PvP Tips from an Adamantium league player (with minimal gold spent on Armory items and QJ).
First blog here (I finally created my account) - I just wanted to offer some PvP advice to people around my level (69). I have learned a lot from PKB's blogs and I wanted to pass on some tips I've learned from my own experience.
I have about half the heroes in the game, with most around level 8 or so. Most of the opponents I face against have more heroes/higher levels. Therefore, I was usually fighting at a disadvantage due to the vast difference in stats. If you have a lot of heroes and more hero bonus than I did (averaging 150 for att/def/acc/eva and 1100 for hp during Season 4) - you have access to more strategies and perhaps my blog doesn't apply to you.
FYI, I have spent some money to get the Quantum Jumper and some PvP armory items (even though the PvP armory was bugged during Season 4 - I didn't realize at the time). It's up to you if you want to get the armory items - but I'd recommend at least getting the QJ (discussed below). I have not bought any weapons for gold.
New Hero Bonus/Armory
With the new Feb 7th patch, the Hero bonus has been essentially halved, while the armory bonus was fixed. Since I bought some PvP armory items with gold (sitting in high 30k range in both offense and defense), I can now destroy anyone with half of my bonus but a full hero page.
I highly recommend spending some gold on the armory items for next season if you want to get to Adamantium (might not be necessary - we'll see), but you should wait for a few weeks until they release the next round of +Att/+Def items where the values are equal.
Meta for level 60 - 70 Agents in PvP Season 4
From my experience, there are a few types of teams at the vibranium and adamantium levels: Emma/Psylocke/Tanking Agent w/ Hoarfrost Mace (either inf/scrap/bruiser), or Captain/Blaster (usually Thor/Doc Strange/Storm/Cable)/Random Agent (sometimes with Hoarfrost) - but by far I saw tanking agents w/ Hoarfrost Mace the most. Also, it obviously wasn't always Emma and Psylocke with the Tanking Agent; those are just the two heroes I ran into the most. There were a lot of Dr Strange, Thor, Storm, etc.
Basically, there is almost always a tanking member of some sort on everyone's team (once again, based on my experiences - mileage may vary depending on your specific level). This means that you either have to go through that tanking hero first, or you have to find ways around the protector (e.g. stealthy attacks).
One thing I want to mention - you have to have a Quantum Jumper if you want to compete at the higher ranks. It's a necessity, so I'd recommend saving up the gold now if you don't already have one.
I have 3 recommendations:
1) Protection - Since protection defines the meta for my level (and I assume all levels), you need to jump on the bandwagon. Hopefully you have obtained the Hoarfrost Mace from Spec Ops 5. If not, perhaps another protection item.
If you have no protection items for your agent, then I would recommend bringing in a tanking character like Cap or Colossus. Your damage dealer(s) need to be able to survive long enough to destroy the enemy team.
2) Quantum Jumper - As I have mentioned above, this item is too amazing to pass up. I almost always use this on my first agent turn so that my two heroes can destroy at least one opponent (usually their damage dealer - but more on that later).
3) Scroll of Bologna (Angolob) - I like to run this weapon for two main reasons. The first: to get rid of powerful buffs from the enemy like third charm or Shield Guard/Steel Fortress. Second: to remove horrible debuffs off of my team like Deathfrost/Soulfire/etc. It's not a necessity like QJ, but I find it useful for the way I play (described below).
I don't want to tell you which heroes are best, as there are different styles of play depending on your heroes, gear, and preference. However, there are certainly heroes that are more powerful than others in the current meta. Here's a list what I think are the top tier heroes at the moment:
1) Black Widow (tactician grey suit) - She is overpowered in the grey pajamas. I'm actually surprised at how little the amount of people there are that run her. She is always on my team on offense (and defense because she's level 12). Every one of her attacks are stealthy, so she can ignore all protection and counter effects and do whatever the heck she pleases. Also, Widowmaker is amazing - I'll explain why below.
2) Phoenix (WC Inf alt) - 2nd most powerful character in my opinion. The ability to continually resurrect people is too good to ignore. Oh yeah, and her main attack is psychic so it ignores protection/counter effects as well.
3) Psylocke - I only got to Vibranium last season since I was just starting out and didn't understand the meta yet - but she is amazing. She has the potential to do a TON of damage, and can support with kinectic shield/Mental Coordination. I can't wait to recruit her after I get through recruiting the spec ops-needed characters.
4) Ghost Rider - I hated playing against him (I don't have him either). Even with the Bruiser power suit, I was always scared of him. Very strong character with a powerful psychic attack to bypass protection.
5) Emma Frost - Even though she gets countered for the most part by Psylocke, she's still a great support character. We'll see if she stays up here with the prevalence of Psylocke in the next tournament though.
Ok, those are the main ones I think, although there are certainly some notable mentions like Cable (Distraction is too good), Dr. Strange (very versatile character with tons of damage), Thor (first round summon thunder HURTS with that bonus suit), Captain America (still a great all arounder), Quicksilver (with new scrapper blue suit), and Mockingbird (not available to everybody - but can do a lot of damage if ISO'd correctly and has ability to change her class to meet every need).
I thought that it might be interesting to hear my general playstyle to see if that helps anyone. Feel free to skip it if you don't feel it will benefit you. My team is Black Widow (Tact) and Phoenix (Inf) with a Bruiser Power Armor Agent. My gear on the agent is Hoarfrost Mace, Radian Rifle (need at least one weapon imo), Scroll of Angolob, and QJ.
First round - pick out their major damage dealer (usually a blaster or Psylocke) and destroy them. Black Widow uses Widowmaker on that target and kicks til her feet hurt. Phoenix Psi-blasts the target and Agent uses QJ so that Black Widow can kick some more. I'll usually have one target down after the first round unless their defensive hero bonus is super high.
Rest of the battle - Go after next biggest threat. It's usually the Agent (leave Captain/Emma for last). I usually wait for Widowmaker to come back before I go all out on another target. Why? Because the people I play usually have a way higher evasion bonus than I have accuracy. But Widowmaker is the equalizer - it allows ALL attacks against the target to hit and crit (so overpowered). Sometimes I'll even rest with Black Widow if I have less than a 60% chance to hit with Flying Kick waiting for Widowmaker to come back.
Obviously, use Phoenix Fire when it's available.
I typically save the Scroll of Angolob until I know I'm going to kill off the character that gives the painful debuffs (agent, Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, etc.) or I want to get rid of Third Charm/Storm's Fog quickly. Oh, and Black Widow's Flying Kick debuffs the enemy so I may just use her for the debuffing (as if she needed another reason to be awesome).
Those are the basics. I can expand this section if people want.
Ok, last section (this is a long blog - sorry). Here are some general tips about things I haven't discussed above.
1. Bring an Infiltrator along so that Emma doesn't use Mental Trauma on your team. For some reason, the AI is programmed to not attack with that ability if you have an infiltrator (that's why I made Phoenix an Infiltrator).
2. Fully ISO your PvP heroes and Agents and get the heroes to level 12. I recommend PKB's blog about ISO'ing as a starting point.
3. The AI is dumb. The agent doesn't usually need to die first at my level because he/she won't always use QJ in the first round. Sometimes they do but there's only a 25% chance of that (seems lower honestly). *Note - according to Gumby - the agent ususally uses QJ first turn, so perhaps I am just lucky.
4. If you have a tactician and they have a blaster - I recommend you destroy the blaster first even if they're not the scariest damage dealer. It's much easier to deal with a team of 2 powerful heroes than deal with a team of 2 powerful heroes and 1 semi-powerful hero.
5. Don't get discouraged if fighting major gold spenders. They'll move up in rank eventually due to the strength of their team. Just stick with it.
6. Sometimes it's worth debuffing Captain to get rid of his Shield Guard if you are low on health. 50% of the time he'll put shield guard back on essentially "wasting" his turn. Also, it can be worth debuffing other characters like Thor or Doctor Strange to get rid of the Might of Mjolnir/Power of Principalities (thanks to AWC in comments for pointing out Thor). I'm sure there are other examples where a pre-emptive debuff can turn the tide of the battle.
7. One trick with Black Widow is that her Widowmaker makes her next attack have a good chance to stun. However, this doesn't mean you have to use the stun on the targeted enemy. If you want to set up your team to take down a particular target but you really need another enemy stunned, then it's sometimes worth having Black Widow punch another target and then have the rest of your team beat up the targeted enemy.
8. If you are using a hero with a stun, sometimes you may want to adjust your target based on the turn order. What I mean is, if you notice that the enemy agent is going right before Psylocke for instance - it might be worth stunning the Agent instead of Psylocke due to the Scroll of Angolob. It has been my experience that the enemy agents use the Scroll in the first turn if there are any debuffs at all on their team.
I hope you all enjoyed my first blog (if anyone actually reads it :). Special thanks to PKB who has taught me a lot about this game over the past month through his blogs.