FFG Chat: “We had over 100 submissions. There will be PDFs of the campaigns on our website. Due to the number of campaign submissions we received we did not play through any of the submissions…yet. We will post on our social channels when they are available on our website.”
Josh: “For anyone that did submit a campaign, feel free to share it. If it isn’t one of these top five we talked about today, feel free to share it on social media. “These will be shared by us in the future. There are steps we need to take. Just a heads-up, there might be some story elements we can’t really talk about when we post them on our own websites.”
Caleb: “The top five are in no particular order.”
Tony: “So when we posted the announcement article we listed some criteria…I gave everything a score from 1-5 in each category, and averaged out the numbers.”
Josh: “36% of submissions had The Hood as one of the villains. 34% used Kang. Rhino was in 30% of them. Green Goblin was 29% (Risky Business). Following that Ultron with 26%. Mutagen was 25%, Klaw was 25%, Mysterio was 23%, Wrecking Crew at 22%, and Taskmaster at 19%. One and a half from every submission had scenario packs. 81% had core set, 78% from Red Skull, 69% from MTS.”
First winner: What If…? – Amanda S.
Caleb: “It starts modest. Risky Business is the first scenario. At the end when you get to victory, ‘what if’ happens. You choose a trait. You get access to cards with this trait [across aspects] after the campaign. Spider-Man becomes the Sorcerer Supreme, Miles becomes Thor. Some of the titles were great. Scenario 2 was Tower Defense, but the title was ‘I feel like we defended this tower before.’ There were cool setup things. When setting up TD, you choose an aspect one of the other players is playing…and depending on the aspect you choose it changes the additional setup. If you choose aggression each player chooses a minion and puts it into play engaged with them at the start. Save the shawarma place is here.”
Tony: “Scenario three is Taskmaster, and you start with your hero-specific ally captured. Scenario four is The Hood. Four of the modular sets that were selected were based on the trait you picked at the start of the campaign. Ultron with the infinity gauntlet is the next scenario.”
Second winner: Entropic Ascension – Carl W.
Tony: “This one has two different scenario two options. You can only play one of them.”
Caleb: “I did it with a ton in LOTR, designing these branching paths. I do it visually, I’m the same way. Every scenario begins with a choice during setup, choose these modular sets. You can choose Tombstone and try and protect the journalists, and you shuffle the running interference set…or Electro is threatening the power grid in the city. You can’t do both. So whatever one you don’t do it comes back to haunt you later. That was a neat touch.”
Tony: “You start with Taskmaster, and you make a choice, what are you going to do. That first choice also impacts which modular sets you include. Your two options for scenario two are Rhino and Mysterio.”
Caleb: “The next one is Oscorp: you can shuffle in Iron Spider Sinister Six, or Crossfire.”
Tony: “Going into scenario four we have The Hood. All the choices you made dictate the mods The Hood is going to use.”
Third winner: Awesome Campaign Volume 1 – Steel Hull
Caleb: “This was possibly my favorite. Every scenario the name has been changed to be a title of the song [a song from the first Guardians movie]. You can’t choose a Guardian traited hero this campaign. The story is you’re teaming up with the Guardians. Scenario one is Ronan, Ronan has a reputation for being a challenging scenario. With MODOK. You start with honorary guardian attached to your hero, start with a Guardian ally in play. You get a card from the market.”
Tony: “I think they’re all the ship mods. Upgrades you start in play.”
Caleb: Scenario 2 is Aint No Mountain High Enough. It’s Absorbing Man. I thought this was a slick use of Absorbing Man. Including the Frost Giants. Heroes can’t be readied by player card effects starts out in play. Each player starts out stunned/confused/exhausted. Here we have Ronan which is notoriously difficult…then we have Absorbing Man which is deemed to be on the easier side.
Scenario 3 is escape, this is a Wrecking Crew scenario. Only the active villain can take damage, and only the active villain side scheme can be thwarted. This one actually has one of my favorite flourishes. One complaint I heard is that it didn’t allow for you to modify the deck. You take the four card experimental weapons set, then shuffle one card into each deck.”
Tony: “Next we have Cherry Bomb with Red Skull. You include both the Wrecking Crew and Children of Thanos modular set. Scenario five is Spirit in the Sky. You have Thanos coming down…if you didn’t defeat MODOK he comes out, if you didn’t defeat the Sleeper he comes out. The Guardians then make their return.”
Fourth winner: The Crimson Cowl Conspiracy – Kurt H
Tony: “You’re tracking down the Masters of Evil. There’s the assembled Avengers, so every time you have an Avenger in play at the end of the game, it gets cheaper to play in future scenarios. It uses the SHIELD tech upgrades from Sinister Motives.”
Caleb: “During setup for the first scenario you have to choose an aspect all of them have to be different. Those get referenced throughout during setup. A Leadership player draws an additional card during setup, and each non-L player puts the Quinjet in play.”
Tony: “Scenario 2 we take on Klaw. Aggression puts a free card into play. Each other player gets the counterattack upgrade. Every Masters of Evil minion shows up that didn’t get defeated in the first one.”
Caleb: “Scenario 3 is Absorbing Man again.”
Tony: “Everyone not in Protection is getting the anticipation upgrade. Then you take down Wrecking Crew. For all the minions you put away, you add their scheme together which becomes an intel level, which comes into play.”
Caleb: “Then there’s Ultron. You have this intel value, and when you setup, you have this throwback to all the special setups you had. If you have seven or greater you do all of the special aspect setups. If you get to nine, you get a tough card.”
Fifth winner: Going Viral – Henry B
Tony: “Ultron is trying to spread a computer virus to all the cybernetic heroes and apply it to other heroes as well.”
Caleb: “Taskmaster is first…this campaign adds several more heroes for hire allies. Ant-Man Hank Pym. Tony Stark, Jocasta, Vision, Wasp. All the people connected to Ultron’s lore.”
Tony: “There’s a Pym anti-virus tracker. You move up for good things, bad things, like threat on main scheme, it moves the tracker. The more Ultron moves toward his goal of infecting the planet. We go to an interlude, like the Arkham Horror card game, leading into a choice of scenario 2 again. This takes a different angle. Three scenario 2s, with choosing the order to play them…and it matters.”
Caleb: “You fail forward, like Arkham Horror. You have three different threats where Ultron is expanding his goal, and you can’t get to all three, and you choose two of the three, and each one you fail to stop, increases the difficulty of the final showdown. The first option is Zola [2A]. I designed Zola a long time ago, thematically, it makes sense. Zola is the expert with his bio-engineered creations.”
Tony: “If you chose Zola second, a minion gets an attachment.”
Caleb: “Yeah, some scenario setups are different [and impact other scenarios based on the order]. If there’s a copy of MODOK or the MODOK side scheme in play, you record that MODOK got away. [After the extra scenarios] You move onto interlude 2 and Ultron.”
Tony: “Scenario 2B is Sinister Six. They’re working for Oscorp, helping Ultron.”
Caleb: “Both Doctor Octopus and Scorpion have tech in their kit. Ultron has already invaded their minds. Then we move to Nebula [2C]…who is vulnerable to Ultron.”
Tony: “You need to remove all evasion counters from Nebula, otherwise she gets away, even if you defeated her.”
Josh: “You have another interlude. Depending on the log there’s different story beats going on. Capturing Zola, defeating the Sinister Six…”
Caleb: “Ultron makes a great final villain.”
Josh: “So after looking at this and seeing other design processes, give other people an idea of what’s similar to what you might do.”
Tony: “Probably the first thing I’d point out…the comic panels in the rulebooks. Those are a very important part of Marvel Champions, it gives the game that comic book feel. Those are great but they can also be a little restrictive with what we can do with the campaign structure, so we’re limited. So all the branching stories…AH does a fantastic job of those, they don’t quite fit the structure of Marvel Champions campaigns.”
Caleb: “Yeah people reach out…have you thought of branching paths and failing forward…we only have so many cards we can put in the box, and only so many pages we can put in the rulebook. So far we haven’t cracked that code. We’re under some restrictions the people are doing this aren’t. We’re designing new scenarios. Space is a premium, we’re figuring out…we want all these different modular sets…so in order to fit this thing we need to share sets between scenarios. It’s a little bit like Jenga.”
Tony: “Another advantage the contest entrants have is they can combine many different products…whereas we make every product standalone, except for the core. As I was thinking about how I’d approach this contest, the scenarios that exist have story elements you need to kind of tie in, like Hela, she didn’t show up a lot, maybe that’s due to the story elements.”
Josh: “The people that we chose today will be getting a copy of Mutant Genesis. Look forward to that very soon. A huge thank you and shoutout to everyone who submitted to this contest. We appreciate you for doing that.”
If you have a campaign, please send it to hallofheroescontact(at)gmail.com, preferably with a GDrive link, and a name you would like to be credited with.
A list of other Marvel Champions Campaign Contest entrants (those that are hosted directly are hosted with permission):
Head of Studio Chris Gerber gears up for an on-location “In-Flight Short” with FFG stream host Josh Massey.
FFG is demoing “seven games” at Gen Con 2022, alongside of the Twilight Imperium 25th anniversary tournament. “Today is Marvel day,” Massey says. Gerber notes that his favorite mutants are Colossus and Gambit: as well as Magneto.
“We did a trilogy of three boxes….and a little Spider-Man drop there, but now we’re getting into the mutants, and we’re going to have a few similar campaigns dealing with them.” – Gerber
Gerber reiterates that Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Phoenix, and Cyclops have all been announced. He also announced another hero: “the next one coming” is Wolverine. That’s the hero pack after Phoenix.
“Wolverine has the amazing healing factor involved, so he actually damages himself to fuel his attack powers and obviously then can heal those back up. So he’s very unique. We’ll talk about him in the next couple of months.” – Gerber
“We’re not quite ready to divulge the next big actual campaign, but we make those scenario packs…so the next one is later this year called Mojo Mania, and all the shenanigans he’s up to. The heroes get captured…and thrown into a gauntlet of crazy television tropes, because of the way it works you get three scenarios that can link together to get a mini campaign. You face off against different genres of television, so fantasy, crime drama all that stuff down to sitcom.” – Gerber
Gerber announces “Marvel DAGGER,” a board game. It means “defense alliance for global and galactic emergency response.” A logo is coming on social media “soon.” [Edit: see above]
The duo then showed off a video of the things they discussed on the stream (which were mostly still images of the two above announcements).
Summation of the Marvel Champions news today:
Wolverine is the next hero pack after Phoenix
Mojo Mania is a three-scenario standalone pack due out “this year”
Caleb joins Josh in-person to talk about Mutant Genesis (images are as high-res as possible captured directly from the stream)
“We work so far ahead I have to try and remember what are the innovations. We want every box to bring something new to the game. This box in particular…we didn’t want to shoot too high…this box we wanted it to be a good entry point. Right away when I ran the first demo, “when are the X-Men coming,” we want to strike a balance to make sure it’s beginner friendly, but give people something new for people who have been with us since 2019.” – Caleb
“Each of these roles [in the X-Men box story rules] have specific cards associated with them, but it also grants you limited access to those spheres…those custom cards allow you to do things that a commander would allow you to do. We envisioned the X-Men different from the Avengers and different from the Guardians…they live together. They’re constantly drilling and using their powers together. That’s where the roles came from and where the player cards came from too.” – Caleb
“Storm is a very capable leader.” – Caleb
“You earn your campaign card for that scenario, and you also shuffle in something nasty…so this is Nimrod. Whenever you defeat one of these it’s a balance, you get something good and something bad. When you defeat this [a side scheme]…now you got ally Magneto, you flip it over, you get to control Magneto.” – Caleb
“I talked about the X-Men being very team oriented, so they have an ally focus instead of chump blocking with allies you’re encouraged to keep them in play. So one of the things I like the most about is the villains…I grew up in the ’90s so Magneto has his own crew. So we have the keyword teamwork…these sets are so fun to design, so I think it’s the only new keyword: if you’re already engaged with Fabian Cortez here, and you reveal Amelia, the moment she engages you they’re both going to activate. I might have made a treachery that triggers their when defeated ability.” – Caleb
Stream ended at 2:27PM ET
MJ Newman has shared some behind the scenes pictures of what FFG’s presence at Gen Con looks like in person
Head of Studio Chris Gerber is back with FFG host Josh Massey on day 2 of Gen Con to present the second In-Flight short.
Today is the one year anniversary of Descent’s new edition. “We could not be more pleased with the fan reception,” says Gerber.
FFG is teasing the “Act 2” cover art on the back of their shirts at Gen Con [see the image below]. It’ll pick up the story “right where Act 1 leaves off at the cliffhanger.”
Meanwhile Ghosts of Greyhaven is still a side story, though it’s not part of the main structure/storyline of the game. “We’re still working on that product,” Gerber says, “while prioritizing Act 2.” It’s still intended to be a side story to be played at any time.
Now they’ve shifted gears to Arkham Horror LCG for the Scarlet Keys expansion
“It’s pretty much the largest campaign we’ve ever made for Arkham” – Gerber
“That’s not all the Arkham Horror we’re working on. We’re working on multiple campaigns for the future.” – Gerber
Gerber then shows a map of the Scarlet Keys campaign. The concept of the foldable map will be in the final product, but the above image isn’t the exact final production version.
“This is a map of the entire…everywhere you can go in your campaign. So the cool thing about this, it starts out from a place where there’s a set beginning to the campaign, but opens up to a non-linear story. You couldn’t really have it in the [old release model].
It has all the locations you can go…some hidden locations some secret things that might be unlocked during the campaign. Also the green…locations are the side story locations, you can actually take your side stories that we’ve made like…Blob, and incorporate them as possible locations within this campaign, expanding this campaign as you see fit.” – Gerber
A “Monte Carlo product” is teased, and is an extra location on the map [MJ shared the third image in the above gallery herself].
Maxine “MJ” Newman then joins Josh to talk about Arkham Horror
“[Monte Carlo] All I can say is if you’re always wanted to participate, plan and execute a daring heist in Arkham, you might have your chance soon.” – MJ
“Kymani is one of the new investigators…they’re absolutely new to the IP…which is really exciting. Kymani is especially cool to me because their whole backstory involves…they are a security consultant, that’s their day job. By night they’re actually the thief that’s stealing…they’re reclaiming these artifacts from museums and collectors and bringing them back to the people who originally own them.” – MJ
“[On the pronunciation] I say [Kai]-Mani” – MJ
“You’ll be using this card almost every turn when you put this into play [grappling hook]. What’s really cool though is there’s some new cards coming that interact with tools. At least one has already been spoiled.” – MJ
“Kymani’s weakness is interesting…it’s another new character we’re adding to the IP. What you can’t see from this card is that he’s an ICCP agent that’s on to Kymani’s antics. He’s also a member of the Red Cotorie” – MJ
“We can’t say exactly…when it’s coming out [Scarlet Keys] but it is coming soon. We’ll have playthroughs.” – Josh
No news was provided on other products, including the next revised cycle.
This stream is billed as “a conversation about Cosmic Encounter’s newest expansion: Cosmic Odyssey” with Jack Reda. This was said in the YouTube chat: “There won’t be any big news today, but tune in tomorrow as we close out the In-Flight Shorts for the week!”
FFG host Josh Massey intros the stream, noting that they’re at the “final table” of the Twilight Imperium tournament, with the top eight.
FFG then showed a very short video for Cosmic Encounters as a bumper, similar to the other two days of the “In-Flight Short” format. When the video ended, Jack Reda joined Josh to talk about the game.
“I was inmiddle school in Detroit in the ’80s when I was introduced to the…real board game Dune. We loved it, we played it every week. My friend said I had another game from the same designs, that’s Cosmic Encounters. We never played Dune again with that group. I mean I’ve played it again and I’m designing expansions for Dune years later, but Cosmic Encounters captured my imagination in a way I never thought possible…each expansion made the game and the universe more exciting. It inspired me to come up with my own designs for a game. I came up with designs when I was in high school.” – Reda
“The original designers asked me to join their company…and one of those things was a seventh edition for Fantasy Flight’s Cosmic Encounter…and they said unleash yourself…I’m frankly astounding that Fantasy Flight packed as much into the box as they did.” – Reda
Josh says that Reda mentioned something exciting about Cosmic Encounters off-camera and it’s the “best part of the expansion.” Reda replies that it’s a “multiverse” of Cosmic Encounter, including original references and Easter eggs. It “expands everything that Fantasy Flight has put into Cosmic Encounter over the years.” Elements of the expansion can combine or standalone for “more space stations, hazards, and an even bigger reward deck.” Reda states: “There’s new stuff as well…like the moons…those are very vibrant and robust variants, but there’s stuff that’s never been part of Cosmic Encounter before.”
“Probably one of the biggest strengths of the campaign…is a lot of people are like you have all these expansions and variants. It’s modular by design…but the campaign prescribes exactly what you’re going to use, and it parcels it out, and it’s challenging but not too challenging. It tells you ‘we’re going to use moons,’ and in the campaign guide it tells you…it handholds and walks you through the process.” – Reda
Reda is asked for a closing thought:
“We’re forward thinking, I always hear sometime an expansion comes out…there couldn’t possibly be anything else that comes out after this. We’re always thinking about the future, we don’t know if there will be an expansion after seven…but there’s one thing that hasn’t been re-imagined for Fantasy Flight, and if we ever get the opportunity to bring it out, it’ll blow people’s minds. The gauntlet is out Fantasy Flight, I challenge you to let us do it. But this expansion alone, 42 new aliens…it’s so wildly different. It would take you 100 lifetimes to see the full spectrum. We started a thing called the bucket list of virtually impossible things you can do in Cosmic…and we check them off…it’s happening, we’re trying to build a community on Discord. We want people to keep homebrewing. We’re in an age now where it’s so easy to implement those crazy new ideas and take them for a test drive.” – Reda
“We’ll catch you at the same time tomorrow for our closing of Gen Con.” – Josh
In the chat before the stream: “Hello everyone, and thanks for joining us today! We’re super excited to wrap up Gen Con with you all, as well as introduce you to the winner of the Twilight Imperium 25th Anniversary Tournament!”
FFG was given a “best of Gen Con” award from Gaming Trend for Twilight Inscription, which is coming out in “September.”
A quick video was shown off of Twilight Inscription “while the team transitions over to the Twilight Imperium 25th chat.” Bethany Wehby was the champion for the Twilight Imperium 25th anniversary tournament. Bethany talked about her experience with the Twilight Imperium tournament, then head of studio Chris Gerber came on to “say goodbye” to Gen Con 2022. According to the chat, the winner of the Twilight Imperium was “received a trophy with a large War Sun on top, along with other participation prizes for each day!”
Gerber has one more “fun thing they’re excited to share.”
The Rebel vs. Empire Star Wars deckbuilding game. The stream then abruptly ended immediately, without any elaboration beyond an image. Caleb Grace (LOTR LCG/Marvel LCG) is front and center on the box.
This past week, we held our second “favorite scenario” survey. Here are the results, with a pretty large sample size of 645 votes!
The top 10
Amazingly, exactly one year to the day of the first poll results, Kang has won again. The Lord of the Rings-inspired design takes the crown, which directly leads into another Lord of the Rings-adjacent villain and newcomer that has taken the number two spot: Hela. It was close!
Given how good the word of mouth is for Hela, it’s a no-brainer that people like her so much: she offers a way to play the game that differs from the typical “cage match” villain battle. It’ll be fascinating to see how she holds up in the future if we get more of those types of scenarios. Assuming that the team sees the positive reception and decides to iterate upon Hela, we could see it sometime around mid-2023 (given the year and a half lead time).
Coming in at number three is Mutagen Formula, which took home the number two spot in 2021. I had fully expected these three to make an appearance in the top five, but it’s good to see that newcomers and long-timers alike are still enjoying Kang and Mutagen.
From there, things get a little less predictable. 65 people voted for the Sinister Six scenario to take the fourth overall spot, which is one of the one of the two appearances of the Sinister Motives box in the top 10. It seems as if people took to the unique approach of fighting a horde of villains and escaping via a side scheme. The other is the thematic and encounter card-heavy Mysterio, which comes in at number five, directly below Sinister Six.
After that is The Hood, which has been polarizing in many circles, but popular enough to warrant the overall sixth spot. Some defenders cite the heavy usage of modular sets as a reason to revisit The Hood. That’s followed by Red Skull, Thanos, Tower Defense, and Taskmaster comprising the top 10 respectively.
As far as the breakdown of the top 10 goes, there’s a great split of six Caleb-helmed scenarios and four Boggs-led scenarios. One scenario is from 2019, three are from 2020, four are from 2021, and two are from 2022. Mad Titan’s Shadow was the most represented box with three scenarios, but Sinister Motives was right behind it. Three of the top 10 scenarios were from individual packs, seven were from boxes.
Kang, Mutagen, Red Skull, and Taskmaster all remained in the top 10 from 2021 to 2022, and deserve a special honor for withstanding the test of time.
Middle of the road
Venom comes in very close right behind Taskmaster with 14 votes to Taskmaster’s 16.
Outside of the top 10, beyond Venom, we have Risky Business, Sandman, Ultron, Klaw, Collector 2, Collector 1, Crossbones, Rhino, Loki, Drang, Zola, and Ebony Maw.
Throughout the lifetime of these scenarios, players have reported all sorts of experiences (positive and negative), and several of these were already in the middle of the pack in the 2021 poll: they stayed stagnant, without any sort of new lease on life/revelatory mod situation.
Risky Business (previously overall third last year, now 12) is one of the biggest falls from the 2021 poll to the most recent one, now that there’s more competition to deal with. Ultron and Klaw similarly fell a bit out of the top 10 but are still at a respectable position in the 2022 poll.
The bottom five
Looking at the bottom five, not much has changed. Absorbing Man, Nebula, and Ronan are still a few of the least-liked scenarios. Now they are joined by Wrecking Crew being dragged down from the middle of the pack to the bottom five, with Venom Goblin making a surprise-appearance in that same category.
None of these are real big surprises, and if you frequent any online communities, they are frequently coming up. Nebula, Ronan, and Venom Goblin are disliked because they’re overtuned, or too random (excessive RNG is generally a design principle that can create negative player experiences for everyone involved). Wrecking Crew doesn’t support modular sets, so as time goes on, it ages less gracefully. Absorbing Man is one of the standout outliers, but theme and mechanics generally don’t go far enough to make use of the scenario’s potential, and it ultimately doesn’t even justify the use of the character.
Thanks to everyone for voting! Our second poll was a huge success and you’re a big reason why.
Once again Chris Gerber, Head of FFG studio, is presenting for the 2021 InFlight Report.
Gerber notes there will be “some updates to some of our biggest product lines, including new things we’re going to tease for the first time.” He also explains that FFG “will not be able to give precise release dates for anything.”
Descent: Legends of the Dark
Gerber: “This beast of a game is one of FFG’s crowning achievements…over three years in the making”
A Terrinoth Legends universe has been teased
High quality dice from LevelUp are shown as is the new book.
“Pleased to confirm Act 2 is well on its way through development at FFG.” A “tricky new foe for Ghosts of Grayhaven” is confirmed. Incorporated in the main Blood and Flame campaign. This is a prototype.
Early tease of Act 2: they are “upping the ante” in terms of scale (Act 2 is on the right)
Gerber re-iterates that the game is “going on hiatus for a bit.” [Context] They still “hope and intend to launch a digital version.”
A new faction of merchants about trade and exchange is confirmed. House Mars returns.
That was it for KeyForge.
“All of your power is shared with one neighbor or the other.” [Context]
Planning to release the game in “late fall of this year.”
“We hoped to get it into your hands by the end of September. Just like every other company in the world right now we’re facing shipping and logistics delays.
We will keep you all posted…and hope to have it in your hands by the end of the year.”
Journeys in Middle-Earth
“Last big box expansion” reconfirmed as Spreading War.
Mini DLCs coming. “Check the website to stay up to date.”
Arkham Horror LCG
Machinations Through Time standalone confirmed, which will be at GenCon’s popup at Gamezenter.
Edge of the Earth recapped as two big box expansions.
“We’re also doing it for the old stuff [the new model].” The first repack is Dunwich.
Aiming for “first quarter of next year.” Investigator expansion coming first, and scenarios coming “a month or two later.”
Lord of the Rings LCG
“Revamping this core set to support 1-4 players out of the box.”
It will add a campaign mode with brand new boons and burdens. If you own the original you won’t need to buy the revised core. Those boons and burden cards will be freely available as print and play content. Early 2022 date.
There will be a campaign box and player box for each cycle. “Getting into the game will be easier than ever before.” Each of these will contain the boons and burdens.
Also available as print and play. Unlike Arkham they will not be releasing “all of the old content.” It will be a “selection of stories.”
The Dark of Mirkwood will be released in early 2022 (from the two-player starter set) and can be played as a mini campaign or as part of the core set.
Vision confirmed for “first quarter of 2022” as a Protection pack. Article coming in 1-2 weeks.
Sinister Motives confirmed (Miles and Gwen) with an article in the “coming months.” Additional Web Warriors coming.
A new line of graphic novels at CMON are coming for Twilight Imperium.
What’s the deal with Mad Titan’s Shadow in the US?
To put it bluntly, Mad Titan’s Shadow has been delayed in the US beyond the original August 27 date. In fact on an FFG Live Marvel Champions stream on August 25, the company confirmed that they “hope to get it released by the end of the year” in the US. The thing is, it’s already being shipped in the UK! Here’s a few community-vetted places to pre-order from.
Note that while Canada was supposed to get shipments on August 27, many stores are reporting that they are not arriving on time. Keep that in mind when picking a place to pre-order. Although Canada did get Return to TCU (Arkham LCG) early, that does not seem to be the case for Mad Titan’s Shadow. Right now the UK is one of the only vetted countries to import from.
Stock is fully confirmed to be landed in the UK for many stores; the image above is from Ludoquist, a London-based store. Note that as time passes, not all of these stores will constantly have stock. Keep them bookmarked and/or contact them for when they might get a restock.
I can personally vouch for Board Game Extras, having used them in the past for Arkham content imports. You can find Mad Titan’s Shadow here. Shipments from here generally take a week to reach me and you can get tracked or untracked. Untracked shipping can come out to £39.33 in some locations, which is roughly $54 US.
In case you missed it, we held our first-ever poll to see what your “favorite scenario” was to date, at the release of Galaxy’s Most Wanted. We asked, and you showed up! In just over a week, we received 777 results! This makes it, to our knowledge, one of the largest surveys for Marvel Champions to date.
Here are the full transparent results, as well as a breakdown of some interesting highlights (image slightly altered to accommodate multiple results).
So Kang won out by a landslide! Kang garnered 209 votes, and it’s well-deserved after all of the heavy lifting it did getting players from October 2020 through April 2021 with zero new scenarios to play. With three great modular sets and a wonderful take on the “Foundations of Stone” scenario from Lord of the Rings LCG, it’s no wonder that it’s the current darling of Marvel Champions.
Then, Mutagen scored second place with a respectable 139 votes, over double the amount of its nearest competitor. Comparatively, the top two choices are extremely telling: they’re both non-story-box content. The fans have spoken, and standalone packs rule the roost.
I mean, Risky Business is third! That puts the combined pack of Mutagen Formula and Risky Business at roughly Kang’s level of popularity. That’s a very important thing to point out, as Green Goblin is still the only pack to date that contains two scenarios: it’s still our favorite Champions product as well.
From there we move on to murky territory. rounding out the rest of the top 10. Red Skull is next, followed by Klaw, Ultron, Taskmaster, Wrecking Crew, Collector 2, and Drang.
That puts two out of five Red Skull box scenarios in the top 10. Collector and Drang snuck in too to represent Galaxy’s Most Wanted, and people have really taken to the former’s unique Lord of the Rings LCG “questing” approach.
Then we start to go into the weeds. Crossbones is next at 11, followed by Zola, Rhino, Nebula, Collector 1, Absorbing Man, and Ronan.This might be the most eye-catching dataset of all. Here, we have three out of five Galaxy’s Most Wanted scenarios in the bottom five spots. Typically, when a pack comes out the reception is positive due to recency bias. But the community has decidedly gone the other way. Perhaps some of it due to the fact that some folks don’t have the box? Either way, that’s the data we have.
Thanks to everyone for voting! Our first poll was a huge success and you’re a big reason why.
The confusion of “You” is one of the most contentious elements of Marvel Champions, and naturally, it has the biggest section of the FAQ.
Nearly every facet of “You” is now explained. For the most part, it deals with how cards interact with your identity by and large. This is codifying the “allies don’t count for cards like Hall of Heroes” ruling that has been floating around development circles and communities for nearly a year now.
Here’s what you need to remember: events, resources, and upgrades are part of the identity. Allies and supports are not an extension of your identity.
So there’s a lot to unpack, but the big takeaway is that defense events now count as a defense. So if you use Wiggle Room, you can trigger abilities like Unflappable, which require a defense. RRG 1.2 controversially claimed that using cards like Wiggle Room was not a defense.
The new RRG also clarifies that only one player at a time can defend against an enemy attack, preventing players from stacking defenses upon defenses and breaking certain interactions.
What’s the takeaway? Protection got a huge buff. The original change did not make a lot of sense, and Protection can now use a lot more cards in their pool in both solo and multiplayer.
This aspect is still being debated by various members of the community because of the sheer number of card interactions, but a lot of prior (defense) cards are now back on the menu and more viable for play. It’s a very good change (on a change on a change).
Since the core set, people have been wanting a “timing chart” for the game, which previously shipped with both other co-op LCGs at launch. A year and a half removed, we’re getting something similar.
Although it’s not a “chart” per se, under the triggered abilities section of RRG 1.4, we have some more clarity on how abilities work.
In short, it goes
This lines up with prior rulings in the past, but it’s good to have clarity, as usual. Some timing bits are also peppered into the RRG throughout, like the “ability” section, which goes into more detail of each of the above bullet points.
Hall of Heroes provides community errata for cards that are printed incorrectly, and now the official RRG is getting with the times.
For reference, Honorary Avenger (max 1 per character), Wrecking Crew’s I’ve Been Waiting For This (gains changed to heals), Iron Fist (response to interrupt), Warning (removed defense trait), Inner Demons (removed “then”), Avengers Tower (Red Skull’s version was misprinted and should have had the Avengers trait), Marked for Death (stage to scheme), Hail Hydra (shuffle only occurs if the deck was searched, which is now the primary way to resolve all three versions of Hail Hydra), and Attack on Mount Athena (Hydra Assault is correct) were all errataed.
Here’s a selection of decks, hero-by-hero, that help draw out their strengths and will assist new players in tackling standard and expert mode: and beyond. These are hand-picked by Hall of Heroes, but also sourced from some of the most-liked decks on MarvelCDB.
This blog is meant to serve as a beginner’s guide through the Guardians of the Galaxy cycle.
This is a classic deck that uses some old cards, but will provide a great baseline for how Spider-Man should play. It was also one of the first origins for a “swarm” deck, before mass-allies were popularized.
Spider-Man is the first hero a lot of people play, and one of the most underrated. Definitely give him a go in several aspects before moving on.
With so many energy resource cards Justice is a no-brainer for Tony, and this can work very well for solo play or multiplayer. Justice Iron Man was one of my favorite core set combos and that mantra is still true today.
I love this deck because it serves as a perfect tutorial for what you should be doing with Black Panther. It walks you through everything from card choice to strategy, and it has made many converts out of non-Black Panther believers.
I promise, this is probably the last Brian-V deck in this current incarnation of this writeup. Probably.
In another fantastic outing, Brian-V truly brings Protection to life with Captain America’s “stun lock” archetype. Many players after have replicated it, but this is one of the first. Cap truly is an all-comer hero, and this deck will show you why.
Ms. Marvel is a very unconventional hero, but at launch, she slotted very nicely into the Aggression and Justice aspects due to the high amount of synergy between many of those aspect cards. Dr00 was one of the first players to truly pick up on this.
If you haven’t tried Ms. Marvel yet, give her a go in Aggression. She can handle thwarting just fine with her hero kit, unlike a lot of other heroes.
So there are several great Aggression decks on MarvelCDB, but Thor Justice is a favorite of mine.
It shores up several of Thor’s weaknesses that Aggression just can’t really handle at the moment, and this deck from KingOfRohan shines in all player counts: solo included. If you’re having issues with Aggression, try this one.
Speaking of another great deckbuilder, KennedyHawk, of Marvel Champions Monthly fame, is a paragon of the community and a good person to follow.
Very early on I was drawn to Black Widow Protection, and this deck explains why. The moniker “solo protection heroic” also draws people in immediately. This is how you sell a deck: it’s no wonder it’s the top choice for Widow. If it works in heroic, it works in standard/expert.
So this is where I toot my own horn a bit with my own deck.
If you noticed, an early trend of strong/well-liked decks was to pack in Leadership cards. This is no different, roughly six months into the game’s lifecycle. However, Doctor Strange is one of the strongest heroes in the game, and is able to tap into what makes Leadership so strong more than most.
I’ve heard testaments from tons of players at this point on how this deck has helped them through every difficulty setting of every scenario. I’m proud of it!
Given the rather large lull the game had after Red Skull, activity on the DB dropped a bit, but there are still folks out there posting decks, like ImpossibleGerman.
Like them, Justice is where I took my Ant-Man tests first, and I don’t regret it. Ant-Man is a really fun hero and the Justice aspect can handle pretty much every single thing the current incarnation of the game can throw at it.
I also really dig the use of Coulson here, a secret weapon for many Justice players.
Scarlet Witch is a powerful hero, and a lot of that is due to her card draw. L3w15 7 cleverly taps and leans into that, in addition to sticking with the Justice angle of her prebuilt. L3w15 7 knows that Scarlet Witch will see a lot of her impactful cards often because of insane draw potential, so you could be casting Chaos Magic roughly every two turns.
This deck has a few heavy-hitters but mostly a ton of low-cost draw potential. It’ll get you going if you don’t “get” Scarlet Witch yet.
Just like Groot, I basically assembled this deck sight unseen, and it turned up nearly identical. NocturnalAnimal and I might actually be the same person.
Gamora doesn’t really care so much what her aspect is, as she can take powerful cards like Clear the Area in any aspect. But for the most part, top decks have settled on aggression or justice, taking events from the other side. Justice is my current favorite.
Having tried Drax in very aspect, I can say that at launch, he is best in Protection: so if you want Drax decks, look there first. TrashPanda provides an excellent writeup on why Drax works so well with the aspect, while showcasing a few Drax hidden gems like C.I.T.T. and Med Team.
With Mantis support and readying effects, Drax can last a long while in hero form: ideally all game.
This is basically the deck I built myself the minute I got my Venom pack, with a few alterations. Think Fast is an amazingly good card for any Guardian, but Venom in particular since he highly benefits from swapping to alter-ego. With the confuse “paying for” the swap, he can use his deployed Aunt Bay (Project Rebirth 2.0) to draw cards to pay for allies/heal, then draw a card/heal when flipping back up to hero form. Pretty much any form of using Think Fast and Sonic Rifle will catapult your Venom games into success.
Here’s a few straight-to-the-point pointers for Marvel Champions LCG villains
This blog is meant to serve as a beginner’s guide through Galaxy’s Most Wanted
Key tech cards: Under Surveillance, treachery cancellation, tough
Rhino is a very straight-forward villain, but he can trick people up, especially in solo play. There are two main things you want to watch for with Rhino: threating out, and charge.
Although it’s a bit counterintuitive for new players, you really don’t want to go into alter-ego often with Rhino. Unlike a lot of other villains (and unlike everyone else in the core set), Rhino only has one main scheme stage. If you threat out, you lose. This can happen often if he draws Advance and gains a triple-boost; even if you’re safely in hero form.
Because of that looming, instant loss condition, you’ll want to make sure you can keep the main scheme down at all times. Alternatively, you can bring Justice, as several key Justice cards can help crush the main scheme (Under Surveillance, Counterintelligence), allowing you to entirely focus on Rhino while threat is in the rear view mirror.
Charge is the other big bad card. This grants Rhino overkill, one of the most devastating effects in the game. Overkill goes through chump blocking (and splashes big damage onto your hero), so you really want a way to deal with it if it comes out. High defense, damage mitigation (like Wiggle Room in Ms. Marvel), or tough status cards are options.
Klaw is one a huge jump up from Rhino in the core set.
If you’re playing on expert, you’re starting with two side schemes and a minion in play. Insane! How tough that minion is may depend on your modular set. Hopefully, you’ll get a Weapons Runner, which does not surge because it wasn’t revealed, it was put into play.
In any case, you need to be able to deal with that minion right away, especially if it has guard. Klaw is interesting in that he can kind of do it all. He can scheme. He can hit you with crazy-high damage if he draws into high boosts. So to shut him down, you’ll want to rely heavily on stuns.
By stunning Klaw you are taking away his main weapon: double boost cards. Just note that you may have to deal with an attack from him via the encounter deck, as Assault or Gang-Up can trigger another attack. In that case, allies are wonderful tech against Klaw, as he can double-triple-boost into eight damage in Stage III and not put a dent into your hero; so long as you chump block.
Key tech cards: Stuns, threat mitigation for stage 2B, retaliate
Ultron was one of the most unique encounters in the first year of the game. He also benefits from having the highest single health pool at the time of his release.
Because of this, you will need to rush down Ultron somewhat. You may decide to keep him at Stage II in expert before you push to III (depending on your strategy), but ultimately, you do need to kill him before he starts overwhelming you with drones.
Stun tech works great for stopping Ultron II from spawning too many minions. But using powers like Jennifer Walters’ alter-ego ability, Great Responsibility, and Counterintelligence can actually stop Ultron 2B from triggering. That’s one less drone you need to worry about.
Retaliate is excellent drone tech, as are AOE (area-of-effect) abilities like Lightning Strike. Out of the core set, Black Panther is a great tool for cutting down drones. He can face-tank them and kill them instantly (non-upgraded), and use allies to take Ultron hits.
Risky Business is often cited as one of the easiest scenarios in the game, and there’s a reason for that.
Generally, you want to avoid flipping Norman to the Green Goblin side unless you are ready. Setup to your heart’s content, keep the Criminal Enterprise tokens low (preferably hovering around one), then when you’re good to go, chip damage him, have him go Green Goblin form, then let it rip with the perfect hand and setup.
If you keep flipping Norman to Goblin constantly, you’re going to have a bad time dealing with a ton of indirect damage. You don’t want to do that. Ideally, you’ll flip Norman twice all game – once to get him to the next stage, the next to kill him.
For the most part, you won’t be flipping to alter-ego when Norman is active, so you won’t be schemed out of stage 1B. This leaves you plenty of time to take null “attacks” from Norman as you stay in hero form all game.
As a final tip, remember that indirect damage from Stages I-II of Green Goblin can be assigned to any of your characters. It does not need to exclusively go to your hero.
Key tech cards: Anything high tempo that doesn’t require setup, treachery cancellation
Mutagen expert, on the flipside, is cited as one of the toughest scenarios to date.
This is because on Stage II, Green Goblin instantly deals two encounter cards to each player. In other words, on expert, you’re resolving three encounter cards turn one. As you might expect, tempo is important. The concept of tempo refers to how quickly you are outpacing the villain’s turn. For Mutagen, it’s key that you don’t waste multiple turns setting up.
You simply do not have time to have the villain play passively, because they are firing on all cylinders turn one. Because of this, hitting Goblin immediately with damage will help you slowly chip him down. Heroes like Spider-Man or Doctor Strange, which have treachery cancellations, can also assist with early tempo losses that might stem from those three starting cards.
Finally, you will need something to deal with those three-health guard minions. Cheap three-damage solutions (allies included, who can block for you after) are key. You’ll want to use the rest of your hand to swing at Goblin.
A final tip: The “damages You” in Green Goblin’s forced response only refers to the hero. If you block with an ally, it does not resolve.
Key tech cards: Burst damage
Everyone has a different order for killing the Wrecking Crew, but mine usually involves taking out Wrecker and Thunderball quickly, then Piledriver and Bulldozer.
Here’s the big “cheat” for Wrecking Crew. You are always in control of who the active villain is, even if the encounter deck “changes it.” This is the secret. All you need to do is have the villains that you want to be the two potential “main” choices throttled at the lowest and highest threat on their schemes. That’s it.
With practice, you can completely avoid having Bulldozer ever activate once in an entire game, to avoid his overkill ability. You can also wait to take out Piledriver and avoid having him whittle down your upgrades/supports, and avoid taking slow, painful retaliate damage. As a general rule, the active villain will be the one that has the highest threat. However, ties are broken by the player, and all the other “random” encounter card changes involve “the least threat.”
Once you have this down, the encounter is a cinch. All you need to add is burst damage to potentially kill a Wrecking Crew member on your first turn, and you’re good to go.
Crossbones isn’t a super tough villain, but he’s one of the most fun. And he’s very spiky. He’s a lot like Rhino in that way, and even has a charge-like secret weapon.
The biggest problem card in Crossbones’ arsenal is Full Auto. There are two copies in the deck, and when you’re in hero form, he can hose you down for a ton of indirect damage. If you don’t have ways to mitigate it and/or allies out, you can die outright.
If you can get Full Auto and Machine Gun damage under control, you’ll eventually best Crossbones. The rest of his kit is very straight-forward, and by default, his minions are very easy core set threats. His low health also ensures that you should be able to take him out before he uses several of his own tutor cards to kit himself out with goodies.
Focus first on mitigation and second on damage, and you’ll burn Crossbones before he burns you.
Key tech cards: Low-cost cards, Under Surveillance
Absorbing Man’s kit has two main faults: a very high threat threshold main scheme (1B), and the limitation of only having one environment out at a time. 12 threat is a very high ceiling, so you don’t necessarily need big threat mitigation cards to keep him down. Environments are also very easy to handle, as he generally will attack with a pre-arranged, already setup environment.
For instance, if stone is out, he’ll place threat on the main scheme, and the stone environment will allow him to heal. That’s it. You know what’s coming, so outside of a new environment surge into an assault, Absorbing Man is very predictable.
Having a well-balanced kit that can deal with damage and threat is key, so you can adapt to his snail-pace environment shifts.
A final tip: using Under Surveillance on any single-stage main scheme will help wonders. If you’re Justice, bring just one copy of it for more leeway.
Key tech cards: Healing, hero-centric buildsthat don’t rely on alter-ego
Taskmaster is another straight-forward villain that has one main scheme stage.
To really lay into Taskmaster, stay in hero form all game and watch as his main villain power goes to waste. Use allies to help you accomplish this while you put in small packets of damage. If you’re trying to take his Photographic Reflexes away, ping him for one measly damage, take one back, then discard it. Easy.
The only heroes that might have issues with Taskmaster are Ant-Man, or alter-ego heavy heroes like Ms. Marvel or She-Hulk. They like to flip a lot, so going back and forth to hero can make you take unnecessary damage.
A final tip (hey, it’s just like Absorbing Man!): using Under Surveillance on any single-stage main scheme will help wonders. If you’re Justice, bring just one copy of it for more leeway.
Key tech cards: Cards that provide packets of 3-5 damage
Zola can be brutal for multiple reasons. Like Klaw and Mutagen he has a very taxing setup, forcing you to deal with multiple things at once. If you can live without your signature ally (for some heroes this is a boon), you can ignore Hydra Prison.
Minions are the main thing you want to watch out for. and in the base scenario, they range from 3-5 health. Make sure you don’t get caught with damage values that aren’t enough to take out a minion, and build your deck accordingly.
Zola’s baked-in retaliate is also a major issue for ally swarm decks. To mitigate this, use allies to thwart or take down minions, and use your hero to really hit Zola hard. That way your swarm army can stay up to take hits from Zola directly. This is especially key because Zola can draw into Assault, Gang-Up, and Mind Ray: all of which dish out an extra attack.
Key tech cards: Low-cost burst thwart cards like Clear the Area
Without the campaign upgrades to help you, and with high-tempo modular sets involved, Red Skull can be a beast. But like all villains, he can be beaten.
You’ll want to bring lots of thwart for Red Skull, so you can take out one side scheme (at least) per turn. In this own set, that averages around three threat per player. Many heroes can handle this without excessive setup, like Quicksilver.
Low cost-curves are key here, because you may need to deal with a minion, deal damage to Red Skull, thwart a side or main scheme, and remove an upgrade in the same turn. Oddly enough you can “tech” against Red Skull by bringing easier modular sets. Sets that don’t tutor out additional threats are a good way to learn the encounter.
Key tech cards: Burst cards, setup cards (more on that in a moment)
It seems antithetical to ask players to build for both quick and slow tempo in their decks, but hear me out.
Kang is a very tricky villain in that he requires you to immediately deal with him, then he has a lull period, then he gets back to business. You’ll need some burst to get him out of stage one quickly before the board state gets too crazy.
While you’re in stage two, especially in solo play, you can relax. The only negative impact you’ll have when “threating out” in the second stage of Kang is an extra copy of Kang’s Dominion. In solo, that’s just three threat and an encounter card in exchange for one to three (or more) turns of setup. In multiplayer with a full board, one Kang’s Dominion is 12 threat. If just one person gets a huge setup out of it, it’s worth it.
You’ll need a decent amount of buildup for stage three too. Kang III can dish out damage and threat, while commanding a hefty hitpoint value. If you have minions, side schemes, and obligations piling up, you may never defeat him. By default you don’t need heavy minion tech (his Macrobots have four health by the way) for this one, depending on the modular set you chose.
Key tech cards: Stun and confuse, to prevent Drang from adding barrage counters
Galaxy’s Most Wanted brings the heat, and Drang is no pushover.
Drang can dish out a lot of damage if you let him, but he doesn’t have that many ways to gain access to overkill in his base kit. Instead, Drang overwhelms you with “barrage counters,” which charge up his ship and blast every player with two indirect damage after he acquires four counters.
Think of this like a soft timer on the scenario. You need to take him down at a decent pace, but not too quickly, because moving him into Stage III before you’re ready for it can be disastrous. The Badoon set itself doesn’t throw too many wrinkles at you, but thwarting is paramount, even in bursts. Unlike a lot of other scenarios, it’s totally OK to “fail” Stage 1B and drop to Stage 2B if you need a breather. There isn’t a huge penalty.
If you’re starting with Drang II on expert, try and get rid of his spear as soon as possible. You really want to remove stalwart, so that you can stun or confuse him to keep the heat off. This is especially the case for Drang III, as any activation will charge up his ship. Replacing that entire process is a great way to keep his ship at bay: so make sure when you flip Drang to III, you’re ready! Those barrage counters can add up really fast.
The Collector: Infiltrate the Museum
Key tech cards: Beefy permanents that aren’t meant to be sacrificed, heavy thwart to pay for dropping to alter-ego to prevent chumping allies into the collection
Infiltrate the Museum is one of the most contentious scenarios in the Galaxy’s Most Wanted box, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Here’s the main gimmick: Collector will “steal” in play cards from you and his own encounter deck (like allies, upgrades, or even minions). If the collection grows to five per player cards, you auto-lose. No pressure!
As you can imagine, this is monumentally easier to build for in standalone play. First off you want to make sure you aren’t taking too many low HP allies. Now this can be tough to handle in the campaign — where you can’t change your deck on expert mode — but generally you want a decent spread of capable allies if at all possible. Make sure that when you activate them you aren’t always just chump blocking with them, or activating them down to their very last consequential damage.
Instead, keep your allies alive and “save” them to chump with in emergencies, or when the collection is low. You’ll want to face-tank hits from the Collector, or consider taking Endurance (x1 copy) in a campaign to allow you some breathing room. Swapping to AE to take a breather (especially when the Collector is confused) is helpful.
Also, Justice is extremely effective against this entire box, but on Collector 1 in particular because he only has one main scheme. If you slap an Under Surveillance on there, it’ll give you even more room to work with. Do not underestimate the power of even one Under Surveillance in multiplayer, even if it doesn’t “scale.”
Additionally, you will want to make sure that you aren’t just killing every minion that comes out, as soon as it comes out. Sometimes you can soak minion damage with your hero without blocking. Sometimes you may need to use a high HP ally (like US Agent) to defend. On other occasions, you may need to swap to AE, let them thwart, or even stun/confuse them if you have a spare (Spider-Girl works great for this).
On expert, immediately take the three damage penalty for his when revealed Stage II effect to avoid losing a card to the collection turn one. You want to spend that momentum instead to build up or thwart off some threat from the schemes in play.
As a final expert tip, make sure you’re ready to push Collector to stage III. As soon as he flips, you’ll have to put a card from your deck into the collection, then place one threat on the main scheme for each card in there. That can automatically threat you out if you’re not careful.
I lied, here’s a final final tip. Remember that cards with “victory” points do not go in the collection! They go in the victory display.
The Collector: Escape the Museum
Key tech cards: High threat removal
The second go around with The Collector isn’t nearly as punishing. There is no collection tis time, you’re just going to have to take him out the old fashioned way: thwarting.
In this encounter, thwarting is the fastest way forward. You need to thwart out three main schemes to win. That’s it. If you manage to “kill” the Collector, who cannot be defeated, he’ll flip to his other side, you’ll remove three per player threat from the main scheme, and then he’ll flip back at the end of the round. Also, you can thwart off five threat from the library labyrinth environment by taking a facedown encounter card.
Okay, so there’s a lot going on, but the main takeaway is thwarting is king. It’s a lot of work to kill the Collector over and over, so you want to dedicate your main efforts to thwarting the main scheme directly. Similarly, Library of Labyrinth is very enticing, but you may not want to take an extra encounter card every turn. Just keep steadily thwarting off the main scheme in bulk and you’ll be part of the way through in no time.
Stay in hero as often as possible to prevent the main scheme from going up, as you don’t want to be thwarting off a small amount per turn, then have Collector undo your entire efforts.
Let the damage to Collector be incidental. Mechanics like Overkill will work, as well as damage from characters that have 0 or “-” thwart. If you happen to “defeat” and flip him for three per player threat, it’s a bonus. But don’t rely on it.
Once you get to stage 3A, the Library Labyrinth environment will go away and you’ll start to get blasted for two or three per player indirect damage across the table. Make sure you’re absolutely ready for this, because you can’t rely on Library of Labyrinth to win now.
Key tech cards: Stuns, target acquired, the ability to heal or duck into alter-ego
Nebula is very much a cascading avalanche of an encounter. Sometimes she won’t feel as powerful. Sometimes she’ll have a ton of “technique” upgrades and wreck your day.
Here’s how she works. When Nebula activates, she fires off all of her “special” abilities on her techniques. These include: “place one threat on the main scheme, you are stunned, give Nebula a tough status card, take one damage, discard one card from your hand at random.” Afterward, you discard one technique (in Stage III, you need to remove the top card of your deck from the game to do it).
This creates numerous problems if she’s surging into multiple techniques, and they’re firing off constantly, and you’re only removing one per activation. It’s a smart move for the entire campaign, but bring at least one copy of Target Acquired to prevent her techniques from being attached to her via boost effect. Nebula is prone to being chump blocked. This is especially effective because it can keep the Power Stone on your hero.
She also has a ship at her disposal, which adds an “evasion counter” wrinkle in. When the villain phase starts up you add one evasion counter to her ship (as well as card effects that add them), and it dictates how much threat the main scheme increases by as a result. It’s very important to always keep Nebula’s Ship at zero evasion counters all game. It can quickly add up and in some cases, you may not be able to remove as many counters as you like, especially if you’re discarding cards and resources.
As a result, big-economy heroes who can afford to remove multiple evasion counters for the table are paramount here. And Nebula can be easier with more players in the mix, as the evasion counter increase is a flat one per villain phase.
Key tech cards: Full card cancels, tough status for your hero
Thus far, Ronan is probably the toughest villain in the game. So naturally, we have a lot of tips!
If you’re playing campaign mode, let Nebula keep the stone at the very end, then take her out. This will help you with Ronan as he won’t be angry at you for having the stone, and you’ll deal with one less encounter card at the start.
Ronan’s main gimmick is that he starts with multiple side schemes in play if you’re running the campaign, and begins with the Kree Command Ship, which is a permanent hazard icon for the table. If you’re playing solo, you’re essentially playing heroic mode. Ronan also starts with his hammer, the “Universal Weapon.” In short, he’s already set up to wreck you, he doesn’t need multiple turns to do so.
Turn one you’re going to want to take his hammer away, full stop. Just take the damage and the encounter card cost, and treat it like you’re starting the game that way. It’ll remove Stalwart, and remove +1 SCH and +1 ATK from the equation. Stunning and confusing is crucial for Ronan, to prevent him from doing any damage. You’re going to want to stay on stage 1B for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.
So here’s the thing. You want Ronan to keep the Power Stone as much as possible; all game if you can. That way he doesn’t draw two boost cards, which can wreck your board state. Instead, ping him with packets of one or two damage, and use allies or non-attack abilities to prevent you from taking the stone back with the forced effect. The extra +1 ATK he gains from the stone is very small potatoes compared to a devastating additional boost.
Once he’s at Stage III in expert, or the Superior Tactics side scheme is out, you’ve trapped him. This forces him to keep the Power Stone until it’s removed, which lets you then nuke him down. If you drop to 2B, the main scheme prevents you from removing threat from it if Ronan has the Power Stone, which is a massive issue. Then this strategy of “letting him keep the Power Stone” is null and void, and you’ll have to also thwart out Superior Tactics, as well as any crisis icon side schemes. Do not drop to 2B.
The main card you’re going to need to watch out for is Fanaticism. To counter this card, you can opt to cancel it with options like Black Widow ally, or Spycraft. If it comes out (and it will in many cases), tough is a viable strategy. Wait, Fanaticism pierces, right? Well, sort of! If you have tough on your hero, and your ally is the target of the attack, the pierce hits your ally first, then overkill goes to your hero, which you can soak with tough. Always use the Milano to cancel a treachery if possible, as well. Good luck!