So you like a character, but don’t like the particular piece I focused on? I hear ya! Spotlight is a variant of my Team Build article series focused on building around a particular character rather than piece. This edition: WE ARE VENOM!
Why Venom: As much as I love Spider-Man, his rogues gallery is fantastic and I’ve always liked his classic villains. Venom (and mostly Carnage) were a newer generation of villains for the wall-crawler and Venom in particular garnered a lot of favoritism much like Wolverine. I’ve always liked Venom and Carnage for their biological abilities from changing size to shooting ‘webs’, and even making blades. However, Venom wasn’t always a big character for me. That happened as of late when Marvel decided to take the character into a new direction.
In the last few years, Flash Thompson became Venom’s host and the character became a sort of Black-Ops hero. When he joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, we got to learn even more about the symbiote. This added character depth pushed Venom from a cool-looking character into one that I thoroughly dig.
There are a total of six versions of Venom in Modern (counting Anti-Venom which I do since it’s Eddie Brock). Let’s go over each one of them and see how they rack up compared to each other. I’ll rate each one on a scale of 1-5, and then I’ll make some team builds. This can be quite long depending on how many of these pieces we have in modern, so feel free to skip to which pieces you like.
1. WKM15-007 Venom – 120 Points
Ah, old-school Eddie Brock Venom makes the first appearance on our list, and boy is this piece fun. He’s a little deceiving with a top dial 18 Defend, and then you realize that his trait grants him Toughness and a really neat sensitivity to sonic attacks (Energy Explosion and Pen/Psy). I like that about this Venom; it feels like you’re playing the actual character rather than a supreme version of him. His dial is pretty great with 10 Charge, 11 Super Strength, 18 Defend, and 3 Shape Change, along with 4 range and the Sinister Syndicate team ability. On his even numbered clicks, he gets a really neat ranged Blades power that pulls his target to him and let’s him make a free attack, along with Stealth. His numbers aren’t bad, but his 120 point cost is a bit much today, although the Indomitable is nice. Still a very good piece with a nice dial. Score: 4/5
2. WKM15-009 Agent Venom – 120 Points
In the same OP kit, we got the newest version of Venom (at the time) in Flash Thompson as Agent Venom. Favoring range over melee, this version of Venom feels a bit more like The Punisher. He’s got a neat trait that grants Plasticity and the potential to be a Wild Card, and his Special attack power that lets him deal his full printed damage to two different targets from range. With 9 Running Shot, 11 attack with that Special, 18 Invulnerable, and 3 damage, along with 6 range double target, this Venom isn’t messing around. He’s got Indom and Sharpshooter, and once he shifts from those range clicks, he goes into Charge mode with a Special damage power that gives him Battle Fury, Exploit Weakness, and Shape Change. More powers means he’s harder to deal with. I still haven’t gotten ahold of this guy and I really need to. Score: 5/5
3. FF SFSM 006 Venom – 75 Points
This is the first Venom on our list to inherit the new Symbiote trait that gives him Shape Change, Plasticity, and auto-breakaway. That trait is super good, and often overlooked. He also gets the Symbiote’s Web trait which is essentially the webbing that Spider-Man can give from the same set. His dial is decent with 9 Charge, 11 Blades, 17 Super Senses, and 3 Empower. He gets Steal Energy on his 2nd, 4th, and 5th clicks to help him stay alive, and he does get to keep that 11 attack for two clicks, but with only 5 clicks of health and no reducers until the 4th click, there’s a good chance this Venom will die before he gets to make a difference. He’s not terrible, just not my cup of tea. Score: 3/5
4. SFSM 023a Venom – 125 Points
Once again, we see this Venom has the Symbiote trait, as well as another that heals Venom when an opposing character takes 3 or more damage from one of his attacks. I like this better than Steal Energy since it can’t be outwitted and can be used from his 4 range. This Venom has a bit of Hulk in him in that he starts a little slow with only a 10 attack and ramps up to an 11 on click 3. Although he only gets that 11 for a single click, he never drops under a 10 for all 7 of his clicks. That’s a big deal. With top dial Invulnerable, Charge, and Exploit Weakness, he’s going to get in your face, lock you down, and hurt you. Once he hits that 11 attack, he gets a Special defense power granting Defend and Toughness and at the beginning of your turn, you can deal an adjacent friendly 1 unavoidable damage and heal Venom one click. So not only does he have a traited heal, he’s got a secondary heal that can combo with characters that don’t want to be on their top click. I dig him a lot and I’m sad that I haven’t given him a proper go. Score: 4.5/5
5. SFSM 023b Anti-Venom – 100 Points
The Prime version of Venom represents Eddie after he became pretty ill and developed the Anti-Venom as the absolute cure to the sickness that is the Symbiote. It’s his first incarnation in Heroclix and it’s a pretty big let down. He’s got the Symbiote trait which is nice, as well as another trait that lets him counter a different power on each opposing character within 2 squares and line of fire. Unfortunately he came in the set immediately after Uncanny X-Men and didn’t see how spectacular the Super Rare Beast was for the exact same cost. With no mobility to get him into place, it’s going to be an easy telegraph to see what you’re planning and counter it, and with only Super Senses/Shape Change protecting him, he doesn’t have a good shot at making it. His numbers aren’t exciting either with worse attack than the non-prime, and support on his middle two clicks. For 100 points and your Prime slot, this guy just doesn’t cut it and I don’t think he ever will. Score: 1/5
6. CWSOP 032 Venom – 90 Points
Wow is this guy good. Equipped with the wonderful Justice, Like Lightning trait along with Indom means that this Venom doesn’t show signs of slowing down while he tears your face off. He doesn’t have the Symbiote trait, but he does have a different trait granting Leap/Climb, Sidestep, and Steal Energy which I’ll gladly trade for. Traited Sidestep is huge and does so much for his kit. His dial is fantastic with Flurry and 11 attack, as well as 17 Toughness and 3 Shape Change to protect him while he moves closer. After that initial click, he loses Flurry and picks up Plasticity, but also get Blades and then gets even worse with Flurry/Blades on click 3. With Flurry on half of his dial and traited Steal Energy, this guy is an absolute monster to put down, all for only 90 points. When you add Proteus on him, things just get out of control and he can easily earn that now-125 point cost. My only complaints about this Venom are his lack of Charge, but more importantly that the best Venom in modern (possibly even the game) is Mac Gargan. That’s just not right. Score: 5/5
I’m going to build three different teams today, using WKM15-009 Agent Venom, The Superior Foes Uncommon, and the Civil War Super Rare. These three are pretty different versions of Venom, and it uses all three of his hosts that we’ve seen in Heroclix (Flash Thompson, Eddie Brock, and Mac Gargan).
Remember, Spotlight is more about just using these characters, so there’s less of an emphasis on competitive here. Recall the ground rules for Spotlight articles: 300 Points, No Resources (unless otherwise noted). This keeps things consistent as a LOT of LGS’s opt for no resources to keep things on a level playing field.
WKM15-009 Agent Venom Build – 300 Points, No Resources
- WKM15-009 Agent Venom + Thunderbolts ATA | 120 Points + 8 Points
- CWSOP 002 Iron Man | 80 Points
- FF NFAOS 004 Fitz | 50 Points
- NFAOS 008A S.H.I.E.L.D. Paranormal Investigator | 40 Points
- Shield Theme Team: +4
- Build Total: 298 Points
Agent Venom lacks any viable way to get around terrain, so why not theme team him and get the Thunderbolts ATA so that you can pick up the Avengers Initiative ability. Now Flash can not only move through hindering but shoot Stealth targets as well. If that’s not going to do much for you, choose Mystics. 8 Points gives Flash some nice versatility. This guy begs for a Theme Team since he can Wild Card an ability that two other characters have, so I opted for SHIELD. Both Fitz and the Paranormal Investigator have the ability, so everyone but Iron Man can buff range on the team just by being adjacent. Fitz is a great TK piece that pushes into Perplex, and drops HENRY into the game which anyone can carry around for a nice +1 damage. The P.I. is mainly used as our support piece and can either stick with Outwit on top click or push into Prob, or he can be used to neutralize Stealth and Shape Change though it is rather risky. Iron Man is a pretty nasty attacker for only 80 points since he has Impervious, Flight for carry, and the ability to ignore a defense power once per game. With Ranged Combat Expert, he’s going to dish some nice damage. There’s a lot of number buffing here and as long as the enemy team doesn’t close the gap, it should do quite well.
SFSM 023a Venom Build – 300 Points, No Resources
- SFSM 023a Venom + Sinister Twelve ATA | 125 Points + 4 Points
- SFSM 056 Chameleon + Sinister Twelve ATA | 70 Points + 4 Points
- WKM16-003 Mysterio + Sinister Twelve ATA | 50 Points + 4 Points
- SFSM 029 Overdrive + Sinister Twelve ATA | 35 Points + 4 Points
- Sideline: CWSOP 020 Jack O’Lantern, NFAOS 007b Peggy Carter Prime, CWSOP 010 Yellowjacket
- Sinister Syndicate Theme: +4
- Build Total: 296 Points
This team has a lot of cool tech going on with it. This version of Venom has a rather lackluster 10 attack value for a high point cost and that just won’t do. The Sinister Twelve ATA is a wonderful way to just flat out boost that. The catch is having more characters on the map. Good thing the LE Mysterio makes two tokens whenever he wants so you can ensure that you have 6 figures on the map in a 300 point game. Mysterio’s tokens DO have the Sinister Syndicate team ability, so they can absolutely copy Venom’s 11 attack (ATA) to get some sweet Incaps in so Venom can finish people off. When Venom does get knocked into his healing clicks, he can just eat an illusion to heal and you suffer no downside, which Mysterio can just pump back out again. Rinse & repeat. Overdrive is another piece that Venom can prey on as his vehicle can just be popped at will and created again in the same turn, and he gives Empower to make sure Venom deals at least 3 damage for his entire dial. Chameleon is our toolbox and can really make things fun. If we need high attack with Running Shot/Energy Explosion, turn him into Jack O’Lantern for an amazing 12 attack. Big brawlers stopping Venom from dealing damage? Peggy Carter can take care of those pesky defense values. My favorite though is Yellowjacket. His trait says that when a friendly character is KO’d, he heals 1 click. Now you’re getting double value out of Venom’s “eat you” healing. Yellowjacket can also push our attack values even further into the 12-13 range. Chameleon’s disguises would lose the ATA if he chooses Peggy or Yellowjacket, but since they’re essentially support, I think it’s worth it. I really like that Yellowjacket synergy!
CSWOP 032 Venom Build – 300 Points, No Resources
- CWSOP 032 Venom Possessed with Proteus | 90 Points + 35 Points
- SFSM 051 Baron Zemo | 90 Points
- CWSOP 026 Taskmaster + Hydra Deep Science Division ATA | 90 Points + 3 Points
- Thunderbolts Theme: +3
- Build Total: 298 Points
I’ve played this team before and it’s pretty disgusting. With Proteus and Baron Zemo, Venom now has a 13 attack which is insane. Since Venom has traited Steal Energy, we really don’t need a support line to back him up (not that there’s a lot to pick from for a Thunderbolts team). Zemo isn’t a slouch either; he’s got a native 12 attack with Blades meaning he’s going to be causing some serious damage if they get to him. Taskmaster is the definition of Swiss army knife in the Heroclix world, and when he’s combined with Zemo, he’s got Sidestep on every click, an 11 attack, and most importantly the Masters of Evil team ability which lets him act every single turn. Taskmaster will do whatever it is that Venom can’t handle, whether that be Outwitting defense powers, Perplexing up his stats, or using Running Shot to snipe targets. If you’re playing against a range-heavy team, you can always swap Proteus onto Taskmaster instead as it benefits both of these guys equally in that they don’t really suffer the downside of burning out (Venom has to deal melee damage for this to work whereas Taskmaster just turns to his starting click). The ATA is purely for point filler and reduces opposing support powers range by 1 which is kinda nifty for only 3 points. The biggest thing this team lacks is mobility, but I guarantee the opposition is going to need amazing dice rolls to avoid your onslaught once you close that gap.
I hope you enjoyed this month’s Spotlight article. I took a small break from the theme during December, but I remember why I like doing these articles. They’re super fun and provide a lot of information. Do you like the builds? What would you have done differently? Do you have any recommendations for future Spotlight articles? Let me know in the comments below.
I should have a new WKO primer article on Apex Insiders coming soon. I just have to sit down and actually write it! Take care and I’ll see you Tuesday!
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