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Well, with the infinite turns of Mockingbird gone, I find my estimation of her abilities reduced. Which isn't to say that she isn't a powerhouse, just that I'm missing that certain something that she used to have. A brief aside, we value loss 5x stronger than gain. As a result, the proper functioning of Mockingbird is really quite a bit harder to take than if they'd updated her properly and not had to fix a bug that was entertaining (except when an oppossing Mockingbird dropped 11 consecutive turns on me).

So, any PVP strategy article has to start with a discussion of the environment. At present, it is Cap and Emma. Cap and Mockingbird, Emma and Mockingbird with an Agent carrying the Knight (and probably the Pawn). Let's look at each piece separately.

Captain America, WW2 edition. Or Avengers edition. Shield Guard. Best Tank in the game. To win in the current environment, you must have a way to either crush Cap or get around him. Since he blocks AoE attacks (and they generally don't do much damage), that is not the way around. Psychic attacks, Stealthy attacks, Remove Buff attacks and no miss attacks are the order of the day. We'll make a note of it.

Emma Frost. Emma is not actually that dangerous as the computer plays her. She very rarely uses her War Diamond ability on the first turn, opting generally for her L9 attack. She is difficult to kill because she reduces damage taken on the first hit (generally, sometimes second, sometimes third, but mostly first) by a factor of about 10. So, you need a way to take Emma apart that involves extra turns, multiple characters, or weapons that hit as two separate attacks in a round.

Mockingbird. Goes counterclass when attacked. Goes counterclass when she uses her L6 and attacks. Her L1 and L9 have deadly criticals that up her damage by a factor of 2. Her L1 now puts as many as 4 debuffs that her L9 exploits, while her L2 puts two separate debuffs that are also exploited by her L9. With her extra turns on attacks, you want to hit her very hard, stun her, or use generalists.

The plan:

Since Cap is present 95% of the time, let's game plan Cap. I like the idea of blitzing him, which, reliably, requires a 100% weapon, or something like the Laser Spotter or Hawkeye's L9. I'm not going to carry Hawkeye, I don't like using Laser Spotter because it's a one trick pony for one turn. Bad opportunity cost. There's the 4-Bore, which does great damage, but knocks you out for two turns. Galvanic Arm. 100% hit. Debuff with Negative Charge. Where there is Galvanic Arm, there must be Electrostatic Arm.

A philosophica side note: PvE is considerably different from PvP. In PvE, you have fights that are sprints and fights that are longer. Depending on the number of enemies and the number of rounds, endurance can play a very heavy factor. In PvP it's always three and they're generally your size or a bit bigger. Speed is more important. Instant destructive power. So, long combos are bad, even if they are killer in PvE. Fast hitting, large damage, extra turns, are more valuable in PvP. If a PvP goes beyond two rounds, I feel like I've done something wrong.

Okay, back on topic. For Galvanic Arm to be used to peak damage, you must use Electrostatic Arm. As Electrostatic Arm is not a quick action device, you will either be stuck for a round or you will have to develop more turns. Let's see. MFG? No. You have to burn a turn to use it, then you only get one turn, at some point further down the road, so you're not any further ahead than just EA - GA. Quantum Jumper is great (more on this), but does not actually get the Agent additional speed. And since the name of the game here is getting the combo to trigger quickly... This isn't the tool. There is something, though. Power of Four.

Hey, with Power of Four, on the first turn, I can Electrostatic myself, then Galvanize three targets. Including Captain America, which is where this started. Like the Red Skull, we are devising the perfect destruction of Captain America. And kill one of his friends or mortally wound two of them. If we're really lucky, we can kill em all, then die, painfully, because that's the price of our four turns. Deadly price. You die. Get it.

One more slot, and because speed is the central concept that we're going for with this build, Quantum Jumper. Extra turns for our toons are useful, too. And they don't even have to die to get them.

What could go wrong? Well, someone (Emma and Mockingbird, for instance) could stun the Agent, which will result in fewer turns for my toons, and the Agent not immolating himself in a giant electrical storm and taking half the other team with him. I suppose they could also gang up on the agent and kill him outright. We need a tank. Already discuss, Cap is the best tank, so WW2 Cap. We could also use Modern Colossus, but Cap deals more pain to more players, making him more functional with this set up. I would not hesitate one second to use Bruiser Colossus here as there are NO BLASTERS in the current environment. The prevalence of Cap and Emma keeps things safe for a Bruiser. But, Cap is better. I could write a whole blog post on why Cap is the bee's knees. But, really, he keeps people off the Agent and he hits people for trying. Nice.

Cap has a couple flaws. First, he dies. But really, if he doesn't, he has problems killing Emma in a one-on-on situation. This will drive the choice of our second toon. Rogue is the perfect pick. She has natural extra turns from Kree Speed (and better accuracy than Ms. Marvel with it). And given the prevalence of tacticians, she can get extra turns every turn. And she can reload her extra turns against Emma. Oh, and she's self-reliant. Basically, she can heal faster than the AI controlled Emma can harm (if the AI controlled Emma had a brain, she'd stun Rogue and that'd put it paid in the next round).

So, one last thing. We're going to put Agent into either an Infiltrator suit or a Generalist. I'm leaning to Generalist, because it messes with Mockingbird more. If Mockingbird cannot change class, she does not get extra turns. And without the extra turns (and Combat Reflexes), she really isn't much danger because of the speed factor.

Here's how to play it.

Turn 1: Cap goes first (or second... we actually kind of want second). Shield Bash opposite tank. If going second, and Op.Cap is already Dizzy, use the punch. Put the extra damage on him. Somehow, the order will work out that Rogue will wind up going next for us. Not necessarily next. We only want Cap to keep the enemy team from killing or stunning the Agent and Rogue. So, if the enemy goes, Cap shield guards until either the Agent or Rogue goes. If the Agent comes up, Quantum Jump. Rogue goes and she will use her skill drain on Op.Cap. Tactician Powers, possibly Dizzy. No big deal.

Agent, after QJ, goes Power of Four, Electrostatic Arm, Galvanic Arm x 3. Be smart about this. Generally speaking, Cap is the most annoying character and the Agent is key to the strategy, while Emma has it coming. Evaluate the battlefield. Think a bit. Who is the key holding their team together. If it's the Agent, hit em, maybe twice. Generally speaking, Cap is the keystone, Agent is dangerous. So, Cap (if you've hit him once with your Cap, one shot should kill him. Yes, one shot. Untouched Agent may take two shots. Maybe one will be 90%, and you will want to start on Emma. With Emma, her Diamond Body will absorb 90% of one attack. You want it to be the Galvanic Arm attack, because the secondary attack does more damage. But, either way, one shot and her guard is down.

Agent dies, Cap or Rogue goes. Cap can clean up. Remember, Shield Bash does slightly more damage than the Punch. The Punch is slightly more accurate. The Shield Throw is his most accurate move, but meh damage (good to know if you only need meh damage). It's also not terribly useful as his Shield Throw is the only ranged attack going on here. GA is an electrical debuff, not ranged.

Rogue cleans house. Southern Comfort and then punches or energy drain. With Tactician bonus, she gets two turns. Very important to get So.Co on as it ramps her damage way up.

Note: I will not be playing this as defense. I do not trust the AI to run this properly.

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