Solo & Multiplayer, What’s the Difference?

Solo and multiplayer are two different ways to play Marvel Champions.  In this article I am going to talk about how the differences between the two affects decision making in deckbuilding.

Solo & Multiplayer

The terms solo and multiplayer mean different things to different people.  When you use the term solo, do you mean one player or one character?  To clear things up a bit, this has given rise to terms like True Solo (one player, one character) and Two-Handed Solo (one player, two characters), while Multiplayer means more than one player (and therefore more than one character).

Why is it important to understand these differences?  It’s because it will adjust how you evaluate cards and decklists.  Some cards work differently in multiplayer, just as some deck styles are different in solo.  Let’s have a look at some of these.

Cards in Solo

Perhaps the most obvious card that is better in solo is Under Surveillance.  This card attachs to the main scheme and increases the target threat value of that scheme by four.  So far the target threat value is calculated based on the number of players (by which I take players to mean characters) and then Under Surveillance adds four to that value.  I’m going to use Rhino’s main scheme, The Break-In!, as an example.

Target Threat Value
# Players w/o Under Surveillance w/ Under Surveillance Percentage Increase
1 7 11 57.1
2 14 18 28.6
3 21 25 19.0
4 28 32 14.3

As you can see from the table above, the value of Under Surveillance sharply decreases from solo to multiplayer.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth taking in multiplayer, just that it’s much better in solo.

On the other side of the coin are some cards are much harder to deal with in solo.  Take Legions of Hydra for example.

This scheme doesn’t care about how many players they are, only how many Hydra enemies are in play.  This scheme will put Madame Hydra into play so will have at least five threat on it, or more if you’re playing almost any of the new villains from The Rise of Red Skull.

In solo this may well put it out of reach, particularly if you cannot deal with it straight away, due to Madame Hydra’s forced response which adds two more threat every time she activates.  Let’s flip back to something that is better in solo than multiplayer and that is status effects.

Stunned and Confused are both powerful effects to put on the villain as they essentially force them to skip a turn.  The reason that they are more effective in solo is because the villain will generally have less activations in total.  This means that stun and confuse effects cancel more activations proportionally.

This greater proportional activation loss for the villain makes decks that focus on causing stun or confuse effects more potent in solo (you might have heard the term ‘Stunlock’), but I’ll cover this again a bit later.

Okay, one more card before I move on.  Here is a card that has very limited uses in solo.

Some people advocate it’s inclusion in a solo deck for the sole purpose of clearing a Stunned status from your Hero.  However, you can only do this if there is a minion in play, making it not always possible to use when you want to.  I personally think that this is a terrible inclusion for solo play, but I’m happy to be corrected.

In multiplayer this card is great for characters like Thor or Black Panther, who want to gather up as many minions as possible in front of them so that they can use Lightning Strike or Energy Daggers (Thor gets to trigger his “Have at thee!” ability as well).  Speaking of multiplayer…

Cards in Multiplayer

Maria Hill is a great card in solo and an even better one in multiplayer (although she does require a small amount of timing to increase her effectiveness).  Giving everyone around the table an extra card is sure to bring a smile to their face and makes the whole round better.

An example of a card that is much nastier in multiplayer is Whirlwind.

In solo it’s easy to dismiss Whirlwind, but in multiplayer he attacks every Hero.  This definitely bumps him up the priority list for being defeated!

If you read our Team Up article you’ll know that I always recommend that when playing a multiplayer game you should include Avengers Mansion and Helicarrier.  This is because they can help smooth out everyone’s turns.  You could even just ‘feed’ a character (i.e. throw loads of extra cards and resources their way).

One card that I never find myself including in a solo deck is Great Responsibility.  Outside of encounter cards like Advance, in solo you are unlikely to have much opportunity to actually use this card.  However, in multiplayer you could use this when your team-mate has flipped back to Alter-Ego this round and counteract some of the threat.

The final card that I’d like to mention before moving on is Press the Advantage.

This is a card that I enjoyed using in my Ms. Marvel deck recently, but I didn’t get the additional effect from it very often.  In multiplayer, it is generally more likely that the villain has a Stunned or Confused status just because most characters have access to one or more of those effects.  This means that the chance of drawing a card from this have probably been increased.

So now I’ve briefly covered some cards that work differently in solo and multiplayer, what does this mean for deck design?

Solo decklists

If you’ve played a lot of solo or read about people playing it, you’ll know that dealing with threat is often the biggest issue.  Characters that are the most difficult to produce good results with in solo are usually the ones with the worst thwarting capabilities, such as She-Hulk, Thor, and Hulk (they also have the lowest Hand Sizes, but that’s a discussion for another day!).  The common recommendation for those characters is to pair them with Justice (which has excellent thwarting effects) to counteract their weaknesses.

At the opposite end of the scale you have someone like Iron Man who can deal with threat very effectively, thanks to cards like Arc Reactor and Mark V Helmet.  Added to the fact that he can also deal a good amount of damage via cards like Repulsor Blast and Supersonic Punch means that a more balanced deck build is needed.  In mutliplayer you could build Iron Man with Justice and double down on the threat removal side of him, but in solo it’s not very often that he’d need cards like For Justice! to help him keep on top of threat.

What this means is that you kind of have to build your deck as a jack-of-all-trades when building for solo.  However, there are some exceptions to this.  Some villains can be approached in a different way and that is to rush them.  Here is an example decklist by Remedy of Alter-Egos podcast. [Here’s a link to the deck]

This is a decklist that has one aim; to smash the villain as quickly as possible.  Against villains like Rhino, Crossbones, and Absorbing Man, it is entirely possible to defeat them in 3-5 rounds using a strategy like this.

This kind of strategy is viable in solo, but in multiplayer it becomes more difficult to succeed with due to the increased Hit Points of the villain as well as the increase in the number of encounter cards revealed (making it more likely that some impediment to a quick victory is revealed).

Another kind of strategy that is more possible in solo is that of Stunlock.  The idea is that you include a lot of stun effects, which causes the villain to miss a lot of activations and thus make things easier for you.

MC Tackle Drop Kick

In our last article, Showdown #1 – Crossbones, I used a Spider-Woman Protection/Aggression deck with a lot of stun effects.  I didn’t have a 100% win record with it, but the games that I won felt very easy.  Captain America is another good choice for a Stunlock deck due to having Heroic Strike as part of his hero cards and an affinity for cards like Tackle and Drop Kick, due to being able to easily generate physical resources via Super-Soldier Serum.

So that’s some of the different considerations and styles that you can do in solo, but what about multiplayer?

Multiplayer decklists

In multiplayer you can do something that you can’t do very often in solo; specialise!  If you want to make a character that focuses on defeating minions you can do it (Thor with Aggression is excellent at this!).  If you want to make a super-thwarter you can do it without wasting any threat removal (in solo you might have something like For Justice! but not any threat on schemes; in multiplayer this is far less likely).

Specialising also means that support characters are also viable.  Some examples are:

  • A defence-focused Protection character that blocks for their team-mates.  In solo, defence Protection decks often struggle with threat, but in multiplayer they have team-mates for that!
  • A Protection character than heals their team-mates (and even their allies).
  • A buff bot that hands out bonuses, cards, and resources to help their team-mates.  Includes Avengers Mansion and Helicarrier just to feed their team-mates.

These are just a few examples, but in solo they’d be either boring or difficult to win with. However, in multiplayer they are a lot more fun and not detrimental to the team’s effectiveness.

An important consideration in multiplayer games are unique cards.  There will be the inevitable fights over who gets to use Quincarrier, but what about unique allies?  Nick Fury could easily be included in multiple decks due to how quickly he leaves play, but allies like Mockingbird become a bit more difficult.

An added difficulty is also that some heroes are also available as allies (Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman is a good example) or have multiple ally versions (such as Mockingbird and War Machine).  You’ll have to talk with your team-mates beforehand regarding this.

What does all this mean?

Playing in solo or multiplayer will drastically affect the makeup of a deck.  What works in multiplayer might not work in solo, and vice versa.

When deciding which cards to add to a deck you must consider how many characters are going to be in the game.  For example, if you were making a Justice deck you’ll probably want to include Skilled Investigator.

In solo you’ll only want to include one copy because they are max 1 per player, but in a game with two characters it’s probably best to include two copies and play one on your team-mate.  This could also go for cards like Heroic Intuition or Combat Training.

I’ve mentioned them a few times already, but Avengers Mansion and Helicarrier are auto-includes for multiplayer games in my opinion.  Even if you don’t need the extra card or cost reduction, your team-mate might!

Perhaps the main thing that I want to get across is that when evaluating a decklist or asking for help on a deck it’s important that it is made clear whether it is for solo or multiplayer.  I still maintain that defence-based Protection decks are practically worthless in solo but are instead best used in multiplayer games where their resilience is an asset to the team.


Basically, make sure that you make deckbuilding decisions based on how many characters are taking part.  Solo and multiplayer are very different and decks should take that into consideration.

If you are using decklists that you see online (Marvel CDB is a great resource for this!) it’s important to check what they were designed for and whether or not they are intended for use against a specific villain (for example, Ultron often requires a different deckbuild than an all-comers deck).

Writing this has made me think that I should probably write a basic guide to deckbuilding.  Perhaps I will!  Anyway, that’s all for now.



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