Oh, look at that! It’s time for more Marvel Champions!
Hey, as a quick aside, can I just say that as much as I love this game, I really wish it had a different name? It’s not that the name is bad or anything, but it makes things a little confusing when you’ve got the card game Marvel Champions, the mobile game Marvel: Contest of Champions (which has an associated board game and some comics), and the actual Marvel comic series Champions.
Anyway, enough about that! Let’s look at a hero! Today we’re going to check out Hawkeye, who debuted in the game’s first campaign box, Rise of the Red Skull. As a reminder, we’re just looking at Hawkeye’s unique deck, not any aspect cards, and I’m not going to be going into deck-building strategies. This is more of an examination of how well the deck captures the character’s theme.
The version of Hawkeye we’re working with is Clint Barton, as opposed to the superior Kate Bishop incarnation (I love Clint, too, but Kate is the best Hawkeye). He’s got a low 9 Hit Points, with a hand size of 6 in alter-ego and 5 in hero mode; basic stuff. Clint’s got 3 Recovery and the Weapon of Choice ability, which allows him to spend a resource to search your deck and discard pile for Hawkeye’s Bow and add it to your hand. I love it when characters can get quick access to their best gear.
Flipping to his hero side, Hawkeye has 1 Thwart, 2 Attack, and 1 Defense. Not amazing stats, but fine. His ability, Quick Draw, allows him to exhaust in order to ready Hawkeye’s Bow, which is very important! I actually love Quick Draw; it’s key to playing the character in a way that feels authentic. You’ll see why when we get to Clint’s events.
Hawkeye has some absolutely crucial upgrades, starting with Hawkeye’s Bow. The Bow is free to get out and gives Clint a +1 Attack, as well as granted each Arrow card the Ranged keyword (which protects you from Retaliate damage).
Nearly as important is Hawkeye’s Quiver. You can exhaust the Quiver to search the top five cards of your deck for an Arrow event and attach it to the Quiver; Arrow events can be played from the Quiver as if they were in your hand. This card is Hawkeye’s saving grace, as well as his Achilles Heel. If you pull it early, it’s going to be easy to play lots of arrows and feel like an awesome sharpshooter. If you don’t… well, you’re kind of boned.
Hawkeye also gets two copies of Expert Marksman, a 1-cost upgrade that can be exhausted to generate a Wild resource for an Arrow event. Resource generation is always handy!
Hawkeye only has one ally and no supports (his deck is very event-centric). The ally is his ex-wife Mockingbird, a 3-cost ally with an impressive 2 Thwart, 2 Attack, and 3 Hit Points. When the villain initiates an attack against you, you can spend a resource and return Mockingbird to you hand to prevent all damage from that attack. This is an awesome ability, since it essentially lets you block an attack with her (the inevitable fate of all allies) without worrying about overkill damage or discarding her.
Here’s the meat of Hawkeye’s deck. He’s got two copies apiece of five different Arrow events, and I love pretty much all of them. To set the stage a bit, you should know that all of these Arrows require you to exhaust Hawkeye’s Bow to play them; now you see why Quick Draw is so important.
First up is the Sonic Arrow, a 2-cost card that Confuses an enemy and deals 3 damage. If the enemy is already Confused, it deals 5 damage instead. Handy!
The Explosive Arrow is my personal favorite. For 1 resource, you can choose a player and deal 3 damage to the villain and each minion engaged with the player you chose. If you’re fighting a minion-heavy villain, this card is a godsend.
Next is the Electric Arrow, which is functionally the same as the Sonic Arrow but with Stun instead of Confuse. It even costs the same number of resources.
The Cable Arrow only costs 1 resource and allows you to remove 3 Threat from a scheme, ignoring Crisis Icons in play. This is really the only Thwart Hawkeye has natively, so it’s nice that it can ignore Crisis.
Finally, we have the Vibranium Arrow, a monster of an event that deals 6 damage to an enemy and has Piercing (which gets rid of Tough before dealing damage). All that for only 2 resources!
I adore the Arrow events. They have a good range of utility and always feel useful. Plus, there’s something really satisfying about stacking up Arrows in your Quiver and firing off a few of them per round with Quick Draw. In terms of capturing the feel of a hero, this is one of the absolute best decks in the game.
Nemesis & Obligation
Clint’s Obligation is his Criminal Past. It’s got the usual “exhaust Clint to remove from the game” option, or you can discard Hawkeye’s Bow to discard this card. That’s not necessarily terrible, since you can get it back with Weapon of Choice, but doing so might be a bit of a pain.
His Nemesis is Crossfire, a nasty fellow with 1 Scheme, 2 Attack, and 4 Hit Points. He’s also got Quickstrike, so he hits you immediately, and his attacks all have Piercing. Ouch! Oh, and if he gets drawn as a boost for an attack, that attack gains Piercing, too. Crossfire’s side scheme is Marked For Death, which has 5 Threat and adds an Acceleration token. Worse, when it’s revealed, the Clint player has to find their Mockingbird ally and place it under the side scheme; they won’t get her back until Marked For Death is dealt with. Crossfire’s Rifle is an upgrade in the Nemesis deck that grants a +2 Attack bonus to whoever it gets attached to (Crossfire by default, or the villain if Crossfire isn’t in play). It also adds Ranged to the attached enemy’s attacks. Luckily, it can be removed by exhausting your hero and spending a Wild resource. The Nemesis deck is rounded out by the Sniper Shot treachery; if it comes up when you’re in alter-ego, you place 3 Threat on main scheme. If it comes up while you’re in hero mode, you take 3 damage instead.
I love Hawkeye. He gets some flack for being very swingy, and that’s fair–if you don’t get the Quiver out fast, you’re in trouble, and he’s not good at Thwarting. That said, when he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s an absolute blast! I like having big turns, so searching the deck, putting an Arrow event in my Quiver, firing, and Quick Drawing to fire again feels great to me. I also love the range of effects his different events have.
Hawkeye was released in Rise of the Red Skull, which also featured another hero: Spider-Woman! She’s particularly interesting, and we’ll cover her next time.