Vision is another new hero that can swap between unique forms similar to Spectrum and Ant-Man. A mechanic that is unique to Vision, however, is the fact that his form card can be swapped at will, once per round. And it’s also separate from his identity.
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The unique way that Vision swaps between Intangible and Dense Form make him an extremely adaptable hero. But he’s also one that requires planning to play, and I always find those heroes to be the most satisfying.
Intangible Form grants Vision +1 hand size in Alter-ego and lowers the damage he takes from attacks in Hero form by 2. The catch is he can’t attack or defend while Intangible. It also blocks the usage of any cards with the “attack” or “defense” keywords.
His Dense form grants increased recovery in Alter-ego and brings his defense and attack to 2 with the kicker of drawing a card when you flip to it. Most of the cards in Vision’s kit bank on his Mass Forms, and his whole design gives you ample breathing room to make meaningful decisions.
Playing Vision well requires careful timing of when to swap both forms since they can be changed independently. All of it is affected by the way you build his deck. Some decks will have him swapping between mass forms while others might have him focused on one or the other.
Vision is designed to be a well-rounded character, but he isn’t without weaknesses either. That makes him fun to play. At the same time, with a card pool so large, it was inevitable that unintended broken card interactions would start to appear. There is a cheat in this carbon-based synthezoid’s code.
Vision’s Hero Kit
Vision’s cards can appear run of the mill at first glance, but it’s their connection to Visions’ forms that really bring out their versatility. No one would bat an eye at a 3 cost card that can do 7 damage or one that can remove 5 threat. But Solar Beam can do either based on which form Vision is in and that makes it a highly valuable and adaptable card.
Phase Disruption is incredibly clever, it’s the first card that removes a villain’s attachment, in addition to confusing them. But it only works in Intangible form.
Mass Increase is a great defense card that blocks all the damage and stuns the villain if Vision is in Dense form. There’s only one copy of each, but Vision can use Density Control to pop them from the discard and into his hand.
It’s those kinds of decisions that really make Vision shine. Being able to reuse a tool of your choice is awesome but it puts the weight on your shoulders to decide which ones, and that can vary based on your deck, strategy, and situation.
Vision’s kit is event-heavy, so Density Control leaves you with even more options. Superdense Strike packs a solid punch with piercing, while Just Passing Through can remove threat and ignore patrol and crisis icons. As the hyper-intelligent and powerful being that Vision is, he has the right tool for many jobs. But you have to actively think about which ones you need and when.
Vision’s Cape adds further adaptability by granting him Retaliate in one form and Stalwart in the other. 616 Hickory Branch Lane can recur Android allies, but there is an issue with that. Outside of the pack, only one android ally exists, and it’s him!
The Android Keyword
Both 616 Hickory Branch Lane and Reboot use the Android keyword for the first time. Keyword support is great, but an issue arises when one is introduced in a smaller pack. There are simply not enough cards in the current pool that use it. The pack comes with a few Androids, but for now, you’re going to be limited to the Protection aspect. You are likely stuck with Vision himself in order to get any use out of Reboot.
It’s an ongoing issue with LCGs. As much as Fantasy Flight likes to pretend you can pick up packs ala carte, the truth is you miss out. Everything is designed to work with future cards. Vision and Reboot have the same issue that Black Widow did with Preparation cards, or that Sorceror Supreme did prior to Scarlet Witch. The packs never feel like standalone products.
Reboot and 616 Hickory Branch Lane are both great cards, however, and their usage isn’t always obvious. Vision’s signature ally, Vivian is strong but looks bland at first. You might be tempted to use Reboot on Vision himself, but you can actually make Vivian the star of the show by using Reboot on Vivian and Hickory Branch Lane to recur her. If you build a Leadership deck you can add in some nice ally upgrades and then she gets really nasty.
A focus on Vivian is just one way to build Vision and further lends to the versatile nature of the hero.
Vision’s Weaknesses and Cheat Code
A good hero has weaknesses, and while Vision is well-rounded and strong, he also has shortcomings. Most of Vision’s cards are fairly cheap, but he has very little built-in economy with a single copy of Solar Gem for resource generation. That can make it difficult to fully take advantage of Solar Beam or Defensive cards if you don’t tackle the issue during deck building.
Vision’s Solar Beam hit’s like a truck but can be overwhelmed by high multiple power Minions. He has no crowd control in his kit. When facing certain villains or encounter sets, he can lose to attrition while he takes multiple turns to remove them.
One of his biggest weaknesses is the limitations of his Intangible Form. Since he can’t attack or defend, cards with those keywords can’t be used. For the most part, that’s okay, it’s a strategical decision, and Intangible is incredibly strong. I do however highly suspect that Vision was designed before the 1.4 rules update.
Prior to the update cards with the Defense keyword did not mean you were “defending”. In which case they would have worked with Vision’s Intangible Form. Since the update, they now count as defending. The update was an overall buff for defense cards, but it means Vision can’t use any of them while using his Intangible form.
On the other side. Since Vision’s Intangible form blocks 2 damage from every attack, he is effectively immune to weaker minions and minion spam. There’s a rather volatile card interaction here with Bring It, as Vision can intentionally stockpile Minions to draw an immense number of cards. If you build around it, it puts Vision on a level equal to Doctor Strange, or even past him.
Other than for giggles, I’d avoid that combo, especially in a group setting. Not everyone would appreciate bypassing the challenge.
Premade Deck and Aspect Cards
Vision’s premade deck simply doesn’t work. It’s a Protection build that relies on using defense cards such as Defiance, and Side Step alongside Indomitable and Flow like Water. Vision can only defend half the time since he can’t defend in Intangible Form. It’s clear cards like Get Behind Me were included to capitalize on Defending with Intangible’s Damage Reduction prior to 1.4.
There’s a significant number of reprints in the pack too which is a shame. The new additions are quite cool, however. Defiance may not synergize with Vision but stopping a boost card is incredibly powerful for no cost.
Victor Mancha is an ally focused on surviving multiple blocks, which is fantastic at a cost of 2. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dropped a cheap ally solely to block. So, while I’m always glad to see the game move away from chump blocking, Victor doesn’t count as a chump when that’s his actual purpose.
Flow like Water is going to make retaliate Protection decks even more fun, and Jocasta’s utility is really nice and incentives you to use her for more than chump blocking. Protector is a more expensive Victor with an ability cost, but also has the utility of smacking something for three damage.
Reboot is obviously powerful with Android’s but limited in the current card pool. Machine Man could have a whole deck built around feeding him resources, and that’s really cool.
Joining Forces is very powerful at higher player counts. Assault Training is the aggression version of event card recurrence, and I bet there are some broken combos to be had with Meditation. Chance Encounter is a weird one for Justice, but I love seeing that aspect branch out. Despite the reprints, there are still quite a few great additions to the game.
I have mixed feelings about Vision’s Nemesis set. Vision’s Nemesis Minion is none other than Ultron, which is incredibly fitting. It’s great to see another version of the iconic Villian. The minion himself is great, Ultron enters play with toughness and has 6 health, so it takes an actual effort to remove him.
Ultron is nearly a carbon copy of the actual villain, right down to using the same Ultron Drones Environment. It comes with a mediocre side scheme with Ultron Unleashed and two copies of Relentless Android which just piles on more drones.
I feel like there was plenty of design space to make the Nemesis version more unique, so it’s disappointing that the minion is just a scaled-down version of the villain.
The thing is, Ultron as a minion would also be infinitely more threatening against any hero other than Vision. His Intangible form makes him immune to attacks from both Ultron’s drones and Ultron himself! If you were to mess with the cheesy Bring It strategy I mentioned, drawing Shadow of the Past would actually be a net win for Vision.
It’s just an incredibly odd pairing that I feel like enough eyes didn’t look close enough on before it hit the printers. I will mention that Vision has a non-standard obligation. It actually attaches to him and makes your form card blank until you get rid of it. It’s unique and thematic, but ironically if it’s pulled at the right time, it’s ineffective because it then allows you to use attack and defense cards while in intangible form.
The whole nemesis set is a paradoxical design that I’m sure Vision himself might enjoy philosophizing over. But it’s not a cohesive set for gameplay.
Generally speaking, as much as I put emphasis on words like balance and cohesion, one of the most important aspects in Marvel Champions is how well the hero and kit translates the feel of that hero to the table.
Vision thankfully feels like Vision. Strength, speed, and flight are par for the course when it comes to Marvel. But Vision’s uniqueness in how he fights is captured beautifully with his Dense and Intangible forms.
He feels powerful. You can almost taste the villain’s frustration of taking a massive hit and then being unable to harm Vision as they pass right through him. The iconic Solar Beam hits hard. Although I can’t reason how it removes threat if he is intangible, but that’s being nit-picky.
I’ve expressed annoyance in the past with generic concepts such as “Just Passing Through”. But in this case, it checks out. I can totally see Vision passing right through everything a Villain puts in his way to mess up the vital part of a scheme they were guarding. The fact that you bypass Patrol and Crisis icons is beautifully perfect. Mass Increase and Phase Disruption are also a notable mix of theme and mechanics.
Speaking of generic concepts. As much as I like the cards, Flow Like Water and Defiance can take the heat of that criticism. I don’t like when cards have no clear picture of what your hero is doing to obtain the mechanical effect. Chance Encounter is cleverly thematic, however, as two heroes bump into each other pursuing the same scheme.
The end result is that packs thematic appeal is somewhat of a mix, but Vision feels like Vision. As much as I would like every card to be thematic, I have to admit getting the hero right is the most important.
Vision is a great hero that puts a nice spin on the form-changing mechanic used by some other heroes. The result is a fun-to-play hero that feels like Vision. His balance can be a bit spotty, but as the card pool grows, busted combos are inevitable. It’s up to you and your group to limit or allow them. Just make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Putting aside a few card interactions, Vision is well-rounded on the power scale with most heroes, which is great. His strengths are countered by weaknesses and his overall design is smooth.
The pack features a bunch of reprints, and Vision counters his own nemesis set, which is odd. The most striking flaw is that it feels like Vision was designed under a set of rules that worked very differently before the 1.4 updates. To the point his own premade deck is anti-synergistic.
In the end, however, the new card additions further diversify the deck-building pool. And Vision is thematic and fun to play. Vision has been a voice with no body, a body but not human, a memory made real, and now a hero card worthy of being played.
My Perspective on Vision
Vision felt clunky when I played with his preset deck. Largely because of how defense cards conflict with his intangible form, but I definitely enjoyed deckbuilding with him. His design works in all aspects, even protection, just with a different strategy. A healing-focused build works great on him in conjunction with his Intangible form, Mass Increase, and strong recovery.
It’s a shame that 616 Hickory Branch Lane is regulated to Vivian if you play other aspects due to the lack of androids, but that’s a minor gripe that will become obsolete over time.
Reviewing Marvel Champions is always strange because with few exceptions it’s ideal to pick up all the packs. LCGs are a money suck, there’s no getting around that. But there have been packs that felt less valuable than others. As a fan of the game, Vision is a satisfying purchase that does the hero justice. As long as fans of the hero walk away happy, that’s a win in my book, and I definitely think that’s the case with Vision.
More Marvel Champions Content
- Vision’s spin on the form changing mechanic is unique
- Vision is an adaptable fun to play hero with apparent strengths and weaknesses
- The pack captures Visions theme and feel very well, and a few aspect cards do too
- There are solid new additions to the card pool, such as Chance Encounter, Victor Mancha, and Defiance
- It feels like Vision was designed prior to an important rule change and he interacts poorly with his own premade deck due to it
- The Ultron nemesis is a copy-paste of the villain version and is amusingly ineffective against Vision
- There are a large number of reprints in the pack
- New Android reliant cards have very little support in the current card pool
- Vision can become game breakingly strong with a specific card interaction