Doctor Octopus is probably the most over-looked character in the core set. But he has a definite roll to play and should be considered more highly.
This is going to hurt
First, let’s get some of the major complaints about him out of the way. He lacks an affiliation, which makes him a lot less attractive than some other three-point options like Zemo, Crossbones or Iron Man when it comes to rounding out a team whilst trying to get above 50% for team affiliation. He also doesn’t appear – at first inspection – to shine at any one thing. But I’m hoping to show that he has some great utility.
Scenario wins games
It’s worth remembering that the game is won and lost by scenario, and that is where Otto can really shine. Ock’s clutched allows you to throw a size two character S without an action.
That is a huge ability.
Spider-Man and Captain Marvel are rightly regarded as fantastic characters, and that’s at least in part due to their ability to throw other characters. It doesn’t rely on dice – you just do it. That allows you to clear off objectives and claim them, possibly even when you are injured.
Mobility is key
Like Spider-Man and Captain Marvel, he ignores terrain. Clearly how important this is depends on how much terrain you are using, but on a table with a good amount of size 3+ terrain, he’s a lot faster than, say Baron Zemo. His larger base also makes him more like M+. It still not as good as Spidey, but L is significantly longer than M and the extra 15mm on the base doesn’t eat too much in to that difference.
Another interesting comparison is to Iron Man. Iron man is often used to turret on a further back objective and blast into the fray using his long range attacks. Now Doc doesn’t get an amazing Unibeam attack, but he does have a range 3 strike, and a range 4 energy attack. The larger base gives him a little extra range over Iron Man whilst contesting objectives. His range 4 attack, whilst costing one more than Iron Man’s, has a higher damage potential on a single target due to the Wild pierce. His basic strike, whilst only 4 strength, has a dice-math altering wild ability which adds nearly the equivalent of an additional dice in expected damage, so you can consider it a 5 strength strike with a higher standard deviation.
The best secure for Doc is the infinity formula. He can sit on one a bit further back, gaining extra power to fuel his long range arm laser attack, or move forward, throw someone then move back.
He can do something similar for extremis consoles, but doesn’t like the healing as much as the free power.
He is surprisingly good on gamma shelters. Turreting your own shelter works just fine, and throwing people in to terrain outside the shelter range after they’ve activated is a dice-free guaranteed two damage.
Meteor fragments are okay for him: a three energy defence is fine, especially if you clear off opposing characters, but I’d be using him wide rather than centrally. He can get free power if he rolls crits, but it’s not reliable enough to plan a turn around.
Turning to extract, cosmic cubes allow him to harvest power to power his throws, so I’d rate that highest for him.
Spider-infected is thematic and his range and base size means he doesn’t suffer as badly as some do from being moved.
Skrulls and Kree power core allow him to roll more dice to get free power off crits, but the action is little too bunched up for him. Especially if combined with meteors.
Wakandan herb can suit him if terrain is heavy and you can’t squeeze Spider-Man in, but that feels a little corner case. Most times there are better options.
A cheap Spider-Man Iron Man hybrid, that doesn’t fill a specific roll as well as either of them, but does both jobs well enough. Definitely worth considering.