Character Focus – Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is widely considered to be the most powerful character currently in Marvel Champions, and it’s hard to disagree with that.  But what is it that makes him so powerful?  Let’s take a look at his cards and find out.

Hand Size 6 is average, 10 Hit Points is slightly below average, and 3 Recover is the lowest in the game.  So far, so meh!

His main ability is that he begins the game with an Invocation deck.  This is a deck of five cards that Doctor Strange can play during the game (see his Hero form) that are unique to him.

While in Alter Ego form he can use his Natural Talent ability to discard the top card of the Invocation deck, which can be quite handy as sometimes you’ll need to use this ability if you have Vapors of Valtorr as the top card of your Invocation deck and no valid targets for it (and don’t have Wong in play yet).


Hand Size 5 and a 2/1/2 stat line is okay.  Having only 1 Attack is not as bad as 1 Thwart, so he gets a pass there.

As mentioned above, you’ll use his Spell Mastery ability to cast your Invocations.  To do this you exhaust Doctor Strange and then pay the cost (not play, so cards like Helicarrier won’t help) of the top card of the Invocation deck.  Once the card has been resolved, it goes to the Invocation discard pile and the next card is revealed.

Exhausting your Hero is definitely a cost that requires some thought, as you are effectively giving up two threat removal or one point of damage, but as you’ll see from the Invocation cards, it’s usually going to be worth it.


INVOCATION CARDS

Even though this looks and feels like an attack card, it is not actually considered an attack (no mention of attack anywhere on the card), so it can still be used even if you are Stunned or there is an enemy with Guard in play.

Dealing seven damage and stunning an enemy for the cost of two resources plus exhausting Doctor Strange is good, and is likely to be one of the main ways that you defeat the Villain.


Just like how Crimson Bands of Cyttorak isn’t an attack event, Images of Ikonn isn’t a thwart event, meaning you can use it while Confused.

Using this is a bit more of a loss than Crimson Bands, as that was only giving up one damage from a basic attack, whereas this is giving up two threat removal from a basic thwart.  However, in general I would consider confusing the Villain to be worth more than stunning them, because at some point you are going to need to flip back to Alter Ego and a Confused status will help stop the Villain from scheming out.

I like this Invocation a lot, and if there is ever a situation where it isn’t useful, you are probably already doing very well.


The Side Scheme recently did an article just about this card which is definitely worth a read.  But to quickly give my thoughts about it, giving up to three characters a Tough status is very strong, as it allows you to absorb big attacks without taking damage or to simply squeeze more activations out of allies (especially fun if they have an Enraged attached).  Great card!


This is definitely a situational card, as there are not always status cards in play or ones that you’d like to change, but being able to change the Villain’s Tough to a Stunned or Confused is really nice, or your own Stunned/Confused to a Tough.

However, this card can sometimes cause your Invocation deck to ‘stall’, as you cannot use this card if there are no targets in play.  Thankfully, Doctor Strange has two ways to get around this, as both his Alter Ego ability Natural Talent and Wong allow you to discard the top card of your Invocation deck.


The final one of the Invocation cards and definitely the one that you will be happiest to see early on in the game to help you get set up.  Not much to say about it other than who doesn’t want to draw three cards?  It will usually be worth exhausting Doctor Strange to do so.

So that’s the five Invocation cards covered, now to look at his hero cards.


HERO CARDS

Wong has a fairly standard set of stats for a three-cost ally, but as mentioned above (regarding Vapors of Valtorr) he is one of the ways of getting past a stall in your Invocation deck.

In addition to basic attacking/thwarting, Wong could also be used to heal one damage from your character, possibly allowing you to stay in Hero form longer.

To say Wong is good is an understatement; he is one of the most important cards for Doctor Strange and is important to get into play as soon as reasonably possible.


There are two copies of this in his hero cards.  Very similar to For Justice!, Astral Projection has the potential to be better but the main thing about it is that you gain information on what the first boost card of the Villain phase will be.  That alone makes up for the uncertain amount of threat removal it offers.


There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it’ll probably be the one that makes you feel most like a wizard!

Five damage for three resources is at least as good as Uppercut, but it has an additional effect as well depending on what resource the top card of your deck has.  These additional effects could be worth making some deckbuilding considerations for (for example you could include more cards with physical resources just to increase your chance of stunning an enemy), but due to only two copies of Magical Blast in the deck and not many ways to recycle it, it’s probably not worth it at the moment.


There are two copies of this in his hero cards and it’s nearly the start of every big turn ever described by any player using Doctor Strange.  Why’s that?  Well it’s because it allows you to spam the same Invocation multiple times in a turn.  The Invocations are good, being able to use them more than once in a turn is great.


There is one copy of this card in his hero cards and it’s useful in small doses.  You don’t want to be in Alter Ego very much, but this can help you find important cards like Wong, The Eye of Agamotto, or probably his best card, Cloak of Levitation.

Handy in scenarios like Ultron where your key cards might have been discarded from your deck (as drones in this case), so that you can retrieve them quicker than waiting for them to cycle back through your deck.


There are two copies of this card in his hero cards and it’s incredibly useful.  One of the most obvious uses for it is against Shadow of the Past, a universally-annoying card, but there will be other encounter cards that pop up that will create either an instant loss or put you in a death spiral (Gang Up in certain scenarios will see you defeated straight away).  Very handy card to have!


Doctor Strange has four different Spell cards that he could shuffle back into his deck with this, so there’s a decent amount of choice.  You’ll draw a card out of it too, but this isn’t something like The Golden City where it’s good enough on its own to lure you back to Alter Ego.  Useful card, but you shouldn’t be using it too often.


I think that the ability to ready your character is a very powerful one (and probably one of the reasons why Captain America is so strong), so having access to that via a two-cost upgrade is amazing.  This is a card that you will mulligan for or use Mystical Studies to search for.

The Aerial trait isn’t yet relevant for Doctor Strange, but that shouldn’t detract from what is an excellent card.


There are two of these in his hero cards and I don’t think that Doctor Strange himself will get much use out of them, as he’d probably rather be exhausting himself casting Invocations than using basic actions.  However, in multiplayer I’m sure that one of your team-mates would love to have one of these on them.


This is a nice and straightforward wild resource generator that can only be used in Hero form.  That’s not much of a drawback though and you’ll want to get this card into play as quickly as you can.


While not strictly a Doctor Strange card, I thought it was worth mentioning as currently he is the only character than can use it (at least until Scarlet Witch is released).  One of the downsides to being in Hero form is the reduced Hand Size, and this eliminates that entirely.  Auto-include in Doctor Strange decks as far as I’m concerned and one that you’ll want to get into play early.


SUMMARY

  • Able to remove threat and deal damage in a variety of ways.
  • Can apply status tokens regularly, making him quite a controlling character.
  • Below-average Hit Points and Recover means that he needs to be very careful in the early game while he gets set up.

Doctor Strange is a very powerful character and the main reason is because of his Invocation deck.  Not only are they nearly all very good cards, having access to them gives you more options than other characters.  With Cloak of Levitation he also has easy access to a character readying effect, which means he can cast two Invocations per turn via that method.

At the moment I would say that Doctor Strange is number one in terms of power, but with the Piercing keyword on the near horizon, suddenly his Seven Rings of Raggadorr isn’t looking so dominating.  Obviously, they aren’t just going to hand out Piercing to everyone, but there might be some scenarios where Doctor Strange can’t just use Tough status cards to trivialise an encounter.

I hope that you enjoyed that look at his cards.  In our next article we will be testing him out with each aspect to see how he performs.

Cheers,

Tim

1 thought on “Character Focus – Doctor Strange

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s