It’s been a while since we looked at the wonderful world of Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game, far longer than I intended, but the time has come to return to this universe of heroes and villains! When last we left our heroes, they were in the Dark City, the first expansion to the game. Dark City was a “big box” expansion, bringing a grand total of 350 new cards to the game, but today we’ll take a look at the game’s third expansion, the “small box” (100 cards) set, Fantastic Four!
The first “small box” expansion introduced Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four, to Legendary. Needless to say, the Fantastic Four is the new team affiliation for this set, and as a team they work well together. Most Legendary heroes gain no direct benefit when played alongside teammates, but 75% of the Fantastic Four heroes have a card with a team-activated superpower. It’s the Invisible Woman, oddly enough, who doesn’t have such a superpower. And finally, in this expansion’s fifth hero spot we get the unaffiliated Silver Surfer.
What’s in this set – 5 heroes in one new team, 2 Masterminds, 4 Schemes, and 2 Villain Groups.
New Keywords – the Fantastic Four expansion inserts three new keyword into gameplay, including two exclusively for villains and Masterminds.
- Focus – Every time a Focus power appears, it is accompanied by an ability and a number (“Focus 2” or “Focus 6,” for example). If you spend that many Recruits points – including Recruit points on the card itself – you can activate the Focus ability. Note that you can activate a Focus ability multiple times per turn, provided you have enough Recruit points to do so. Focus makes Recruit cards useful in later stages of the game, since you can funnel those points in Focus abilities to improve your hands or directly boost your attack capability.
- Burrow – One of the villainous keywords, Burrow appears on cards for the Subterranea villain group. When you defeat a villain with Burrow, rescue all Bystanders captured by the villain and resolve any Fight abilities as normal, but then look to the Streets city space. If that space is unoccupied, the villain moves there immediately and remains in the city, rather than going into your Victory Pile. If the Streets are occupied, on the other hand, or if you defeated the burrowing villain in the Streets, he has nowhere to run, and you send him to your Victory Pile in triumph.
- Cosmic Threat – The second villainous keyword of the Fantastic Four expansion, a Cosmic Threat represents a villain or Mastermind’s vulnerability to a specific hero class (Strength, Tech, Range, Instincts, and Covert). Once per turn, you may take advantage of an enemy’s Cosmic Threat to reduce his attack value by 3 for every card you play (it doesn’t have to be used to attack the villain) of the same class as the bad guy’s Cosmic Threat. With enough cards of the right class, you could reduce the enemy to a 0 attack, allowing you to simply defeat him without expending any Attack points to do so! The catch? Villains with Cosmic Threats start with large attack values, so you’ll have a tough time fighting them without cards of a relevant class in your hand.
New Masterminds –
- Mole Man – Leading the previously mentioned Subterranea villain group, Mole Man is an easy Mastermind to underestimate. He only has 7 Attack, after all. For every Subterranea villain that escapes, however, he gains +1 Attack. The Burrow keyword present on every member of his villain group helps him in this way by keeping his villains alive longer, and his Master Strike finishes the job by allowing all Subterranea villains in the city to escape, which not only instantly activates all Escape effects on those villains, but also gives each player a Wound if at least one villain escapes this way. Oh, and he gets that +1 for every escaped Subterranea villain, of course. He’s not the game’s most difficult Mastermind by a long shot, but he is certainly not as weak as his initial attack value suggests.
- Galactus – That’s right, you face Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds himself, and he’s every bit as tough as he should be, occupying a place right beside Apocalypse as one of Legendary‘s strongest Masterminds. To start with, he has a massive 20 Attack! Fortunately, he also has Cosmic Threat, so that can be reduced. To continue the good news, that Cosmic Threat is flexible, so you may use a class of your choice to reduce his attack value. However, that’s where the good ends. You can only choose one class per turn to activate Galactus’s Cosmic Threat, and you can only do it once. If you’re able to reduce his attack to 12 on your hit, excellent! But to hit him a second time this turn, you’ll need the full 20. And Galactus’s attack value is not the scary part; his Master Strike is BRUTAL. Starting with the Bridge city space and working his way to the right, every time a Master Strike occurs, Galactus destroys a city space! With a smaller city, villains are more likely to escape. But wait, there’s more! If Galactus destroys the entire city (so, when all five Master Strikes occur), he wins. So, build a hand of a single class as fast as possible, and start pounding on his gigantic, pink helmet! Galactus brings his Heralds of Galactus villain group, who all have 9 or higher Attack, but also have Cosmic Threats. However, those Cosmic Threats are of four different types, so while you may be able to handle a pair of Heralds with a single-class deck, you’ll have to hit for the full value on the others, or hope your teammates can handle them.
New Heroes – Unless Upper Deck releases Future Foundation versions of the Fantastic Four, the quartet of heroes here are the only ones we will likely ever see in the Fantastic Four affiliation, so if you skip this set, you aren’t short-changing any teams. This is especially true as the fifth hero, the Silver Surfer, has no team affiliation.
Human Torch – The hotheaded Human Torch is the heaviest hitter for the Fantastic Four. Yes, even more than Thing (except Thing’s rare). He also brings some support power with his lowest-costing common, which allows you to KO a Wound to gain an extra Recruit point. You’re going to need the ability to purge Wounds, because the Torch’s other common will give you a Wound every time you play it, in exchange for 4 Attack, though. In fact, the lowest number of Attack points the Human Torch’s cards provide is 4, and his uncommon and rare can reach massive numbers depending on whether you can activate their Focus abilities and superpowers.
Invisible Girl – Unlike her teammates, Sue Storm doesn’t have any superpowers that activate from the Fantastic Four affiliation. Even stranger, she is the most self-reliant hero in this set, a status that seems more appropriate for her brother, the Human Torch. If you want to build a deck around the Invisible Woman’s cards, focus primarily on cards with a cost of 4, since one of her commons gains +2 Attack for every card of cost 4 you already played this turn. Fortunately, all but one of the Invisible Woman’s cards cost 4, so if you concentrated solely on recruiting her cards, you should end up with a solid deck. Her rare, her only card that costs more than 4, brings some nice defense to your deck by granting you the ability to negate villains’ Ambush effects, and draw two cards every time you do so.
Mr. Fantastic – The leader of the Fantastic Four is appropriately a master of adaptability. His commons focus on drawing cards, one immediate and one by letting you draw extra cards on your next hand. The latter is the most useful, because you activate that through a Focus 2 ability, meaning that if you throw an even number of Recruit points into it (including the 2 Recruit on the card itself), you can get a large hand on your next turn. And speaking of large hands, his uncommon, One Gigantic Hand, contains a superpower, which, when activated, grants you +1 Attack for every card still in your hand. Use his common to build up a monstrous next hand, then unleash his uncommon at the start of that turn. Yeah, the villains will be hurting big, and that’s no stretch!
Thing – There is a nice contrast yet synergy between Ben Grimm’s commons and his higher-ranking cards. His two commons concentrate on Recruit power, although one of them also possesses a Focus ability that can convert 3 Recruit into 2 Attack. Thing’s uncommon brings some hefty Attack points to the table, with additional support benefits. Not only does it let you rescue a Bystander every time you defeat a villain in the bank, but it also has a Focus 1 ability, allowing you to move villains to adjacent city spaces, ideally to shove them into the bank, where you can defeat them and rescue Bystanders. Then there’s Things rare, which starts out at 5 Attack, but can quickly skyrocket if you build a deck around the Strength class, as it get +3 Attack for every Strength hero you play with it. Imagine: with just two other Strength heroes, Thing’s rare provides a massive 11 Attack, not counting what else those other two cards provide! Yep, it’s clobberin’ time!
Silver Surfer – The Surfer is a very focused individual, at least in Legendary. All but one of his cards have a Focus ability, and all the ones that do supply Recruit points. In fact, none of his cards give you Attack points directly. Through his Focus abilities, however, you can gain a large amount of fighting capability. His uncommon is the key, letting you Focus 9 Recruit points to get an equal number of Attack points. So, to take full advantage of the Silver Surfer’s cards, build your deck with cards that provide a large amount of Recruit, and snatch up his rare if you can, which will double the number of Recruit points you have this turn. The Silver Surfer is an excellent companion to Thor, since both are Recruit-heavy, and obtaining either of their rares will turn your Recruit deck into an offensive juggernaut.
The Fantastic Four expansion brings a lot to Legendary, but sadly it is out of print due to the bad blood between Marvel and 20th Century Fox (who owns the film rights to the Fantastic Four). The set is unlikely to be reprinted until those issues are worked out. It is still possible to get a copy of the expansion from second-hand sources in the meantime, but it is insanely expensive. If, however, you’re lucky enough to find it on Ebay, Amazon, or wherever for a decent price, buy it! It’s worth adding to your Legendary collection, if only for the challenge of Galactus, or to pair Thing with the Hulk for a truly memorable strong-arm squad.
Next, we’ll Paint the Town Red as Spiderman finally gets the teammates he was promised in the Legendary base game!
Also, the newest expansion, a “small box” set focused on the one and only Star Spangled Man, is due to hit stores any day now, and based on the previews it appears to be a wonderful addition to the game!