Greetings SHIELD Agents! This is the third article in a series of new-player articles, aimed to get beginner players get up to speed on the game - Marvel Champions! This session is all about how to get a head start against those nefarious villains! How do you perform an optimal mulligan?
SHIELD AGENT Training Session 003 - Beginning a Better Battle (Mulligans!)
This article aims to take readers to the next level when performing a mulligan. In Marvel Champions you will likely cycle your deck at least once per game, so we can be farily heavy handed with out mulligan because we'll see those cards back. In this article we will cover:
- How a mulligan is performed
- Mulligan Considerations
How is a mulligan performed?
In Marvel Champions you perform a mulligan by discarding any number of cards from your hand, and then drawing an equal number to replace them. This is pretty neat in a 40 card deck we could go through up to 10-12 cards from our deck depending on your hero selection so you have the ability to dig really deep into your deck. Remember, when your deck runs out you'll be shuffling your discard pile to form a new deck so these cards aren't gone forever! While this article is in the MCM new player series be sure to check out another article and opinion from our friends over at the Side Scheme.
Ramp vs Tempo
It's important to consider the concept of Ramp versus Tempo. In Marvel Champions there are resource cards that allow you to play expensive cards with ease. These will continue to cycle through your deck. Ideally in the first few rounds you want to drop supports and upgrades that provide resources or additional card draw for your hero. This is known as ramp, you are building a board state so that turn after turn you have more resources to spend. The earlier these cards hit the field the more use you get out of them. These cards that linger in the field help in other ways as well.
It may seem silly to think of deck thinning in your mulligan but it's really important. I urge you to play through your hand each turn so you will be cycling your deck quickly. I often spend my first deck pass getting as many upgrades and supports onto the field as I can. This makes my second and third deck pass much more efficient which can great strength your late game efficiency. Because of this I often try to play 2-3 smaller costing upgrades or supports rather than 1 large one in my opening turn. It may seem tempting to keep expensive events in hand or cards to stun the villain, but typically you are better off building your board state and spending a few turns ramping rather than trying to race the villain.
Each hero will have a different mulligan strategy. Some heroes like Captain Marvel have sufficient deck searching and ramp on their hero card. They may be able to get right to action. Some heroes like Black Panther and Iron Man require more set-up to optimize their deck. Figure out for your Hero/Aspect combination what is important. This is going to vary from deck to deck but with characters like Iron Man this is your chance to dig deep for tech upgrades. Be mindful, you'll have to pay for those cards, so having a hand of amazing cards isn't great. You'll be using some to pay for the others. If you aren't searching for a particular combo piece it can be okay to hold some cards back to pay for the better ones. Some heroes have set-up abilities that trigger after your mulligan. Nothing feels worse than mulligan into Captain America's shield. With Black Panther you can play 3 upgrades round 1 if you draw double resources and the right upgrades. A brief mulligan tip for each hero is listed below so be sure to read them and see if they make sense for your play style.
- Hero Mulligan Tips:
- Black Panther: Mulligan hard for double resources, or Golden city. Don't be afraid to toss Wakanda Forever from your opening draw. Use your Set-up ability to compensate a bad mulligan
- Captain Marvel: Carol has a ton of resource generation but she can always use more. Search for her Alpha Flight Station to speed up your deck cycling.
- Iron Man: You want all the tech upgrades. If you open with a Stark tower you can use one per turn to pay for others. Try to get 2-3 upgrades out early!
- Spider-Man: Spider-man has some of the best cards in the core set but they are expensive. Search for web-shooters or other resource generating cards.
- She-Hulk: She-Hulk struggles in the hand-size department. Dropping a focused rage will help a lot. Don't be afraid to toss big events like Gamma Slam!
- Captain America: Mulligan mildly. Drawing your shield can set you back a resource round 1. Super Soldier Serums are your best start.
- Ms. Marvel: Kamala really works best with her supporting cast of persona's search hard for Bruno early to optimize his use.
- Thor: Unlike Cap, Thor can use his hammer then retrieve it if he mulligans into it. You are going to want Asgard or God of Thunder really early.
- Black Widow: Search for your synth-suit, being able to defend and use your basic abilities each turn will be essential for Natasha!
Before you mulligan you will perform some of the villain set-up steps. So, once you've faced the villain a few times you'll want to make sure you know what's coming up. Klaw always starts with a side-scheme in play, other villains depending on their level can start with minions or side-schemes. If these are detrimental to your game (i.e. hazard symbols) make sure you search for something to get rid of them right away. Once you know the in's and outs of different villains not only can you deck build around them but plan for how they behave early in the game.
How many players are in your game? Can you afford to mulligan less aggressively and keep some expensive supports. Depending on what other heroes and aspects join you in the game this may change how aggressively you choose to mulligan. I find in higher player counts I'm much more likely to sit back on expensive supports.
Opening Hand Potential
Always have a plan for your opening hand. If you open up with a hand that can be fully spent and sets up your board you may not need an aggressive mulligan. This is a randomized draw so things might be perfect! Each time you decide to mulligan a card things could get worse. Consider a player with two 2-cost upgrades that they want to see hit the table right away. The other four cards in their hand may be useless. But they provide resources for the others - if you pitch them and draw other good upgrades you'll now have to sacrifice one. When I approach a game I like to have a plan of what board state do I want to see when I shuffle my deck due to running out of cards. Use that vision to guide your mulligan! Hopefully these ramblings help you decide how to mulligan and set-up to win more games of Marvel Champions! We want to know your thoughts! We are preparing a short community drive episode where we interview different readers/listeners/community members about how they approach the mulligan in Marvel Champions. If you want to be interviewed reach out via a contact method below and we can arrange it!
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We have a whole slew of topics we want to cover in future training you can check out the entire series to date below - as always - thanks for reading!
- Session 001: Your First Game
- Session 002: Building Your First Deck
- Session 003: Mulligans!
- Session 004: Moving On To Klaw