The Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat, Issue #10: Vardaen

Welcome, Vardaen to our Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat. Thank you for taking time out of your day to answer our questions.

“Cease your weeping!” he said. “It is I, Loki, here to rescue you!”

Idunn glared at him with red-rimmed eyes. “It is you who are the source of my troubles.” she said.

“Well, perhaps. But that was so long ago. That was yesterday’s Loki. Today’s Loki is here to save you and take you home.”
Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology

Without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Let’s kick this off with your history with Marvel. What was your history with Marvel, if any, before you discovered Marvel Champions?
When I was younger, I used to read some X-Men Comics back in the 90s. One or two series, I have a stack of comics tucked away, but I wasn’t too huge into reading the books mostly because as a teen I didn’t have the cash. I’ve watched all the various Marvel movies, the X-Men, the MCU, and most of the Netflix series plus plenty of the cartoons. I sort of got back into Marvel when my son came of age to enjoy the shows as well.

2. Moving into Marvel Champions, where and when did you learn about the game?
I’m a long time Lord of the Rings LCG player, I’ve played Arkham Horror LCG and generally am an FFG game player, so I heard about it through the connections of those games.

3. Before playing the game, what was your first impression?
At first I wasn’t interested in playing it at all! Haha. I thought, well I have these 2 other games I never get enough time for, so how will I manage a third LCG? Plus I was very interested in Keyforge at the time. I thought it looked cool, but that was it, I didn’t expect to play it. Then the word about LotR going on a long break was announced and I suddenly had time in both my schedule and my wallet to dig into a new game.

4. When did you play the game your first time and how did it affect your first impression?
I ended up buying the game from my FLGS on release, and brought it home and played Rhino once solo using the prebuilt decks. I instantly enjoyed it. After thinking I understood the rules, I had my son, who is 12, join me and we played a few games. Right away it seemed smooth, fun, easy to figure out. My game night crew also gave it a play fairly quickly and we all agreed it was something we were going to play. We pretty much played it 4-player from that point on every Friday for about 3 or 4 months straight.

5. Clearly you love the game enough to do content for it, what was the final push that made you want to do content?
I’ve wanted to do content for a game for a while. I’ve done a few articles for Lord of the Rings LCG on some various sites, and made up templates for custom cards for the other games I mentioned. I have a decent commute to work and back so I listen to a great many podcasts and always enjoyed the ones that felt like friends hanging out talking about the games. The final push was finding a niche, and co-hosts, that could fill a need in the podcast community.

6. Speaking of content, what kind of content do you do for the game and where can people find it?
I’m a host for Critical Encounters Podcast. We are a villain centric podcast about Marvel, we explore the theme and histories of the villains as they relate to the modular encounter sets. Typically we come in around 30mins, perfect for most commutes. It’s a side of the game that wasn’t being covered at the time and it felt like we needed someone defending the villains. We pick apart a set of cards, talk theme, and generally bemoan how much more love the heroes get. 

We are on Facebook as Critical Encounters, on Discord as Vardaen, Bigfomlof and TheTruth, or email at but if you want the show, the show is located here:

7. Has doing content for the game taught you anything about the game or yourself that you may not have learned? If so what was it, If not why not?
I discovered I don’t like hearing my voice on air! Hahaha. Honestly, it has made me focus in more on certain things like being sure to read the cards over and over (even if I think I know what it does) so I sound like I know what I’m talking about on air. I also have learned a great deal more about the villains and heroes in the books and the stories that go with them. We do a bunch of research on the villains, sometimes it’s just a wiki read but sometimes it’s reading a series like I did for Ms.Marvel and Thomas Edison, which has been a great experience. Go read the comics is what I would say to anyone playing this game.

8. Diving into the game itself, who is your favorite hero to play as, what aspect is your favorite and why?
Out of the core, I really like Iron Man and Justice, probably the least Villainous options! However, I really enjoy Ms.Marvel. I have read a bunch of her books, and I think they did a great job on her. I enjoy flipping back and forth and doing tricky things, trying to get the timing right. She plays well with all the aspects, but right now I have an aggression deck together that is lots of fun.

9. How about the villain side, who is your favorite villain to play against, which encounter set is your favorite so far and why?
I enjoy The Wrecking Crew, and have been working on some homebrew options to make it more of a challenge and to mix it up a bit. Right now those four are fun to play against, as they each offer different ways to test your deck. I mostly have played multiplayer, 4-player, but have also done a good amount of 2-player. Since Covid-19 has arrived I’ve played solo more and find when I want a quicker setup, I’ll bust out Klaw Expert.

10. How do you prefer to play and if it is not alone, what does your playgroup look like?
I prefer 4-player, this is a superhero team-up sort of game. I enjoy the interactions at the table both in the game and just the banter with friends. I don’t mind using the virtual platforms to play on, especially right now, but I like cards in my hands over images on a screen. Solo is my least favorite option, but it plays well enough in solo, but my wife always gives me a strange look when I shout Avengers Assemble! and I’m the only one sitting at the table.

11. Do you customize your gaming experience anyway that goes beyond the official rules for the game, if so how and why?
Sure do, we have a small collection of Critical Encounter House Rules that, we on the cast, have made up and I will play with them often. They help spice things up. Here is an environment card you can share with all the rules on it.

12. As is, how does Marvel Champions stack up to other games you play or have played? It lacks some of the story depth of Lord of the Rings or Arkham, but those games are simply a different style and have a different purpose. I think with the campaign coming out soon we will see more stories and more investment in the world. I like to think of this more of a boss fight style game, get some cards on the table, punch some villain in the face, and enjoy the action. I really enjoy co-op, and this game gives a good sense of being on a team with your buddies while still having a knuckle duster sort of game you might get from a competitive card game, you just are beating up the game instead of each other.

13. Is there anything you would change with how the game currently is? If so how, If not why not?
Other than wanting more content? No, not really. I have to remind myself that this game has only been out since November to the non-Gen Con public. We have a long road ahead of us which I’m happy to explore and wander down. Too much too fast, or too many changes too quickly can be a detriment at times. I really enjoy being able to play around with the cards we have without getting drowned in too many options all at once.

14. What was the craziest game you’ve had so far or your favorite memory from playing the game to date?
Oh boy, we talk about some of our gameplay on the podcast in our Side Scheme segments, but two of my more memorable moments have been getting Captain America’s Shield Toss to hit 9 targets in one turn in a Mutagen Formula 4-player game. The other is watching Thor Lightning Strike 5 targets, each with Toughness on them, and he just ignored that by being aerial! Those big plays are always fun, and you can really get them in the larger player count games.

15. If FFG came to you and said they wanted to put you in charge of creating OP for this game, how would you do it and what would that look like?
I’m pretty confident in FFG to put out some great content. I think if they give us things like they did in LotR it would be great. That would mean a 4-player kit, with playmats, alt art for the heroes, and a custom scenario for the event. Each player would get one of each; playmat, alt art, and scenario. I look forward to seeing an Epic Multiplayer Mode, where you have 3 games going all at once that interlink with one another. Where successes or failures at each game can affect the other two games and you win and lose as an epic team of 12! These epic games for LotR are great, and I could see something like that as we take on Galactus or other huge villains like that.

16. If you could bring any hero into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
Maybe Hannock (from that Will Smith movie)! He’s terrible as a hero, causes untold destruction, and has a terrible public image. It could be interesting to see how someone less heroic or less refined would work.

17. If you could bring any villain into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
I really like Magneto as a villain, he has a great story and one I always could sympathize with. So I would enjoy seeing him in the game. He is both powerful as a mutant, with his magnetism, but is also a great leader so some sort of abilities that play on both of those would be cool. I don’t know if I could say just exactly what those would be like.

18. If you had to turn yourself into a card for the game, what kind of card (it can be a hero, upgrade, event, hero, villain, minion, etc) would you be, what would you do and why?
Villain. It would have to be a villain for obvious reasons. I would take over the world, muahahahah! Probably would be minion heavy with plenty of side schemes. I tend to be the guy in real life that organizes all the events, parties, game nights, store events, and other stuff. My villain form would bring all the greatest villains together to accomplish some goal.

19. Time to head towards the conclusion but we need to touch on the MCU. What is your favorite MCU film and why?
I really liked Endgame, it was such a great capstone to the whole story. It was the only one I saw in the theater twice. However, Infinity War is a good one, love to see the villain actually win! Either one of those.

20. Before we get out of here, what is something you would like to share with our readers that most of them may not know about yourself?
I’ve never actually been to Wakanda, and I’m a pretty big Tolkien nerd.

Thanks again Vardaen for answering our questions. We wish you the best in your content and would like to thank you for giving back to the community. 

Thank you for having me on! I’m a little shocked that anyone might have enough interest in me to read all of this! The Marvel LCG community is really pretty good, there are so many content creators out there putting out great content go check them out. I think more than I’ve ever seen for the other LCGs! I would say to everyone keep up the welcoming and kindness to each other that would continue to make our Heroes in the game proud!

If people would like to find you or your content, where can they find it?
Critical Encounters Podcast is available here: or on Facebook

If you like our show tell your friends, if you don’t like our show tell your enemies.

Thank you readers for reading this article and stay tuned for our next entry into this series, coming Wednesday. Till then, we wish you nothing but the best and stay safe out there.

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