Marvel Champions lets players step into the shoes of several famous Marvel heroes, but the game’s deck-building rules mean that it can be hard to assess the effectiveness of any given character. While each comes with fifteen cards that they must include in their deck for all games, players select the other 25 to 35 from an ever-growing pool of basic and aspect cards.
This deck-building method helps prevent power creep, and it also means that some initially underwhelming characters have since become much more playable. Also important to remember is that Marvel Champions plays very differently in solo mode compared to multiplayer. While more focused characters struggle to do everything themselves, they’re still powerhouses when teammates can help cover their weaknesses.
Thor may be one of the strongest Avengers in most Marvel media, but fans didn’t respond very positively to the God of Thunder’s initial release in Marvel Champions. While most heroes have some level of versatility built into their hero decks that allows them to explore various playstyles, the only thing that Thor did well was kill minions.
However, since Thor’s release, several minion-heavy villains and Aggression cards that synergize with minion killing have been released. Thor’s relatively limited playstyle still makes him a poor choice for solo games, but he now has enough tools available to make him a force to be reckoned with in multiplayer.
When he’s up and running, Iron Man is an incredibly powerful character. The challenge for many players is that it takes several turns to get Tony Stark combat-ready. As one would expect, Iron Man is all about upgrades. While his base stats are low, various tech upgrades boost Iron Man’s stats well above any other character in the game.
Because he can get upgrades out more quickly in alter-ego form, many players prefer to put him in the Justice aspect. This lets Tony deal with building threat levels that come from staying in alter-ego.
Like his comic counterpart, Peter Parker is a hero that villains have a hard time laying a hit on. Spider-Man may have come pre-paired with a Justice deck in the Marvel Champions core set, but he shines in multiplayer games in the Protection affiliation. Spider-Man’s base defense of three means that he can tank several hits with his normal defense, so he pairs well with cards like Indomitable or Expert Defense that let him ready after defending against an attack. His backflip hero card is also fantastic as it lets him take zero damage from an attack regardless of its strength.
Pietro Maximoff is one of the fastest men alive, and his incredible speed is reflected in Marvel Champions by his ability to ready himself after performing a basic action. While this is good for attacking or thwarting twice, it also means that he can defend without sacrificing actions on his next turn.
Quicksilver also has a helpful alter-ego ability, Superpowered Siblings, that lets him discard two cards to draw two. This is a great way to cycling through dead cards for something more useful, and he gets to draw a third card if Scarlet Witch is also in play.
Gamora is one of the bravest members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and she’s also one of the most popular characters in Marvel Champions. Gamora is one of few heroes that can include cards from multiple aspects in her deck. This twist makes her a versatile character that’s able to adapt to different villains and schemes.
Gamora’s big bonus is that she does one free damage when she plays a thwart event and thwarts one threat when she plays an attack event (once per turn for each). This ability is fantastic in solo games where scheme threat limits and enemy health are low, but it’s slightly less impactful in multiplayer games since the power/thwart doesn’t scale per player like enemies do.
Captain America was one of the earliest character packs released for Marvel Champions, and he immediately established himself as a powerhouse for both solo and group play. This is true for the Marvel Comics version of Captain America, who ranks as the best Avenger due to his masterful fighting ability.
Steve Rogers isn’t the single best character at anything in the game, but he’s good at absolutely everything. With the unpredictability in Marvel Champions, the lack of a glaring weakness means that Captain America players rarely find themselves in a bad matchup. Steve also gets to start each game with his famous vibranium shield, so he’s very consistent and can get into action right away on turn one.
There have been more since her release, but Spider-Woman, in any of her plentiful alternate versions, was the first character to use cards from multiple aspects simultaneously. Using multiple aspects gives her incredible versatility and lets her thrive in either solo or multiplayer games.
Her low basic stats may seem like a downside, but she gets +1 to her Attack, Thwart, and defense for each different aspect she plays a card from each turn. While this does mean that the occasional lousy draw can leave her temporarily hobbled, it’s not very challenging to boost her stats up to average or higher.
Ant-Man and the Wasp were the first two heroes to have more than two forms. While both have hero and standard alter-ego sides, their character cards unfold to reveal a second hero form. Ant-Man has proven to be the more versatile of the two Pym-powered heroes, and he excels with several great character cards that take advantage of his tiny and giant forms.
Army of Ants (which Scott has three of in his hero deck) let players do one damage to anything per turn per card. While this doesn’t seem like much, it enables ant-man ping to Tough off enemies or take out low-health minions without using his basic actions. Ant-Man’s helmet is also fantastic and lets him draw a card or heal every time he changes hero forms.
Fans were excited and confused when data leaks showed the Venom was going to be releasing in the middle of several Guardians of the Galaxy packs, but it made a little more sense when it was revealed that this character is the Flash Thompson host of the Venom symbiote, who spent a bit of time with the Guardians.
Venom focuses on using weapons, and his unique Multi-Gun gives players several damaging and thwarting options. Venom’s ability to generate a wild resource in exchange for taking one damage means Flash can play more cards per turn than most heroes, and Project Rebirth 2.0 lets him draw or heal whenever he flips to his alter-ego.
When he was released, Dr. Strange was the strongest character in the game, and nothing has changed in the 15 months since. The Sorceror Supreme’s unique gimmick is his invocation deck, a set of five spells that exist apart from his standard hero deck. He can only play the top card and must exhaust after using a spell, but his deck contains multiple ways to cycle cards, ready himself, or reuse spells more than once in a row.
The result is that Strange wants to use most of his resources for playing spell cards, so his aspect choice is relatively inconsequential. One powerful option is to play Protection and fill his deck with healing cards to keep him from having to flip to his alter-ego too often.
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