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Luke Cage


Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man, first appeared in the Marvel comic Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 in June of 1972. He was created during the height of the blaxploitation genre and grew so popular as to join the New Avengers and feature in many other team-ups, most famously with Iron Fist in the comic title Power Man and Iron Fist. He made his first live-action debut in the Marvel Netflix series Jessica Jones in 2015 and later starred in his own self-titled Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage in 2016, portrayed by Mike Colter in both series.

Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, Luke Cage was subjected to a voluntary experimental procedure that granted him superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. Using his new power, he escaped prison and returned to New York where he launched a career as a Hero for Hire to anyone that could meet his price. In Unmatched, Luke Cage uses his unbreakable skin to stand against even the most supernatural of foes.

Luke Cage is included in Unmatched: Redemption Row, where he stands opposed to the agent of vengeance known as Ghost Rider and the mystical vigilante, Moon Knight.

luke cage card

Hero Stats

Health: 13 / Attack: Melee / Movement: 2

Special Ability

Luke Cage takes 2 less combat damage from attacks.

When defending, Luke Cage wins combat if he takes no damage even if he didn’t play a card.

Sidekick: Misty Knight

Health: 6 / Attack: Ranged / x1

Strategies and Tips

luke cage

Luke Cage is a straightforward hero; he tanks hits and hits back even harder. His health is small, and he isn’t immune to auto damage through abilities or schemes, so the tricky part is positioning Luke so that he can use his strongest attacks before he falls. He must work in tandem with his partner Misty Knight to create openings.

Primary Strengths

Consistently strong defense

Powerful attacks

Primary Weaknesses

Low health

Effect damage (e.g. Invisible Man, Little Red)

Low mobility

The following are 3 tips for creating and exploiting openings as the Heroes for Hire:

Tip #1: Heroes for Hire

luke cage heroes for hire

Misty Knight and Luke Cage are a team; therefore, it is crucial to keep Misty alive as long as possible. Luke may be stronger offensively and defensively than Misty, but her being around allows for mix-ups in your gameplay and leaves openings in your opponent’s defenses that Luke may struggle to create alone. When attacking or defending, think about how her card effects can be used to combo with Luke:

Daughter of the Dragon is a versatile card with a value of 2 that becomes a 6 if Misty is adjacent to her opponent. This is an excellent defensive option, and while it has potential as an attack, Misty is a ranged sidekick so attacking when adjacent is a dead giveaway for your opponent. If you plan to use this as an attack, mix up your attacks with Commanding Impact while in melee range.

Misty has two other exclusive options at her disposal:

Got My Back? is a defense card with a value of 1 that allows her to swap spaces with Luke Cage immediately, and if she does, Luke is now the defender. This card is excellent for setting up Luke for double attack actions on your next turn.

Pushback is a versatile card with a value of 2 that allows you to move the opposing fighter up to 3 spaces after combat. Since she is ranged, this is a great way to reposition your opponent into a more desirable position while attacking. For blocking, the value is not ideal.

Tip #2: Unbreakable

luke cage unbreakable

Luke Cage’s ability gives him an insane amount of defensive value. He isn’t overpowered since all of his defensive options have a value of 2 or less; however, the fact that he can reliably defend with a 3 or 4 value makes hurting him a steep hill to climb. The one exception is the card Skin Like Titanium.

Skin Like Titanium is a defensive card with a value of 0. After combat, this card allows you to deal damage to the opposing fighter equal to the amount of combat damage you took. To get the total value of this card, you need to bait your opponent. With your ability, this card’s value will still equal 2, but if your opponent is used to you defending with values of 4, they will eventually need to attack you with something of much higher value to hurt you. If you play this card strategically, you will punish your opponent for attacking big, making them hesitate to attack that hard again.

Trash Talk is a defense card with a value of 2 and is another note-worthy defense option due to its two effects. Immediately, it acts like a Feint and cancels all effects on your opponent’s card. Defender’s card effects trigger first, which will stop other immediate effects your opponent may have. The after-combat effect ends your opponent’s turn. This card is deadly for the fighters who like to flee after an attack or rely on gaining additional actions through card effects. Use this card wisely to set up maximum damage, as shown in Tip #3.

Tip #3: The Price Just Doubled

luke cage the price just doubled

Luke Cage does not just have bulletproof skin, he can also hit like a truck. He has three excellent attack cards:

Sweet Christmas has a value of 6 and no effects. This card is excellent for punishing Feint, and since there are no card effects, it can be used with little fear.

Get Paid has a value of 4 and that lets you draw 2 cards after combat if you won the combat. Extra card draw is always great for preparing you for your opponent’s turn.

Hero for Hire has a value of 3 and allows you to boost it during combat. The best cards to boost with are Pushback and Regroup.

An additional card worth mentioning is Still Standing, a card Luke or Misty may use with a value of 4. The after-combat effect allows you to choose 2 cards in your discard pile and shuffle them into your deck. Whether used by Luke or Misty, this card mustn’t be canceled. Since you can choose any 2 cards from your discard pile, you can recycle your strongest cards, like Trash Talk. If there is another Still Standing in your discard pile, you can recover it to create a loop.

Final Thoughts

Luke Cage is a simple, tanky, and powerful hero. His ability makes him very forgiving defensively, and Misty Knight gives him enough mix-up potential not to be one-dimensional and predictable. Luke Cage is easy to understand and great for players who are new to Unmatched. Even though we recommend him to beginners, he is still mighty in the hands of more experienced players. 

We invite you to share your thoughts and questions by leaving a comment below. We love hearing from our readers and would be happy to help in any way we can!

Unmatched: Redemption Row

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