The Marvel Champions 20 Questions Hotseat, Issue #12: AlwaysAngryJay

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

The pleasure is all mine. For those who don’t know me, I am AlwaysAngryJay, one of the three hosts of No Responsibility Podcast.

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?
I grew up pretty heavily with Marvel. I read comics at a young age, watched the incredible 90’s X-men cartoon. I collected Ultra Flair trading cards, and played any video game that had Spider-man or X-men in it. I even made my own shoddy Deadpool costume using colored tape over a hockey mask. I will always have a deep appreciation of comics and I can thank Marvel largely for that.

2. Moving into Marvel Champions, where and when did you learn about the game?
I heard it about as fast as any other fan that wasn’t directly at Gen Con. It popped up on my Facebook and I scoured for information and sent out an SOS to try and get those promos from anyone at the show.

3. Before playing the game, what was your first impression?
I was excited because I had really hit a great deal of burnout from competitive card games and the idea of a purely co-op LCG in one of my favorite fandoms felt like exactly what I needed. Also having it lean into the comic art meant the world to me.

4. When did you play the game your first time and how did it affect your first impression?
A buddy who actually hooked me up with said promos met me at a local board game cafe and we played a quick match against Rhino. I was in awe of how smooth the game felt, you could make quick decisions and do impactful plays pretty regularly. They way you are allowed to churn through your deck and not have to worry (too much) about losing cards since you can get them back makes the game feel really explosive. It felt pretty much as cool as I hoped it would be, and while some found it to be a little simplistic, I really enjoy a well polished/simple design over a convoluted one any day.

5. Clearly you love the game enough to do content for it, what was the final push that made you want to do content?
Due to the comics angle and the emphasis on lesser-known characters, instead of just pulling from the MCU, I felt like I had a voice that could share some insight. The original plan was to do a smaller show with just Sugi, but I got too excited and shared with Sean early what the plan was and he was very adamant on joining up which I think ultimately made for a much better show. I really wanted to focus on a non-competitive/non-meta approach to talking about a fun game. The point isn’t to make the most optimal builds, it’s to play the Heroes and Aspects that appeal to you and face the challenges bottom up. Sure for some that will be whatever is the most abusive combo or most broken cards are but for me I just want to play fun heroes as much as I can. 

6. Speaking of content, what kind of content do you do for the game and where can people find it?
I am one of the three aforementioned hosts of No Responsibility Podcast, which is found on Spotify, most podcast apps, Facebook, and Discord. We all take turns “passing the mic” so to speak, but in general we aim for approachable fun content with some comic background and light strategy without trying to tell you how to play.

There exists plenty of more hardcore content creators who try to push the game to its limits and I feel that has value and appeals to a certain type of player. I wanted to try and explore a different space that felt more, for lack of a better term, casual. One of the best parts of Marvel is there is most certainly a character that exists for you and as more of them get added to the game, I hope more people can play as one who speaks to them and enjoy the game.

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?
As much as I talk about being less hardcore, that nature still exists inside me and is something I can’t easily “turn off”. That alone has been a learning experience of trying to be better at playing “for fun”. I feel I have made some pretty great strides, and this game allows you to laugh at failure better than most games I have played because in many ways it’s easier to dissect “where it all went wrong” compared to some other games that feel cheap and random. Sometimes you lose to an annoying Advance, but others it was poor minion management or not paying attention to when your/the enemy deck reshuffles or other small moments you can track and do your best to improve.

8. Diving into the game itself, who is your favorite hero to play as, what aspect is your favorite and why?
Ms. Marvel really impressed me with how fun using her Alter-Ego side is compared to most of the cast. She has a lot of tricks and options to make the best of any hand, can build a super hand, and really stretch your deck to its maximum potential. She is the only hero currently I enjoy playing Justice on but I have to say my favorite aspect currently is Protection. It has a great suite of allies, disruption, and I weirdly enjoy defending more than most people. I like the idea that being able to sustain your hero mode is as good as Thwarting and can have a strong impact on certain scenarios.

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 am all about Ultron. He has the most interesting main scheme progression. I like that his drone mechanic messes with your deck. He even teaches you a lot of great timing windows in terms of spawning drones when and when they attack vs him and how that interacts with him. 

In terms of Encounter sets I really dig Electro. Watching the villain deck evaporate spontaneously really adds uncertainty to the game. The way those cards trigger as either encounter cards or boosts is really well designed.

10. How do you prefer to play and if it is not alone, what does your playgroup look like?
I think 3 players is the sweet spot for how the game scales. Most of my games have been 2-player though, I don’t dislike 4-player as much as others since a long slug fest can be kind of fun with the right group but it is REALLY slow for a teaching environment. Alternatively, I am not much at all of a solo player.

11. Do you customize your gaming experience anyway that goes beyond the official rules for the game, if so how and why?
I will admit I dabbled in some simple concepts of my own characters but never fully fleshed them out. It was more of a personal design challenge than anything I actually wanted to put on the table.

I did mess with some extra rules to make the game harder but didn’t like all the bells and whistles it felt like I was adding.

12. As is, how does Marvel Champions stack up to other games you play or have played?
It needs to be said that I haven’t played Arkham Horror nor the Lord of the Rings LCG before answering this, but this is one of my favorite games to hit the table with, granted I am pretty biased towards the source material. I still think the game is very approachable, fairly easy to teach, and punchy enough for new players that it’s a great gateway game in general.

While MC isn’t the first game to implement it, I think the “every card is a resource/generic resource cost” system really stands out and will likely be a system iterated on by other games.

13. Is there anything you would change with how the game currently is? If so how, If not why not?
Mechanically I think the game is already off to a great start, with many avenues open to expand and surprise us. Product-wise, I hope they do a better job at templating card wording and catching these small mistakes making it to print. A little tightening up would go a long way.

14. What was the craziest game you’ve had so far or your favorite memory from playing the game to date?
The game Expert Klaw beat me unconscious in 3 turns, frustrated, as I watched helplessly seeing my friend finish suiting up and wrecking house as Iron Man. I have had other cooler moments, but that genuinely shocked me early in playing the game and got the most visceral reaction from me.

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 think there could be some interesting space in creating alternate rank II, III, and even IV for existing Villains. You could play for a copy of the new card to take home, but even if you couldn’t get your hands on a physical card, you could still implement the rules at home easily without having to have the cards themselves. Explore tougher or more varied ideas that utilize their existing decks and mechanics differently.

16. If you could bring any hero into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
Because I want to believe with all of my being that one of the upcoming heroes is going to be Ant-Man, I think my next pick would certainly be Iron Fist. I could see him switching stances giving him unique stat buffs and altering cards by saying “if in X stance also do Y”. Or possibly paying with specific resources also yielding unique results. Some kind of adaptation and fluidity mechanic I think fits him well in trying to reach a sort of “harmony” and getting huge payoffs when successful.

17. If you could bring any villain into the game, who would they be, what would they do and why?
I got my first wish being Taskmaster in both Black Widow’s pack as a nemesis and the campaign box as a fully fledged Villain. Beyond that, Ghost would be my pick here. His ability to be intangible I think could lead to some interesting gameplay loops of trying to pin him down so you can damage him. Instead of focusing on big hits, he could have a lot of disruption powers, a higher than average Scheme stat, and maybe a long, complex set of schemes that wildly change the encounter.

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?
With the AlwaysAngry moniker, I could see myself as a new condition that forces you to take an attack action at the start of your turn before anything else.

19. Time to head towards the conclusion but we need to touch on the MCU. What is your favorite MCU film and why?
Winter Soldier still stands out as my favorite and most re-watchable. The MCU has a bad habit of killing off their villains, but in that movie we got to keep both Bucky and Zemo for future endeavors. It had a darker, more serious tone that appealed to me more than later entries.

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?
The moniker AlwaysAngryJay stems from dealing with personal demons and rage issues head on. Another reason NRP leans less on being competitive, is to help me address my struggles with taking games too seriously at the cost of others having fun playing with me. It’s been a long road but it has been getting better, and being able to share my experiences with everyone goes a long way.

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

Appreciate being given the opportunity to take part in this. Thank you for all the hard work and content you create as well.

If people would like to find you or your content, where can they find it?

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

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