(Metagame Archive) Choosing Your (Spider)-Friends Wisely

By Brian-David Marshall

I hope you all had fun at the Sneak Preview Weekend for Web of Spider-Man. I know that everyone who showed up this weekend for the event I ran at Neutral Ground had a blast. There was considerable excitement about the new cards. Players kept clamoring to buy some, but since the product isn’t shipping out to stores until Monday, they’ll have to wait until late next week.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the event nearest your hometown, it will be a week before you can try your hand at Sealed Pack or Booster Draft play. We ran several drafts at my event this weekend, and the fact that there are only two major affiliations in the set made for some interesting draft decisions.

I managed to sneak out one pack that didn’t get sent back to Upper Deck, and I’ve opened it for this column to simulate the choices you might face first pick/first pack in a Web of Spider-Man draft.

Draft strategies changed between Marvel Origins and DC Origins. Plot twists were priority one in both sets, but with Marvel, you needed to take 6- and 7-drops early and often. DC Origins shifted that around, making plot twists take an occasional back seat to a formidable location or even a *gasp*, *choke* 1-drop.

There’s no doubt that the unique nature of Web of Spider-Man will have you drafting it differently than the two previous sets. There is very little chance of you falling into the right seat to be drafting a specific affiliation. In DC, you might have found yourself handed a fourth pick Cassandra Cain because the three players to your right were duking it out for Teen Titans, but in Web, it’ll be a 50/50 proposition whether or not the drafter to your left is in the same affiliation as you. In fact, it’s probably even worse than that, because many players simply draft Spider-Friends and Sinister Syndicate and hope for the best.

Enough jabbering, though. The draft is about to start. Lets get to our seats and crack that pack.

Green Goblin, Norman Osborne
Kraven the Hunter
No Fear
Scarlet Spider
Costume Change
Unexpected Mutation
Next Generation Technology
Forced Allegiance

First, let’s take some time to look at each card in the pack and try to figure out the best first pick.

Prowler, Hobie Brown

We’re going to shuffle this guy to the back of the pack. He’s not the worst 1-drop in the world, and he actually offers you some card selection on the early turns of the game, but we are not going to waste a first round pick on him. He is strictly undrafted free agent material. If you get him tenth and you need a 1-drop, he might make the deck.

Green Goblin, Norman Osborne

Now we’re talking. This is a card that’s going to get sorted to the front of the pack when you make your pick. He has reasonable stats for a 5-drop, plus an ability and flight and range. The ability is pretty good, too. I mean, you play Robot Destroyer and you have to stun him to stun a character that costs 4 or less. That’s a lot of restrictions. You can use the Goblin on any support row character, provided that it’s unprotected. The Goblin forces your opponents to make some hard decisions regarding their formations, and they have to adjust to your strategy instead of developing one of their own. Plus, he KO’s the character but still causes the endurance loss—sweet pick. Let’s keep him in mind as a potential first pick.

Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff

Solid 4-drop. Not something we’re going to take with a precious early pick, but if this was a fourth or fifth pick, I’d probably be happy to get him. He’ll take out any 4-drop your opponent plays, and he can even take out a 5-drop with a good twist of the plot.


This card has been around for a while as part of the two-player starter set. It’s a solid piece of equipment that does not impair your curve. Probably not a first pick, although I would consider taking it fairly high for a rush deck based around the Sinister Syndicate. With Vulture and Hammerhead, this card packs quite an early wallop. Flying Kick every turn has got to be okay, right? We would probably put this near the front of the pack, but let’s face it . . . we’re looking for a plot twist to make our choice easy.

No Fear

Never fear, No Fear is here! Another card you’re already familiar with, thanks to the two-player set; I can’t imagine taking anything else over this card. Vs. is all about breaking the symmetry of the two boards as they develop each turn. You want to stun more of your opponent’s characters and have a marked board advantage. Plot twists usually decide combat situations, and this allows last turn’s guy to defeat this turn’s attacker, or to attack this turn’s big defender. This is a big card that creates big swings in the game. As an added bonus, you don’t have to commit to one side or the other to pick it.

Cloak, Tyrone Johnson

I previewed Tyrone a couple of weeks back. He’s a mid-round pick that will come around the table. His ability is tricky to use, and as an 8-drop, he’s not so impressive—especially if you’re staring down a Silver Surfer for your opponent’s 8-drop. Send him to the back of the pack and pick one up later; maybe even this one when it laps the table.

Dusk, Cassie St. Commons

Another card that we’re flicking back to hang out with Tyrone and Hobie. Evasion is nice, and Dusk has boost, but do you really want to put out a couple of 2- and 3-drops on turn 5? This is strictly curve filler material that will make its way to us later if we’re Spider-Friends and need help in that area.

Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly

Ben seems like a nice enough guy. He has reasonable stats, helps those around him with a decent boost to their ATK column, and has an intriguing ability. The only problem with his ability is whether or not you’ll ever actually use it in a draft or Sealed Pack match. It seems like something for the mad scientists of Vs. to toil over in their laboratories and break out at the next Constructed leg of the Pro Circuit. This is not the 6-drop I am going to take first.

Costume Change

Meh. You won’t know if this is something you want to have in your deck until after the third pack. To make it work, you need to have multiple versions of the same character, and you need to have the right situation come up. It will get you a 3-drop Spidey on the appropriate turn if you have a more expensive version languishing in your hand, but this is not something we’re going to pay much attention to in the first pack.

Unexpected Mutation

This isn’t better than No Fear, but still gets to hang out near the front of the pack. Anything that boosts an attack is worthwhile, and in a worst-case scenario, it’s a crappy power-up (on the attack side, anyway) if you hit a card with a cost of 1. In light of No Fear, this is not a first pick, but I would happily take it second if I were sitting to the left.

Beetle, Abner Jenkins

At this point, we’re just making sure there’s nothing better than the No Fear. Even with flight, range, boost, and a variable rear-suspension, we are not taking this guy. He is a solid middle pick, however, and seems better than most people at the Sneak Preview expected he’d be.

Boomerang, Fred Myers

This is a staple 3-drop with an ability that can be useful, both in disrupting team attacks and in foiling your opponent’s ATK-boosting plot twists that threaten to do a ton of early damage. Decent stats, flight, and range . . . you’ll be happy with this guy as a mid-round pick.

Next Generation Technology

Rare drafter!

Forced Allegiance

This is an interesting ongoing twist that allows your mixed bag squad to pull it together and finally start acting like a team. You can suddenly reinforce and pull off unexpected team attacks. It’s a good trick to flip up in any aspect of combat. I don’t think I would take it first pick/first pack, but I would certainly take it high in the subsequent packs if my deck was shaping up to have both Syndicate and Spider-Friends with a couple of the minor squads sprinkled in.

For me, the first pick is clearly No Fear, with some consideration paid to Jetpack, Unexpected Mutation, Green Goblin, and Forced Allegiance. What would you pick? You have about a week or so to make up your mind. I’ll be back then to talk about the new set in a slightly different way—call it a plot twist.


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