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The Who:

Let's start with you. You enjoy PVP, perhaps wildly, perhaps moderately; the important thing is that you enjoy it enough to allocate precious time and resources to ensure that you end up successful each season. Perhaps you're a competitor or maybe the rewards are just that incentivizing, whatever the reason you want to win and you want to win big. Those Power Armors have never looked so enticing and that favorite hero of yours that you've been waiting on? Yeah, they were just announced, as the reward for Adamantium, a daunting stopgap of .5% of all PVP players. Is this doable? Yes, very, regardless of whether or not you’re a wallet warrior or someone who simply lives off of dedication of time. Is it going to be easy? No, definitely not. Even if you blow hundreds of dollars on Armory bonuses, Silver to level your heroes with, and CP to ensure that you have a full roster, sometimes AFK is not so kind to you or turn sequencing decides to play dirty a few times in a row. Hell, there are even forced refreshes and other technical errors.

What I can tell you however is that above all these things is that smarter, more intelligent and thought out play when properly executed will carry you to victories. Everyone already knows that AFK is a crapshoot and that playing a high volume of attacks where you have direct control over your team is one of the most surefire if not the most effective way to gain and hold rating, but here’s something to chew on: utilize your resources, gather information, and put into play underpowered, undervalued, and overlooked heroes and gear to your advantage.

They won’t know what hit ‘em.

The Why:

Everyone knows that certain heroes are by design and nature stronger than others. Maybe it’s their vastly powerful skillset or maybe their numbers are just plain better than everyone else’s, for whatever reason characters like Emma Frost, Phoenix, Cap, and others dominate the PVP scene for good reason; they’re just plain good. What people tend to do however is tunnel-vision on these few ‘top-tier’ characters and forfeit the rest of the cast to being stuck in bonus purgatory, being leveled and recruited solely for PVE rotations and to increase their hero bonuses. What you and many others need to realize (I say many others because the more people start thinking, the more diverse and flavored PVP becomes and thus becomes an overall more stimulating and enjoyable experience for everyone) is that you can and should look for the wacky combinations of heroes and utilize the ones that people normally don’t consider PVP worthy. 

Why should you do this, you ask? Well it’s simple: intimidation and misinformation. What I mean by this is that when you are presented with 3 threats, your most natural course of action would be to eliminate them in order of priority, starting with the strongest, most threatening unit you recognize by experience and leaving the worst, least threatening for last. What people fail to see however is that under-utilized and commonly conceived underpowered heroes throw a wrench into this entire strategy simply by existing; if your team has been well thought out and designed with whichever surprise hero you so choose as the lynchpin, the enemy will naturally either

  1. Unsuspectingly leave your underpowered hero for last,
  2. Be wary and mark them as a priority due to a lack of knowledge on what that character is capable of

Obviously there are other paths and options they could take but by force of reasoning and understanding how people work, both generally and in high-pressure surprise situations these two are the most common routes. Naturally these both imply a certain level of cognisance on the enemy's part, but if you're at the Agent Level and Ranking for you to be even reading this blog and considering these options, I think we can write that off as a given.

As an added incentive, not only does this tactic leave enemy's scrambling and confused at why they're suddenly encountering a Daredevil or a Wolverine or such, adopting these methods adds an unique flavor and enjoyable playing experience to your active team.

The How:

So how exactly do you go about trying to construct an off-kilter, forward-thinking, and unique team? Well first of all you're going to have to try and recognize unique patterns in AFK as a lot of the incentive to use this strategy entails positive AFK gains. Track and record any unique enemies you encounter in PVP and make sure to recognize the sequencing they're using. The AI in M:AA is not the best but unless it's completely borked (in the cases of heroes like Magik only using her L1 and Phoenix spamming Mind Link if it's ever taken off by any buff-removing status) generally heroes will act in accordance to their skill sequence design as designed by the content designers (if they have one, ie; Rogue, BP, etc). Keep this in mind as your formulate your new team, see what's giving you positive results in your attacks and try to think through if that same team will run the same sequencing as you in AFK. Keep monitoring results and tracking the things you encounter most at your metagame (Agent Level+frequently occuring heroes and gear+classes) and make sure to adapt accordingly. If you've settled on using Daredevil as your fresh new flavor but you're constantly running into Bruisers, maybe it's time to rethink things. Don't ever settle, and keep progressing.

Never forget about you Agent either. Starting with uniforms, Power Armors are enticing but sometimes you're going to have consider class synergy and readjust your Agent's class and ISOs to better suit what you're running at the time. Also consider gear, gadgets in particular and see if there aren't any interesting combinations or gadgets you can run which further facilitate your currently unorthodox style of play. Remember though that the AI generally does a terrible job of using healing gadgets although from what I've seen, they tend to use stat-boosting gadgets with decent efficiency.

Information is your friend; use it wisely and effectively.

This is cool and all... but will it really work?

You may get varying mileage. Results will obviously come in varying effectiveness for different people depending on countless circumstances such as availability of resources, level, etc. However I myself and other Agents can guarantee the success of this strategy. After two incredibly middling seasons (both of which admittedly I was not very well versed in M:AA strategy) in which I placed Gold and Diamond, I sprung into Adamantium in Season 3 utilizing tandems involving Emma Frost, an Agent with Momentum Generator, and Daredevil/Hulk/Rogue, 3 heroes you see incredibly infrequently. It resulted for the most part in exceedingly successful attacks and varying mileage in AFK (which was for the most part my own fault in underutilizing this strategy until the very end of the season). Another notable Agent is none other than Agent Nightcrawler who sprung to fame by winning Adamantium in Season 3 by using the hero regarded by the majority of the population as the worst character in the entire game; Nightcrawler. Although I think his AFK team may have varied, I do believe he used Nightcrawler in AFK occasionally as well (would have to double check), but the point is that using unique heroes does in fact work and will not only potentially save your season but also potentially increase your enjoyment levels during a month-long arduous and at time frustratingly painful climb up to that prestigious 0.5% and maybe even start something new that would increase the playability of PVP by causing you to not see the same 4 heroes the whole time. Hey, it could even have major balance implications if this school of though became widespread.

In conclusion, try new things. You never know where it might take you and how it could change and shape your future gameplay. There are limitless options out there, so explore them! I promise at the least you'll have expanded your mindset on what is possible, and at the VERY least, you won't be too surprised when you run into that stray Nightcrawler.


  

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