Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game (a.k.a. Marvel Legendary[1]) is a cooperative deck-building game for 1-5 players, released in 2012.[2][3][4] It was designed by Devin Low and published by Upper Deck Entertainment, a division of Upper Deck Company.[5]

The game was a 2013 Origins Awards Best Traditional Card Game nominee[6] and a 2013 Golden Geek Best Card Game nominee.[7]


Marvel Legendary is a cooperative, dedicated, deck-building card game featuring characters and scenarios from the Marvel Comics. Prior to starting the game, a Scheme is selected, detailing the specific plan of the villainous Mastermind and his henchmen. Two primary decks of cards are used: one with available heroes in the Headquarters (HQ), and one with villains invading the City. Specific parameters are determined by the specific Scheme, as well as the choice of Mastermind. Generally, the Hero Deck contains cards representing five to six different heroes, while the Villain Deck contains cards representing two or more villain groups and one henchman group, along with captured bystanders to rescue, Scheme Twists which advance the plot of the Scheme, and Master Strikes where the Mastermind himself attacks the HQ.

At the start of the game, players have a deck consisting only of eight S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents and 4 S.H.I.E.L.D. Troopers, representing one coin and one attack respectively. A player's hand contains six cards. Generally, players work throughout the game to use their coins to draft hero cards, and use their attack points to clear villains out of the city. Hero cards represent various Marvel superheroes, with the base game including fifteen heroes mainly from the Avengers and X-Men teams. A given Hero has four types of cards (1 common, 2 rare, 1 legendary) with unique abilities, totaling fourteen cards per Hero. Five heroes are available in the Hero Deck during a given game unless otherwise specified by the Scheme (or in a six-player game, in which six heroes are used).

Hero Cards provide more powerful values of coins and attack, meaning that a player's deck generally gets stronger as the game progresses. Players work to keep villains from escaping the City, and to prevent the Mastermind from accomplishing his Scheme. Villains and Masterminds have a defined number of victory points, so there is a competitive element among players though the game is cooperative by nature. Bystanders are also worth one victory point when they are rescued. Players can sometimes take Wounds, which essentially clog up their deck as a useless card. All Wounds in a player's hand can be cleared if the player does not attack on their turn.

The game progresses until either the players defeat the final Mastermind Tactic, or the villains accomplish their Scheme. Schemes vary greatly: some are simply time bombs as Scheme Twists are revealed from the Villain Deck, while others encourage a specific number of villains to escape the city, or a number of heroes to be KO'd from the HQ.

Expansions to the game increase the complexity of both the Hero and Villain abilities. The Guardians of the Galaxy expansion also introduces Infinity Shards as an additional resources that can be used to boost the attack of whoever collects them, whether it be the player, villains in the City, or the Mastermind. The Villains stand-alone set also flips the game to where you play as the villains fighting against heroic groups and their Commander, with a new board to reflect the subtle changes (such as from S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to H.Y.D.R.A. agents). The game is played exactly the same, and as such, the Villain Cards are fully compatible to play alongside the Hero Cards from the original game, and vice versa.

List of expansions

Marvel Legendary has three stand-alone sets that can be played independently, as well as several expansion packs that require at least one of the stand-alone sets to play. Expansion packs range from small boxes with five new Heroes plus a few Villain groups and corresponding Masterminds, to big boxes with much more variety of both Heroes and Villains.

Most of the stand-alone sets and expansions feature original comic-style artwork. Marvel Studios Phase 1 and Spider-Man Homecoming feature stills from their respective movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Cards from any of the sets can be combined within a game.[8]

Stand-alone Sets
Title Release Year
Legendary (Original game) 2012
Villains 2014
Marvel Studios Phase 1 2018
Expansions Requiring a Stand-alone Set
Title Release Year
Dark City 2013
Fantastic Four 2013
Paint the Town Red 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy 2014
Secret Wars, Volume 1 2015
Secret Wars, Volume 2 2015
Fear Itself 2015
Deadpool 2016
Civil War 2016
Captain America 75th Anniversary 2016
X-Men 2017
Spider-Man Homecoming 2017
Marvel Noir 2017
World War Hulk 2018
Champions 2018
Ant-Man 2018
Venom 2019
S.H.I.E.L.D. 2019
Revelations 2019
Dimensions 2019
The New Mutants 2020
Realm of Kings 2020
Into the Cosmos 2020
Heroes of Asgard 2020
Annihilation 2021
Messiah Complex 2022
Doctor Strange and the Shadow of Nightmare 2022
Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy 2022
Black Widow 2022
Black Panther 2022


Marvel Legendary has been consistently met with positive reviews from fans and critics, particularly regarding the original base game. This base game was a 2013 Origins Awards Best Traditional Card Game nominee[6] and a 2013 Golden Geek Best Card Game nominee.[7]


  1. ^ "The Upper Deck Company | Marvel Legendary". www.upperdeck.com. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  2. ^ "Why We Love Marvel Legendary". The Tabletop Family. May 19, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  3. ^ Mastrangeli, Tony (March 12, 2013). "Legendary: Marvel Deck Building Game Review". Board Game Quest. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  4. ^ "Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game Review". Co-op Board Games. March 23, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  5. ^ "Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game". boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "2013 Origins Awards Best Traditional Card Game Nominee | Board Game Honor | BoardGameGeek". boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "2013 Golden Geek Best Card Game Nominee | Board Game Honor | BoardGameGeek". boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  8. ^ "How to Play Marvel Legendary with Shang-Chi and the 10 Rings". sharpergamestrategies.com. January 3, 2022. Retrieved January 25, 2022.