Spider Foes are much maligned, mostly because of a perceived poor Leader in Green Goblin (more on him in a bit). So why should you play them? Well, firstly because the Spiderman rogues gallery is arguably the best in all of comics, and certainly Marvel. Secondly, because the models are all awesome (admittedly not much of a sell when so many MCP models are so good!). Thirdly, because Spider Foes are a really flexible affiliation with many different builds and playstyles possible (they arguably only have one bad match up – more on that in a future article). Finally, they’re just really fun and not everything has to be hyper-competitive. We (Jonah, Lexa, Sasa, Nick, Mike, Quinn, Anthony, Vince and Nik) have pooled our knowledge of playing Spider Foes to bring you this series of articles to demonstrate how Spider Foes can have a competitive edge.
For this, our first article, we cover the affiliated characters. The second will examine our unaffiliated options with the third and fourth articles exploring tactics and Crises selection respectively. We will offer general gameplay advice throughout the articles.
A lot has been said about Green Goblin – most of it not very complimentary. So, is he really that bad? No. Is he good? Probably not in comparison to the 4 threat powerhouses like Medusa and Enchantress, but he’s good enough. Having said that, 3 of the contributors in this article don’t even take him in their roster, so if you don’t like him, don’t think he’s necessary for a Spider Foes roster. You do lose Well Laid Plans but our best tactics card – Sinister Traps – doesn’t require him and while Oscorp Weaponry is a good Leadership it is not essential. Green Goblin is a character that is very different on his Healthy and Injured side though, so we will cover them separately. On both sides he has very good manoeuvrability (something he shares with several of his affiliated friends) with a Medium move, Medium base and Flight (on both sides he has ways to get extra movement too). He also brings the Leadership – Oscorp Weaponry. Due to the timing of this it is almost the last thing (attacker modifies defenders dice) that happens in the dice roll with only Witty Banter currently happening after it. This means that you can see the results of the dice (after Criticals and Re-rolls) before deciding whether to use it. This Leadership is good, and often underestimated. Though Spider Foes are a little Power starved if you’re using this on a Builder attack then you have a very high chance (⅝ against most models) of getting that Power straight back and on higher damage attacks it can help to push through those extra wounds you need – the high damage dealers such as Venom and Carnage, as well as unaffiliated characters good at generating power, can make very good use of the Leadership.
Archnemesis is annoying because it means your opponent can dictate your activation to an extent by placing Peter Parker within R3. As Amazing Spiderman is about to be really popular and he has 4 defence across the board with Re-roll all and Witty Banter there’s every chance that this is going to be a completely wasted action for Green Goblin unless he starts the round with enough Power to Night of the Goblin. This is such a liability that we would consider not taking Green Goblin if you are facing off against Web Warriors or think your opponent is likely to take Amazing Spiderman.
On his Healthy side Green Goblin is a reasonably tanky model with 4/3/3 defence and 7 wounds. The big issue for him, and many of his affiliated friends, is a 4 dice builder. However, Green Goblin gets to choose whether to target Physical and Energy defence with both his attacks. There are plenty of models in the game now that favour one of these defences (e.g. Storm, Venom, Hawkeye) so try to deploy him opposite enemy models where he can capitalise on this. He has a Wild Trigger on Pumpkin Bombs to give out Bleed, Poison or Incinerate which are all annoying for the opponent and if you’re able to double attack (not that difficult with R4) then the 4 dice builder is much more effective on the second attack if you’ve already Incinerated your opponent; this allows Green Goblin and other Spider Foes to do damage and generate Power a little more reliably. Night of the Goblin is effectively a more powerful Pumpkin Bombs which gives out Incinerate and Poison automatically.
Hit and Run allows Green Goblin to get an attack while not spending an action to move and can be used to stay at range, or reposition Green Goblin onto points without having to use a move action. Trick or Treat is a useful Superpower but it is quite expensive at 3 Power when generating Power is something that most Spider Foes struggle with. We find it is more effective for forcing your opponent into difficult decisions in trying to play around it but if the opportunity presents itself it can be very impactful, especially if your opponent risks moving a model with a low number of wounds remaining. Trick or Treat combines very well with Mysterio’s Tricks and Traps or Rocket’s Booby Traps to create a bubble of horrible for your opponent.
When on his Healthy side you want to be maximising Green Goblin on the Crises combination. Ideally, you want to pick up an Extract and then go stand on a Secure to contest, and hopefully score. With his good defences and high health pool he can take a beating and if your opponent targets him then he can get some much-needed Power while being unlikely to be Dazed by anything but the most dedicated damage dealers, or focused fire. Injured Green Goblin can dish out a lot of damage which leads to opponents often ignoring him so force them to be unable to do this. If they do, and he’s scoring 2 VPs a round, while chipping away at range and dictating your opponent’s movements due to Trick or Treat, then he is having a positive effect on the game. If your opponent does Daze him then this is ok, because he has a very impactful Injured side.
Green Goblin is arguably much better on this side (why oh why couldn’t he have a 5 dice Builder and 3 cost Night of the Goblin on his Healthy side – this would improve him so much) and if your opponent does take Green Goblin out, he will generally have a lot of Power to do some very impactful things. This will enable the big swing rounds that Spider Foes thrive on by Dazing/KOing models. Glider Ram is very effective for doing damage as it’s a size 3 throw (that most opponents won’t have saved Brace for, if they have it) and he can often do this and two Night of the Goblin attacks (due to having 7 wounds on his Healthy side and Unstable Psyche meaning he often hits 10 Power the round he flips) depending on positioning. This does mean that he is a big target if you don’t have Priority though and his defence goes to 3/3/5 (mostly worse with Physical being the most common damage type but with the increasing amount of Mystic attacks in the game, this will be better in some match-ups) with only 5 wounds so it is common for him to get taken out before he gets to activate so keep this in mind.
The big negative to Green Goblin’s Injured side is that he cannot Interact with, or hold, Objectives which is a big loss on a 4 threat character. As such, make sure you have somebody near him who can pick up any Extracts he dropped when Dazed, or any Extracts from opponents he manages to Daze/KO. Also remember that Green Goblin can still contest when he’s on his flip side so if you’re playing a Secure where you just have to stand somewhere he can still be impactful on the scenario – this is often overlooked.
So, that’s Green Goblin. He’s not as bad as most people make out, but he is also not essential for list building. On Sword (more on that in our Crises article) it is better to go for 4 3-threat characters (an area where Spider Foes shine) and a 2-threat character and leave Green Goblin at home. He isn’t a Leader that you take in absolutely every game in general either, so if he doesn’t fit your list building then don’t be afraid to leave him out – the Leadership is good, but it’s not essential.
You all know them, you all love them; it’s Venom and Carnage. I’ve (Quinn) taken the duty of writing up these bad boys because, to quote a certain Marge Simpson, “I just think they’re neat”. These two are your beefy affiliated beatdown characters, though the pair serve very different roles to each other, but first a consideration of their similarities.
Similarities: Both of our lovely symbiote pals come stocked with terrific builder attacks in the form of Symbiote Tendrils – possibly the greatest attribute of these attacks is their range of 3. It may not seem huge at first but this means that you’re attacking from twice the range of most characters in the game with physical builders, meaning you’ll have targets galore on narrow maps like E’s or C’s, and on our preferred B set-up. If you just find yourself getting drawn into a brawl, which is where these characters excel. Another often overlooked attribute of Symbiote Tendrils is the fact it automatically applies bleed to the target regardless of if you deal damage. Bleed isn’t considered one of the best conditions, like Incinerate, Hex, or Stagger, but it’s more of a “sleeper” condition in the sense that it will slowly tick along over the course of a game and can eventually lead to some very difficult situations for your opponents. Occasionally it will force your opponent’s hand into performing a shake action to prevent a character from just keeling over, or it can end up being the deciding factor in whether a character lives or dies from an attack, having previously damaged them. Bleed is also great on big characters like Magneto, Scarlet Witch and Thanos, because their actions are simply too valuable to perform a shake action a lot of the time. The two also come with their own forms of anti-defence tech. Venom has his Symbiote Instincts which prevents enemies from modifying their dice when attacked (particularly handy in hunting down pesky little spiders, and magic doctors) though it’s important to note that this ability won’t affect things that cause results to ‘count as’ other results (e.g. Reality Gem), as these don’t actually change the dice themselves, just the success criteria. Carnage has Symbiotic Serial Killer which prevents your opponent adding extra dice to their defence rolls for critical results. This allows you to much better judge your ability to tackle a character, as they’ll only ever be able to get as many successes as they have defence dice.
And now to some of their distinct attributes.
Venom: A brilliant control piece that allows you to drag enemy characters kicking and screaming to their demise with his Web Snare superpower (a range 4 medium pull for 2 power is insanely good). A great tank with overall good defences and an above average healthpool, combined with both his So Many Snacks reactive superpower to attack would be assailants back, and his We Are Venom spender attack to heal for each point of damage dealt, he’s one tough cookie. He is very vulnerable to Energy attacks at only 2 Energy defence though, especially if these come from outside his range 3 Symbiote Tendrils range so he can’t make the attacker pay with So Many Snacks (stay away from opposing Rockets!).
Carnage: An absolute melee monster, assuming you can get him there and keep him there. With the likes of Sin and Sam spam on the rise, Carnage will be the piece in your repertoire that truly puts the cat amongst the pigeons in these matchups. Paint the Town Red is the main ability that allows Carnage to perform in this way, allowing Carnage to get more attacks into the oft squisher characters brought by said teams, whilst also healing him to full, which is also better against wide teams as their attacks tend to be of a lower quality therefore increasing the likelihood of Carnage’s survival and healing. You do still have to be careful with Carnage, a bad match up in terms of attack type (i.e. not physical!) or range can really ruin his day, especially when you may have other pressing matters to attend to.
Carnage also has the honour of possessing a viable area attack Maximum Carnage. There are a couple of factors that contribute to this, namely the rampage trigger on a hit wild result, doing multiple instances of splash damage to everyone in range 2 in addition to being hit by a strength 7 attack can lead to a cluster of enemies dropping like flies. Then of course we have Sadistic Glee giving Carnage the ability to gain 2 dice for an attack action with the trade off that he takes damage for each roll in the attack that contains a fail result. This ability can be somewhat of a double-edged sword, especially when Carnage is on 1 remaining health, however there is a sneaky way to circumvent a potential daze/KO. Both Paint the Town Red and the damage from Sadistic Glee trigger after the attack is resolved, meaning if you have met the criteria to trigger Paint the Town Red you can heal Carnage fully, move, and do a Symbiote Tendrils attack before taking the damage from Sadistic Glee. All of this culminates into making Carnage a real force to be reckoned with, being used as a melee monster, or, to use an old wargaming term and make it into a pun (what a combo), as a Distraction Carnagefex.
Doctor Octopus was relatively popular early in MCP life, especially as another throw option in the 5 wide Wakanda Wave style squads, but has been overshadowed by other 3-threat characters since. But, since he is affiliated, he will see a lot of play in our Spider Foes squads so we need to maximise his effectiveness. He has good defences at 4/3/4 but with only 11 wounds total (5 on his Healthy, 6 on his Injured) and no defensive tech he isn’t difficult for opponents to take out. He can play keep away a bit with R3 on his Strike/Ock’s Clutches but if he’s contesting Secures he can be taken out. Like other Spider Foes he is quite manoeuvrable though, with a Medium move, a Medium base and Wall Crawler. Another thing he shares with most Spider Foes is the dreaded 4 dice Builder but this is less debilitating on Doctor Octopus than his friends because of Wilds counting as double on his attacks which means his chances of successful hits are only slightly below those characters with 5 dice Builders as we can see below
This also means that his Strike is a bit more effective at generating Power than the 4 dice would suggest. Added to this is Scientific Hubris which works on attack, defence, and pay to flip Secures which means Doctor Octopus is pretty reliable at generating power since you tend to make a lot of these rolls over the course of the game. This will enable Ock’s Clutches to be used more often than the 3 Power cost would suggest, and you should make use of this often – typically you try to activate Doctor Octopus late in a round so he can move up and throw an opponent off a Secure to allow you to secure it. With his manoeuvrability and base size he can cover a surprising amount of distance and can threaten opponents back Secures on B maps (our favourite map layout – though this is better left to one of our other affiliated characters). It also means he can use his Arm Lasers more often which, as a 6 dice attack, often rolls a Critical which generates a Power back, effectively acting as a discount on the attack – though don’t bank on it if you need the Power for his throw. Generally, you won’t use this unless you have excess Power though, as you will want Doctor Octopus’s Power for Ock’s Clutches and to use Well-Laid Plans.
Lizard is one of the newest additions to the Spider Foes roster and may be the nearest to an auto-take that we have. He is another Spider Foes character with a 4 dice builder, but it does have a size 3 push on a Wild. You shouldn’t count on hitting this though, and it also isn’t a reliable attack for doing damage or generating power. Lizard’s Cold-Blooded attack is OK, especially for the auto-conditions, but we are unlikely to use it much as we will want the Power for his Size 3 Biomechanical Breakthrough throw. So what does Lizard do? Like Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus he is very manoeuvrable with his Medium base, Medium move and Wall Crawler. A typical play with Lizard is to send him to opponents’ back Secures on B maps and pay to flip, or stand there and contest – this is a very strong play on our preferred Secures of Infinity Formula and Mutant Madmen (more on these in article 4). Once he has some power (online from round 2 if playing Infinity Formula and you’ve not picked up an Extract) you can also throw opposing models off points to make them easier for you to flip or ensure that you score the VPs for Securing. Though Doctor Octopus can do this play, Lizard is much better at it because he is our tank character – he has good defences, reduces damage by 1 because of Thick Hide and has Healing Factor . This means that he is very difficult to take out and can generally be annoying to opponents. Lizard is also a good Extract holder because his resilience means it is difficult for opponents to Daze/KO him and take it from him. He’s particularly effective with Cubes because of his Healing Factor . When deploying, try to save Lizard until later on so you can ensure that he faces off against Physical attackers where he is at his strongest (he is very good into high Physical damage lists like Brotherhood and Web Warriors).
Master of special effects Quentin Beck is a great addition to foes. Why?
- He is your only affiliated mystic attack and a rarity as a 3 threat mystic attacker.
- He is hard to kill for a three threat between his 11 stamina, stealth and defensive tech
- Another source of control effects provided by his attacks
- Has great synergies with other foes (really any character with displacement abilities) as well as on some of our favourite crisis
So how do you get the most out of Mysterio? He is very strong on one of our preferred Crises, Infinity Formula. Mysterio can safely secure a back serum and generate enough power for tricks and traps on round two. That means a risk for any opposing characters that want to go after Mysterio. Tricks and traps creates an almost 2 in 3 chance that the enemy takes at least 1 point of damage and allows Mysterio to advance Short to safety. If Mysterio then does at least one damage on his activation, he can usually move the enemy character off the point and move himself back on point to secure it.
But don’t let that discourage you from throwing Mysterio into the thick of things. Mysterio loves rolling dice as he gets a power anytime he rolls at least one blank – this is on any roll he makes so attack, defence, pay to flip to Secures (don’t forget another preferred Crises for us is Mutant Madmen) and most importantly, don’t forget when rolling for Tricks and Traps.
Mysterio can become a major distraction and potentially build power for his spender which had yet more control in a throw and stagger, fuel tactics cards like bitter rivals or his signature The Grand Illusion (aka Bitter Rivals on speed!). This gives Mysterio a lot of value in a place where there is a lot of fighting going on, particularly if more obvious threats like Venom and Carnage are distracting your opponent.
Mysterio can also be good buddies with Kraven and Green Goblin – Kraven can increase Mysterio’s odds of doing damage and Mysterio can trigger Corner the Beast, in addition to triggering Tricks and Traps or Trick or Treat. There are also great synergies one of our preferred Extracts, Spider Infected, where it’s possible to sometimes trigger Tricks and Traps (as well a cause damage from Corner the Beast). It’s all about chipping away at your enemies health by hitting them from places they don’t expect!
A key decision you will need to make is deciding if you commit to holding an extract with him. Sometimes allowing him to be a nuisance and a drain on power without sacrificing any VPs can create more difficult decisions for your opponent. One Extract that he does well with is Cubes because he has a surprisingly high health pool and benefits greatly from the extra power.
Mysterio may not be duelling Magneto in a 1v1 anytime soon, but is more than capable of being a real nuisance for your opponent. Ensure that you are careful with you deployment as deploying him poorly can cost you as he is too slow to get somewhere relevant quickly.
Kraven the Hunter
Kraven is not tough and unlikely to survive a game. So, what does he want to accomplish before going down, and what does he bring to Spider Foes?
Kraven has excellent synergy on Crises where characters need to move to achieve their goals or avoid being in bad positions. This can often create difficult, sometimes even impossible decisions depending on how close to dazing or KO’ing a character is. Yet he is relatively good at removing himself from a bad situation whilst hobbling a character on the way out.
Some examples of how Kraven can help are on Crisis like Spider Infected. If you use Corner the Beast on an enemy spider carrier after they have activated, this can often result in a free point of damage if they are moved from the spider advance in the next Power phase as well as any repositions they try to take in their next activation (as Corner the Beast last until the end of the enemy characters next activation).
He also pairs well with other characters that are in the affiliation, such as Mysterio that can advance characters and also trigger damage from Corner the Beast. In many cases, it also amplifies the damage from Trick or Treat or Tricks and Traps, creating even more uncertainty for anyone moving around that threat bubble.
Kraven can also harass enemies in a fashion similar to Ghost Spider. On Infinity Formula he can Expert Tracker, move, spear strike for 5 and retreat. Or move, Corner the Beast, spear strike and retreat.
Kraven also serves as another good target for All You’ve Got. A good activation can include double attacking (with a Kukri Strike followed by a Spear Thrust) generating the power for All you’ve Got. Just remember he needs to Kukri Strike on the second activation to get the extra dice on Spear Thrust as the bonus is per activation. Even so, he is a 3 threat capable of punching well above his weight class.
Kraven is a specialist, he won’t make your squads every game, but can be a nuisance, harassing enemies and buffing allies, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Crisis and affiliations where Kraven values diminished are things like Extremis – the heal can negate the impact of Corner the Beast – and against teams able to heal easily (e.g. Asgard).
Wilson Fisk can be viewed as a ‘tech’ piece in a Spider Foes roster. He’s in competition for a 4 threat slot in a roster, so it’s worth considering what he might bring to the team and why you might include him. As a character he brings an all rounded package of being tough, having control effects, and possibly one of the best spenders in the game.
Like most of the Spider Foes he has a high physical def stat which plays well into their love for mutant madmen. The biggest downside to kingpin is how slow he is, but for certain crisis and situations, that’s not a huge problem. Kingpin can give Spider Foes options in match ups against a big bad, like the big D, Thanos or one of the Hulks.
Play him in scenarios (e.g Infinity Serums or Cosmic Cubes) that can grant him extra power, so he can Hail to the King more often. In addition, if play Cosmic Cubes you often have the choice to either take the damage and gain power, or paying to reduce the damage to zero with Intense Physical Conditioning. With Lizard, this means you have two models who are often not punished as badly for holding a Cosmic Cube as other characters.
Lastly, Kingpin give easy access to a dual affiliation build with Crime syndicate, with several interesting overlaps of characters with Foes (more on this in article 5!).
So there we have it – a rundown of the affiliated characters in Spider Foes. In the next article, we will be exploring some of the unaffiliated options that help the affiliation.