Folks! I’ve been reading a lot of comic books and you know what that means: it’s time to talk about my favorite comic book card game, Marvel Champions! Today I’m talking about the unstoppable Wasp, Nadia Van Dyne!
As a reminder, these breakdowns don’t cover Aspect cards or strategy, they’re mostly about how well the cards match the character thematically.
Much like how the Ant-Man deck focused on Scott Lang rather than the original Hank Pym, this Wasp is Nadia Van Dyne instead of Janet. She’s got that good ol’ 6-card hand size, 11 Hit Points, and 3 Recovery. Not bad! Her ability, G.I.R.L., allows you to shuffle 2 cards with a Science resource from your discard pile into your deck. I love that–it’s a useful ability and it fits perfectly with Nadia being a science whiz!
Like Ant-Man, Wasp has an unfolding card, with both Giant and Tiny hero forms. Her Tiny form has 1 Thwart, 1 Attack, and 2 Defense, alongside a hand size of 5. Her ability, Small but Mighty, allows you to deal 1 damage to the villain after defeating a minion or side scheme, which isn’t bad and helps you prioritize when to switch to Tiny form.
Her Giant form also has a hand size of 5, along with 2 Thwart, 2 Attack, and 3 Defense. Unlike most heroes, she can choose to divide the damage from her basic Attack (and the threat removal from her basic Thwart) among multiple targets. I love the efficiency of being able to split stuff up like that, although the utility is perhaps not equal to the fun factor of Ant-Man’s every-time-you-flip-you-do-something-cool schtick.
Nadia has three upgrades, the first of which is Red Room Training: a 2-cost cart that give you Retaliate when you’re in Giant form and Piercing when you’re in Tiny form. Both of those are very useful, and they both track for representing assassin training. I almost wish they did something involving Preparation cards, just to give a thematic tie to Black Widow, but… I don’t really know how you’d make that work with Wasp, so it’s probably better this way!
Next is Bio-Synthetic Wings, another 2-cost card that gives Wasp the Aerial trait. Additionally, if you’re in Tiny form and take damage, you can exhaust the Wings to soak 1 damage, which is, you know… fine. Not a great card until there’s more to do with the Aerial tag.
Wasp’s Helmet offer a bit more bang for its 2-cost buck, giving you +1 Thwart in Giant form and +1 Attack in Tiny form. Buffs are always good, but doubly so when you’re in Giant form and can spread them around! Although you really want to be Thwarting schemes in Tiny form to kick that Small but Mighty ability…
Allies & Supports
Wasp has the requisite one signature ally, Ant-Man, who costs 4 resources and offers 2 Thwart, 2 Attack, and 3 Hit Points. He mimics your form, getting +1 Attack when you’re Giant and +1 Thwart when you’re Tiny. I really like that! That’s a fun little mechanic.
Nadia has no supports, which is… kind of sad. Not even her lab, huh?
Events & Resources
The bulk of Wasp’s deck is events, starting with Giant Help. For 2 resources, this hero action allows you to remove 3 Threat from a scheme, or 4 Threat spread across schemes if you’re Giant. Very useful, but again, I can’t help but notice that Tiny form is getting a bit shafted here–all the Thwarting cards are better if you’re in Giant form.
Next we have Pinpoint Strike: it’s 3 cost and deals 7 damage to an enemy, or 8 damage with Overkill if you’re Tiny. Now, there we go! That’s what I’m talking about! Perfect for taking out minions while Tiny, which will kick Small but Mighty. That’s what I like to see.
Then there’s Rapid Growth, a 1-cost interrupt; when you use one of your basic powers, you change to your Giant form and get a +2 for that use. That’s very, very cool, especially considering that Giant form can split that added damage if you’re swamped with minions.
Finally, there’s Wasp Sting. This event costs 2, and offers different effects depending on if you’re Giant or Tiny. If you’re Giant, you deal a total of 4 damage divided among enemies of your choice; if you’re Tiny, you deal 5 damage to a single target. It’s a solid, if unremarkable, attack option.
Nadia also has Pym Particles, just like Scott. They’re a Wild resource, and after you spend them, you heal 2 damage if you’re Giant or draw 1 card if you’re Tiny.
Nemesis & Obligation
Wasp’s Obligation is Red Dreams. It’s got the usual exhaust option or you can discard each card with a Science resource from your hand and take 1 damage. This one is pretty dependent on your hand–I could definitely see choosing the latter option if you don’t have any Science resource cards when you pull this one.
Her Nemesis deck features Beetle, who has 1 Scheme, 1 Attack, 4 Hit Points, the Guard ability, and a Forced Interrupt: when she’s defeated, you either discard a Physical resource, or you shuffle her back into the encounter deck. The Nemesis deck side scheme is Mother’s Orders, which has 2 Threat per player on it and forces players to spend an extra resource every time they want to make an attack. Beetle can get some armor, the Beetle Armor MK IV, which can attach to either her or the Villain and gives the attached character +4 Hit Points, turning Beetle from a minor annoyance to a heavy hitter. There are also a few copies of Beetle Mania, which allows Beetle to attack you with +1 Attack (or, if you’re in alter-ego, it just gains Surge).
I love Nadia Van Dyne as a character, but I think I like Wasp a little bit less than Ant-Man in Champions. I like a decent amount of her deck, but I feel like it sometimes works at cross-purposes; there aren’t enough ways to kick Small but Mighty, for example. Plus, she doesn’t get that ‘flip every turn’ impetus that makes Ant-Man–and the multi-form thing in general–so much fun.
Still, she’s a totally serviceable character whose Giant form makes her great at tackling a lot of different situations!