Marvel Champions - An Addictive LCG!
Written by Jonnii Small - Jun 15 2020
Embody iconic heroes from the Marvel Universe like Spiderman, Ironman, She-Hulk and more! Take down and thwart infamous villains such as Rhino, Ultron and the Green Goblin! For a fan of Marvel, this is the ULTIMATE card game! You’ve seen the films as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, maybe you read a comic book or two as well – now take control of these superheroes in Marvel Champions!
Marvel Champions takes similar mechanics from other Fantasy Flight Games’ Living Card Games (LCG) like the Lord of the Rings LCG and Arkham Horror: The Card Game, molding them into the Marvel Universe in this cooperative card game experience! With a whopping amount of heroes to play as, there are heroes to suit every player in the hobby. If you want to build up an engine of cards, Ironman or Black Panther could be for you. If you’re more of an aggressive player, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel or Ms. Marvel may be more suited for your playstyle. Or, like me, just play as everyone to get a taste of each heroes’ different abilities and variations on play.
The game itself revolves around the main villain who’s hoping to scheme their way to controlling the city (or the world) all the while throwing minions in front of you (the heroes) to prevent you from stopping them! These villains also have their own playstyles and decks; Rhino will continue bashing you whereas Green Goblin switches between an aggressor and a schemer based on what form he is in. Therefore, each villain requires a different style of play in order to beat.
To counter the villains, deckbuilding is hugely important in Marvel Champions, with hero decks being made up of the specific hero’s cards in addition to an aspect: Aggressive, Defensive, Justice and Leadership (as well as a neutral pool of cards). When initially building your deck, you choose one of those aspects to affiliate with, forming the style of play around which you will use in the game. Obviously, certain heroes synergize better with some aspects over others; Captain America is fantastic leading others into battle with the Leadership aspect, Thor works best with the Aggressive aspect, and so on.
It’s important to get that deckbuilding right, which also can be dictated by what variant of the game you are playing. Marvel Champions shines best at 1 or 2 players where players focus with one of the players stopping the villain from scheming whilst the other fights the villain face on. In higher player counts, there’s much more variety for within which players can operate, you can be a bit freer with deckbuilding because there are other heroes who can take the flack.
The villain’s encounter deck is modular too! When building the villain’s deck, you take their specific cards, plus a smaller encounter set (such as one that adds Scorpion or one that adds Tombstone) in addition to each hero’s Obligation. Should this Obligation be encountered throughout the game, it will cause an adverse effect for the hero it relates to. Also, within the standard encounter deck is a card called ‘Shadows of the Past’ where your hero’s specific Nemesis and their particular cards get shuffled into the villain’s encounter deck, bringing forward foes like Loki, Killmonger and Vulture to add to your woes!
In play, each Hero’s deck is filled with cards including Allies, Events, Resource, Upgrades and more that all affect how well your Hero will perform against the cards coming out of the encounter deck. The resource cost to play each card is dependent on the discarding of other cards, therefore giving an added decision of which cards to discard from your hand and which effects to activate. Some Hero’s thrive on having a litany of cards in play (like Black Widow), whereas some are a bit more reactive to what the enemies do (like Spiderman).
Each Hero also has a number of stats on their character card: ATK (Attack), DEF (Defence)) and THW (Thwart), as well as REC (Recover) on their Alter-Ego side (the flipping between your Hero side and your Alter-Ego side is also be a determining factor to whether the main villain schemes or attacks you too!). These stats are the main ways you’ll be gaining victory in this game; thwarting the villain’s plans, attacking the enemy themselves, and defending against enemy attacks (recovering also acts to regain health that you have lost).
With that all being said, Marvel Champions is literally a limitless game. Having such a big universe like Marvel, this Living Card Game presents the opportunity to take complete control of your favourite Hero, alongside your friends and re-enact what made the world go crazy in cinemas over the last century! Don’t wait up now as more and more is just going to keep coming out! This is the ULTIMATE superhero experience (in tabletop gaming).