So, I like Ares the character, at least when written in the modern world by Bendis or Hickman. I really liked him in Hickman's Secret Warriors, but then Hickman finds a way to write characters completely in character, yet new. Any rate, the guy is a Wolverine and a Thor, in one package, so here we go.

The Basics

You're gonna either need 25 gold (something I don't really endorse) or all of Shatterstar (135), Herc (90) and Thor (90), which, if you have none, is a 315 CP long road to hoe. If you don't know how to hoe that road, I wrote this guide. You have the time if you can invest the time. And it's not like you don't need Herc and Shatterstar for Season 2, Chapter 1 Mastery, and Thor for things in season 1 that I can't be bothered to look up (beyond his premium, which I ran an awful lot of once upon a time). So, getting these heroes actually have a lot of return on investment. 200 CP worth of Ares (since that's what they're gonna sell him for later), the unpriceable Iron Fist Alts, the very fun Herc vs. Thor heroic battle, and not to mention 3 pretty quality heroes.

Efficient Paths

Note that the primary task is to run the tasks efficiently. Do not let mission efficiency get in the way of the overall project. That said, when you are filling out your stars and farming for gear, efficient runs make your ISO go further.

Mission One

  • Medium * 3, Hard * 1, Easy * 1, Three Bird: 60 energy, 70 UISO

Mission Two

  • Run to epic by doing all fights and all deploys.
  • All non boss fights, two deploy, three bird boss. (recommended for Hawkeye Score Challenge)
  • Hardest Available Fight, One Miniboss, two bird boss (Have not tested this yet.. this would be recommended for star farming or the Hawkeye gear farming if you couldn't do the epic or already have the epic gear).

Mission Three

  • Mission 3 probably has a random load which will eliminate some efficiency.
  • I was able to do it with 4 hard fights, and one medium, leaving a medium and all deploys.
  • On a second run, I got jammed against the minibosses, which allowed me to skip two mediums, instead of one. Lower score, but with Doombringer, you can make your Dork Wolverine score requirement with room to spare.

Side Quest

The Side Quest this time is 4 "tasks" with minimum score requirements on the various boss fights. These are relatively easy if you can three bird the bosses, and possible to do while two birding, assuming you have a strategy to get high scores. I completed all of these on my second (or third) run through, when I could set things up better. There's no discussion of the side quest below, because the scores are easily gotten by three birding the boss.

The Plan

Always look ahead. 3-5 tasks ahead. It helps me to think of it like skiing slalom or driving an indy race. You want to set up the next turn while taking this turn. You might even want to setup the turn after the next one during the current turn. Same principle applies here.

First Batch: Tasks 1-6

1. Test Our Mettle

  • Defeat 5 Test Subjects
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. must contain the Test Subject threat before the U-Foes get to them. They can be found in Mission 1: Damage Control.

Easy, peasy. Fight a medium, should net you 4. Fight the hardest mission that comes up, that should fill your set.

2. S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Field

  • Complete 2 Deploys
    • Deploy heroes to assist the field teams on the ground with the Test Subjects in Mission 1: Damage Control.

Lemon squeezey. Do a run of your favorite from 12.3, 12.4 and 12.5. 10 energy, no UISO, two-three deploys. If time is your limiting factor rather than energy, 7.3 can be run to 2 deploys very quickly indeed.

3. Know Thy Foe

  • Defeat Ironclad
    • The U-Foes will do more harm than good. Defeat Ironclad to limit the collateral damage. He is a miniboss of Mission 1: Damage Control.

Woo-hoo. Herc dialog! You probably want to bring a scrapper since you have to deal with Vapor (infiltrator). I like Quicksilver (he means never having to worry about combat reflexes) and the Agent in whatever works for you.

4. Here and Now

  • Use Bishop in Combat
    • Bishop is a Team-Up in Mission 1: Damage Control.

This is the other mini-boss fight, and you're probably gonna wanna bring at least one tactician, if not two. I did this, I have no idea what I did with Bishop and I have no idea if he's any good. Seriously, NO IDEA what happened in this fight.

5. Gift from the Gods

  • Use Hercules' Gift of Battle
    • Gift of Battle is Hercules' second ability. Hercules is a Team-Up Mission 1: Damage Control.

I did this on a season 2 fight. If you don't own Herc, you might consider losing to Ares to get this done. MIGHT CONSIDER. I am not saying do that. You might consider fighting Ares to do this, and then doing a minimal run to get back to Ares for Task 7. Your call. I'm glad I don't have those problems.

6. Never See Us Coming

    • Research the Stealth Field to complete this task.
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. could use a reprieve from the heavy scrutiny of Rusk. Research the Stealth Field to complete this task.

Start the research. End batch. You should have Ares lined up for task 7 when you start the next batch. Don't forget to collect your gifts, and hit up your email for the new and old 20 UISO links. I didn't keep all of them, but I have more UISO at the end of the first 6 tasks than I did at the start of the op.

Second Batch: Tasks 7-11

Short batch, let's get it on.

7. Ares-ted Development

  • Defeat Ares
    • Stop Ares from making a huge mistake. Ares is the Boss of Mission 1: Damage Control.

If you looked ahead, like I told you to, you'll be ready to do this right away. There is some score challenge associated with this that I imagine will not be doable as a single bird. We'll worry about that later. Check your mission score in the bottom right progress bar. You're gonna want it to be at least 158K to be safe. If it isn't, fight any available left over mission until you get it over that hump before exiting, otherwise you'll be running this whole mission again.

It might not be possible to get there, having done the minibosses. I am looking at a map with 111K banked, a hard, a medium, and two easys. If we figure 18K for the Hard, 13K for the easy, and 7K for each easy, we're very close, maybe over, maybe not. That's 40 extra UISO, and I still have that score challenge, so I exited and redid it efficiently.

Compare that against a 70 UISO efficient run, which produced not just the second star, but the third star for me. Won't need to run this again, unless I want the Axe (to replace the Girl's Best Friend).

8. Show Your Determination

  • Complete 5 PVP Battles
    • Compete in PVP to test your skills against other players. Hint: Practice matches count as battles.

How convenient. There's a PVP tournament going on right now, where I will want to do at least 5 PVP fights a day. Done.

9. Two For One

  • Get 2 Stars of Mastery in Mission 1
    • Complete missions to add points to your cumulative score. Achieve a high enough score to earn a new Mastery Star!

Told ya.

10. The True God of War

  • Use Ares in Combat
    • Ares is a Team-Up in Spec Op 12, Missions 2 and 3.

And into Mission 2. We have three tasks that require the use of Ares; tasks 10, 12 and 15. There are four opportunities to use Ares on a single run of mission 2 (a medium fight, a hard fight, the Moonstone miniboss and the Venom epic boss), so it will work out okay, as long as you plan ahead. There are two plans here, depending on whether you can run to epic. I can and will run to epic, because it flows better that way (in terms of task 18), so I will note what my plan is, and then note if you should do something differently.

11. I Have The Power

  • Research Create the Power Cell in the Lab
    • The Power Cell can be researched after acquiring the Blueprint: Power Cell

And start the research. Task set complete.

Third Batch: Tasks 12 - 16

Well, now that that's done, we move on to the next set of tasks. Bit trickier, but nothing to worry about.

12. What is Best in Life?

  • Use Ares' Crush Your Enemies
    • Crush Your Enemies is Ares' fourth ability. Ares is a Team-Up in Spec Op 12 Mission 2 and 3.

Since I am running this to epic, I will use this on the hard fight featuring Ares, as it saves me 20 UISO on the Moonstone fight. If you cannot get to the epic boss because you don't have the heroes yet, you will want to do this on the Moonstone fight and avoid doing that hard fight if at all possible.

13. The Little Spider

  • Defeat Dark Widow
    • Dark Black Widow is a miniboss of Mission 2: The Best Defense.

Dark Black Widow... *sigh*. Not sure if I mentioned this, but Dark Reign was, in my opinion, fairly stupid. Let me get this straight. The world doesn't end at the end of the skrull invasion, and by dint of shooting the Skrull Verenke in the head, and his work with the Thunderbolt program, the US Government decides to dismantle 50 years of SHIELD, and turn it over to a known psychopath with mutliple felony convictions? How'd he even get put in charge of the T-Bolts? Then, after allowing a psychopathic murderer in the top spot of the top security division, they let him pick all sorts of kooks to be his team? Sorry, this is a stupid story because of the complete lack of feasbility.

I digress. Find Dark Widow, crank Dark Widow. Next Task.

14. Eye to Eye

  • Defeat Dark Hawkeye
    • Dark Hawkeye is the Boss of Mission 2: The Best Defense.

On our way to Dork Hawkeye (aka Bullseye... murderous pyschopath... digression), if you cannot run to the epic booss, you want to make 100% sure that you do not do the hard fight, because we're gonna want to save an Ares teamup for the next task.

15. All War Is Deception

  • Use Ares' Art of War 2 Times
    • Art of War is Ares' first ability. Ares is a Team-Up in Spec Op 12 Mission 2 and 3.

I did this against the Venom epic boss. If possible, you could sequence things to wind up post-Hawkeye with the hard fight remaining, and do it there. If not, you can finish the Hawkeye fight and reload the mission to do the medium fight. You will want to be sure that you have two stars, to minimize back and forth.

16. We Have The Power

  • Upgrade the Power Cell to the Power Cell Mk II in the Lab
    • The Power Cell Mk II can be researched after acquiring the Blueprint: Power Cell Mk II.

And we'll call it a day, assuming we have enough ISO. Otherwise, we'll be patient, as we have a ton of time. Two days to rehab the ISO supply (down <200 at this point for me), so we can get on with the next set.

Fourth Batch: Tasks 17-23

The next set of tasks can largely be done in a single run of mission 3. At least it looks like that. But we'll start where we left it in mission 2.

17. Rally The Troops

  • Use 3 Distress Calls
    • You can only receive Distress Calls by visiting allies. Add allies to help you win more battles.

I'll bet you can do this outside of the operation. Try it out.

18. Reach For The Stars

  • Get 2 Stars of Mastery in Mission 2
    • Complete missions to add points to your cumulative score. Achieve a high enough score to earn a new Mastery Star!

An epic run should net at least 2 stars. We should finish off the Epic boss, and exit the map to produce the 2 stars. Done.

19. Show Your Might

  • Win 3 PVP Battles
    • Time to impress Ares! Compete in PVP and win 3 PVP Battles. Hint: Practice matches count as battles.

Good thing there's a PVP tournament on. Because we have motivation to do this anyway. Just make sure you have Red Energy ready. If not, you can always win these in practice.

20. Street Sweeper

  • Defeat 10 Street Thugs
    • Street Thugs can be found in Mission 3: Gathering Darkness

And into Mission 3. Should be fairly easy to get this done. Just find the fights and do em.

21. Seeing Red

  • Use Elektra in Combat
    • Elektra is a Team-Up in Mission 3: Gathering Darkness

If you're lucky, or an idiot like me who spent a bunch of gold, you have Elektra already and you can do this wherever you like. Otherwise, it's probably in a Dork Avenger fight, which is okay, but will lower our mission score and efficiency. You'll figure it out for yourself.

22.Thou Art No Thor

  • Defeat Dark Thor
    • Dark Thor is a miniboss of Mission 3: Gathering Darkness.

Simple. Beat up Ragnarockhead, one of the reasons why Tony Stark said that Clones are stupid (and was right).

23. Like Father, Like Son

  • Defeat Dark Wolverine
    • Dark Wolverine is the Boss of Mission 3: Gathering Darkness.

Speaking of Dork Avengers who I'm glad are dead...

Final Batch: Tasks 24 and 25

These might take more time as they may involve multiple runs to get them done. And, if you don't have all the heroes, you might need to do some farming for CP before you complete Task 25. At any rate, nothing difficult here, neither.

24. Mission Accomplished

  • Complete 3 Stars of Mastery in all Spec Op 12 Missions
    • Complete missions to add points to your cumulative score. Achieve a high enough score to earn a new Mastery Star!

Probably will take a second run of mission 3, and maybe another epic of mission 2. No big whoop.

25. Anti-Venom

  • Defeat Venom
    • Venom is the Epic Boss in Mission 2: The Best Defense.
      • HINT: Participate in Deploys as soon as they appear. This task requires Thor, hercules and Shatterstar in order to spawn the epic boss

And you're done. A third epic run. And then go farm whatever gear you want. This aint hard.

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