Card Review – Core Set (Leadership)

We’re nearly half-way through our Core Set review now, as this week we move on to the Leadership aspect!  In this article, Tim and James will rate all of the Leadership cards from the Core Set.


We are going to be rating cards between 1-5 using the system below.  Our ratings are an overall score taking into account True Solo and Two-Handed/Multiplayer.

This time we are going to be rating the nine Leadership cards from the Core Set.  If you’d like to rate the cards yourselves to see if our opinions match up, here’s a link to marveldb for a visual reminder of the cards we are rating.


[Tim] (5/5) Rating this card has been tough.  Sure, Hawkeye isn’t as good in scenarios where there aren’t lots of minions, but that’s really only an issue in True Solo, because in Multiplayer there really should be enough minions for his response to target.  In minion-heavy scenarios Hawkeye isn’t just good, he’s amazing!  Ironically, the Hawkeye ally is sometimes the main reason why I don’t use the Hawkeye hero, because in some scenarios it really hurts not having him in the deck.  If minion-less scenarios become common, then Hawkeye’s value will definitely diminish, but at the moment for me he’s an auto-include.

[James] (4/5) Hawkeye is a fantastic ally that gives Leadership some very strong minion control. His statline is nothing to write home about but hitting each minion that enters play for 2 damage ranges from good to amazing depending on the scenario. He trivialises Ultron’s drones, and helps deal with bigger minions more efficiently. You’ll quickly burn through his 4 arrows in any scenario where he shines, but Leadership excels at cheap recursion so that’s rarely a problem.


[Tim] (5/5) Maria Hill is the Leadership ally that makes you feel bad for trying to make an Avengers tribal deck work.  Not only is she great in True Solo, she actually gets better the more players that are involved.  She’ll come in, draw everyone a card, remove two threat, then defend an attack for you, all for two resources.  Simply amazing.

[James] (5/5) Maria Hill ranks amongst the best allies in the game. She’s strong in solo, and only gets better the higher the player count goes. 2 THW and 2 health for a cost of 2 is already pretty good, but her ability to allow each player to draw a card can generate some crazy value in multiplayer games. She’s pretty much the reason Avenger’s tribal never really took off as it requires sacrificing this card, and why would you not run it when playing Leadership? 


[Tim] (2/5) I’m not quite ready to forget about Vision, but I’m nearly there.  I tend not to play a lot of Leadership decks because they’re often boringly effective, but I do need to try out the Voltron-style big allies deck at some point to see if it’s got any legs or is just win-more.  Leadership is spoiled for choice when it comes to allies, so I could see Vision fading into obscurity.

[James] (3/5) Vision is definitely the least impressive of Leadership’s Core Set allies, and the burst damage he brings to the table is now overshadowed by Goliath. However, he’s slightly more versatile in that he also offers burst threat removal if you need it. His ability may not result in discarding Vision at the end of the round but it does require spending a specific resource to activate. Overall he’s an ally that has fallen out of favour but one I still think is a solid inclusion. Allies are so generally strong and versatile by nature that it’s hard to classify them as ever being less than a good card (3), but there are obviously exceptions.


[Tim] (3/5) This card has obvious synergy with Goliath, but is useful with any ally that you need to squeeze a little bit more out of.  Since it says “Ready an ally”, it doesn’t even have to be one of yours.  It’s also useful if an ally got exhausted during the villain phase and you REALLY need to use it in the following hero phase.  Get Ready isn’t a card that I use a lot, but I can definitely see its value.

[James] (3/5) I struggled to decide on a score for Get Ready. It’s a strong card when comboed with the abilities of your finisher allies like Goliath and Vision, but when used on your smaller allies it’s not generating the same level of value. It can ensure you get the maximum number of activations out of your allies before you chump with them, but overall I’m not convinced it’s a great card. Already seen it getting pushed out of decks, and I suspect that will become more common as the card pool grows. It’s still good in a lot of situations though so it will remain a consideration depending on the type of deck you’re building.


[Tim] (2/5) This card has one foot in the win-more camp and I say that because if you’re getting the maximum value from this card, you’re probably already comfortably winning.  Sure, there will be some combos that you can pull off where you create mountains of damage/threat removal potential with your board full of allies, but I think that you’ve probably had to make some sub-optimal choices for that situation to occur.  Where I can see this card being used is in the portion of your deck that is given over to whimsical choices; cards that are characters you particularly like, cards you find especially fun, or those once-in-a-blue moon cards.  I could see myself slinging one of these into a deck, especially if that deck needed energy resources (the art features Captain Marvel and she loves energy resources).

[James] (3/5) Requires a little setting up but Lead From The Front can help boost your damage output, or threat removal, for the round. It’s particularly good on heroes that can ready themselves to squeeze even more value out of it. The lasting effect it generates also applies to any ally that enters play after it was created, which is obviously abusable with Leadership’s recursion. Depending on your board state it won’t always be a strong play but the alpha strikes it can enable will serve to shorten if not outright finish games. Overall I find it to be a very good compliment to a swarm deck’s potential.


[Tim] (5/5) Anyone that has played any card games before will tell you how good recursion is and this card is no exception!  Not only does it allow you to constantly re-use your best allies, you can even use it on other player’s discard piles to borrow their allies as well.  Leadership is all about allies, this card lets you play allies again, it’s the definition of auto-include.

[James] (5/5) Make The Call is just broken. Even if all allies with a “when played” ability had the new “from your hand” wording it would still be broken because of how good cheap allies are at blocking villain attacks. Really not much else to say other than this card should have cost 1, and much like Doctor Strange it should be in a tier of its own.


[Tim] (4/5) With only two Leadership allies that can be played for less than two resources (Ant-Man and Stinger), this card will always help you play your allies, which is something that every Leadership deck wants to be doing.  Not much else to say about it other than it will be rare that you don’t use it.

[James] (3/5) The Power of cards still feel like auto-includes to me for most Hero/Aspect combinations but I could not justify rating it higher because of how much consideration they require when building your deck. Everyone has a different minimum amount of 2+ costed cards they like to include but the average I tend to see most is 8-10. It’s less of an issue for Leadership but there’s still a growing number of good 0-1 cards so the days of Power of being auto-include are most likely limited.


[Tim] (3/5) If you throw your allies under the bus all the time like I love to do, then The Triskelion might not be as handy as it would be in a Earth’s Mightiest Heroes / Strength In Numbers deck, where you actually want your allies to stick around for a bit.  However, it doesn’t have any condition that you must meet in order to increase your ally limit (unlike Avengers Tower or Stinger), and for that reason I think it will stand the test of time.

[James] (3/5) An extra ally slot in a deck that wants more allies in play, and can get them into play easier with its recursion, is pretty good. Unlike Avengers Tower this bonus slot is not limited by a specific trait either. Depending on your game plan you might not need this, which I find is usually the case if playing cheap ally spam, but the option is usually still useful even then. Overall a good card that makes it into a lot of my Leadership decks.


[Tim] (2/5) Outside of decks with Iron Man and Ronin, I don’t rate this card very highly.  If you’re playing Spider-Man Leadership I would consider at least one copy an auto-include because of its interaction with Black Cat, but there’s not many other decks that I’d play this in (although now I’m thinking of making a Spider-Man Leadership deck with three copies of this card and the aforementioned allies…).

[James] (1/5) A situationally useful card that I struggle to ever justify space for because of how disposable allies are. Leadership is at its best when you’re abusing the enters play abilities of cheap allies with  Make The Call and Rapid Response. Voltroning allies with upgrades like Inspired and keeping them around with healing effects is certainly a viable way of playing the aspect but it just doesn’t compare to ally spam. Leadership may be boringly efficient, but deliberately handicapping yourself and playing a worse version of the deck just feels like a waste to me.


Summary

Rank Card Average Rating
1st Make the Call 5
Maria Hill 5
3rd Hawkeye 4.5
4th The Power of Leadership 3.5
5th Get Ready 3
The Triskelion 3
7th Lead from the Front 2.5
Vision 2.5
9th Inspired 1.5

Is anyone surprised by the two cards in first place?  Nah, didn’t think so!  Make the Call and Maria Hill are such good cards that they will probably see play for the entirety of Marvel Champions lifespan.

What did you think to our ratings for the Leadership cards?  Let us know and join us next week for the Protection cards!

Cheers,

Tim & James

4 thoughts on “Card Review – Core Set (Leadership)

  1. Since I inevitably agree as usual with your evaluations (Tim) I will take issue with what James says about Inspired etc. Inspired is indeed useless unless you build around it which makes it a 2. Lead from the Front is the 1 here, subject to new cards.

    I like deckbuilding and Leadership lets me make decks that do things other than just play good stuff decks. If I want that I have Justice.
    There are at least 5 archetypes I can see in Leadership and at least 4 of them work now. These are expendable swarm, gear up allies, expensive powerful allies (recur with Rapid Response, Get Ready is good), buff your* hero, buff your* team, abuse Strength in Numbers (probably an element of a buffing deck) plus hybrids of these. Leadership is not only about allies – it also has the buffing/healing element to it – it’s just that allies are a little strong.

    *or someone else’s maybe – I only play solo.

    I made a suite of 3 decks using one set of cards that embody three of these, one being Spiderman Voltron (https://marvelcdb.com/decklist/view/5105/some-assembly-required-spidey-leadership-1.0) and the second a swarm with Hawkeye. The third one was left overs but still had some of the best cards in it and was carried by the big money of Cap Marvel.
    If we did not want to handicap ourselves we would just play Dr Strange ally swarm all the time. Some aspects in solo need a hero good enough, especially in the area of thwarting, to cover their weaknesses. This is protection and aggression to a lesser extent. That’s where I limit myself; I am not interested in trying to make Thor protection work. I do however want decks that play very differently and using Inspired Ironman does that. The whole Spiderman set up is genuinely strong though, with a slightly better record than my Hawkeye ally swarm. Captain Marvel is the richest hero and her extra HP, REC, and incidental healing make her tough enough to take a couple more hits than the vanilla human. These together give her time to set up even more economy to lavish on powerful allies and not to be too sad when they have to chump block. Ie she enables a deck style, in fact she probably enables any deck style as even with 6 turkey cards she is very very good.

    Anyway the game is not super hard (on Expert – heroic is too big a jump for me). Difficulty is a fixed target not a meta where your opponents will be playing the best decks they can. You an easily get high win rates using cards that are interesting not just the same degenerate few.

    Leadership is so good that it is not only the best aspect it is also the second best aspect and maybe the third.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jonathan, Tim here! Thanks again for the detailed and thoughtful reply. I’ll do my best to respond.

      As you can see from my rating of Inspired, I definitely disagree with James on that card. The good thing about two of us doing the ratings is that we keep each other in check to a certain degree.

      You’re right about Leadership; it’s got so many different viable ways of playing it that it almost feels like you don’t need the other aspects! (It makes me wonder if aspects were the best way to go about gating the card pool…).

      Your Spider-Man deck looks exactly like the kind of deck that I mentioned I’d like to try out. I think I’ll shamelessly borrow that list!

      As for the game difficulty, I think Expert is about the right level of difficulty for a decent challenge in True Solo, but I think that it might be too easy for multiplayer (where characters can cover each other’s weaknesses). I’m not a big fan of Heroic; it just feels too random. The encounter module system seems a good way to alter the difficulty and there are plenty of combos that I haven’t tried out yet.

      Anyway, thanks again Jonathan!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d drop Rapid Response from that deck to get it to 40 cards as I don’t remember playing it. Then I would add 2 United We Stand for one First Aid as I think it’s probably better and I like to play 41 cards to taunt the OCD people who insist on 40 card decks (but no more as that would be madness).

    I think they could add a different set of 10 standard/expert cards (“Master” Cards maybe) that are slightly more difficult than the basic ones. They would need to keep the basic action suite very similar but could have boost effects. Even adding one boost icon to each card would do something. Also including some effect like Concussion Blast but milder to make allies a little worse.

    I think you need something like Aspects to broaden the viable card selection. Otherwise the strongest cards are just the strongest not just the best in faction. They messed up in LotR, for ages Tactics was pointless and it feels a bit like that here; I hoped they had learned. The aspects are thematically odd too though I’m not sure what else would work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll give those changes a try. Not got time just at the moment to play any Champions, but definitely soon.

      A replacement set for the standard & expert encounter sets does sound like the easiest/best way to alter things, as they have a big impact on games. Concussive Blast is great, so something similar would be nice to see.

      To me, the aspects seem a little forced and a bit unthematic. For example, you can’t play the Black Widow ally and Hawkeye ally in the same deck unless you’re playing Spider-Woman. I think instead they should have just put in a few more traits on heroes (e.g. team affiliations, defining character traits, origin/heritage, etc) and then have characters be able to include cards with those traits (e.g. Avenger traited heroes can include Avenger traited allies). I haven’t really sat down and thought this idea through (as you can tell), but it might have felt a bit more thematic. Perhaps it was even something considered during the design process but was discarded.

      Like

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