In this article, we look at the affiliated and character specific tactics cards for Spider Foes (spoiler, there’s a lot) along with some of our preferred unaffiliated options.
Before moving on to the cards, I’d like to shout out to a couple of other content creators who’ve put out some Spider Foe themed content recently:
First is the Roster Doctor, Mark Gerow’s, primer which you can find here.
If you prefer to do your reading with your ears then the latest episode of Across the Bifrost covers Spider Foes here, as does the latest episode of The Danger Room which you can find here (both these can be found wherever you listen to your podcast – I use Spotify).
Sinister Traps (Jonah)
Sinister Traps leans on our affiliation’s ability to create bad choices for our opponents. While we can dream of killing a model with it, this is usually pretty unlikely, but it does significantly reduce the effectiveness of the round one Extract stealing plays (though if you do too much damage you can end up giving power for characters like Amazing Spider-Man to Web Swing back in or tactics cards like Climbing Gear to be used). When not being used on centre Extracts it can make opponents objectives more dangerous to pick up or contest, forcing their models off points or making them rethink their activation order. As Sinister Traps is played in the first Power phase it means that we can see our opponent’s deployment before placing the Sinister Trap, meaning we can optimise its use. If not using it on centre Extracts, I like to place it on objectives near characters that have good defensive tech or are typically hard to target (e.g. Enchantress or models with Stealth) which creates the aforementioned difficult choices for our opponents. While Sinister Traps is close to an auto-take for Foes, be cautious about taking it all the time. As it triggers the first time any model ends within range two, it can be used against us. This means it should be avoided against affiliations that have a good range of movement effects (e.g. Thanos/Black Order, Asgard or our dreaded enemy the Web Warriors).
Neogenetic Recombinator (Jonah)
Neogenetic Recombinator is the second of our two affiliated tactics cards and allows one of Spider Foe characters to transfer their wounds to another model. This can be very effective in Spider Foes by allowing us to lean into the defensive game by healing tanky models to keep them in the fight and/or on objectives longer. Though taking up to three wounds seems a steep cost to pay, three of our key Spider Foe models – Venom, Carnage and Lizard – all have ways to heal themselves so they can ‘pass’ wounds to their allies before healing them back – effectively costing nothing. This can be particularly effective to do before using All You’ve Got on a model who was effectively losing those wounds anyway. Neogenetic Recombinator can also be used to manipulate priority as there is nothing stopping you doing enough wounds to Daze (or in extreme circumstances even KO) a model that has yet to activate in order to ensure that your opponent acts last – perfect for setting up those aggressive Carnage plays. Despite this being a very good card, I always found it difficult to fit in my roster though as there are so many good choices available. The move to 10 tactics card choices soon will definitely make this card more attractive.
Well-Laid Plans (Jonah)
Well-Laid Plans isn’t an affiliated Spider Foes card but as it requires both Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus it sees very little, if any, play elsewhere. Spider Foes like to play Extracts with a high number of objectives like Spider Infected and Cubes which means that there will often be several models getting targeted by the card when played. Even when playing single Extracts like Senators, this can be used very effectively to remove the objective from models that may be much more difficult to target/Daze/KO otherwise. Though it can be tempting to play this card early, it is most effective when leveraged on swing round and identifying when these are is key. However, as it relies on a dice roll, this can let you down (I’ve had an opponent target 3 of my models and end up causing no damage so dropping no objectives). The main negative of this card is that it requires Green Goblin to play and he often gets left at home. Even when he is brought the 3 Power that Green Goblin needs to play it is not easily generated but with a new and improved Green Goblin on the horizon, Well-Laid Plans is a much more attractive proposition.
The Grand Illusion (MikeE)
Mysterio is one of my absolute favourite characters to bring in Spider Foes and his personal tactics card The Grand Illusion just drips with theme and flavour. The Grand Illusion works both offensively and defensively the round it is played. If you can get Mysterio into range and catch a bunch of enemy characters it’s going to help your attrition significantly and also make your own, already pretty tough, characters a lot harder to damage. Paired with the improved Oscorpy Weaponry, this provides a huge opportunity to really put the hurt on your opponent.
There is a time and a place for this card. You will want this when you can feel confident that Mysterio is going to be able to generate the four power it costs to use, but when you do, the benefits can be enormously impactful. Infinity formula is one of the Secures that Spider Foes like to play and this can give Mysterio the power he needs really fast. In addition, if Mysterio is sitting on an Infinity Formula he is easily going to be able to move far enough to maximise the range three effect due to how close the other Secures are on the board. This card is usually played from round three onwards so bide your time and find the best opportunity to leverage it to maximum effect. Be careful that you don’t just send Mysterio up into the jaws of death and have him be taken out by opponents with plenty of power to spend reducing his defence to 1 dice. Do that Spider Foe thing where you present loads of other threats all at the same time.
You have so many ways to further turn dial up on this effect. Kraven can use Expert Tracker to give your whole team another dice on their attack rolls against an enemy in the Grand illusion bubble. Carnage and Venom are going to get even more damage through to turn on their other powers and attacks, Lizard might get enough through to then do his throw, and the defensive boost that he gets will make him even more difficult to damage.
Do be careful about dropping this into the likes of Scarlet Witch however as she counts Skulls as success when calculating dice so she just doesn’t care at all. If you are feeling particularly devious, you might also play Bitter Rivals either on the same round, or the round before/after for two consecutive rounds of some pretty horrific dice manipulation. Don’t expect to make friends with this combo however. Remember this MAY be time limited if Bitter Rivals gets added, as expected, to the next Banned and Restricted list. Conversely, stocks are up on The Grand Illusion is Bitter Rivals takes up a precious Restricted slot, or gets completely banned.
Carnage Rules (Jonah)
The first of two Carnage cards (which are arguably named the wrong way around) and the one that is most often taken. Carnage lacks the control of his symbiote nemesis Venom but this card allows him to have it once per game with a range 4 advance (which is better than Venom’s web snare as advances are more flexible) while also leaning into Carnage’s role as a beater as it allows an attack on the enemy model that you advance (note that because Carnage’s Symbiote Tendrils is range 3 even if the enemy model is at the full extent of range 4 a Small advance with get them to within attack range). Though it is a costly card at 4 Power, Carnage is usually pretty efficient at generating Power due to the combination of Sadistic Glee, Symbiote Serial Killer and the Spider Foes Leadership (particularly the new improved free version) and when combined with Doomed Prophecy he can quite easily gain and spend in excess of 10 Power in one round. This isn’t an auto-take card but if you’re planning to leverage Carnage’s damage capability then it is a serious consideration, and once tactic card choices are expanded to 10 will almost always make your roster, if not your squad.
There Will be Carnage (Jonah)
Root is a good condition which can be very frustrating against teams that like to leverage superpowers a lot, but outside of niche teams built to make the most of conditions, this card isn’t one to seriously consider. With an already strong array of tactics cards to choose from, it is too difficult to fit this in. Carnage is usually doing his best to Daze/KO models within 3 and should focus on that.
Lethal Protector (Jonah)
Venom’s personal tactic card is well known at this point in the game and is just as effective in Spider Foes. This allows you to dictate who your opponent attacks, and is another layer of the difficult decisions that we like to make opponents make. The combination of Lethal Protector, So Many Snacks and soon-to-be free Oscorp Weaponary defensive re-roll can be very punishing for an opponent, even more so if you have the Power to We Are Venom as well, meaning that Venom can potentially heal any damage that he takes from the enemy character (and more). This card is stapled to Venom and remains so in Spider Foes.
Monkey Brain is Lizard Home (Jonah)
Lizard is a staple of a Spider Foe’s roster and makes it into most squads. Monkey Brain is Lizard Home doesn’t! While Lizard is tough enough that he could get into a position to attack multiple enemy characters he usually has better things to spend his Power on and the difficulty of setting up the attack effectively means that this is not worth a tactic card squad in the roster, let alone a squad!
Fearful Symmetry (Jonah)
The last of the tactics cards for our affiliated characters, Fearful Symmetry is absolutely oozing with flavour, allowing Kraven to turn himself into a Healthy core-set Peter Parker if you can KO’d either version of Peter. This card may be a lot of fun in themed games against Web Warriors, and perhaps even if playing Battle Realms, but the opportunity cost to play this card is so high that it is not worth even remote consideration for a competitive Spider Foes roster.
Doomed Prophecy (Jonah)
Doomed Prophecy is a high risk, high reward, card that we have a lot of good targets for. Though Carnage is our premier target for this because of his ability to make multiple attacks through the use of Carnage Rules and his Area attack, we have a lot of models with high physical defence that can make use of this. Our abundance of 4 dice builders become a lot more dangerous when using this tactic card given the number of them who have 4 Physical defence. A favourite play of mine is to use Doomed Prophecy on one model and Blind Obsession (see below) on another model on the opposite side of the board then allow my opponent to pick their poison! Doomed Prophecy combines very well with All You’ve Got (coming up next!) and if set up well then Carnage can cause absolute, well, carnage and provide huge swing turns for us. Another favourite target of mine for this card is Nebula. Having 3 extra attack dice and the ability to re-roll any against enemy models holding/contesting objectives turns her into an absolute monster and I’ve taken Thanos out with this play. You need to make sure you’re within Strike distance to maximise the effectiveness though as you don’t get the bonus on her Blaster Pistol. This leans very heavily into her role of being a murderer who can’t score and if you play Doomed on her your opponent either has to risk leaving her for a big attack (if you don’t have priority) or focus on your models that can score. Remember that the negative effect from Doomed Prophecy lasts for the rest of the game which means that you need to be cautious about when you use it – if you use it too early it can end up working against you in the long run. However, it only turns off your defence against Physical attacks so if you deploy effectively you can minimise the negative effects as much as possible.
All You’ve Got (Jonah)
Let me start by saying that I hope this card makes it onto the banned list of the next BnR update because it is too impactful on the game. But for now, it is an option and Spider Foes, like many affiliations, can make excellent use out of it. As discussed above, it combines very well with Doomed Prophecy to set up very aggressive rounds (and as they’re both Restricted cards it does mean we don’t abuse the All You’ve Got/Field Dressing combo that is currently so popular). Like Doomed Prophecy, Foes have a lot of good targets for All You’ve Got. While typically we will try to leverage aggressive Carnage plays combined with Doomed Prophecy it can be used very effectively by other Foes such as Venom and popular unaffiliated options like Nebula and Mystique. There’s not much more to say about this card. It’s ubiquitous, impactful and hopefully gone from the game soon (!). But for now it’s an excellent choice for Spider Foes.
Advanced R&D (Nik)
And here we go again, this time talking about Tactics Cards you should consider for your future Spider-Foes roster. Nik here (TheGerman(Nik) on Discord) and this time the topic is a card no one talks about, everyone takes it and most of us use it regularly, the first round plays enabler – Advanced R&D. In Spider Foes you can use this extra power to accelerate your usually slower and more static first round. Using Advanced R&D to give characters like Venom a second power can enable round one Web Snare, which is especially useful if you double move them onto a point and pull an enemy character off said point to score it. Giving Venom a second power also enables Lethal Protector to be online round one. This is situational but can help Venom to get into the thick of it the action more quickly . A less obvious but still effective use is to enable characters like Lizard to pick up an Extract while still being able to flip a pay-to-flip Secure – a combination that Spider Foes like a lot.
After covering the pretty straightforward tactics card Advanced R&D, we’re now moving into flavour town, especially the spicy parts. Sacrifice is essentially Bodyguard on a tactics card with the original target and ‘bodyguarding’ character sharing the Power cost.
So why is this card worth considering in your Spider-Foes roster? Well, take a look at your affiliated characters. The common theme here is a high health pool paired with slightly above average defense stats. Characters like Lizard are perfect to sacrifice themselves in order to protect like Carnage (if he’s targeted with something other than Physical) or an injured Green Goblin. Venom can use it to get more use out of So Many Snacks and provides an extra protection ability allied with Lethal Protector. I also can’t count the times that Sacrifice on an unimportant character saved an Extract holder from an untimely end.
Using Sacrifice to mess with the Power generation or action economy of your opponent really helps to leverage the advantage to your side of the board, setting you up for a better position and table state, especially if an enemy character has some sort of placement or displacement abilities on their attack. This is yet another example of the way that Spider Foes create difficult choices.
Blind Obsession (Nik)
If the giant, smiling face of Green Goblin is not reason enough to convince you, maybe some of these points can help you decide whether Blind Obsession belongs in your roster or not.I found three ways for me to make this card work:
1. If both teams are split up onto flanks and/or there is a 1 vs 1 happening, using Blind Obsession provides your opponent with a difficult decision on how to activate or lets you get the alpha strike on enemy characters.
2. If you have priority and an enemy character who you really want off the board is on their Injured side, this will be much easier if you add 2 dice to your attacks
3. If you don’t have priority and there is an enemy character who obviously wants to daze or KO one of your models, you can utilize the added defensive dice.
These are just a few situations in which Blind Obsession really shines, but again each game will be different and will provide you with different opportunities to effectively use Blind Obsession.
So which models are good targets to play Blind Obsession on them? Everyone! Especially characters with four dice builder attacks with great triggers. Good thing Spider-Foes have plenty of these! The obvious choice would be Doctor Octopus, Mysterio and Kraven. All three have amazing trigger effects, and can set off devastating combos with not only the possible higher damage output, but also the extra power gained from attacks under the effect of Blind Obsession. Carnage and Venom always like extra attack dice and if they leave their opponents standing, then the defensive boost is much appreciated. This is particularly sneaky on Carnage as you can only ever be reduced to one defensive dice which means that if someone other than the Obsessed character attacks him then he still has a respectful three Physical defence with no detriment to his already poor other defences.
So you can see how this card is an unaffiliated affiliation card, since every character in Spider Foes scales amazingly with added dice, it plays right into the strengths of Spider-Foes by increasing their durability, while balancing their weakness due their lower dice builder attacks.