UPDATE: With the release of more content my opinion of Hulk has shifted and I need to revisit the review. Everything contained here is true, but Hulk’s four-card hand combined with the cost of his cards makes him inconsistent in tougher scenarios. The pack is still worth picking up due to the rest of the cards, however. You can read about what I mean in my piece on Fixing The Imbalance In Marvel Champions.
The Hulk is an incredibly aggressive hero to the surprise of no one, he can deal out powerful attacks and take them in return. He has a whopping 18 hit points that can be augmented higher with Immovable Object. He starts with three attack, and his kit is mostly about doing what Hulk does best, smash.
Seriously, Hulk Smash adds a whopping 10 damage to a basic attack, and it can gain overkill. Thunder Clap can wreck up to three enemies, while Crushing Blow and Unstoppable Force both let Hulk use his beefy attack more than once.
Limitless Rage boosts his already high attack further as long as he remains in Hulk form, and Hulk gets a nice three resource card with Limitless Strength.
An unrestrained Hulk can end a villain within a matter of turns or rip any minion to shreds. His punchiness is always felt on the board, and that makes him fun to play. His is also a tank with the highest hit-points of any hero so far that can be further boosted with other cards.
Hulk generally wants to remain in hero form, but switching to Banner at the right time with Banner’s Laboratory can offset some of his weaknesses and set him up for a big turn.
The big guy isn’t without weaknesses, however. He has no basic thwart what-so-ever and a hand size of four. This means he must play his cards carefully, and can never pinch away threat. Furthermore, you must always discard your hand at the end of your turn while in Hulk form.
This means that while Hulk does have cards like Orbital Leap to remove the threat, you are entirely reliant on luck in order to draw them at the exact moment you need it. A lot of Hulks kit is focused on physical resources, which is thematic but can hamper deck building to a degree, many of his cards require them to be fully effective.
Hulk synergizes with all the aspects, but in a different way than normal. Aggression Hulk’s damage output is unmatched but can be somewhat anti-climatic. In solo, you either win in around four turns, or you lose due to his lack of thwarting. However, it really shines in multiplayer, where other heroes can cover the threat and allow the Hulk to rampage freely.
Protection Hulk switches gears for the gamma-powered brute. Hulk already has 3 defense, but he wants to spend most turns attacking. Protection can make him an unstoppable beast, but leaves him with little options to either deal damage or thwart solo. In multiplayer, he can use his bulk to protect his friends waiting for the perfect moment to Hulk Smash and end the game.
Justice and Leadership cover up Hulk’s biggest weaknesses entirely at the cost of slightly less damage. Both can be used to thwart, and allies on the leadership side can handle everything outside of smashing, allowing Hulk to do his thing. Both of these aspects are ideal for a solo Hulk.
This type of design leaves me a bit conflicted. Ideally, a hero should be able to play solo or multiplayer with any aspect. Yet, I wouldn’t really want Hulk designed differently. Making every hero well-rounded would be boring. Hulk smashes, it’s what he does, and he does it incredibly well.
Hulk is the first hero that I truly feel has different roles depending on whether or not you’re playing solo or with friends. It’s also entirely possible that Hulk’s options will increase as the card pools for Aggression and Protection grow. As it stands, they work great for him in multiplayer, but solo can be iffy.
Aggression gets the biggest boost in Hulk’s hero pack. Martial Prowess is a resource-generation card that seems tailor-made for big green. Drop Kick is expensive, but the potential to deal damage, stun the villain and draw in one move shouldn’t be underestimated.
She-Hulk makes an appearance as a great ally that deals more damage as she takes damage. Sentry is a powerful ally with a steep cost of dealing yourself an encounter card. Toe to Toe is an interesting card, forcing a villain to attack you and take damage. It pairs well with You’ll Pay for That, which removes threat when you take damage.
All of the aggression cards are great additions to the aspect. I love to see cards like You’ll Pay for That, which allows aggression to do something outside of its usual tenets but in a very fitting way.
To the Rescue is a new simple basic card that just removes two threat, it’s a nice pinch thwarter that can be slotted into anything. Protection gets Electrostatic Armor that essentially gives the hero retaliation without the keyword, which means it can stack with it, super cool.
Leadership gets an Avenger card with Inspiring Presence. It heals and readies an ally for only 1 resource, which is very powerful. Justice gets the trophy, however. Beat Cop is borderline overpowered. Removing a threat each turn and eventually using it to flatten a minion. It’s really thematic too as the cop acquires evidence and arrests the minion.
Hulk’s hero pack brings a lot of well-rounded goodies to the card pool, and Beat Cop is a must-have for the justice aspect.
The Abomination shows up as the Hulks Nemesis with three attack, two scheme, and the potential to deal with two extra damage each attack. He only has 6 health though. This is a kind of running issue I have with a lot of nemesis cards. As rare as they come out, I feel like they need to be beefier, but this problem is compounded with the Hulk.
Hulk scoffs at a measly 6 health. He will wipe his big green ass with him. In my time playing, I’ve never let abomination get in a single attack. Clash of Titans is a neat idea for a card, but Hulk is going to be the target pretty much all the time.
I do want to note, that all of the nemesis cards have three boost icons. This makes the nemesis set a lot more threatening than it looks at first glance, even if the cards themselves are lackluster.
I want to make a special mention of Hulk’s obligation card. These are usually rather boring cards that do almost the same thing for every hero. Inner Demons is unique, you cant remove it from the game. If you draw it, it happens. Bruce Banner’s obligation is the Hulk inside, he can’t get rid of it. The obligation is very fitting for the character.
Hulk’s theme is very flavorful. Just like the character, he hits hard, and can take a beating but is not doing any of that brainy thwarting stuff. The only thwarting card in his kit is Sub-Orbital Leap. I see this as Hulk jumping up to find and crash into the villain’s operation.
Boundless Rage makes the Hulk hit even harder, but it obviously fades away when he reverts back to Bruce Banner. Of course, the iconic Hulk Smash is very fitting.
Even cards like She-Hulk don’t relent on the theme, and Hulk generates resources through his Limitless Strength. The only outlier is You’ll Pay for That. I’m not sure how taking damage helps thwart a plan, but hey, it’s such a mechanically clever card for Aggression, I’ll allow it.
Notably, Inner Demons is incredibly true to the source material and is the only obligation so far that can’t be removed. Abomination is far too weak to match Hulk though and feels like a throwaway minion in the face of the Hulk, an insult to the villain.
But, for the most part, the theme in the Hulk hero pack is every bit as strong as the gamma man himself.
Out of the Box
Not to be too negative, but Hulk’s preset deck is atrocious, the worst one of any hero pack thus far. It exacerbates the Hulk’s already rough weaknesses to untenable levels.
The concept is there. It’s an aggression deck that lets Hulk smash while throwing in some stuff to potentially help with thwarting. The problem is, Hulk’s hand size is four, and he must discard his hand every turn. Nearly everything in the deck is expensive, there is no resource balance whatsoever.
The Hulk’s own kit is resource-heavy by default, he can’t afford a deck that almost entirely consists of three and above resources. Even with the included resource cards and Limitless Strength, most turns boil down to playing a single card.
If you get a really lucky draw, you might get to do something cool on occasion, but the Hulk already relies on luck due to the fact you can never carry over a card to the next turn. As I mentioned before, Aggression Hulk can be great in multiplayer, but not with the preset deck. Your friends will just sit there wondering if you are ever go going to do something.
A lot of people’s first experiences with a hero is the preset deck, and first impressions are kind of a big deal. No preset deck is ever optimal, but I do expect them to be playable. Hulk’s is barely even that.
Hulk is an incredibly fun hero that’s true to the character. Hulk is a beast in damage and hit-points, and it is so much fun to bring down half of the villain’s hit-points in one turn.
Care must be given in deck building as he has deep weaknesses, and with the current card pool, he certainly excels with some aspects in solo and others in multiplayer. But he is overall a great addition to the game, and playing him feels like you are playing as the Hulk. Furthermore, the rest of the cards in the pack are great new goodies to bring into the game.
The Nemesis set is disappointing, but his obligation card is super neat. The preset deck should be disassembled immediately, or you may start off the wrong foot with big green.
Overall the Hulk is another solid addition to Marvel Champions. Hulk’s presence will be clearly felt at the table in any game he is played while he smashes everything in his path. Most importantly, you can bask in the almost childlike glee of being the pilot of this gamma-powered Avenger.
- Hulk smashes real good
- The flavor and theme fit big green to the letter
- Great additions to the card pool outside of the Hulk
- The obligation card is noteworthy for its flavor and uniqueness
- Hulk has clear strengths and weaknesses
- The nemesis set is lack luster
- The preset deck is awful
- The current card pool can limit which aspects are viable with Hulk in solo play