This year Marvel Legendary switched to a four expansions, per year, distribution format and it is not only becoming difficult to store but it’s also becoming difficult to keep up with and that’s coming from someone who plays Legendary 50-100 times a year! Now, Covid certainly hasn’t helped matters, we play once a week via TTS but we still play fewer games overall and I dislike playing new expansions via Tabletop Simulator as players will have a harder time reading and understanding new cards just because the system can be clunky.
However, come Christmas time we managed to get some face to face gaming in and finally break out one of the newer expansions, Heroes of Asgard. It’s been a while since Legendary visited the realm of the Norse Gods, Thor appeared in the base set, along with Loki, and Lady Thor popped up in the Secret Wars expansion. But other than that we’ve only had a handful of Asgardians mostly scattered into the Villains expansion.
Heroes of Asgard fixes that, with five new hero groups, but featuring 7 new heroes. We have Thor, Sif, Valkyrie, The Warriors Three and Beta Ray Bill. They also feature a new team icon, The Heroes of Asgard. We have some new keywords and some returning keywords, along with four new schemes, two new villain groups and two new masterminds.
The new keywords for the set are Worthy, which simply means reveal a card of cost 5 or more and Villainous Weapon, which means attach to the villain closest to the villain deck. Conqueror is a first time outing for this keyword in the mainline Legendary series, although it had appeared in the MCU editions of the game. Streets Conqueror 1 means get +1 fight as long as there are enemies in the Streets. Thematically this is odd, because you can use that additional fight to attack the bridge or the sewers, intentionally leaving the streets overrun with enemies because you get boosted. The negative side of Conqueror is that the villains have it too so they get boosted if you leave enemies around for too long.
As for returning keywords we have Artifact and Thrown Artefact. Artifact means play in front of you and get a special power. Thrown Artifact is the same but to activate the power you must discard the card to the bottom of your deck. Most heroes in this set make use of at least 1 thrown artifact with Lady Sif having three of them.
This is a good set of heroes that makes use of a small set of keywords to thematically tie them together but without an over reliance on all the heroes being used together. Worthy I find thematically unsatisfying and to be honest a little difficult to remember because it has no thematic ties. Perhaps if the keyword has been Worthy 5 to at least remind you it was about needing to have a 5 cost card, this would have also opened design space to allow for other values of “Worthy”.
The two new Masterminds both offer interesting challenges. Hela, Goddess of Death, has 10 health but also Bridge Conqueror 5 and Streets Conqueror 5 meaning she’s 20 Health if there are enemies in those locations. And with Villainous Weapons stacked on her too she can get fairly untouchable. She also summons villains back from the victory pile so she’ll keep the city well stocked with enemies. Malekith on the other hand is an easier fight, just 8, but his master strikes cause him to gather to himself any Villainous Weapons he can get his hands on, boosting his health and possibly depriving players of hard earned artefacts in the process.
The fact that enemies can recapture these powerful artefacts is actually my favourite mechanic in the game. It forces you to give some thought to playing the Casket of Ancient Winters, sure it gives you a bonus but if Laufey captures it he not only becomes harder to kill but it also boosts his escape effect.
Overall this is a solid set that doesn’t require other expansions to work well. Offers a fun power level of villains with the option of boosting the difficulty via the Epic sides on the Mastermind cards. If it has a downside it is that all the heroes feel a bit the same with a focus on Artifacts and Worthy, but mixed in with the core set or other expansions this will be diluted and they will feel more unique.
On the Tenth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me... 10 Villainous Weapons and hammer that no one can lift!