One of the things we love the most about Marvel Champions is the ability to really choose your own adventure when it comes to how difficult you want the game to be. Want a chill time? Pick a strong hero and a villain you know how to deal with. But sometimes you want a challenge. Something to push the S-Tier heroes really to the edge of what they can do. That’s when it’s time to bring out the big guns. In this article, we’re going to look at the top 5 hardest villains currently in the game according to 30,000 community-recorded games and our own experiences with the game, and give you some quick tips on how to bring them down. Let’s get into our picks!
At number 5, we’ve got Nebula, the character with probably the most versions in Marvel Champions* (short of Loki, but we’ll talk about him later), featuring as the full set of hero, villain, nemesis minion, and ally cards. This version is her villainous form from the Galaxy’s Most Wanted expansion*.
Nebula is renowned for being incredibly random and swingy, which can make her incredibly difficult, or occasionally a lot nicer (but still a big challenge). Her biggest source of difficulty is the evasion counters that can ramp up out of nowhere, requiring you to spend a ton of resources on simply not losing. To add on top of this, the standard setup for her sees her using the Space Pirates modular encounter set, which can remove key cards from your decks at the worst possible moment. Her cards also feature far too many instances of the Surge keyword, which can be cataclysmic if they hit the wrong cards, or surge into more surges.
How do you beat Nebula?
- Remove evasion counters at all costs. If you fall behind, it’s like adding multiple acceleration counters to the main scheme every turn. You will not be able to catch back up, so treat removing the counters with the Milano as a compulsory action for the first player.
- Bring plenty of resource generation. You need to keep those evasion counters down, and the only way to do that is for the first player to spend resources. If you have resources, that’ll hurt you less, and you’ll still be able to play cards.
- Rush her down. Nebula doesn’t have a huge health pool, and she needs to be stopped before her threat generation gets out of control or the surges suddenly turn against you. Burn her down quickly to reduce the odds of her surging out of control.
Magneto, the big boss of the Mutant Genesis* campaign, is no joke, even if he’s not in the top spot. His M-Type Sentinels are no joke, and will show up at the worst possible moments to ruin your day, first by blocking attacks, and then by giving Magneto tough. These combined with his side schemes that prevent him from taking too much damage means that Magneto poses a serious threat, especially to solo players who rely on rush down strategies to take out villains before they can do anything too nasty. Magnetic Missile will help to take down those minions, but at a terrible cost – as revealing treachery cards tends to happen after the villain and minions have attacked you, most of the time the card might as well read “discard almost your entire hand and do nothing next turn” which is a huge tempo loss.
Magneto’s magnet counters stack up fast out of nowhere, and can make some of his encounter cards extremely dangerous. Meanwhile, his Acolytes are incredibly dangerous in their own right, with the Teamwork keyword being one of the most dangerous keywords in the game right now, causing every Acolyte entering play to activate against the player they’re engaged with. This is a huge problem that you’re going to have to really stay on top of to take down the Master of Magnetism.
How do you beat Magneto?
- Get his side schemes down ASAP. You literally cannot defeat him without removing the side schemes, and once you defeat Orbital Decay, you can start stunning and confusing Magneto to your heart’s consent, which is extremely important.
- Keep the Sentinels out of play. If there isn’t a Sentinel in play, Magneto can’t use Magnetic Missile to kill you, as the ability uses the word “Then”. Without a sentinel available, Magnetic Missile just surges and you can breathe easily.
- Don’t leave Acolytes unattended. One Acolyte isn’t that much of a problem, but if another Acolyte with the teamwork keyword comes into play, you’re in for a world of hurt.
Loki is the surprise villain at the end of the Mad Titan’s Shadow expansion*, and while he doesn’t seem that bad on paper, he’s actually a massive, challenging slog. You have to defeat him repeatedly until it sticks, and that takes a lot of work. The game will drag out no matter what you do, and that’s where the extreme difficulty creeps in, because the longer the game lasts, the more awful things can and will happen to you. He’ll prevent your damage, stun you, confuse you, and generally do everything possible to make your life hell, all while the threat creeps up and the infinity stones ruin your day, particularly the Reality Stone, which will repeatedly stop you from using that time to set up your deck.
How do you beat Loki?
- Bring a ton of 2-cost allies. No matter how annoying Loki is, his attacks don’t gain overkill, which means you can hold him at bay. If you bring high-cost allies, then Enchantress will probably seduce them away from you, so stick to the little guys.
- Kill the Stalwart versions of Loki, and control the ones that aren’t. Those versions of him that can be stunned present you with a great window to get your decks set up and ready to go.
- Don’t play Phoenix (Phoenix Hero Pack*) or the new player deck side schemes (without a house rule). This version of Loki cannot be defeated with a side scheme in play, and with Phoenix, you will actually make him immortal thanks to Consume The World (which cannot be removed), which is an unfortunate interaction.
- Don’t play against Loki if you’re on a timeline. He can take anywhere up to twice as long as other villains to defeat, and you’re in for the long haul.
2. Venom Goblin
Our number 2 (but more like a joint second) villain is Venom Goblin, from the Sinister Motives expansion*, specifically with the Goblin Gear modular encounter set, because this is one of those rare instances of extreme synergy in the standard encounter setup. Without the glider, Venom Goblin drops a few places in this list.
So what is it about Goblin Gear that makes him so challenging? Two words – Advanced Glider. Advanced Glider is an attachment that lets Venom Goblin activate twice every single turn. Want to get rid of it? I hope you have enough attack cards in hand that you can just throw away, just to get rid of it temporarily. This restriction on cards to remove it is brutal to say the least. Even if you do manage it, the pack also includes Remote Navigation, which will bring the Glider back into play no matter where it is, as well as a whole host of other frankly unfair cards that’ll make just about any villain a challenge, let alone one as activation-focused and strong as Venom Goblin.
How do you beat Venom Goblin?
- Get statuses onto him in stage 2. Venom Goblin is Steady, not Stalwart until stage 3, and although it’s extra effort, preventing activations is absolutely crucial to stop his special abilities activating. This will give you the breathing room to set up.
- Bring a Justice character with mass-threat removal. You have three main schemes to thwart, and some truly awful side schemes that just cannot stay in play. Those need to go.
- Focus on removing attachments. It’ll slow you down, but those attachments can and will cut your game short almost immediately. Any turn where you simply return the villain back to the status quo is a win in this scenario, as it will buy you a window later to strike back.
- Consider bringing Target Acquired. This scenario includes huge boost effects that you just do not want happening to you (including yet more activations). Make it go away.
- Do not use Goblin Gear. Venom Goblin is absolutely a contender for the second hardest villain in the game with Goblin Gear, but there’s no shame in swapping in another encounter set if he’s just not fun for you.
1. Ronan the Accuser
Ronan is an unfair monster, the final villain from the controversial Galaxy’s Most Wanted expansion*, and hopefully we’ll never see his like again. Ronan does pretty much one thing, and does it well – murdering you with a hammer. His huge attack stat gets pumped up to unimaginable levels by Fanaticism, and allies won’t be able to save you from the overkill damage, while piercing stops you from surviving using the tough status. It’s like Ronan was built to counter all common strategies to prevent death-by-hammer, and it worked.
His surge-heavy deck contains a ton of additional activations, and honestly you could pair him with the easiest modular in the game and Ronan would still be a problem, let alone something from a later set like Goblin Gear. Expert Ronan’s currently sitting at a reported 26% win rate for solo players, and 38% in multiplayer, so the odds are never in your favour.
Ronan once hit me for over 18 damage in a single turn, which is weird because I was playing Flamecraft at the time.
How do you beat Ronan the Accuser?
- Consider praying to your preferred deity. In all honesty, Ronan is just… unfair. He can and will just decide that it’s time for you to die, and there is almost nothing you can do about that.
- In the first phase of the main scheme, let Ronan keep the power stone unless your board state is extremely strong. He will hit you like a truck, and you’ll have to deal with that, but if he doesn’t have the stone, he gets an extra boost card, and you’re probably going to die. You should hit him for 1, 2, or 8+ damage, nothing in between, and you should save those 8+ damage turns for when multiple heroes have that kind of turn available, if playing multiplayer.
- Try to stop the main scheme from advancing. If it does, your game is probably over.
- If you do advance to stage 2, then burn Ronan as hard as possible. Some of you will die, but do your best to take him with you, because your time is up.
- Don’t get upset when you lose. Ronan is unfair, and it’s unlikely (I hope) that we’ll ever see a villain this swingy and brutal in the future. You will die, and it will not be your fault. If you don’t find Ronan fun, you’re not alone – most people don’t. Beating Ronan is a deckbuilding challenge, and is close to a coin-flip even with powerful decks. Shuffle up and go again, or go and find a different villain who you find more fun.
That concludes our list of who we think are the current toughest villains in the game right now. There are plenty of others out there worthy of your attention, including Red Skull (The Rise of the Red Skull*), Mojo (Mojo Mania*), The Hood (The Hood Scenario Pack*), Thanos (The Mad Titan’s Shadow*), and Stryfe (NeXt Evolution*) but in our opinion they just about get edged out by our big 5 (though the contest for that number 5 spot was fierce).
Many of these super challenging villains don’t have a ton of play data recorded, so if you still think these villains are easy, go take them down for yourself, and report your wins over on the form that feeds the massive community spreadsheet I linked at the top.