The Doctor Strange hero pack is an expansion for Marvel Champions. You can find Marvel Champions Products at Fantasy Flight Games.
Sorcerer Supremely Over Powered
In my review of Captain America, I noted that the hero was a little bit over tuned. Well by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, Doctor Strange blows Captain America out of the water. Doctor Strange has the extremely powerful ability to control the board state through a host of excellent hero cards and a special Invocation deck.
He can thwart with Astral projection. Punch with Magic Blast. Negate encounter cards with Protective Ward and manipulate his Invocation deck to incredible effect with his Alter Ego, Wong, and Master of the Mystic Arts.
He is a bit of the squishy side but he is so good at controlling the board state that it hardly matters. If he has to have a weakness, it’s swarms of minions as his kit doesn’t have very good mook clearing ability.
On the flipside, Doctor Strange is also the most unique hero currently available and incredibly fun to play, in fact, he is easily my favorite. But his overpowered design simply can not be denied.
He is effective with every aspect simply due to the fact that his hero kit and Invocation cards carry him alone, anything else is a bonus. Aggression can cover his minion weakness, and leadership is just bonkers as total board control means allies may reign free.
Justice is a tad bit overkill on thwarting as the good doctor can handle that just fine. Protection is my personal favorite as it lends to the board control playstyle quite well.
The Invocation Deck
In addition to the 15 hero cards in his kit, Doctor Strange also gets a separate deck of five cards, the top one of which is always played face up. This is where most of Strange’s power, and fun come in.
You can exhaust Doctor Strange to pay the cost of the revealed card and play it, when all Invocation cards have been discarded it, you reshuffle it with no penalty. Not only are the Invocation cards powerful, the most expensive one only have a cost of 2 while two others have a cost of zero.
Winds of Watoomb grants insane card draw, while the Crimsons Bands hits hard and stuns, Images of Ikonn removes threat and confuses the villain while The Seven Rings grant toughness to three characters while Vapors of Valtorr let you swap conditions.
When you combine the constant availability of the Invocation cards with Master of The Mystic Arts and the Cloak of Levitation , you end up with some truly ridiculous combos. I’ve had something like fifteen cards in my hand in one turn and I’ve spent entire games, on expert, not allowing the villain to do anything.
The Invocation deck simply allows Strange to control the villain and what happens, whether it’s stunning, confusing, or putting toughness on a bunch of heroes or allies. It even overshadows some of the cards in Strange’s deck. Magic Blast is a powerful and fun card I rarely ever play because I’m too busy abusing the Invocation deck like it owes me money.
I said before, Doctor Strange is my favorite hero to play. His kit and Invocation mechanic is an absolute blast to use and you still need to play with some degree of effectiveness given how soft his hit points are. Yet, you never really feel like you aren’t in control either.
Most of the other cards in the pack are of the protection aspect, and that aspect gets some serious love. Iron Fist a completely bonkers ally able to stun a villain twice with good damage output. While Momentum Shift is a powerful healing punch combo for a fairly low cost.
Desperate Defense is also a great card that could see play on a lot of heroes and pairs well with the new Unflappable card, I’m not the biggest fan of Clea or Brother Voodoo, but I bet they can work in certain decks. The Night Nurse is also another powerful addition, being able to remove stun or confusion from yourself should not be underestimated.
Outside of Protection, we get a couple of nice cards in Foiled and Skilled Strike. Iron Man as a Leadership ally steals the spotlight though. I don’t feel he is in the best spot with the current card pool however, the more upgrades that are released, the better he will age.
I have to complain about The Sorcerer Supreme. This card, is a basic card, not a Doctor Strange card. Don’t me wrong, I’m kinda glad because it’s a boring card and I had a similar complaint about Asgard in Thor.
But this card, is absolutely a Doctor Strange card. There are no other Mystic heroes released, it’s only usable on Doctor Strange. The card is freaking called, The Sorceror Supreme. I get annoyed at cards outside of hero kits that aren’t really playable outside the kit. For the most part arguments can be made for some of the others that do this, but this one is literally only playable on Strange.
The Nemesis deck is thematically fantastic, and despite the fact it specifically targets Doctor Strange, it feels more of minor irritation when the cards come out. Having a super-powered Nemesis deck could have been at least one weapon to balance out his power. When playing Thor and Loki comes out, I groan, my partner groans and even my dogs groan.
When Baron Mordo comes out, I’m like hi Mordo, bye Mordo. Baron Mordo has a super cool attack where he uses the same magic blast as Doctor Stranges Magic Blast card. It’s never gone off on me, if Mordo survives his first round, I’ve likely stunned him.
The Dark Dimension side scheme holds one of the Invocation decks cards hostage, but that still leaves you with four other equally great Invocation cards. Admittedly, Counter Spell can be rough. But to encounter it you not only need to draw Shadows of The Past in the first place, you then need to draw counterspell.
Given Stranges power level and the low chances of encountering a Nemesis on any given playthrough. Baron Mordo and The Dark Dimension should be more threatening.
I do enjoy the cards, they drip with thematic flair, but they are overshadowed by the doctor’s immense power.
Infinity War spoilers ahead.
If you remember the super awesome combat scene between Doctor Strange and Thanos. Playing him feels a lot like that, whatever the Villain throws at you, you have a counterplay to it. The Invocation deck feels like iconic spells and his whole kit pulses with the theme.
From the Sanctum Santorum to the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Aggamotto. Also, it feels kinda cool to say stuff during like. I exhaust the Eye of Aggamotto and spend an energy cast the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak! It’s like you have gone full YuGiOh, sans the crazy hair.
The point is, you feel like a clever wizard and the cards capture the magic of what it might be like to be Doctor Strange. In the context of the game’s world, they make sense. He Astral Projects to discover the villain’s plots for the sake of thwarting. Strange can grant himself or others magical enhancements, bind enemies with Crimson bands of magic or cleanse allies with spellbound vapors that also harry foes.
Out of The Box
Doctor Strange’s preset deck is easily the strongest one released so far, half due to the hero’s inherent power and a half due to an array of powerful aspect cards. The deck focuses on negating damage, either by a powerful defense or by stunning the villain.
Any damage you do take can be easily healed by Momentum shift buying you all the time you need to let Doctor Strange work his magic and control the game.
In a multiplayer setting you will overshadow other players, they will either resent that or love you for the free toughness conditions or the number of times you keep a villain from doing anything nasty to them. But the reality of it is, you’re the star of the show and they are the supporting cast.
You should have no problem opening up the box and jumping into the game as Doctor Strange. His preset deck, like all the others in not an optimized setup, but Stranges kit and Invocation deck more than make up for it.
In a co-operative game, balance isn’t nearly as important as it is in a competitive game. Yet Doctor Strange breaches the line of what should be acceptable in design. He is clearly a superior choice over other heroes when it comes to power. There is no avoiding this, he is a broken character.
At the same time, it’s better to have a character that is too strong than too weak and he is ridiculously fun to play. The Invocation deck is a great and unique concept and his playstyle is really fun. I hope to see more heroes with unique and thematic mechanics.
Marvel Champions is a highly thematic game and Doctor Strange can match everything available in the theme department blow for blow. The Protection aspect gains a lot of powerful new cards. The design of Sorceror Supreme annoys the heck out of me though.
Anyone who enjoys Marvel Champions will enjoy the pack. Just know that you may need to find ways to up the challenge to keep things interesting if you play as Strange. Should you pick the pack up? No shit Sherlock.
You might want to check out my review of the Marvel Champions core game.
- Fantastical and unique character design with a control-based playstyle
- New protection cards are so good it must be sorcery
- Iron Man as a leadership ally is pretty nifty
- The Invocation deck is spellbinding fun
- You can’t go Wong playing a hero like Doctor Strange out of the box
- The Doctor is Strangely overpowered.
- The Sorceror Supreme makes no sense as a basic card
- The Nemesis cards are cool but do little to counter the sheer power of Doctor Strange