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New Player Buying Guide - (UPDATED 6/4/20)

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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.

 

Green Goblin

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

 

Difficulty: 1/5

Innovation: 3/5

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.

 

 

Captain America

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.

 

Ms. Marvel

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.

 

 

Thor

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.

 

 

Black Widow

Coming soon, when FFG finally decides to allow Americans to buy their products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've actually come around to Thor a bit. He isn't that bad really just offers a different play experience to other heroes released so far. Jarnbjorn, Mean Swing and Under Surveillance make the pack worth a purchase even if he isn't your cup of tea. 

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I didn't really read any reviews when I first got the game. I just saw an article about on ffg stating that they're making there first marvel game. Of course I'm going to buy it. Then I saw that the expansions were only $15-20. Steal! So I've just always bought all the expansions. And it's a good thing I didn't read any reviews! Not to be rude, but from reading your post, I would never have bought the wrecking crew. I love the wrecking crew! Sure, they are kind of easy to beat, but they are indeed just a bunch of criminals with a magical crow bar. And every one always gives Thor so much hate! He's amazing! I do always play two player, what with having a nerdy twin and all, and he freaking took out Monster, Baron Zemo, two goblin soldiers, and a goblin thrall, as well as playing a hammer throw on Goblin Knight! He is a beast! And all every one complains about is his low thwart, and his lack of cards. Based off of those criterion's for a good hero, they're going to despise Hulk! Which, if you don't like Thor, I get it. I just want justice for Thor.  

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Yeah, Thor gets a lot of undeserved hate. Which I think has a lot to do with the fact that his kit looks very similar to Cap, but you can't play him like Cap and expect it to work well. But if you play him right, he's an absolute beast. The new Aggression cards coming out with Hulk will make Aggression Thor much more manageable solo, I think.

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Most of the Thor hate comes from a vocal minority of players who play strictly solo and simply declare him bad rather than "bad at solo" (and there is a fair amount of legit complaints about him being poor at solo also). But there are actually more players who think positively of him, but those comments don't stick out like hater comments.

And there are those that think quite highly of him
https://thesidescheme.wixsite.com/thesidescheme/post/high-fives-hero-aspect-combos

But yeah, if you play to his strengths, he is very strong, its just solo by it's nature, forces you to rely on his weaknesses. And this game does have a large number of solo players, especially among those that frequent online social channels.

But there is no arguing that he is a very divisive hero.

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You are spot-on with the Wrecking Crew. It's a cool concept and I am glad they experiment with mechanics but the scenario is way too easy that it is dull, and the super expert mode only makes it a lot longer and duller.

I think a simple fix to make Wrecking Crew more challenging is to start main scheme with 2 threat per player, and maybe even an acceleration token. This makes it feel like a true jailbreak you need to thwart immediately while still trying to tussle with 4 villains.

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17 hours ago, Deadwolf said:

Most of the Thor hate comes from a vocal minority of players who play strictly solo and simply declare him bad rather than "bad at solo" (and there is a fair amount of legit complaints about him being poor at solo also). But there are actually more players who think positively of him, but those comments don't stick out like hater comments.

I never play solo, and dislike him 😀

 

 

Thanks for the feedback though everyone. A lot of this will be updated and revised over time.

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Risky Business is definitely easier than Wrecking Crew. Not that Wrecking Crew is hard, but Risky Business is almost unloseable unless it's your first time playing it.

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1 hour ago, 2morrow said:

Risky Business is definitely easier than Wrecking Crew. Not that Wrecking Crew is hard, but Risky Business is almost unloseable unless it's your first time playing it.

I really love Risky Business thematically speaking, and it's easy to make it harder -- that's what modular sets are for.

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3 hours ago, Ascarel said:

I really love Risky Business thematically speaking, and it's easy to make it harder -- that's what modular sets are for.

Exactly. Doomsday Chair, Legions of Hydra, and Power Drain are all difficult enough to make it possible to lose on expert.

 

The problem is I can't do that with Wrecking Crew.

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6 hours ago, Supertoe said:

The problem is I can't do that with Wrecking Crew.

I usually don't look too much at the custom content, and I definitely don't ever use it. But someone made some custom environments, and the one for the Wrecking Crew you basically put your nemesis in one of the villain's deck's, and then fill the rest of the deck's with other nemesis' until every deck has a nemesis. It's called joining the crew. I've never played it that way, but if you're looking to make the game harder...

 

It's also way harder to beat Wrecking Crew with four players. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/9/2020 at 1:46 PM, Supertoe said:

...Wrecking Crew.

I agree with most everything you said about Wrecking Crew but I would add ...When you are new to the game Wrecking Crew is a lot of fun which might be a reason to get this pack early on as opposed to after you have become a seasoned player.

We also found "Extreme" Expert to be easier then regular Expert it just took a lot longer.

 

With the idea of being a Novice player my recommended buying order would actually be...

  1. Captain America - a straight forward new hero play through
  2. Wrecking Crew - the longer you wait the less fun it will be
  3. Green Goblin - good strong scenarios
  4. Ms Marvel - super strong but more complex

 

Edited by IceHot42

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7 minutes ago, IceHot42 said:

 

With the idea of being a Novice player my recommended buying order would actually be...

  1. Captain America - a straight forward new hero play through
  2. Wrecking Crew - the longer you wait the less fun it will be
  3. Green Goblin - good strong scenarios
  4. Ms Marvel - super strong but more complex

 

Thank you for the recommendations for novice players. I agree with your recommendations. I would say I'm a casual player and often play with my 9 year old son. During the pandemic I wanted to reduce my son's digital time (Ipad LOL) with more analog time. I stumbled upon MC on YouTube by FFG and decided to give it a shot. Fast forward 3 months later, this is the best LCG/table top game I played with my son. My son loves it to. I know a lot of people play competitively but I mostly play to spend some quality time with my boy. Thank you for your post.

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Also why do you rate the Captain America Leadership cards so high...

Strength in Numbers is awful

Wonder Man is marginal as is Avengers Assemble

Squirrel Girl is awesome

Falcon and the Quinjett are good

Also Valkyrie is pretty good 7 damage and a block for 4 cards is pretty good value.

 

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43 minutes ago, IceHot42 said:

Also why do you rate the Captain America Leadership cards so high...

Strength in Numbers is awful

 

Was this supposed to say Strength in numbers is awful...ly amazing?
 

Strength in numbers can easily draw 3 cards, up to 5 if you have Triskelion and Avengers Tower in play. It may not fit into every deck build, but with an ally like Hawkeye or allies at 1hp ready to block it’s great. 
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Can you guys just stop rating stuff and just enjoy the game? 😂😂😂

ADDED: This sounded more peremptory than intended and this is mostly said in jest. I mean, the Internet is made for arguing, but I'm just finding it delightful how universal it is that people always disagree so seriously on ratings.

Edited by Ascarel

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8 minutes ago, Ascarel said:

Can you guys just stop rating stuff and just enjoy the game? 😂😂😂

ADDED: This sounded more peremptory than intended and this is mostly said in jest. I mean, the Internet is made for arguing, but I'm just finding it delightful how universal it is that people always disagree so seriously on ratings.

I disagree with this. 😂

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2 hours ago, KimJoshIl said:

Was this supposed to say Strength in numbers is awful...ly amazing?
 

Strength in numbers can easily draw 3 cards, up to 5 if you have Triskelion and Avengers Tower in play. It may not fit into every deck build, but with an ally like Hawkeye or allies at 1hp ready to block it’s great. 
 

 

Losing tempo exhaustng 3 allies to net 2 cards does not seem like value to me.  Not only do you have to make the decision early you then need to make sure you play out the entirety of your hand on that turn to retain value.

 

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9 minutes ago, IceHot42 said:

Losing tempo exhaustng 3 allies to net 2 cards does not seem like value to me.  Not only do you have to make the decision early you then need to make sure you play out the entirety of your hand on that turn to retain value.

 

It’s best, IMO, in Avengers Assemble decks. Strength in Numbers can help you pay for Avengers Assemble, or draw it if you don’t have it in hand, and then AA readies all the Avengers you used for SiN.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, SpiderMana said:

It’s best, IMO, in Avengers Assemble decks. Strength in Numbers can help you pay for Avengers Assemble, or draw it if you don’t have it in hand, and then AA readies all the Avengers you used for SiN.

I agree with this. I only use SiN in AA decks.

I dont agree with all of the OPs ratings either but I didn't want to nitpick them.

Cap's Leadership allies are great, AA and SiN are great when you build a deck around them but I dont use them in Standard decks. Not a fan of Quinjet, way too slow.

 

Edited by Deadwolf

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