Marvel Champions Rankings, Issue #1: Hero Obligations

Written by CaptainAmeriDave


There’s been a lot said about the Obligation cards in Marvel Champions. The biggest complaint of these cards is how ‘same-y’ they can feel. That’s a fair criticism as almost of all of them share the same option on the first half of the card: you have the option of flipping to alter-ego form, then if you do (or are already there) you can remove your obligation from the game by exhausting. It’s the second half of the card that offers a unique option. 

Despite the similar feeling that these cards share, I still find myself getting into the theme of the task with which the hero is faced. And while the cards don’t utilize different mechanics each time, the theme still makes sense. The hero must choose between pausing their assault on the villain to take care of a problem they can only solve in their personal lives vs. ignoring that responsibility and suffering the consequences that come along with that.

That being said, I’m going to rank the Obligations in Marvel Champions according to the challenges they bring to their hero while also taking a look at the theme represented for their hero. Let’s rock ‘n roll.

#17: Physical Toll – Doctor Strange

Physical Toll

Challenge: Physical Toll is rare because it’s not a one and done obligation. It sticks on you until it’s taken effect. But, that’s about all it does. This one makes the bottom of the list because Doctor Strange can all but ignore it while he plays cards from his Invocation Deck.

Theme: The idea of Doctor Strange being so taxed he has to expend himself further by paying extra resources plays well here. But it would make more sense if it affected his most powerful spells as well.

#16: Burn Notice – Black Widow

Burn Notice

Challenge: Burn Notice likely won’t be a big struggle for Black Widow to overcome. You only lose one preparation and she already cycles through those very quickly. And if the surge comes into play, you’ve got bigger problems than this card.

Theme: I’m not sure it makes sense that a Burn Notice would make Black Widow less prepared, if anything, I think it would place a lock on her preparations more like Doctor Strange’s obligation does.

#15: Business Problems – Iron Man

Business Problems

Challenge: This obligation will slow Iron Man down a little, but not much and just for a turn. The fact that he still has his entire hand to use means he should still have some good options available.

Theme: Business Problems would definitely be distracting for Stark. And he would probably try to handle them immediately, so he’d be distracted from using his armor. It works.

#14: Family Emergency – Captain Marvel

Family Emergency

Challenge: Stunned and Surge. They’re starting to pile on effects now. Stunned isn’t that bad for Captain Marvel. She doesn’t have a ready mechanic in her kit, but she also doesn’t heavily rely on her basic abilities. Her card draw should give you plenty of options to make use of your turn. The Surge is another encounter card, could be bad, could be ok.

Theme: I’m assuming she would be distracted in this situation. She gets caught off guard and hit a second time. Come on Carol, get your game face on.

#13: Home By Dawn – Ms. Marvel

Home by Dawn

Challenge: Now things are getting personal. Losing a persona really undercuts what Kamala is trying to do. This can really hurt your momentum. It would probably be better if you didn’t have any out, so you could just take the Surge.

Theme: Losing the trust and help she gets from her support system when she gets caught sneaking in really puts you in Ms. Marvel’s shoes 😉

#12: Affairs of State – Black Panther

Affairs of State

Challenge: Black Panther probably relies on his upgrades more than Ms. Marvel does her supports. Losing these can devastate your game. 

Theme: Much like Captain Marvel, I’m assuming a distraction in battle would cause him to take some damage to his suit. Politics.

#11: Man Out Of Time – Captain America

Man Out of Time

Challenge: Half your hand rounded down is two cards in Hero form. That’s manageable if you can choose what they are, but it still eats up a turn for you. Luckily, Cap can un-exhaust to get some extra mileage.

Theme: My thought is that he’s pining for Peggy too much and he’s just not well prepared. I mean he’s likely going to miss the opportunity to throw that shield while he’s staring at the pic in his watch.

#10: Care For Cassie – Ant-Man

Care for Cassie

Challenge: Losing a card AND being unable to change form. If that catches you at the wrong time, it could be a game ender.

Theme: You’ve got to take care of your kids, dude! You’re lucky that’s all you lost.

#9: Eviction Notice – Spider-Man

Eviction Notice

Challenge: I hate random discard. It’s the bane of my existence. It’s always the card you want to keep! Then, the Surge is just kicking you while you’re down.

Theme: Random discard is probably the in-game equivalent of being kicked out of your apartment, so I’m down with the theme here.

#8: Red Dreams – Wasp

Red Dreams

Challenge: Considering you’re probably building around this every game, this could be half your hand or worse. And adding an additional damage is brutal.

Theme: Wasp’s mental faculties being taxed by her nightmares fits the theme well. I’m not sure how the damage fits in though.

#7: Need For Speed – Quicksilver

Need for Speed

Challenge: This one is particularly bad for Quicksilver, considering how much he relies on his basic abilities. If you don’t have other tools at your disposal, your next turn is pretty much worthless.

Theme: Talk about slowing you down.

#6: Criminal Past – Hawkeye

Criminal Past

Challenge: Much like Quicksilver, Hawkeye really gets taken out of the fight with this one. Also, you’re going to have to flip anyway to get the bow back, which could end up eating two turns in some cases.

Theme: Here’s a PSA for you: If you get arrested, they’re probably going to confiscate all your cool superhero stuff.

#5: Uncertain Loyalties – Spider-Woman

Uncertain Loyalties

Challenge: I hope you’re not playing solo, cause this just got real. 3 threat can be a huge jump in the wrong situation.

Theme: This one isn’t the most thematic, but it makes sense. Spider-Woman being unwilling to show her true colors could definitely cause the situation to escalate.

#4: Odin’s Anger – Thor

Odin's Anger

Challenge: Losing Mjolnir is more of a nuisance for Thor than anything, but being stunned as Thor can suck all the wind out of your game. It can feel like it takes forever to get out of that hole.

Theme: This may be one of the most thematic obligations. It represents Thor being cast out of Asgard, losing his hammer, and his powers (as represented by the stun). It’s hard to deal with, but fun thematically.

#3: Legal Work – She-Hulk

Legal Work

Challenge: This is definitely the most enduring effect of the obligations. While not particularly brutal at first, this will only add up over time and cause She-Hulk to flip more often in the future as she doesn’t have good thwarting options in Hero mode.

Theme: Crime should be fought on capitol hill and on the streets. If you can’t do both, the scales are going to tip in the villain’s favor.

#2: Slipping Sanity – Scarlet Witch

Challenge: These next two are the most unique obligations and the only ones that carry three boost icons. Scarlet Witch’s is unique because she has TWO obligations. It’s effect is only going to add to the already escalating problem of flying through the encounter deck. Add the fact that you have two chances of hitting this on each deck pass, that some villains may have a ton of star icons, and the threat could easily spiral out of control.

Theme: Discarding those cards kind of makes you feel powerful while also working against you. Every time I see this card, I want to say: “No more mutants!”

#1: Inner Demons – Hulk

Inner Demons

Challenge: Hulk’s obligation may be simultaneously the toughest and the most thematic. Losing 2 cards as Banner is tough, because he already struggles with his hand size. And exhausting Hulk not only keeps you from your basic power, but can also steal the opportunity to use Hulk Smash.

Theme: In terms of the card’s unique differences, you’re forced to change form and you can never get rid of the curse of the Hulk. As far as the effects, the Banner one makes more sense as your dealing with the repercussions of being the Hulk. But it might of made more sense if ending on Hulk made you attack everyone or deal a bunch of damage to the villain (that would’ve been cool!).


I enjoy these cards. They bring a little extra theme to the game and remind us that our heroes are still ordinary people. What are your favorite or most dreaded obligations? Have any cool ideas for upcoming heroes? Let us know!

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4 thoughts on “Marvel Champions Rankings, Issue #1: Hero Obligations”

  1. Doctor Stranges Invocations are Events. They’re not affected by the Obligation due to the fact that you use his hero side ability “Spell Mastery” or his event “Master of the Mystic Arts” to resolve them as opposed to playing them.


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