Marvel Champions has seen a host of welcome X-Men additions this year, including one of the team's leaders Scott Summers, AKA Cyclops, and now he's fully playable in Fantasy Flight Games and Asmodee's Marvel Champions. Cyclops is known for precision, leadership, and tactical expertise, though he can always switch to pure power and force when he needs to. Marvel Champions captures some of these aspects well, and there are cards that really let him devastate a battlefield. Unfortunately, the tactical side is a bit wanting, as are the included allies, leading to a Hero Pack that does feel like Cyclops but doesn't reach the character's full potential.
When it comes to the trio of attack, thwart, and defense, Cyclops is golden. His identity card features 2 Def right out of the gate and access to an action that lets him spend just 1 resource to deal 3 damage with an Optic Blast (as long as an upgrade is attached). That's invaluable in later rounds, especially when coupled with his Ruby Quartz Visor Upgrade, which can be exhausted and generate a resource to activate that ability and even give it a piercing and ranged boost.
Two favorites of mine are Full Blast and Ricochet Beam. Full Blast ups the ante on Optic Blast and adds 8 more damage to it and overkill, while Ricochet Beam hits two different enemies for 3 damage. Ricochet is especially indispensable, though even Cyclops' basic stats are effective when combined with cards like Teamwork and Effective Leadership.
Cyclops' Thwart game is also top-notch courtesy of Tactical Brilliance, which lets you remove 3 Threat from a Scheme and then find a Tactic card in your discard to add to your hand. That's all in addition to team-building cards like Danger Room Training, which gives your allies a welcome boost, and Game Time, which lets you heal and ready allies with training upgrades attached.
Unfortunately, some aspects of his deck disappoint, even though they are set up by other cards. You're able to pull Tactic cards through Tactical Brilliance and Cyclops' Alter Ego action, but the Tactic cards themselves just don't feel as very impactful. They start out as Temporary for the round, and most of them only offer small benefits, like increasing damage by 1, lowering an attack by 1, and drawing two cards when you defeat an enemy. These can certainly be useful if things all flow your way, but more often than not something would not line up for me and they ended up just being better used as resources for a more effective card.
One of the cards with the most long-term benefit is Coordinated Attack, which attaches to a Minion and means that each ally takes -1 consequential damage when attacking an attached minion. That card alone is gold, and came in hand several times, but that brings us to the allies themselves, which left a bit to be desired. Dust can hit a series of minions, but the +1 consequential damage and her low health of 3 mean that she could very well be off the board after one attack. Blindfold meanwhile allows you to look at the Encounter Deck and discard 1 card, but with only 2 health, the cost of 3 is rather expensive just for that. It can come in handy at crucial moments, but more often than not I'd rather just pay 3 to buy a card that helps me more in the present or in the long run.
Phoenix and Rockslide are both immensely effective and offer a balance of Thwart, Power, and abilities, but then there's Angel, whose biggest benefit is that he's cheap with a cost of 2. Training cards can help this, but again, it's just disappointing that you have so many cards to boost allies and the allies themselves aren't more impressive. As for Phoenix, Psychic Rapport is a godsend if Phoenix is either an ally or a teammate, and coupled with the Sinister Nemesis cards, the Hero Pack utilizes the people in Scott's immediate circle brilliantly.
Cyclops is one of the few Hero Packs where I almost see the additional customization cards as necessities. Pinned Down knocks off 2 attack on a minion, costs nothing, and isn't temporary, and Honorary X-Men lets you pin the X-Men trait to a friendly character who isn't X-Men themed and gains them an extra hit point. Both are welcome additions and are now a part of my deck moving forward.
The Cyclops Hero Pack captures the core elements of the character, and when he's clicking Cyclops is a force to be reckoned with. He's a damage dealer at low cost and can Thwart Schemes for low cost as well, and his Locations and Upgrades all add even more to his arsenal. If you happen upon cards in your deck at critical times, his Tactic cards can come in handy, but more often than not I found them better used just as resources to fund bigger and better cards, and that didn't include Allies either, Angel, Beast, Dust, and Blindfold weren't always the best return on cost. Even with those drawbacks, I truly felt like Cyclops as the game went on, especially with the customized deck, and I think most fans of the fan-favorite will find a lot to love.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Marvel Champion's Cyclops Hero Pack is available to purchase now.
Review copy provided by the publisher0comments