The Captain America Hero Pack is an expansion for Marvel Champions, a living card game. You can find Marvel Champions products at Fantasy Flight Games.
Captain America’s design puts him in the role of a jack of all trades, master-of-none place among the other heroes. That was probably the intention at least. The reality is Captain America is a jack of all trades and master of quite a few things too.
His kit and basic abilities make him a little over tuned, but that shouldn’t turn you off. Marvel Champions is a co-op game, not a competitive one. Balance is important, but not a deal-breaker and there are many ways to adjust the challenge of the game.
Captain America has 2’s across the board and always starts with his shield granting his defense a +1 and retaliate. Out classing a similar statted hero, Black Panther out of the gate.
Once per round, you can ready him by discarding a card allowing you to freely defend against attacks or doubling his ability to thwart or attack. The rest of his kit is equally solid with a mixture of abilities.
Shield block simply says no to damage with no cost, fearless determination aids in thwarting and card draw. Super soldier serum grants energy while heroic strike does a whopping 6 damage and can stun the villain.
Captain America’s iconic shield toss can wipe the board of minions and he is rounded out by a very solid ally in Agent 13 and a nice alter ego support card with his apartment. On the flip side, Steve Rogers makes playing an ally cheaper in the first place.
This means Captain America has no real weakness, he thwarts, defends, and attacks in equal measure. This also means he synergizes with every aspect which is nice. While he is definitely on the strong side, his well-roundedness makes him fun to play. You usually have always had an answer to something in your hand which feels good, even if you lose.
To the surprise of no one, Captain America’s preset deck is focused on the Leadership aspect adding a bunch of new goodies to that aspect’s card pool.
More than that, the concept of an Avengers theme deck gets a lot of love with Falcon, Squirrel Girl, and Wonder Man all sharing the Avengers keyword. Falcon allows you to view upcoming encounter cards in addition to removing threats. It is fantastic, knowledge is power.
Squirrel Girl gives the middle finger to Ultron’s drones for a low cost and Wonder Man hits hard for the cost of discarding a card. The ability to keep allies healthy and on the board is a very powerful concept and Honorary Avenger aids in that for no cost. This allows you to work toward setting up the granddaddy of an Avengers deck.
Those glorious words, Avengers Assemble. This isn’t a card you get to play often, but it’s often a game-ending play when you do it and feels awesome.
The idea of an Avengers Deck will strike a chord with many people, however it does pigeon hole a couple of the cards though. Avengers Assemble, Avengers Tower, and Quin Jet don’t have a place in many decks not based on the concept. As a whole, however. The leadership Aspect has some nice new toys.
The other aspects get a taste as well. Expert Defense is a nice no cost card and Followed has a very cool mechanic that makes spending time clearing side schemes less frustrating. Enraged could work on certain Ally’s, especially if you have a teammate running some healing cards to help you out
Baron Zemo takes on the role of Captain Americas Nemesis and he is a nasty one. He has quick-strike which means he attacks the moment he hits the board. Since Baron Zemo always come out during the encounter card step after drawing Shadows of the Past, there is a decent chance you have already taken an attack for the round which can be really rough.
Meanwhile, Hydra Soldiers are just plain evil. They force you to encounter extra cards when you defeat them putting you in a precarious place of choosing to leave them on the board or eat extra encounters.
Hail Hyrda tries to ensure that you cant avoid dealing with one of them at some point. Captain America’s nemesis cards are interesting to fight against and they are threatening enough that you will dread encountering, them fulfilling the purpose of the Nemesis deck nicely.
Captain America’s cards tie nicely to his character. His core ability showcases the fact that he, due to the super-soldier serum, never fatigues. Steve Rogers is a leader, making allies cheaper to play.
His shield adds to his defense and grants him retaliate which is thematically appropriate. He gains energy from his super-soldier serum and shield toss feels oh so good, bouncing it from foe to foe and back to your hand. It definitely feels good to block a giant attack with shield block, completely in line with the destruction that shield has deflected over the years.
Playing as Captain America feels like playing the iconic hero who never backs down and always comes back to a fight. Agent 13 is an odd choice for his built-in ally. It makes sense, but I would have expected Bucky if I’m being honest.
Agent 13 is a great card though so this gripe is superficial. On the flip side, his preset deck is focused on Avengers and Sharon Carter isn’t one. You can make her one with Honorary Avenger though. If you are a Captain America fan, you won’t be disappointed with this pack.
Out of The Box
No deck is going to be optimized out of the box, but Captain America’s preset deck is a solid one. The core focus is to shrug off the villain with Caps immovable defense and staying power while you set up the alpha strike with Avengers Assemble. This strategy can be a slow burn, but it feels super cool when you do it.
I find Wonderman to be a bit of miss despite his Avenger status simply because you have to discard a card to attack and you already want to have a card ready to discard for Captain America’s ability.
Overall the kit is a solid one for an out of the box deck. You can simply open it and have a good time learning how to play Captain America without feeling gimped.
I hesitate to use these words, but Captain America is a little bit on the overpowered side compared to other heroes in the game. This is not as big an issue in a co-op game compared to a competitive one, but you may feel that you overshadow other players a bit.
This is a none issue as long as your friends aren’t bitter about it. On the flip side, it makes Captain America a great choice for solo play. He isn’t horribly broken or anything, you can still lose, but you do have a slight edge.
Despite that, he is a blast to play and his deck puts you squarely in his boots. The pack has a lot of great cards for other decks as well and is a must-have for an Avenger based strategy.
You might wanna check out my review of the Marvel Champions Core Set, or maybe even help me out by checking out my Kofi page. Or just share my stuff around, that helps too and it’s free.
- A very strong and rounded out hero
- Shield Toss and Avengers Assemble make the Marvel nerd in me squee
- The pack has core components for an Avengers based strategy
- Baron Zemo and the Hydra Soldiers make for an intimidating nemesis
- Captain America pairs well with any aspect
- Captain America and his kit are a little too strong compared to other heroes.
- Having no real defined weaknesses is a little lame
- Some cards lack versatility, a decent chunk is only viable in an Avengers-style build
- I would have preferred Bucky or an ally with the Avengers tag for Captain Americas built-in ally