are very bad or unhelpful to play with no tokens:

  • Karmic Retribution - No healing, no damage. No effect. Could be worse. Could be Turn of Events
  • Silver Lining - Can't live when healed up to zero.
  • Turn of Events - Take 2 damage. Nothing else happens.
  • Wrong Time and Place - It will probably lead to Setback taking a pretty big amount of damage and possibly being defeated.

Heroes Can't Play Cards

Half of Setback's strength comes from cards like Looking Up and Surprising Fortune. Because of this, if he has Ongoings in play, Setback is still very useful when he can't play cards. If he has no useful Ongoings in play, he can use his base power to either gain 1 token (Risk) or reduce the next damage dealt to a hero target by 2 (Mitigate).

Heroes Can't Use Powers

Setback has a great number of Ongoing cards that grant powers. Fortunately, he also has a great number of One-Shot cards that don't require powers to use. And some of those cards can destroy the cards that stop heroes from using powers. Which cards will be useful can be highly dependent on the number of Unlucky Tokens he has.


  • Wrong Time and Place - Redirect any damage with a rider effect from a hero target to a villain target. Whipacorn and Walk the Plank can be redirected to a villain target. The first prevents the target from dealing damage and the second just negates the effect. Gauntlets of Perdition, and Backlash Field both cause the target of the redirection to take extra damage from the redirected attack.
  • Uncharmed Life - Redirect attacks with a negative effect (multiple Whipacorns, etc.) to Setback so only one character has to deal with it. Just make sure to have enough tokens and health to pay for and survive the redirection. Can also be used to redirect negative attacks harmlessly to Setback if he is somehow immune to damage and the target is not (See Legacy and Dr. Medico).


Here are some fun combos for Setback:

  • Reckless Rush + Surprising Fortune - End result: Setback deals 2 damage to a target and allows an ally (or himself) to draw 2 cards.
  • Reckless Rush + Risk into Cash Out - Deal 2 damage, gain 3 cards, and, with enough discards, everyone else regains 2 health.
  • High Risk Behavior x2 + Surprising Fortune - Tank mode. Each round, Setback heals 2 and allows an ally (or himself) to draw 2 cards.
  • Looking Up + High Risk Behavior x2 - Deal massive amounts of damage. Each use of Looking Up gives Setback +2 damage to villain targets. Add Wrong Time and Place when you have 10 or more tokens at the start of your turn to really pile on the damage, as the 3 psychic damage Setback deals to himself from Looking Up gets boosted by High Risk Behavior when it is redirected to a villain target.
  • Friendly Fire + Surprising Fortune - Extra card draws for a moment of lower health. Best if Setback takes his turn after damage dealing allies take theirs.
  • High Risk Behavior + Reckless Rush - Deal 2 damage to yourself. Deal even more to the enemy.
  • Silver Lining + Cause and Effect - Blow yourself up to blow up one enemy. Then get back up again. Requires a high Unlucky Token count.
  • Silver Lining + Wrong Time and Place - Take all the damage you can for your team, then stand back up again. Be careful to not take too much extra damage and to redirect only what you need to.
  • Friendly Fire + Wrong Time and Place - Take damage from your allies to build tokens. Use those tokens to reflect damage dealt by enemies back to the enemies.
  • Wrong Time and Place + Reckless Rush - Requires 2 tokens in your pool. Deal one target 4 melee damage, or two targets 2 melee damage, then add 2 tokens to your pool. Add High-Risk Behavior x1 or x2 to really spice this one up.
  • High-Risk Behavior + Uncharmed Life - If Setback is taking extra damage from an attack that hits multiple heroes at once, he can dump tokens to take the damage from them instead, reducing the overall damage dealt. This works best for low damage values. Two examples:
    • An area attack dealing all heroes 1 damage and Setback has 6 tokens** - Setback would normally take 3 damage. Setback spends 2 tokens to redirect the first attack to himself, taking 2 damage. He then takes the second hit for 2 tokens, taking 1 damage, and then one hit to himself for another 1. He takes 4 damage, one higher than he would have otherwise, but he reduced the overall damage taken by 1 because he had fewer tokens boosting High Risk Behavior.
    • An attack dealing 3 targets 3 damage, and Setback is one of the targets. Setback has 6 tokens** - Setback would normally take 5 damage from one attack. Setback spends 2 tokens to redirect the first attack, taking 4 damage. He then spends 2 more tokens to redirect the second attack, taking 3 damage. The final attack hits Setback. He now has taken 10 damage but he reduced the overall damage the team took by 1. If he only redirected one attack, the total damage would still be 11.

Cool Allied Combos

  • Looking Up x2 + Fanatic's Embolden - +6 tokens, deal 6 damage. With High Risk Behavior this is even better. Be careful of going over 9 tokens, however, as you'll be taking 6 damage at the start of your turn. Wrong Time and Place helps there, redirecting the self-inflicted damage to a villain target instead and reducing Setback's total tokens.
  • Mr. Fixer's Bloody Knuckles + "Whoops! Sorry!" - Get rid of a painful allied Ongoing while gaining tokens and maybe destroying a villain or environment card.
  • Mr. Fixer's Jack Handle + Friendly Fire x2 - Mr. Fixer gets to attack all non-hero targets 3 times every time he attacks, and the base damage for two of the attacks is 2 instead of 1.
  • Unity's Bee Bot + "Whoops! Sorry!" - Need to destroy two Ongoing and/or Environment cards? Now you can, and deal 2 damage in the process, or more if Volatile Parts is in play.
  • Tempest's Reclaim from the Deep + Risk OR Argent Adept's Vernal Sonata + Risk - Is it really a risk when you know what's coming up next?
  • Tempest's Reclaim from the Deep + Cash Out OR Argent Adept's Vernal Sonata + Cash Out - Heal your team for 2, over and over again, if they have the cards to sacrifice for it.
  • Wrong Time and Place + Visionary's Wrest the Mind - Visionary controls one target's damage, and you deal 3 psychic to the same or a different target while she takes nothing.
  • Turn of Events + Omnitron-X, Unity, and Argent Adept - Lots of card plays out of turn, some healing, and other shenanigans.
  • Ra's Flesh of the Sun God + Ra's Imbued Fire + Cause and Effect (Or any other self-damage card, e.g. Reckless Rush or Turn of Events) - Setback is immune to his own damage! Add High Risk Behavior x2 and lots of token generation and Cause and Effect can be as strong or stronger than a high-damage Lightspeed Barrage.
  • Tempest's Into the Stratosphere + Fumbling Fool - Get rid of a pesky card on the board without having to destroy it. This can avoid the negative effects of things like Apostate's Relic Spirit.
  • Legacy's Heroic Interception + either Wrong Time and Place or Uncharmed Life - Now Legacy can also be immune to damage.

Setback's Preferences

Allies who play well with Setback:

  • Visionary - Visionary can return Ongoings (like Silver Lining) to the top of Setback's deck for Risk to put into play on Setback's next turn. She can reduce how much damage Setback deals to himself and increase how much damage he deals to others with Twist the Ether. Visionary can blow up pesky Ongoings that Setback may not want any more, like Wrong Time and Place.
  • Mr. Fixer - Setback can get rid of Bloody Knuckles in a positive fashion via "Whoops! Sorry!". Setback can also allow Mr. Fixer to attack multiple times with Jack-Handle via Friendly Fire. Each time Mr. Fixer hits the enemy targets, he can also attack Setback via Friendly Fire. If he does, Jack Handle then causes him to instead attack all non-hero targets. This combo only triggers once for each 'Strike' attack with Jack Handle, doubling Mr. Fixer's total attacks with it.
  • Argent Adept - Setback has a great many power options, making more power uses very helpful. Vernal Sonata + Cash Out can heal the whole team 3 hp each turn, with Vernal Sonata allowing Setback to pull a Cash Out back out from his discard, if he has a second one there. Argent Adept can grant Setback 1 damage reduction via Counterpoint Bulwark, vastly increasing the strengths of Uncharmed Life, Friendly Fire, and multiple self-damaging One-Shots in Setback's deck.
  • Unity - Unity can give Setback off-turn power uses with Hasty Augmentation. Bee Bot can destroy pesky Ongoing cards for Setback. With Uncharmed Life, Setback can tank for the squishy bots. However, watch out for Wrong Time and Place, as more targets (bots) means more damage gets redirected to Setback when fighting enemies that attack multiple targets with one attack. If you need to take out two Ongoing and/or Environment cards in a hurry, Setback can use "Whoops! Sorry!" to destroy Bee Bot, and then Setback and Unity can each destroy an Ongoing or Environment card.
  • Chrono-Ranger - Hunter and Hunted can be in play for a limited time only, if needed, as Setback can use "Whoops! Sorry!" to destroy it. Setback can use Uncharmed Life to redirect damage boosted against Chrono-Ranger from Hunter and Hunted to Setback, un-boosting it.
  • Nightmist - Setback can feed Nightmist extra cards with Surprising Fortune. But watch out for Wrong Time and Place, as Nightmist likes to deal a lot of damage to herself! Setback's Cash Out can help Nightmist recover from low health, and she is usually willing to pay the discard cost.
  • Omnitron-X - Slip Through Time now has a use after Omnitron-X's turn, and that is to pay for "Whoops! Sorry!". Setback can also use Uncharmed Life to redirect damage to himself if Omnitron-X takes an attack that would otherwise cause him to destroy his components.
  • Naturalist - Need a card to feed "Whoops! Sorry!"? How about one of Naturalist's forms, since he can get it back afterwards? Works best if the Naturalist goes after Setback in turn order. Doesn't work with The Hunted Naturalist variant. Rhino Form and Indomitable Force can redirect damage Setback would deal to himself, and allow The Naturalist to ignore that damage, if it is low enough. Setback can feed The Hunted Naturalist cards so he can find a form as soon as possible by using Surprising Fortune.
  • Bunker - Plan on getting rid of a mode? Let Setback do it with "Whoops! Sorry!".
  • Tachyon - Fumbling Fool helps feed Tachyon more Burst cards. Cash Out can likewise feed the burst pile. Setback can support Tachyon's need for cards with Surprising Fortune. Hypersonic Assault can save Setback from the negative effects of Wrong Time and Place or High-Risk Behavior.
  • K.N.Y.F.E. - K.N.Y.F.E. has cards that have positive effects when destroyed, and Setback can destroy those cards for her. Setback's Cash Out can help K.N.Y.F.E. stay healthy, and Surprising Fortune can help her find the Equipment cards she wants.
  • Tempest - Reclaim from the Deep and Cash Out heal the team for 2hp each round that the combo can be sustained. Tempest's Cleansing Downpour allows Setback to play a riskier game with his health. Turn of Events can help Tempest clear a battlefield or heal allies.
  • Captain Cosmic - Energy Bracer is Setback's favorite card, but he usually only wants one of it (it makes Friendly Fire MUCH friendlier). He'll gladly take more if he has Wrong Time and Place or High-Risk Behavior in play. Setback loves off-turn power uses and extra power uses from Augmented Ally and Dynamic Syphon, as none of his powers are limited. He also often has lots of cards to pay for Augmented Ally, thanks to Cash Out and Surprising Fortune. Meanwhile, Setback can use Uncharmed Life to redirect damage from important constructs, like Energy Bracer or Autonomous Blade. However, like most self-damaging heroes, Setback doesn't like being the target of Wounding Buffer.
  • The Scholar - Set up the Scholar's LEE engine (Solid to (L)iquid x1, Mortal Form to (E)nergy x2). Then Setback can feed him cards via Surprising Fortune, give him heals by using Cash Out, and give him actions with Turn of Events. For more crazy shenanigans, add Argent Adept for out of turn power and card plays and Team Leader Tachyon for extra card draw.
  • Legacy - Legacy both works well with and works poorly with Setback. Turn of Events and Reckless Rush can become very painful with Legacy's damage boosts (Galvanize and Inspiring Presence). However, Heroic Interception prevents Setback from hurting himself and Lead from the Front can mitigate the negative side of High Risk Behavior. Setback's Wrong Time and Place and Uncharmed Life make Legacy's Heroic Interception even better, as now Legacy can also benefit from it.

Allies who don't play well with Setback:

  • Absolute Zero - Wrong Time and Place is very painful to Setback here and reduces AZ's capabilities, as AZ can't deal fire damage to himself the first time each turn. "Whoops! Sorry!" makes AZ mad because he really needs his Ongoing and Equipment cards. Promo Setback is even worse for Absolute Zero. If Promo Setback uses Mitigate before AZ's turn, he can prevent AZ from dealing damage to himself, just like Wrong Time and Place.
    • Villains who Setback is strong against:**
  • Kismet - Kismet can't touch Unlucky tokens. Friendly Fire, Cause and Effect, Reckless Rush, and Looking Up can cause Setback to remove Jinxes due to the 4 damage threshold, especially while he has Glass Jaw. Setback has a good amount of Ongoing destruction cards to wipe out Kismet's various Jinxes.
  • Grand Warlord Voss - Exceeded Expectations can wipe out Voss's army, given enough tokens and no Gene-Bound Guards. With enough tokens, Wrong Time and Place can cause Voss's space ships to deal heavy damage to the ships themselves or other targets. He doesn't have a lot of non-melee attacks, however, so hitting spaceships normally can be very difficult. Cause and Effect can overcome this.
  • The Dreamer - Setback loves least as much as any target of it's attack can. It makes Turn of Events only cost tokens and turns Reckless Rush into a pure token generator. Also, Setback has no hit-every-target attacks. Unless there are no projections in play, Setback isn't likely to hit The Dreamer.
  • Apostate - Exceeded Expectations can blow up some relics very quickly. Karmic Retribution is great against the tough relics. Also, Gauntlet of Perdition is really mean when Setback redirects Apostate's melee attacks back at a Villain or Environment target. Apostate doesn't have a lot of multi-target attacks, so Setback can usually safely build up Looking Up and 2x High Risk Behavior to get past any damage reduction (I'm looking at you, Runes of Malediction!). Setback can remove Apocalypse easily with Cause and Effect or "Whoops! Sorry!". Setback's only real worry is having Wrong Time and Place in play when Fallen Angel is played.
  • Akash'Bhuta - Ensnaring Brambles works like Whipacorn with The Dreamer, and Setback can make himself the lowest health target pretty easily with Friendly Fire, Uncharmed Life, and Reckless Rush. His strong burst cards, Exceeded Expectations and Karmic Retribution, can really beat up on the various limbs. If the Living Rockslides are not in play, he can do a lot with High-Risk Behavior and Looking Up, or even Wrong Time and Place. "Whoops! Sorry!" and Cause and Effect can deal with annoying Entombs.
  • La Capitan - When destroying a hero card for "Whoops! Sorry!", Setback can choose a card from underneath La Capitan. He can also use Uncharmed Life or Wrong Time and Place to prevent Battle Forged from getting a card play or Final Breath from dealing extra damage to a target.
  • Chokepoint - Just like against La Capitan, Setback can destroy face-down hero cards to pay for "Whoops! Sorry!" instead of destroying his friends' in-play cards. High-Risk Behavior helps Setback easily get past Chokepoint's damage reduction.

Villains who are strong against Setback:

  • The Ennead - The Ennead get extra power effects whenever Fumbling Fool is used. Shu is highly resistant to Setback, as only a few of his cards deal psychic damage, and usually that's to himself. The Ennead also do not have any Ongoing cards he can destroy.
  • Baron Blade - Fumbling Fool improves the Baron's chance at pulling the Moon into the Earth before his flip. Hasten Doom, Devious Disruption, and Consider the Price of Victory can wreck Setback if he has Wrong Time and Place in play. High-Risk Behavior makes Backlash Field potentially deadly to Setback. On the other side of things, Setback's plethora of Ongoing destruction cards can be a real boon here.
  • Plague Rat - Plague Locus and Infection make Setback deal himself more damage. So does Advanced Plague Rat. This can be mitigated if Setback gets Wrong Time and Place out and has lots of tokens. Since Plague Rat attacks everyone often, High-Risk Behavior can be a dangerous gamble. Setback's Ongoing destruction is helpful here. Just be careful with removing "Infection".
  • Iron Legacy - Iron Legacy doesn't give Setback time to build up tokens and deals Setback a ton of damage (on top of what Setback will deal himself). Demoralizing Presence makes High-Risk Behavior painful. This is another time where Setback's Ongoing destruction shines.

Environments that are helpful to Setback:

  • Wagner Mars Base - Meteor Swarm gives Setback infinite tokens with no retribution, until it stops. Since Setback has no Equipment cards, he is immune to Pervasive Red Dust.
  • Time Cataclysm - Fixed Point + Uncharmed Life - Setback can use Uncharmed Life's Power multiple times, as Fixed Point keeps it from being destroyed. With Atlantean Throne Room, Setback can use Friendly Fire for a 2 for 1 token/health exchange thanks to its global damage reduction.
  • Realm of Discord - Ethereal Bonds on Setback allows Turn of Events to be damage-free and makes Reckless Rush a "free" token generator. Wrong Time and Place can re-target Ethereal Bonds to a pesky villain target. Plenty of other good stuff here.

Environments that are harmful to Setback:

  • Rook City - Blighted Streets causes Setback to deal himself extra damage, with no boost to the damage he deals to others. Wrong Time and Place is a bad option here with Scum and Villainy and Toxic Sludge hitting all hero targets.
  • Pike Industrial Complex - Toxic Vats make Setback burn himself down that much faster. Chemical Explosion with Wrong Time and Place can hit Setback multiple times.
  • Insula Primalis - There is so much damage increase in this deck that Setback can burn himself out with a poorly-timed Wrong Time and Place, Turn of Events or Reckless Rush. He is also often the lowest health target after a few rounds, making him Velociraptor Pack chow.

Donner's General Strategies: When I play Setback, here are the strategies I usually follow: Looking Up is the first card I try to get in play, if I have it. It then becomes the primary power I use each round. If Looking Up is in play, and Setback's not taking a ton of damage, or if he is low on tokens, I'll put High-Risk Behavior in play. I don't often use Surprising Fortune except if I have a lot of tokens and Looking Up is not in play, or if I am very low on health. This can change if I am teamed up with heroes that can really use extra cards, or if I need to help a card-starved ally. I save Silver Lining until I have a few tokens I can use for it, unless we need something to sacrifice for Ongoing destruction and Setback has good health. If I have low tokens, Fumbling Fool is a great quick boost. If I have low health, I'll play Karmic Retribution at less than 7 tokens or Plucky Break at 2 or less tokens (preferably exactly 2). If the whole party is hurting or one hero is particularly low on health, I'll play Cash Out. I don't often play Plucky Break just for the attack and card bonus unless High-Risk Behavior is in play with plenty of tokens for it. I usually save it for the healing. I prefer Cause and Effect for removing pesky Ongoings or Environment Cards, but will use "Whoops! Sorry!" if there's a card that we most definitely need to remove. Always ask if someone is willing to sacrifice a card to it first! I usually save Friendly Fire and Uncharmed Life for discard fodder, as their use is often too situational. If they somehow enter play, it's either because I expect Ongoing destruction or because Risk played them. There are some very rare situations that I'll play them for other reasons, but that's likely 1 in 30 games or so.

Special Thanks To

  • Foote
  • Humble-Knight
  • John from Handelabra