NOT THE BEES! Building a Modern Swarm Team

I know, I know, I should be starting off Deadpool builds with the man himself. However, we’re still awaiting the dials to be added in the Units section on the Realms, so for today I’m looking at one of the first previews: Swarm!

It’s a little tough for me to start building teams when we don’t have the units updated on the realms as it’s a lot more work to find keywords, point costs, etc. We’ve also got some issues with some of the pieces, like the Super Rare Deadpool 060 possessing incorrect keywords, so I want to wait to build until those are corrected or errata’d in case a really neat theme team is possible. Also, please understand that the units section of HCRealms is updated by one volunteer, so give them time. I promise I’ll have more builds once we have the pieces uploaded.

Now then, how about Swarm? This Nazi bee-man may not seem like that much on paper, but as soon as I saw him, I was pretty excited at the possibility of sheer fun that can be had. For those of you who don’t like me including possessors on my builds, you’re gonna have to let this one go and I’ll explain why as I go through his dial. Also, they’re a factor in the game and not nearly as powerful or expensive as their War of Light brethren, so it’s kind of something you have to accept. Remember, these builds are recommendations and can easily be tuned to your needs/desires.

Swarm clocks in at 120 points, which is kind of a lot these days. It’s tough to look at his dial when he’s the same cost as Nick Fury and only 20 points less than Jakeem Thunder. However, Swarm is nasty in his own right. His combat symbols are standard with a nice upgrade to Flight for movement. He’s got 5 range with two targets, no team abilities, and 6 clicks of health. For keywords, he’s running just Scientist and Sinister Syndicate. He’s also got a single trait and a special attack power.

Looking at his dial, it looks a little scary to pay his cost. His movement is killer, with 3 clicks of 10 and Running Shot and 3 clicks of 9 Hypersonic. Attack weens a bit with 10 Special on 3 clicks, and 9 with Precision Strike on his last 3. Damage is okay with 3 Shape Change for his first 3 clicks, and 2 Outwit for the last 3. Where Swarm looks really sketchy is his 16 Super Senses for 3 clicks which drops to a 15 Super Senses for his last 3 clicks. How the heck are we going to keep him alive with such terrible defense values? It’s great that he’s got all these powers on every click, but he’ll never last! Ah, but that’s where his trait comes into play:

ONLY THE QUEEN MATTERS: Unless the attack roll is doubles, Swarm takes no more than 1 damage from attacks.

Man oh man, that is an amazing trait! Let’s dissect (HA!) this one step at a time. Any attack that comes towards Swarm has an incredibly high chance of only dealing 1 damage to him, so even though he’s got that 16 defense, he’s most likely only going to end up taking 1 damage which is boderline full-dial stop clicks. Second, this is a trait, meaning that Nick Fury, Peggy Carter, and other bozo’s out there are unable to “can’t use” this ability. Unless you Pulse Wave Swarm, this trait is going to kick in. Third, this isn’t reducing damage, meaning Pen/Psy Blast and Exploit Weakness aren’t going to do a damn thing to him. Lastly, he’s got Shape Change and Super Senses, which means he gets two different ways to just flat out say ‘no’ against your attack. Even if you get through those two abilities, he’s only taking 1 damage. This has got to be one of the most annoying pieces ever.

One of the best strategies in the current age is Bystander armies, and Swarm brings that with him too in the form of his special attack power:

ORPHAN SWARMS: Each time swarm hits an opposing character, after actions resolve put a Bee Swarm bystander adjacent to that character unless there already is one.

Generating Bystanders is already amazing. Swarm takes this to the next level by dropping them adjacent to hit targets, and we all know what that means – no ranged attacks and breakaway. So how do these little Bee Swarms look? Pretty good actually! 9 Movement with Flight and a special power that let’s them do ANYTHING without taking your actions (a serious increase from Devil Dino’s “move actions don’t count”), 9 Poison, 17 Super Senses, and 1 damage with Tiny. These little jerks are going to suck if you find yourself next to them with no reducers as they’ll quickly just eat you alive. Heaven forbid if he pushes and gets two of them next to you and you have no reducers. 2 free damage every turn isn’t good, is it? Aren’t the Shredders making a big impact with free damage every turn? Yeah, okay, that’s penetrating and triggers on a move, and they’re really broken for their points, and OKAY I GET IT, IT’S NOT THE SAME THING, FINE RUIN MY FUN.

So Swarm is highly mobile, incredibly tough to take down, and can generate an army given enough time and lucky dice. What do we need to make him a monster? First of all is that defense. Just because he’s got all these ways to dodge damage doesn’t mean reducers aren’t good on him, and that’s where possession comes in. Both Eclipso and Brainiac provide Impervious which gives you a third way to roll out of damage, meaning any time your opponent wants to hit this guy, you get three rolls to get out of it, and they still only deal 1 most of the time. Even if they roll doubles, Impervious will help keep him healthy.

Both these possessors will also help his other problem; average attack values of 10. In order to generate more bee’s, he’s got to hit, and raising his attack value is necessary to do that. We don’t need to deal big damage with Swarm, we just want him to hit.

Probability Control is also a big must-have for Swarm. Not only will it be easier for him to hit, it’ll also force out double rolls as mathematically it’s even harder to roll doubles twice in a row, and can control breakaway rolls against the bees. For that matter, Outwit is probably a good bet too since much of Swarm’s damage is through the poison of his tokens (although this is changing with the rules update coming later this year). Support is also amazing for Swarm since it’s so hard to eat through his dial and naturally works well with Prob, and he’s already got gutter-level defense.

Luckily, we don’t really need TK or a taxi since he’s already got dynamite movement and Running Shot. He does have low range though and he lacks Willpower, so a taxi might be a good idea, especially with how cheap they are these days in points.

Okay, I’ve talked WAY too long. Let’s get into the builds.

300 Point Modern Swarm Build – No Resources

Brainiac is the optimal choice for Swarm; he’s got Sidestep to help him creep up, Pen/Psy to let him deal more damage, Outwit to counter defense abilities, mid-dial Pulse Wave to go with his Running Shot (only on click 3), and the amazing World Running Like Clockwork ability to help us remove tokens. It’s like Brainiac was made for this guy. Brainiac does drop in attack a bit quicker than Eclipso does, but it’s not the end of the world.

Engineer is our go-to piece for selecting powers that we need for Swarm to thrive. She can easily pick up Probability Control each turn, Enhancement to help with damage, Perplex to change numbers…. you name it. As long as she isn’t take defense powers, she’s good to go. She’s also got 3 damage and is a flyer, so she can serve as secondary attacker or taxi (see later info). With a possessor, Engineer gets much better, and since she’s starting on click 4, Eclipso is a perfect candidate. She gets that first click Impervious which is so vital, and pushes into Probability Control. Her last click, she gets the Black Blade of Eclipso power to help her heal back up, and whadda know, she can easily just take Charge to get there. Late game, she can pick up Support and heal Swarm.

Killbrew was my last Scientist pick and was actually the second piece I placed on the team. His abilities go so well with Swarm that it’s like they were made for each other. With Outwit on his first two clicks, he’ll help to take down opposing characters defense and makes hits stick. His trait is pretty nasty; if an adjacent friendly is making an attack with a higher attack than printed, they get a +1 to damage as well. Swarm isn’t going in attack is he? Oh wait, Brainiac can give us a +1! Oh yeah, and Swarm can carry him. Need to heal Swarm? No worries, just push Killbrew to click 3 where he gets an absurd damage power with only-positive Perplex and Support in which he can copy his targets freaking attack value. Now, that’s not going to do us much good with a 9, but it’s still a very good Support piece for 35 points.

You’ll notice that I added the Pym Particles, and there’s a good reason. Swarm is already equipped so we can’t give him anything, and even if we could, if he changes size he’s no longer a standard character so the possession would have no effect. Instead, if make Engineer tiny, Swarm can carry both our teammates, or we can make Engineer a giant so she can carry Swarm around. This gives us a little more flexibility.

I tried fixing this build from the initial run, but it looks like I screwed up again, forgetting that you can’t have a possessor and other equipment at the same time, so I’ve removed the particles from the team as they don’t really help. Maybe go with the Symbiote for Killbrew to give him some defense? Up to you.

I dig this team a lot. Engineer is a little fragile, but it seems like a strong theme team with lots of versatility. Let’s take a look at a non-theme team version.

300 Point Modern Swarm Team – No Restrictions

Obviously this team has a bit more going on and has completely different pieces than the previous build. You’ll also notice Pandora’s Box and a Colossal Retaliator, meaning this build is ready to roll in a no-holds-barred event.

I kept the same possessor for Swarm because the utility is so good on him. See the previous build for details in case you skipped to this.

Mr. Mxyzptlk is about the best thing Swarm could hope for because he just about guarantees that opponents won’t hit doubles. Prob is good, replacing dice is better. Mxy can also be pushed into his special Pulse Wave click which will help keep Swarm on top of the enemy team actions-wise. Since he’s tiny, Swarm can easily carry him around and have that threat of Pulse Wave double token present.

The Wizard showed up in a recent WKO and I have to say he’s quite the piece to include. With his movement ability that makes him untargetable from range as long as he’s in hindering terrain or adjacent to blocking terrain, he’s a very strong support piece. With Prob on click 1, Outwit on 2, and Perplex on 3, he can always help Swarm in some way, shape, or form. Speaking of shape, his special traited Shape Change let’s him place a Tiger in his square and bail on attacks if he succeeds, which Mxy can help him do. Those Tigers also have Charge and Blades, so they can deal a surprising amount of secondary damage, again which Mxy can help with. There’s lots of synergy between these two pieces.

I opted for The Atom because there’s just no better 15 points right now. Swarm lacks damage, and if your opponent decides that yeah, he does want to roll the dice and manages to actually ping Swarm, The Atom is going to come in and wreck house. The Pocket Tank would be a better option, but Swarm just has such a lackluster attack that I opted not to use it.

For a Resource, Pandora’s Box was the best option. Sloth makes Swarm just crazy in that when he clears, he’s going to heal back whatever damage he took on the last turn. Since he doesn’t have Perplex, Outwit, Prob, or any other ‘free action’ powers, when he’s tokened, he’s just always going to heal up. The +1 to defense isn’t bad either. I opted for Lust for Mxy so that the team can handle Hypersonic Speed and he’s naturally easier to hit in melee. For path, you would absolutely use Path of the Hunter (red line) so that Swarm can keep Running Shot or pick up Prob every single turn.

This team puts all of its eggs in one basket for offense, but I think it could be really strong. Since Nick can’t turn off Swarm’s ability to stop damage, and the other big threat of Jakeem is going to have to pick Pulse Wave to break through, it’s got some potential in my book. How much fun would it be to tell Krang “hey, guess what? I’ll take 1. Thanks!”? I’m looking forward to trying this team myself, as well as the last one.

That wraps up the first team build for Deadpool & X-Force and I hope you enjoyed it! Once we get the units section updated (again, give them time), you’ll see more. I want to do Wade justice and really build the right teams for him. Do you have other suggestions for Swarm? I would love to hear them! I really like this piece and would love to know more abusive strategies.

See you guys Thursday!


2 thoughts on “NOT THE BEES! Building a Modern Swarm Team

Add yours

  1. For your first build, Engineer can’t pick up the pym particles either without losing Eclipso. Great article, though! If only Jakeem wasn’t around to pick pulsewave all the time, Swarm would be good to tussle with the best of them…


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