If you grew up during the 90’s it’s very likely that the you were introduced to the X-Men franchise with the iconic masterpiece that is the X-Men Animation. I remember that first episode that introduced my favourite character in the franchise. No, not Gambit, the love for him would come later in my teenage years. It was a strong female character, with a sense of humour, and a catchy southern accent – Rogue.
The moment we picked Marvel Champions and fell in love with it, I was waiting with anticipation for the X-Men expansion because I knew Rogue won’t be long after it. And here she is! I can’t wait to share with you my impressions of the Fantasy Flight’s LCG version of Rogue.
This is not the first time we saw Fantasy Flight Games try to adapt Rogue for their games, latest was X-Men Insurrection, and that didn’t give me a lot of hope. How do you make a character strong and independent when their entire power kit is dependent on the powers of other characters? Well, they did it, and it feels great to play! Rogue isn’t without her issues, but she’s a fun character who absolutely lived up to my hype.
- Solid base stats
- Works with just about any aspect
- Consistent damage and thwart
- Can gain stalwart to remove conditions
- Can gain traits for some fun combinations
Rogue is a strong all-rounder. She has 2s in all her basic stats, and a impressive 11 HP, higher then the average hero. Her main mechanic revolves around the Touched attachment. It is a very intelligent way of adapting her power to the flow of the game. Every round you can touch a different character and based on what they are you get different powers along with all their traits. This freedom on moving your attachment every round makes Rogue’s playstyle very strategic and way more consistent than Phoenix, who we reviewed recently and found a little bit too… unrestrained.
Rogue is not the first hero to get stalwart, but is one of the few who can do it, and it’s the first time we’ve seen a character who can gain it pretty much on-demand! The usefulness of this will depend on the villain you’re facing, but harder villains and modular encounter sets start passing out status cards left and right, so it definitely comes in handy the harder . In our games I’ve noticed that I start to read it more like “remove confused and stun”, as you can transfer Touched in order to immediately cause those cards to drop off your character, even if you lose stalwart later. One thing to note is that if the identity you have Touched is in alter-ego form, you don’t gain the keyword, as they’re not a hero, so communicate with your teammates first! There’s a few other intricacies to Rogue’s interactions, so check out our Rules Clarification page for her hero pack!
One of Rogue’s biggest strengths comes out in multiplayer, where you can use powerful identity-specific events from an ally’s graveyard in order to set up huge turns. Playing with Gambit? Grab his Natural Agility to charge him up and boost your DEF to unreasonable levels. How about Scarlet Witch‘s Molecular Decay or Iron Man‘s Supersonic Punch? With an admittedly extremely unlikely perfect turn in a duo game, you could potentially both play those abilities twice to deal upwards of 24 damage in a single turn. Ouch. This flexibility only gets stronger the more players you add, as identity-specific cards are intentionally some of the most powerful cards in the game. In true solo play, if you want an identity-specific card from your own discard, you’ll need to Touch Gambit (no jokes please, we’ve already made them all), which is a lot more of a specific hoop to jump through.
Rogue’s ability to copy traits is the last versatile bit of her kit I want to highlight, because this is where things get weird. When Rogue attaches Touched to a character, she gains their traits until the end of the round. That’s the bolded, italicised text before the rest of the card text. So Aerial, Avenger, or S.H.I.E.L.D. would be copied, but not Retaliate. This is a bit weird to get your head around at first, but essentially a trait is a property that doesn’t have any inherent mechanics attached to them. Cards care about traits, but the traits don’t actually do anything themselves.
What this does mean is that cards with restrictions on when they can be played can all be played by Rogue so long as a character of that trait exists for her to Touch. The Quincarrier, Knowhere, Stinger, and Muster Courage are all playable in her deck, but you need to be careful to make sure you can always apply the trait.
The biggest and potentially most powerful interaction available here is that Rogue can become the Sorcerer Supreme (Dr. Strange #26), which is one of the most powerful upgrades in the game. Where’s my What If? episode on that, Marvel? All she needs is a Mystic in play, which can be an allied hero (though in that case, they probably want to play it! Don’t be mean.), or it can be an ally like Brother Voodoo or Kaluu, or even a villain like Loki.
Her weaknesses are what knocks her down out of S-Tier, because they can’t be ignored, especially when played solo or, tragically, with Gambit.
- Inconsistent card draw
- Can move Touched with Skin Contact only once per round
- No resource generation
- Cannot remove her obligation
The only card draw options that Rogue has comes from her events, and you are required to be stalwart, which is a lot of hoops to jump through for a single card, and unless you actually need to be stalwart at the time, it is almost never worth it. When you build her deck try to pack up some alternative ways to draw like an Avenger Mansion (Core Set #91).
Touched is her most important ability, and her strategy is entirely designed around it. However, because you can consistently attach it only once per round, the choices is pretty much between retaliate (attach it to the villain) or extra 2 damage or 2 thwart from your event (to an ally). With how long most allies last in difficult content where you need them to soak up attacks, most of the time you will attach it to the villain. This will mean you not only gain retaliate, but it will also allow you to play one of the strongest defence cards in the game Bulletproof Belle. This means that while you have a lot of options for what to do with Touched, in reality it’s very easy to make the wrong decision when it comes to who you’re touching, and that can result in some disastrous misplays.
Rogue’s costs are very standard, but she could really use some resource generators on the field. Her pack comes with X-Gene which is an amazing basic Mutant-only generator card for any hero, which is a good enough reason to grab her pack even if you don’t want to play Rogue. She can even use X-Gene to pay for other people’s identity-specific cards stolen with Superpower Adaptation, which makes this card a must in her deck. Another good cards to deal with costs are Deft Focus (Galaxy’s Most Wanted #24), as all her powers are superpowers, or Team-Building Exercise (Spider-Ham #22 or Ant-Man #24) if you are running ally heavy deck, especially as you can gain any traits available on the field to make use of the effect!
Her obligation is an interesting one, and one of her biggest weaknesses, which is extremely thematic for Rogue. Deadly Touch cannot be removed from the game, so you might want to be careful putting your Touch on low health friendly characters there. Her obligation is not really crippling like others we have seen so far (e.g. Permanently Phased, Burning Hunger, or Legal Work), but it can never be removed from the game, so you’ll likely see it a couple of times per game.
Rogue’s biggest issues come into the light when you’re playing solo, or with heroes who spend a lot of time in Alter-Ego. When this happens, Rogue can no longer gain Stalwart on demand if the only other hero is in Alter-Ego, and her access to discard piles is slashed if there are less players. The less players you have at the table, the worse Rogue gets. Her inherent incompatibility with Gambit is also pretty upsetting.
Rogue’s core is so well balanced that you can play her any aspect, but Protection and Aggression definitely seem like they’d lean into her kit a bit more.
Rogue comes with Protection in her pack, and it works really well. The deck is not bad, but with a few updates she will feel so much better. She has a lot of damage and thwart in her core cards so the protection aspect only makes her stay in hero form for longer.
There are definitely cards that could be removed from the preconstructed deck that comes in the pack, just because they have crammed all possible copies of some cards that you don’t need more than 1, or that you can’t even play (e.g. X-Gene). Desperate Defense (Galaxy’s Most Wanted #13 or Dr. Strange #15) works really well her, as it will ready you after defending, as will other Protection cards that rely on you not taking damage from attacks thanks to Bulletproof Belle. As Protection regularly ends up exhausting, particularly at higher player counts, being able to send Rogue Aerial in order to play Ever Vigilant (Star-Lord #30) is extremely powerful.
With Aggression you’ll probably want to take advantage of her Overkill potential. Because she has on-demand overkill, you can build her around dealing excessive damage to minions. So cards like Into the Fray, Follow Through, Moment of Triumph and No Quarter will shine here.
Honed Technique is definitely a card you should consider if you are playing Rogue aggression, but you’ll need to make sure you build with the resources in your deck in mind and consider cards like Precision Strike from the recently-released Wolverine Hero Pack to ensure you can pay those mental resources. You might also need to add some resource generators, because she doesn’t come with her own.
If going Justice with Rogue, we’d likely focus the deck around her ability to go Aerial pretty much on demand and use that to power out cards like Agile Flight (Star-Lord #29) or Yaw and Roll (Nova #26). With most heroes who need an upgrade to take to the skies, I don’t typically recommend the latter, but given Rogue can potentially go Aerial from turn 1, it becomes a lot more of a viable option.
Leadership Rogue can get really interesting, really quickly, because it’s the aspect that will make the greatest use of her trait-copying ability. Need your team to be all Avengers, or want to drop a Quincarrier? She’s an Avenger now! Got a card that can only be played if you’re a Guardian, like Knowhere? Done. All you need is the right ally in play. This also means you and those allies can be Honorary X-Men, Guardian, and Avenger as needed. Hey why not be The Sorcerer Supreme while at it? I suspect this might be a bit cheesy and inconsistent, but it’s absolutely an option that we’ll explore in the future, and there’s definitely potential there.
On paper Rogue seems a lot worse then she really is. In reality, she feels amazing to play! Rogue’s events are balanced yet so powerful that you feel like you can contribute to the game without being limited to just punching things in the face. She’s great for tactical players that make full use of her touch, and she has fantastic options for taking down big minions, defending against hard bosses, and even clearing out threat from schemes. She is amazing multiplayer, especially duo or two-handed, as she can re-use powerful identity cards from other heroes, resulting in truly explosive turns where you can play the strongest event in your partner’s deck twice in a single turn (once on theirs, once on yours) for a huge burst of power. Magneto doesn’t stand a chance.
- Extremely flexible
- Basically unkillable
- Can remove conditions from herself
- Inconsistent card draw
- No built-in resource generators
- Easy to misplay