Hey guys, my name is Kevin "Ruibarian" Dobias, I've studied game design for two years and I've been playing M:AA since the 3rd Spec. Op. Basically, I realized that there is no real guide to this game, just a lot of hearsay knowledge floating around, so I'm going to do my best to throw out a guide that can be used for all parts of the game. So without further adieu, I give you the first full guide to Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
Player vs. Environment (Missions)
As I'm sure you're aware if you've ended up here, Missions are the main part of this game, at least at the beginning. If these are what you enjoy doing, great! I'm going to give you a few tips to maximize progression.
- Use Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch
These two give you 250 points for free. Even if you completely botch the fight, you'll be getting a decent chunk from these two. The other Team-Up Bonuses are listed here, they're quite useful and a LOT of work has clearly been put into them. Also, if you are still working toward recruiting these two, Hawkeye and Black Widow are great in the meantime.
- Don't take any damage
This will get you an additional 500 points, it will say something like Perfect Strategy. Do this whenever you can, sometimes you'll take hits that are out of your control so you won't be able to guarantee this until you get Quicksilver since he ALWAYS goes first.
- Defeat your opponent as quickly as possible
There's a One Round bonus for a decent chunk of points that you can get if you beat your opponents quickly enough.
These three are the most important parts to doing well in PvE; however PvE also happens to be the best way to level up your new heroes. WARNING: IF YOU WANT TO DO WELL IN PVP, DO NOT DO THIS. PvP is a different beast altogether and leveling up your agent is the biggest no-no in PvP.
That's really about it for PvE. You can do a lot of things in PvE and use a large variety of strategies. If you're not worried about going fast, then feel free to ignore this and just experiment with different hero combinations. The team up bonuses are a great place to start.
So you've played a lot of M:AA, but you still barely have any heroes. Playdom designed the game to have a crawling progression to make the players want to buy gold more. But you don't have to. If you're wanting to grind up some Command Points to get that new shiny hero you want, just do Mission 4.4. It only takes 70 energy, and you can run it to the epic for two boss roulette spins. Note that you will need Storm to run it to the epic. Potkettleblack has a guide about How to farm command points. If you're a facebook player, constantly check Here for free things. Playdom posts them fairly often, and sometimes you'll get some CP off of them. Playdom refreshes these links every 2 weeks or so, so check back at the link in another 2 weeks after you have clicked it.
Player vs. Player
PKB Articles you should read and try to fully understand:
So you're hardcore. You want to be top .5% so you can get the new flashy hero before anyone else. Awesome. But you have no clue what is good, and you keep getting shut down. Allow me to share my experience with this.
First off, I've wound up at .6% twice right at the end of the season. During season four, I was ranked top .3% and the servers went wonky at the end of it and I was dropped to .6% without any ability to control it. It is VERY difficult to land in the top .5%. During season 1, the limits were even more ridiculous, you had to be in the top 1000 to get Deadpool and I very nearly got him. So, what's the trick?
Basically, you need to have three things.
- The right heroes.
- Several unused heroes.
Now, if you'er over level 62, you'll need to get to 65 ASAP and save up enough gold to buy a Quantum Jumper. It's the best item in the game hands down. Everyone in the top .5% uses it, and if you want any chance to join them you WILL need it.
This item is ridiculously strong. Heroes with inner synergy, abilities that get stronger when they get to use two different abilities back to back, are enabled by it, and it basically turns your Agent's turn into two turns. You basically have to get this if you ever want to compete in PvP past 65, there's really no better item in the game right now.(OLD)
In lieu of the Quantum Jumper being nerfed
With QJ being nerfed now, using it is only okay. However, players should be using one of the 4 Temporal items:
As well as using the Scroll of Angolob if you have it, since wiping your opponent's buffs and your nerfs is probably the strongest incomparable in the game.
We're going to work from the bottom up now, starting with time. You don't necessarily have to sit on your computer all day, but what you SHOULD do is always be leveling up a hero and always have as many heroes as possible out on flight missions. The bonuses from having heroes be leveled up are much, much more important than armory stuff. If you log in every day, you'll quickly fill out your armory with enough decent pieces that you won't even have to worry about it. Armory is next to meaningless in my experience. Also, never play on level missions unless you're trying to get a golden weapon and you have to do a Premium Mission (Since they are always on level). You want to keep your agent low in level while having lots of heroes at high levels.
Which brings us to having unused heroes. You're going to need a lot of these. The best ones to have are Blasters, Bruisers and Tacticians. They give the best bonuses. The others are important as well, and most of the better players will pick up and level all of the 15 CP heroes. They give you a great baseline of heroes for your Heroes bonuses.
Finally, having the right heroes. This only matters AFTER you have a large collection of heroes. Any decent amount of synergy can get you into the top 3%. If you're not spending any money on this game, this is probably the best you're looking at. Simply put, top .5% takes at least some amount of money to complement skill and knowledge since you are fighting people who are throwing fist fulls of money at the game. I'm going to go over what I consider to be the tiers of the game, 1 being the best, 5 being casual. Tier 1 is all combinations and I will only ever list 5 combinations here. They're what I consider to be the most powerful combinations possible because they combine sheer power with incredibly good synergy.
Synergy is how well the two heroes work together (And in some cases, the items on your agent.) You can take a bad hero and make it decent with this, like combining Future Foundation Spider-Man with Daredevil. Daredevil sucks normally, but with the amount of extra dodges you'll be gaining off of the FF Spider-Man, it makes him an OK choice.
Blue Costume Quicksilver + Phoenix Five Emma Frost
This combination is apparently very common among the 300's during Season 6, but I haven't had really anyone play it on my level. I don't have much to say other than Mental Trauma is good, getting 3-4 attacks a round with Quicksilver is absurd, and increasing his stats while he does it sounds like a straight up loss.
Modern Armor Thor + White Crown Phoenix (Agent using Spec Op. 5 full set.)
I have been completely wrecked by people with massively less hero passives than me using this combination. It's frustrating and embarassing to lose to it, too, making the top of my list right now. The idea is, Thor nails you with Summon Thunder the first turn, Phoenix follows up on the second turn with Phoenix Fire removing all of the buffs you've acquired and doing even more massive amounts of damage and resetting Death and Rebirth if you managed to trigger it already. If you're trying to break into the upper crust without these two, you'll definitely need a contingency plan for them, especially Thor. Scroll of Angolob is great if you have it, but it was a reward during season 3 PvP. If you don't have it, Soulfire is about the only other way to handle it. Ghost Rider is probably the best way to counter this strategy, but again, he is limited in availability. The fact that the two best ways to handle this are limited is another reason it is so highly hated.
Edit I don't think this is the strongest pairing anymore. It's still pretty good, but with Emma Frost's availability going up, she's much stronger than White Crown Phoenix in the support role and there are better hammers than Phoenix.
Psylocke + Magik (Agent using Coulson's Revenge.)
These two are ridiciculous together, but as of right now, both are very rare and seeing them together isn't very common. Basically, they can chain together so many attacks that they will burst down even the strongest of heroes or agents before you even have a chance to act. It's not even something you can account for or defend against. The only way I've beaten people with this particular combo is if they have inferior hero bonuses.
White Crown Phoenix + Modern Dr. Strange (Agent using Loki's Needle and Signpost.)
Pretty simple, apply very powerful Damage over Time effects and sap stamina. Using recharge in PvP sucks, and having to deal with taking that much damage and having to recharge is basically a death sentence. Cable handles this fairly well since he never needs to actually recharge, but the DoT damage is still incredibly hard to get over. Pheonix will drag out the match with Death and Rebirth as well 'O'''''ld: No longer viable. Deathfrost and soulfire now cancel each other.
Right now we are in between seasons, so other than these three I'm not very certain what will be arrising next season. I would guess that a Future Foundation Invisible Woman + Magneto combo will surface, negating two heroes and turning the fight into a 3v1, so if you're preparing for season 5, be ready for this. Edit: Magneto's Force Cage style 4th skill was changed to magnetic field when he was overhauled.
Tier two is a list of heroes based on raw power. Picking up any one of these is a good start.
Modern Armor Thor
Summon Thunder can wipe out an entire team in one shot. It's so good that people in the upper tiers have started using HP/Attack gems instead of pure Attack gems just to survive that first blow.
White Crown Phoenix
Combining this with Barrowguard and Hoarfrost mace has been a hallmark of season 4. It's very hard to handle. You just have to power through it and focus down hard; if you fail to handle her quickly, you'll eventually just die to her.
Modern Dr. Strange
He's ugly and he's everywhere. He hits all of your people hard and the only way to get rid of Dark Void at the moment is a Scroll of Angolob. Then he starts healing his own people and putting shields, even reactive shields, everywhere, stimying your ability to focus anyone down.
The PvP award heroes are ludicrously strong and have way more abilities than your average hero. They all are reasonable if you can find a good synergy for them. The strength of them, 1 being the weakest, 5 strongest, is
She gives your entire team extra attacks, and the extra attacks are STRONG. She's very, very powerful and if you can ever get ahold of her from a sale, you should do so.
Similar to Magik but in a different way, he builds up over time and has a psychic attack that I have personally dealt over 40,000 damage with. Also, he has two ways of applying Soulfire and any ability to remove buffs from your opponents is an important ability.
Blue Costume Quicksilver
One of Playdom's worst names for a costume, the extra attacks are very relevant and he can stun an entire team while putting out a lot of damage. Plan on seeing more of this guy.
Grey Suit Black Widow
She always gets a "better-than-infiltrator bonus." It's always on, it increases damage to anyone who tries to hit her, and she gets plenty of free attacks AND has a stun.
Phoenix Five Emma Frost
She's awkward to me. I usually don't have trouble with her in my builds, but at the same time, PKB says she is taking over the upper levels of play. I dunno. The trick to handling her is to land a weak attack on her that you don't care about as much then nail her with a 1 shot, either Kitty Pryde or Ghost Rider are good for this.
WWII Captain America
During Season 3 this costume dominated the top .5%. Season 4 was a little different, as many of the top players were using Barrowguard/Hoarfrost Mace and using their agent to take attacks instead of using Cap. Also, with the Scroll of Angolob hanging around, it's even easier to get around the Shield Block since you can nullify it unlike Sacrifice on Hoarfrost. Might become more relevant in Season 5 if Angolob falls off.
So, it's Season 6 now, and Cap is still hanging around. It's surprising that I still see him as often as I do, considering how easy he is to handle. His AFK AI underwent a change, now removing his Shield Guard doesn't effectively stun him over and over like it used to, but the teams I run always have a Psychic attack or a Stealth attack to get around it.
Shadowcat Kitty Pryde
Free Infiltrator bonus at the beginning of the fight is enough to ruin most parties, and the fact that she can't be hit for 2 rounds combined with her haymaker Sneak Attack makes her very scary. You won't see her quite as often as the other tier 2 heroes, but she is definitely on their power level. Pack Psychics if she starts seeing more play. Havok
He's at the upper end of tier 2, Havok can come out swinging with a ton of damage. If people weren't using a lot of tacticians right now (Since a lot of people got the tactician power armor from last season) then Havok/Modern Thor would be a real pain. As is, Havok is on the bench waiting to become a major player.
Sees a ton of play. He's awsome if you have a lot of good Agent items, but if you're struggling to come up with a good set of 4 Agent items, then just get the Magnetic Field Generator .
She's pretty good. Not much to say here. She's a good hammer, hits harder than most.
There are so many Tier 3 champions, it's almost not worth even listing them here. Tier 3 is any champion that is functional enough to get you above 15%. From here on, it's much more important to remember to come up with a solid strategy to complement your heroes.
Similar to the Torch, SW depends on some luck, but in a lot bigger way. Her second and third abilities can be game changers or completely useless. When they are game changers, there are few heroes who rival her, but when they aren't, she's pretty terrible. Her biggest problem is her susceptibility to Angolob Scroll.
Scarlet Witch is still up there in my opinion, but I see her less and less often. Since everything she does can get wiped away by a quick action, I'm still more comfortable saying she's top end of tier 3.
His new costume is sweet, but without it he's only a little above average. If you're wanting to use him, I'd suggest using +Attack gems since he always goes first. Since you'll most likely be picking him up for use in PvE, it's not the worst to piddle around in the PvP waters with him, but he will quickly be outclassed by your Spec Ops heroes as you progress.
He's really not worth it without the modern costume, but think of him as the poor man's WWII Cap. Fills the same role with some slightly different synergies.
World War Hulk
Really more of an honorable mention, Warbringer is annoying but it was put on a weapon that most top players use. Nevertheless, if you see this guy, end the fight as quickly as you can and focus down your enemies. The fewer hits you let your opponent live through, the better.
Season 6, you can just snipe World War Hulk to get rid of the buffs now, but I'm actually seeing more of him. Very confusing. Future Foundation Spider-Man
Much worse now that Awareness can be removed by killing Spider-Man. I rarely ever see him and he is a push-over when I do. Ghost Rider, Magneto, and all of the Catastrophic attacks also make him much, much worse. Barely even tier 3.
I will attempt to get on and add more later, but for now I need to sleep. Thanks for reading, I'll be editting and keeping up with the strategies, so feel free to keep checking in. Checked in! Added Tier 3 and 4 more to Tier 2.
A huge player during Season 4, this costume revamp is pretty insane. Comboed often with White Crown Phoenix or Dr. Strange to stack up triple DoT effects.
Season 6, she's gotten a lot worse. Lowered from a Tier 2 to a Tier 3 and barely hanging on. I wouldn't waste CP on this costume.
Below Tier 3
Phoenix Five Cyclops
A much bigger player during the 2nd season, but not to be completely discreditted. He gives your entire team the Blaster bonus randomly, and giving that to the new White Crown Phoenix or a Modern Thor could ensure a very quick loss if you're not careful.
Season 6, he's almost non-existent. Not much to worry about here. Dropping out of tier 3.
This guy ruined my strategy last season since I chose not to run Scroll of Angolob. He deals insanely high amounts of damage and I'm sure he's a blast to build around, but if you run into him, try to keep his buffs down. Deadpool is a direct counter with Bang Bang Bang! being a Boon Buster.
Season 6, he's virtually non-existent. Between Phoenix and SoA, you should never, ever have problems beating him.
I see him a lot, but I don't really understand why. Still, a lot of people used him in Season 4 and since there will be a lot of Blaster armors roaming around, he may show up more in Season 5 as a Tactician.
Season 6, Black Panther has all but disappeared. He's just not strong enough to compete with the newer heroes.
Future Foundation Invisible Woman
Force Cage is an interesting ability. Sectioning off players so far hasn't broken out as a major plan yet, but combining her with Annihilus Human Torch is a very popular team since you can get Invisible Woman as a starting hero.
Season 6, her AFK AI is terrible. Force Caging over and over is not what you want to be doing with her.
Sadly, Valk requires a lot more synergy to make her work well, dropping her to the first Tier 3 Spec Ops reward. Be wary if you see her on a very high rated player's team though, they could very well be packing Spec Ops 5 gear, and if she's standing next to White Crown Phoenix, you're in for a LONG fight. Between those two, the fight can go on for a very long time before you actually kill anything.
Season 6, she just doesn't cut it. Sadly, there are better options in Wolverine and Ghost Rider if you want someone who just won't die.
Human Torch (Annihilus costume)
Many players use this costume. It's reliable up to a certain point, and even some top .5% players will use him, although he isn't truly optimal. The passive ability to land several attacks depends on a bit of luck.
Season 6, if you're lower level, he might get you above 3%, but it's better to get Doctor Strange for a hammer.