There are potential Wandavision spoilers in this review.
You can find a video version of this review here: Marvel Champions: Scarlet Witch Hero Pack Review – YouTube
The Scarlet Witch follows a similar design pathway of many recent heroes in that her design is pretty well rounded. But much like her brother Quicksilver, she also has weaknesses that make sense for her character. She is satisfyingly strong, but she’s no Sorcerer Supreme. She can use the card of the same name, however, thanks to the mystic trait.
Her playstyle feels like that of a cheating card shark. She utilizes the randomness of the game to her advantage, allowing you to ever so slightly tip the scales in the direction you wish. Most of her kit is exceptionally powerful, but they come at an additional cost.
Much of her power will discard cards from the encounter deck, meaning the Villian will accelerate exceptionally fast. Most of my builds with Scarlet Witch also had her cycling her own deck frequently, which meant more encounter cards.
She’s a high-risk hero with a very high reward payoff. Most of her kit would be outright broken without the added cost of discarding from the encounter deck. Take Chaos Magic, for example, a zero-cost card that lets you play something for free. You can throw down a turn one Nick Fury or Avengers Mansion with cards to spare, you just need to discard four cards from the encounter deck to do so.
Molecular Decay comes out of the gate with a hefty five damage and deals additional damage based on boost icons from two discarded encounter cards. Hex Bolt is Scarlet Witch’s bread and butter with a choice of four versatile effects from three discarded encounter cards.
Both Hex Bolt and Molecular Decay benefit from her innate ability, to redraw a boost card and her crest, which allows you to bump a boost icon up or down. When it comes to defense she has a Magic Shield that can protect herself or any friend or ally, and her innate can be used once per phase, meaning she can switch out a heavy hitter boost card on the villains phase.
She can cancel a nasty treachery with Warp Reality, and it was Agatha all along as Madam Harkness herself can help Wanda pull out that key spell in a pivotal moment.
Oh, QuickSilvers here too, and he is a pretty great ally, but his four cost usually mean’s he gets pitched in favor of some witchcraft. That can be a total boner.
Her kit makes Scarlet Witch able to fulfill most roles, she has a heavy offensive capability, defensive wards and is highly versatile with Hex Bolt. She can thump heavy minions no problem, but swarms can be problematic since she only has 10 HP. But her real weakness is unlike that of any other hero.
She’s a force of chaos. The cost to that kind of power is unpredictability and potentially adding acceleration tokens on the board. But the most important aspect of any hero is whether or not they are fun to play, and Scarlet Witch absolutely is.
Humans have an inherent affinity for randomness, and while she does add an additional random element to an already random-based game, it’s incredibly fun to tilt those odds in your favor. It very much feels like you’re playing a witch with unfathomable dangerous power.
One thing about her kit, however, is how it doesn’t really fit with any aspect. This means she can be slotted into anything, but the reality is she has a very optimal playstyle. Now this is a review, not a strategy guide, and there are far better players than I. But Scarlet Witch’s optimal build ends up being pretty obvious.
She favors high card draw and deck thinning. You want to draw as many cards as possible and fill your board with a ton of upgrades and supports to thin the deck. That way you’re constantly cycling Hex Bolts and Molecular Decay.
The playstyle is extremely fun. Many turns, you end up with a ton of cards because she not only favors the style, but adds to it with Wanda’s ability, Hex Bolts, and Agatha. But it also makes every aspect feel the same.
Each time I changed aspects I was only swapping 11 aspect cards, the basic cards I chose, fit her so fundamentally well I can’t imagine swapping them out. I even made her a deck with just basic cards, and it worked the same way. Sure, your deck disappears faster than White Vision, but it’s worth it.
She’s fun and effective, but one-dimensional. Much like Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch is going to feel the same no matter which way you build her. But unlike the good doctor, her magics a little more down to earth…That is…unless she teams up with Quicksilver.
Like Quicksilver, she comes with a copy of Order and Chaos. While it can be used with her signature ally, that’s highly inconsistent (and still shouldn’t be a basic card). Team up with another player in the role of Quicksilver, and oh boy, things get out of hand.
The two of them are the most powerful duo in the game. They can both easily use their copies of Order and Chaos, which cancels a treachery and deals damage. More than that, they both have the same Alter Ego Ability; Superpowered Siblings.
Now, I actually think it’s lame that Wanda has the same alter ego ability as Pietro, but I can’t deny the effectiveness. If you ignore every other potential use of the power, they still both start in alter ego at the beginning of the game.
With a little coordination, both of them can effectively start with 7 card hands. Remember, you can “ask” another player to trigger an action-ability on a card they have in play, on YOUR turn. It’s a power enhancement that can really be felt anytime the two of them hit the table at the same time.
The Scarlet Witch pack comes with a tome full of new Justice cards and a few other goodies. To be entirely honest, however, I’m becoming very concerned about the aspect design space, especially Justice. So many new cards are great cards, but they are bleeding together in my head as “Removes threat from a scheme.” Because many of them are doing much of the same thing with slight alterations.
Both Multitasking and Crisis Averted are great threat removal cards. But I will forget what they do as soon as I’m not looking at them as they meld together with For Justice and a bunch of other yellow cards.
Swift Retribution is an interesting one though. Forcing the villain to scheme and then dealing damage is neat and makes thematic sense too, and I appreciate that. Turn the Tide is also a fantastic new Justice card, and not just because of the art. What is fanservice, if not horny persevering? But three damage for a zero cost just because you thwarted is awesome.
Wiccan and Speed both show up as solid allies. Wiccan in particular plays best with Scarlet Witch thanks to her innate power and crest. On the basic side, we get a Mystic keyword-only card called Spiritual Meditation which is probably going to be an auto-include in any Scarlet Witch or Dr. Strange deck. It’s a great card that makes thematic sense, but I don’t like limited keywords when very few supporting heroes exist so far.
Protection gets the very fitting and powerful Bait and Switch, giving the aspect some threat removal potential. Last Stand is a completely nuts card for the aspect already considered the strongest. Adding three extra damage to an ally’s final attack for free is crazy good.
Brow Beat is a solid straight damage Aggression card that hits harder the higher the villain’s stage is, which is an interesting way to design a card. Despite my complaining, there isn’t a dead card in the pack, so you are getting great value all the way around.
Scarlet Witch’s Nemesis set is a nice middle ground between what I wish nemesis sets actually did and what they generally do. It’s not the most threatening thing out there, but it could cause you some problems if it sees play.
Luminous is a pretty bog-standard minion that will probably sit on the table about as long as Darcy appeared in the Wandavision finale. If she does manage to get an attack off, she can make you eat another encounter card which can suck.
This is especially true if The Next Evolution is still in play since it increases the number of boost icons by one. That’s a weird one for sure. Obviously boost icons can be bad, but for the Scarlet Witch, they can also be good.
Chaos Manipulation forces Luminious back into the field and could make her activate. So even if you do Abra Cadabra her, she might return anyway. Magical Suspension is also pretty nasty.
Notably, however, is the fact that Scarlet Witch also has two obligation cards that represent her fragile grip on her sanity. Slipping Sanity is another double-edged sword, three boost icons is bad, but also good in Wanda’s case.
But that’s also two chances to screw you over. It has the standard swap to alter ego and exhaust effect, but I do like the second effect can represent Wanda’s power spiraling out of control and adding to the villain’s scheme.
Luminous pails in comparison to nemesis minions such as Baron Zemo and Loki. But the set is solid and I enjoy the two obligation cards being different than other sets.
The theme is fairly strong with the Scarlet Witch pack. You feel very powerful playing as Ms. Maximoff, but that potential to have that power slip out of control is always there.
Her ability to alter the flow of chaos via the games random boost mechanics is clever and fitting. Most of her kit makes sense in some way, except, oddly enough, Hex Bolt.
The effects of her chaos magic make perfect sense, I just feel like the card is terribly miss named. Hex Bolt brings to mind an attack, but that’s only one of many possibilities, and several of them don’t make sense in the context of a Wanda-powered expelliarmus.
That gripe is fairly minor, however as you do truly feel like you are the Scarlet Witch. The aspect cards are usually the ones that struggle to keep in theme, but most of them are done pretty well. A Bait and Switch to make the villain attack you while you sneakily messed with their plans makes sense.
Crisis Averted perfectly captures the intent via its art. The whole point of crisis schemes is that something dire is blocking the hero from thwarting the main one. Showing Spider-Man quickly delaying the crisis with cleverness to bypass it, is the kind of design I’d like to see more of.
Last Stand paints a picture of a tired and beaten ally throwing themselves at the big bad in a desperate attempt for victory, and Multitasking again uses its artwork to its advantage to frame what may be happening in the game.
Overall the theme of the pack is strong which gives me hope for the thematic future of the game.
Out of the Box
While I do feel that the Scarlet Witch largely feels the same no matter how you build her, she can still be built poorly. Whatever aspect she’s with needs to provide support in some way, and her preconstructed deck just doesn’t cut it.
Cards like Turn the Tide felt too situational for the deck. While something like Swift Retribution forces her to spend time clearing extra threat for a chunk of damage when she would more than make up the damage by just slinging spells.
She has the foundation for good card draw but not enough, and her resource generation doesn’t support the number of spells she wants to sling. I constantly had dead cards in my hand, which is the biggest sign of a poor build. If you automatically know which cards to burn for resources without deliberating, somethings wrong.
The premade deck really gave me a bad first impression of the hero. I was constantly fighting bad draws in addition to her inherent weaknesses. It wasn’t until I took the deck apart that everything clicked, and she became the power house I really enjoy playing now.
Scarlet Witch isn’t the easiest hero to play in the first place. So I highly recommend starting off on the right foot with the proper support to play her. Even if you just tweak the initial deck because that said, Justice might well be her strongest aspect.
Scarlet Witch has become one of my favorite heroes to play. She gives a similar feeling to playing as Doctor Strange, slinging insane powerful spells around, but without trivializing the entire experience.
Her kit gives you the distinct feeling of playing a hero with more power than they can handle. How easily you could make things go wrong, while also having an array of versatile options and counter plays.
Teaming up with Quicksilver certainly pushes her over the edge of being too strong, but it’s not terribly game-breaking. If teaming up wasn’t powerful, there would be no real incentive to do it.
The rest of the cards are all great additions all the way around with no dead ones to speak of, and the theming is fairly consistent. The biggest disadvantage is that she may become repetitive to play since she lacks the same playstyle variety as most heroes.
Generally speaking, changing aspects should change the feel of a hero, while maintaining the core foundation of who they are. With Scarlet Witch, it’s a bunch of faceless cards with numbers playing second fiddle to her magic. But honestly, that’s kind of fitting too.
If you enjoyed this review consider checking out my review of Quicksilver. You could also toss in a donation through my Kofi if you want. Look for my review of the big box Galaxies Most Wanted, when it releases in April.
- Scarlet Witch has a very fun playstyle that accurately captures the magic of the bewitching hero
- Hero is well balanced with strengths and weaknesses
- Teaming up with Quicksilver makes them a powerful combo
- The host of cards included in the pack are all great additions
- Pack does a good job of staying thematic
- Nemesis set is solid
- Order and Chaos should not be a basic card
- A new basic card uses the mystic keyword, there are only two heroes that will use that keyword for the foreseeable future
- Scarlet Witch lacks playstyle variety, largely feeling the same regardless of aspect
- The premade deck is poorly constructed
- Wanda having the same alter ego ability as Pietro is powerful, but lame