Ronan's Finally DefeatedMarch 30, 2023 https://blog.arranfrance.com/post/ronans-finally-defeated/ Recently my friend Joel and I have been playing a lot of Marvel Champions, here are a few thought fresh from beating Ronan.
Recently my friend Joel and I have been playing a lot of Marvel Champions, Fantasy Flight Games’ cooperative LCG. Last year we beat the standalone core box villains and played through the Rise of the Red Skull expansion as a campaign, defeating Hydra and saving the White House. At Christmas, I was gifted a lot of new Marvel Champions content including the next expansion box1, The Galaxy’s Most Wanted. So for the last couple of months Joel and I have been working our way through the various Guardians of the Galaxy’s themed scenarios, to save the Galaxy or something2.
The villains in The Galaxy’s Most Wanted expansion have a reputation for being difficult, but I didn’t realise how much of a step-up they’d be. Whilst we’d beaten Rise of the Red skull in our own variant of “expert” mode, we immediately had to drop the difficulty down to standard for this expansion and the further we progressed the more difficult the encounters became.
The first scenario, Drang, only took us a single try but left us surprised at how difficult it was in just standard mode. The second scenario, Infiltrate the Museum felt harder still and took us three tries, and came down to a razor-thin margin of victory on a final “do or die” turn. Nebula, the penultimate scenario, pushed us harder still and ultimately forced us to abandon the expansion’s campaign mode in order to defeat her. Finally, we faced Ronan - who is infamously the hardest villain in the game.
We were unprepared for how difficult Ronan was. It took us six attempts, over three separate sessions of play to finally beat him, and it took us switching our heroes and aspects to be successful. Whilst I’d played Rocket in Aggression aspect up until this point, and Joel had played Justice Gamora we felt like we were really struggling to be successful with them. Rocket in particular seemed to struggle against Ronan. Looking online, I stumbled across some advice from David Sutcliffe’s “Trusting the Rush” post, and we switched to Leadership Star-Lord and Aggression Gamora and focused on rushing Ronan down quickly before he had time to destroy us. It worked!
It was exhilarating to finally beat him, and beat him on “his terms” without house-ruling him to make him easier. Whilst it would’ve been possible to beat him with our previous composition of heroes, switching to Star-Lord was definitely the right decision. Ronan hits far too hard and frequently to have heroes like Rocket that require multiple turns of setup to be effective or even fun to play. Star Lord on the other hand seems to be able to gun for big damage out of the gate and I really enjoyed skating the balance between keeping him alive and doing enough damage to race Ronan to zero.
Despite really enjoying the final show-down, there’s no way Ronan is well-balanced. Cards like Fanaticism and “You Stand Accused!” make it difficult to stay in hero form, whilst the main scheme shoots up in threat far too quickly. Honestly, Ronan’s design provides a lot of credence to the rumours Fantasy Flight Games don’t pay their staff for playtesting.
A lot has already been written about the flaws of Galaxy’s Most Wanted, and I have to say I don’t disagree wholeheartedly - it’s definitely more difficult, and in a punishing way. That said I really enjoyed playing through the scenarios, and I’ve got some more Marvel Champions scenarios waiting to be played!
There isn’t really a “next” box, Marvel Champions is designed to be modular and plug-and-play but up until this point I’ve enjoyed trying everything in order of release. ↩︎
I think we were supposed to be trying to sell/steal/save the power stone. Plot and story telling isn’t really the strength of the game. ↩︎