Marvel Champions Breakdown: Rocket Raccoon

I couldn’t do Groot without covering his best pal Rocket, could I? Rocket Raccoon is the other hero in the Galaxy’s Most Wanted box, so now is the perfect time to take a look at his kit.

Remember, I’m only looking at his 15-card unique deck and giving an analysis based more on theme and flavor than on actual utility (I’m not good enough at card games to talk strategy)!

The Hero
Rocket is a bit squishier than his sturdy tree friend, with only 9 hit points and 3 Recovery in alter-ego mode. He’s also got the standard 6 hand size, of course. His alter-ego ability is called Tinkering, which lets you discard a Tech upgrade you control to draw 2 cards. Rocket is all about using weapons, so you’ll burn through any upgrade with counters pretty quick, making Tinkering a useful ability.

Flipping to hero mode, Rocket’s hand size drops to 5 and he gets 2 Thwart, 1 Attack, and 1 Defense. Surprised that those Attack and Thwart values aren’t flipped? Me too, honestly. His hero ability is called “Murdered You!” It allows you to draw a card after you deal excess damage to an enemy.

Upgrades
As mentioned, Rocket loves Tech upgrades; his first is Battery Pack, a 1-cost card that enters play with 2 counters. You can exhaust it to move one of those counters to another Tech upgrade you control. Notably, this card doesn’t have the ‘uses’ keyword, so you don’t automatically discard it when it’s out of counters–instead, it becomes fodder for Tinkering. That’s true of most of Rocket’s upgrades.

Next, he’s got the Cybernetic Skeleton, a 2-cost upgrade that grants him +3 hit points and +1 Attack. Now that’s more like it!

Particle Cannon is a 3-cost upgrade that enters play with 2 counters. You can exhaust the cannon and spend a counter to deal 4 damage to an enemy; better yet, that damage has overkill and ranged, so it’s great for wiping out minions who can retaliate. Overkill in particular is key for Rocket, since “Murdered You!” incentivizes dealing excess damage.

Rocket Launcher is another 3-cost weapon that starts with 2 counters. Exhaust it and spend a counter to choose a player and deal 2 damage to each minion engaged with that player, as well as the villain. Nice! Reminds me a bit of Hawkeye’s Explosive Arrow.

Rocket’s Pistol only costs 1 resource and comes into play with 3 counters. You can exhaust it and remove a counter to deal 2 damage to an enemy–a bit less bang for a lot less buck.

It’s worth noting that all of these weapons (Particle Cannon, Rocket Launcher, and two copies of Rocket’s Pistol) have the Restricted keyword, so you can only have two out at a time.

Wrapping things up, Rocket gets Thruster Boots, a 1-cost card that gives Rocket +1 Thwart and the Aerial trait.

Allies & Supports
Breaking tradition entirely, Rocket has no allies or supports!

Events & Resources
Rocket has a few good events, starting with I’ve Got A Plan. This 1-cost card can be played a response after using a basic Thwart: ready back up and get +1 Thwart for the rest of the phase! I really dig this; it’s useful for clearing threat and it feels like a great mechanical expression of one of Rocket’s zany, long-shot plans paying off.

The 1-cost Reload is great, too: it readies each Tech upgrade Rocket controls. If you’ve had time to build a board, you can take a serious swing thanks to this card.

Schadenfreude is a powerful 2-cost event that allows you to heal 2 damage from Rocket every time you deal damage to an enemy for the rest of the phase. Assuming you have lots of gadgets on the field to deal damage in separate actions, you can likely heal up to full–or close to it–off of this card alone, eliminating the need to flip for a while. It also just feels very appropriate to Rocket.

Rocket gets a unique resource called called Salvage. It grants a Science resource and a Wild resource, and after you play it, you can put a Tech upgrade from your discard pile back on top of your deck, which is awesome.

Nemesis & Obligation
Rocket’s Obligation, Crisis on Halfworld, isn’t too terrible: you can get rid of it with the old alter-ego exhaust, or you can discard the highest-cost upgrade you control. With any luck, you’ll draw it when you’ve got some upgrades without counters–your upgrades are mostly meant to be junked anyway. It’d be rough to lose something like Cybernetic Skeleton this way, though.

His Nemesis is Blackjack O’Hare, who has 1 Scheme, 1 Attack, and 3 hit points. Not too bad, but he also has Quickstrike and Villainous, meaning he’ll get a hit in right away and his Scheme and Attack get boost cards. At least he doesn’t have much health! Blackjack’s side scheme is Vendetta, which has 2 threat per player and adds an extra boost icon to every boost card. The Nemesis deck also includes Blackjack’s Bazooka, an attachment that grants +2 Attack to either Blackjack or the villain, and Planetary Invasion, a treachery that forces you to discard cards from the encounter deck until you reveal a minion, which then gets a Tough status card.

Conclusion
I love the theming here: Rocket wants to play lots of Tech upgrades, then throw them away with Tinkering, then get them back with Salvage. It’s a fun loop to build a deck around! He’ll only get better as more Tech upgrades enter the game, too.

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