Witchbreaker told her that increased pain would lead to more power. Alhough she resisted at first, Nico eventually gave herself over to the process, which also gave the Staff a new look. Minoru then led the group back to the present, bringing a young super powered girl named Klara with them just in time to fight alongside the Young Avengers during the Secret Invasion of the Skrulls.
From there, the team soldiered on, facing off against rogue Majesdanians, the negative effects of one of Nico's spells, plastic surgery monsters, and an attack on the Malibu dream house they were squatting in. Shortly after, Chase got hit by a car when chasing a girl he thought was Gert. And after run-ins with Daken and the Avengers Academy kids, Nico and Chase found themselves kidnapped and deposited in Arcade's Murderworld. He'd chosen sixteen kids and said that only one of them could walk out of the deadly locale in one month's time. Nico quickly realized that her magic acted even more strangely there, but did figure out how to use it to make edible food. Along the way, Chase picked up the Darkhawk amulet.
Though they initially took off on their own inside Murderworld, Nico and Chase soon allied with Hazmat, X-23, and Reptil. After a series of trials and shifting allegiances, Nico sent Chase away, only to wind up on the wrong end of Deathlocket's blaster after she'd been taken over by Apex. But that was nothing compared to the fight the next day when Nico took on Apex, Deathlocket, and a Sentinel all backed by Chase, who was controlled by Apex as Darkhawk. Chase sliced through Nico's arm and the Staff of One before kicking her off a mountain. Nico managed to crawl to the remnants of the Staff, but died soon after. However, the Staff of One used her blood as a sacrifice and brought her back with an incredible power boost as well as a mystical hand replacement and remodeled Staff.
Nico then swiftly dismantled the Sentinel and turned Chase back to normal before sending Apex and Deathlocket underground, where they discovered the inner workings of Murderworld. As the clock ticked down on Arcade's insane experiment, Apex took over Murderworld and sent repeated waves of attacks after the others before Deathlocket managed to kill her. She then broke Chase and Nico out, and they all agreed on the story that they would tell the public—but that all went out the window when Arcade released a video series showing exactly what happened.
When Chase started doing press and accumulating fame based on the videos, Nico paid him a visit. And when the survivors of the ordeal reunited to find Cullen Bloodstone, they decided to go into the villain nation of Bagalia as newcomers on the scene. Once they found Bloodstone, Nico tried talking him into returning home, but he said that he liked it there and that Daimon Hellstrom helped him learn to control his power. Most of the group then decided to stay there and bring Baron Zemo's organization down from the inside. Nico began hanging out with the recently resurrected Alex Wilder, who helped her hone her strategic abilities and focus her power, but eventually Zemo's true plan to lure in the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. so they could steal a Helicarrier came to fruition and the kids once again went their separate ways.
Nico then walked away from the Runaways, but found a new home with a different team called A-Force—first in the Doctor Doom-created Battleworld nation of Arcadia and then in the reconstituted reality that emerged at the end of Secret Wars. When team member Singularity landed on this new Earth, she brought together her teammates, including Nico, but they had no memory of their existence on Battleworld. The newly formed group worked well together to stop a being called Antimatter, but its defeat led to dimensional holes which they then had to band together to close.
A-Force then faced Countess, who used Nico against the team, and also met an alternate universe version of Dazzler from the Thor Corps. The team then fell apart during the second Super Hero Civil War, when Carol Danvers used one of Ulysses' visions to predict that Nico would kill a woman named Alice.
After the Civil War, Nico got herself an apartment, but had a difficult time personally. But that all changed when Chase appeared in her living room in a time machine with the dying Gert. He'd gone back in time to stop her from getting stabbed by Geoffrey Wilder, but only got there just after the attack. So, he brought her dying body to the present. Nico didn't have any general healing spells she could use, so she brought a doctor to Gert and assisted with her magic in time to save their friend.