Marvel Champions: Nebula

Hey everybody,
It’s been a couple of weeks since I last did one of these Marvel Champions round-ups, hasn’t it? I suppose things have been a little bit busy for me though, so there hasn’t been a great deal of time for much of anything lately. However, it’s time today to take a look at another Guardians hero that I’ve been enjoying a lot: Nebula! I mentioned this recently, of course, but Nebula is a deck that I bought almost for completion’s sake, around Christmas-time, and didn’t really think I’d want to play it so filed all of her cards away into my larger collection. However, after enjoying Rocket and Drax so much, I thought it might be worth getting a Justice Guardian on the table, but Venom’s deck has yet to really excite me. The more I started to think about Nebula, the more interested I became, so I reconstructed her, and here we go!

Marvel Champions

An interesting point here is that Nebula’s deck is the first instance of the game breaking itself. Gamora includes a Nebula ally, but she will only come into play during the game so, if you’re playing Gamora vs Nebula, the Nebula ally cannot enter play and so is discarded. However, heroes are selected before the villain is revealed, so if you’re playing Nebula as a hero during a Galaxy’s Most Wanted campaign, the Nebula villain won’t be able to enter play during setup because the Nebula hero is already out, and so you can’t actually play the game. Of course, you can use all sorts of comic book theory to get round this and play, but I find it bizarre that there would be such a situation whereby the designers have made this happen.

But there we are!

The Nebula deck reminds me a lot of the Black Widow deck. Both are Justice, obviously, but they are both concerned with getting upgrade cards into play, and a lot of cards (including both sides of the hero card) will trigger off these upgrades. For Nebula, she’s all about the Techniques, a subtype that appears to be unique to her deck – unlike Preparations, which have come in aspect varieties since, as well. Eight of her fifteen hero cards are Techniques, they all cost 1 resource and they all have two elements, a passive ability and a Special ability. When Nebula is in alter-ego side, you can draw two cards when you play a Technique, however the passive ability on each will only affect her hero form. However, if she is in hero form when the turn begins, you trigger all of the Special abilities, then discard them all. So playing the Nebula deck is all about timing, and when to get the best kind of chain reaction going – these abilities can allow you to look at the top of the encounter deck and discard from it, deal 4 damage to an enemy, remove 3 threat from a scheme, and so on. 

Luckily, however, there is also the card Lethal Intent in triplicate, which allows you to trigger the Special ability on X number of Technique cards, based on how much you pay for Lethal Intent. It’s a Hero ability, so you need to be in hero form to use this, but if you’ve set yourself up well, it can be quite deadly. She will already be gaining the benefit of the passive abilities, such as Retaliate 1, boosts to THW and ATK, etc, then you trigger the abilities. Then at the start of the next round, they trigger again – I have actually won a game against Drang by doing this! We also have the Gamora ally card, who allows you to choose a single Special ability to trigger, or two copies of Combat Ready which either let you shuffle two Techniques from the discard pile into the deck, or allow you to discard from your deck until you find a Technique, put it into play and resolve the Special ability.

Marvel Champions

It’s all designed really quite well, and when it plays – much like Black Widow and her Preparations – it can go off, and give a spectacular turn!

Now, I have swapped out a couple of cards from the Nebula pre-con to make the Nebula deck as I’m playing it, although in all honesty it isn’t that massive a change. I’ve removed the copy of Daughters of Thanos, and both copies of First Aid, and replaced them with a playset of Pivotal Moment, which is not only a great attack card for Justice, but it has Guardians artwork on there as well. I’ve also swapped out the Venom ally for Quasar, which might be odd because the Venom ally works nicely alongside Pivotal Moment, I’m sure you’d agree – the main reason for swapping him out was due to the fact I was actually playing the Venom scenario from Sinister Motives, although I’m not a huge fan of the character either, so it seemed like a good idea to sub in another Guardian ally instead. The rest of her Justice kit is kept as it comes, however, and overall I think it does really well.

There are two copies of Heroic Intuition to boost Nebula’s THW power, and three copies of Brains Over Brawn, which allows you to deal damage to an enemy equal to your THW after you make a basic thwart action. If you thwart and remove the final threat from a scheme, there are three copies of Justice Served, which allows you to ready – this works alongside the Pivotal Moment add-in, which allows you to deal 5 damage to an enemy if there is no threat on the main scheme (2 damage otherwise). There are also three copies of One Way or Another, which allows you to draw three cards at the expense of putting a side scheme into play. I’ve never used this as it comes, and instead see it as a (mental) resource card, which helps when playing the Eros ally, who can confuse a minion for each (mental) resource used to pay for him.

Marvel Champions

It’s been a really fun deck to play so far. The first game I played with her was a bit lacklustre to start with, until I was forced to go into alter-ego to heal up, and began to understand what the deck is trying to do. Once I’d built up those Techniques, and had cards like Lethal Intent ready, I was able to flip to hero mode and blew the world up! Well, kinda. Since then, it’s been a lot of fun to see how things can play out, including a very memorable game with Star Lord against Drang, where the damage output between the two heroes was just obscene. 

I seem to be doing a lot with the Guardians heroes of late, so I think next time I might try and mix it up a bit…

5 thoughts on “Marvel Champions: Nebula”

  1. Have you thought about playing with heroes that don’t complement each other, just to make the game a bit harder? Or are you still new enough that you don’t want to go there yet?

    1. It’s interesting you should say that, because I’ve never actually encountered heroes who don’t complement each other, they all seem to be designed to work well, somehow. The closest, I suppose, is if you were to play two heroes in the same aspect, that’s not always the best type of game. Cyclops and Storm, both leadership, both trying to do the same thing but not covering each other’s weaknesses, it led to just a very dull game. Valkyrie and Rocket, both aggression, are almost try to outdo each other in how much damage output they’ve got, so it’s a very short game!

      I think it’s a much better game when the aspects match up well, and you can see the heroes working as a team to cover each other and work against the villain. Justice and Aggro are probably my favourites, because one is keeping the schemes under control while the other is whaling on the villain. I think Justice is actually my favourite aspect, too! Justice and Leadership can be good as well, though it often depends on the build.

      In short, though, I think you can pair up any two heroes and the game is still fun. My recent Nebula (Justice) and Captain Marvel (Protection) game against Venom was such a weird match-up, it started very slow and nothing much was happening, but things still turned out well for me in the end!!

  2. I think the only hard part to this game is wen scenarios hits you and you cannot take counters off of the main threat. Happened in one of ou first playthroughs. One of the main scenarios do not need a lot of threat counters to make you loose the game. that was a sad day, but we learned pretty quick. Great idea swapping out certain cards the way yyou did mate.

    1. I really hate that, yeah. There are a couple of scenarios that just start with so much threat on the scheme that you’re facing an uphill struggle from the start, it can be really tough.

      Yeah, at the start I was all about making my own decks and stuff, but I wasn’t very good – I’m finding that by playing it as it comes, then maybe swapping one or two cards, is really the way to go!

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