Legendary Black Widow: A Marvel Deck Building Game Expansion Review - An Addition Worthy of a Super Spy

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game expanded in several ways throughout 2022, and the latest hero to get their time in the limelight was everyone's favorite super spy Black Widow. Though already playable in the game's core set, the Black Widow Expansion pushes the character's flexibility and skillset in the game while also introducing four additional heroes players can bring into battle; plus new keywords and skills they can take advantage of. The expansion brings out the best elements of Widow and makes her feel more like the versatile spy we know in the comics, and the additional heroes included will appeal to both fans of the comics and the MCU. While it's not a necessity to add to your next game, those who find themselves drawn to the Black Widow corner of the Marvel Universe will love what it brings to Marvel Legendary experience.

In addition to Black Widow, the expansion adds Natasha's ally and at times nemesis Yelena Belova, who in many ways mirrors Natasha's style and skillset. Then there's The Winter Solider and The Falcon, who are actually represented in one deck and give you two distinct options with every card. Then there's Red Guardian, who is a beast at countering attacks and other disruptions thanks to the Undercover skill. Finally, there's White Tiger, who introduces unique flexibility thanks to being able to fight bystander cards as henchmen and draw low cards to add to your current hand.

(Photo: ComicBook)

Black Widow and Yelena Belova are relatively similar in some ways, as they both utilize the Undercover and Dodge keywords quite a bit. The Undercover keyword allows you to put that hero into your Victory Pile, and this has some key benefits, as you can get some lower-tier cards out of your hand and deck, allowing you to draw better and more powerful ones earlier. It also means you can essentially stash some cards away for down the line, and then when a card tells you to Unleash one of your cards, you can draw one of those back out and use it and any effects it may include.

If you haven't played the S.H.I.E.L.D. set for Legendary, it might take a bit to get used to how this set's heroes and their abilities flow, as sometimes at the beginning of a game you need all of the cards you can get until you get things built up. This also feeds into the Dodge keyword, which is found in just about everyone's card deck here. Dodge allows you to discard that card from your hand to draw another card. You essentially skip that card and get another one, and since it is so prevalent in the decks across the set, it gives you a greater amount of flexibility in how you approach your turn. Between Undercover and Dodge, you'll soon find yourself doing some long-term thinking more often than you might have with other hero combinations, but the payoff is more often than not worth the effort, and I enjoyed how this set changed up my approach and play style.

(Photo: ComicBook)

There's also the Dark Memories keyword, which is one of the most useful of the set, as it gets you a plus 1 attack for each Hero Class you have in your discard pile. This also plays into Dodge, as if you play your cards right you can get rid of a few cards and set yourself up for a nice bonus when a Dark Memories card comes up, and since it applies to so many classes, it will likely be worth the momentary setbacks of skipping those cards in the moment.

I personally enjoyed my time with Red Guardian the most, as not only does he have ways to put other cards Undercover but he has various triggers to Unleash them, turning a wave of negative circumstances into a powerful combo that hits hard and can really turn the tide. The unique split structure of Winter Solider and Falcon also makes them a joy to play, and having two different approaches per card is an easy perk to get used to.

(Photo: ComicBook)

Widow is the headline of course, and she's a joy to play, especially as you get used to utilizing her dodges and looking forward a bit. I do wish there were more differentiating elements between Yelena and Natasha, as aside from one or two cards they feel largely too similar. Who doesn't feel similar is Taskmaster, especially when also accounting for the Thunderbolts villains that accompany him. They all offer a range of interesting abilities that can cause chaos in your turn. The Elite Assassins also can cause issues but while the challenge factor did spike, it wasn't ever too frustrating or unable to be overcome.

Black Widow's Legendary expansion was exactly what I was hoping for, as it expands Widow's arsenal and introduces several new heroes into the game that take advantage of those mechanics but also feel distinct unto themselves, with the lone exception being the similarities between Yelena and Natasha. Coupled with the new Masterminds and villains, you have a set that you should be enjoying for quite some time, and one that any fan of Widow should delight in.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Legendary Black Widow: A Marvel Deck Building Game Expansion is in stores now, and does require the core set to play.

Review copy provided by the publisher.