One of the most engaging aspects of Marvel: Avengers Alliance is collecting and using the amazing assortment of heroes that the Marvel Universe has developed over the years.  Naturally, everyone wants more heroes and wants to use their resources wisely, both to advance in the game and continue having fun, and as a result one of the most commonly-asked questions from players of many levels is “Who should I buy next?”  This is meant to guide you through that.

First: a small truckload of disclaimers:

  • Disclaimer #1: This guide is written exclusively for in-game usefulness.  If you have a strong personal affinity or dislike for a particular character, feel free to use or ignore that character at your discretion.  This is YOUR game; play it the way it best suits you.
  • Disclaimer #2: There is often no “right” answer. Choosing between several characters can often yield you different results with no “best” result. If you ask me if you should buy Hulk or Thor, I will not choose for you, as the two of them offer similar benefits.
  • Disclaimer #3: If you are going to spend a significant amount of cash buying gold you can ignore this and go straight for the most effective characters.
  • Disclaimer #4: The game changes. What is effective and useful now may be flight desk dross in a month’s time.  Frankly, it's almost inevitable that today's good advice will be tomorrow's regrettable decision.  I have no control over this.
  • Disclaimer #5: The existance of special operations changes the value of characters. For example, Scarlet Witch was a required deploy in order to finish spec ops 2. In this case, Emma (the SO2 reward) was well worth acquiring; spending 90 CP sooner than normal would have been a wise decision in order to buy Wanda, complete the deploy, and add Emma to your pantheon. The following write-up ignores special operations entirely, as they are impossible to predict and change each time.

One more note: Do not buy any 135 CP or 200 CP characters unless and until you are using them to unlock another character (for example, via special operations or covert tasks), or you have nobody else to recruit.  Though not all of them are the most effective, your CP will go farther by putting it towards the lower-cost characters.

Following the initial character set, your first purchase (or free choice) should be She-Hulk, Iron Fist, or Cyclops.
Cyclops is purely a PvP choice, as Iron Man is everywhere at low levels; using two tacticians in PvP (Hawkeye/Cyke) is a simple-but-effective strategy early on.
She-Hulk and Iron Fist will both help you round out your selections of character classes to match up against enemies and maximize your deploys.  After those, don’t hesitate to finish off the 15CP price point by getting Invisible Woman and Ms. Marvel. The 15 CP price point may look humble, but these five are all very playable and a great value for your command points.

Once the least expensive characters are in your stable, it’s time to move up a couple of price points.  For the bargain price of 33CP, you get one of the most effective heroes in the early game in the form of Human Torch. Johnny Storm has multiple defensive passives and a real damage-dealing shot with his fireball; you will get great mileage out of him by the time you move him to level two. He will also unlock the premium mission in level 7, though you are still a ways away from that.

After HT, move up in CP cost again to buy Storm, Quicksilver, and War Machine at 48CP each.
Storm is a required deploy in 1.4.4 to unlock Epic Magneto: this level is important because Magneto drops the Magnetic Field Generator - one of the best boss drops – and because this level is the most efficient place, prior to level 12, to farm extra CPs.

Quicksilver does not unlock a level, but he is inarguably the most effective character in the game, especially when opposed by an infiltrator.  He goes first, stealthily, twice per turn, follows up, counters, precounters with his alt, and is unparallelled in his ability to sweep enemy goons out of the way while preserving the 500-point Perfect Strategy bonus.  He is useful in PvE, PvP, against group bosses, in the simulator, everywhere.  I don't know how else to say this: if you can't figure out how to use Quicksilver, you don't know how to play MAA.

War Machine is important because he unlocks the premium mission in level 5 which can get you both the Super Blade Punch and Power of Four, two extremely useful and powerful items.  He is also extremely effective in PvE, and one of the characters I go back to often for clearing a new chapter or spec ops goons.

At this point start really saving your CPs for Captain America and his WWII bruiser alt; WWII Cap is the standard by which all other sprites are judged, and now is the time to acquire him.  You get a highly influential figure in the game, one that you’ll use frequently going forward.  

After that move back down the price points and balance out your class selection by buying Colossus, Black Cat, and Daredevil to manage at least of 3 characters from each class.  This will ensure that you’ll always have someone to level, plenty of pilots for your jets, lots of PvE deploys, and a larger PvP hero bonus.

At this point, your options open up, depending on your priorities.  The following is shamelessly stolen from Anuub.  

You generally have one of three priorities going forward:

1. Just have fun: If this is your objective, buy whoever you wish, whoever is your favorite, whoever strikes your fancy at the moment.  You don't need advice from me.

2. Compete in PvP: This is a complicated assessment, because the meta varies so much, so quickly.  My favorite default answer for a PvP team is tac Grey Widow and scrapper blue Quicksilver.  Unless and until stealth and counterattacks are no longer effective, this will continue to be my answer.  If you already have a team that works better than that, by all means, use it.  Once you have a good team, you should be recruiting for PvP bonus: first blasters, then generalists, then tacticians.

3. Play PvE: In this case you should amass gold and CPs for the special operations and buy the characters that are required.  This is the option I recommend most highly because it will have the biggest positive impact on your game, overall.

You can also begin to consider alterate uniforms.  Some of the most-recommended would include tac Grey Widow, blaster Future Foundation Invisible Woman, tac Golden Age Hawkeye, scrapper blue Quicksilver, and either class of Iron Patriot (if he is available).  As mentioned in point 2 (above), if you are looking to better your PvP standing, buy alts that move characters from infiltrator, bruiser, and scrapper toward blaster, generalist, and tactician.

No segue: Kathee HDS has a very useful table showing who gets deployed where, and when.  Keep this in mind when choosing between two or three characters.

Factual/grammatical corrections and constructive feedback are welcome to help improve quality and accuracy.

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