Jennifer Walters – Rules Lawyer Update (RRG 1.2A Roundup)

On February 25th, 2020 FFG released a new updated version of the Rules Reference Guide. You can find the official document here. This article will summarize some of the updates, clarifications and changes so you can know how this impacts your favorite marvel card game! Changes ranged from minor things, like clarification on when Setup abilities trigger to things as wild as how (defense) events are used! Read on to find out what’s new!

I’m going to lump things into one of two categories: minor clarifications, major clarifications, and major changes! This article is by no means all-inclusive but I will highlight the clarifications and changes that may change the way you play this great game!

Minor Clarifications (‘Nuff Said) – These clarifications are pretty obvious and are really wording updates to make sure we are all playing the same game. Most people probably played this correctly, but if not, we now have direct updates to reflect this!

  • Setup abilities
    • Player card abilities cannot resolve during game setup, unless they are noted with a “Setup” timing trigger. So despite what She-Hulk want’s she can’t use her “I Object” ability to prevent threat at game setup. You can still use alter ego setup abilities like Steve Rodgers and T’Challa have! Nuff’ said
  • Mandatory triggers
    • Previous versions of the RRG did not list Setup, Force Interrupts, and Forced Response abilities as mandatory abilities. They are, we knew this, now it is written so no one can lawyer you out of it. Thanks FFG!
  •  Component Limitations
    • Another yup… obviously. Previously it stated if you run out of tokens simply use something else to denote it (I suggest M&M’s so you can eat them later). It mentioned every type of token in the game except…. acceleration tokens. Hopefully no one is playing a game where they run out of those, but if they are. Fear not, you can use red M&M’s instead.

Major Clarifications (Stan’s Soapbox) – These clarifications are a bit more complex, they change the way some people play the game or address commonly asked questions. The FAQ highlighted here are questions I’ve seen come up a lot on discord but there are several more FAQs answered, be sure to check them out!

  • Boost ability clarity
    • The order in which boost icons and abilities trigger is now more clear. In the enemy attacks section we are now instructed to resolve boost abilities (stars) before the attack resolves (in step 3)! This has a few implications. If the boost ability gives the villain toughness when attacking a hero with retaliate the tough token will be placed prior to retaliate damage. Another situation arises when a player defends with an ally but the boost ability destroys the ally (see Concussive Blast). More explanation on this later but it is now clear that the defending ally is destroyed due to concussive blast and the attack now becomes undefended (the check for undefended happens in step 4) against the ally’s controller! This may open the design space for some really cool boost ability cards.
  • Identity-vs-Hero clarity
    • Several instances of hero in the RRG were replaced with identity. This has been clear in printed cards for a while. Cards like Shocker only affect you when in hero form, like wise for cards that target alter egos. The rulebook was a bit more sloppy. It told players to place their hero card in play, when in reality you place your identity card in alter ego form. No brainer right?  
  • More examples
    • There’s a few instances where this makes a big difference. One is in the overkill entry. Previously a player in alter ego form could defend for another player with their ally. If the attack had overkill the overkill entry instructed you to deal excess damage to your hero. Thus, many players assumed they could avoid the overkill damage. Not the case anymore you now take the overkill damage to your identity. General rule of thumb, if the rule book used to refer to your hero card you may want to check and see if it changed to identity card.
  • Dash/Value-0 clarity
    • Additional clarity has been given to characters that have a dash as a stat value (attack, thwart, scheme, etc). If a game step or ability references those values are now treated as a zero. Similar language is used for a star ability (like on Green Goblin / Risky Business). Combining this with the answer to when boost icons resolves let’s us determine what happens when Green Goblin flips mid attack. He will flip before resolving damage, and then his attack will be treated with a base of 0. More on that in the FAQ next!
  • FAQ
  • Risky Business FAQ
    • There was previously some confusion about this scenario. First, if Norman Osborn is stunned what happens when he prepares an attack. The answer was in the rules all along, the status cards always take priority so stun is discarded and no tokens will be added to criminal enterprise as this is a replacement effect.
    • Second, several instances occur where Green Goblin flips mid-attack due to a boost ability. With out increased awareness of when boost abilities trigger this means he will flip and his star value on the Norman Osborn side will be treated as a zero. The forced interrupt has missed it’s window so tokens will not be placed on criminal enterprise due to the attack.
  • Ms Marvel Embiggen/Shrink Common Questions
    • Lots of questions have come up with Ms. Marvel’s upgrades Embiggen and Shrink. Two common questions were answered Embiggen will increase both instances of damage from the card Melee. and Shrink does not interact with Emergency as no threat is removed it is only prevented.
  • Captain America Living Legend Clarification
    • Living Legend, Steve Roger’s alter ego ability only impacts the first ally played, so if you flip after another player has already played an ally you still cannot use his discount!

Major Changes (Needs a No-Prize!) – These clarifications are a bit more head-scratch. I’d say some of these straight up change the way the game was played. Be sure to review these so you are playing the game as FFG design team intends!

  • Defend ability triggers
    • This is the big one! The way defenses work has now been changed. Some changes are minor (like explaining what an undefended attack is). This actually has some interesting consequences. Abilities that trigger after you defend, are no longer triggered by (defend) events. Only the act of using a hero or ally to defend makes an attack defended.  The 5th bullet is the major new update a triggered ability labelled as a (defend) can only be triggered when you are the target of an attack. For solo this doesn’t change much but it changes a lot in multiplayer. Let’s go through some examples.

 Example I: Sound Manipulation

  • Sound Manipulation is a treachery card from Klaw’s villain deck. It is NOT an attack and it is now a lot more deadly! Previously defense interrupts like Shield Block and Wiggle Room could stop this damage, but not any more. Since you are not the target of an attack you can no longer block that damage!
  •  Example II: Preemptive Strike
    • This card has changes a bit as well. In solo, no big difference, but in multiplayer. This card is significantly worse. In the previous RRG if Ultron flipped a three boost icon card on your play partner you could play this from the side lines. No more, you now need to be the target of the attack, so you would have had to defend with an ally or your hero. Quite unfortunate! The TLDR is be careful with (defense) events they interact a bit differently now and have an extra condition.

Challenger Approaching…..

Some RRG updates are also not in the rule-book in red. Note the underlined phrase below that was changed between the last RRG and this one! Tricksey FFG not even showing us this change, maybe there will soon be other ways to defend?


  • One errata is officially now in the rule book changing Thor’s nemesis Loki from an optional response to a forced response (I think we all thought it belonged that way!)

That’s it for this summary of the RRG update, there may be more hidden gems let us know in the comments below (according to FFG’s site there was another update on March 5th but I’ve yet to see the new content in this second update, so hopefully it’s not a big deal). For this RRG update we are going to considered the Case Closed!

Special shout-out to discord user ApotropaiC for helping me muse out any changes I didn’t fully understand! Thanks friend!

Captain America – Pump It Up (Deck-Tech)

Hi Listeners (and now Readers!)

KennedyHawk here. I wanted to type up a deck-tech on one of the decks I’ve been running. Each week I’ll be posting a deck-tech or some other article to our Podbean site so be sure to follow us on Podbean or facebook to get the latest updates. This week’s article will focus on a Captain America / Leadership deck – that is NOT all about his allies! Instead, we will focus on Captain America’s awesome statline and ability: “I Can Do This All Day!”. Most people recognize this from the Captain America movies but it really embodies Cap’s spirit to give his most. The images used on this blog-post are from the Hall of Heroes website. Be sure to check out their site as it’s a top notch resource for the Marvel Champions LCG community! (Thanks HoH!)

 Secret Origin

When building a deck I often have an objective in mind. I like to consider this the Secret Origin of my decklist. For this deck our objective is to pump Captain America’s hero stat line, then use his basic attack and thwart as many times as possible in one round. Cap’s hero ability to ready once per round is amazing, it means any card we use to increase his stats can become super efficient. If we play an event to increase our heroes attack value by 1, we can now get 2 damage out by using his basic attack twice in a round. Without further ado let’s look at this deck’s stat buff cards. We will be pairing our hero with the leadership aspect mainly to obtain as many stat buff cards as possible but the first card belongs to Cap’s hero pod. We get to include 2 copies of Fearless Determination. This card increases Captain America’s thwart value by 1 until the end of the phase. This is great for removing annoying side schemes that begin with 3 threat (looking at you Klaw!) but also for taking large chunks off of the main scheme. Iron Man’s arc reactor is often used to allow Iron Man to double tap while thwarting. Cap has this ability built in and Fearless Determination makes it even better. My favorite part of this card is it’s net effect on your hand. Often when a card costs 0 it still has a net effect on your hand as playing the card removes a resource from your options. This is not the case with Fearless Determination as you get to draw a replacement card! That means if you plan to flip there’s little reason to mulligan this event as it will just pump your stats and allow you to see the next card in your deck.

 Next, we have three leadership cards which all can be used to increase our basic abilities. First, Morale Boost, this card comes from the Ms. Marvel pack, but don’t be confused. It is an obvious combo piece with Captain America. For 1 resource we can increase our attack, thwart, and defense values by 1 until the end of the round. The use of the word round instead of phase is key here. If we play this card to begin our turn we can perform a basic attack (increased by 1), trigger Captain America’s ability and thwart/attack (again increased by 1), then we can defend during the villain phase and since the round hasn’t ended our defense value for this defense is increased by 1. That’s amazing value! Combined with Cap’s shield you’ll have 4 defense which is enough to really hamper many villain attacks!

Another leadership card available at our disposal is Lead From The Front. This card is helpful at increase Cap’s attack and thwart values and also the values for all his allies. In this deck the allies are mainly used to draw cards but this can set up some pretty big turns once you have 3 allies in play. Overall this card is often the last stat buff I will play unless I plan to end the game that turn and expend all my allies.

Finally, we have Avengers Assemble! This card plays double duty in our deck, it both increases Captain America’s stats and readies him (along with all the other Avenger’s allies you control). The stat buff even hits all Avengers in case another player has a turn later in the phase! This card is pretty expensive at 4 cost but can really pay for itself. If you’ve pumped your stats with one of the ways above and then played this, you’ll ready and get to Thwart or Attack at a value of +2. My RPG characters like those passive buffs and so does Cap! This card combos well within the deck and is often critical to getting Cap’s big splashy turn off!

We now have 4 stat buff cards and 2 ways to ready our hero but I also wanted to make use of a lesser used card and that card is Tenacity. In most decks Tenacity can’t seem to find a home but it slots into this Cap deck perfectly. We really want to optimize the use of our buff cards. Tenacity is like providing your hero with an extra “I Can Do This All Day!” with some upfront cost. If you can get 2-3 copies in play just a single morale boost can see it’s benefit 4+ times in a round! Now that’s a combo to write home about.

 Try this deck out and let us know how it goes. You can comment on the article here, on facebook, or yell at me about my bad decisions on the MCM Podcast discord!


MarvelCDB Link: Pump it Up! Captain America / Leadership

 Upgrades [7]

  • [1] Captain America’s Helmet
  • [1] Captain America’s Shield
  • [2] Super-Soldier Serum
  • [3] Tenacity

Allies [5]

  • [1] Agent 13
  • [1] Falcon
  • [1] Hawkeye
  • [1] Squirrel Girl
  • [1] Wonder Man

Support [3]

  • [1] Avenger’s Mansion
  • [1] Avenger’s Tower
  • [1] Steve’s Apartment

Event [20]

  • [3] Avengers Assemble!
  • [2] Fearless Determination
  • [3] Heroic Strike
  • [3] Lead From The Front
  • [2] Morale Boost
  • [2] Shield Block
  • [2] Shield Toss
  • [3] Strength in Numbers

Resources [5]

  • [1] Energy
  • [1] Genius
  • [1] Strength
  • [2] The Power of Leadership

Strategy Tips:

Here are a few strategy tips for this deck.

  • First and foremost, use your allies as thwarting support to set up your combo. Get to 3 allies out and use Strength in Numbers as much as possible. Ideally you’ll have 3 Avengers allies, play Strength in Numbers, and draw the cards to play Avengers Assemble.
  • The sequencing of your basic attack/thwarts and buffs matters a lot. If you are going to play Avengers Assemble make sure you have exhausted all of your Avengers characters first (don’t waste a Cap activation.
  • Set-up Tenacity and your allies on your first deck pass. Later in the game Tenacity can combo with Super Solider Serum for a free activation.
  • Live the dream, using 3 Tenacity activation, your hero ability and Avengers Assemble you can get 6 activation in one turn. That turns a single morale boost into +6 attack or thwart!

Mulligan Thoughts:

  • Mulligan hard for ally set-up – You really want to get your draw engine going, this consists of playing Strength in Numbers to greatly increase your handsize.
  • Search for Super Soldier Serum  – The combo in this deck can be expensive don’t be afraid to hard mulligan away combo pieces for ramp early in the game.
  • Consider Keeping Morale Boost – Depending on the villain it may be prudent to keep a morale boost in hand. For just 3 cards you can play Morale Boost and thwart or attack for 6 in the opening round. This is great for getting rid of Klaw’s minions and schemes or clearing an early game Breakin’ and Takin!

Multiplayer Tips:

This combo works well in solo but really shines in multiplayer. If you can con your aggression friends for a Combat Training or the guy who always plays Justice to dump a Heroic Intuition on you, then bingo-bango. You can really take full advantage of those stat buffs. Don’t be afraid to ask for cards if you are close to an explosive turn. 1 additional card can mean an extra 5-6 damage easily.

YouTube Content:

 Thanks for sticking with me – until the end of the line! This deck can be a really fun combo piece in solo or multiplayer. I hope you check it out and see a new angle to leadership!