Another new movie, another new tie-in. I know that sounds like I’m unexcited, but I’m pretty much always excited for new MSF content. Truth be told, I don’t particularly care about Ant-Man or the Wasp as characters (though the Ant-Man movie was enjoyable and I look forward to the sequel), but their kits sound absolutely terrifying so I’ll be collecting both for sure.
Speaking of collecting, Foxnext has implemented a new character unlock method with this update for both Ant-Man and the Wasp. The new system is a limited time campaign event in which you play through a campaign as you normally would, only each mission has a chance to drop orb fragments corresponding to the respective character’s orbs. 2,000 fragments nets you an orb, similar to previous character unlock events, such as Deadpool and Thanos, but there are some key differences.
The Ant-Man and Wasp orbs work differently than the ones in the Deadpool and Thanos events. With this campaign event method, you’re now at the whim of RNGesus in two ways. With Deadpool and Thanos it was always a matter of wondering how many shards you’d get per pull. But now you have to deal with the RNG of farming the campaign nodes because orb fragments are not guaranteed and the RNG of how many shards you get from a single orb. Foxnext seems to be obsessed with layering RNG atop of RNG and it’s pretty frustrating.
That said, you can basically farm these nodes to your heart’s content. They work like regular campaigns in that you can refresh your energy (they use campaign specific energy which costs less to refresh) and you also don’t need to worry about coordinating with your Alliance. I don’t mind working with my Alliance; that’s part of the fun of Marvel Strike Force. But I was getting a bit weary of doubling up on raids. With the Thanos event it was two raids each day and then Deadpool cut that down to a couple of days a week, but I think I prefer this method in the end, RNG and all. Having to push through two raids multiple days a week is just annoying. I prefer to play at my own pace.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about Ant-Man and Wasp for a minute.
Like Deadpool and Cable, Ant-Man and Wasp work well as a pair, and what a pair they are! These two effectively hard counter the entire Crossbones meta in arena. Ant-Man is able to guarantee Ability Block (for two turns!) on any target he wants and he starts the match with the ability ready to go. Smack Crossbones with that and he’s basically useless. Ant-Man can also slow all targets with an AoE attack available on turn two and he can copy positive effects from units as well as duplicate that effect onto Wasp. As strong as that sounds, I don’t really see it getting used until turn three, which is most of the way through an Arena fight anyway. Ant-Man also applies Evade to Wasp at the start of the fight, which is key to what makes these two so terrifying together…
So, yeah, Wasp’s passive grants her Charged on a successful Dodge (as well as a passive +20% Dodge chance), which means when she’s paired with Ant-Man, she’s guaranteed to be Charged on turn one if she gets targeted for an attack. Why is this important? Well, when Charged, Wasp gets to stun her target when she uses her “Blasters” ability, which is already capable of dealing up to 560% damage to a single target without the stun. If she does manage to get off a stun, you’ve basically locked out two of your opponent’s five characters at the start of the fight. Wasp isn’t too remarkable aside from this, but I can see her AoE working well as a layer with other characters. Also, did I mention she’s a Blaster? Blasters are in short supply, so I always welcome a new non-minion Blaster.
I’m actually curious to see if I can pull off a crazy AoE team with Ant-Man, Quake, Wasp, Rocket, and Kingpin. With Quake’s slow, I don’t have to choose between applying the powerful AoE slow and Ability Block turn one, and then I can potentially line up all four AoE’s with Kingpin’s Offense Up buff. Right now, I can line up Quake and Rocket, so I’ll need to experiment and see how that goes.
Speaking of AoE, Groot has shown up on the roster with this update. I don’t know how he’ll be unlocked just yet, but I suspect it will be a Blitz (blech). I’ve been looking to pick up Groot to go with my Rocket for some time now. Groot is hilariously slow so he’s basically useless without Rocket, but Rocket can get him to taunt (and assist!) on turn one, and his already massive AoE gets massive-r with Groot on the team. Rocket’s AoE has already been a huge chunk of my damage envelope, so another +60% damage would be quite substantial. If you don’t have Rocket (and you probably don’t unless you were in beta), you can pretty much forget about Groot for now.
Finally, there are some smaller but not insignificant changes in this update. One, Foxnext has announced the level cap bump to 65 will be coming soon (ugh!) and two, they’ve also added some new tiers to Challenges to offer up some better daily rewards once you’re able to tackle ‘em. They’re no joke, either. You’re also going to need specific heroes to tackle them as they’re tag-gated. This is Foxnext’s ways of continually forcing you to level characters you probably don’t care about. I’m pretty annoyed with this as it is as I’ve had to spend time farming SHIELD characters like Medic and Security and a bunch of mostly useless Mercenaries, so I’m not too happy about the tag requirements.
In any case, I’m happy to see some new stuff come into the game, but I do hope Foxnext’s got more on deck soon. I’m really looking for some QoL improvements like preset Blitz teams and new content like Alliance War right about now. Also, new characters need to come in a bit quicker than they are now if we’re ever going to make any headway through Marvel’s massive roster of potential characters. The game’s still missing MCU staples such as Star Lord, nevermind all the fan-favorites that aren’t featured in the MCU or the obscure, but cool possibilities many fans would love to see added to the game.