Spec Ops 13 and My Path to the End

SpecOps, lucky number 13. Obviously it's a tie-in with the current Marvel event, which is what we expected. We definitely didn't expect the no-name lockbox hero to be this guy Thane, though. I'm pumped to see Black Bolt in the game. He's always been one of my favorite "heroes that don't get a lot of face time". I guess he doesn't get a lot of play in the Marvel universe because you can't exactly write dialog for a character that has to be mute. Anyway, it'll be fun to see him in play in the next PvP season - after all, what's not to like about a Tac that grants your team a passive defense buff? On to the tasks!

Preliminary Tips to Make Things Easier

  • There is a list of the tasks over on the page for the Spec Op . Look at them, and look at their logical progression. With a little thought you can clearly see areas where you can save yourself some UISO.
  • Get yourself at least 50 allies so you can collect from them daily. The free UISO drops are nothing to sneeze at.
  • If you have the old "Free UISO" emails from PD, now is a good time to go re-collect them.
  • Pay attention to which maps you're fighting on. Missions 1 and 3 don't have an Epic boss, so don't waste UISO doing deploys if you don't have to.
  • This SpecOps has a group boss, Thanos. I'm sure there will be strategy posts coming up from other players soon enough, but you can safely guess that at some point in the battle he'll summon someone that's counter to the counter-class you brought to fight him. Be prepared for that.
  • Also on the group boss front, be kind to your allies and leave him with plenty of health so they can whale on him as well. That way everyone gets in on the free lockboxes.

Optimum Paths

Note: These are all Preliminary findings taken from the forums. I have not yet tested them myself.

  • M1:
    • (The "I got lucky" path) 3 Med, 2 High, 3-bird: 70 UISO
      • This one only works out if you get a High threat to appear after one of your first two Medium threat battles. Otherwise you'll be looking at the next one down. When in doubt, plan on a minimum of 80 UISO for a run of Mission 1.
    • Med, Med, Low, High, High, Med, 3-Bird - 80 UISO
    • 2 Med, 2 High, 1 MiniBoss, 2-Bird - 80 U-ISOs
  • M2:
    • 2 Med, 2 High, 1 MiniBoss, 2-Bird - 80 U-ISOs (for 1st run)
    • (Efficiency) 2 Med, 3 High, 3-Bird - 70 U-ISOs
    • (Epic Run) 2 Low, 2 Med, 3 High, 5 Deploys, 3-Bird, Epic Boss - 160 U-ISOs
      • Deploys: Psylocke, Wasp, Red Hulk required
    • Note that two Efficiency runs of M2 are cheaper than one Epic run. I suggest holding off on Epic runs until you need to for the final task. The Epic weapon drop isn't part of the set and really isn't that great.
  • M3:
    • All threats + 2 Deploys, 3-Bird -  90 U-ISOs
    • All threats + 1 Mini-boss, 2-Bird - 90 U-ISOs

Wave One: Tasks 1-6

1. A.I.M.-less - Defeat 5 A.I.M. Soldiers

Easy-peasy. These chumps are all over in the first mission. Drop five of them and move on. If you have a deploy pop up while you're doing this, go ahead and send someone off, but don't collect it once it's finished. You'll need it for task 4.

2. Mean Green - Defeat a Mini-Boss in Mission 1

Since Abomination is there from the start, go ahead and take him down. You won't be able to three-bird it on the first run-through, but we can probably cake-walk the rest and get a decent score out of the mission on our first go.

3. Strength in Numbers - Use 2 Distress Calls

Burn two of them in fights and you're good to go.

4. Keep the Peace - Complete a Deploy

According to the tip, you have to do this in the SpecOps mission. I'm not the type to question it, so I just went ahead and did it. Pick up your deploy and move on.

5. Darkest Before Dawn - Defeat Proxima Midnight

"Greatest warrior"? Not hardly. Also, "Proxima Midnight"? Did they use a random name generator to come up with these characters' monikers? Anyway, she's not that hard to take down if you watch yourself. She'll jump in during wave two of the fight and blast the AIM goons, then bugger off to the next wave once you take her down far enough. During wave three I clocked her with BP enough times to get both of his buffs running, and then popped Panther Stance and proceeded to shred her a new one on the next round. It worked for me, but you do whatever you want to take her down. After that it's off to the la-booor-a-tooor-eee to let Dexter cook you up something new.

Hopefully you racked up at least two stars in this first run, as it'll make your life easier in wave two.

6. Always Watching - Research the Vigil of Attilan in the Lab

Kick off the research and go do something else for eight hours. Badda-bing. These things are sweet from a PvP standpoint - they give a +1670 to both offense and defense, so someone who is a free player can beef up their armory pretty easily.

That puts an end to wave one. On to wave two!

Wave Two: Tasks 7-11

7. The Mad Titan - Complete a Battle with Thanos

Ah, our new group boss. This goes live after you finish the research. If you fight him in Tac mode or Scrapper mode, he'll summon one of his lieutenants into the battle. Just be ready for it and bring along the proper counter-hero or suit up your agent appropriately. If you fight him in Inf, Bruiser, or Blaster mode, he fights solo. In those cases, you can just bring three counter-heroes and go nuts on him. Also, use the "be kind to each other" strategy when it comes to your group boss - don't just kill him because you can. Leave some of him for all your allies so everyone can get in on the lockbox goodness.

Finishing this one should unlock Mission 2, which requires Psylocke, Wasp, and Red Hulk as the deploys for the epic boss. Also, this unlocks the Lockbox Quests for this SpecOps, so get ready for those bundles of joy.

8. Demonic Diversion - Defeat 6 Demons

They're all over the place in Mission 2. Start kicking demonhide butt and you'll have this one done in no time.

9. Mission Accomplished - Get 2 Stars of Mastery in Mission 1

Like I said before, hopefully you scored at least two stars in M1, otherwise you're going to have to backtrack.

10. Bolt From The Blue - Use Black Bolt's Royal Flight 3 Times

This one is a pain in the ass. BB is a team-up on both the mini-boss battle with The Hood and the main boss battle with Corvus Glaive (again with the random name generator!). Knowing that we're probably going to need to run the op again to get the proper number of stars out of it for later, I opted to use the "milk out the battle" strategy in a fight with The Hood in M2. Unfortunately, BB's cooldown on Royal Flight is two rounds. That's annoying enough in and of itself, but it also grants Kree Speed, meaning you have to figure out how to burn two turns on the next round so you don't kill the enemies too quickly. I suggest you bring lots of items to the battle and use those to milk out the other heroes' turns so you can get BB's turn back around sooner. After one long, drawn-out battle, you should have this one in the bag.

11. Hammer out Danger - Create the Attilan Cudgel in the Lab

All right, STOP! Hammer time! Well, stop your game play, anyway. Put this one on to cook and go collect UISO from your allies for the next 24 hours, and slap Thanos upside his purple melon a few times while you're at it.

At this point you have two options: You can go ahead and run out M2 to completion and fight the boss (and epic boss if you were doing that run), or you can hold off until the research is done on the Cudgel so you can quickly KO Corvus for the upcoming task 13. If you want to save ISO, hold off on killing Corvus. If you were doing an epic run and want an extra shot at the Epic weapon (see my comments in the comments section below about that) then go ahead and pop him, and then prepare to re-run M2 with an efficiency run. Whichever you do, be sure to have the battles worked out so that Corvus is ready to fight once the research is done.

Wave Three: Tasks 12-16

Before you start the sequence that begins Wave Three, be sure that you DON'T pick up your UISO gifts from your allies or visit your allies unless you absolutely have to. You'll need to pick up 20 UISO for task 15, and we want to be ready for that one when it comes up.

12. Versus - Fight 5 PVP Battles

Seeing as how PvP wasn't running when we started this Op, we're pretty much limited to practice matches. No worries. We can pick the easy matches and steam-roll them.

13. Curbing Corvus - Defeat Corvus Glaive

If you held off on killing Corvus earlier, you should be set for this one. Take him out and pick this one up. I highly recommend putting your agent in a Bruiser coat, and bring along a powerful Bruiser hero to make this one a lot easier.

14. Sibilant Strike - Use Black Bolt's Whisper 2 Times

With Corvus down you probably will need to re-run M2 to get your stars up. Use a second run at it to milk out BB's Whisper attack on a miniboss or go for a three-bird and use it in the battle against Corvus. This will set you up for collecting your UISO from your friends.

15. Instability - Collect 20 Unstable Iso-8

Like I said, make it easy on yourself - don't pick them up until you have to for this task.

16. Hammer out a Warning - Upgrade the Attilan Cudgel to the Attilan Mace in the Lab

And once again, you set the boffins in the lab to upgrading your stuff. Go ahead and start collecting more UISO for the next couple days, and smack Thanos around like he owes you money.

At this point in the game I'm sitting at 2 stars on M1, 3 on M2, and 1 star on M3 - I screwed up the battles with Corvus because I went ahead and did two epic runs on M2. I ended up having to fight Thanos solo in M3 because I used the miniboss battle to get Task 14 out of the way. I probably should have just held off and waited for the Thanos battle and two-birded it, but I wasn't sure if the final M3 battle would be BB versus Thanos or if Thane would be in on it. That's my own fault for not checking the SpecOps page here on the Wiki. No worries, though - I have two days to build my UISO and get ready for the final runs and 22 days left to get the whole thing done. I'm sitting pretty at this point.

Wave Four: Tasks 17 and beyond

17. Eternal Struggle - Fight Thanos 3 Times

This one refers to battling Thanos as the Group Boss. Hopefully you have a bunch of allies that have battles waiting for you when you get here. If you've timed it right and have enough group boss battles ready to go, you can knock out this one and Lockbox Quest 5 at the same time.

18. Binary System - Get 2 Stars of Mastery in Mission 2

After at least two runs at M2, you'd better have this one locked down by the time you get here.

19. Righting the Wrongs - Use Dr. Strange's Teresing Boost 2 Times

You can definitely do this one outside of SpecOps if you own Doc. Save yourself some UISO and go farm a weapon or CP somewhere.

20. Victory - Win 3 PVP Battles

No PvP tournament as yet, which isn't shocking considering they have scheduled maintenance coming up on the 25th. Bang this one out in Practice matches and you'll be good to go.

21. Voxquake - Use Black Bolt's Power Word in Combat

Take your pick on which one needs more stars, M2 or M3, and have at it. I suggest you plan on three-birding it, regardless of which one you choose.

22. What's in the Box - Collect 5 Inhuman Lockboxes

If you time it right, and have enough allies providing freebies, you should have five boxes waiting to be collected when you get to this point.

23. Running the Gauntlet - Defeat Thanos

This is one of the things I hate about this SpecOps, and I hated it when they had Blackheart as a boss, too. Thanos is the boss of M3, and he's also the group boss, so you know that's going to cause confusion among players who don't take the time to read the descriptions. This one refers to the M3 boss, not the group boss.

24. Mission Accomplished - Complete 3 Stars of Mastery in all Spec Op 12 Missions

This one will be a matter of running back through the ones that aren't 4-starred by this point. Optimum runs will be your friend, and you'll need the four-stars for LB Task 6

25. Dark Dread - Defeat Dormammu

One Epic Boss run on M2, and this one is in the bag.

Lockbox Quests

These start after you complete Task 7 and grant free lockboxes upon their completion. Word to the wise: never pay gold to complete the task on a lockbox quest. The bypass cost will run you more than the cost of the boxes themselves.

1. Who's The Boss - Defeat 4 Mini-Bosses

Some might think about popping in and out of M1 to farm Abomination. Don't do it. It's a waste of UISO. By the time you get this quest you'll probably be on track to have Task 10 in play. Use the fight with The Hood to get one of the battles out of the way and then two-bird the battle with Corvus in M2 (after your 24-hour research is done) to pick up the second one. After you've two-birded Corvus, re-run M2 to get your stars up. You'll have this one in the bag and be ready for task 14 - and you'll be able to move on to M3, which is a requirement for lockbox missions 2, 3, and 4.

2. Seal the Deal - Use Thane's Sealing Touch 3 Times

Thane's team-up is the first mini-boss fight of M3, You'll have to pop a few missions to get it to show up. I suggest leaving the hard missions if at all possible - you'll need the Instigators to finish off the third lockbox task. His attack has no cooldown, so go ahead and use it to whale on Proxima. If you want to speed things up, have one of your other team members use a Chrono Accelerator on Thane to get him three turns on the first round. Use a Tac suit on your agent and bring along another Tac that can bring the pain for this one, and you should be good to go.

3. See You Later Instigator - Defeat 5 Instigators

You get three of these guys per Hard battle in M3. There are three Hard battles in the mission. Make sure you don't accidentally run out of them by only doing the first one that comes up.

4. Border Out of Order - Defeat Thanos with a Score over 70000

You're definitely going to need to three-bird this one to get the full marks on the score.

5. A Date With Death - Fight Thanos 5 Times

This refers to Thanos the group boss, not Thanos the M3 chump boss. Hopefully you have a lot of friends that are playing the game and can hook you up.

6. Completionist - Complete 4 Stars of Mastery in all Spec Ops 13 Missions

This one just boils down to bringing the right team to the battles and three-birding the missions. Plan accordingly and you should be fine.

Thanos Group Boss Strategy

Here are some tips I've gleaned from the forum here, collected for your enjoyment. :)

Thanos (Blaster): If you have the costumes, bring Tac P5 Cyclops and Tac Grey Widow. If you don't have the P5 suit, Slim's regular togs work just fine. We're mainly looking for his ability to apply Flanked on Thanos so everyone can get in a boatload of extra hits. Thanos doesn't bring anyone else to the party on this one, so go ahead and put your agent into a Tac suit and have fun beating on his ugly mug.

Thanos (Tactician): I brought Elektra and Ares to this and it friggin' rocked Thanos' socks off. You'll probably want to go ahead and put your agent in an Inf suit for this one. Ares is there to provide extra attacks and to have someone to beat on Corvus when he makes an appearance. Use Elektra's L2 on Thanos to get everyone some extra hits, and if you have a weapon that deals Slashing damage, put that on your agent for more fun.

Thanos (Infiltrator): Two heroes that can rack up the extra damage go great here: Heroic Age Iron Fist and Union Jack. Use UJ's L2 to apply Wide Open to Thanos to help counteract the intimdation effect. Set up IF's attacks on T-bone and on round two lay into him with the White Hot Iron Fist. Can you say "bucket of damage"? Put your agent in the Scrapper's Aegis Armor if you have it. If you don't, any Scrapper suit will do, as Thanos doesn't bring anyone else to the battle in this fight - the Aegis debuff is just icing on the cake here.

Thanos (Scrapper): Bring a couple heavy-duty Bruisers to this fight. The forums suggested Ares and Juggernaut, and I wholeheartedly endorse this. If you don't have one of them, you can probably get away with other heavy Bruisers like Captain B or Wonderpants, but be sure you put your agent in a Tac suit for when Thanos brings in Proxima Centauri (yes, I know that's not her name, but it's a damn sight better than the one they gave her). Another suggestion was to bring Tac Cyclops, Juggernaut, and put your agent in a Bruiser suit with damage boosting gear to use on round 2 (like ARC, Sudden Support, and Damage Amplifier, with a heavy-duty no-cooldown weapon in slot 1).

Thanos (Bruiser): Thanos doesn't summon anyone in this fight, so go nuts on bringing in your Blasters. I went with Blaster P5 Cyclops and Havok, but any Blaster will work. 

PKB's Gear-Heavy "kill him every time" strategy:

"This is gear intensive, but will kill any Thanos.

Rescue top. Angel Middle, Agent Bottom.

Agent is counter classed to Thanos. Carries Electrostatic Arm - Galvanic Arm - Arc Reactor Charge - Power of Four

Turn one, you tank up Rescue, unless he's an INF, in which case you shield up everyone. Agent hits T with GA. If he is a blaster and you are a tact, hit him with a second GA. Angel does his extra turn move, then his L1.

Thanos does his Black Hole. Oh noes, we lost our tank or our shield. BFD.

Turn two, Rescue can rest or tank or whatever. Doesn't matter.

Agent goes Electrostatic Arm on himself, ARC to restore stamina, (if T is blaster, GA), Power of Four, and 4x Galvanic. Epic Overkill. Don't do it to your own Thanos... leave off the last GA, and let your friends have fun."

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