Marvel Champions brings many fan favorite X-Men to the game, and one of the most admired X-Men is undoubtedly Storm. Still one of the series’ most iconic heroes, Windrider now brings her unique power-set into Marvel Champions with a focus on affecting the entire board, threat removal, and teamwork. When it all comes together over a certain set of turns, Storm can absolutely destroy the battlefield, but the challenge can be maintaining that momentum as circumstances evolve and change. It’s part of what makes Hero Deck so attractive, and those who specialize in seeing the entire field and adapting on the fly will find a lot to love with its additions to the game.
As expected, Storm’s Hero Deck revolves around the weather mechanism which is represented by the four-card Weather Deck. These four cards can be changed and transformed in different ways, and each provides a permanent bonus (until a new Weather Card is activated) and includes a special action. The catch is that the bonus in each Weather Card affects not only you, but every character in play. This means that if a thunderstorm is selected, each hero and villain will get a +1 to their attack, similarly, the Clear Skies perk gives each character a Stalwart ability, which means that no one can become stunned or disoriented.
This opens up a lot of scope for tactical play, but you’ll need to look as far forward as possible, as you can easily be left with a bad weather formation at the wrong time and severely disrupt your plan. This happened to me thanks to a desperate need to remove the threat from the scheme, and to achieve this, I switched from Clear Skies to Hurricane, which allows you to remove 2 Threat. I was planning on returning at the next available opportunity, but if the villain had other plans, and with Stalwart removed, all of Stunwart’s surprise and confusion came back to the table and hit hard.
This is just one example that catches your eye, but it speaks to how even the shortest periods of wrong weather can have real effects. It’s also part of what makes Storm so fun to play, her combination of strengths and teamwork abilities allow her to hit a lot of the board, and thankfully many of her cards allow you to swap those Weather cards in some way.
If Wolverine is all on offense, then Storm is a more balanced fighter, but he has key cards that excel at both. While you’ll need to upgrade your Storm’s Crown to get your primary Thwart to 2, Torrential Rain allows you to remove 3 menace out of all the schemes in play, after which you can activate Hurricane (if it’s already in play) to remove 2 more, and there are 3 of these cards in her deck. On the attack side, the lightning bolt can deal 8 damage, and if the thunderstorm is on, add 2 more to that.
Flash Freeze and Blast of Wind might be its best card though. Flash Freeze allows you to interrupt when a bad guy is attacking you and hit them with a -3 attack while attacking you during this phase, but it affects any minions who come into contact with you as well. It has saved my life on more than one occasion, and it keeps you from having to recover so much. Similarly, Blasts of Wind lets you choose a player and have them deal 3 damage to a villain and every minion he deals with while also allowing you to use the special ability of your chosen weather card. It’s a win-win scenario.
In fact, many of the Storm Cards can affect your team, giving them more Hit Points (Uncanny X-Men), bonuses to Attack and Frustration (Leadership Skill), engaging allies in gameplay (To Me, My X-Men), and Talking As for allies, Storm has one of my favorite sets of Ally cards in the game. The cast of characters in Havoc, Mirage, Gentle, Pixie, and Forge look fresh and get some fan favorites, but also provide more tactical options for Storm to take advantage of. Whether it’s raw power (Gentle), getting more allies in play (Pixie), stunning an opponent (Mirage), or adding support (Forge), you’ve got plenty of avenues to pursue, and the other cards in Storm’s deck also allow you to get More allies on the table in general.
Storm has had a history with quite a few heroes and villains, but you can’t go wrong with Calisto or the Shadow King, both of whom are listed here. I will say it would have been nice to have a Black Panther team card included because of the history between them, but I appreciated that Forge was in the mix.
Storm’s Weather Deck is both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. It is about how you can benefit from it and adapt to the current situation. There are certain times when it can be beneficial to simply not touch it for most of the game due to its usefulness to you, and I feel like it’s easy to stick to one Weather card and not experience the rest, but I like the risk vs reward factor that the deck brings to the character in general. The number of allies and creativity in the lineup is also a very important point, and the support locations (Utopia and X-Mansion) are very useful and worth sharing.
Overall, Storm’s Hero Pack takes the core concepts of character and uses them well to keep things fresh and make the overall team experience better. The Weather Deck also offers its own challenges and makes going back and forth on each stage more exciting, although it can totally backfire on you if you’re not paying attention. The risk and reward of it all makes Storm one of the most compelling X-Men characters in the game to date, and she’ll make a great addition to your next game.
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Marvel Champions Storm Hero Pack is now available on the local play store and online platforms.
A copy has been submitted by the publisher for review