Marvel Champions Phoenix Hero Pack Review - Setting a New Bar

One of the most recent additions to Marvel Champions' ever-increasing roster of X-Men is also one of the most well-known characters on the team, and Phoenix is every bit the force of nature you would expect her to be. Fantasy Flight Games captures the character's constant struggle with losing control and finds a variety of ways to highlight her powerful and distinct skillset. She can hit enemies with raw power but is also adept at removing Threat through a variety of different methods. Her Allies don't disappoint either and combined with the sheer fun her telepathy brings to the table, she is easily one of my favorite characters in the game, and I think you'll love her too.

Phoenix players will have to navigate her two power states throughout the game, and there are benefits to both. The Phoenix Force is utilized through an Upgrade card that is always present, and it can either be on its Restrained side or its Unleashed side. This is measured by the number of Power Counters on that card, and once those are gone from the Restrained side you turn the card over to its Unleashed side, which hits you with -2 Thwart but also +2 Attack. This isn't the only factor to be mindful of though, as other cards in her deck will give different bonuses depending on the state you're in.

(Photo: ComicBook)

One of the most beneficial in my time with Phoenix was the Phoenix Suit upgrade, which gets you Steady if you are on the Restrained side. You get Retaliate if on the Unleashed side, but Steady is much more useful, as you are only affected by Stun and Confused cards if you have two. With some enemies throwing those out like candy, it's so useful to have this in your pocket, and it came in handy on more than one occasion. Unleashed has its benefits too though, mostly with additional damage and stun effects, and cards like Phoenix Firebird and White Hot Room help you move toward whatever state you need more at the moment.

(Photo: ComicBook)

This is just the central mechanic though, and even without this, Phoenix's deck is multifaceted. Cards like Telekinetic Attack, Psychic Blast, and Swift Retribution allow you to hit the enemy with straight damage, while Telephatic Trickery, Psychic Manipulation, Mutant Peacekeepers, Passion For Justice, and Marvel Girl allow you to target Threat in several varied ways.

Jean can also help her teammates and allies with cards like Down Time, Mission Training, and Telekinetic Shield, and she can affect enemies with Mental Paralysis, Mind Control, and Banshee. Speaking of her allies, Cyclops, Storm, Banshee, and Marvel Girl all offer solid cost-for-ability ratios, and having Cyclops in the mix also allows for frequent use of the Psychic Rapport team-up card.

(Photo: ComicBook)

Then there's the Dark Phoenix side of things, which is a perfect Nemesis for her to have, and things can quickly get out of hand, as it only requires 12 Threat on Dark Phoenix's scheme to lose the game.

The sheer number of options and methods you can put into motion with Phoenix is what makes her so incredibly fun to play. You can affect the field and other players in so many unique ways that you can't help but be locked in on the larger picture, though if you prefer to play her in a more direct fashion, she's still a threat to any villain across the board. I was not expecting to be so taken with Phoenix, but she's quickly become one of my favorite characters in the game, and I couldn't recommend her more.

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Marvel Champions Phoenix Hero Pack is available in stores now.

Review copy provided by the publisher.