Marvel Legendary: Spider-Man Homecoming
On October 18, 2017, Upper Deck released the latest small box expansion, Marvel Legendary: Spider-Man Homecoming. This is the 14th expansion in the Legendary family, which is nearing its five year anniversary of the popular Marvel Legendary deck building game.
From the Upper Deck blog:
Marvel’s Spider-Man Homecoming is set directly after the events of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War in which Peter Parker tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter ego Spider-Man. Peter receives help and guidance from not only his friends and family but also his mentor Tony Stark.
The expansion includes 100 playable cards. There are 5 new heroes (Tony Stark, Peter’s Allies, Peter Parker – Homecoming, High-Tech Spider-Man, and Happy Hogan); 2 new Villain groups (Adrian Toomes and Vulture); and 2 new Masterminds (Salvagers and Vulture Tech). Players also have an advanced option for each Mastermind, with the double sided cards that can be flipped over for a more difficult Epic Mastermind. There are also 4 new schemes that play out scenarios from the Spider-Man Homecoming movie: Explosion at the Washington Monument, Ferry Disaster, Distract the Hero, and Scavenge Alien Weaponry.
As with all Marvel Legendary expansions, the first print run includes a bonus promo card. This pack has a special bystander, “Damage Control”, which is bystander Anne Marie Hoag. Hoag is the director of the Department of Damage Control who was instructed by Tony Stark to handle all clean up operations which involved the Avengers or their allies.
As with every new Legendary expansion, new keywords are introduced: Danger Sense, Coordinate, and Striker.
The Danger Sense keyword allows for players to reveal from 1 up to 4 of the top cards of the villain deck and get an attack point for each villain. Then cards are put back on the deck in any order the player chooses. This action is representative of Spider-Man’s ability to detect danger and evade it. Masterminds also may have the Danger Sense ability. If a villain is revealed when the top cards are flipped, that villain enters the city.
The keyword Coordinate is not new to Legendary gameplay. It was first used in the Legendary Encounters series of games. This ability allows for you to let another player “borrow” your card during their turn. The card is discarded from your hand, the player plays a copy of that discarded card, and then you draw another card from your supply to replace it. Only one card can be coordinated to a player from each other player per turn, but multiple players can each coordinate one card, potentially building a huge attack. When playing a coordinated card, all of the card is included – recruit points, attack points, special abilities, color, and class. During solo play, once per turn, you may discard a card with Coordinate to draw a card. Players also have the ability to decline a Coordinate card (if so, then the declined card is not discarded), and Coordinate can not be used in the Final Showdown at the end of the game.
The new Striker keyword not only appears on some of the Heroes cards, but also the Villains and Masterminds cards as well. When Striker appears on a Villain or a Mastermind card, that bad guy gets stronger by gaining +1 Attack for each Master Strike in the KO pile and/or stacked next to the Mastermind. “Double Striker” or “Triple Striker” are even stronger, as they add +2 Attack or +3 Attack per Strike.
If Striker appears on a Hero card, the Striker ability gives you additional Attack per Master Strike, in the same manner.
For the first time, Upper Deck chose to bring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by using images from the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie as opposed to comic book art as in all of the previous iterations of Marvel Legendary and it’s expansions. Marvel Legendary enthusiasts have expressed their disdain for this change, with their preferences leaning towards the art over the movie stills.
There was an outcry from the Legendary-playing community, even invoking a response from Jason Brenner, Brand Manager of Upper Deck, who posted this response on a thread on Board Game Geek:
…the cards feature images from the film and are not original art. I also want to point out that this was in no way a decision to save money or to marginalize gamers in any way.
This was an experiment to try and keep things fresh after 16 expansions in Legendary. We were not told we had to do this by anyone, we decided that this was a good time to try something different but it is in no way the “New Direction” for Legendary. We tried it, if you like it, great, if not, we likely won’t do it again.
Since the release of Dark City in 2013, it should be pretty clear by now that we listen to our community. Everyone, please back away from the ledge.
As a diehard Marvel Legendary fan, I knew that I would purchase this expansion to round out my collection, no matter what the reviews were. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the use of movie images in the months leading up to the release. Personally, this change does not influence my purchase or on my gameplay. I was already use to seeing movie images over artwork on Legendary cards after playing Legendary: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has screen caps from the TV series.
The Spider-Man cards in previous versions of Marvel Legendary have always been some of my most-played cards. The low recruiting cost and the valuable ability of drawing other low cost cards from your deck can be a strong defense tactic. It will be interesting to test these new versions in various scenarios and paired with other heroes in my arsenal.