It’s the end of my Marvel Champions week here at spalanz.com. For today’s post, I thought I’d keep it a bit more on the sub-theme of the week, playing through all the new stuff that I’ve now got for the game. I’ve got a lot of content for this game now, and I’ve had the chance to go through quite a great deal of it all. So today’s finale post is very much a summary of what I like out of everything that I’ve been playing!
To start with, let’s talk about the Heroes!
Despite all the new heroes that I’ve been playing with, I still find myself really enjoying Justice Spider-Man. I think there’s the strong element of nostalgia, if you can call it that, for him being the first hero that I played with. I’ve kept him in Justice, as well, and I find myself evaluating pretty much every Justice card that I buy against this deck. I really enjoyed pairing him with my Aggro Iron Man deck, as well, not just for the fact it’s a bit on-theme for the MCU mentor relationship between the two, but also because the pair of them seem to be able to cover a lot of bases really well.
I think one of the best things about playing the Spider-Man deck is how it can often feel like you have an answer to everything. He has his web kick for 8 damage, he can dodge all damage coming his way with a backflip, and being in Justice, he is able to remove threat – often with added bonuses, like dealing more damage if he defeats schemes, and stuff. Some great moments have come from Spidey when he’s done 8 damage (or more!), stayed in hero form for the villain phase, drawn a card when an attack is instigated against him, and simply backflipped his way from 4 or 5 damage with ease. Definitely on-theme for the nimble web warrior!
In terms of favourite heroes to pair with Spider-Man, I think it’s going to be a toss-up between Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Iron Man is great at dealing damage in the aggro deck that I have for him, but Captain Marvel is also a very effective hero too, so having both of them in play can lead to some very nice games. Sometimes, of course, those games are over quite quickly, but a win is always welcome!
Gamora was a stand-out hero for me when I first played her. While I’ve not played the Guardians expansion that much, each time I have it’s been with her and Star-Lord, and she has been the absolute star of that show. Interestingly, I’ve also been playing her deck as it comes, so she’s mainly aggro but can take up to six off-Aspect cards that must be either attack or thwart actions. I think it’s that kind of flexibility that makes her shine, really – pretty much any time a hero breaks the deck construction rules, you know it’s going to be quite powerful. Allowing her to take even just these six off-Aspect cards can mean you just give her the absolute best you can find in your collection. However, it’s not just this, but her hero specific cards work so well with attack and thwart actions, the deck just hums along really, really well.
A recent discovery for me in terms of precons is Black Widow, of course, and I’ve talked about how her deck is just amazing earlier in the week. The way her Preparation cards work within her deck really makes it feel like you’re playing the spy with a plan (and a back up plan). I think my first ever game with her saw me draw into a lot of the good stuff, meaning I was able to set up really nicely and therefore nothing was really a problem for me. Second game I spent a lot of time trying to get the Winter Soldier out, so it was a little hairy, but I still managed to prevail. The deck just works really well, and I can’t say any fairer than that!
Talking about favourite heroes is all well and good, of course, but the game is nothing without the villains! Now, I’ve not played against them all, for sure, but there are a lot of good ones among the rabble that I want to talk about, as they can definitely make for some really fun games, even when they’re beating us!
First up has got to be Crossbones. I was really looking forward to getting hold of the Red Skull box, as I love the whole Hydra mythos within Marvel. I’ve probably said this on the blog before, but I’ve been out of the comics world for about 15 years now, so pretty much all of my knowledge comes from the MCU. Crossbones was a new one on me until I realised he’s the guy in Captain America Winter Soldier, one of my favourite movies in the franchise, so I was excited to play against him. He also uses a lot of Hydra modular encounter sets, so that really excites me. He’s a good villain to go up against, because he’s not easy as such, especially when he gets more and more weapons attached to him, but he’s also not super difficult so the game can actually feel enjoyable, and not miserable.
There are quite a few villains that I have enjoyed, although I need to play against them some more as I don’t always think a single game against anyone is a good yardstick. Mysterio was a lot of fun, from Sinister Motives. I did enjoy his whole thing with encounter cards going into player decks, that was a good touch. Nebula from Galaxy’s Most Wanted was another game I seem to remember as being good – a lot of reviews speak negatively of that box, of course, but I can’t say that I particularly noticed it. I know The Collector always comes in for some stick, but his mechanics were definitely interesting (once I had worked out the right way of playing, of course!)
Speaking of that, there is of course a bit of a trend for games to become more complex over time. Not quite like power creep that we often see with cards gaining in power, but just the amount of moving parts in a game becomes quite something. For example, I recently played Sabretooth from the Mutant Genesis box, and there is so much going on with the villain on his own, the fact that his scenario also has the whole rescue-a-senator thing added in to it makes it quite complicated when you first come to it. I think I could have possibly beaten the scenario a lot quicker if I had realised that actually, you can get by without rescuing Senator Kelly at all, especially given the fact he’s such a hindrance to you when you do get him.
The Tower Defence scenario from Mad Titan’s Shadow was also guilty of this, having two villains out and all the rest of it. Again, I think I need to play it again now that I know how it’s supposed to work, but there’s so much going on that it feels overly-complicated to play.
Let’s not get too negative, though! I still have a few more villains to go up against, and I am particularly looking forward to trying out the Sentinels scenarios in the X-Men box, as well as the Venom scenario from Sinister Motives. I still haven’t played against Ultron from the core set, as it happens, so I definitely want to try my luck there, and I am waiting for my LGS to get the Kang scenario pack in stock so that I can try my luck against him, too.
In terms of heroes, I’m quite keen to give Shadowcat a go from the X-Men box, and I think I’m going to pick up Wolverine soon to try him out, as well. I really wanted to like Cyclops, but I couldn’t seem to figure out his deck when I first played him; I’ve taken a look though, and I think it might be interesting to pair him with Shadowcat to see how that turns out. I’ve heard very good things about the two heroes from Sinister Motives, as well, so I want to give those a try soon too. I also want to try Adam Warlock, as he has a very interesting deck idea in that he can use cards from all four Aspects, but only a single copy of each one.
There’s a lot still waiting for me to discover, for sure!
But what about the future? At the time of writing, the current rumours are pointing to at least one more cycle of X-Men, possibly two, so we aren’t going to have Fantastic Four anytime soon! I’m assuming the next wave of X-Men will involve the likes of Beast, Ice Man and Angel, although a lot of folks have been positing for X-Force, so Cable, Domino and so on. Deadpool keeps coming up, but I find myself shuddering at the thought of that. (I’m really not a fan of Deadpool). While we’ve had some of the classic X-Men villains, we still have the likes of Mister Sinister, the Hellfire Club, Apocalypse and even those that have already appeared in nemesis sets, like Mystique or Juggernaut.
Looking further ahead, I’m sure we’ll be due for a Fantastic Four cycle at some point, as that is a team just crying out for the Marvel Champions treatment. Getting characters like the Four themselves, Silver Surfer, Namor, Puppet Master, Galactus and Dr Doom would be just amazing, and I cannot wait! However, the biggest thing for me would be to finally get the street-level heroes, Daredevil, Elektra and so on. Actually, I’m not that fussed on the likes of Punisher or Jessica Jones, I just want Daredevil and Elektra hero packs! Give me a Kingpin villain, with Bullseye, Typhoid Mary, Echo and Tombstone in the box, and I’d be a happy chap indeed!
There’s so much still to come for this game that I think it has a long future ahead. Hopefully that isn’t the kiss of death, of course, but I am hopeful that we’ll continue to get great content for a long time yet!
Well folks, we’re now at the end of the week with Marvel Champions! I hope this mini-series of blogs has been entertaining in some way for you, especially if you play the game already! If you don’t, hopefully it’s shown you what you’re missing, and maybe even inspired you to pick it up for yourself!