My first encounter with Ant-Man was in the Ultimates version of the Avengers, where he is rather an abusive asshat, so I was surprised when Marvel took the character down the improv comedy route in the MCU. This version of Ant-Man is the semi reformed criminal Scott Lang and he’s all about chaining and comboing abilities as you change size to take down the bad guys. Today we’ll be taking a look at his base Leadership build, let’s see how he plays.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man Tiny/Ant-Man Giant
Ant-Man is the first hero with a “Three Sided” hero card. What that means is that the standard sized card features Ant-Man’s alter ego and tiny forms, but the card can also be opened out to create the giant version of Ant-Man.
As Scott Lang you have a hand size of 6 and a recover of 3 alongside a very robust 12 health. As well as that you can heal 1 damage each time you switch to Scott. However, as several of Ant-Man’s cards allow you to heal when you change to Giant form and the deck features no “Alter Ego” only cards, you really don’t spend much time as Scott.
When you change to Tiny form you can clear a threat from a scheme, your hand size drops to 5 and your stats are slightly less than average at 2 Thwart, 1 Attack, 2 Defence. However a lot of Ant-Man’s signature cards call for him to be in Tiny form and that clear 1 threat is not to be sniffed at.
However, where Ant-Man shines is in Giant Form. To begin with he deals a damage when he changes, helping clear tough so you can utilise his 3 attack. On top of that Ant-Man has multiple cards that increase his attack strength when he changes form making him a super heavy hitter. His hand size drops to 4 but his Defence increases.
Because most of Ant-Man’s abilities trigger in the round he changes you will want to constantly change back and forth between your various forms. This does mean you’ll be opening and closing that three sided card a lot… so far it’s holding up but part of me wonders just how much opening and closing it can withstand.
Ant-Man’s cards are split almost evenly between power ups for his two hero forms. In Tiny Form you can make use of Army of Ants, these can be exhausted to deal 1 damage each and you have three copies. This is great for clearing tough or defeating minions without needing to actually attack. You can also team them up with Hive Mind which clears 2 threat from a scheme plus 1 for each Army of Ants card you control.
Giant Strength temporarily increases your attack the turn you change into giant form and you can have two copies in play making Ant-Man 5 attack. While Giant Stomp hits all minions in play for 1 and deals 8 damage to a single enemy, making this one of the best horde counters in the game.
Ant-Man’s Helmet and Wrist Gauntlets grant different abilities depending on your form. The Helmet heals 2 damage when you change to giant or draws you a card when you change to tiny. Best of all it doesn’t exhaust so if you can change multiple times you can get the bonus every time. The Gauntlet’s require you to play 2 resources to either Stun in Giant or Confuse in Tiny but often I found my resources could be better spent.
Pym Particles are a resource card that replicates the effects of the helmet when used to pay a cost and Resize is a free event that you can play to change form and draw a card which makes it a card that’s always worth playing!
Lastly we have Wasp, Ant-Man’s signature ally, a little pricey at 3 cost but a sturdy 2 attack, 2 thwart and when she enters play she’ll either deal 2 damage or clear 2 threat depending on if you are giant or tiny. With a reinforced suit she’ll stick around for quite a while too which will allow you to make use of their team up card, Swarm Tactics.
The more I play Marvel Champions the less I find myself focusing on the aspect cards. When I mulligan I’ll almost always ditch aspect cards in favour of finding more signature cards, with the exception of cheap allies.
Despite that I do like the combos between the Leadership cards here, they are all about developing an ally strategy. Call for Aid is a free event that allows you to discard cards until you find an avenger ally, this is a nice card when you’re getting low on hit points and want to find someone else to take the hits for you, but you are also running down your own deck too.
Power Glove and Reinforced Suit are both ally only attachments, the former allows you to deal 1 damage when an ally thwarts or attacks, adding to the thousand paper cuts strategy for Ant-Man’s deck, while the latter boosts an ally’s hit points by 2 extending their usefulness dramatically.
Moxie is a free event which boosts your stats after you change form, but I never actually managed to play it in any meaningful way.
Ant-Man also has four allies in his deck, including Hank Pym’s Ant-Man. Pym is a free ally, although his hit points are tied to the number of resources you spend on him to a max of 4.The nice thing about Pym is that you can always get him into play so long as you can spend at least 1 resource, but he just might not stick around. Alternatively you also have Cassie Lang, or Stinger and I much prefer her. She doesn’t count towards your ally limit but she’s nice and cheap and armed with a glove and a suit she can stick around and cause some damage.
Ronin definitely hit the table the least because he costs 3 and Ant-Man spends far too much time in giant form to have the spare resources. However, he gets +1 to Thwart and Attack if you can get an attachment on to him. Saving the best for last though, Giant Man. He costs 5 but he packs a wallop. While Giant Man’s health is above two he hits for 4, so if you can get a suit on him he could deal out 20 damage for six resources.
Ant-Man’s deck comes preloaded with 2 new neutral cards. The first is Team-Building exercise which works great in Ant-Man’s deck so long as you get it into play early on. It offers a discount on every Ally you play that shares a trait with your hero and all of Ant-Man’s allies are Avengers. I’m not sure how this card works with Hank Pym though.
The other card is a new team up card, Swarm Tactics, this card only works while Wasp is in play, either as a Hero or as an ally, but it allows you to not only change form but to ready as well. It’s a great card for a single resource but it’ll work much better in co-op than in solo play.
Ant-Man is a very powerful hero. When I first ran a test of his build against Rhino (and lost) I thought that perhaps he was a “death by a thousand cuts” type hero, but as I’ve played him across the Red Skull campaign I’ve largely come to realise that he’s all about the big damage output, especially in solo.
I liked the idea of controlling an army of ants and chipping damage off the villain while controlling the scheme in Tiny Form but Giant Strength and Giant Stomp are so much more effective at defeating the villain. That’s not to say that I don’t change size, I do, mostly though so I can change back and deal a bigger wallop while grabbing those healing bonuses from the helmet and pym particles.
Tiny Form does have its benefits though, knocking down the threat is great and army of ants is perfect for dealing with low health minions or clearing tough status cards. An ideal turn would be playing Resize to shrink, grab a card, clear a threat, deal some damage with an army of ants before flipping back to Giant form healing and then stomping. All of this though does rather leave Scott Lang out of the mix. Ant-Man’s high starting health along with a good amount of built in healing means you rarely need to take shelter in Alter Ego and with no cards at all that require you to be in Alter Ego there’s not much incentive to change out of the suit.
The Ant-Man puzzle is definitely one of the more interesting ones, possibly my favourite hero since Black Widow. Ant-Man is capable of a damage output similar to the Hulk but it takes work and well timed card play to pull it off which makes me feel clever. His leadership build is interesting but honestly I think I’d rather play him in a different aspect, maybe Justice or Protection. I think Ant-Man would also make a great support hero in multiplayer games, being able to clear tough or finish minions in front of other players without much hassle.
Out of the gate, while a capable hero, Ant-Man is one that takes some mastering. Swapping between forms powers this hero, supercharging his abilities and refilling his batteries but the array of possible combos might be overwhelming for new players. However for those looking to really explore the change form mechanic, Ant-Man will keep you entertained for hours!