Marvel Champions: Ms. Marvel Breakdown

As promised, today we’re looking at the Ms. Marvel hero pack for Marvel Champions! Ms. Marvel is a fantastic character with an interesting powerset, and her deck here does of good job of representing that. I’ll confess that I was a little surprised she was included in the game’s ‘Avengers’ block–while she has served as an Avenger, I tend to associate her more with the Champions (in fact, her card even labels her as such). At the end of the day, though, I’m just glad she’s here!

I’m sure you know how these work by now, but just in case: this post will look at Ms. Marvel’s unique fifteen-card deck, going over each card and looking at how well it fits her thematically. I’m not going to talk deck-building strategies or anything like that.

The Hero
Ms. Marvel herself is a pretty standard hero: 10 hit points, hand size 6 in alter-ego, hand size 5 in hero mode. Nothing wild there. Looking at her alter-ego side, Kamala Khan, reveals a most impressive 5 Recovery–very appropriate given that her powers include a healing factor! She also has the Teen Spirit action, which allows you to discard cards from the top of your deck until you hit a Ms. Marvel card, which you then add to your hand. This is a gamble, but it’s invaluable for building your board quickly, which is huge for this deck.

Flipping over to Ms. Marvel, we’ve got all 1s; 1 Thwart, 1 Attack, 1 Defense. It sounds bad, but here’s the thing–you pretty much never want to be using Ms. Marvel’s actual basic actions. Why? Because you’ll want to focus on events instead. She’s got an ability called Morphogenetics that allows you to exhaust Ms. Marvel to return an attack, thwart, or defense event to your hand after you play it. Thus, rather than exhausting to attack, you want to play an attack event, then exhaust to bounce it back to your hand so you can use it again next round.

Ms. Marvel only has a few upgrades, but they’re all solid and tie in nicely to her event-based playstyle. The first is her 1-cost Biokinetic Polymer Suit, which you can exhaust to generate a Wild resource for an event. Restricting the resource to an even hamstrings this a little bit, but it’s still an invaluable asset for Kamala–and cheap, too!

Next up is Embiggen, a 2-cost upgrade. Embiggen can be exhausted when you play an attack event to increase the damage of that event by 2. Nice! If you’ve got this out and you can consistently bounce events back to your hand with Morphogenetics, you can lay down serious damage every single turn.

Similarly, there’s Shrink, a 2-cost card that can be exhausted to increase the amount of Threat removed by a thwart event by 2. Basically, it’s Embiggen, but for removing Threat! The combination of Embiggen and Shrink makes Ms. Marvel hugely versatile, and it does a great job of reflecting her shape-changing powers. I also like the flavoring that getting bigger increases her damage and getting smaller allows her to sneak around and deal with Threat. Clever!

Allies & Supports
Kamala is bigger on supports than most heroes, but she still only one ally: Red Dagger. I didn’t finish the comic arc that introduced Red Dagger (which is surprising, as I’ve read most of Ms. Marvel’s stuff–not sure why I missed out on the back half of that story), but I remember enough about him to feel like this is a decent choice. I might’ve gone with Miles Morales, personally, because I love their friendship… but that’s beside the point. Red Dagger is a 3-cost ally with 2 Thwart, 2 Attack, and 3 hit points. When he’s defeated, you can spend 2 resources to deal 2 damage to an enemy and put Red Dagger in your hand instead of your discard. That’s a really solid effect! In fact, a solid ally all around!

Her supports are where things get interesting, though. All of them are only usable in alter-ego mode, so you’re heavily incentivized to spend a lot of time as Kamala–fitting for a teen character who has to spend most of the day in school! First is her brother, Aamir Khan. Aamir costs 1 resource and can be exhausted to place 1 card from your discard pile on the bottom of your deck, then draw a card. You know how much I love extra card draw, and getting to cycle a discarded card back into your deck is really good, too! Great job, Aamir!

Also at 1 resource is Kamala’s best bud Bruno Carrelli. You can exhaust Bruno to attach a card from your hand to Bruno; then, when you’re in hero mod, you can exhaust Bruno to add up to 3 cards attached to him to your hand. This is a really good option if you’ve got great cards in hand but don’t have the resources to pay for them. Instead of having to discard them, you can attach them to Bruno and pull them out when you need them later! Heck, even if the cards themselves are mediocre, it’s still a great way to get an emergency infusion of potential resources when you need them.

Finally, there’s Nakia Bahadir. Another 1-cost support, Nakia can be exhausted to reduce the cost of the next card you play this phase by 1. Always nice to get cheaper cards! All of these supports are great, and I love that they’re all people from Kamala’s extended cast. She’s a character who really emphasizes being part of her community, and these supports are a beautiful way of showcasing that.

As you might expect given her focus, Kamala has some solid events at her disposal. For combat, she’s got Big Hands, a 2-cost attack event that deals 4 damage to an enemy, Toss that out, power it up with Embiggen, and bounce it back to your hand with Morphogenics–you’re dishing out a consistent 6 damage! Not too shabby!

If you’d rather focus on getting rid of Threat, there’s Sneak By. Another 2-cost card, Sneak By is a thwart event that allows you to remove 3 Threat from a scheme. Shrink can bump that up to 5 and, again, if you’re not exhausted you can grab this back and Thwart just as hard the next round.

Last but not least is Wiggle Room, the defensive equivalent of the last two cards. When you would take any damage, you can toss out the 0-cost Wiggle Room to prevent 3 of that damage and draw a card. It’s always nice to get some damage avoidance, and the fact that this is free and has some card draw is just gravy!

Nemesis & Obligation
Kamala’s Obligation, Home By Dawn, is notable mostly for having my favorite card art of any Obligation thus far. It’s got the usual binary; the non-exhaust option this time around forces you to discard one of your persona supports (in other words, Aamir, Bruno, or Nakia). If you don’t have any on the field, the card gains surge instead. No good no matter how you slice it.

Her Nemesis is Thomas Edison, which, if you haven’t read the comics, is a bird. But is also the real Thomas Edison, I think? It’s a long story and it’s been awhile since I read his premiere, so I’m just going to leave it at that. Edison has 3 Scheme, 1 Attack, and only 3 hit points; the catch is that he can’t take damage while you’re engaged with another minion. You’ll see why that’s bad in a moment, but first, let’s hit that side scheme: Generation Why? Aside from having a name that makes me roll my eyes, this side scheme gains 2 Threat per player, adds an extra encounter card to the encounter phase, and forces each player to discard a card from the top of their deck for each ally and persona support in play. Nasty. Edison also adds the Edison’s Giant Robot minion to the encounter deck, which boasts 1 Scheme, 2 Attack, and a whopping 8 hit points. On top of that, it can’t take damage unless you spend a Science resource to make it vulnerable first! Yikes! Edison also add the Harvest treachery, which exhausts each persona support in play and heals the villain for each card exhausted that way (if no cards are exhausted, Harvest gains Surge, of course).

Ms. Marvel is a fantastically versatile hero that fits well with pretty much any Aspect that’s heavy on events. I’d probably lean toward Aggression, myself, though Justice seems like a good fit, too.

While I admit I’m not very good at playing Ms. Marvel, I do think she’s one of the more interesting heroes released so far. I also think the designers did a phenomenal job of representing her powerset, letting her adapt to various situations in ways that fit her shapeshifting powers perfectly. It’s also nice that her friends and family are so well-integrated; Kamala’s day-to-day life is just as important to her character as her superheroics, and it’s very cool that the game managed to reflect that.

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