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Do your giddy dance. Prepare your complaints. Get some cheese to go with the whines. And prepare for the chest thumping of some rich kid with too much money. Spec Op #4 is here.

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A Word About Goals

My goals may be very different from yours. I think that's worth mentioning at at the top. I have several goals in this Special Op. Your goals will probably differ.

  1. Get Ghost Rider
  2. Five Star Completion on all three missions.
  3. Complete the side quest.
  4. Get the 4 items that are unique roulette drops.
  5. Complete the Demon Set
    1. This is a low priority goal that would be amusing to obtain as I don't think I'm likely to use it.

Your goals may be higher or lower. In putting this together, I am attempting to lay out the thinking on getting Ghost Rider. But in my actions, I may do things that are not conducive to accomplishing Ghost Rider in the most efficient manner, because I am chasing a different goal (specifically the side quest activity). Keep that in mind, and remember, you're getting more than you've paid for... (when do my consulting fee checks start to arrive?)

As always, let's throw the disclaimer up and say that your mileage will vary, objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are, I'm always right, except for the frequent occurrences when I'm not, and Playdom likes to change things.

Now, let's take the time to look at the task list and set our plan. And we can keep this thought in mind:

Don't Panic, There Will Be Plenty Of Time For That Later.

Day One

We will do six tasks on day one.

TASKS:

  • 1 - Hell on Earth
    • Defeat 2 Escaped Prisoners
      • Escaped Prisoners are still at large throughout the city, armed by and assisting super-powered villains. They can be found in Mission 1: Devil's Daughter.
  • 2 - Demonology
    • Defeat 3 Demons
      • Demons are streaming through portals into the city.
      • They can be found in all three missions of Spec Op 4.
  • 3 - The Usual Suspects
    • Defeat a Mini-Boss in Mission 1
    • Defeat either Jack O'Lantern or The Hood in Mission 1 to complete this quest.
  • 4 - Dance with the Devil
    • Complete Mission 1
      • Complete missions to add points to your cumulative score. Achieve a high enough score to earn a new Mastery Star!
  • 5 - Chain Reaction
    • Use Ghost Rider's "Damnation Chains" ability 3 times
      • Damnation Chains is Ghost Rider's first ability. You can use him as a Team-Up in all three Spec Op 4 Missions.
  • 6 - Al Dente
    • Research Infernal Fang in the Lab
      • Research the Infernal Fang to complete this task.

Let's take this one step at a time.


Hell on Earth (Task 1) is done in one fight. Early reports are that you have to do it in the Special Ops mission. No big deal, because there are two fights available and they both have two Escaped Prisoners. We will be doing the medium difficulty mission, rather than the easy mission. Task one, complete. 10 UISO. (430 of our original stash remaining)

Demonology requires that we fight three demons. No big deal. First, we will fight The Hood. He has a demon with him. Demon 1, down. 20 UISO. Then, we will pick a fight (probably the hard fight) that features at least two demons. Easy peasy, demon squeezey. 30 total UISO for Task 2. 40 Total UISO to this point. (400 of our original stash remains)

The Usual Suspects can be done by fighting Jack O'Lantern. He should probably have loaded already, but if he hasn't, do another fight, and then him. Let's assume the high cost. 30 UISO for Task 3, 70 total to this point (370 remaining).

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To complete the Dance with the Devil, you will have to actually dance with his Daughter. Satana loaded immediately after I defeated Pumpkinhead, so, I suspect he will for you as well. DO NOT EXIT THE MAP AT THIS TIME.

Check your mission score. Ideally, it will be >104,000, which should net us 2 stars in the mission. If it's not (mine was just under, stupid me), go back and do the hardest remaining mission to boost your score. If you get it to that magic 104,000, then you can exit the map and complete the Dance with the Devil. You should get 2 stars with a score >206,000.

Chain Reaction will require the multiple use of Ghost Rider's L1 skill. It's a fun skill as it stacks debuffs. We're going to run the first mission again and get through the Hood, who we will be sure to hit at least twice with Damnation Chains. Preferably three times, but if not, we can use him again against Jack and get our Chains in. Task accomplished, something like 30-50 UISO, still holding 300.

Al Dente is a research task, and where we will end our day. I don't know the cost of the research, but I'm sure it's <300.

Day Two

Day two, five tasks. I don't know the costs of any of these things, but I will update the post when I get there. There are some tricky timing issues of which we will want to be mindful.

Here are the tasks for the day:

  • 7 - Resource Management
    • Collect 10 Unstable Iso-8
      • Unstable Isotope-8 can be found in normal combat, as well as rewards from deploys and boss fights. You can also get some from your friends!
  • 8 - Mindless Violence
    • Defeat 4 Mindless Ones
      • The Mindless Ones are denizens of Dormammu's Dark Dimennsions who exist only to destroy. They can be found in Mission 2: The Hoary Hosts.
  • 9 - Hypocritic Oath
    • Defeat Moonstone
      • Moonstone is a Mini-Boss in Mission 2: The Hoary Hosts.
  • 10 - Trespasses
    • Use Ghost Rider's Penance Stare on an enemy with Sin
      • Penance Stare is Ghost Rider's second ability, use it on an enemy afflicted with "Sin" for extra damage. You can use him as a Team-Up in all three Spec Op 4 Missions.
  • 11 - Hot Knives
    • Upgrade the Infernal Blade to Soulfinder in the Lab
      • The Soulfinder can be researched after acquiring the Infernal Blade.

Okay, here's the sequence:

WnRWBzU.jpg
By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, we will get through Day 2!
  1. Log into the game.
  2. DO NOT COLLECT GIFTS
  3. Go to the research tab and complete the research.
    1. That will complete task 6 and load task 7
  4. Now, collect at least 10 UISO. (Task 7 complete)
  5. If you have not been collecting Pumpkin Bombs (I confess, I haven't), send out some to your Marvel friends on the gift tab. (This is for a task on Day 3)
  6. Into the mission and on with yourself.

There are some interesting choices for Mission 2. This is the one that features the dread Dormammu lurking in the background as the Epic. As there is a side quest involving the epic dropped item, I'm doing something inefficient in the short term, and I'm running this through to Dormammu. Before you get on me for running inefficiently, step back and think. We're only going to get so many shots at Dormammu's Roulette. If I want to complete the side quest (and who doesn't want some Grief), I want to be sure to maximize my shots. Not right for everyone, but the right call for me. And remember, we also have a mantra. Don't Panic, There Will Be Plenty Of Time For That Later.

There is, as I predicted, a nasty bit of sequencing here. You will fight your four mindless ones (total cost: 40 UISO). In an attempt to save UISO, I'm not fighting the Mindless Miniboss. I'm gonna two team that. The nasty bit is that Moonstone is the only miniboss on this level to feature Ghost Rider for the teamup. That means that Task 10 is going to be a problem, since to get to Task 10, we have to beat the only boss on the level that pairs with Ghost Rider. Insert an expletive, and move on. This is a busy day, and I'm not sure if I'm gonna get to the research, which will put me behind. *sigh*

This might not have been a good plan. Dormammu is a tough fight. I lost it once, and got a reset the second time. AAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

A WORD OF ADVICE: After you finish Mission 2, you will want to rerun it for efficiency's sake. You will not want to do the boneheaded thing that I did that was completely out of character, which would be finishing Mission 2 and hitting Mission 1 again (which I already have three stars in) to use Ghost Rider's Penance Stare for task 10. It is a faster path to 10, but makes a much longer path to 14. I went tactical, you should go strategic.

Those losses left me short on UISO for the research. It takes 80. If I'd run the mission minimally, I'd be there. But since I'm not gonna panic, I'm not gonna panic. Oh, no. Type A me (aka Grumpy PKB) is taking over. He bought the ISO and started the research. He could not get along with Laid Back me (aka California PKB). Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I'm on the pace, even though I know I have 31 days left. Stupid Type A me.

Day 3 and Change

On Day 3, we have a dream of getting to Task 16. I dunno if we'll be able to start that with our remaining ISO, but it's not the end of the world. I will not panic... California PKB will win.

Here's the next set of task, taking us to the third

  • 12 - Like a G6
    • Complete 3 Flight Deck Mission
      • Send any hero on any flight deck mission.
        250px-Mordo

        Because PD hasn't buffed you yet, Stephen.

  • 13 - Trick or Treat
    • Use 5 Pumpkin Bombs in Combat
      • Pumpkin Bombs can be gifted from by friends.
  • 14 - Mystic Masters
    • Defeat Baron Mordo
      • Defeat Baron Mordo in either Mission 2: The Hoary Hoasts, or Mission 3: Signed in Blood.
  • 15 - Greenwich Gatecrashers
    • Get 2 Starts 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!
  • 16 - Hack and Slash
    • Upgrade the Infernal Axe to Sinflayer in the Lab
      • The Sinflayer can be researched after acquiring the Infernal Axe.

If you send out your guys at night, it's not the end of the world if you collect them immediately, but you can save 3 minutes by hitting the research tab to complete Task 11 and start Task 12. If you forget, send three guys out for three minutes and do something else until they're back.

I hope you've collected your pumpkin bombs. I have been, but I'm a couple short on Day 2. So, I'll be sure to get the minimum number to complete this. You can use all 5 in one fight. I did. Makes efficiency sense, though will hurt score in that mission.

Defeating Mordo at this point presents an option. If you were tactical, and not strategic, as I was, and went back to run #1, you can finish out #1 and with the completion of the Pumpkin Bomb task, you have unlocked Mission 3. You could do that.

If you don't have two stars in Mission 2, you will probably want to fight Mordo there. By running to Dormammu, I two starred (and a wee bit of change) Mission 2, so, I could run Mission 3 directly. I think a look ahead will be useful. Funny thing. You don't actually need to do Mission 3 until Task 25.

Because of my strategic error on #10, and a tactical error on #13 (forgot to do this in Mission 1, asleep at the wheel), I'm running Mission 2 again, but I could see going for Mission 3. I did not get to Mordo on this day due to UISO issues. If you ran it more efficiently (no Dormammu, rerun #2 for #10), you could get to Mordo and get to #16. I didn't. You might even have enough UISO to do #16. Good. Do it and put Spec Ops down. I am putting Day 3 down with Task 13 done. I got 30 UISO in my email (30 of 130 they've given out... stupid Playdummies).

So, Mordo got himself Three of a Kinded. Dr. Strange, World War Hulk Bruiser, and Tactician Agent featuring Quantum Jumper, Heavy Ion Beam, Coulson's Revenge, and Goblin Glider. I got fortunate with sequencing, Agent went first, Quantum Jumped. Hulk hit one of Moonstone's scrapper goons, Strange strapped a Penetrating Strike on the Agent, agent two hits Moonstone with the Goblin Glider (it exploits Flying, is Stealthy and has very Deadly Crits). Strange cleans Hulk's Scrapper, Hulk one shots the other scrapper. Next round, Agent goes Goblin Glider, HIB, Goblin Glider on Mordo (dead), Hulk throws his rock, stuns one, misses the other, Strange hits the unstunned Mindless one, who gets a hit in ruining my perfect strategy. Agent is out of Stamina, so puts a Kinetic Amp 2 on Strange (It's not like he has defense or evasion to nuke *rolleye*), Hulk Smashes, strange bolts and Tasks 14 and 15 are done. I am one UISO short of doing Dormammu again, and have Task 16 to save up ISO for. Two days, maybe 3, depending.

I got the UISO for Dormy last night, but decided I'd rather watch Hoarders on A&E, than attempt a Dormammu. If you are interested in how to beat Dormammu, I started a Dormammu Epic strategy blog here. As a result of that blog, I did well, and am half way to the fourth star on Mission 2. (Remember, I have five star as a goal). With the other UISO I got doing PvP last night, and the UISO collected in gifts this AM, I am 53 out of 120 on Task 16. With some luck, I might be able to start it tomorrow.

I got the 120th UISO for the research last night, so it's 2 days of stocking ISO and looking forward to the things necessary to get the Signpost. Into the fourth group I go (collecting UISO, using distress calls, not collecting distress calls, thinking ahead... always think ahead).

Fourth Group

The next phase is to get the Signpost:

  • 17 - S.O.S.
    • Collect 3 Distress Calls
      • Distress calls can be collected by visiting friends.
  • 18 - Mouthfull
    • Get 5 Demon Teeth/Infernal Fangs
      • Infernal Fangs have a high PVP value, and can be purchased from the store after researching them, or gathered from punching demons in the mouth.
  • 19 - Fight Fire with Fire
    • Defeat Satana
      • Defeat Satana in either Mission 1: Devil's Daughter, or Mission 3: Signed in Blood.
  • 20 - Exothermic
    • Make 4 Demons Explode
      • The Nefaralae demons explode when they are killed.
      • They can be found in Mission 1: Devil's Daughter and Mission 3: Signed in Blood.
  • 21 - Warning Signs
    • Equip the Signpost
      • The Signpost makes it possible to wield the rest of the Demon Set.
      • It is the fourth Spec Op Task reward.

This is an interesting set of tasks. Distress Calls... free. Outside of PvP. I hope you have at least 3 friends because this could take a while if you don't.

Mouthfull. You could spend 10 gold to buy them from the store.You must get your five Fangs while this task is active, so the 75 that you've already assembled don't count (I know, because my 60 didn't. The drop rate is okay, and they drop everywhere, not just from Demons. It is reported in the comments that the drop rate is better within the special op. I don't care. I don't want to spend the UISO, so I did it in PVP, since I was going to play a lot of PVP anyway. Took a bunch of fights, but I was going to do those anyway. And since Satana opens Mission 3...

At last, into Mission 3:
Dr. Strange Dialogue 1

There are demons on the doorstep, Mephisto stirs, the threat of Dormammu lingers. Anything else?


Task 19: Satana pops right off the bat. 20 UISO, whack-a-doodle-doo, and we're onto exploding demons.

Task 20 demands the explosion of 4 demons. The tooltip notes that Nefaralae explode, but neglects to mention that Virignis do too. I've noticed that they don't always go boom. But kookiest of kooky, you get credit for killing any one of the exploding demons, regardless of whether they explode. So, bring your best team, or whoever you're leveling and beat up some Nerfaholes and (told you I wasn't gonna type it again) and Virgins (I don't like typing that one much either). 40 UISO should be the most necessary to spend. (You can do this in 30 as there is a hard mission with two Inves demons, who ALSO have the Volatile buff).

When 4 Demons (I'm not typing it again) go pop, we will be awarded the Signpost (I like... it's quick action). We go to our inventory and equip it. That's it. Task 21 done. We made it from 17 to 21 on 50 UISO (I had to use 60 because stupid Flash crashed). I'm putting it down now, despite sitting on 80 UISO (without collecting today), because I'm out of energy and it's the weekend. Time to go outdoors.

The Home Stretch

  • 22 - Pop a Wheelie
    • Use Ghost Rider's "Burn Out" ability 3 times
      • Burn Out is Ghost Rider's fourth ability.
      • You can use him as a Team-Up in all three Spec Op 4 Missions.
  • 23 - Danger Room
    • Win 1 PVP battle
      • Compete in PVP to test your skills against other players.
      • PVP requires completing Chapter 1 Mission 4 of Story Mode.
        • PVP also requires not being banned from PVP. Sorry.
  • 24 - Dark Dimensions
    • Defeat Dormammu
      • Dormammu is an Epic Boss in Mission 2: The Hoary Hoasts.
      • HINT: Participate in Deploys as soon as they appear.
        • Better Hint: You will need Herc, Quicksilver, Gambit and Daredevil.
          • Herc’s Deploy had me rolling on the floor.
  • 25 - All Hallow's Eve
    • Complete 3 Stars of Mastery in all Spec Ops 3 Missions
      • Complete missions to add points to your cumulative score.
      • Achieve a high enough score to earn a new Mastery Star!


Three Burn Outs won't be tough, but it has a 3 round cooldown. You could two-bird, which gives a first round, where you could stall for 7 turns to get two Burn Outs off. But given our overall need for 3 stars, and the fact that we're not getting there in one run, I don't see the point, as stalling (wthout using a Doombringer type plan which is not compatible here) will lower our fight score and our mission score. Given the full freedom to do this however I like, I'm going to fight Mordo, use a Burnout, fight Mephisto, use a burnout, and then rerun the mission with a three bird for the final Burnout.

I lied. I went outside, then came back in the evening. Addiction. So, what I did for 23 was fight Mordo, which resulted in the use of one Burnout (Mordo is too big a suck to last long enough). Then, Mephisto pops, and he's annoying because he hangs around until he feels like leaving. Which is perfect for task 22. First round of fights, I killed his henches and stacked DOTs on Mephisto (Ghost Rider and Human Torch has nice synergy. Ghosty can drop Burning on people with his L1, as can Torch. So, if Torch goes first, Ghosty gets to the second step of three on his DOT progression (all the way there if it's an infiltrator), and if Ghosty goes first, he applies Burn with his L1, and Torch applies his L2 for the kill). Mephisto hung around for three or four rounds, so, when he started the second wave, Burn Out for the task completion, big damage and stalling for the win. 23 done with 40 UISO.

Danger Room, another freebie. As a side note, given that they banned some people who weren't cheaters, and didn't ban a lot of people who were cheaters, I think task 23 is a big middle finger pointed at some people who don't deserve one (and a lot of people who do).

We can actually do Task 24 and 25 in any order. I will definitely already have 3 stars in 1 and 2, but will probably have to run Mission 3 at least one more time to get it. Make like Dr. Strange and match wits with Dormy (140 UISO with a multibird Mordo), and collection your Ghost Rider. Then go back and farm for the Frozen Hell, because Grief causes a lot of Grief in PvP.

Dormammu

We will be done. Our resources emptied and our hearts richer because we will see this screen.

Ghost Rider Recruited Old

All because we didn't panic.

Notes in Conclusion

The wide range of my goals and my strategic error have produced a demonstration of the Bullwhip Effect. Small changes in tactics and small errors will produce a wide variance in my finish time from the most efficient path. I'm not worried since I've gotten every Special Op hero with a lot of time to spare (19 days for Mockingbird in a 30+ day op, Fewer for Emma, and fewer still for Magik). For a more thorough vision of how I understand process in the world (and non-businessy written version) you might want to read The Goal.

I am also assuming that everything after 23 isn't that interesting, since I've already talked about beating Dormy (I got my Frozen Hell, so will be doing Grief 'ere too long). Mopping up two stars in Mission 3 is not that interesting, and then getting the five stars is also probably not that interesting. With 19 days remaining, I am 3-4-1 (with the Mephisto fight lined up for first thing tomorrow). I think this will not be a problem, then, decide if I want the Infernal Contract and the drop from Satana in 1 (thinking likely not) and get back to restoring my stores. I'm down to 300 small energy, 1 large energy and 0 challenge points. I do have over 170 CP though.

I'm also assuming that the 5 starring of missions isn't that interesting. I won a 100 UISO on the roulette, got 50 from gifts, and another 50 from a link (you do know they refresh every 14 days, right?). And then, doing a deploy, I got another 20. So, I put up 4 stars on mission 1 and 4 on mission 3 to go with the 4 I already had on M2. 3 stars to go and I'm still sitting on a 67 UISO with 17 days remaining. Ghost Rider is Level 4, Deadpool leveling to 8 as I write, and Beast is L9. Everyone else is 11 or 12. I am eager to finish the 5 starring, then research the Guilt, and then get on with my life and the restoration of my stores before Special Op 5 launches. Are you excited?

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