Details about the Expansion Set
Release Year: 2018
# of Cards: 100
Release Price: $24.99
Legendary: Champions is a solid entry in the line of Marvel Legendary expansions. It brings to the game a popular team from the comics, and adds a new ability (Cheering Crowds) that can be incorporated into further expansions if fan response and/or game design warrants.
Although the set came out in 2018, I have only just recently added it to my collection and have not yet had a chance to bring it to the table. Once I do, I will update this review to reflect changes to my initial reactions.
Upfront, this seems like a nice collection of hero decks. Nova and Viv Vision should be impactful decks, and Ms. Marvel has potential to be one as well. And if not, she should provide a solid complimentary role. I suspect Hulk may be more powerful than it looks on first glance, and I’m most interested in trying it soon. Gwenpool is fine, better than the hero decks in the Deadpool expansion (perhaps controversial, but just not a fan of the overall theme), but I don’t see using it much unless the randomizer dictates it.
I really like Fing Fang Foom, and how it plays with the size-changing and team-oriented Champions theme. This sort of thematic relevance is what I want to see out of future releases.
Though I’m not familiar with Pagliacci, he too has some nice thematic elements. The use of the Demolish ability aligns with him leading the Wrecking Crew. And converting Master Strikes into Scheme Twists can place players on a faster clock, especially for those schemes that force a loss after a certain number are drawn.
None of the scheme twists particularly excite me, but I always enjoy adding some new ones to the mix.
Who are the Champions?
From the game rules:
The Champions are a teenage Superhero team determined to bring the shadowed legacy of the Avengers into a new age of optimism and hope. After the Civil War storyline turned Avenger against Avenger, the Champions struck out on their own, using social media to mobilize the whole world in a new movement for justice against hate and abuse of power.
The new hero decks are:
- Totally Awesome Hulk: self-appointed name of a teenage genius Amadeus Cho, who can transform into the Jade Giant at will
- Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan, who has superhuman stretching powers
- Nova: uses power of the Nova Force to manipulate energy, speed through space, and defend justice on Earth and among the stars.
- Viv Vision: absorbs solar radiation, manipulates her density, and uses a computer brain just like her father Vision
- Gwenpool: a comics megafan named Gwen Poole who was transported from the real world into the Marvel Universe.
Mechanics Introduced in Champions Expansion
You may play this card twice in a row if you return a Bystander from your Victory Pile to the bottom of the Bystander Stack.
The Champions expansion has six cards featuring the new mechanic. One for each hero, and an extra for Ms. Marvel.
Other Mechanics Found in Champions Expansion
Size-changing is an ability used to represent a hero’s ability to manipulate the size of themselves or objects (e.g., a weapon), though the ability is not limited to heroes only. It’s important to remember that size-changing always helps the players (e.g., allows for cards to be recruited for less, reduces attack of enemy).
Versatile allows player to choose whether a card is played for recruit or attack. For example, Versatile 2 means the card receives either +2 Recruit or +2 Attack when played.
Demolish has the potential to force player’s to discard a card from their hand in order to achieve a positive effect (often for the player who played the card) or a negative effect if on a villain card.
For example, this set’s one hero Demolish card makes all other players potentially discard a card, and in turn allows the active player to draw a card for each card discarded.
Fing Fang Foom
Fing Fang Foom adds to the size-changing theme found throughout the expansion set. Another element I like about his effects: they encourage a diversity of hero types in order to improve your odds of defeating him. This, in turn, synergizes well with the diversity of hero types founds in the expansion (not to mention the myriad heroes to choose from across all sets).
Fing Fang Foom always leads the villain set Monsters Unleashed. I appreciate that Upper Deck included 8 different villains.
To be honest, I did not know who Pagliacci was so I looked him up. The paucity of information leads me to think he is a minor character in the overall Marvel universe. But that’s ok, too. He seems very thematic since he is a Champions-focused enemy.
Pagliacci’s villain set is the Wrecking Crew. I find it interesting the that the Wrecking Crew has much more comics history than the Mastermind they follow.