Home » Marvel Champions: The Rules of Deck-Building

Marvel Champions: The Rules of Deck-Building

The Rules of Deck Building - Marvel Champions

The preconstructed decks in Marvel Champions are… fine. They do an OK job out of the box, but they’re a long way from being good decks, and sooner or later, you’re going to need to build your own decks, or you’ll never be able to take on the likes of Expert mode or the challenging campaign boxes like Galaxy’s Most Wanted or Mad Titan’s Shadow. In this article, we’re going to look at the Marvel Champions deckbuilding rules, what you can and can’t do, as well as some examples of how those rules apply.

Let’s run through the basics first, and this is all stuff you can find on page 35 of the most recent version of the rules reference, which you can find down the bottom of the Fantasy Flight Games website. As an aside, it’s always worth checking those out, because the original rules in the box were sadly printed with a bunch of inconsistencies and omissions.

Basic Marvel Champions Deckbuilding Rules

Here’s the basic Marvel Champions deckbuilding rules as written, with some extra clarifications from us.

  • Marvel Champions Setup - 1. Alter EgoA player must choose exactly one identity card.
    • This one’s pretty clear – pick your hero! Your identity is your alter-ego and hero form card. Pick one, and that’s who you’re playing.
  • A player’s deck consists of a minimum of 40 cards and a maximum of 50 cards. The identity card is not counted as part of this number.
    • This includes the identity-specific cards we’re about to hear about (the order here could really have been better!)
    • That doesn’t count cards that have the Permanent keyword.
  • Marvel Champions how to identify identity deckA player’s deck must include each of the identity-specific cards associated with their chosen identity card. The exact quantity of each card included in that identity set must be included in the deck.
    • With most heroes, this is a set of around 15 cards that focus on doing whatever thing that hero does. You cannot cut, mix, or exchange those cards – if you’re playing Iron Man, you must play all of the cards with his hero icon in the corner.
  • A player may choose exactly one aspect (Justice, Aggression, Protection, or Leadership) to use for customization. The remainder of their deck is then customized with cards that belong to that aspect and/or basic cards.
    • Marvel Champions - How to tell which aspect a card isAspect cards are the coloured cards – Yellow for Justice, Red for Aggression, Green for Protection, and Blue for Leadership (you can also look at the bottom right corner of each card). You pick one of those, and that’s the focus of your deck. Basic cards are the grey ones, you can include those too! Together they make up the remaining 25-35 cards in your deck (remember, your deck is 40-50 cards, and likely around 15 of those are taken by your identity-specific cards).
  • Marvel Champions - Card NameNo more than three copies (by title) of each nonunique card may be included in the deck.
    • This means exactly what it says – you can have a maximum of three copies of each card you put into your deck. Some heroes have additional copies of identity-specific cards, and that’s absolutely fine, you can have those, this is mostly about the cards that you have a choice in adding – your aspect and basic cards.
  • No more than one copy (by title) of each unique card may be included among the cards in the deck and the identity card. If two unique cards share the same title, but their subtitles/alter-egos differ, they may coexist in the deck.
    • Marvel Champions - Unique CardsThis is where things can get a little complex – the Unique symbol (✦) is the big star next to a card’s name (we’ve include some examples of this so you can spot them). You can only have one of those, but you’re in the clear if they have a different subtitle or alter-ego. For example, you can’t have more than one copy of Nick Fury in your deck, but you can have both Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) and Hawkeye (Clint Barton). Similarly, if you’re playing the Hawkeye (Clint Barton) identity, you can’t play the ally with the same names.
  • Any “deckbuilding requirements” on the player’s identity card must be followed.
    • Some heroes have some weird deckbuilding requirements that override pretty much everything else, for example:
      • Adam Warlock only lets you include a single copy of each card, and must have equal numbers of cards in each aspect.
      • Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) requires that you include equal numbers of two chosen aspects instead of one.
      • Gamora allows you to include up to 6 attack and/or thwart events from aspects other then the chosen one.

Let’s look at some key things here just to be sure they’re clear.

Deck Size

Your deck must be 40-50 cards, which includes all the cards that come with your identity, apart from your identity itself and the permanent card. You’ll almost always want your deck to be 40 cards, except in some very specific circumstances. Most heroes revolve around a few cards that they need in play to function, like Black Panther’s Wakanda Forever. The more cards you have, the less you will be able to play those cards because you will have to draw them first. So while your deck’s actual limit is 50, it’s actually better to think about it as being 40. It actually does make a difference!

Some heroes include certain extra cards like Vision’s matter forms or Spectrum’s energy forms that take them beyond 15 identity-specific cards. Any permanent card with no cost (a dash) do not go in the deck and don’t count towards the deck size.

Do Permanent cards count towards the deck size minimum or maximum?

Cards with the Permanent keyword and no resource cost number ("-") do not count towards your deck size.


The four aspects are Justice, Aggression, Protection and Leadership. These aspects are generally good at four basic things:

  • Justice – Clearing threat from schemes
  • Aggression – Clearing the board of minions
  • Protection – Defending the team from damage
  • Leadership – Playing allies, using them to do a bit of everything

You can identify aspect cards easily, they say their aspect in the bottom. This includes aspected resource cards like the Power of Leadership, so you can’t include those in an aggression deck.

Can I use Spider Woman aspect cards in other decks?

You cannot take Spider Woman's identity-specific aspect cards to add them to other decks, and you cannot remove them from hers during deck building.


Here are the Hawkeyes we mentioned earlier, Clint and Kate:

Marvel Champions Hawkeye Unique Rule
Each card referring to Hawkeye, refers to itself.

You can see that although both allies say Hawkeye and they’re both unique, because they have different alter-ego names under their card names, it’s fine to play them together. But you can’t have more than one copy of either of them, because they are Unique. You can include them in multiple decks at the table, but you can’t play them at the same time, and if someone’s playing Clint Barton as their hero you can’t play the Clint version of Hawkeye at all. Again, as Kate’s a different person to Clint, you can play her as Hawkeye, even if you yourself are playing Hawkeye.

The easiest way to think about this is in terms of their characters. As you might have seen on Disney+ or the comics, it’s totally fine to have Clint and Kate being Hawkeye at the same time, but short of any weird multiverse shenanigans we’re not going to get into right now, Clint can’t be in two places at once.

Special Deckbuilding Requirements

Some heroes have special requirements on their decks. Here’s a few examples:

Deck Building - Exceptions
Alter-Ego deck building rules override the general rules.

As you can see, these heroes explicitly state on their Alter-Egos that you must include specific things in their decks. These override all other deckbuilding rules, but must work within them where they don’t directly conflict. So for example, you can’t include more than 50 cards in an Adam Warlock deck despite the fact that his identity states that you have to have equal numbers of cards of each aspect! If in doubt, specific rules that apply in your specific situation beat general rules that apply to everyone.

That’s the very basics of the rules for deckbuilding in Marvel Champions. While there’s still a lot to learn, so long as you stick to the rules you should be fine! Why not check out our article on Building Your First Marvel Champions Deck if you want to give it a shot right away? If you have any questions about the rules, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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