Marvel Champions: A New Player Buying Guide
Welcome to the New Player Buying Guide for Marvel Champions: The Card Game! This living document is designed to provide brief overviews of every single expansion available in the United States market, to help you sift through the wide variety of products that have been released for the game.
The format for this guide is adapted from Ian Martin’s wonderful Lord of the Rings buying guide at his blog Tales From the Cards.
First things first, a tl;dr.
RECCOMENDED BUYING ORDER:
1. GREEN GOBLIN
2. MS. MARVEL
3. CAPTAIN AMERICA
This document will be split into two sections, the first one will be the Scenario Packs.
How to read each entry:
Difficulty: The difficulty of the scenario, rated 0 to 5.
Innovation: How innovative and unique a scenario is, rated 0 to 5.
Fun Factor: How fun a scenario is to play, rated 0 to 5.
Modular Sets: The names of each modular set and a short description.
Modular Set Quality: How good each set is overall, taking into account primarily fun factor and innovation.
Scenarios Included: The names of scenarios available.
Main Villain: The lead villain in the scenarios.
Buy it first if…..Why you should buy the expansion first.
Description: An overview of the basics of the scenario pack, largely spoiler-free.
Note: If more than one scenario is included, each will be rated. See Green Goblin for an example.
Difficulty: 2/5 (Risky Business), 4/5 (Mutagen Formula)
Innovation: 3/5 (Risky Business), 2/5 (Mutagen Formula)
Fun Factor: 2/5 (Risky Business), 4.5/5 (Mutagen Formula)
Modular Sets: Goblin Gimmicks (New toys for the Goblin), Running Interference (Tombstone), Power Drain (Elektro), A Mess of Things (Scorpion).
Modular Set Quality: 4/5
Scenarios Included: Risky Business, Mutagen Formula
Main Villain: The Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
Buy it First If…..You want to fight a variety of Spiderman villains. You want the best bang for your buck. You are wanting another high-difficulty scenario.
The Green Goblin scenario pack was the first one released for Champions, and overall it was a success. The first scenario, Risky Business, sees the heroes have to fight the first double-sided villain in Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. Heroes have to attack Osborn’s criminal enterprise in order to flush out the Green Goblin, so that they can fight him. Sadly, the scenario suffers from a lack of difficulty (even on expert), and some of the more ambitious ideas didn’t quite pan out. The second scenario, Mutagen Formula, makes up for all of this and more. The Mutagen formula is a fast-paced race to beat the Goblin before his army overruns all the city. It is second in difficulty only to Ultron, and one of the most exciting scenarios released to date. There’s nothing particularly unique or fascinating about the scenario, but it is a strong overall design that will definitely add something to your collection. As for the four encounter sets, Goblin Gimmicks is kind of a miss, but the other three sets (each based off a classic Spiderman villain) are awesome. These modular sets add a ton of variety to your games and give you more options in the middle range of difficulty, to replace more boring sets like Under Attack. Overall, the sheer value found in this scenario pack makes it well worth the cost, and an ideal first purchase.
The Wrecking Crew
Fun Factor: 1/5
Modular Sets: None
Main Villains: Wrecker, Thunderball, Bulldozer, Piledriver
Buy it first if…..Don’t. Just don’t.
The Wrecking Crew at first seems like a fascinating idea. Fighting four villains at once? Awesome! Sadly, there was misstep after misstep in the execution of the scenario. Firstly, the main scheme only receives one threat per turn, regardless of player count, and the villains aren’t allowed to scheme on the main scheme. This means the only way you can reasonably lose from threat is due to the decks running out so many times that there are too many acceleration tokens to deal with. They can build up their side schemes in order to cause one-time attacks, but those attacks are honestly extremely weak. As for the fighting aspect of the game, the villains are reasonably tough on super expert mode, but losses typically come from boost randomness more than anything. The biggest problem is that the game is a slog. On regular expert mode you are dealing with more health than any scenario released to date. On super expert mode, you could be looking at hours of chewing through hit points. The encounter decks are weak, so the scenario gets repetitive.
Next, we will take a look at the hero packs!
Hero Power: How strong the hero (15 cards) is.
Hero Innovation: How unique and interesting the hero is.
Hero Fun Factor: How fun the hero is to play.
Featured Aspect: Which aspect receives the most cards.
Aspect cards: A general rating for the cards in the featured aspect.
Neutral/other Aspect cards: A general rating for the cards in the non-featured aspect.
Notable Cards: A list of some notable aspect or neutral cards.
Buy it first if…..Reasons to buy first.
Hero Power: 5/5
Hero Innovation: 2/5
Hero Fun Factor: 3.5/5
Featured Aspect: Leadership
Leadership Cards: 5/5
Neutral/non-Leadership Cards: 2.5/5
Notable Cards: Strength In Numbers, Followed, Squirrel Girl, Wonder Man, Falcon, Avengers Assemble!
Buy it first if……You are having trouble winning the game. You love decks that focus on allies. You are a solo player.
Captain America burst onto the scene as the first hero pack, and is widely considered the strongest hero available for the game. He has tricks for every aspect of the game, from thwarting cards like Agent 13, to economy cards like Super-Soldier Serum, and minion clearing cards like Shield Toss. There’s nothing particularly interesting or unique about Cap, but he’s a force to be reckoned with in any aspect.
As for the other cards, this pack is primarily about the leadership cards you get. There are three new allies for some variety in your deck, and Strength in Numbers is one of the most powerful economy cards in the game. Avengers Assemble and Honorary Avenger unlock some fun combos. The only other aspect that gets a decent card is a rare damage-dealing Justice card, Followed.
Hero Power: 4/5
Hero Innovation: 3.5/5
Hero Fun Factor: 4/5
Featured Aspect: Protection
Protection cards: 4/5
Neutral/non-Protection cards: 3/5
Notable Cards: Energy Barrier, Tackle, Concussive Blow, Down Time, Enhanced Reflexes
Buy it first if……You want a more complex character in your game. You want better Protection cards.
Ms. Marvel may be an obscure character, but her hero pack was a very welcome addition to the broader cardpool. Her hero is a somewhat complex one, requiring cunning hand management skills and strong strategy when it comes to switching between Alter-Ego and Hero forms. Ms. Marvel focuses primarily on event cards; recycling them, boosting their effects, saving them for other turns, making them cheaper, etc. She is a relatively strong character with tricky but interesting gameplay.
As for the other cards, this pack is basically worth it for Energy Barrier alone, a card that makes Protection much, much better. Protection decks also get a new ally in Nova, and a strong event in Tackle, that synergizes nicely with Ms. Marvel. The other cards are more hit and miss, but Down Time is useful for characters that use basic Recover actions, and Enhanced Reflexes has some use.
Hero Power: 2/5
Hero Innovation: 2/5
Hero Fun Factor: 2.5/5
Featured Aspect: Aggression
Aggression Cards: 3.5/5
Neutral/non-Aggression Cards: 4/5
Notable Cards: Jarnbjorn, Heimdall, Hercules, Mean Swing, Hall of Heroes
Buy it first if……You want more variety in your Aggression decks. You enjoy adding an Asgardian theme to decks.
The mightiest Avenger is anything but in Marvel: Champions. Thor comes off a lot as a weaker version of Cap, and many of his cards are similar to cards in Captain America’s deck. The other problem is that Thor’s power level heavily varies depending on the number of minions in the encounter deck, which can be swingy. Still, his relationship with Mjolnir is strongly implemented into the game, and he can be a fun hero for clearing minions.
The cards found in Thor’s pack more than make up for where he lacks. There are many fun, interesting Asgard cards, from a weapon in Jarnbjorn, to a few good new allies, and the richly thematic Hall of Heroes. These cards will improve your aggression decks, but also open up new deckbuilding opportunities. The cards for other aspects are good as well, Surveillance is likely a staple in Justice decks, and Heimdall gives you a new neutral ally to consider.
Coming soon, when FFG finally decides to allow Americans to buy their products.