Marvel Champions: Green Goblin, Ms. Marvel, and Captain America

  • Designers: Michael Boggs (Green Goblin and Ms. Marvel) and Caleb Grace (Captain America)
  • Artists: Uncredited, Various
  • Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
  • Release Date: December 2019
The Podcast Version

Phil: Wow, what a few months it’s been with these 3 expansions, left cozily at our doorstep just before Christmas.

Luke: Feels like it was barely a couple of months ago we were justing learning the ropes of this holds-no-bar Fantasy Flight-fueled world.

Phil: … Yeah, more or less.

Luke: So you know what that means.

Phil: Don’t tell me; an obligatory “let’s rank them” roundup of yester-year’s content before we see the likes of the Wrecking Crew crashing around the corner.

Luke: You know it! Though I resent the term “obligatory” in this case.

Phil: True, there’s nothing saying we “have” to do this. We most certainly didn’t receive any review copies.

Luke: I just think it’s healthier to take the time with these packs of cards before talking about them to extensively. Less reactionary and more considerate of their impacts thus far, you know?

Phil: Hey man, I’m here, same as you. Let’s just get down to it, shall we?

Green Goblin

Luke: Starting us off, we have our only villain expansion, which was something of a mixed bag.

Phil: Yeah, on the one hand, we have the Risky Business scenario, that has the really neat premise of having Green Goblin swap out for his evil alter ego periodically throughout the scenario, making him an elusive target to deal damage to, all while dishing out a substantial amount of damage.

Luke: Sure, but from what I’ve seen on the forums, as well as my personal experience, this may be the easiest villain to defeat yet. Players have so much control over when they take damage, when Norman turns into Green Goblin, and so on. Lots of the cards in his deck are sensitive to which form he’s in, making them whiff as often as they hit, and with not much ompf to speak of.

Phil: Well, if you want hard, Mutagen Formula will give you a run for your money, packed with minions and side schemes that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. I’d say this one’s on par with Ultron in terms of the scope of what you’ll be facing. We’ve never had more fun being brutally crushed by a scenario.

Luke: It’s really interesting how the “goblin” keyword is used in smart and interesting ways, acting as the method for threat to accumulate on the final main scheme card.

That being said, I personally think the star of the show here are the modular encounter sets available. While the default one is kind of boring, featuring Gobo’s various technological tools, most of them feature some of Spidey’s classic villains, including Scorpion, Electro, and Tombstone. I think these will ultimately have a long-lasting impact on how I experience not just this set, but previous villains in new lights. Do I hear a Sinister Six scenario set down the road???

Phil: Let’s not delve into the realm of theory crafting when we have so much more to talk about, like-

Ms. Marvel

Luke: I’m super psyched that Ms. Marvel made an appearance here so early on in the Marvel Champions cycle, throwing in a rather recent, albeit popular, character into the mix of largely well-known and well-worn faces.

Phil: She is getting her own TV show after all.

Luke: Sure, but not for a while now. Nearly everyone we’ve seen up until this point has had far more publicity outside of Ms. Marvel’s explosive launch as the first Muslim superhero a few years back.

Phil: All the more reason for her to be here.

Luke: Exactly, and wow does she have some neat tools in her arsenal. Rather than relying on her hero stats, players will be able to return event cards to their hands after playing them, basically letting you double-dip some pretty powerful effects.

Phil: And due to her being able to draw into her hero cards more easily, thanks to Kamala Khan’s ability, you’ll likely never have a shortage of options.

Luke: The cards that come with her set are awesome, some of my favorite (they are Protection cards after all), with a force field card similar to the Med Team or Tac Team cards, as well as ways to negate boost cards while dealing damage.

Phil: They are great cards, sure, but not great for Kamala, at least not at 2- or 1-player games, as she needs to hold her own more often, forcing her to focus on removal more than defending.

Luke: For my solo plays, building a deck for her has posed a bit of a problem, as often this results in her being rather focused on one thing, usually fighting or thwarting. Additionally, Aggression currently has the most event cards that trigger off her ability, making it the default for many decks I’ve seen online.

Phil: With such a diverse ability, you’re going to need new, inventive ways to build her deck, and I think that once the card pool is a bit wider, we’ll see more interesting builds for her.

Captain America

Luke: I’m honestly surprised Cap didn’t show up in the base game box.

Phil: Honestly? I think he was slated to for a while until they swapped him out for She-Hulk, who was a late addition to the set. Probably because they figured Cap would sell more easily on his own, and it may have been easier to make a themed pack for him that lined up with the release schedule.

Luke: Now who’s theory-crafting?

Phil: *sigh* I say all this because Cap feels like a beginner character. Not that he’s bad or anything, far from it, he just seems like a more straightforward hero than most that can take on almost any aspect without much issue. His ability to do his basic actions multiple times in a turn can be a huge boon, and counters a lot of scenario cards that tap your hero.

Luke: My Cap Protection deck is easily one of my favorites to play with so far, and feels very thematically on point.

Phil: Unlike Cap himself, though, the cards that come with his set feel rather rigged and linear, focusing almost exclusively on the “Avenger” keyword. This is further accentuated by the fact that nearly all cards that deal with that keyword are relegated to the Leadership aspect, pointing to a somewhat obvious build.

Luke: Yeah, I find myself disliking anything that feels pre-built for me, and Leadership Avengers feels like a shoo-in for just that. There are some great allies and tools for other aspects here, but for the most part, I don’t see the card pool here being particularly beneficial to the game state at such an early stage of its life.

“Ranking”

Phil: Oh jeez, we’re going to rank the expansions?

Luke: Well, sure, moving forward I want to compare all the game’s expansions to one another, with the ruling of not comparing villain sets with hero sets, as they’re like apples and oranges.

Phil: So I guess Green Goblin sits atop that throne with little competition?

Luke: At this point, yeah, although it was definitely the most lackluster of the 3 sets that came out thus far, though I think that’s slightly colored by the fact that new heroes will always be a bit more exciting than new villains in my eyes.

Phil: So how do you figure Cap and Ms. Marvel go toe-to-toe?

Luke: While Ms. Marvel is by far the harder to the two to build decks for, that challenge is welcome and an interesting puzzle and the cards that come in her set are more versatile and interesting, so I’d give her a step ahead of Cap. He may be my favorite hero yet, but he feels easier to play overall and with a card pool that stands on its own for now.

Verdict: If you’re looking to pick these up post-launch and you can only afford so much, we’d suggest picking up Ms. Marvel first, then Captain America, and then Green Goblin. We’re curious how they’ll stand up to future content, so be sure to check in each month for our thoughts on the previous month’s additions!

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