My first thought when I saw our recent Hulk spoiler was “Hey, isn’t that a card from Arkham Horror the Card game?” In fact it is, down to the name and effect (with slight differences since the games are a little different). It’s even a card in LOTR but the effect is very different. On top of that, another spoiled Hulk card shares a name with a common Arkham Horror card. It makes sense that this would happen because it stands to reason that effects that work in one game can work in another with some tweaking, and also because this kind of Easter egg is fun for the players to discover and probably fun for the designers to include.
So all that got me thinking about all the shared card titles and effects among the various FFG LCGs and I wondered if I compiled them all together if I could make some good guesses about future cards from Marvel Champions. What follows is a survey of card titles shared between the Lord of the Rings and Arkham Horror LCGs from Fantasy Flight Games that don’t yet have a corresponding card in Marvel Champions and some speculation as to what a card with that title could do in this game. Also, I will go through some overall card/deck archetypes that are represented in both LOTR and Arkham and theorize about how they could be incorporated into the MC ruleset.
Shared Card Titles
Unexpected Courage was the first shared card title that jumped out at me when I started playing Arkham because both cards are core set staples for their respective games. They are functionally quite different, however, in that the LOTR version provides action economy while the Arkham version is a meat-and-potatoes, flexible stats buff. The title would somewhat fit into the Marvel theme, except that we already assume heroes will be courageous so it wouldn’t be that Unexpected. Either readying or stat boosting would make sense for a MC Unexpected Courage, but perhaps it would have to target allies to play up the “Unexpected” part?
A Test of Will
Both versions of A Test of Will are focused on cancelling encounter card reveals. MC already has that effect in Spider-Man’s Enhanced Spider-Sense, but there isn’t really a cancel-without-a-drawback available as an aspect card. Perhaps that’s for the best as, at least in the case of LOTR, the ability of A Test of Will is sometimes viewed as too powerful and unconditional. It would be interesting though for an MC A Test of Will to be either an Alter-Ego Action or Action that’s not restricted to a certain form at all just to set it apart from Enhanced Spider-Sense. And the title “A Test of Will” sounds like it would match up with being in the less powerful Alter-Ego form pretty well. I will be very surprised if Spider-Man is the only character to ever have access to that kind of cancellation (the probability-controlling Scarlet Witch comes to mind), so a new signature-version of A Test of Will at least seems likely.
The two versions of Sneak Attack work pretty differently, though they are both event-speed effects that can cause damage that otherwise wasn’t available to you. An exact copy of the LOTR effect could work with MC allies, because whatever consequential damage they incurred during the turn would most likely be irrelevant and it would not allow you also get the free block unless that was the only thing the ally did for you. Seems possibly balanced. Event-based damage like the Arkham version is already extremely common in MC so I’m not sure how you’d make an effect that was thematically “sneaky” unless it could be played in Alter-Ego form or somehow obstructed the villain’s next attack against you.
The LOTR version of Stand Together, though hardly ever played, was intended to allow multiple characters to take a large attack as a single unit. The Arkham version rewarded players for sticking together rather than splitting the party. I would love to see an MC Stand Together that somewhat combined these effects and gave some benefit (like card draw) to two players when one of them defended for the other. Providing an incentive for collaboration would be cool and it just seems like a very Marvel heroes kind of card title. It would be a dead card in true solo but, it’s called Stand Together so I think that can come with the territory.
The LOTR version of Ever Vigilant obviously already exists in MC as Get Ready. The Arkham version provides cost reduction (awesome) and action compression (not really an issue in MC). The card title seems very apt for Marvel heroes, though. An event that makes all of your cards cost less from hand for the rest of the phase would be interesting, as it would only be a net gain if you played at least two more cards and it would be less useful for the big, bomb cards. That kind of effect wouldn’t scream “Ever Vigilant” to me though, so maybe it would make more sense as some kind of Upgrade or Support tutor/cost reducer.
The LOTR version of Resourceful is a straightforward resource generator that is more playable in “sneaky” decks, while the Arkham version gives you some faction-based recursion. Resource generators abound in MC, so I don’t think that’s as likely, unless is was the name for some hero’s signature resource generation card. “Resourceful” in MC sounds like something that would give you access to cards out of your discard pile, so maybe recursion for upgrades or tying it to a keyword like Item would make sense.
Fortune or Fate
Both versions of Fortune or Fate are very different in specifics but they are either pulling back or delaying what could be a game-ending effect. Bringing back a defeated hero may not make much sense in MC since you only have one to play with, but the Arkham effect seems very analogous to something you could do in MC. It could prevent the placing of threat that would complete a Main Scheme. Thematically, this kind of seems like Doctor Strange’s wheelhouse by rewinding time, but those cards have already been spoiled and there’s no Fortune or Fate to be found. It could make sense in some galactic-based cards in the future having to do with the Watchers.
Word of Command
Both version of Word of Command involve magic-using characters being able to search out a card in the deck. The title “Word of Command” and the above effects seem rather fitting for a hero with the Mystic trait (once again, maybe Scarlet Witch?). A very similar version of this card in MC seems likely.
Continued below are some further deck archetypes from LOTR and Arkham that may not share any exact card titles, but they are ideas which could still be explored in Marvel Champions.
Erestor/Patrice – Draw through your deck
One of the early ways LOTR players described the end-of-turn drawing rules from MC to other LOTR players was that “every hero is Erestor.” To some extent that’s true. The downside to extra draw for both of these characters is that you can’t hold on to cards for the next turn. The spoiled Bruce Banner already has this effect too. So the exact versions of these effects wouldn’t make sense to include in MC, since they’re kind of redundant, but there are some other benefits of Patrice/Erestor that would be cool to see. Because of all the discarding, Patrice and Erestor both function great with cards that can be used from or otherwise want to be in the discard pile. So more cards like Lockjaw would be interesting to see, or a hero that cares about what cards are in your discard pile or perhaps what resource icons are there. This could also transfer to MC by having a hero that has some beneficial effect when they run through their deck.
Gimli/Calvin – Stat boosts through damage
This idea is somewhat represented by She-Hulk thanks to Gamma Slam and also her spoiled ally version. Of course the above heroes have repeatable access to bonus stats and the perennial complaint about Gamma Slam is that it’s only a one-of. The stats in LOTR and Arkham though are easier to adjust upwards without breaking the game whereas getting a somewhat permanent +2 to a stat in MC would be great and +3 or more would be unthinkable. An interesting idea would be for someone like Rogue to temporarily increase her ATK by however much damage she takes in an attack.
Legolas/Roland – Advance the game by defeating enemies
Both of the above characters focus on removing obstacles (enemies) while still advancing towards the player’s win condition. Thematically things are a little flipped in MC where the win-condition is dealing damage to an enemy and the non-combat objectives of questing and clue-gathering are more analogous to removing threat. So the Roland/Legolas-type hero in MC would have to deal some damage when they remove threat, which based on the ally version would have to be hero Daredevil. You wouldn’t want the hero to have the exact same text as the ally so maybe it would trigger off of defeating a scheme instead like the card Followed (which probably-not-coincidentally has artwork featuring Daredevil). Alternatively, maybe you could have Daredevil remove threat after defeating an enemy so it’s kind of the inverse of the ally.
Gandalf/Norman – Top card shenanigans
Both of these heroes feature knowledge of the top card of your deck and some reduced or interesting way of playing it from there. In a vacuum these effects aren’t game-breaking but they do combo well with cards that are based on the top card of your deck (ally Hulk from MC comes to mind). It also seems that being an old dude with a big, white beard is a prerequisite for having this ability so the Marvel characters that come to mind are Odin and …maybe Maestro? He’s more of a villain but it would be interesting to give him an ability that helps with Hulk. You could also go with Reed Richards or Hank Pym since they’re more like Gandalf and Norman in that they’re known to be intelligent and research the enemies of their respective worlds.
There are too many LOTR cards to include pictures of them all, but the common mechanical aspect of the Silvan Elves is that they have an effect when they enter play (like Maria Hill or Squirrel Girl) and also cards that bring them back to your hand so that you can play them again. I have mentioned previously how I would like to see the X-Men function this way because their roster is so deep and this would make it feel like you were utilizing the entire X-Men team to defeat a villain. Forcing the allies to leave play somehow after they have their effect could balance having lots of them because you would lose the advantage of blocking attacks with allies.
In both LOTR and Arkham there are ways to complete scenarios without engaging enemies and dealing with combat more than is absolutely necessary. It would be interesting to have a MC hero that wins a scenario with minimal basic attack actions. Shadowcat/Kitty Pryde or Nightcrawler could be a good fit as a sneaky/evasion-based hero that could maybe shuffle minions back into the deck or have multiple ways of cancelling damage.
Player Schemes/Threat-increasing cards
Both LOTR and Arkham include cards that come with a cost that accelerates you towards losing, and this could be represented by a player cards that add threat to the main scheme. As in LOTR, you could also have player cards that are side schemes so that maybe while they are in play or are defeated they give you some nice bonus but also come with an acceleration token or hazard icon. Thematically, they could nicely represent a heroes plan for “building the thingamajig” or “discovering the secret formula” that ultimately leads to them defeating the villain. This might allow a non-combat hero like Professor X who puts schemes into play but deals damage when he completes them, like he’s recruiting more X-Men or something. Also, cards that add threat or side schemes could be a nice way to design heroes that are also sometimes villains like Namor or Magneto or Venom.
There are probably even more card titles from various FFG games that would make a lot of sense in Marvel Champions. I didn’t even consider Netrunner, Star Wars LCG, Game of Thrones, Conquest, etc. So if you have more examples or good ideas along these lines please share them in the comments section here or wherever you found this article shared. As a bonus, I will point out that based on this card, this card, and that card, I would really love to see the name “Sure Gamble” put on a card with artwork featuring Gambit holding a hand of cards.
Thank you for reading.