Villain Focus – Absorbing Man

Absorbing Man is the second villain in The Rise of Red Skull so we thought that it would be appropriate if he was the second villain we covered in our Villain Focus series. 

MC Absorbing Man 2 & 3

In total he has 31 Hit Points, which is more than Crossbones but is still very low.  This means that he might be another good target for the ‘rush’ approach.

He has 2 Scheme and 2 Attack, going up to 3 Attack on Stage 3.  These are fairly average stats.

Absorbing Man’s main ability is that he gains the trait of each environment in play.  There are four environment cards included in his encounter set (more on this later).  These environments have abilities on them, but the traits affect certain encounter cards that are revealed.

The first part of his when revealed ability isn’t relevant to Expert or Heroic, but the second part where you put Super Absorbing Power into play is relevant.  This is a side scheme that gives Absorbing Man all four traits, making his encounter cards more potent.

Stage 3 Absorbing Man will place extra threat or deal extra damage every time he activates based on which traits he currently has.

MC None Shall Pass A & B

Absorbing Man only has one stage for the main scheme, but it has a very high target threat value.  Part of the setup is that you discard cards from the encounter deck until you get an environment.  Unlike some similar effects, the cards you discard are then shuffled back into the encounter deck.

The main mechanic for the main scheme are the delay counters.  In campaign mode these also count towards something later on, but for the purposes of standalone games a few of the encounter cards reference how many delay counters you have (i.e. the more you have the nastier the card is).

The forced interrupt on None Shall Pass just means that you can only have one environment card in play at once, which is good because there is no way to get rid of them otherwise.

This scheme starts with two threat on it, but due to the high target threat value it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

All of the environment cards have Surge, which make sense because they don’t actually do anything until Absorbing Man attacks.  In the case of Dense Forest, if Absorbing Man makes an undefended attack against a player they take one indirect damage (or two if there are five or more delay counters on the main scheme).  As far as negative effects go, this is fairly tame and probably safe to just ignore.

None Shall Pass can have a large amount of threat on it before you lose but that doesn’t mean you can ignore threat altogether.  This card is likely to want to make you defend Absorbing Man’s attack rather than have extra threat being placed, particularly if you are using a character that struggles with threat already.

Easily the weakest of his environment effects.  While this is in play it will almost never affect your gameplay decisions.

Anyone that finds Radioactive Man annoying will almost certainly be annoyed by Abandoned Facility as well, although this time at least the card you discard isn’t random.  I think that this is strong enough of an effect that you’ll think about defending each time Absorbing Man activates.

Absorbing Man’s signature weapon, Ball and Chain (but it’s not the first Ball and Chain in Marvel Champions, but that belongs to Thunderball so who cares?).  This has a simple effect, increasing his Scheme and Attack by one each.

It can be easily removed from play (only a single physical resource needed) but is shuffled back into the encounter deck rather than discarded.  It also has a boost ability that puts it into play.  Look, Absorbing Man really likes his ball and chain, okay?

I like this card as it’s threatening enough to make you want to get rid of it, but it’ll come back again soon.  I like this approach to a Villain’s iconic items.

There are two copies of this is his encounter deck and the when revealed ability’s potency varies wildly.  Early in the game this will be basically irrelevant.  It also becomes a lot less powerful the more players you have (because the amount of threat added isn’t multiplied by the number of players).

The time when this is likely to be a problem is late in a solo game, but due to Absorbing Man’s overall level of difficulty and encouragement from the scenario to finish it quickly, this isn’t going to come up very often.  The boost ability might not even cause any damage and when it does it’s so little damage as to be irrevelant.

This is one of the weakest cards in Absorbing Man’s encounter deck, if not one of the weakest in the game full stop.

There are two copies of this in Absorbing Man’s encounter cards.  This one cares about the Stone trait and activates Absorbing Man again.

This card reminds me of Death from Above in the Mutagen Formula scenario, which in my opinion is one of Green Goblin’s nastiest cards (Swinging Stone isn’t quite as strong though, with only a potential +1 SCH/ATK rather than equal to the stage number).  Extra Villain activations are almost always a problem and with Absorbing Man gaining additional effects from the environment when he attacks and when he activates in stage 3, makes this a good card for him.

There are two copies of this in his encounter set and it gains an increased effect if Absorbing Man has the Metal trait.

I’d guess that it’s Alter-Ego effect might cause some unexpected losses.  That being said, the Hero effect could be a problem if you are low on Hit Points and with no allies to palm damage off onto.  I think that this is a solid card for Absorbing Man.

There are two copies of this and it cares about the Wood trait.  It discards a card at random and if Absorbing Man has the Wood trait you discard a card you control (i.e. from play).  This is a nasty effect and not one you’ll be happy to see.

It’s boost effect references the Stone and Wood traits, making it have a decent chance of stunning you when part of an activation.  Another solid card for his encounter deck.

There are three copies of this in his encounter cards and it ranges from annoying if Absorbing Man has only one trait, to quite devastating if he has all four traits (via Super Absorbing Power).  The existence of this card in his encounter deck is a very good reason to remove the Super Absorbing Power side scheme as quickly as you can.

There are two copies of this in Absorbing Man’s encounter deck and this one cares about the Ice trait.  As far as encounter cards go it’s fairly middling.  Becoming stunned will annoy some heroes more than others, but the two indirect damage isn’t usually going to be a big problem.

This card also references two different traits for its boost ability.  This time it gives Absorbing Man a Tough status, so nothing too bad.

There are two copies of this side scheme in his encounter deck.  The when revealed ability is fairly tame and it comes into play with only two threat per player.  The main thing about this card are the triple boost icons!  Just on its own makes it good.

This side scheme will start in play (in Expert and Heroic) and gives Absorbing Man all four relevent traits.  The boost ability also puts this into play, meaning that it won’t be avoided.

You’ll absolutely want to get rid of this as your first priority because most of his encounter cards reference these traits, and Omni-Morph Duplication will totally destroy you if you don’t!  It’s just a shame that there is only one copy of this in his deck.


Hydra Patrol is the recommended module for Absorbing Man and it has some a couple of easy to deal with minions and Hydra Soldier, who is a bit more of a problem.  Overall I’d say this is a fairly mediocre module, but the Guard minions will slow you down a little bit.


  • Absorbing Man has a very low Hit Point total and not many Guard minions to slow you down.  The delay counter mechanic also encourages you to end this scenario as swiftly as you can, so a rush strategy is probably best.
  • His main scheme has a very high target threat threshold, meaning that threat shouldn’t be too much of an issue as long as you remember to occasionally remove some.
  • He doesn’t hit you directly for very much, unlike someone like Rhino or Ultron.  A fair amount of his damage is done indirectly, making allies good in this scenario (particularly as he gets additional effects for undefended attacks).

Absorbing Man has been written into The Rise of Red Skull to be a speed bump and that’s all he is.  His Hit Points total is too low to slow you down very much and he doesn’t hit as hard as you’d expect (Rhino hits harder).

In my opinion he is the weakest Villain from The Rise of Red Skull.  However, I wouldn’t put him in the same category as Risky Business and The Wrecking Crew (aka a total waste of time).

I’m tempted to experiment with his encounter module slot to see if he can be spiced up a bit.  He’s going to feature in one of our upcoming Showdown articles so you’ll see him here again soon.



One comment

  1. I actually enjoy Risky business and wrecking crew. I have occasionally lost to both of them, particularly before I had a clear strategy of when to hit the villain (risky business) or which villain to hit first (I like to prioritize Piledriver because he gets rid of my upgrades). In fact, I haven’t even tried yet to beat these scenarios in levels 2 and 3.


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