Marvel Champions: Nebula Hero Pack

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Nebula, the adopted daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos, has come to Marvel Champions as a… good guy? Contrary to what the movies are doing, Nebula has always been an antagonist, or at least working towards her own goals. Kidnapping an avenger, destroying a planet, attempting to kill her uncle, there isn’t much she won’t do to achieve what she wants. In fact, she did the first on…
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Category Tags , , SKU ZBG-FFGMC22 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Unique technique mechanism.
  • Feels different.
  • Another card set for deck building.

Might Not Like

  • Timing is difficult to get right.
  • Not as easy to get the hang of as some other Heroes.
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Description

Nebula, the adopted daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos, has come to Marvel Champions as a… good guy? Contrary to what the movies are doing, Nebula has always been an antagonist, or at least working towards her own goals. Kidnapping an avenger, destroying a planet, attempting to kill her uncle, there isn’t much she won’t do to achieve what she wants. In fact, she did the first one a lot of times. Captain Marvel, Thor, Starfox, Loki, the list goes on. But how does she play ingame?

Nebula is a special kind of Hero in Marvel Champions; She’s the first one that works with pretty much everything. Due to her status as a Guardian, she has access to powerful cards and allies, with Gamora and Rocket Raccoon being great picks for her. Due to her ability to control the board state and wanting powerful card draw, Knowhere, Kaluu and Maria Hill are also all very useful. Honorary Guardian and Blaze of Glory allow you to combo together huge swings, and Welcome Aboard allows you to slam Allies down fast!

The pack itself also gives more cards to other archetypes. For a full Guardian Fiesta, Venom and Wraith make it in as Allies, meaning they can work with more lesser-known Avengers released in other packs like Jack Flag, Starhawk, and Cosmo the Spacedog.

The Marvel Champions - Nebula Hero Pack is not a standalone game. The Marvel Champions - Base Set is required to play.

Marvel Champions: Nebula Hero Pack is one of Marvel Champions' most popular expansion packs. Marvel Champions is a 1-4 player superhero game. Players take on the role of one of five Marvel heroes to battle it out against one of three villains. Play as Captain Marvel, Spiderman, She-Hulk, Black Panther or Iron Man and face off against Rhino, Klaw, or Ultron. Each Hero is represented by a deck of cards. These are made up of basic cards, hero specific cards and aspect cards (one of leadership, justice, aggression and protection). Each Villain is also represented by a deck of cards. Similarly, these comprise of basic villain cards, villain specific cards, and a modular encounter set.

During a player's turn, they will play cards (paying for the cost by discarding other cards from their hand). They can then activate cards and perform a number of actions. All in an attempt to defeat the "big bad" and to thwart his schemes. Players can also switch from alter ego to hero form once per turn. And activate their characters special ability as well the basic recovery, attack or defend actions. Once a player has performed all of their actions it passes to the next player. They repeat the process until all players have performed their actions.

Sister Rivalry 

Next is the villain phase. During the villain phase, threat is added to the main scheme based on player count. Then, the villain will either attack (if you are in hero form). Or, they will scheme (if you are in alter ego form). A boost card is revealed from the encounter deck and added to the Villian's base attack/scheme value. Each player (in turn order) is then dealt an encounter card. Any minions in play will also attack or scheme.

Players will need to manage the number of threat tokens that are placed on a scheme. If a certain quantity is reached then the scheme advances to the next stage, and eventually the Villain will win by completing his scheme. In addition to the threat/schemes, players will also have to take out minions and deal damage to the Villain. The goal is to reduce his health to zero and win the game.

Marvel Champions is a living card game (LCG) and as such the publisher Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) are supporting the game with new Hero & Villain packs to further expand the game, the combinations and replayability. Check out a full review & final thoughts of the core game here.

Combat Ready

This time in Marvel Champions: Nebula Hero Pack, Nebula is hitting the hero scene. Nebula is the perfect killing machine. Trained by Thanos himself, she has broken free of his tight grip and is in the employ of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But her past keeps coming back and you never know if she is going to be the friend of the Guardians or an enemy of the Guardians. With her Cybernetic Upgrades and a multitude of techniques, she is not to be messed with. 

The Nebula hero pack comes with a pre-built Justice deck and 15 signature Hero cards. Nebula is a two thwart, two attack and two defense hero with an interesting Forced Response. A large portion of her Hero cards are techniques that give some kind of ability or bonus. Cut-throat Ambition gives Nebula piercing and overkill and Weapons Master gives retaliate 1. However, all of these technique cards have a "special" ability on them. These special abilities trigger with Nebula's Hero forced response.

At the start of Nebula's turn when she is in Hero form, each of the special abilities on the technique card are triggered and then discarded. This can make for some very fun turns as you build up to a powerful flurry of actions where you are dealing damage, removing threat, stunning/confusing an enemy and looking at the top three cards in the encounter deck. The timing of when to flip to Hero form and when to stay in Alter-Ego form is that much more important for Nebula and makes for some interesting timing and form flipping. She feels very different to a lot of other Heroes and has a very nice ebb and flow to her gameplay. 

On top of that, there are cards like Lethal Intent which is an X cost event card where you can choose how many resources to pay and then activate that many technique cards. Playing this and flipping at the same time can create some very explosive turns, 

Three new Justice allies come in to play as well with Eros, Wraith and Venom as well as Cosmo, a basic ally. There are some new Justice cards such as Brains over Brawn and One Way or Another.

Nebula's nemesis is, of course, Gamora, her sister. As well as being Nebula's signature ally the sisters have a somewhat confrontational relationship and are often clashing. It makes perfect thematic sense that Gamora would be Nebula's signature ally as well as her Nemesis and can make for some fun gameplay moments when Shadows of the Past comes out. 

Marvel Champions: Nebula Hero Pack is a strong addition to the Marvel Champions lineup and one that has a lot of potential. Her precon deck is pretty good and has a lot of mileage but as with most precons you will want to experiment with adding in new cards and changing up her aspect to explore interesting and exciting combos. 

Marvel Champions is a 1-4 player superhero game. Each player takes on the role of a Marvel hero to battle it out against one of three villains. Each Hero is represented by a deck, consisting of basic cards, Hero-specific cards, and aspect cards. Each Villain is represented by a deck of cards, comprising similarly of basic villain cards, villain-specific cards, and a modular encounter set.

Marvel Champions is a Living Card Game (LCG). As such, the publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, is expanding the game with new Hero & Villain packs all the time. You can check out the ever-growing list here

Set-Up

To set up the game, each player will select a Hero to play and place their identity card, alter-ego side up in front of them. The identity card will number the hit points they have and these are entered into the hit point dial. Each Hero will have an obligation card and a set of Nemesis cards, which are set aside for the moment. The player then shuffles their player deck which will consist of Hero specific cards, basic cards, and aspect cards. Hero decks come pre-constructed, but players are free to build their own decks whilst complying with the deckbuilding rules. 

Next, a Villain is selected and is placed on the table along with the Villain's main scheme and the Villain's main deck. The Villain's hit points are entered into the Villain's hit point dial. The main scheme may have some setup instructions which are followed and resolved at this stage. The relevant encounter cards, modular sets, and the Heroes obligation cards are added to the Villains the main deck and shuffled to form the encounter deck. 

Each player then draws a starting hand of cards, as detailed on their identity card, and can discard any number of cards drawing back up to their hand limit. If a Hero has any setup instructions, these are resolved and followed now. 

The game is played over a number of rounds, alternating between the player's turns and then the Villains turn. On a player's turn they can perform a number of actions:

  • Change form from alter ego to Hero or Hero to alter ego, but only once per round.
  • Play cards from their hand, paying the relevant resource costs.
  • Use their Hero's basic attack or thwart ability (only in Hero form, exhausting their identity).
  • Use an ally they control to attack or thwart (exhausting the ally). 
  • Activate an action card they control (and exhausting the card if applicable).
  • Use their alter-egos recovery ability to gain hit points (only in alter ego form, and exhausting their identity).

Once a player has performed all of their chosen actions, the next player performs their actions until all players have passed. At this stage, players can discard any remaining cards in their hand (if they want) and draw up to their hand limit (This may change depending on the form they are in). Each player then readies all of their cards (identity, allies, action cards). 

Next is the Villain phase. At the start of the Villain phase, threat is placed on the main scheme as detailed on the main scheme card. The Villain and any minions then activate against each player. If the player is in Hero form, the Villain attacks. If the player is in alter ego form, the Villain schemes and adds a threat to the main scheme. Each time the Villain activates, they draw a card from the encounter deck and add the number of boost icons to his base attack or scheme value. The Villain then deals each player an encounter card, face down and in turn order. Each player reveals and resolves the encounter card.

The first player token then passes to the next player and the player's start the round again. 

The game continues this way until the Villain has been defeated, by reducing his hit points to zero, for both stages and the player's win. Players lose if the Villains scheme threshold reaches its maximum or they all have their hit points reduced to zero. 

Strategy

What I love about Marvel Champions is the way the Heroes and Villains play differently. The key to success is figuring out how the Heroes play. Their strengths, weaknesses, and how to best utilise them to take down the Villain. Certain Heroes require a certain amount of setup to become strong. These Heroes are best left in alter ego mode as you build up their suit, armour, and weapons. Once they are up and running they can be formidable characters.

Figuring out when to stop building and when to take the fight to the Villain comes with practice and experience, but it is worth that time investment. Where it might seem that you are not making progress by hitting the enemy, it's wise to learn the "arc" of the Hero and play into that. Being efficient with your cards and trying to not have any cards left in your hand at the end of the turn is a good idea. 

The board state needs to be managed very carefully. Often the best move is not necessarily just smacking the villain in the face. Controlling the minions and the side schemes that can mount up is often a better move. Keeping an eye on the main scheme threshold is also key. Knowing how the Villains play and what's in the encounter deck can help you decide how best to defeat them. At some point, you will have to start dealing damage to the Villain. But knowing when to push and when to hold off and control the threat/minions is critical. Like the Heroes, each Villain and modular encounter set has a different feel. Knowing how to handle them is essential. The timing of when to defeat one stage and advance to the next is often a critical step. 

Aspects

There are four aspects in the game that all have their unique playstyles. 

Aggression. As the name suggests, this is all about hitting the enemies hard and fast. Generally, aggression based Heroes are not great at thwarting and removing threat from a scheme. Subsequently, it is often a race against the threat build-up and taking the Villain down

Justice is more focused on removing threat from schemes. Justice based characters are good at managing threat and keeping things under control however they are not typically hard hitters. 

Protection is all about defending, preventing damage, and healing. It can react to incoming attacks, prevent that damage, and sometimes cause reactive effects based on that. 

Leadership is a very versatile deck and can do a lot of things, but is mostly about bringing out Allies. Allies can be good for attacking, thwarting and defending and is a good all-purpose aspect if used with a large selection of ally cards. Protection is reliant on these allies so Villains that target allies can make this aspect weak.

Editors note: This blog was originally published on September 12th, 2019. Updated on October 7th, 2021 to improve the information available.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Unique technique mechanism.
  • Feels different.
  • Another card set for deck building.

Might not like

  • Timing is difficult to get right.
  • Not as easy to get the hang of as some other Heroes.