The Big Little Hero
Ant-Man is the first hero to have two different hero forms. Flipping Scott Lang over reveals Ant-Man’s tiny form while unfolding the card brings forth his giant form on an equally giant-sized card.
This unique design is clever but makes it nearly impossible to sleeve. Hero cards don’t get shuffled, so it’s not a huge concern. However, I’m sure there are a lot of players that will be less than pleased about it.
Ant-Man’s playstyle is all about swapping between forms and the simple act of switching forms has an effect. Scott Lang heals damage, Giant form deals damage, and Tiny form removes a threat. Each of Ant-Man’s forms have different hand sizes and statistics, and certain cards can only be played in each form.
Ant-Man has a well-rounded kit that is directly in tune with his constant hero form switching. Resize allows Ant-Man to swap to his other form, bypassing the limit on swapping once per round and draw a card for zero cost. Since each form has an effect when you switch, Resize is very powerful and it really helps sell Ant-Mans theme. It truly feels like Ant-Man is rapidly darting around the battle, in and out of tiny and giant form.
Army of Ants a great, one cost support that allows you to ping an enemy for damage in tiny form without the attack keyword. It’s especially good if you manage to field all three copies. On the larger side, Giant Stomp is equal to Spider-Man’s swinging web kick but also deals one damage to every minion. Take that Ultron!
Ant-Mans Helmet is ridiculous and should always be one of the first cards you try and play, granting both healing and card draw that combos incredibly well with Resize.
I consider Ant-Man to be one of the more advanced heroes. It takes a lot of skill to properly juggle his form switching, size-specific cards, and hand size. Yet I also place Ant-Man in the over tuned category right beside Captain America.
Ant-Man can do everything decently well. He has a good amount of damage between his giant form, Army of Ants, and Giant Stomp. He has threat removal with his tiny form and Hive Mind. In addition, Ant-Man is also incredibly resilient with his giant form’s defense and the healing granted by Pym Particles and his Helmet.
He can struggle a bit with beefy minions, such as the ones Zola employs. Ant-man also has a direct weakness to Taskmaster since switching between hero forms triggers Taskmaster’s ability. But being weak versus a single villain isn’t a true weakness.
On the flip side, Ant-Man can easily pair with any aspect. I’m a bit biased since Protection is my personal favorite, but Ant-man can be nigh un-killable with it since his natural healing is so potent.
Overall Ant-Man’s playstyle is skillful and unique. His kit is strong and thematic. Though he crosses the line into slightly too strong, he is incredibly fun to play.
The hero pack comes with a bunch of new Leadership cards that I think will shake the aspect up. New powerful allies such as Giant-Man, Hank Pym’s Ant-Man, and Ronin enter the fray. But for me, it’s all about the upgrades.
Power Gloves and Reinforced Suit go a long way toward making allies have a stronger board presence rather than simply existing as chump blockers. It also boosts the value of the Iron-Man Leadership ally card that was introduced in the Doctor Strange pack.
Giant-Man can be outright ridiculous with HP boosts and healing, and Ronin plays well with upgrade cards. Hank Pym’s Ant-Man is also incredibly versatile, allowing you to choose how much power to give him for the cost you need in a given moment.
Outside of Leadership, we have Moment of Triumph for Aggression. Aggression getting a healing card based on overkill damage is incredibly thematic and helps the aspect’s sustainability for certain heroes.
Lay Down the law is a very cheap and powerful threat removal for Justice that plays even better with Ant-Man (and the upcoming Wasp). I’m underwhelmed by Muster Courage though. Perhaps Doctor Strange spoiled me with toughness cards, but Muster Courage seems expensive for the effect.
Then we have Swarm Tactics. It uses a new Team Up mechanic meaning it can only be played if the two heroes listed are in play. In this case Ant-Man and Wasp. Ant-Man’s signature Wasp ally counts, which is good because the Hero Wasp isn’t released yet. But it is unreliable, and the card will be much stronger playing with a friend using the hero when she is available.
The problem is, Swarm Tactics is a basic card, not an Ant-Man card. I have complained about this in the past with cards like Sorcerer Supreme. I assume that Wasp will also have a version of this card, so it might as well just be included in his deck. Give him 16 cards instead of 15, no ones gonna be upset because it’s only going to be used with Ant-Man anyway.
Naturally, Yellowjacket is Ant-Man’s nemesis. He alters himself depending on what form you are in which is a nice touch. Since he only has 4 health, he is hardly threatening. The other nemesis cards can be troublesome though.
The fact that Size Increase can give a 2, 2 to the villain if Yellowjacket isn’t present makes it much more dangerous. Then there is Tech Theft, oh boy. Tech Theft not only wipes clean some of Ant-Man’s strongest cards, but it can also severely harm other heroes using tech as well. Iron-Man in particular could be killed outright if it hits the table.
Yellowjacket’s plan makes it much more likely for Tech Theft to hit the table as well. As usual, I’m continually underwhelmed by Nemesis Minions and Yellowjacket is no different, but the other nemesis cards do make up for his lack of threat.
I should note that Ant-Man’s obligation is a standard one, but is actually weaker because forcing Ant-Man to change forms isn’t really a penalty.
Ant-Man’s design does a great job of making you feel like Ant-Man. The swapping hero forms work great, and it’s easy to imagine the scene playing out in a movie or comic book.
Pym Particles being used as a resource is excellent and accurate. Army of Ants has the great feeling of being weak alone, but strong in large numbers. Giant Stomp and Giant Strength both fit Ant-Man’s giant form quite well, and Hive Mind makes sense as a threat remover.
Ant-Man’s insane healing is a bit out of place. Ant-Man is a durable hero in the comics thanks to the way that Pym Particles work. But unless I’m terribly mistaken, he has no unusual healing factor. Scott Lang taking time to relax makes sense, but healing via Pym Particles or his Helmet does not. Though it does make him more fun to play.
Out of The Box
Ant-Man’s premade deck is one of the strongest so far. It relies on upgrading powerful allies to cover any given objective while Ant-Man does his well-rounded thing. I’d say it’s slightly weak on the economic side. Team Building Exercise helps with Allies, but I definitely feel the absence of cards like Quin Carrier or Avengers Mansion, especially in giant form.
Also, doing something as simple as adding the Iron Man ally to the deck boosts its power a great deal. However, although it isn’t optimized, it’s one of the most reliable and consistent premade hero decks so far.
It has a game plan, and it’s predictable enough to try and employ it consistently. Ant-Man feels slightly detached from it. He is mostly doing his own thing, so it can feel like playing two different decks at once. But I feel that’s somewhat common with Leadership decks unless the hero is ally centered like Captain America.
The fact remains that you can open up Ant-Man and jump right into the action without feeling disadvantaged, and that’s all you can really ask of a premade deck.
Ant-Man is a unique, fun, powerful, and a great iteration of the hero. His size-changing mechanic is brilliant, and I actually like the design of the unfolding giant card, even if I can’t sleeve the monster.
Ant-Man is over-tuned, just not to Doctor Strange’s completely broken power level. He has no real defined weakness and can do everything pretty well. His theme is pretty spot on, aside from his out of place healing capabilities.
Yellowjacket is another in a long string of disappointing nemesis minions, but Tech Theft and Size Increase make up for it. The new leadership cards are great and Moment of Triumph is a fantastic Aggression addition.
Overall Ant-Man is a solid hero pack, and fine addition to the Marvel Champions Universe. His unique playstyle sets him apart from the rest of the cast, and while he is very strong, it’s not enough to break the game and cause problems.
You might also be interested in my review of the Marvel Champions Core Set.
- Unique playstyle centered around two hero forms
- Strong well rounded hero
- Thematic Ant-Man experience
- Great new Leadership Cards
- Strong premade deck
- Advanced skillful hero
- Interesting nemesis set despite lack luster Yellowjacket
- Ant-Man is slightly over tuned with no distinct weakness
- It’s impossible to sleeve the hero card without buying something special
- Swam Tactics is a basic card, but clearly an Ant-Man only card (For now)
- Ant-Mans excessive healing isn’t thematic