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Marvel Champions: Hulk


Hulk (2020)

This is a review of Hulk's pre-constructed deck, mostly through the lens of solo play. It is in no way an exhaustive review or commentary on the meta game. Rather, it is my thoughts and experience of the pack as a relatively new player.


Bruce Banner/Hulk

  • Alter-Ego form: Bruce Banner has a low hand limit of 5, high health of 18, and high recovery of 4. His alter-ego ability, Experimental Research, allows the player to draw 1 card, then choose and discard 1 card from their hand. I am not a fan of this ability in general. It does allow you to cycle your deck, but very little, and as Hulk, you probably wont be spending much time in alter-ego form.

  • Hero form: Hulk has a thwart of 0, attack of 3, and defense of 3, though I would hope his attack and defense to be a bit higher (it's weird that he has the same attack as Hawkeye with his bow). Hulk does not have a hero ability, but a response titled Enraged, which is a forced interrupt requiring the player to discard their hand at the end of their turn. This is one of the worst aspects of Hulk as a hero, but I will get into it more in the section of how Hulk feels to play.


Hero Cards:

Like all other hero packs, Hulk comes with 15 signature hero cards. Where Hulk falls short for me is the hero cards. Many of his cards are strong, and naturally expensive, but he doesn't have kit or hand size to afford more than one per turn typically. You'll notice what stood out most were the cards that felt best. I won't cover all of his cards here, but a few of my favorites.

  • Hulk Smash - Hulk Smash is obviously the most Hulk-like card in his deck. For 3 cost, Hulk's next attack gets +10, plus overkill if paid for with a strength resource, which should be no problem for Hulk. This card feels great to play, doing at least 13 damage to a villain, but often more.

  • Crushing Blow - Crushing Blow is a 1 cost attack event that does damage equal to Hulk's attack. I often played this card every time I got it. One because it was cheap enough to usually let me do something else, but it also feels like Hulk, allowing for multiple "attacks" in a single turn. With a card like Martial Prowess, Concussive Blow becomes free to play.

  • Immovable Object - Immovable Object is a bit expensive, costing 3 resources to add 4 hit points and retaliate. However, giving Hulk the retaliate trait feels right as you will spend a lot of time in hero form, and if Hulk gets attack, he would naturally try to hit back.


Aspect Cards:

Hulk's hero pack comes with 8 Aggression cards, most of which I didn't find so useful in the pre-constructed deck. Since there are many cards here, I will cover the ones I found most helpful.

  • Brawn - Brawn is a 3 cost ally and easily one of the better aggression allies. He has 1 attack, 1 thwart, and 5 health, with the ability that when he attacks, he also removes 1 threat. He is incredibly cheap for what he can do and the amount of time he can last.

  • Martial Prowess - Martial Prowess is a 2 cost upgrade that provides a strength resource for an attack event. This works well for Hulk as it is cheap enough with his limited hand size, and will find use with a little tweaking. Hulk's pre-con deck only has 2 attack events, but that could easily be higher, making Martial Prowess helpful for Hulk's resource generation weakness.

  • You'll Pay for That - You'll Pay for That is a 1 cost, hero response, thwart event that removes thwart equal to damage taken from an attack. This is a necessary card for solo Hulk, as he has 0 thwart.

Tips from a beginner:

  • The main tip I see with Hulk is that his pre-constructed deck definitely needs some tweaking. I am not an expert with deck building, however there are some clear weaknesses that should be addressed, mainly the low hand sizes and resource generation. Cards like Avengers Mansion, Quincarrier, or Helicarrier could be a big help in played early. Deft Focus from the Galaxy's Most Wanted expansion would also make Hulk more viable as his strongest cards are "superpower" cards and Deft Focus is only 1 cost to play as a permanent upgrade reducing card costs.

  • If you play solo, having some cards that allow for healing, such as Moment of Triumph from the Ant-Man hero pack. Switching to alter-ego to heal, when you have 0 thwart ability, can be a huge set back, so healing in hero form can be huge.


Feel:

Probably the most important part of the characters in Marvel Champions is how they feel, and this is where Hulk falls short the most. It just doesn't really feel like Hulk. An attack equal to Hawkeye doesn't feel like Hulk. Certain cards definitely capture the feel, but it misses when you only do one, MAYBE two things during your turn. I want to smash someone, then smash some one else, and go back to the first guy to hit him again. Hulk needs to smash. The alter-ego isn't much better. Bruce Banner doesn't feel like a genius when he only has 5 cards. It doesn't demonstrate Banner's intelligence or resourcefulness. Many people have suggested fixes for Hulk and I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but I do have some thoughts. The biggest draw back for me is the low hand size of Banner and the Enraged response of Hulk. Banner should have the standard 6 card hand size (I would suggest 7 but would only work well in solo). More importantly though, Hulk should have a hero benefit. I am fine with a hand size of 4 and having to discard my hand at the end of my turn, but Enraged just feels like a penalty. It penalizes Hulk being angry but doesn't capture the benefit of the "we have a Hulk" mentality. A fix could be Enraged as an action: ready Hulk, and discard cards in your hand at the end of your turn. Not much changes this way, but Hulk is doing more smashing to make up for his minimal playing. Let me know what you think.


Final thoughts and recommendation:

Overall, I want to like Hulk, and I think with time, he will improve. One of the things I like most about writing these reviews is that it forces me to think about the characters in ways I maybe didn't while playing. If you are the type to buy a pack for one card, Brawn might be worth it. He is an excellent aggression ally. In the end I think if you like Hulk, you should get him. Many people say Hulk sucks, and that might largely be true, not every hero will be the best in the game. Hulk is likely better on a team. He can be better with some building, and he will likely get better as the card pool expands. I personally like Hulk as a character, and for that reason will revisit him as a hero periodically to see how he grows.


Purchase the Hulk hero pack: https://amzn.to/2R52tgE



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