Marvel Champions was certainly in the X-Men business this year, releasing a mutant-focused expansion among several individual Hero Packs featuring X-Men faves. That lineup included everyone's favorite clawed warrior Wolverine, who lives up to his lethal reputation with a deck that prioritizes damage and aggression with some healing and teamwork on the side. The result is a character who isn't afraid to take damage and knows how to make that work to his benefit, and while his play style won't be for everyone, it feels perfectly in keeping with who Wolverine is as a character, and more importantly, it was absurdly fun to play.
The Wolverine Hero Pack features 60 cards and like the other Hero Packs includes the Hero deck, a Nemesis set, an Obligation card, and an added Modular set. Wolverine features several key Upgrade cards that you will want to add to your arsenal. We'll get to Wolverine's Claws in a bit, but aside from that one you will definitely want to keep an eye out for Adamantium Skeleton and "I Got Better," which give your Attack and Hit Points a boost as well as keep you from dying respectively.
Just from the opening hands, it's difficult to not completely feel like Wolverine, as you'll find yourself hitting enemies for high damage (Lunging Strike), hitting multiple enemies (Slice and Dice), healing (Regenerative Healing), and going full Berserker on enemies despite the damage you take in the process (Berserker Barrage). Given that you can pay the cost of those cards, which is actually rather easy to do thanks to the generally low cost of most of his abilities and interrupts, it's easy to get off to a hot start with Wolverine and dish out some big damage early, constantly weighing whether taking more damage in the short term is worth it to get someone off the board. That constant push and pull of damage and health is one that requires you to look ahead a bit, but the payoff is more than worth it.
Wolverine also allows for some unique teamwork opportunities. Battle Fury for instance can be put under any player's control, and after that hero attacks and defeats a minion you can absorb some damage, discard Battle Fury, and ready your hero. It gives the player just a bit of that Wolverine boost with a cost of just 1, and there are 3 of them in Wolvie's deck. There's also the delightful Fastball Special team-up card, which lets you pack. Powerful punch for a low cost.
Now, back to Wolverine's Claws, and there has been some back and forth on this card and how it reads. I personally never had an issue with the reading of the card and never had a scenario play out where the card was removed and I never got it back. To be safe, I would just recommend putting that card into play from the beginning of your setup, because it's a key card to have. Several instances have occurred during play where I've been short on resources to play an attack event in my hand and taking the damage to play that card was more than worth it. Sometimes I even had the resources and just chose to anyway, since that freed up resources to buy other key cards that turn. Wolverine's Claws is the vehicle for that strategy though, so honestly, it's not worth the risk to leave it up to chance that you might not have it.
Regarding Wolverine's Allies, the crew includes Jubilee, Colossus, Psylocke, Sunfire, and Longshot (if you decide to include him). Jubilee, Psylocke, and Colossus are perfect fits, and while I'm always up for Sunfire being included, it would have been cool to have a Jean Grey, Storm, or Nightcrawler ally in that mix too. Not really a flaw, just a personal preference.
As for everything else, having Omega Red be the Nemesis is a great choice and his cards can cause problems for your whole team. The Locations are also useful, as both allow you to get your favorite cards back into your deck or new cards directly into your hand. As for character drawbacks, Thwart is hard to come by outside of his basic ability, which is why you'll want to keep Track By Scent and its 3 Threat removal close by. It would've been welcome to have a few more Thwart cards in the deck, but it also makes perfect sense that Wolverine wouldn't exactly cater to that style of play.
Players who take on Wolverine will find themselves feeling like the lethal damage dealer they know from the comics, and while there is added depth to his abilities once you really get some time with him, new players can also have a ball of a time right from the jump. Wolverine is simply a blast to play, and he will make any Marvel Champions experience all the better.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Wolverine Hero Pack is available now. Marvel Champions Base Game is required for play.
Review copy provided by the publisher.0comments