Spider-Man has been a big part of the Marvel Universe for a while, and with an entire set dedicated to him, it’s not surprising to find him hitting that magic 3-set barrier, and earning him a Fistful of Meeples review of his very own.
Avengers vs X-Men
Spidey made his debut as a Starter character in AvX. He was a fist character with fairly low field-costs, which made for decent efficiency, but whilst good, his stats were unspectacular.
The starter versions of Spider-Man were fairly well focused around self-preservation, with abilities that allowed him to pay energy either to protect himself from abilities and effects, or to boost his defence (whilst attacking). These weren’t bad abilities, particularly in the very limited card-pool of the time, but they aren’t that exciting.
Webslinger – 5 fist. Although the most expensive of the AvX Spider-Men, Webslinger looks like a card with some serious potential, that might be worth digging out again. For a cost of 5 fists he takes a few turns to get out. However, when he assigns to attack, you can pay a single fist to force every character your opponent controls to block him. This is brilliant if you are using other big-hitters who your opponent was intending to chump-block with sidekicks.
Wall-Crawler – 4 Fist. Wall-Crawler is on a very select list of cards in the game so far, having actually been errata-ed by WizKids. He comes with a very powerful ability, which means that, when he is unblocked, you can pay 2 fists to change your opponent’s life to 10 – a nasty sting early in the game when your opponent could potentially be on full-life. Pre-errata, he would then go on to do his full combat damage as well, which had allowed some nasty combos to give players a turn-3 win. In his re-balanced form, he will generally not be worth the effort, although in doubles, the potential gain is a lot higher, and may be worth trying.
The Amazing – 6 Fist – although not part of the AvX set per se, this early OP card uses the AvX dice, so best fits here. Where Wall-Crawler moved your life to a fixed ten, this version has the potential to halve your opponent’s life. It certainly looks appealing, but with the cost being 3 fists instead of 2 and the purchase cost being 6 (making him the most expensive Spider-Man yet) he doesn’t seem worth the effort.
Moving on to the Uncanny Set, Spider-Man returned with the same dice-moulds, re-coloured into Red on Blue, instead of Black on Red.
Hero for Hire – 5 Fist. The Hero For Hire version of Spider-Man allowed him to prevent a target character from blocking. One of our local players used to run him in an “unblockable” build, where he has good potential, but he also works well against teams who have characters like Beast or SR Jocasta, who want to block you, and can make it hard for you to attack given the number of abilities the can trigger.
The other Uncanny characters are not particularly exciting, and don’t seem worth looking at in detail here – although it does remind me that I’m long overdue for an article on the Heroic Mechanic, and I’ll re-add that to the “to do” list for once this set of reviews is done.
Coming right up-to-date, the Amazing Spider-Man sees a complete re-boot. He returns to the traditional black on red colour, but morphs into Bolt energy, with a new symbol, stat-line and affiliation. All his dice have the Spider-Friends affiliation new to, but well-supported in this set.
I’ve already looked at the starter versions of this set, so I won’t go into too much detail here, other than to re-iterate that I think there’s definite potential from a Spider-Friends team. The common “Great Responsibility” gives you an option to purchase your Spider-Friends more cheaply, and “Public Menace” gives you some life-gain (the high-cost of this card is a downside, but life-gain is likely to be more useful later on, so I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker.
Overall though, I stand by my previous assertion that the best version of Spider-Man is “Tangled Web” – by himself he’s a heavy hitter, but on his burst level, he can make all of your Spider-Friends +2 attack. Combined that with his global which can make any character a Spider-Friend, and the rare MJ for overcrush, and it becomes remarkably easy to roll over your opponent in just one or two attacks. As his burst comes on the dice’s lowest level, he’s worth combining with Polymorph for the global, and Daredevil is good for holding the line whilst you amass the swarm of spiders to strike home.
Spider-Man is a big enough part of the Marvel Universe, that it’s only fitting to have lots of versions of him out there. It’s a bit of a shame that they basically all seem to be Peter Parker (no Miles Morales, no Superior Spider-Man), but there are definitely possibilities from all three sets, depending on what your team is trying to do.