Web of Spider-Man was on the right track…

March 28, 2008

My local Hobby League has been inspired by our friends at Lost Hemisphere, and decided to do battle with our own mini BYOS decks next week. The catch is that we have to build these decks around what we feel are some of the most “unplayable” teams in VS: Crime Lords, New Gods, and the original Spider-Friends. Boo.

mj___spidey_trading_card_by_brohawk.jpg

A lot of people hate the Web of Spider-Man (MSM) set, and probably rightly so. After the power and success of Marvel Origins people had high expectations from a set featuring Spidey; and unfortunately for whatever reason the final product was a little underwhelming. The cards are too simple, the set contained less cards, and almost none of those cards had any meaningful impact on the tournament scene.

But I kind of like MSM. Let me explain…

I love the fact that MSM had a lower card count (165 compared to the standard 220,) and fewer teams.  They had the right idea originally, but simply failed with the execution. It’s the ability to play as Spider-Man or Dr. Doom that draws in new players, not an appearance by Rann or Alpha Flight. The focus on ‘Legends’ has greatly improved the game, but there’s still more room to expand this idea and draw in newplayers.

I think it would be a wise move to shift the focus away from larger super sets like Legends or Universe, and towards a greater number of small sets. Much like the Essential Collection, each could be narrowly focused on the most popular characters and teams.

My fear is that a larger card count, more rares, and more teams will make creating decks impossible. How am I supposed to get anyone interested in the game if they will never ever be able to afford a playable Justice League deck (for example?) More rares only encourages the devotees to buy more boxes; if anything that sort of strategy discourages new people from taking part in the game.

Just something to think about. Give smaller sets a chance!

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5 Responses to “Web of Spider-Man was on the right track…”

  1. gdaybloke Says:

    a) I’m chuffed that you’ve taken the LH March Madness idea and ran with it – the constant changes in format at our Hobby League keep it fresh and interesting, I’m hoping you and yours enjoy it!

    b) I also like MSM… though I think the Spider-Friends weren’t completely useless. I think the Syndicate was weaker, and both teams were stronger than the DSM teams… heh…

    .. I also disagree that Alpha Flight won’t draw in players… but then, I live in Canuckland….


  2. Is Alpha Flight actually popular in Canada? The nerds I know up north seem to find the team more insulting than anything else.

    It’s not that I don’t like the team themself, I just don’t see the value of including a dozen minor teams in any given set. People are going to buy Marvel Universe for Avengers and SHIELD, and that’s that.

  3. gdaybloke Says:

    I think the most recent iteration (with Captain Canuck et al) is pretty suck…. I liked Omega Flight, but only half of the team were actually Canadian…

    The original Alpha Flight team appealed to me back when I was in Australia in a big way. I loved Sasquatch, Vindicator and Puck.

  4. gdaybloke Says:

    Basically, I think they’re like X-Statix in that they have an appeal for a niche market.


  5. I also didn’t hate the direction they went with the Spider-man set; however, because of how little I get to play currently, I kind of like the fact that every expansion will be silver age legal for four years. This makes me feel better about buying sets that I really don’t get much play time with. Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s my two pennies. I definately agree with you about attracting new players though. They aren’t going to want sets with a ton of rares that only the hard core opponents are going to have play sets of.


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