In the post-release of the Inhumans, Spider-Man took some of the limelight again with the release of his black costume, the symbiote. As Peter never gave himself an official name for when he donned the symbiote, FoxNext had to settle with naming this version of Spider-Man as “Spider-Man (Symbiote)”.
In this article, we’ll address this powerhouse as “Symbiote”, with a capital “S”, so that you won’t need to frequently endure the full and unabridged spelling of this character’s name. Don’t be confused from when we refer to the character trait, “Symbiote”. For proper clarity, we’ll describe it as the “symbiote team”.
In our Marvel Strike Force Tier List, we graded Symbiote as a 4-Star character, having proper, better, and actual synergy with the other symbiote team members, Venom and Carnage. We fully suspect there will be more with the symbiote trait in the future to either have a fourth member and leave the fifth slot blank to allow creative team building, or at least a Protector type to provide some measure of protection.
But until these characters come, what are the more suitable members to build around Symbiote’s team? And how would you best make use of him?
Let’s look again at his kit:
Spider-Man (Symbiote) Skills
Basic Skill – Symbiote Slinger
Some recall the usefulness of the original Spider-Man, where his Special skill applies 2 turns of Defense Down to as many as four targets, allowing AOE attacks to wreak more damage than usual, or to simply give your team more chances to focus-fire on a critical target. Those who invested in the Hero Brawler team or are familiar with America Chavez would also understand how valuable being able to apply Defense Down frequently with just a basic attack can turn out to be very valuable.
Symbiote now applies 2 turns of Defense Down with just a basic attack!
Note, though, that Symbiote only has a chance to apply the debuff in the lower levels of the skill, up to 50% at level 5, and for only 1 turn. It is only at level 6 that the chances are at 100%, and at level 7 before you can enjoy it for a full 2 turns. It’s definitely a good replacement for Miles Morales’ Passive skill that randomly applies Defense Down for only 1 turn. For most of us who aren’t fully sold to the idea of this new character yet, we would likely want to level up Symbiote’s basic skill to level 5 only, thereby giving yourself only a 50% chance to debuff your target(s).
Fortunately, Symbiote will rebound between as many as 2 other targets, so you could easily debuff three targets without consuming any energy! If Quake is popular for her ability to Slow multiple targets without using any energy, then Symbiote shall be key to dropping defenses!
Consider making Symbiote the front runner of the team, to try to lower the defenses of your target, and then focusing your attacks on it, similar to how you might use America Chavez to help you tenderize your meat before pounding it.
At level 6, this basic skill will be more reliable in any tactical plans you have for the symbiote team. And particularly since it cannot be Countered, this gives your team extra chances to knock out your target and avoid counterattacks!
Special Skill – Spider Slingshot
This definitely isn’t the replacement for the original Spider-Man or Miles Morales’ Special skills. This might be considered better!
Similar to most “and adjacent” AOE-based attacks, Symbiote’s Special skill can target three targets in most battles, or as many as six in raids, all of which prolong the enemies’ debuff turns and leaving them vulnerable to the symbiote team, like Carnage’s basic and Special skills. What’s not to like about having Disrupt, Action Block and Blind prolonged by another turn? Plus, having Carnage rampage around with his basic attack to prolong these debuffs for yet another turn, and the enemy team is as good as fish on land!
Again, for those of us who might not be ready to full invest in this Spider, note that leveling it up level 4 will not apply any Bleed. You’ll need to start investing Purple Ability Materials to start benefiting from the Bleed debuffs. It’s only a start, because it’s only at a 50% chance of infliction. This skill is more effective at level 6, when all debuffs will be prolonged, rather than just three of them at level 4.
Ultimate Skill – Web Slam
Dejavu for users of the original Spider-Man? Yup! It stuns your main target, which is most important and strategic for many of our battles, and Slows them all this time! Major upgrade? You betcha!
But, on hindsight, when we consider the effectiveness of a Stun plus Slow combination, we see its beauty in keeping a powerful and dangerous enemy in a comatose condition for as long as possible. So, you might want to either redirect Symbiote’s Ultimate skill to another slightly less dangerous enemy, or combine it with Miles’ Special skill that not only applies Slow and reduces 50% of the target’s speed bar, but also doubles the Stun debuff!
Furthermore, when you realize Symbiote’s Ultimate skill cannot be avoided and cannot be blocked, there’s no way your targets can avoid the whooping that Symbiote will be delivering! But, please remember that the application of debuffs is still dependent on Focus vs Resistance stats.
At 3 stars, zero red stars, level 75, and no gears equipped, Symbiote’s Focus stat is around 1,300. Jessica Jones’ stats are at the 1,400 range. This makes Symbiote only slightly disadvantaged against a high-Focus Controller, even though he is a Brawler! So, you can safely expect to see Symbiote successfully Stunning his targets with relative ease as he faces off against enemies with mostly lower Focus.
Passive Skill – Perfect Host
Look at the very first line and you’ll realize Symbiote is designed for Raids and Dark Dimensions! (What gave that away, huh?) Apply one negative effect, and the Symbiote/Spider-Verse Hero team heals for 3%. It seems very minor, since enemy Blasters easily chomp off 80% of your character’s HP with a well-timed Special/Ultimate attack. Consider, though, that with three of your five team members (assuming they’ll be made up of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Venom, Carnage, and, of course, Symbiote) place at least one debuff every turn, you’ll be healing a minimum of 15% per round. Carnage spreads debuffs like a disease-carrier, doubling or tripling the number of debuffs from his target. Venom’s Ultimate skill also spreads all debuffs to adjacent targets, so he triples the debuffs. Miles Morales will take whatever debuffs his target has and simply doubles their numbers of turns! Every little bit adds up to a lot! And this is only Symbiote’s contribution to the team’s healing capability. Include Carnage and Venom’s Passive skills, and you’ll have a very survivable team cut out for Raid, indeed!
We’ll have more to discuss in Gamepleton’s Marvel Strike Force Raid Guide, where we’ll definitely include the Symbiote & Spider-Verse Heroes Team! Perhaps we should use an acronym or a nickname for this team? Symbiotes & Spiders team? Thus far, there aren’t any Spiders that aren’t heroes, not even the nefarious Doctor Octopus, so we can safely assume the mention of any Spider is a hero. “Spider-Verse” in the game simply refers to any and all characters belonging to Spidey’s world, thus the need to specify “Hero” traits.
Before you run head-long and use up your ability materials on Symbiote’s Passive skill, note that its first level will already provide the 3% healing per debuff, so if you’re in a pinch and sorely lack the purple ability materials, you can still make do without leveling up this skill. After that, you will want to level it up to at least 3 so that you can also enjoy a 50% drain effect! As if healing from debuffs isn’t enough, now you can drain too! However, level 4 might be the maximum you would want to level up this skill to. It’ll provide you the 100% Drain effect and max out your Dodge chance to +15%, but at level 5, it’ll only increase your max HP from +10% to +30%. Every little bit goes a long way, but if you’re also starving from the lack of orange ability materials, you can give level 5 a miss.
In consideration that there isn’t a full symbiote-trait team, a Spider-Men team of five, or even a Spider-Verse Hero team, Gamepleton shall provide a number of ideas for what times to fit this alien wall-crawler into!
Team #1: Symbiotes & Spider-Verse Heroes
Members: Venom, Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Carnage, Symbiote
Taking into account Symbiote’s Passive skill that benefits characters with the symbiote trait and spider-verse + hero traits, this would likely be the expected team to create at the beginning.
You would want to place Venom on one end of the team so that his Defense Up buff every team will help him take the brunt of a Brawler’s chain skill (usually, the primary target will be given more damage than the secondary targets). Carnage and Symbiote will both enjoy the buff, but Symbiote has the added advantage of having innate evasion, thus, he covers the other end of the spectrum. Spider-Man takes the place beside Venom due to his innate evasion as well, and is also in a bid to prevent thrown attacks, like Daredevil’s baton and Thor’s hammer throws. Miles is safest in the middle because he only gains an innate evasion while in Stealth, which happens once at the start of battle, and only after using his Special skill, and he doesn’t benefit from any defense buffs.
All five members can apply debuffs of various quantities with their skills, so restoring HP per debuff will benefit every member tremendously. Consider Carnage using his Ultimate skill and applying three counts of buffs, followed by Spider-Man who applies Defense Down, and Symbiote who prolongs all these debuffs by 1 turn. Now, double them with Miles’ Special skill, and because Miles’ skill halves the target’s speed bar and applies Slow, this gives Carnage plenty of time to get his second turn in to burst ahead with his Special skill! Unless your target is several thousand Combat Power above your characters, like the Ultimus in the campaign, we don’t see how anyone can survive that!
Team #2: Hero Brawlers
Members: Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Miles Morales, America Chavez, Symbiote
A tried-and-tested team that you’ve tried-and-tired of? Well, perhaps the inclusion of Symbiote might give you a fresh perspective.
Maintaining the key members, Ms. Marvel will provide the plentiful of Assists and crucial taunts for the team, while America Chavez will boost her Special skill’s damage output with this full team. Now, America Chavez gains a helping hand to deliver Defense Down debuffs to enemies when her turn comes an inopportune times, e.g., right before the target’s turn. Symbiote fills in the lack of debuffs in-between her turns, allowing the team to continue firing off blow after blow on defense-weakened enemies.
This time, Ms. Marvel won’t be the only one with healing capabilities! Symbiote will provide the healing for the three Spider-Men, so that you’ll need to place a frightful hand on your heart only when America Chavez is attacked. Plus, since there will now be three members who can restore their HP above the 50% mark, Ms. Marvel will have more chances to taunt! Whether that’s good or bad shall depend on the circumstances encountered!
Team #3: Hero Brawlers (2)
Members: Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Gamora, America Chavez, Symbiote
This second variation of the Brawler Heroes team is for players fortunate enough to recruit Captain Marvel and use her as a powerful damage dealer for the team, along with Gamora who gains full speed bar fills whenever her skills obtain kills. In light of Captain Marvel and Symbiote’s high-damage AOE attacks, it’s very likely Gamora will have several critically-injured targets to pick off. If not, her Ultimate skill will see to her own target’s demise! With some assistance from America Chavez, of course!
This variation of the Hero Brawlers team is much higher in damage output, but also a lot weaker, defensively. Ms. Marvel and Symbiote at basically the only characters that have sufficient protection, in terms of defensive buffs and healing. Consider deploying such a team for one-time battles, such as Arena and Blitz so that even if the team loses one or two members, there won’t be worries about the subsequent battles.
Team #4: Sinister Sixers & Symbiotes
Members: Green Goblin, Carnage, Venom, Symbiote, Rhino
Is is weird to say “sinister” in the plural? Because we originally attempted to name this team “Sinisters”, which isn’t a proper word. Well, there is more than one member of the Sinister Six, so it’s fine!
There have been suggestions of a Spider-Verse team that consists of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Venom, Carnage and Green Goblin. Instead of replacing Green Goblin with Symbiote, which is pretty much what we did for Team #1, we replaced both Spider-Men.
Rhino is a Protector who provides the taunt that a Spider Team would have sorely wanted, and add to the fact that he’s quite the heavy hitter who would definitely benefit from enemies debuffed with Defense Down. Furthermore, he clears Blind from his team. The three symbiotes are powerful can handle Offense Down, Speed Down, and their basic attacks are useful and powerful enough to tackle the competition, so Action Block debuffs won’t be a pain. It’s only Blind that will give them a headache, except Venom, and having Rhino take care of this, while providing protection, will assist them greatly.
While your enemy team writhes under the influence of debuffs, don’t let them breathe easy with support from buffs! This is where Venom and Green Goblin come in. Venom will flip buffs, including Evade, while Green Goblin un-buffs targets on every Spider-Verse character’s turn. Why let enemies have a chance? Force them to fight at a disadvantage!
Team #5: Gamepleton Gaming!
Members: Symbiote, Scientist Supreme, Deadpool, Black Widow, Luke Cage
This is our own team built around Symbiote to either maximize his skills or to maximize other characters’ key points. While everyone would likely put Symbiote into Team #1, we believe that every character can still shine in a team built around it. And, of course, we considered characters that aren’t restricted to the top-ranking players and whales who successfully earned all Legendary characters, so that more of us can try this build.
This is our team built around Symbiote:
(Oh wait, we already said that.)
Symbiote has some innate evasion, but is still fragile and requires protection. That’s where Luke Cage comes in with his two turns of Taunt and another one turn of defense boost to everyone. Symbiote can mete out damage, but he’s not very good at absorbing them.
Scientist Supreme takes care of the healing factor, plus, she gives everyone a chance to flip debuffs into buffs. These intermittent buffs from her Special skill could give the team an added advantage against the enemy team, on top of the debuffs Symbiote gives them. Plus, when Scientist Supreme uses her Ultimate skill to apply a whole range of debuffs on the enemy team in raids, there can be as many as ten counts applied. That makes 10 x 3% of Symbiote’s HP healed to himself! Makes you want to consider placing Scientist Supreme into a Symbiotes & Spider-Verse team, so that they’ll heal a large chunk every time she uses her Ultimate skill. But note that Scientist Supreme herself won’t benefit from Symbiote’s Passive skill’s healing effect!
Deadpool is there to take advantage of the Defense Down debuff Symbiote applies to multiple targets. As Deadpool’s Ultimate skill can distribute up to five attacks between two defense-deficient targets, you know the damage will pile up!
With all the damage being down, there’s no one to un-buff the enemy team, and there’s almost always some kinds of buffs enemies will apply. That’s where Black Widow comes in to steal away all those buffs in one Stealth’d hit to leave the target with only debuffs, and a vulnerable target against Symbiote’s Ultimate attack.
To see what other characters might be a good match to team up with Symbiote, we’ve reviewed and rated all their characters, up to Toad and Blob, in our Marvel Strike Force Tier List. Check it out to be informed!
Recruiting Spider-Man (Symbiote)
So, how do you earn characters shards to recruit Spider-Man (Symbiote) into your strike team?
Milestone – Save the World!
Milestone 2: 240 points
Milestone 8: 1,140 points
Total: 2 shards
1 campaign energy spent: 1 point
Duration: 2 days
Although the figures look small, it’s not. Considering that you need to wait 5 real-time minutes to gain 1 point of energy, you will need to wait for a full 5,700 minutes in order to achieve these milestones. That’s 95 hours, or nearly 4 full days (3.9583 hours). This milestone only lasts for 2 days. Seems like an impossible task to do. So, let’s break down the amount of energy you can gain within a day, along with the free energies the games give you.
You will receive 80 free energy up to 3 times in a day. That’s 240 energy. We have 24 hours in a day, which amounts to 1,440 minutes, and thus, 288 energy (don’t worry, energy will continue to refill while you sleep). Combined thus far is 528 energy.
If you’ve been saving up the energy refills, these milestones are the best reason to use them! Each one consumption of 50 refill points gives you 120 energy, which will add up to a grand total of 648 energy in one day. For the excess 48 energy, save it to be used the next day. Why would we recommend this? It’s simple.
Repeat the above to gain another 648 energy on the second day, and you would have consumed in excess of 1,140 energy to earn you the two milestones you need to collect both Spider-Man (Symbiote)’s shards.
Milestone – World Warrior
Milestone 6: 46,000 points
Milestone 9: 72,000 points
Milestone 11: 93,000 points
Milestone 13: 117,000 points
Milestone 14: 129,000 points
Milestone 16: 156,000 points
Total: 6 shards
Win a battle in Blitz: 10 points
Battle in Raids: 30 points
Battle in Arena: 85 points
Win/lose an attack in Alliance War: 85 points
Duration: 7 days
These milestone look ridiculously impossible to achieve, particularly since the battles that give more points have a very high variance of wins and losses, and are greatly restricted in their number of attempts, unless you’re willing to burn cash. However, take heart, particularly in your alliance! These milestones are shared among your alliance members, so every point earned by each member will tally up to help everyone achieve them. This is definitely one reason to join an alliance, one that has active members, albeit not necessarily aggressive in winning Wars or achieving 100% on U7. As long as everyone does their part and try to use up all their Arena attempts, Raid energy, and War attacks, and use as many of your characters as possible in Blitz. Beware, though, this can easily burn out people, like those who have full-time jobs and/or families.
Milestone – High Roller
Milestone 5: 325,000 points
Milestone 7: 525,000 points
Milestone 9: 825,000 points
Milestone 11: 1,250,000 points
Milestone 13: 1,825,000 points
Total: 5 shards
1 Gold spent: 1 point
Duration: 1 day
Requiring a hefty 1.8M+ Gold every day, there isn’t really a shortcut to this, except to learn to be frugal and save up Gold whenever you can, and earn as many Gold Orbs as possible, while hoping for the best to get Gold in the millions. Fortunately, the amount of character shards you can gain through this is the most effective way.
These milestones will stay for 30 days, allowing you to earn up to 6 character shards every week, 2 shards every 2 days, and 5 shards per day. In the best case scenario, where you successfully earn all available shards, you should be able to reach 101 shards in exactly 14 days. Don’t worry, there’s still another 16 days to help you collect the remainder of what you need!
If you were not able to unlock Symbiote this time around, according to the MSF Blog, he will be back in another round of Milestones. So, take heart! Everyone shall have a chance to get Spider-Man Symbiote)!
Good luck, commanders! May the web of life be in your favor!