Home » 5 Fun and Different Ways to Play Protection – Marvel Champions

5 Fun and Different Ways to Play Protection – Marvel Champions

Marvel Champions’ Protection aspect has evolved over the course of time, starting out as a simple “I defend myself, and I don’t take much damage” but later on adding many deck options to build around that I like to call archetypes. In this quick guide, we’re going to look at the different ways you can build protection, some example decks, and the packs you’ll need to enable you to build each archetype as cheaply as possible.

Always Ready

Protection’s original expansion of its options was a logical step that fixes its main issue from the core set, which is the unfortunate downside that after defending, you’re normally stuck with an exhausted hero who can’t do anything else. With a complete collection, Protection has more ways to ready your hero back up again than any other aspect, allowing you to focus on basic hero powers and other reasons you may have to exhaust your hero, such as hero abilities or encounter cards.

The core of this archetype is simple – cards like:

This sort of deck works great in multiplayer, as it ensures you can ready-up to defend other people at your table if you’d rather take a supporting role, or ensure that you’re ready to contribute on your turn, more than just defending and hoping for the best.

A good example of this kind of deck is Brian-V’s Champion Supernova in the Sky (Vigilant Defense) deck, which makes heavy use of Ever Vigilant and Desperate Defense to ready up at a rate even Quicksilver would envy.


Aikido decks are reactive, seeking to not just avoid damage, but to turn the power of the opponent back against them, hence the name (stolen shamelessly from the MTG community). This sort of strategy doesn’t just say “I take no damage”, it says “I take your damage and turn it back on you” or gains some other benefit from being attacked. This is best shown by cards like:

  • Preemptive strike – One of my favourite cards in the game, not just protection, this allows you to see exactly how much damage is coming and choose whether to throw it back in the villain’s face. You can (and should) grab this one from Ms. Marvel* or Rogue*’s hero packs.
  • Jump Flip – This allows you to thwart in a very protection-based way, taking no damage while taking down the main scheme. Jump flip can only be found in Sinister Motives* at the time of writing, along with Ghost-Spider, who is by far one of the best heroes for this archetype!
  • Flow Like Water – The thing that ties this style of deck together, turning each defense card into a ping of damage which adds up quickly. Flow Like Water is found in the Vision hero pack*.

This sort of deck is great for true solo protection players, as the archetype often fails to keep threat in order and actually end the game without support.

A good example of this sort of deck is the appropriately named Gwen Stacy is God Damned Immortal deck from Saan over on MarvelCDB. It uses Jump Flip and Ghost-Spider’s innate aikido abilities to flip the tables and make the villain regret every attack.

Never Defending

My absolutely favourite way to play protection, hands-down. This selfish take on the aspect will (almost) never defend and prevent damage, but will instead take it on the chin before healing right back up again. While we’ve actually mentioned some of these cards already (remember: cards aren’t always tied to one archetypes!), these cards enable this kind of playstyle:

  • Med Team – Straight out of the core set, Med Team is actually extremely resource efficient, allowing you multiple turns of healing that you can freely distribute.
  • What Doesn’t Kill Me – Found in the Sinister Motives* expansion, allowing you to heal up and ready.
  • Preemptive Strike – Limiting the damage you soak while punching back is always great, and as previously mentioned you can find this with Ms. Marvel* or Rogue*’s hero packs.
  • The Night Nurse – Allowing you to heal a little each turn, but most importantly remove nasty conditions you contract along the way. Just be careful if you want to keep Tough, as the removing of a condition card is not optional. This card can be found with Dr. Strange*.

Ironically, not protecting anyone in protection is actually insanely fun, and this allows heroes who actually want to take damage from attacks to do so, or more charitably, it allows you to spend your hero powers on defending others rather than yourself as necessary.

An example of this deck archetype is my personal favourite Wolverine protection deck. Take the slugs, heal up, and keep on swinging.

Extra Healthy

For some specific heroes like Wolverine, Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, you can actually get a ton of value out of certain upgrades in their deck that let them have a lot more health than they start with. Cards that play into this archetype typically have a condition that only triggers if your health is higher than your maximum. This can in turn be combined with the healing synergies from the cards you’ve just seen to keep your health up, and make your hero turn into a raid boss. My Wolverine deck mentioned above does exactly this, but let’s look at the cards specific to this style of play:

  • Dauntless – When your health is pumped up, you gain retaliate. Simple, clean, and found in the Galaxy’s Most Wanted expansion*.
  • Fighting Fit – an underwhelming amount of damage normally, but when at or above your maximum health, 5 damage for 2 resources is no joke, on par with some hero-specific cards.

While not a massive archetype to build around, this package can add much-needed damage to many others in this list, and can be found entirely in the Galaxy’s Most Wanted expansion, as it comes from Groot’s kit.


This slightly off-the-wall take on readying revolves around a single card – Repurpose. This card alone (which is found in the SP//DR hero pack*) makes this archetype exist, and it’s a doozy. It doesn’t seem the most viable at first, requiring you to throw away valuable upgrades for a small boost and a ready-up, but when built around, it becomes monstrous. Besides getting Repurpose itself, some of the best cards to include to make the most of it are all also found in the SP//DR hero pack, making this an incredibly cheap archetype to enable!

  • Energy Barrier – not just for throwing away, also a great source of damage prevention, as you can use up 2 of the counters and then pitch it for Repurpose. You’re not disregarding the card, you’re using it and then swapping the final counter for a big turn!
  • Forcefield Generator – This one’s less good as its damage reduction is a forced interrupt, meaning you can’t choose when to spend its counters, but most of the time you won’t take more than 6 damage in a turn, and if you do you’ll be glad of the soak. Ideally, you play this one turn, take a big hit for 5 damage, and then get a massive Repurpose turn.

This archetype is embodied perfectly in MiguelCantillo3’s Iron Man – Perfected deck, which earns its name as one of the coolest Iron Man protection decks on the market. We decided to fork our own version of this that can be built with only the core set and the SP//DR hero pack, which is I believe the most trimmed-down version of this archetype out there.

The Best Packs for Playing Protection

This is already a lot to chew over, so I’ll stop there, but I wanted to leave you with some quick links to where you can find some of the best hero cards in the game if you love the protection aspect and want more options to play with. As with the links above and across our site, these are affiliate links to Zatu Games*, our preferred retail partner, and if you make a purchase there we’ll get a little credit back (at no cost to you).

  • SP//DR* provides the entire Repurpose package.
  • Ms. Marvel* has a ton of useful events and upgrades that’ll keep you healthy, including Preemptive Punch, Downtime, and Endurance.
  • Dr. Strange* provides Protection with some of its most fundamental tools, and was the first pack that made Protection actually good.
  • Angel* may be one of my least favourite X-Men as a character, but both his hero cards and his protection aspect cards are absolutely spectacular.

Picking up these 4 packs will give you a solid base for a wide range of different protection decks, and upgrade the aspect from plucky sidekick to hero status.

We hope you’ve found something here to reignite your love of the Protection aspect, and that you found this quick guide useful. If you’d like to support us, beyond using our regular affiliate links, we deeply appreciate any sharing of our content on Discord servers and social media, and you can even use the donation box on our Ko-Fi page or right here if you’re feeling extra supportive.

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