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How to Beat the (Advanced!) Chairman

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Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: Apr 04, 2012
How to Beat the (Advanced!) Chairman

Villain Profile

  • Damage Types: Melee and Projectile
  • Most Dangerous Attack: Hired Gunmen
  • Most Dangerous Utility: Prison Break
  • Most Annoying: The Broker
  • Honorable Mention: The Deputy
  • Card You Most Want to See: Prison Break (Early!)/Perfect Human Specimens (Later)
  • Nemesis: Mr. Fixer

The Chairman has laid a legitimate claim to the title of “Hardest Villain” on the work of legions of minions and a vicious Operative.  Successfully waging this war on crime on advanced mode involves figuring out how to properly manage the endless hordes.  It also requires no small amount of damage and luck.  If you can manipulate the situation such that the luck turns your way, then you may have a chance against this fiend. 


The Chairman’s deck turns on one card.  The Hired Guns are one of the most painful threats in the game.  Once the Chairman flips, they deal at least 6 damage to everybody, assuming the aid of the Contract and depending on the number of players.  I put a lot of effort into making sure that they don’t do that.  Letting that happen more than once puts you on a good path to loosing.

If you can manage a hero with a retributive strike, then you don’t have to worry as much about these guys.  Wraith with Combat Stance, Ra with Flame Barrier, or Unity’s Bee Bot, if they have a damage boost, can take the hit and kill the Hired Guns before they can hurt anybody else.  Nightmist or Tachyon might be able to deal with the situation with redirection.  Any of the heroes with total damage blocking, like Haka or Mr. Fixer, can also help mitigate the issue.  These methods, however, require very specific timing and so are not always reliable.  Most of the time, you need to do it the hard way.

The plan is this.  Do not let the Chairman flip until the Contract shows up.  That way, the first time Hired Guns come out, they won’t hit you so hard.  If you can get the Chairman to play one or both Prison Breaks during this time period, you are set.  Deck manipulation proves quite worthwhile here, and at this point, you want him to play the nasty card.

This is where the Broker and the Informant come into play.  They play extra cards from the deck.  Early, Perfect Human Specimens and Prison Break don’t do anything.  If you manage to use these guys to coax him to play Prison Break early, the game just got a lot easier.  If the deck doesn’t cooperate, however, and the Prison Breaks are hanging out at the bottom, then you’ve made your life harder for nothing.  Annoying, right?

Anyway, the minute the Contract comes out, kill everything.  You don’t want the Contract hanging around longer than necessary, since that +1 damage is more than you need to take between all the other things the villains are throwing at you, especially the Operative’s revenge attacks.  Once the minions are gone, throw everything you have at the Operative, then take on the Chairman with your big attacks, and hope he doesn’t draw Prison Break for however long it takes you to do that. 

Thug Lovin’

Aside from the Contract and his foul ilk, the remainder of the underbosses and thugs are simply annoying.  If you fail to kill a thug one round, be prepared for the fact that the underboss will bring out another.  If there are already two out, there is no point in killing just one, unless you also take down the underboss.  Keep that in mind as you fight your way through this onslaught.  Multiple-target damage is so good here.

Deputy Arenson brings out Crooked Cops, who protect the rest of the Underbosses.  These guys have to die if you’re going to take the others down.  Make sure you kill them in one round, or the Deputy simply heals them. 

The Broker and his(/her?) Informants, as detailed above, might be helpful to your cause.  Once that time has passed, however, these girls are just frustrating.  Ideally, the first person in turn order can reliably take the Informants down – best case scenario, without playing a card.  Boosting Tempest or Absolute Zero and using Electrical Storm or Cold Snap works wonders for this.

The Fence and his Thieves make it difficult to conduct your business of beating down the Operative and Chairman by stealing your stuff and healing them.  Kill the Thieves on sight, lest you lose too much traction.  A good thing about fighting the Chairman is that the Thieves are the only things that destroy your stuff, and they only kill one thing at a time.  You will be merely inconvenienced, not obliterated, by stuff destruction.

Finally, the Muscle hurts everybody, which does suck.  The Enforcers are a bit of a joke – a single card is easy to lose, but these guys have a lot of hit points.  Let it go on too long, and these guys will break you down, like everything else about this deck.


Undivided Attention is painful.  Perfect Human Specimens is okay.  Both of those are straightforward enough.  Damage reduction is a great tool for living through Undivided Attention, while Perfect Human Specimens can undo some of your work.  It doesn't kill you, though, so good deal!

Prison Break is also straightforward – all you have to do is kill everything again.  You can often deal with all of the effects once, but most teams don’t have the damage capability to take out all ten minions at once.  Usually, I can tolerate the Muscle and the Deputy for another round, but kill the Contract first, and the Broker and Fence if at all possible.  The Hired Guns, Informants, and Thieves all must go – this causes big problems for low-damage teams.

Rook City is Mine! is a really interesting card that is usually a bit of a reprieve.  The Chairman may be immune to environment damage, but his minions sure aren’t.  Environment depending, this can really help you cleave through minions, or help you in some way that allows you to benefit more than the villain.  A lot of environment cards have a minimized effect played on the villain turn.  Even if both cards are horrible, this card usually gives you sufficient warning to deal with the biggest problems before they occur.

The Reshuffle

Once the Chairman has gone through the 10 non-minion cards in his deck, the deck reshuffles, trash and all.  If you’ve been keeping on top of your minion-killing, this is great for you.  The thugs all get shuffled back into the deck, where the underbosses cannot find them.  The Operative still gets the underbosses, but the thugs are nowhere to be found.  Hopefully, you have a few turns of respite where you can go after the Chairman and the Operative.  Prison Break also becomes much tamer without thugs.  You may be able to convince the Broker or the Informants to help you in getting to the reshuffle.  However, the ten cards you have to wade through are painful, and you won’t get out of killing the minions.  For this to be most effective, all of the thugs need to be in the trash. 

The Operative

The Operative is a great target for effects that reduce damage.  You’re going to be killing minions a lot, so hitting her with something like Hoist Chain, Stun Bolts, or Twist the Ether will be very effective.  Armor is also a good way to minimize the damage she deals.

Once you’ve cleared up the underbosses – ideally, while you’re clearing up the underbosses - the next step is usually to look towards the Operative.  The good news is, once she’s pulled out all the underbosses, she can’t keep pulling them out until the deck reshuffles.  She only has 45 hit points, but her defenses primarily come in the form of the waves of distracting minions.  You should only need a few turns with a minion-free board to remove this threat. 

If you manage to kill her before the deck reshuffles, you won’t need to worry about her pulling out all of the underbosses again, and you will be in great shape to take on the Man himself.

The Chairman

The Chairman has a mere 35 hit points, the lowest of all of the main villain cards.  He has no defenses on his own, just those granted by his distractions, the Operative and his minions.  He makes up for it with environment immunity and a vicious feedback attack.  When it comes time to finally defeat the Chairman, your hit points are likely worn down to the point where a retributive hit or two might take you out.  The best way to negotiate this is to simply take him down with big-damage turns.  The game has gone on a while by now, and hopefully you’ve arranged your team’s power combos. 

Usually, the rhythm of the game is such that you take the Chairman down last.  However, if something prevents the Chairman from executing his retaliation damage and you see an opportunity to take him down, don’t hesitate.

One further caution about the Chairman – his retaliatory attack makes mass attacks painful and automatic attacks dangerous.  Know what you’re getting into when you play those, and perhaps look for a way to get rid of such cards once they’ve served their purpose.


The Chairman has two holes in his defenses.  First, the power of his deck is utterly reliant on the trash pile – an early Brain Burn from Visionary or Savage Mana from Haka shuts down his Thug recursion fairly well.  Second, his damage is almost all melee, accented with projectile.  Legacy can stand in the way of a good number of these attacks with Lead from the Front and Next Evolution.  He can take the combo one step further with Legacy Ring and another Next Evolution to absorb all of the damage that the Chairman can dish out. 

Try Using

Haka.  To effectively fight the Chairman, you need to be able to do lots of damage, and Haka can contribute to this effort with a fine selection of damaging powers and the excellent Rampage.  Ground Pound is great for countering Gunmen or for preceding rounds where you kill a ton of minions.  Haka can use Dominion to get a benefit out of the extra environment cards played.  Savage Mana puts a stop to the Prison Break shenanigans, while doubling as a perfect finishing move for the Chairman.


Faltering.  Every Hero works fine against the Chairman.  He doesn’t punish any one character overmuch.  He will find any weaknesses in your line, however, and exploit them until you drop.  Make sure you can belt out damage above all, and hope that the cards are on your side.  Good luck.

arenson9's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 day ago
Joined: Aug 08, 2011

Excellent, as usual.

One surprise for me was no mention of trying to take down the Operative before allowing The Chairman to come into play. I think I had that strategy in mind back from the playtesting days when the thugs didn't yet start in the trash. I've been realizing, slowly, that it's an almost impossible strategy, but I thought maybe I was missing something. After first being surprised that you didn't even mention it, I'm not more convinced that it's not a realistic strategy most of the time.

Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Last seen: 5 months 3 days ago
Joined: Dec 12, 2012

I wasn't playing on Advanced, but I must have gotten lucky with this guy.  Knowing his reputation, I saved him as the last villain to try.  I fought him for the first time yesterday in two games.  In the first game, we used Legacy, Haka, and Fanatic.  We lost, but we got him down to 15 HP.  I tried again in the evening, and I used the Freedom Five and I didn't find him especially difficult at all.  We were using the Pike Industrial Complex, which did hurt his side more than the heroes'.  But at the end, all 5 were still standing, 4 of them with over 10 HP.  I have to say, though, thematically, he may be one of my favorite villains.

I just wish there was a Rook City-like environment that wasn't as tough as Rook City! :)

Fight! 2nd edition available now.

Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: Apr 04, 2012

I have found the Chairman much easier with five characters than with three or four.  I think the reason for this is simply damage economics - five characters can belt out more damage, so it is easier to take down all the minions.  Sure, the Operative deals more damage, but she's about the only increased threat.  To be fair, most villains are probably easier with five, but it still deserves noting here.

So I guess that should be part of the guide.  If you're completely stumped in fighting the Chairman, try using five characters, and see if that doesn't help.

Ameena's picture
Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 15, 2012

Generally I seem to find I have less trouble with the Chairman than I do with the Matriarch or Plague Rat - yeah, it hurts when the Contract and a Hired Gun come out and shoot you for increased damage in the same turn, but generally we're able to take out both of them within one round so they can't do it again, or otherwise nerf damage in some way (eg Stun Bolt or various abilities of Legacy) so that it isn't so bad the following round. Personally, though, I tend to find anyone with high damage (Rat, mainly because it's irreducible) or stuff destruction (Dawn, Omnitron) worse than the variety of stuff the Chairman and his cronies throw at you.

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phantaskippy's picture
Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jan 26, 2013

Once the Chairman flips having Tachyon with Hypersonic assault is wonderful.  We've beat him twice on the strength of Hypersonic assault allowing us to focus on the operative and the chairman with no repercusion.  

Tachyon and Haka are my favorites vs, The Chairman, Haka owns the thugs early and Tachyon can help build his cards, then you Hypersonic assault, Lightspeed Barrage and Haka of Battle for a dead Chairman and Operative.  Nightmist or Argent Adept to help fuel cards and more abilities makes a nice support for those two, and Legacy is always good.

Good write up.

Ameena's picture
Last seen: 4 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 15, 2012

Ah yeah, and don't forget the power of Savage Mana to eat all those Thugs...and then the Underbosses once the Chairman has flipped :D.

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SuperRick's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: Jan 08, 2014

Great stuff.  It's a great guide but I saw a typo that you want to fix for the benefit of others.

Please change "Letting that happen more than once puts you on a good path to loosing" to "Letting that happen more than once puts you on a good path to losing."



Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: Jan 27, 2017

Great guide, I have not yet got the courage to try him on Advanced.
One thing I think is worth mentioning is that if you have the misfortune of the Chairman flipping while the Operative is still alive damage redirection becomes even better than before as they trigger each other's Nemesis damage.