Here’s my guide for Chapter 1.1 “La Fleur du Mal” of Variant 5 “Blood & Venom.”
Welcome to the long-awaited Variant of Back Issues #5, Blood and Venom. If you are unfamiliar with the setup for this Variant, you can only bring in Mystic champions, #Spider-Verse Heroes, and #Symbiote. Thankfully, beyond the restrictions, the fights are pretty broad, so you can take whoever is available on your roster instead of focusing on specific utility needs, with a few exceptions. If you have questions about which champions are eligible, head over to Auntm.ai.
This is a solid first chapter, with only 3 lanes and 1 energy spent per tile, so it’s not that onerous to explore. As the Attack Bonus is high at +400%, you’re going to take some chip damage here, so factor that in. The Left side is the Easy path. If you head down the middle, Mojo can be a problem, and on the right side the Debuff Immune Bane path will keep you on your toes, in particular the Juggernaut fight.
Chapters 1.1 and 1.2 have a Global node that benefits Spider-Verse champions. While the global isn’t an absolute must have, it can make your life a lot easier, so don’t casually discount how nice it is to go Unblockable. Remember that only Dexterity triggered from dodging specials will count. Dodging basic attacks won’t help you build Great Responsibility.
If you have questions about the basic attack moves and combos in Marvel Contest of Champions, please check out my MCOC 101: Combos guide.
Best Champs: Stark Spider-Man, Stealth Spider-Man, Sorcerer Supreme, Magik, Doctor Doom, Venom, Venom The Duck
Restrictions: Only Mystic, #Spider-Verse Heroes, and #Symbiote champions are eligible for Variant 5.
+400% Attack & Health Champion Boost
Special 3 Active
Great Responsibility – Each hit that a #Spiderverse champion avoids from this Defender’s Special Attacks with miss, evade, or dexterity grants them an indefinite Responsibility Passive
Great Power – Upon reaching 3 Responsibility, #Spiderverse Champions convert them into a Great Power Buff lasting 10 seconds, making their attacks Ignore Armor and Resistances, and Unblockable. You cannot gain Responsibility while you have Great Power
Boss: Captain Marvel Classic
Mighty Charge 3
Boss Notes: Mighty Charge combined with Debuff Immune looks scary, but this isn’t a bad fight if you can get into it. All you need to do is power cycle Captain Marvel’s SP1 and you’re set. I do think the Spider-Verse champions (I used Stark Spidey) can help you here, since it’s really easy to gain Great Responsibility off her SP1, and by going unblockable you’ll be able to feed her more power without taking chip damage from baiting heavies. I also got a solo with Mephisto. He is a solid option because he gains so much power that he can throw back at Captain Marvel, which makes the power cycle game much easier. That being said, whoever is left alive on your team when you reach the boss can do this fight.
Remember, no intercepting!
Lane 1 – Left – Easy Path
Defenders: Kingpin, Punisher 2099, Bishop, War Machine, Iron Man Infinity War, Havok
Nodes: +90% Armor, Strike Back (Entire Lane)
Team: Stark Spider-Man (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 200), Venom (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 40), Venom The Duck (5-Star Rank 3 Sig 20), Magik (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 40), Miles Morales (5-Star Rank 3 Sig 20)
Tips: So this lane, particularly the first half of it, sets up perfectly for Spider-Verse Champs, and specifically one of my personal favorites, Stark Spider-Man. Remember he is brittle, so try to force Kingpin to a SP1 by hitting into his block, then gain charges and punish the Sp1. Rinse and repeat. Sparky should also have no problem with Punisher 2099, and with Bishop just don’t let him get to a SP2. Remember you have power drain on your heavy, so use it early if it helps you set up your power cycle game plan. If you don’t get Bishop down on the first attempt he’ll start the next fight with stored power, so you may have to restart in that case.
I also used Stark Spider-Man for War Machine. With War Machine, use Strike-Back to your advantage by forcing him to a SP2 for less chip damage. For Iron Man Infinity War, Venom The Duck’s Toxic Armor on his SP2 is incredibly useful. If my VTD was fully ranked up he would have shredded this fight and I would have used him for additional fights on this lane. If you don’t have him, don’t despair that you don’t have your Corvus safety blanket. Spider-Verse champs will go unblockable often in the fight by dodging all those projectile specials, and IMIW can’t auto-block an unblockable attack. This is also important for minimizing chip damage. If you’re used to playing a heavy counter game vs IMIW, you’re going to take a ton of damage in this fight, so keep that in mind. If you need a second champion to finish the fight, Venom gains True Strike when the opponent is below 18% health, making him an option for IMIW’s final phase.
With Havok, Venom is likely your safest bet. I was lucky enough to roll 2 Armor-Up Buffs at the start of the fight, so I was set. Remember if you are using Venom vs Havok do not use Venom’s SP2. When fighting Havok I find it easier to punish his SP2. I’m not sure if there are any other available champions with reliable access to an Armor-Up buff besides Venom, so this fight may cost you a few champs if you don’t have him.
If you don’t have Stark Spider-Man, I would look at Venom, VTD, Stealth-Suit Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and possibility Symbiote Spider-Man in a pinch for main damage dealers for this this lane, as you don’t need a ton of utility other than for the Havok and possibly the IMIW fight.
If you can’t get through this lane without using items, you’re likely not ready for a completion run of Variant 5. If you find yourself in that situation, take a break and work on other content. Variant 5 is permanent and will be here when you’re ready.
Lane 2 – Center
Defenders: Storm Pyramid X, Iron Man, Proxima Midnight, Mojo, Mysterio, Magneto
Nodes: Energize 1, Enhanced Special 1, Special 1 Bias (Entire Lane)
Team: Stark Spider-Man (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 200), Venom (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 40), Spider-Gwen (5-Star Rank 4 Sig 20), Guillotine (5-Star Rank 4 Sig 120), Miles Morales (5-Star Rank 3 Sig 20)
Tips: So this path begins with three very easy fights that any eligible champion can do, followed by a Mojo encounter that can absolutely ruin your day, as well as put a dent in your item stash. I’m not embarrassed to say this lane cost me a few revives.
I ran Spark Spider-Man as my main damage dealer, and brought synergy partners to boost his effectiveness in Miles and Venom. With Storm Pyramid X, just bait the SP1 and it’s game over. Iron Man and Proxima the same strategy works, although their SP2s are also easy to dodge.
Now you’re at Mojo. You have to get a good first attempt in, hopefully getting him under 50% health. If you don’t, back out and restart. Mojo will gain persistent charges each time he KO’s you, so it’s just going to get worse if you don’t take him down quickly. I tried a bunch of power control options like Magik and Dormammu, and also Longshot for a big SP2. In the end, Stark Spider-Man could do the most damage in the shortest amount of time. Ideally you want to prevent Mojo from activating his Anti-Life field (watch the prompts), and you especially don’t want him doing so while he has a bar of power. Bring your big damage dealer for this one, boost up if needed, and get it done quickly.
Mysterio can be countered by a Spider-Verse or Armor Break champ (Venom and Iron Fist are options) to shut off his helmet. The power gain actually makes him easier to fight, as the SP2 is the special you want him to throw most of the time. Magneto is a standard Magneto fight, just parry, combo, dodge the SP1, and repeat. Be aware both Stark Spider-Man and Stealth Spider-Man are #Metal and this fight may be a bigger deal post-Buff for Magneto.
Lane 3 – Right – Hard Path
Defenders: Juggernaut, Colossus, Red Hulk, Man-Thing, Sentinel, Hulkbuster
Nodes: Debuff Immunity, Bane – 2
Team: Stark Spider-Man (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 200), Guillotine (5-Star Rank 4 Sig 120), Morningstar (6-Star Rank 2 Sig 0), Mephisto (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 200), Magik (5-Star Rank 5 Sig 40)
Tips: So it’s Debuff Immunity and Bane, meaning you can’t parry-stun. With the global node, the thought is to use the Spider-Verse champions to go unblockable to get your in, but that’s still a dangerous game, especially considering those are usually low-health pool champs. I decided to go with a Mystic heavy team to try to recover as much health as possible instead.
Juggernaut is a tough first fight, but at least you can reset if it doesn’t go well. This fight goes against the normal Bane best practices of letting the opponent throw specials to get an in. If Juggs is throwing specials, he’s going to eat up the Bane timer while he’s Unstoppable and you’re cooked. Magik was clutch for keeping this fight under control with her SP2 and I had a big-time save with her Limbo at one point.
Colossus and Red Hulk are thankfully much easier, and if you are more comfortable with the Spider-Verse strategy that certainly works here. Man-Thing can be tricky because you want a Poison-Immune champ and he goes unstoppable while throwing a heavy. Mephisto thankfully fit the bill. He can do a lot of damage without hitting the defender via his Aura, so even when you are blocking hits you’re helping your cause. He also has massive regen from his Soul Charges, so don’t throw the SP1. Instead cycle your SP2.
Sentinel isn’t a hard fight, but it takes a long time which just gives Bane more time to get you. Again, this is another champ with an Unstoppable Heavy (when at 100 Analysis) so baiting heavy attacks is a little risky. Hulkbuster is a problem because Doom (and to a lesser extent Jane Foster) are the only Shock Immune champions eligible for Variant 5 upon release. If you don’t have them, maybe you can make a case for Agent Venom as a shrug-off champion, or you can just power through. Morningstar actually did solid work with her SP2 nullifying Hulkbuster’s Armor Up buffs, but I still had to throw a couple of champs at him.
If I had a Sorcerer Supreme with her heal-on-block ability I would have run her on this path for sure. An argument could have been made for Ghost-Rider instead of Guillotine. If I had a ranked-up Doom he would have been on the team for this lane as well.