Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Board Game Battle Table Top

Board Game Battles: Marvel Legendary vs Marvel Champions

These two games are going to get compared to each other a lot, so it’s time to duke it out and see who the winner is. Or maybe there will be room for both of them in your collection, but for Board Game Battles, there will only be one game that remains standing, which of these Marvel giants will it be?

There’s plenty of reason that people compared the two. Both of them are card games with deck building elements, though with one you build the deck ahead of time and one you build it through in game purchase of cards. The other obvious thing is that they are both Marvel themed. I could have added some more contenders if I had opened this up to the DC deck building game as well, but I wanted to keep it focused on Marvel, especially with Marvel Champions being a newer game. Both still have a lot of expansions and Champions is getting a regular flow of new heroes and bad guys to add into the game. Generally what you’re trying to do is similar as well, there is a villain who has their own scheme that they are trying to do and as players in the game, you are trying to defeat that villain, though, what that means in the games can be different. Let’s take a closer look at both competitors.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Marvel Legendary

The older of the two games, it has a ton of content. The content that it has dwarfs that of Champions at this point, though Champions will slowly start to catch up as it is releases more expansions on a more regular basis. In Marvel Legendary you put together a team of heroes and shuffle them together to create your hero deck that you’ll be able to purchase characters from. Each player starts with a basic deck of a few SHIELD agents, some that give you purchasing (recruiting) power to get hero cards into your deck, and some that give you attack power. When you purchase these cards they go into your discard pile, and once you’ve drawn all the cards from your deck, you shuffle up and use the deck with the new cards added to it to try and stop the mastermind and the other villains showing up in town. One thing that I think works well in the game is that you can’t sit back in your deck building and only focus on purchase power until you can really buy a lot of attack power. Because there are always villains coming out, that can mean that you’d potentially screw yourself over with villains escaping town before you’d be able to really deal well with them as you can lose if the hero deck is gone through. Now, there are some downsides, because you are getting a mix of heroes, it’s possible that they won’t synergize that well and you won’t be able to build up the combos that quickly that you need. In fact, I feel like this is very common with the game when I’ve played it.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Marvel Champions

Whereas you are building your deck in game, in Marvel Champions you are building the deck you’ll play with before the game. Each deck you build is going to be specific to a character, and just out of the base box, you could build a deck for Iron Man, Black Panther, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, or Spider-Man. Then you can send that hero up against the likes of Rhino or Ultron. Beyond just a basic deck construction of it being, for example, just a Spider-Man deck, you can give them a fighting style. You could make Captain Marvel Aggressive style if you want her to deal a lot of damage, on the other hand, you could give her Leader or Defensive for a build that would be less focused on combat. And while certain styles will synergize better with her cards than other styles might, you’ll basically always be able to make a deck that works with any style. Beyond that, your hero deck is going to have a single hero in it, you aren’t going to be combining in a single deck Spider-Man and Iron Man cards, it’s going to be either Spider-Man or Iron Man. There are sidekicks to help that you can call in, like Nick Fury or Hercules, but they aren’t as powerful as your character. Another cool thing is how the characters work, in the comics, you have T’Challa and Black Panther, the alter-ego and the superhero identities. So, in the game, they mimic that and you can flip between the two. When you are the hero, the villain is going to be scheming on their master plan a little bit but mainly going after the hero to knock them out. But if you flip over to alter-ego, the villain won’t be able to attack you, because they don’t know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but instead they’ll scheme more. There’s a downside to being flipped in alter-ego form, though, you aren’t able to attack them or thwart their scheme as that might reveal to them who you are. It’s a very clever little thing in the game, but it gives it a good comic book feel. The biggest issue with Marvel Champions right now is keeping up with it and finding what’s already been released. We know that we have Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Hulk being added as characters soon, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on Ms Marvel or Captain America yet, or the Green Goblin villain pack.

Let’s get ready to rumble……..


This is almost a mirror match, but Marvel Champions gets out to quick advantage where it is younger and doesn’t carry around as much baggage as Marvel Legendary does. But Legendary is able to fight back as it has a weight advantage and tries to bully Champions into a corner with all the different characters that it has. But it’s moves are too slow and lumbering, Champions escapes the corner and is picking up new moves all of the time. It uses the agility of Black Widow to get behind and Hulk smashes Legendary down to the mat. Thor drops Mjolnir on Legendary.

1…. 2…. 3

We have a winnter:

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

Marvel Champions

For me, this isn’t all that close, Marvel Champions is a better game, and I was even worried about picking up Marvel Champions because I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But the game just works better, you don’t end up having combos that don’t work that well, which you do in Marvel Legendary, and the game plays a lot faster. While with more players Champions will add time to it’s game, you are immediately doing something and immersed into the comic book nature of the game as compared to Legendary where you might spend half the game getting to the point where you are able to pull off a combo and that might never happen just because of a shuffle. In Champions, you’re able to play good cards right from the beginning. And I think because of that, you always feel like you have a chance in the game, even though my playing Spider-Man solo against Rhino has been a resounding defeat both times, I always felt like, because I was learning, I knew where I had gone wrong, as compared to Legendary where there are so many variables that it might just be nothing that I did wrong, and I still get stomped. I think that Legendary is fine and I’m willing to play it, but I’d always prefer to play Marvel Champions.

I do want to think about, if you already own Legendary, does Champions do enough different for you to add it to your collection? For me, I’d say yes. I think being able to focus on a single hero and play that hero, plus the superhero and alter-ego sides, it makes the game feel different enough. The deck building and management during the game feels different as well, because you might want to get some powerful cards, but those might also cause you to go through your deck faster, which is a negative in the game but not a negative to the game. If it’s the other way around, I think that maybe the Legendary core set, but if you were to get expansions for one of the games, definitely Champions as with it, it feels like it’s giving you more options versus Legendary where it feels like bloat at times.

Which do you prefer?

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