Some musings on Marvel Champions

Hey everybody,
Yes, that’s right, I’m prattling on again about Marvel Champions in today’s game day blog! That’s mainly because it has very quickly become my go-to game when I want to just have some tabletop fun, and it’s so enjoyable that I find myself looking forward to any spare time that I have in which to play it! Yesterday I was able to get a couple of games in, and that got me thinking about the subject of today’s blog.

Some Things I love about the game

While there are definitely more than just a few things that I love about this game, let’s go through some of the things that have most recently brought me joy!

Marvel Champions

Yesterday, I discovered that I had enough sleeves hanging about that I could sleeve up Rocket Racoon, which was a real joy because I hadn’t realised I could do this! I promptly did so, and played a game with him and Valkyrie, who I had picked up (and sleeved up) shortly before Christmas. Rocket comes with an aggro deck, and I was playing this as it comes, and had quite a blast. I was particularly impressed by the fact I was able to use my hand each turn, so was seeing quite a bit of the deck. However, while all of this is good stuff, I love the fact that Rocket is a great mix of aggo and thwarting, with a lot of his hero-specific cards buffing his THW value, and so on. Yeah, he’s got a lot of guns, of course, but he also has a lot of threat removal, and it was a really great gameplay experience to have that blend right out of the box. A lot of the stuff I had read about Rocket talked about how much he likes to fight Minions, which is also true, but it really surprised me to see how effective he could be! 

Indeed, one of the best things about this game is how you can just buy a hero pack, and (on the whole) play it without needing to deck-build for ages. True, there are some that have some issues, but nothing I have come across so far is “unplayable”. Take, for instance, the aforementioned Valkyrie – her deck has been much maligned by a lot of the stuff I see online, yet she was quite fun to play! Whether that’s because I was playing her with Rocket against Absorbing Man, who isn’t one of the most difficult villains in the game, who knows. But she’s the perfect example of needing to try these things for yourself (though the irony of me writing this online is not lost on me!) After going through a bit of a phase, early on, where I wanted to build my own decks all the time, I have come to the realisation now that a lot of the hero decks are absolutely fine right out of the box.

Marvel Champions

Some Things I still find a bit odd

I’ve talked before about the main thing that I find odd about this game, its distribution model, but let’s not get bogged down in that again. Rather, I thought I’d go through some stuff that I find just a little odd.

First off, the game can sometimes fall a bit flat right at the end. When playing a game of Marvel Champions, you choose your hero and go up against a villain, and for the whole game you’re fighting against them, so there isn’t really any sense of progressing through minions until you fight the big bad guy. As you’re dealing damage throughout the game, when you deal the final blow for victory, it can sometimes be a bit anti-climactic, as you’re teetering on the brink of death, you’ve survived yet another activation from the villain, but then bam – you play a card that deals 7 damage to him and it’s just over. Or sometimes, I’ve actually been able to have a single point of damage dealt by an ally that has caused the villain’s defeat. Rarely, the villain will be defeated through something like Retaliate, or a card effect that can bounce damage back or something. It can be hilarious, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, it’s just a bit odd – like, “is that it?”

Marvel Champions

I think it’s a bit weird how every hero comes with their nemesis set, and yet there is only one card in the whole game (so far as I know!) that can bring that set to bear. I’ve played this game upwards of 40 times now, and have only ever seen a hero’s nemesis enter the game twice, which is just a bit weird really. In the vast majority of my games, those five cards are just sat there, and never come into play.

I think The Hood scenario pack was a great way to introduce more modular sets to the game, and I do like the fact that some heroes also come with modular sets to use as well. I do find myself thinking about whether we could see alternative encounter sets for the existing villains, though, too. I really don’t know how that would ever work, maybe instead of the modular encounter sets there would be an “expansion set” that basically doubles a villain’s deck, working off the established theme in there? I don’t know. Part of me does feel that the villains are too closely tied to their schemes, which has closed off an avenue of expansion there – is Rhino only ever trying to break into that bank? Sabretooth’s sole purpose in life was to capture Senator Kelly? Seems a bit weird, like there should be a way to have them do something else, and change it up. But I could be over-thinking it!

Marvel Champions


Some Things I would like to see next

I’ve been seeing a lot of panic online because we’ve not yet had a preview for the next expansion after the latest X-Men wave has concluded, with folks thinking the game must be dying or there are licensing issues preventing FFG from continuing the game. I hope that’s all wrong, and I hope that they’re actually just pacing themselves for a bit (given that the X-Men stuff would have been designed mid-pandemic, and so it’s entirely plausible that they need to regroup). During the GenCon live stream, they did say that the next three waves would be mutant-based, so I think we can be pretty sure it’s safe for now.

I’m a big fan of the X-Men, but I find myself thinking of this more as a game than a thematic experience, so while I do enjoy the variety of heroes and villains, I can’t really say that “I hope they do my favourites!” because I don’t really feel all that strongly about the source material! 

That said, I really would like a Daredevil/Elektra cycle of stuff, with the Kingpin as a villain.

Marvel Champions

However, in terms of gameplay, I do find myself often wanting more variety in the villains than the heroes. I think I’ve touched on this before, but for me, “the game” is mainly around the villain, as that is where most of the actual playability comes into it. The heroes are cool and all, but we need the villains to give us the changing experience. Imagine going up against Rhino/Klaw/Ultron with all of the released heroes to date, it would just be mind-numbing. A lot of my thought process when I decide to play this game is around which villain to play, because I see that as the main thrust of the game. As such, I think I would like to see more scenario packs released, potentially even a campaign box with all-villains.


Anyway, those are just a few random thoughts from my most recent games with Marvel Champions. Like I said before, it’s fast becoming my go-to game, and I’ve already exceeded my goal of playing 10 times in 2023. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more games before the year is out, as well!

4 thoughts on “Some musings on Marvel Champions”

  1. Overall, I suspect I wouldn’t care at all about this game, but the solo aspect of it really appeals to me. There is just no way to play solo magic, so I look for other options. I played the original LotR tcg and did not enjoy that, so that avenue is out.

    I’m just leery of buying into yet another game and then having it collect dust. in my cupboard while I’m actively trying to downsize 😀

    But if I do ever buy into this, you’ll be the first to know. And like I’ve said before, keep these posts coming. I like learning as much as I can ahead of time so if I do take the plunge, it’s not totally foreign to me…

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve never thought of myself as enough of a Marvel fan to have bought into the game, but it does actually play really well. It’s very easy to get into, in that it’s not overly complicated from the off, but there are layers, much like Magic, and you can make it pretty much what you want.

      I’m not trying to give you the full sales pitch of course! But I was very surprised, when I finally bought it, by just how much I ended up liking it! It’s really become one of my favourites in a very short space of time, principally due to the solo aspect of it.

      1. If I can steel myself to the idea of getting rid of my magic cards (except the commander decks), this might happen.
        It helps that WotC just revealed some cards from an upcoming set and one of them is an 18/6 creature for 7mana with no downside. That makes the game unplayable with older cards now, sigh.

      2. I’ve not kept up with MTG for a long time, but I’ve seen the odd headline that sounds like things are not going well for the game, despite there being some interesting set names. However, that kind of stuff is just silliness.

        I don’t know if I’d ever have the heart to get rid of my Magic stuff, just because there’s always the outside chance I might play some more when the kids are older. But it’s very much going to be a collection frozen in time, I think!!

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