Nova has a large emphasis on wild resources, as they count as double when paying for most of his cards. However, Nova is also capable of generating a ridiculous resource-generating engine between his Helmet and Unleash Nova Force.
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In some builds, setups, or against some villains, Nova is straight-up broken. I watched a player practically draw and play her whole deck against Ultron in a four-player game. It didn’t even require a specific combo of aspect cards to pull off, the ability was built right into the hero.
Although it’s rare for him to hit that same kind of earth-shattering power against other villains. He is still easily one of Marvel Champions top tier heroes. Thanks to his all-around flexibility and the fact that he has an easy time expanding his action economy and tempo over the villain.
Don’t be fooled by Nova’s mediocre stats, he more than makes up for it with his hero-specific cards. The centerpiece of which is his Supernova Helmet. Sam Alexander can fetch the Helmet for a resource and put it directly into play if it’s a wild resource. In most games, the helmet will be in play on your first turn. Much like Captain America’s Shield, or Thor’s Hammer.
A guaranteed resource generator on turn 1, plus aerial, is already nice. But whenever Nova uses a basic power, the helmet readies. It’s very easy to build Nova into a situation similar to Quicksilver where he readies multiple times a turn and gains an extra resource each time.
When combined with Unleash Nova Force, things can get crazy. In the aforementioned game against Ultron, another player was able to continually wipe every drone off the table. Each time she did so, she also got to draw a card and ready Nova thanks to Unleash Nova Force.
Most games won’t be as ridiculous as that one, but Nova can gain a substantial card advantage when timed right. This is especially true when you factor in that Connection to the Worldmind doesn’t count against your hand size. Jesse Alexander can help you keep the connections flowing as well.
The rest of Nova’s kit is full of potent cards that allow him to cover all bases. He can block damage with Forcefield Projection, Wipe threat with Lightspeed Flight, and deal damage with Pot Shot. Lightspeed Flight and Pot Shot both end up being very cheap cards due to the fact that wild resources spent on them count as double.
All these factors combine to make Nova a very card and action-efficient hero. Which is the biggest factor in the game that defines a hero’s strength. More cards played per turn, or more expensive cards played per turn, is simply stronger than a hero playing less of either. On top of that, Ms. Marvel can help Nova recur those cheap event cards to keep the momentum going.
That said, even though Nova is a very strong jack of all trades, he isn’t without weak points. And that makes him more engaging to play than a character like Doctor Strange. His low stats, for example, can cause issues. Going back to the Ultron game for a moment. The Nova player met a roadblock when stage 3 Ultron boosted his drone minion’s HP. She was playing Justice and could no longer perform her Unleash Nova Force combo as his 1 attack stat couldn’t push over the metaphorical dominos.
That is, until another player played Combat Training under her control. But, it still took teamwork to make it the dreamwork. Another player had to shore up Nova’s weaknesses, and that’s ideal in a multiplayer game.
Nova also has a heavy reliance on wild resources. A bad draw can leave him with an uphill climb to unleash his potential. The end result is a powerful new hero that has a unique design and quirk and is fun to play.
Aggression gains quite a bit of punch in the Nova Pack with some very interesting cards. Fluid Motion is going to be a staple for hero builds that focus on basic attacks. Since they stack, I could see some serious overkill builds coming out of it.
Honed Technique can add serious value to more expensive and underplayed attack events as it stacks the card’s cost onto the damage if you use a science resource. I prefer this kind of open-ended card patching as opposed to additions like Monica Chang that name specific cards, and thus, limits deck building.
Pitchback is a cheap walloper for aerial characters, and One by One is a nice minion sweeper. However, the most intriguing new aggression card is No Quarter. It requires a fist resource, but it could easily end up being broken in the right build.
Think about how in this pack alone it could combo with Honed Technique and add a bunch of aggression cards to your hand. There are so many minions with 1 to 2 HP in the game that it’s likely always going to be a viable pick.
Outside of Aggression. We have Moon Girl, which is a pretty plain ally that essentially becomes playable for free if you use science resources. Champions Mobile Bunker is a great champion-specific card, and Everyday Hero adds an additional bit of support for heroes with the civilian trait.
Aerial gets even more support with the addition of Yaw and Roll and Height Advantage. It’s always nice to see existing keywords gain more Steam.
I also want to note that Nova’s premade deck is relatively solid. Many of the new aggression cards combo well by playing into Nova’s ability to gain an advantage through resource generation and card draw. While also buffing up his weaknesses with cards like Honed Technique.
Nemesis sets are always a bit hit or miss. I often feel that they are too weak, but Nova’s Nemesis set takes a slightly different direction. It focuses on countering Nova specifically, which is honestly a bit of a no-brainer concept for a nemesis set, but it’s rarely done well. Warbringer does a great job of it, however, by targeting or countering Nova’s core focus, Wild Resources.
Bring the War forces players to discard a wild resource card for additional threat on a side scheme with a nasty hazard symbol and War Bringer himself gains overkill and extra attack power due to wild resources in your hand. I wish he was a bit tougher, 5 HP is relevantly easy to wipe away in one turn, but if he survives, Nova’s gonna end up pretty battered.
The War’s Been Brought is a pretty generic surge card. But War Delivery is nasty and something you have to be aware of the moment the Nemesis set enters the deck. You can negate it by spending a wild resource. But if not, the villain and Warbringer attacks you, even if you’re in alter ego mode, and that can be devastating.
I wouldn’t say that the Nemesis set is all that scary for a team of players, but it certainly can be for Nova players, and honestly, that’s probably how most Nemesis sets should be. Sure, some of them, like Furnax, make the whole table crap themselves. But I’d be fine if each one really put a dent into the hero they are meant to be against the way that War Bringer does.
Nova, alongside Ironheart, are two of the first packs to introduce encounter modules at the cost of fewer aspect cards. Whether that’s a worthy trade depends on your perspective, but I myself really enjoy the Armadillo module.
It introduces a nasty minion in the form of Armadillo who has a whopping 8 HP, toughness, and can have ANY number of toughness cards. When paired with Armored Assault, things get nasty fast.
Rollin’ Rollin boosts Armadillo even further while giving him a second chance to hit the table, while tough it out stacks those toughness cards even faster. Armadillo provides a unique challenge that can really change based on the villain you’re fighting. Pairing him with a villain that already makes heavy use of toughness can make for a fun challenge.
If you really want to break your teeth on a challenge that’s difficult, but fair. Try him with Zola, and brace yourself when Armadillo gets super buffed by Zolas’ attachments.
I’m conflicted about missing out on new aspect cards in exchange for a module, but I love how well-designed and thoughtful Armadillo is, so for now, I’ll take the trade.
The Nova hero pack is a strong offering with a powerful hero with a unique focus on wild resources, great new aggression cards, and a really well-designed encounter module. Nova leans across the line of being too strong. But I’d place him roughly on the same level as Gamora, Quicksilver, and Ghost Spider.
Thematically, Nova himself feels good. His cards make sense as he zips around at Light Speed thwarting plans and taking Potshots for damage. The aspect cards are less so, leaning on generic concepts such as No Quarter, and One by One. At this point, however, that’s sadly a fact of life for aspect cards. I suspect that they are getting more and more difficult to design as the game grows and that the trend will continue.
Nova’s, premade deck is notably solid, which is a stark contrast to the vast majority of decks featured in past hero packs, and I really love the Armadillo Module.
Nova is an excellent addition to the Champion roster, and I mean that literally as he is one of few who have the Champion trait. In addition to being a fun new hero, his pack brings more support for the aerial keyword and some very strong aggression cards, all of which combines to make the pack very much worth having.
More Marvel Champions Hero Pack Reviews
- A powerful and unique new hero
- Great new aggression cards
- A well-designed and challenging encounter module
- The premade deck is solid
- The Nemesis set counters Nova, and that’s nice!
- Relatively low Number of reprints
- The aspect cards are thematic duds
- Nova can feel too strong at times