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Strategy Guide for Sandman in Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Updated on October 16, 2014

You either win easily or die quickly when using Sandman in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. There is no middle ground. Against villains like Hydro Man or Dragoness, he is nothing more than a liability. Against a villain like Sabretooth, he dominates. Even enemies that he has no particular advantage against, like Magneto, simply aren’t very threatening to him. This makes him one of the best PvE heroes in the game, but also means that he is dangerously unreliable in PvP. As a lockbox hero he is difficult to get, but generally worth it in order to get what is essentially a more useful version of Wonder Man.

Sandman Hero Screen
Sandman Hero Screen

How to Acquire Sandman

To acquire Sandman you need to get eight comic book covers from Sandbox Lockboxes. These lockboxes dropped in Special Operation 18, but that operation is no longer active. You can still purchase lockboxes with gold, but unless you have a lot of gold, you should wait until they go on sale.

Special Abilities

Special Ability (Form of Sand) – Form of Sand makes this character immune to ground attacks, electricity attacks, and attrition. Technically, not all damage over time effects are attrition, so this immunity is not quite as broad as the one Wonder Man has, but it is close enough. Unfortunately, this ability also makes this hero more vulnerable to fire and water attacks. Thus, you need to scout out all threats carefully before sending this hero into any battle. If you use Sandman in PvP, you need to be especially wary of Red Hulk.

Special Ability (Shifting Sands) – Shifting Sands grants two benefits. First, at the start of every turn, this hero gains a stack of Grit, which increases his attack, evasion, accuracy, and defense. Grit can stack up to five times. Additionally, whenever he is attacked he has a chance to reduce damage from the attack, gain a stack of Grit, and counterattack. This activates regularly enough, and Sandman has high enough durability, that you actually want enemies to attack whenever possible. Consider teaming Sandman with Phoenix in order to grant him the ability to guard allies.

Sandman Powers

Power Name
Stamina Cost
High Damage
Gathering Sand
Self Buff
Hammering Blow
Moderate Damage / Conditionally Exceptional Damage
Sand Spikes
Debuff Attack

Detailed Power Descriptions

Level 1 Power, Pound (One Enemy, Melee Unarmed, 12.5% Stamina Cost) – Pound deals reasonably high damage and applies both off-balance and cornered. It is rare that you need both effects against a single enemy, but usually at least one is useful in any battle. Adding to the value of this power, Pound grants this hero a stack of Grit. This should be your default attack until Sandman has built up enough Grit to make Hammering Blow or Sand Spikes worthwhile.

Level 2 Power, Gathering Sand (Self, Buff, 8.3% Stamina Cost) – As a quick action this hero gains rising up and gains a 50% chance to avoid attacks for a round. This should be your first action in any battle and you should use it whenever it is available. This essentially increases the durability of Sandman by 25%, which is impressive given that he is already an incredibly difficult character to defeat.

Level 6 Power, Hammering Blow (One Enemy, Unarmed Melee, 29.2% Stamina Cost) – Hammering Blow deals roughly half again as much damage as Pound without any modifiers, but normally the damage will be much higher than that. It has the finest hour special ability, which this hero can support with Gathering Sand and it consumes all stacks of Grit to deal extra damage as well. With four or more stacks of Grit and a few buffs from rising up, this attack should generally defeat any enemy in a single blow.

Level 9 Power, Sand Spikes (All Enemies, Ground, 33.3% Stamina Cost) – Sand Spikes is a tricky attack to use. You can use it to clear out enemies in a final attack if Sandman is strengthened and has five stacks of Grit, but that will tend to be a waste of stamina. Instead, it is generally better as an opening attack as long as the enemy has no flying characters. Sand Spikes is a catastrophic attack that applies blinded and pressure points, which makes it a great way to quickly debuff enemies. Using it in the first round means that it will only consume one stack of Grit, because that should be all that Sandman has built up at that point.

Iso Support

The only deficiency that Sandman really needs to have covered is his low accuracy. A few ISOs to support that means he should regularly hit, especially when he gains focused from Gathering Sand. Beyond that, you should boost damage and health to support his general design. This hero is best in long battles, so you want to put ISOs on him that help him in longer battles.

Healing, Shields, Protection, Tactictian
Buffing, Healing, Extra Actions
Resurrection, Ability to Allow Sadman to Protect

Best Allies

Sandman is clearly a damage dealer who also happens to be hard to defeat. While he is hardy, he isn’t invulnerable and he really needs a few rounds to build up to reach his potential. The best way to make sure that happens is to team him with an ally that can keep him alive for the long haul. Rescue is by far one of the best choices because she can heal him, shield him, and protect him. If you equip your agent with an item that can create a shield, Angel is also a good choice, due to his ability to heal and to further buff Sandman. Generally, almost any support ally works well, so feel free to choose whichever you are most comfortable with.

Do you use Sandman in PvP?

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Sandman is a particularly dangerous choice for PvP in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. His Form of Sand ability which makes him so good in PvE is likely to be a liability in PvP. Few PvP villains use ground attacks due to the prevalence of fliers and electricity attacks are almost equally as unlikely. His only real benefit is immunity to attrition. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of being weak to fire, which means you have to keep a constant eye on the metagame. He is fine as long as the majority of heroes don’t deal fire damage, but he quickly drops in value if, for example, Phoenix is common among enemies. Even if you are safe on that count, his powers are primarily based on buffing himself and debuffing enemies. This is a hard thing to rely on in a PvP environment where almost everyone has a Scroll of Angolob. He is durable enough that he is likely to survive until such items are used up, but you will rarely get full benefit from his best attacks in PvP. Overall, you should generally avoid using him in PvP, unless you don’t care about your score and really just want to mess with people by putting him on a defensive team.


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