Every so often, Hall of Heroes will provide theoretical brainteasers of sorts for the community to figure out.
Whether you’re trying to sharpen your strategy or can’t currently play the game, we hope these will be fun for everyone. Some puzzles may have multiple solutions, but a standard solution will be provided.
Expert Klaw (on stage III) has 6 health left with three Armored Guard minions on the table (with no toughness tokens) and a Hydra Soldier. All four minions have the “guarded” keyword, preventing you from attacking or using (attack) actions against Klaw.
Find a way to eliminate all four minions and Klaw before the villain phase.
Doctor Strange has just used Winds of Watoomb (now discarded) and drawn an extra three cards, putting him at eight cards. He has re-readied thanks to a (now-discarded) Tenacity and a fully used (now-discarded) Enhanced Physique.
Rhino III has 2 health remaining with toughness, with a Hydra Mercenary with toughness in play. Find a way to kill Rhino before the villain phase. You are entering this board state at the very start of your turn with no actions performed.
Hulk drew four cards off of surges from two copies of Espionage, putting his hand size at 8 for this turn. If you don’t know all of Hulk’s cards, you can consult the images here.
Piledriver is defeated. Wrecker has 16 health, Thunderball has 3 health and Bulldozer has 6 health left. Kill all of the Wrecking Crew this turn before the villain phase. You are entering this board state at the very start of your turn with no actions performed.
Tabletop Simulator’s MSRP is $20, but it is constantly on sale for $10. Whether that sale is directly on the Steam storefront or elsewhere, make sure you do some due diligence by Googling “Tabletop Simulator sale” before buying it.
All you need to do is log into your Steam account and hit “subscribe”on the Crimson mod page. It will automatically incorporate with the Tabletop Simulator program.
After loading up Tabletop Simulator, press “Create” and look for the Marvel Champions LCG mod in the main menu. A giant digital table will load, as will every deck and encounter set in the game. Custom content can be found above the main table (for the Crimson mod).
You can click and drag everything to suit your needs, or grab items out of the pouches by clicking on them and flicking the contents out of the bag. This is how you’ll grab hero, aspect, basic and encounter cards to build those decks.
Every card in the game is in those bags: if you take the time to learn where everything is, it’ll be a cinch to start a game.
Step 4: Make your player deck
Making a deck is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s as simple as making one in real life.
First, pick which hero you want to start with. Grab the hero card out of the appropriate bag in the top left. The card is double-sided and can be flipped with “F” at will when highlighting it. Then keep digging in the bag to find the 15 hero cards and the nemesis set/obligation. They are all different stacks so they don’t mix together at all once.
Decide which aspect you want to play with. All of the bags in the top left are colored by aspect (red/blue/green/yellow). Grab the stack of aspect cards, and grab the entire stack of gray basic cards too. Put them close to each other anywhere on the table, separate from everything else.
Right click on either the aspect or the basic stack, and select “search.” This will show each card available in each stack on the right side of the screen. Simply click and drag the cards you want onto the table or onto your hero deck of 15 to create your giant 40-card minimum deck. Repeat the process for the opposite aspect or basic stack, whichever one you didn’t do first until you have a 40 card deck. You’re done!
Mash all of the cards together into one stack (41, with the hero card) and right click on it: select “save object” and give it a name (Black Panther Justice, in the above case). Congratulations, you’ve saved your first deck! To instantly spawn it into an online game, have the lobby owner give you permissions and then select “objects,” at the top of the screen and click on “saved objects.” Then click the deck you want and it will appear in the game.
To initiate a game, assign yourself a “player color,” which allows you to have a hand that you can manipulate at the bottom of the screen. You can do this by selecting your name in the top right corner of the screen with “change color.” Red is usually the easiest to navigate solo, so start with that. Select red, with other players in the same lobby selecting different colors as needed.
To “deal” yourself cards based on the alter-ego hand size at the start of the game, hover over your finished deck and press the numerical value you need (usually 5-6) on your keyboard. It’ll automatically deal you six cards if you press the number “6” for instance. You can also highlight the deck and select “deal,” then your color on the color wheel to deal yourself a single card.
First, select which villain you want from the right side of the screen and set their life counter up to the appropriate amount. Then, grab the villain deck out of the bag on the right (as well as the standard set and optional expert set), select your modular set and move it onto the villain deck to merge them. Viola!
Press “R” to shuffle it all together, and “F” to flip the cards so that they are facedown and you cannot see them (if they aren’t already). To take cards off of a pile, “flick” them quickly off of the deck. To move the whole pile, deliberately click and hold. Flicking is how you’ll “draw” boost or encounter cards.
Also, don’t forget to grab your obligation card out of the appropriate hero bag and shuffle it into the encounter deck, while placing your nemesis set to the side.
Step 6: Play
Proceed how you normally would in a real game based on the Learn to Play booklet. Follow the setup instructions, play through your turn, adjust threat on the main scheme for step one of the villain phase by clicking on a counter to add threat, then flick a card off of the encounter deck for a villain activation and flick a card off the deck to deal yourself an encounter card.
Some of the most useful commands are:
Left/right-click: Add or remove a digit from a life/threat counter.
Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V: Copy and paste a bag or object. Useful for when you want token bags in each player’s play area to save time.
1-9: Deal yourself that many cards off the highlighted deck.
Q or E: Tilt cards like you would be exhausting them in real life. Also useful for slotting in side schemes when they roll off of the encounter deck vertically. For the best results, change the “degree” symbol at the top right of the screen to 90 degrees (90°).
L: “Lock” an item so that it doesn’t fly around if you accidentally grab it.
G: “Group” items together. Useful for selecting several stacks of cards and making them all one pile.
F: Flip cards when they need to be revealed, or need to be face down.
R: Shuffle a deck. Works with both player and encounter decks. You can mash R to rapidly shuffle cards for fun.
+ or -: Make something bigger or smaller (useful to scale cards to the size of your liking). If the numpad + and – keys aren’t working, try them on the numerical row above your QWERTY lettered section.
Tab: Point at something on the table, useful for multiplayer when you’re talking out a turn. You can also hold tab to draw a line with the ruler tool to further make your point.
Alt: Make an object appear bigger for a moment on-screen. Useful for reading detailed cards you may not have memorized yet.
Save game: Click on “games” (the dice icon) at the top of the screen, then press save and load. Then press “create” and save your game with as many descriptors as possible so you remember it.
You’ve entered the twilight zone (non-capitalized, do you think I want to get sued?) of “Marvel LCG difficulty blues,” but there’s plenty of variants to keep you going beyond the official expert and extreme settings created by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG): you only need to look to custom variants.
Custom variants are often created by passionate fans as a way to extend the life of a game they care about. For Marvel Champions, most of those efforts have been focused on making scenarios harder, so that they were more fine-tuned deckbuilding strategies or make otherwise low-stakes concepts much more intricate.
Here are a few of the best variants from the Marvel Champions LCG community, all of which can be used with the default materials provided by FFG. If you want more homebrew-oriented content like unofficial villains or scenarios, there’s an entire Discord server that caters to that.
Some of them are fairly clever (assemble Iron Man’s entire suit) and some of them are very tedious (deal 16 damage or more with Black Cat in a single turn in multiplayer), but they are options nonetheless.
Deal [x] more encounter cards in the encounter phase per player. [X] denotes the current heroic rating, with FFG recommending heroic 1 to start, challenging players to beat expert Klaw with the Doomsday Chair mod.
Hazard Mode (community variant):
Another alternative the community has come up with, particularly for multiplayer play, is Hazard Mode, or “Heroic .5.” In short, you only give out additional encounter cards for the whole table. So for Heroic 1, it’s one extra card for the table (going to player one), for Heroic 2, it’s players one and two and so on.
If Heroic is too punishing, you can try this method instead.
Try making decks with heroes you don’t normally use
Okay, this might be the lamest way to extend the life of the game. But have you tried She-Hulk Leadership? How about Ms. Marvel Justice?
While there are some very obvious choices for some hero pairings, variety is the spice of life, and we’re looking to spice things up here, aren’t we? A very easy way to challenge yourself is to attempt to beat every expert scenario in the game with every combination of hero. Here’s a full list of every card in the game. Get brewing!
This is likely not all that appealing of a prospect for some people and I can feel your interest waning on a deep spiritual level, so let’s move on to what you came here for: actual game-changing variants.
That includes Proteus: a “hero” that only uses cards from the core set in a draft-like fashion (a concept divined by Board Game Geek member fissionessence). Or trying to build a deck with just basic cards and no aspect cards (thanks BananaCrapshoot!).
This is probably the simplest way to modify Marvel Champions, and currently, my preferred method.
You don’t need to memorize certain rulesets: you just plop one card on the table, re-read it if necessary, and follow the instructions. That’s it! Some environments can be used in any scenario and others specifically address certain villains.
Sometimes a scenario requires a little more of a push to satisfy certain players. That’s where more intricate rules variants come in. Here is the most common rule variant that the Marvel Champions community has used:
Deal two encounter cards per player instead of one at all times
It’s so simple, right? Of course you can go harder, like making Rhino tough every time you attach a card to him or buff his minions so that they gather attachments for him (Thanks Theorel).
Fan-made campaigns and progression-style deckbuilding
In an LCG, you can play “progression style,” which is only using cards that were out at that current moment in time when playing a scenario.
In other words, you can only use core cards if you fight Rhino, Klaw or Ultron, or only use the core plus Captain America/Ms. Marvel for the Green Goblin scenarios. Sometimes, that can alleviate a lot of the power creep issues on its own and make for more engaging playthroughs. You can consult this list for a full rundown of chronological release dates.
Nio_Darkwind over at Board Game Geek took that concept a step further and created a whole story campaign based on progression. Not only does their campaign have an actual story to link each scenario together, but they also provide Arkham Horror LCG-esque rules to help you slowly build out your deck as you progress.
For example, starter decks cannot use certain cards (like Nick Fury or Daredevil): you earn them by playing through the campaign. Give it a shot if you find yourself wanting a more interconnected way to play Marvel Champions!
But in all seriousness, the Goblin Gimmicks set pairs perfectly with Mutagen Formula. It’s impactful in that every card has meaning and forces you to deal with them right away. Half of the cards (4/8) have boost effects on them, making them effective cards for the villain activation phase: with two more featuring the coveted three-boost icon bonus. It allows for a form of symmetry with the actual Mutagen deck itself. Goblin Glider and Pumpkin Bombs are only “one-ofs” in the Mutagen scenario, so adding two more of each helps those very thematic cards come up more often.
Each treachery card tells a micro-story, and seeing the depths of depravity that Green Goblin would sink to with Intimidation is important to get the point across on just how dangerous this standalone villain really is. It’s also a sensible pick in terms of theme because the Green Goblin is out in full-force for the entire scenario: completely giving up the farce of his Norman Osborn persona.
The lack of a Green Goblin villain in the set itself (compared to all three other Green Goblin pack mods, which do have specific villains in Scorpion, Electro and Tombstone), says it all. This mod was made for Mutagen Formula.
Welcome to the first issue of “Modest Mod Suggestions!”
In this series I’ll muse on what modular sets to include in future scenarios, both from a practical and thematic standpoint. Our inaugural episode tackles Risky Business, one of the two scenarios included in the Green Goblin scenario pack. So what’s up with the need for this very blog? Well, after the core set, Fantasy Flight Games ceased to provide suggestions for modular sets, so I’m going to do my best to help you out.
Given that the core set mods are either played out, are too easy, or lack theme (it doesn’t make much sense for Hydra, the Masters of Evil, Ultron, or MODOK to show up in Risky Business), we’ll choose from what we have left: Goblin Gimmicks, A Mess of Things, Power Drain and Running Interference. Naturally you can include multiple modular sets in any given scenario, but going forward I’m sticking with the recommendation of a singular additional mod for the purposes of this blog.
It might be controversial, but I ruled out Goblin Gimmicks right away for Risky Business due to thematic reasons. The whole point of Risky Business is that it focuses on the fickle duality between Norman Osborn’s business savvy and Green Goblin’s madness, so having pumpkin bombs and gliders fly willy nilly when Norman is chilling in his office building wouldn’t make much sense: it takes away from the lower keye theme of battling a deranged businessman, and you’ll have plenty of room to fight off his Goblin persona in the Mutagen Formula scenario.
It feels the most thematic to have hired help come in and stop our heroes from foiling Norman’s plans while he’s scheming from the comfort of his office. From there, I moved on to A Mess of Things, which features classic Spider-Man villain Scorpion. Scorpion isn’t a bad pick per se, but there isn’t a lot of synergy here as the set mostly focuses on stuns, which aren’t as effective when you’re scheming against Norman. The included copy of Gang-Up (joined by another copy from the standard set) also isn’t as impactful with the 1-Attack Private Security Specialists from Risky Business.
So what about Running Interference with Tombstone? While Tombstone does fit the thematic bill (he’s a crime boss after all and would feasibly work with Norman Osborn), I wasn’t feeling his discard mechanic, though the card Media Coverage is very spicy when coupled with the myriad “when revealed” effects of Risky Business. He’s a firm second place pick.
In the end I went with Power Drain. Electro has worked with Green Goblin numerous times, and is a Sinister Six-sized thematic home run. He also provides a more formidable threat for everyone on the table with the Power Drain side scheme, and his deck cycling helps keep you on your toes constantly even if Norman is in play. Power Drain also has a ton of boost icons, so things are constantly happening in addition to the cavalcade of boosts from Risky Business. After extensive playtesting I found it to be the most exciting choice.
As always, get creative and try out any modular set you want! These are just suggestions.