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Let's start with a disclaimer. I know... "Bold move, Pot. Hedge bets at the start. Loser." Well, I have never really written anything like this post before because it speaks to something deeper than strategy, but more personal, at the value and belief level. Play style. Which goes beyond strategy. It underlies strategy, but play style is where you put your verve on the game. So, my approach to ISO is not really novel and is decidedly not for everyone. As regular readers know, I play the game for speed and for amusement. I don't enjoy 15 minute battles. I like multiple turns, big hits, large combos, and I like to change up my rotation of characters every now and again. Oh, and I like to win.

Okay, on with the post:

Isotope-8 crystals allow you to tweak the hero into a shape that works better for your play style. There are many ways to skin the cat. I use a number of them, and I avoid other approaches. It doesn't mean that the ones I use are "better" than the ones I don't. It means that they don't work for how I want to play.

My general approach is to make the hero better at what I will ask them to do, and not waste time with things they won't do or need. Here are some methods:

Lazy

  • Straight Chaotics) (+464 to Hp/Sp, +96 to At/De/Ac/Ev
  • If I am lazy, I do this.
  • I use this for characters who are already fairly balanced (e.g. Captain America, Cyclops)
    • Since Cap is perfectly balanced, I didn't want to unbalance him, since I can build him into a general powerhouse.
    • This is not necessarily the optimal strategy.
      • In fact, for WW2 Cap, I might want to unbalance him quite a bit. I haven't because I am bored with Cap, but, a different strategy might work better with him, as I will explain later.

Functional

Consider the role the hero will play. I like to break my heroes into two primary roles.
Hammers are primary damage dealers. People who are straight ahead attack, like Mockingbird, Thor or Hulk.
Support are characters with multiple responsibilities. They apply setups, buff/debuff, take the damage, break the enemy's strategy and do some damage as well. I sometimes call them Secondary Damage Dealers, people like Emma Frost, Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Spider-Man are all
So, I think I should break down the iso strategy for each type. A general word about my strategy. I generally do not like to overload a hero, by pushing a particular stat beyond 5 bars of strength (but will do it when it fits). The basic idea here is that you should consider the role of the hero before you think about the ISO strategy. You're not necessarily making the hero the best total hero (that would be the Lazy strategy) but making them the best at what they do, and thereby, a better teammate.

Hammers

Hammers main responsibility is to hit people hard. As a result, they need high attack and accuracy. But, they need to have some survivability so that they can actually hit someone. To that effect, I break Hammers into two categories; Hard and Soft.

Soft Hammer

Dr. Strange is an example of a soft hammer. Low health, defense, evasion. He won't last three attacks of focused fire. I have two choices with a soft hammer. Build them to increase survivability, which would involve the application of green ISO to enhance health plus the better of evasion or defense. Or assume that I will always be using him with a tank, and build strengths to make him a more deadly hammer. I could make arguments both ways, and the choice is really up to you.

Hard Hammer

A hard hammer is someone like the Hulk, who already has a solid defense. In the case of the Hulk, you will want to think about whether to overload his attack, increase his accuracy or build on his defense. You will also want to consider his stamina with regard to his moves. Hulk's only really Stamina intensive move is his Level 9 attack. You will probably want to invest something to Stamina, but increase the impact of his defense with either extra defense or health. The other thing to consider with Hulk is that his charges boost his Attack and Accuracy, so it's possible that you can live with decent accuracy as it will build. Consider the tradeoff between putting ISO to Attack (more damage) vs. Accuracy (More hitting, more critting). All things to consider.

Support

Support characters do things that aren't necessarily straight damage but increase your chances of winning. Since they do a lot of different things, there is no set build out, and you don't want to use my strategy anyway. I do break my supports into two categories (again), so there are some general guidelines. My main guideline for all support characters is that they have to be able to contribute to the attack in some way.

Tanks

Tanks are defensive specialists, like World War 2 Captain America, Spider-man or Colossus. You will want to get their defense or evasion to five bars. You will want to increase their health. And maybe increase the lower defensive stat as well. And then, you will want to determine if they need some attack or accuracy, and how their stamina will work. This will work a lot differently for the three tanks I have listed.
Spider-man has the top evasion in the game to start. A lot of people like to overload his evasion, but I do not see the point, as Spider Sense increases his evasion as a quick action. Instead, I prefer to focus on improving his offensive capability, so he can actually contribute on the offensive end. I can also see improving his health to increase his overall survivability. His defense could also be build up. We're in the realm of play style, but my point is that there isn't a point in overloading evasion as he overloads evasion naturally.
Colossus, while tanking, gets a natural damage reduction, similar to high defense. Combined with his naturally high defense (among the best in the game), you could be excused for not wanting to build his defense up higher. As his evasion is a lost cause (even with gold), we will want to strap some health, to extend his life with his damage reducing abilities. He is low accuracy, moderate attack and stamina impaired. Act accordingly.
Captain America, as discussed previously, does everything pretty well. And you could build him evenly outwards or you could build any attribute of his out and neglect others and he won't be deficient. Since we are going to use him as a tank (and a secondary damage dealer) and he doesn't have a lack of aptitude for either skill, I can pick from Health + Defense and/or Stamina. If we focus, we could make him as slick as Spiderman or as tough as Colossus, or 80% of both. Your call (though I'm leaning to evasion).

General Support

With a character who does support functions to make your team better or the opponent worse, you will have to take a deeper look at how they are actually going to play. Figure the stamina for the moves you will use, and act accordingly. Look at the defensive stats, and make sure the character has enough survivability to do the vooddo that they do. This will look very different for Emma Frost (with Diamond Body) than it does for Scarlet Witch (Chaos Shield and 20% auto-evade). For my style of play, it remains imperative that my general support character be able to deal a reasonable amount of damage.

General Guidelines

  • Start with what the hero will do for you. Hammer? Shield? Multipurpose?
  • Bend the stats to enhance what they will do.
  • Evaluate stamina needs of moves.
    • Thing, War Machine, and Dr. Strange use a lot of stamina.
    • Kitty, Black Cat, Invisible Woman and Hawkeye do not need much extra stamina.
    • Anyone who gets extra turns probably needs extra stamina.
  • Avoid building skills that will go unused.
    • High evasion characters do not need high defense as they will get hit less often.
    • Ms. Marvel, Scarlett Witch, Invisible Woman and Captain America have passives that make them avoid attacks, beyond their evasion skill. ***Their health might not be a high priority to build. Their evasion might not either. But it might.
    • Big tanks are hard to build evasion on, and some even cannot dodge while tanking (Thing).
      • There is no point in building the evasion of the Thing. Colossus as well.
        • Their health and defense could use your building efforts.
  • Critical hits are a function of the hero's innate skill with the attack AND their accuracy.
    • High Crits do not require much extra accuracy. Deadly Crits do. Mind the difference.

Gold Purchase Crystals

On the subject of buying gold purchaseable shards for my heroes, I wrote the following:

I have yet to buy a crystal for any of my heroes. I have very few gold purchase shards (I think Mockingbird has a couple, because there was no good way to do Health, Attack and Defense at once, or Stamina A/D... I forget).

You don't need gold buy crystals or shards for PvE, which is pretty easy anyway. You would only need them for PvP. But at a high enough level, they are made irrelevant by hero bonus and armory bonus.

Here's what I am pulling currently in hero bonus:

Tacticians: +4418 to Hp/Sp

Blasters +891 to At, Bruisers +643 to De, Scrappers +721 to Ac, Infiltrators +868 to Ev

Generalists +256 to He/Sp, +51 to everything else.

That's before we count 37,990 in ATK bonus, 33,914 to DEF.

The gap between a research and silver bought shard and a gold purchased crystal is dwarfed by the overall bonus (which doesn't require me to favor hero X over hero Y).

You are welcome to buy Crystals with your gold. I like them for my agent's main trench. But I don't see the need for them on heroes, as I like to rotate my heroes a lot.

Update I have broken down and bought some gold crystals for heroes that I like to use a lot. I keep it pretty limited, but since I love Hercules, he's getting a golden suit. Since I use Colossus constantly in PvP (he never comes out), I used some gold to improve him. And Because I like Mock, she has some gold. But seriously, do not waste gold on heroes you don't play much.

Notes

I am working on a spreadsheet to evaluate different ISO builds. It's kind of complicated as there are a lot of ISO options, but I used something basic to re-ISO my agent's trench. You could build something yourself if you were of a mind. What you want is some set of data for the crystals that you have access to, the base stats, un-ISO'd, of your agent or hero, and a bit of spreadsheet skill to build some different test builds. This will save you resources in your tinkering.

You can figure the bars by looking at your current heroes and estinating the threshhold for each bar.

Disclaimer

This works for me. Your mileage will vary.

I steal advice on ISOs from the forum when I'm lazy. I tinker with ISOs when I get in a mood.

I have a ton of silver in the bank, so I can tinker endlessly without regret.

My play style is not yours, probably. There are many ways to skin a cat.

I don't work for Playdom, I'm not paid to be here. These are my opinions and are not reflective of the larger Wiki's, certainly not Playdom's, and ocasionally not even my own. Every rule has an exception that proves it.

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