Chaos and Confetti Cooperative Challenges: Marvel United and the Pheonix Five

Every week Chaos and Confetti will alternate between clashing for board game dominance and coming together in table top harmony.  This week it’s time for another round of…  


The Premise:

Every other week, we will choose a cooperative board game to play.  Then, we will craft a challenge from that board game and give ourselves one shot at overcoming it.  No restarts, redos, or retries.  We either rise as conquerors or leave as chumps.

While some of our challenges may be a bit more straightforward, others will come with twists or hints of inspiration.  This is a test of teamwork.   

The Game: Marvel United: X-Men

Marvel United is a cooperative strategy game that has players taking on the roles of Marvel heroes defending the world against villains and their nefarious master plans.  CMON’s second season Kickstarter of Marvel United (third is currently running) introduced the X-Men to the fold, and that is where we will be delving today.

The game has players using move, attack, and heroic actions to complete objectives in order to make the villainous mastermind vulnerable to attack.  Then, it’s a matter of defeating the mastermind before time runs out.  The mastermind gets to act after every few hero turns, and during that time they will wreak havoc and try to complete their evil scheme.  If heroes are unable to prevent the completion of the scheme or if the villain runs out of cards to play, the heroes lose. 

This game is all about maximizing plays and coordinating efforts in order to get everything done in time.

The Challenge: Rise of The Phoenix Five

The Phoenix Five expansion for Marvel United: X-Men creates an gauntlet of games for players that get harder as they advance.  Players will take on the Phoenix Five one at a time in a random order, but every time they win, the new member gains the power and strength of their fallen comrade.  

The first game is a standard game of Marvel United.  However, after each win, the next opponent becomes slightly stronger.  They get to keep the BAM effect of all the previously beaten foes, triggering them each time.  The new mastermind also gets an additional health for every fallen member of the five.  Finally, for every beaten mastermind, the new one gets one of their threat cards randomly replaced with a Phoenix threat card which will be tougher to overcome than what it is replacing.

Players get one shot at besting The Phoenix Five.  A loss stops the gauntlet and will bring about the end of the world (in game)!

The Set-Up:

For this run through the gauntlet, we will be using exclusively Marvel United: X-Men components.  The masterminds and their rules will follow the standard Phoenix Five setup and progression.

Our starting heroes will be Wolverine (Chaos) and Jean Grey (Confetti).  We may decide to switch out characters between games.  Any characters we choose from must come from the X-Men kickstarter. 

Since this is our first time taking on this one-shot gauntlet and since The Phoenix Five are meant to be difficult to overcome, we will be keeping our wilds in the deck instead of adding extra difficulty.

Our locations will be the eight from the base Marvel United: X-Men game, but we will shuffle and deal out six each time.

Let’s go!

Game 1 – Namor

Our first battle was against the master of the seas, Namor.  We chose to use Wolverine and Jean Grey because they both had a good mix of action types, while still having separate strengths we thought might come in handy.  Wolverine knows how to hit big and his healing factor might allow him access to act as our team’s shield.  Jean Grey, on the other hand, comes with a decent amount of wilds, which make her pretty versatile.  She also can manipulate card order which can give us what we need when we need it.

Namor immediately moved to our location, and Wolverine got to play his role out the gate.  He took the hit for the team and then got to work.  

The threats required one of each action type, so our diversity of action types came in handy.  We also made sure to start tackling the rescue hope objective, which demanded move and attack actions.  After Namor’s third turn, we were able to take down a fourth threat and clear hope’s training to make the mastermind vulnerable.  

With only four hit points, Namor never stood a chance.  Jean Grey delivered a quick one-two and then Wolverine used those same attack icons to finish the fight.

Game one was a quick and decisive win.  It felt almost too easy, but we knew it was just the start.  

Game 1 Result: Chaos and Confetti win by KO after clearing two objectives

Game 2 – Cyclops:

Cyclops arrived second.  Namor’s BAM only allowed him to attack where he landed, an easily avoided attack.  Combining that with Cyclops’ attack adjacent spots, now meant the mastermind would attack half the board with each BAM.  One damage wouldn’t immediately end any game, but it did add extra pressure to get things done quickly.  

Cyclops also was given one Phoenix threat.  That meant he had a threat that would only take wild actions and would drain anyone starting in that location down to one card.

Since Wolverine and Jean Grey proved to be a strong team, we decided not to mess with success and kept them around.

Cyclops started with a zero move BAM, which thankfully meant he basically wasted an move attacking the wrong side of the board.  From there, we got to work.  We liked our strategy from the first game, so we got to clearing threats while also setting up the “Train Hope” objective for a quick clearing when we were ready for it. 

We spread out and took on different sides of the board in order to minimize double damage.  The odds increased that one of us would take a hit, but at least we wouldn’t both be demolished.  Chaos/Wolverine took on more conventional threats while also trying to keep civilians and thugs under control.  Confetti/Jean Grey who has more access to wilds, took out the Phoenix threat with little worry.

Once again, we hit the switch on two objectives at once and our enemy became vulnerable to attacks.  Foolishly, Cyclops moved right between the two of us.  Sure, we both took hits, but we could also both reach him quickly.  Reminiscent of the first game, Jean Grey came in for the initial hits and then Wolverine applied the finishing touches.  Even with the extra health, Cyclops went down fast.

The potential for real danger lurked in this game, but never really came to fruition.

Game 2  Result: Chaos and Confetti win by KO after clearing two objectives

Game 3 – Colossus:

Colossus brought something unique to this fight.  Not only would he have his predecessors’ half a board attack, but he also could shield himself from the first damage he would take each turn thanks to his BAM ability.  Shielding and extra heath are rarely a welcome combination.  The board also continued to heat up with an extra Phoenix threat emerging.  Of course, Colossus’ threats would be no cake walk either.  They demanded a lot of stars/heroic actions, otherwise we would be taking a lot of extra damage.

Unlike Cyclops, Colossus used his first turn to run around the entire board, but then he missed his initial attack anyways.  We appreciated the luck and chance to get off the ground.  The threats were our immediate concern, since we knew that not clearing them would mean quick and regular KOS on us.  Since the threats were eating up our heroic actions, we were free to use our move and attack on the “Train Hope” objective.  We didn’t mind this setup forcing us into the strategy we had already grown comfortable with.

In another stroke of luck, two of the locations that we cleared threats from were Hangar Bay and Xavier’s Institute.  These gave us access to healing and token collection.  We of course grabbed a bunch of attack tokens.

We continued our trend of quickly clearly two objectives back to back, but Colossus did have time to cause an overflow and play an extra facedown card.  While focusing on our normal strategy, we really let the thugs and civilians get out of hand.  Colossus was primed to start racing through his deck.

Thankfully, as soon as we made Colossus vulnerable to damage, he made a two-part epic mistake.  First, he moved counterclockwise until he arrived at the location where we were both standing.  He may have felt smart causing Chaos to discard down to one card, but in doing so he used an ability without a BAM.  That meant, Colossus delivered himself to us with zero shield.

The classics are loved for a reason, so we played that old familiar tune: Confetti with the initial hit and then Chaos delivered the closing notes.  Boom!  Colossus was down for the count.

Game 3 Result: Chaos and Confetti win by KO after clearing two objectives

Game 4 – Emma Frost: 

Emma Frost finally arrived.  Along with all the upgrades from her fallen friends, Emma could deliver crisis tokens to make players play their cards randomly.  Clearly, the game gods love us though because Emma went with the zero movement whiff that her former boy toy Cyclops used too.  

With more Phoenix threats on the board, we weren’t sure if we had what it would take to clear them.  So, we decided to start clearing civilians out while we trained Hope.  To our surprise, we ended up clearing out four threats anyways, but the civilian objective was on the verge of being complete anyways.

Emma was proving to be a bit of a powerhouse as she got to put out a facedown card thanks to a K.O. and took longer than usual to make vulnerable.  Even once we had her open to attack, we failed to deliver our standard quick K.O.  With extra health and the wrong cards out, we could only ping her for minimal damage at first.  It didn’t help that she had Colossus’ shield as well.  

Knowing what we did about the Hangar Bay, we took full advantage of it again this game to gather attack tokens.  Once we got to Emma’s location, we unloaded on her and were finally able to cut her down.  

Most importantly, Chaos would like everyone to know that for the fourth game in a row, he delivered the finishing hits.

Game 4 Result: Chaos and Confetti win by KO after clearing two objectives

Game 5 – Magik

Somehow our duo made it to the final round, and their reward was taking on Magik.  Magik added more damage to her BAM location, and now had almost all Phoenix threats.  With eight health, she doubled her starting life.  In a way, very fitting for the final boss, Magik also set a limit on K.O.s.  Four K.O.s would results in a loss for our heroes.  On top of that, any K.O. equaled a banishment.  That character would be gone and players would have to suit up another X-Men to continue the fight.  It was do or die.  The final fight had arrived.

The Phoenix threats immediately put us down to one card and on the verge of knockout.  The wild action requiring threats also meant we wouldn’t be able to clear them like we had before.  This time we really had to go in on civilians.

Wolverine and Jean cleared one threat in a corner in order to create a safe haven and then tried venturing out from there.  It didn’t take longer before they just had to take the risk of saving civilians and forgoing any sense of safety.  

Our two veteran heroes managed to make Magik vulnerable but she wouldn’t just take it.  She K.O.ed and banished Wolverine.  We hoped all that training would finally pay off because Chaos re-entered the fight as Hope.  The true battle began and our heroes worked to carve away at Magik’s life.

Of course, Magik showed no fear and then finished off Jean Grey as well.  Confetti decided to play with Pixie because of her cuteness.

Unfortunately for Magik, the next generation of heroes had a few tricks up their sleeves.  Hope forced Magik to play her next card facedown.  This left her standing still and unshielded.  Pixie and Hope ping-ponged Magik back and forth until she finally succumbed to her wounds.

The Phoenix Five finally met defeat. Chaos and Confetti saved the day, extinguishing the giant firebird!

*Also, Confetti would like everyone to know that she delivered the true final, final hit.

Game 5 Result: Chaos and Confetti win by KO after clearing two objectives (but they finish the fight as Hope and Pixie)

Final Results: Chaos and Confetti overcome The Phoenix Five!!

Chaos’ Final Thoughts:

I went in with low expectations for how far we’d get into the gauntlet.  I think we’re both strong players, but I’ve also heard how hard The Phoenix Five can be.  Confetti can tell you that I warned her a few times not to be too discouraged if we didn’t make it to the end.

There was definitely a little luck on our side and the last few fights had me worried, but we somehow managed to pull off a successful gauntlet run.  I’m super proud of us.  I know we won’t win every Cooperative Challenge, but I’m happy to have started off with back to back wins. 

Confetti’s Final Thoughts:

I am really surprised we made it all the way through because Chaos kept telling me that it was about seeing how far we could get, not winning. Making it all the way through was a big surprise and I’m super excited about it! Marvel United is a really fun game, and this was definitely a worthwhile challenge.

Wrap Up:

Chaos and Confetti were on fire this week as they met the challenge of The Phoenix Five and came out on top.  Teamwork makes the dream work, but like the rise and fall of phoenixes, their cooperative spirit can only last so long.  Join us next week, as Chaos and Confetti once again engage in an epic clash!

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