Tying in with this year’s release of the MCU film, Captain America: Civil War, Upper Deck has designed a big box expansion for Legendary revolving around the event. The expansion follows the version from the comics predominately, but there is certainly a little movie influence, such as the inclusion of Baron Helmut Zemo as a Mastermind and the Vision as a hero. This set tells the story through the eyes of Captain America’s anti-registration heroes, featuring the pro-registration side as the villains and Masterminds. In addition to the new heroes and villains, however, this set includes a number of new gameplay additions, rivaling the complexity of Secret Wars: Volume 1. Sidekicks make a return, but this time in special versions. A new hero mechanic, “Divided” cards, add interesting options to the battlefield, and new types of Wounds make an appearance in the game for the first time.
For previous Legendary sets –
What’s in this set – 16 new heroes with one new team, 5 new Masterminds, 8 Schemes, 7 Villain Groups and 2 Henchmen Villain Groups, 2 new types of Bystander (7 cards total), 15 special Sidekicks, and 15 Grievous Wounds. A grand total of 370 cards, 20 more than the standard big box set!
Divided Cards – One of the major new features of this set, the Divided mechanic involves two fully-functional mini-cards side by side on a single card. Each of the mini-cards provides advantages distinct from its counterpart, including different classes and sometimes different teams. When you play a Divided card, you get to choose which of side you want to use. At that point, only the side you chose exists, and the other mini-card does not count at all, not even to activate superpowers. So, one side might give you Recruit points, and the other side Attack points. If you decide to play the Attack side, you do not gain the Recruit points. However, if the card is still in your hand, then you are considered to have both sides as a single card, so Divided cards are essentially multi-class heroes, and sometimes multi-team cards. If a Divided card includes two different heroes, it counts as both heroes, too, but it is always one card, never two. When recruiting a Divided card, keep in mind that while both mini-cards might display a cost (it will always be the same printed on each side), you do not add those costs together; only pay the cost that is printed. Of course, since the ability to choose between two separate benefits is valuable in and of itself, each side of a Divided card usually provides less advantages than the card’s cost would normally suggest. Every hero in Civil War has at least one Divided card, and two of the hero sets are devoted entirely to this mechanic.
New Keywords –
- Fortify – An effect (usually an Escape or Ambush) may cause a villain card to move to a location or deck, activating a special condition listed with the card’s Fortify text. For as long as that villain is Fortifying, the effect applies. Players may attack that Villain like any other, and defeating it ends the Fortify effect. Two villains cannot Fortify the same location at the same time (unless a card says otherwise), so if another villain is already there, ignore the second villain’s Fortify text.
- Phasing – You may swap a Phasing hero in your hand with the top card of your deck. This does not count as playing or drawing a card. (And hopefully, the addition of this keyword means that main universe Kitty Pryde is not too far down the road!)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Clearance – To fight a villain with this keyword, you must discard a S.H.I.E.L.D. hero before you can spend attack points to challenge the villain.
- Size-Changing – Appearing on both heroes and villains, this keyword is always followed by a class icon. A Size-Changing villain will cost two fewer Attack point on your turn if you play a hero with the appropriate class. Likewise, a hero in the HQ will cost two fewer Recruit if you’ve played a hero of the appropriate class. If the Size-Changing hero in the HQ is Divided, you may use either side to reduce his cost, but not both sides.
In addition to the new keywords, Bribe makes a reappearance from Dark City.
New Bystanders –
- Aspiring Hero – When you rescue this Bystander, you gain a Sidekick.
- Comic Shop Keeper – When you rescue this Bystander, you get to look at the top three cards of the Hero Deck, selecting one of those heroes with a cost of 3 or less, and giving it to any player, including yourself.
Special Sidekicks – Secret Wars: Volume 1 introduced Sidekicks to Legendary, but they were all of a single type: a stack of 2-cost heroes that when played allowed you to draw two cards. To this Sidekick stack, Civil War adds the Pet Avengers. Remaining as 2-cost heroes, the Pet Avengers bring various benefits, distinct from the original Sidekicks and from each other. Some might provide Attack or Recruit, and some might grant utility abilities. All, however, have a class and the Avengers affiliation, and are returned to the Sidekick stack once used (on the bottom of the stack, from now on). Players are still restricted to recruiting only one Sidekick per turn, though they may acquire any amount from other sources. If you have the original Sidekicks, you are supposed to shuffle all the Sidekicks together face down from now on, but you could house-rule them into two separate stacks – Pet Avengers and basic Sidekicks – if you want more control over which you recruit.
Grievous Wounds – Wounds have been clogging up our decks since the base game, and now we have more serious ones to worry about! Grievous Wounds are the same as regular Wounds in all ways except the Healing effect, requiring specific conditions or imposing
penalties in order to dispose of them through Healing. They can be KOed as normal, on the other hand, and their Healing effects do not prevent you from defeating villains or recruiting heroes. You can also use the Healing effect of one of the regular Wounds to dispose of all Wounds in your hand, including Grievous Wounds, without triggering the penalties from the Grievous Wounds. Ultimately, these new Wounds are not as bad as they might seem at first glance, unless you happen to get a handful of them and realize that you can’t do a simple purge to clear them out. From now on, all Wounds will be shuffled together face down, so you’ll never know which type of Wound you’re going to get.
New Masterminds –
- Authoritarian Iron Man – Weighing in at a impressive 12 Attack, Authoritarian Iron Man’s true power comes from his Master Strike, which Fortifies city spaces, granting +3 to villains who enter that space, and protecting Iron Man from all attacks while one of those Fortified city spaces is occupied. If you’re unfortunate enough to get all five Master Strikes, then you’ll have to ensure that the city is completely devoid of adversaries before you can challenge Iron Man himself. He leads a group of pro-registration characters comprising the Superhuman Registration Act.
- Baron Helmut Zemo – Sometimes Masterminds get stronger as the game progresses, but Helmut Zemo gets weaker instead. For every villain in your Victory Pile, Zemo gets -1 Attack. A player who has had a lot of success in battling villains throughout the game will have a much easier time fighting Zemo. His Master Strike counters his vulnerability, forcing players to KO villains from their Victory Piles. He leads the Thunderbolts.
- Maria Hill, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Her Attack value places her among the lower end for Masterminds, but Maria Hill has various defenses and bodyguards to prevent her from being a pushover. She uses as variation of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Clearance keyword, requiring two S.H.I.E.L.D. discards instead of one. Her Master Strike sends two S.H.I.E.L.D. Officers into the city as recruitable villains, and she cannot be fought if any Officers or members of her Villain Group, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Elite, are in the city.
- Misty Knight – The simplest Mastermind in Civil War, Misty Knight has a strength of 14 Attack, but can also be Bribed. Her Master Strike requires each player to reveal four different cards with Recruit icons or gain a Wound. Not a particularly difficult Mastermind, especially since her Villain Group, the Heroes for Hire, can also be Bribed.
- Ragnarok – His base of 6 Attack is highly deceiving, since he can never have less than 8 Attack, and likely at least 10. Ragnarok gets +2 Attack for each hero class in the HQ, so heroes that can manipulate the HQ are valuable allies against him. His Master Strike requires each player to choose between the zero-cost and non-zero-cost heroes in his hand, and then discard all heroes of the cost chosen. He leads the Registration Enforcers.
New Villain Groups –
Civil War contains seven villain groups:
- CSA Special Marshals – A bit chaotic of a group, some of whose Attack values can rise or fall depending on what a player has accomplished. Penance, for instance, starts at a pathetic 2 Attack, but can become stronger than the Mastermind if you’ve defeated several villains already.
- Great Lakes Avengers – A group of paradoxical extremes, where the two stronger characters can become easier through Size-Changing effects, and the weaker two have defensive mechanics that make them hard to defeat.
- Heroes for Hire – In general the characters of this group have high Attack values, but they all have the Bribe keyword as well, significantly reducing their difficulty.
- Registration Enforcers – A moderate group, half of them with beneficial Fight effects, and the other half with potentially harmful Fight effects.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Elite – Every character in this group possesses the S.H.I.E.L.D. Clearance keyword, and most of them bring S.H.I.E.L.D. Officers into the city as villains through one means or another. The lower two characters are very weak, while the higher two are of a more moderate difficulty.
- Superhuman Registration Act – The most difficult group in Civil War, all members of this group make use of the Fortify keyword, most through Escape effects, but one, Iron Spider, skips the city entirely in order to Fortify a player’s deck, forcing that player to draw fewer cards.
- Thunderbolts – Through a combination of Fight and Escape effects, the Thunderbolts can inflict Wounds on multiple players at once, increasing their otherwise moderate strength.
The set also contains two henchmen groups:
- Cape-Killers – Their S.H.I.E.L.D. Clearance keyword makes them slightly stronger
than most henchmen, but their fight effect makes up for that, by allowing you to KO a card of your choice from your discard pile.
- Mandroids – Although they start at a 2 Attack, the Mandroids gain +1 Attack for every additional Mandroid in your Victory Pile, so players may want to share the joy of punching these guys in the face as equally as possible, just to keep them at manageable numbers for everyone.
New Heroes – There are many teams and organizations in the Marvel universe, but none so significant as the Avengers and the X-Men. The X-Men have certainly been well-represented in Legendary, with six in the base game and thirteen since. The Avengers, however, have seen far less love, with six in the base game and only five since… until now! Civil War might as well be called the Avengers Big Box Expansion, since thirteen of its sixteen heroes are outright Avengers, and two of the remaining three are Divided, with the Avengers as one of the teams on each card. Even the new Sidekicks belong to the team! The Marvel Knights, Spider Friends, and X-Men affiliations appear on Divided cards scattered throughout the various heroes in this set, and the final hero of Civil War introduces a brand new team, the New Warriors.
Captain America, Secret Avenger – Have you ever wanted to make a Hero Deck using only Steve Rogers? Well, now you can! Combine the base game’s Captain America with the dino-riding version from Secret Wars: Volume 2 and the World War II and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. variations from the Captain America 75th Anniversary set, and then just throw in Civil War‘s SecretCap, and you’re good to go! SecretCap’s first common delivers good value for a low cost, using the Captain’s traditional “rainbow deck” mechanic to give you 1 Recruit for every hero class you have. A slight downgrade from the base game’s version of this card, which triggered from colors rather than classes, but this SecretCap card comes at a reduced cost. The second common is a Divided card, sharing the spotlight with his fellow Avenger, Battlestar. The Captain America side gains a Sidekick, while the Battlestar side provides 2 Attack. SecretCap’s uncommon can deliver some truly mighty power if you’ve built your deck with Avenger’s heroes, as it gains 1 Attack for every Avenger and Sidekick you’ve played this turn. His rare also profits from an Avengers/Sidekicks deck, by setting all such heroes you play after it aside, and then placing them on the bottom of your deck at the end of your turn. This means that not only will you draw those Avengers heroes again sooner, but you also get to keep any Sidekicks you played, rather than returning them to the Sidekicks stack. It’s hard to rival the base game Captain America, but SecretCap is definitely worthy competition, quite possibly the best version of Steve Rogers since the original.
Daredevil – With Danny Rand (Iron Fist) in the Daredevil costume, this version of the hero combines elements of the Dark City Daredevil with Iron Fist from the same expansion, focusing more on the Daredevil mechanic of guessing the cost of cards in your deck. Dare-Fist, however, handles the mechanic uniquely, and quite possibly in a superior manner. His first common allows you to look at two cards from your deck, draw one, then put the other card back on top. This means that you should know the cost of the top card of your deck, letting you accurately “guess” the cost when you play his second common, which provides you with a Sidekick if you “guessed” correctly. Dare-Fist’s uncommon is his Divided card, featuring him as Daredevil on one side and Iron Fist on the other. As Daredevil, he supplies Recruit points and lets you put the next hero you recruit on the top of your deck, causing you to draw the hero sooner, and giving you another way to accurately “guess” the top card’s cost, should you not have one of his first commons on hand. The Iron Fist side uses the mechanics of the Dark City version of Iron Fist, providing 1 Attack for every different hero cost you have. His rare also benefits from different costs with its team-activated superhero, letting you discard the top two cards of your deck, gaining two effects: you get +2 Attack, and then you may repeat the process until you draw two cards with the same cost! Dare-Fist pairs well with his Dark City counterparts, in addition to Gambit and any hero with Phasing.
Falcon – Prior to Falcon, only two heroes in Legendary could consistently manipulate the HQ: Professor X and Apocalyptic Kitty Pryde. Falcon’s first common lets you put a hero in the HQ on the bottom of the Hero Deck, replacing it immediately and possibly gaining extra Recruit through a tech superhero. His uncommon and rare rely on the heroes in the HQ for extra Attack points, the uncommon gaining +1 Attack for every hero in the HQ with an Attack icon, and the rare copying the Attack of a hero in the HQ and adding it to the 4 it already provides. Falcon’s Divided second common grants 2 Attack plus a Sidekick if a range superpower is activated on one side, and the other side features a copy of the Pet Avenger, Redwing, permitting you to look at three cards from your deck, and drawing any one of them. With high Attack in his upper-end cards and useful Hero and personal deck manipulation among his commons, Falcon is a solid character in either support or as the leading man in your deck. Pair him with range and tech heroes, and with Avengers.
Goliath – Although initially one of the highest-costing heroes in the entirety of Legendary, Goliath uses Size-Changing effects on all of his cards, potentially reducing his cards to more easily managed numbers, including his rare, which can be recruited for only 6 cost if you can activate the Size-Changing effect. His Divided first common provides a simple choice of 2 Recruit or 2 Attack, but you’ll need the tech class of the Recruit side to activate the superpower on his second common, which draws a card. Goliath’s uncommon grants 3 Attack up front, plus 1 Attack for every hero you’ve played that costs 4 or more, which would include all of Goliath’s cards, since the Size-Changing does not actually alter the printed cost. This also helps his rare, which gains Attack equal to the printed cost of any one hero you’ve played this turn. Building to Goliath may be expensive at first, but once you’ve acquired a few of his cards his Size-Changing will make him as easy or easier than other heroes, while retaining some strong benefits. He synergizes with Stature, who uses the same strength and tech classes and Size-Changing abilities, and has nearly-equal high costs.
Hercules – A few heroes are built around rescuing Bystanders, like Black Widow and Jean Grey. Hercules counts among such heroes. His second common lets you rescue a Bystander every time you defeat a Villain, although you will have to activate an instincts superpower first. This common is Hercules’s only instincts card, however, so you will need multiples of it, or consider recruiting additional instincts heroes. His rare rescues a Bystander by default, and then grants 1 Attack for every Bystander in your Victory Pile, and 1 Recruit for the same through a team-activated superpower. Hercules’s other cards provide additional power or utility. His Divided first common grants 3 Attack on one side, at the cost of discarding a card, and on the other side features Amadeus Cho, who lets you draw a card. Finally, Hercules’s uncommon brings 3 Recruit and a strength superpower, which helps you get rid of those pesky S.H.I.E.L.D. starter heroes. If you’re lucky enough to get his rare, you’ll want to focus on supplementing Hercules with cards that rescue Bystanders, such as heroes with Savior abilities. Otherwise, you may want to use him as support, particularly in decks that focus on the strength or instincts classes.
Hulking – Combining skills from Hulk with one from Rogue, Hulkling also leans heavily on Shape-Shifting. Every single one of his cards has either a strength or covert Shape-Shifting keyword, so his initially high cost can drop to reasonable numbers if you have the right cards in hand. His Divided first common strikes a nice balance between the early and late game, with one side providing high Recruit at the cost of receiving a Wound, and the other side granting Attack. With his second common you get 2 Attack up front, plus an additional point for KOing a Wound from your hand or discard pile, a later game synergy with the Recruit side of his Divided card. Hulking’s uncommon is nearly a complete copy of Rogue’s, letting you copy another card that you’ve already played, gaining all benefits of that card as if you’d played it twice. His rare is simple yet effective, like the Hulk’s. It grants 4 Attack up front, with 4 more through a covert superpower. A very straightforward skill set, Hulking is best if you build a deck of strength and covert heroes and aren’t afraid to take a few Wounds. Either version of Colossus would make a good partner, although you’d have to decide whether to use Colossus’s defense against Wounds or to accept the Wounds to power Hulking’s second common.
Luke Cage – In some ways similar to Dark City’s version of Colossus, Luke Cage combines power and defense. You may discard his second common to defend any player from taking a Wound, drawing two cards in compensation. This pairs perfectly with his Divided first common, which supplies 2 Attack on one side, or 3 Attack and a Wound on the second side, which features Jessica Jones. Playing the Jessica Jones side is the key not only to Luke’s second common, but his uncommon as well. The uncommon possesses an instincts superpower, which Jessica Jones can activate. The superpower lets you look at the top three cards of your deck, choosing to either discard them all or put them back in any order you wish, either way an attempt to get stronger cards on the top of your deck. The rare brings a truly unique ability: the only Fortify effect on a hero card. The rare can Fortify the Wound stack until the start of your next turn, preventing all players from taking Wounds while it is there. With his strength and instincts classes, and his ability to avoid or benefit from Wounds, Luke Cage pairs well with the Hulk. He can fit in with just about anyone, although you’ll want instincts heroes for his uncommon and Avengers for his rare.
Patriot – Leader of the Young Avengers, Patriot involves a new version of a mechanic employed by Captain America, Iron Fist, and Captain Britain, gaining additional Attack and Recruit based on a certain variety. For Captain America, it’s been colors or classes. For Iron Fist, costs, and for Captain Britain, teams. Patriot uses heroes names. His first common grants 1 Recruit for every non-S.H.I.E.L.D. hero name you have represented among your cards. The second common does the same thing, but with Attack instead of Recruit. His uncommon is Divided, one side granting up to 4 Attack via a covert superpower, and the other side, featuring Kate Bishop, providing 3 Recruit. The inclusion of Kate Bishop on the uncommon helps improve both commons while it’s in your hand, as it counts as a separate hero name. It also benefits the rare, which permits you to look at the top three cards of your deck, drawing all three if you revealed at least three different hero names. Patriot can fill a support role, but is a bit difficult to build around, as getting the most out of his abilities necessitates recruiting from a variety of different heroes. On the other hand, if you otherwise design a deck around something generic, such as focusing on a single team or class (covert wouldn’t be a bad choice for Patriot), and pull from a wide number of heroes to build that deck, then Patriot might work very well for you.
Peter Parker – The third version of Spider-Man, Peter Parker uses the 2-cost mechanic associated with the Spider Friends, but boasts the Avengers affiliation. Yet, since none of the three versions involve team-based superpowers, they are all easily compatible. Peter Parker’s mechanics fittingly revolve around a choice. His first and second commons possess tech and instincts superpowers, respectively, and you can find both triggers on his Divided uncommon, which means that without additional cards, you must decide which class you want. The tech-classed Peter Parker side of his uncommon grants 1 Attack and instantly rescues a Bystander, while the other side introduces a new hero into Legendary. Aunt May. No, seriously. Aunt May is now a Legendary hero; your argument is invalid. An instincts-classed hero, Aunt May provides 1 Recruit, and lets you KO a Wound from your hand or discard pile. You can use the tech side of the uncommon to activate the superpower on Peter’s first common, which allows you to draw the top card of your deck if it costs 2 or less (the typical Spider Friends ability). The common also provides 1 Attack and Recruit, making it a good acquisition for the cost, even without the superpower. His second common also has a high value for the cost, granting 1 Attack and a Sidekick. If you activate the instincts superpower – by using the Aunt May side of the uncommon, for instance – you may place the Sidekick on top of your deck. Ideally, you want the ability to use the superpowers of both commons in a single turn, since that would allow you to put a Sidekick on top of your deck and draw it on the same turn. Peter’s rare brings 2 Attack up front, and additional Attack for every extra card you’ve drawn during your turn, locked behind an instincts superpower. Team Peter Parker with other hero cards costing 2 or less, concentrating specifically on the instincts and tech classes, and on heroes who draw cards. Spider-Gwen’s commons are excellent for this, along with a common and uncommon from the base game Spider-Man.
Stature – Daughter of the second Ant-Man, Cassie Lang trains as one of the Young Avengers, inheriting her father’s skill set. Her first common is unique in Legendary as the only hero card that you can potentially recruit without spending a single Recruit point. It starts at a cost of 2, but with a Size-Changing effect can cost nothing, allowing you to simply snag it and any other available copies of it for free. The common lets you draw a card by default, with a tech-activated superpower supplying 1 Attack, a somewhat odd feature since the only other tech card Stature has is the second half of her Divided second common, featuring Iron Lad and providing Recruit points. The other side of the card supplies Attack, plus a strength-activated superpower that insta-kills a villain with 3 or less Attack, something that her uncommon takes advantage of, gaining +1 Attack for every villain in your Victory Pile with 3 or less Attack. Her rare possesses a superpower that will wipe out all villains with Attack values of 4 or less, improving her uncommon’s potential. Though a very good hero set, Stature will likely require some aid from other tech and strength heroes, with an emphasis on strength to activate her more advantageous superpowers. Goliath makes an excellent partner, as would Beast from Secret Wars: Volume 2.
Tigra – Although her cards do work together, Tigra will need to be paired with instincts heroes in order to get the most out of her abilities. Her uncommon is a good starting point to play, as it requires no activations. When played it grants 2 Attack, but the card’s best feature is a defensive ability that can be used even on another player’s turn. When a villain would Ambush, you may discard Tigra’s uncommon to cancel the effect, drawing two cards in compensation. Her second common also grants 2 Attack, and allows you to look at the top card of your deck and then either discard it or put it back. If you activate a Critical Strike superpower requiring two instincts heroes, you may KO the revealed card instead. You’ll need other instincts heroes if you want to use that superpower, because Tigra’s only other card of that class is her Divided first common, which also possesses an instincts superpower. The instincts side of the Divided card grants 1 Attack and the class-activated superpower, which draws a card, a valuable utility at any stage of the game. The other side provides 1 Recruit and a covert-activated superpower, granting a Sidekick. Her uncommon can activate the covert ability, so you won’t need to bring in extra covert heroes to supplement Tigra’s abilities. Her rare lets you recruit any hero from the HQ for free, and if you already played an Avengers hero, you may gain the Attack and Recruit points of that hero for immediate use. Tigra is probably best used in a support role, but she could be employed as the primary hero of a deck. Just make sure to back her up with instincts heroes, such as Wolverine or the Black Panther side of Storm and Black Panther.
Vision – Every one of the Vision’s card has the Phasing keyword, and his mechanics depend on its use. His uncommon is Divided into a range side that grants 3 Recruit, and a tech side with 3 Attack. Both sides also have Size-Changing effects, activated by their respective classes. The range side can activate a superpower on the Vision’s first common, providing 2 Attack in addition to the common’s initial 1. If you want to use this ability alongside the uncommon’s Attack-supplying tech side, however, you’ll need to recruit other range heroes. The Vision’s second common and rare profit from the use of the Phasing effects present on all his cards. His second common lets you name a class, and then draw the top card of your deck if it is that class. If you Phase a card prior to using the second common, you’ll know the class of the top card, so you can accurately “guess” it. The rare grants an improved version of Phasing, allowing you to exchange any card in your hand for the top two cards of your deck. A very solid character who teams well with other Phasing heroes, Spider Friends, and deck manipulators like Gambit or either version of Daredevil. For an ideal situation, supplement him with ranged heroes.
Wiccan – Another hero who benefits from Phasing mechanics, Wiccan’s second common is the cornerstone of his abilities. The card permits you to guess the cost of the top card of your deck, then gain additional Attack if you guessed correctly. Of course, if you’ve Phased another card, such as the first common, the guessing game becomes much easier. The first common is best used as Phasing fodder, unless you have another covert hero to activate its superpower, which increases the card’s Recruit points to 3. Wiccan only has one other covert card, though, and that’s the second half of his Divided uncommon, which also possess a covert superpower. The covert side of the uncommon lets you draw a card, and then draw a second card if you activate the superpower. The other side grants Attack, and also draws a card if you activate a ranged superpower. Wiccan’s rare works similarly to his second common, but more powerful. If you correctly guess the cost of the top card of your deck, the rare lets you draw it and another card. Wiccan is a good hero to build around, but you may want to bring in a few covert heroes to support him. He, in turn, is arguably the best teammate for the Vision because of his ranged cards that profit from Phasing.
Speedball – The only surviving member of the New Warriors after the disastrous incident that sparked the registration debate, Speedball is currently the only New Warrior in the game (not including his Divided card), and likely will remain so for a long time. None of his cards benefit from the New Warriors affiliation, however, so it’s a non-issue at this point. Both of his commons interact with Bystanders, the first common letting you reveal the top card of the Villain Card through a range superpower, and rescuing a Bystander if that card is a villain, or KOing one if it’s not a villain. KOing a Bystander actually benefits his second common, though, as it gains extra Attack through a covert superpower if any Bystanders are in the city or have been KOed. Speedball’s Divided uncommon is the key to both commons, as it possesses the classes necessary to activate the superpowers on them. You must choose between Speedball’s ranged side, which draws two cards, or the Namorita covert side, which provides 3 Attack usable only against the Mastermind or villains in the Bridge city space. In the late game, the Namorita side is likely the better choice, especially since it can activate the superpower of the second common, gaining the extra Attack. Speedball’s rare brings some beautiful defensive capabilities to the battlefield, permitting you to cancel and KO a Master Strike as it is drawn, and then letting you draw you a card from your deck as a reward for doing so!
Divided (Avengers and a second team)
Cloak and Dagger – The first of two completely Divided hero sets (except for their rares), Cloak and Dagger display a near-perfect symmetry in their abilities. Cloak is always a covert Avenger, while Dagger is always a ranged Marvel Knight. Their rare compromises, using the ranged class and the Avengers affiliation. The skill sets for both individuals begin with their first common, with Cloak on one side yielding 2 Attack, and Dagger on the other providing 3 Recruit points, but only usable to recruit the hero beneath the Sewers city space. The second common reverses the heroes’ roles, with Dagger as the attacker and Cloak supplying Recruit. Each side possesses a class-activated superpower, increasing the Recruit or Attack they provide by 1. The second common can also be Phased. The uncommon puts Cloak back in the Attack position and Dagger as the recruiter, each generating 3 of their respective points. Again, each side comes with a class-activated superpower, both of them revealing the top card of your deck. Cloak KOs the card if it costs 0, while Dagger can draw it if it has a cost higher than 0. Of course, you can only choose one of each of these sides whenever you play them, so odds are you will either choose all Cloak or all Dagger, depending on the situation, thus taking advantage of the superpower activations. If you have the Cloak and Dagger rare, however, you no longer have to choose. When you play the rare, you get to use both sides on all Divided cards for the rest of the turn! Not only that, but you gain both sides as if they were different cards, which means that any hero that gets bonuses based on the number of cards you played – such as the Winter Soldier – would fare well if played beside Cloak and Dagger’s rare in a Divided deck.
Storm and Black Panther – On one side of each card (not including the rare) we have the ranged X-Men hero, Storm, and on the other side the Avenger, Black Panther. Storm is the more synergetic of the two, each of her cards benefiting the others by activating their superpowers. Black Panther is not so fluid in his design, and may require outside aid to reach his full potential. For both sides, their second common is the starting point, with Storm providing Attack and reducing the strength of enemies in the Rooftops, while Black Panther supplies Recruit and can move an enemy into an adjacent city space. This is an odd combination, since the Black Panther side seems designed to aid Storm’s side, yet you can only choose one of them. Perhaps you are supposed to have multiples of the common, using the Black Panther side on one of them and Storm on the others. But be doing that, you would sacrifice Attack in exchange for reducing the villain’s Attack, which is a meaningless trade. The first common is far more straightforward, each side providing one point of Recruit or Attack, and a superpower that draws a card. Storm brings the Recruit point here, along with a range-activated superpower, while Black Panther delivers an Attack point and an instincts-activated superpower. Each superpower can be activated by the respective sides of the second common, so if you chose Storm when playing the second common, you should select her again on the first. The uncommon ramps up Storm’s power, bringing 3 Attack plus a ranged superpower that grants two more, but only against the Mastermind. Black Panther also provides 3 Attack, but oddly his side uses the covert class and a covert superpower. His two commons use the instincts class, so you’ll need to bring in other covert heroes if you wish to activate this uncommon whenever it comes up. Finally, the rare takes advantage of all the multiclass (Divided card count as multiclass) cards you have in your hand, granting you a Sidekick for each one you have. With the design of the second common, it feels like Storm and Black Panther were meant to work in unison, but unless you acquire Cloak and Dagger’s rare, that remains impossible. Storm works well on her own, and profits from a deck built around ranged heroes, but Black Panther is more of a support character, so you should probably only recruit his side if you have several instincts or covert heroes.
Civil War contains many good additions to Legendary; its keywords and Grievous Wounds in particular. The heroes, in general, are also good. However, the Divided mechanic, while solid in theory, in practice tends to detract more often than not. Granting tactical choices when playing characters is a wonderful enhancement to gameplay, but its implementation in this expansion often forces players to break up the synergy within a hero’s own skill set in order to get the best results from the cards. For instance, giving up Attack points by choosing the Recruit side of a Divided card in order to activate a mechanically-crucial Attack superpower on another card. In several (but certainly not all) cases, you can’t simply recruit a single hero’s cards and build a completely functional deck, but will have to bring in help from other heroes to get the most out of their abilities. Perhaps that was the point, since the Civil War is about heroes choosing sides and fighting together for their cause.
Whether you like the way Divided cards work or not, Civil War is a very good expansion, especially if you like Avengers. The crown of “best Legendary expansion,” however, still resides with Secret Wars: Volume 1.
Upper Deck has announced that their next Legendary expansion, tentatively scheduled for October, will be a small box set themed around Deadpool. What will be in it (besides Deadpool) is currently unknown, but there should be official updates here over the next few months.
That is not all for Legendary, however! In addition to the popular Legendary: A Marvel Deck-Building Game, Upper Deck has made a spinoff in the same comic universe, Legendary Villains, an almost completely identical game, but with the villains as playable characters and the heroes as the adversaries. Villains got one expansion, Fear Itself, before it was folded into the primary Legendary game during the Secret Wars sets (which is why we saw some villainous “heroes” and heroic “villain” groups in those expansions). There are also four games bearing the title of Legendary Encounters, based on the Alien, Predator, and, most recently, the Firefly and Big Trouble in Little China franchises. You will be able to find reviews of Fear Itself and Encounters: Firefly here on the Catholic Geeks in the near future.