The Wolverine Hero Pack landed a little while ago now, and the reason it’s taken a while to post this review of his kit and potential aspect pairings is primarily because I’ve been having way too much fun playing him. Per our usual review and aspect pairing guides, in this article we’re going to take a look at what makes Wolverine powerful, what holds him back from being a member of our S-Tier, and what aspects will work best with the X-Men’s shortest powerhouse. Let’s dig in.
- Regenerates health every turn
- Can revive when defeated
- Plays attack events with hit points
- Strong hero events
- Fantastic card draw engine
Wolverine is essentially a stronger Drax. He takes attacks to the chin and comes out all the stronger, dealing tons of damage in return. His defining card is his permanent upgrade, Wolverine’s Claws, which allows him once per turn to play an attack event without paying any resources, only his hit points. This has the side effect of making him capable of impacting the board while playing high-cost setup cards like Avenger Mansion or the X-Jet, because if you’re not paying for your attacks, you can pay to set up. This effectively means that healing effects, including his passive 2 hit point regeneration per hero phase function as resource generators, which is obviously extremely powerful.
To ensure he’s always got something worth playing, Wolverine comes equipped with some powerful events – Berserker Barrage allows you to hit something for an extreme amount of damage, with any excess overkill overflowing to the villain, while Slice and Dice gives you a way to take down multiple enemies at a time. It’s not all attacks, however, with Track By Scent providing a powerful way to thwart while ensuring your hand reloads if you’re able to satisfy the condition for doing so.
It’s Wolverine’s upgrades that truly shine, however, with his Adamantium Skeleton serving to pump up his resources… I mean hit points, while also making his ATK stat even stronger. Berserker Frenzy is one of the most powerful card draw engines printed to date against some villains, with 1-ATK minions often being more valuable to keep around than defeat, purely for the card draw they offer. Every time an attack deals damage, you draw, so it doesn’t matter if that attack did 1 damage or 7, turning your villain phase into a game of “how many attacks can I take and survive?”. Even if you misjudge that, “I got better.” (one of the best card names ever), can bring you back from one defeat, and unlike other effects of this type, like Phoenix‘s Rise from the Ashes, the card isn’t removed from the game once it’s triggered. This means you can take potentially lethal hits again and again, though obviously you’d rather not do that where possible.
- Can accidentally die
- Lacks any meaningful cards in alter-ego
- Does not regenerate automatically in alter-ego
- Loses his card draw upgrade when flipping to alter-ego
Most of Wolverine’s weaknesses are directly a result of his strengths in hero form. His ability to regenerate means that you rarely end up flipping to alter-ego, and therein lies the issue. When you do flip into just regular ol’ Logan, he discards his Berserker Frenzy, and is just generally underwhelming. His REC stat is phenomenal at a whopping 6, but there’s no automatic heal at the start of his turn, he has no Alter-Ego ability, and his support, Logan’s Cabin is just… not good.
These are relatively minor issues, as Logan really doesn’t want to be in alter-ego, but his biggest downside is that against certain villains, he’s going to have to a lot more often than he’d like. If you’re playing against, say, Klaw phase 1, with relatively low amount of damage coming in, then his ability to regenerate makes playing cards with his hit points basically free – you’re going to outheal the villain’s damage over and over again, and play powerful cards for free every turn, and Wolverine feels fantastic in that scenario. If the game were just normal-tier villains, he’d be an instant lock for S-Tier in our tier list. But this isn’t the case. Against a villain like Ronan, Crossbones, or Thanos, who can all hit you for over 6 damage per activation, you can get into really dangerous situations if every turn you burn your own hit points for 3 damage. All it takes is one unlucky hit or additional activation and you’re done, and while that’s always true for those villains, Wolverine tempts fate significantly more than anyone except Drax. Unlike Drax, Wolverine has a way to recover from one of these, but it’s expensive to play and often not good enough to recover entirely, losing you a ton of tempo to get it in play, as you have to dedicate a turn’s worth of resources to something that you actually hope will never be useful.
Aspect Pairings for Wolverine
Protection is absolutely fantastic on Wolverine, and provides him with the tools he needs to survive his own damage, as well as the enemy’s. We’ve got a decklist written up for my current favourite Wolverine deck that explains all of our card choices, and I’d encourage you to check it out to see all the different tools Protection has to offer. The general theme is that as we mention earlier – hit points are essentially resources. The more you heal and the more damage you prevent (while still taking a small amount of damage for Berserker Fury), the more hit points you can spend on powerful attacks. While not the strongest deck I’ve ever made, and not the strongest hero, this easily takes its place as the most fun deck I’ve ever played, and I fully expect to reconstruct the deck on a regular basis.
Aggression is the natural pairing for Wolverine, and it does work undeniably well. Due to Wolverine’s ability to play attacks for free, he can trigger attacks synergy cards like Fluid Motion, Clobber, and Precision Strike for massive value. The only reason this isn’t in the top slot is because Protection just feels so good while offsetting his proclivity for self-destruction. Wolverine doesn’t really need more attacks that deal damage, he has some of the best attacks in his regular hero kit. But Aggression is still going to shine as an aspect for Logan, so it deserves the number 2 slot.
Justice is a less natural fit for Wolverine, but it still has some interesting synergies. The primary goal for a Wolverine Justice deck will be to keep threat under control and setting up Track By Scent, while using his own attacks to deal damage, and it’s definitely good at that. Some scenarios in true solo play will definitely benefit from a Justice build over both Protection and Aggression, and there are some extra little synergies you can make use of at any player count, such as using his claws to play Stealth Strike, which is typically too expensive for many Justice heroes to truly make use of it.
Leadership comes last, not because it’s bad (let’s be honest, Leadership is seldom actually bad), but simply because it lacks inherent synergies. Wolverine’s ability to spend his health on attacks to enable him to spend the rest of his resources on expensive setup cards synergises well with Leadership’s sometimes steep card prices, so by no means should you shy away from thrusting the Canadian into a Leadership position.
Wolverine can be played in a ton of different ways, and as I’ve enjoyed playing him so much, here’s an extra special bonus article with our favourite Wolverine decks that we’ve played so far!
Wolverine is insanely fun to play, great at not dying, but also great at bringing himself as close to death as is humanly (or mutantly) possible. Wolverine is fun to play, extremely powerful, and a great addition to your Marvel Champions collection.
If you’re excited by what you’ve read, and you’d like to support us – why not pick up a copy over on our affiliate partner site, Zatu? You absolutely will not regret it. If you’re in the US, we’re currently working on an affiliate partner, but Zatu’s overseas shipping is surprisingly reasonable!