The Irrelevant 7: The 4*'s released since January 2016

ColognoisseurColognoisseur Posts: 707 Critical Contributor
edited September 2016 in MPQ Character Discussion
Since Mid-January 2016 we have had seven new 4* characters released. The sad truth is they are all irrelevant. I call them the Irrelevant 7. MPQ has become a 5* game. Along with that if you need some 4* to supplement your 5* the best five 4* (HB/JG/Ice/Rhulk/4Clops) have been around so long you have them better covered and leveled. You will compete for a new character and then it will sit unused on your roster after you use it for the essential node in the PvE following its release.

Here is the even sadder thing I would say that this streak of seven releases is perhaps the strongest set of new characters released in a row. I think the devs have actually gotten it mostly right and even in the case of the two misfires there are interesting aspects to both.

I thought I’d give some reasoning why I think each of the Irrelevant 7 should be on your radar.

Nova is in my mind as good as any of the Big 5. I have played with him a quite a bit and his speed plus the way his powers interact with each other make him very good. The ability to play yellow followed by sending threats airborne with his red cannot be overlooked. In PvE you can send Juggernaut airborne time and again while you gather ap every time he comes down send him flying again. There are generally better black users but if you need a finishing move the black is okay. His speed and self-sufficiency makes him one of the best designed characters the devs have released, plus he is fun to play. Some of my teammates tell me they say “pew pew” when using his yellow.

Quake/Daisy is another incredibly well-designed character who is a queen of PvE. Have you ever been annoyed by those aoe attacks from goons.? You know the names you hate; tommy gun, rocket, flamethrower, caltrops, etc. Quake yellow turns them in to spitballs off a battleship. Her blue targets tile color so if some irritating strike tiles get out just destroy the color. Then cast green do aoe damage and reset the board. I used to hate the ninjas now Daisy lets me laugh at them.

Punisher MAX or as someone named him Maxie is my idea of what a Punisher character should be. A consistent theme among these recent releases is self-sufficiency as one power tends to feed the other. Nowhere does it work better than with Maxie. Use his blue to create black strike tiles which makes his black single target nuke stronger. Once you use that to remove one opponent use his green to kill the other two. He has been part of my Big Enchilada team in DDQ and this is a description of how wave 4 goes on many days. He, again, is fun to play because his powers feel organic to the character.

Winter Soldier finally showed the devs have learned how to design a predominantly countdown character that doesn’t suck. The key is having the countdown do one thing if it resolves and do another thing if it is matched. Add to that the purple ability which can be used to start a cascade or make an important match while also stealing that color ap from the opponent. The devs have again created a character whose abilities feed each other appropriately.

Howard the Duck is a trophy character but he is a much better trophy character than Devil Dinosaur. His purple invisibility ability is the most annoying in the game. Having to remove four invisibility tiles is problematic most of the time. Ask anyone who has gotten stuck on a PvP cupcake where the baker used a level 70 Howard who casts purple. It can make you crazy trying to get rid of the damn tiles to kill him. The green removing all the green and doing decent damage makes him pretty good. The blue is definitely situational but overall Howard’s three abilities can be useful.

Spider-Gwen is one of the two weak new releases and the reason it is weak is solely due to the uselessness of the yellow and the color overlap of the one-two punch of red and purple. Having yellow only heal teammates and not Gwen is a baffling choice to me especially since the heal isn’t massive so that it might be worth it to use her as a way of keeping a couple of big guns in play a little longer. The red-purple interplay is a nice design and as I keep repeating it makes the character self-sufficient enough to use on her own. Except there are other way better red-purple nukes. I so wish they had chosen two other colors to do the same thing and make the yellow either a complete burst heal for teammates or make it for the entire team including Gwen. As she currently exists she is not useful.

Finally the booby prize of the Irrelevant 7, Drax. I can’t fault them for trying new ideas and ways of using existing game mechanics. In the six characters above they did a decent to great job of it. In Drax they failed completely. This is how not to design a countdown-dependent character. Drax’s black should have been similar to Maxie’s green without needing to have countdowns out. Drax’s red should be a nuke not weaker the less health the opponent has. Finally, why did they add “ends the turn” to purple? It would have been more useful a touch more expensive without the turn ending effect.

There they are the Irrelevant 7. I really wish they would have 4*-only PVP so we could use these characters because I think there are some really fun all-4* teams to be played. Might as well wish for world peace.
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Comments

  • GrumpySmurf1002GrumpySmurf1002 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 3,511 Chairperson of the Boards
    I think it's harsh to call them 'irrelevant' when there are quality characters in there. The true issue is not these characters, but the other long discussed and still unanswered problems:

    - Iso distribution (and more generally all rewards) built around a 3* game that long since shifted to a 4* meta (w/ 5* progression)
    - Content lacking for the large distribution of 4*, who are inching closer in number to the volume of 3* characters in the game.

    The only irrelevant portion of them is for mortals like myself, where past initial release, their acquisition comes at basically the same rate as 5* characters - completely random token pulls.
  • PolaresPolares Posts: 2,411 Chairperson of the Boards
    Hey Colog, nice to see you do those lists again icon_e_biggrin.gif

    It is a pity that 5s and the iso draught make this 4s irrelevant. As you said Nova, Quake and Punisher are really strong, Punisher is probably top5, and the other looks fun to play (even Drax when buffed is probably useful). The only one I don't think is that useful is WinterSoldier, but at least it brings some very nice mechanics (a little bit like War Machine) so I guess it will be fun to play with. But of course, most of us just talk about game theory, most of those I have at the 6-9 cover range. And when I get the 13th, then I wont have iso...

    Top PvP is all about 5s now, and once you have a leveled OML (360+) so is PvE. I guess it is what happened to most 3s when the good 4s started coming...
  • ColognoisseurColognoisseur Posts: 707 Critical Contributor
    OJSP wrote:
    Good assessments, as always. But, I'm slightly unsure what you meant with this sentence:
    Drax’s black should have been similar to Maxie’s green without needing the opponent to have countdowns out.
    Doesn't it depend on whether there are any friendly CD tiles out on the board?


    Yes Drax does depend on friendly countdowns I'll correct that in the OP.

    What I really want Drax to do is charge in and take a set amount of health off the rest of the team. If Maxie stuns then Drax should hurt.
  • vudu3vudu3 Posts: 929 Critical Contributor
    I love this kind of analysis and discussion. Quick request--can you please add some line breaks between characters/paragraphs? No breaks makes it pretty hard to read.
  • ronin_sanronin_san Posts: 980 Critical Contributor
    Of the characters listed, I don't have a Nova or a Drax, and barely have a Spider-Gwen. I don't miss not using them.

    I don't have a Quake. And that bothers me. She's so incredibly useful.
  • JarvindJarvind Posts: 1,683 Chairperson of the Boards
    I like your thinks, my dude. I like a lot of the new releases and I feel like the team comps in the 4* arena will change up a bit as people start to cover and level them. Right now I have Nova at 5/1/4 and I'm hoping to get those last 3 covers by the time I have the ISO to max him - he seems really awesome.

    I do feel like if you're going to mention Gwen you have to also mention Miles. I'm normally pretty opposed to putting two characters together with 100% color overlap, but I feel like using them together has merit since you'll be flooding the board with webs and generating loads of AP by matching them (via Miles yellow). You can choose Miles or Gwen powers depending on whether you need more big nukes (Gwen red, Miles purple) or control (Gwen purple, Miles red). Granted, Gwen's yellow still blows any way you slice it.

    Also, I prefer to refer to 4* Punisher as Big Pun because naming him after a dead rapper is hilarious to me, because I am a nerd.
  • OzarkBoatswainOzarkBoatswain Posts: 645 Critical Contributor
    Quake's passive is decent and she's one of the rare characters on Team IM, if you're going for IM46's nuke.

    Nova's Rocket is somewhat useful as a sort of stun, which is something 5*s don't have a lot of. Iceman's a better choice, though.

    Otherwise I agree. The best 5*s make most 4*s irrelevant. They should design 4*s to be useful as helpers for 5*s.
  • QuebbsterQuebbster Posts: 8,070 Chairperson of the Boards
    Quake's passive is decent and she's one of the rare characters on Team IM, if you're going for IM46's nuke.

    Nova's Rocket is somewhat useful as a sort of stun, which is something 5*s don't have a lot of. Iceman's a better choice, though.

    Otherwise I agree. The best 5*s make most 4*s irrelevant. They should design 4*s to be useful as helpers for 5*s.
    Iceman and Nova are like peanut butter and jelly...
  • MarcusGravesMarcusGraves Posts: 494 Mover and Shaker
    Nothing will change until 5*'s are rebalanced and reined in to not be so much more powerful than 4*'s, It was completely obvious when Surfer came out that continued 5* releases would make most things below them pretty irrelevant and throw the game outta whack.

    Not even counting how hard some of their powers hit, the problem is how much DISGUSTING free damage they get from just making matches, combined with their insanely high HP pools and some even having true heals for better sustained play.

    Then we have on the flip side the fact that they DESTROY your PvE experience with scaling due to their levels.

    While I'm sure they've made their money from them, adding the 5* tier will always be what I consider the dumbest move they've ever made for the game and it's honestly too late to balance them because whales love them and whales are what keep games like this alive, take away the krill, the whales go berserk.
  • MelevornMelevorn Age Unconfirmed Posts: 137 Tile Toppler
    ...Ask anyone who has gotten stuck on a PvP cupcake where the baker used a level 70 Howard who casts purple. It can make you crazy trying to get rid of the damn tiles to kill him.
    Sorry. icon_redface.gif

    I'll stop doing that.
  • bobbyfishbobbyfish Age Unconfirmed Posts: 299
    I'd like to see more conditional events for specific tiers, or banning specific tiers

    This is the kind of thing that would let these, as you say, good new additional characters get their chance to shine

    So one week you could have a PVE banning 5* entrants, or a 4* only PVP

    I know some people don't like Heroics and roster limiting, but I think it would make things much more interesting for those with large rosters
  • simonsezsimonsez Posts: 4,663 Chairperson of the Boards
    I think it's harsh to call them 'irrelevant' when there are quality characters in there.
    I think that's the whole point. The devs are releasing quality characters but giving us no reason to ever use them, hence their irrelevance.
  • GrumpySmurf1002GrumpySmurf1002 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 3,511 Chairperson of the Boards
    simonsez wrote:
    I think it's harsh to call them 'irrelevant' when there are quality characters in there.
    I think that's the whole point. The devs are releasing quality characters but giving us no reason to ever use them, hence their irrelevance.

    Well I get that, but then it's the irrelevant 22 or so, no? Since the introduction of 5* made all but 5-6 (add XDP to his list) irrelevant.
  • ColognoisseurColognoisseur Posts: 707 Critical Contributor
    simonsez wrote:
    I think it's harsh to call them 'irrelevant' when there are quality characters in there.
    I think that's the whole point. The devs are releasing quality characters but giving us no reason to ever use them, hence their irrelevance.

    Well I get that, but then it's the irrelevant 22 or so, no? Since the introduction of 5* made all but 5-6 (add XDP to his list) irrelevant.

    The difference was before the 5*'s really took hold, around the sale in December, I was still using those previous 4*.
    After the sale it became an arms race to obtain 5* covers to compete. Now that I have 5* PvP MMR only gives me 5* teams after the seed teams. I could play these quality fun 4* characters and watch them get crushed.

    That is why they are irrelevant. The game as structured right now will not see them get any play. Those who have 5* PvP MMR and PvE scaling keeps you from using them. Any of the transitioners who have older more well-covered 4* will be putting their precious iso in to those instead of a new character.

    The devs have made some really good new characters that will hardly ever see the light of day. In my book that makes them irrelevant.
  • MPQ_DaywalkerMPQ_Daywalker Posts: 383 Mover and Shaker
    Now that I have 5* PvP MMR only gives me 5* teams after the seed teams. I could play these quality fun 4* characters and watch them get crushed.
    To play devil's advocate a little, doesn't this say more about where you are in the game, more than the state of the game's newer 4* characters?

    As a person transitions from each tier, they stop using the characters from the lower tier. People play 1*s and then quickly transition to 2*s. Once one goes from 2* to 3*, you stop playing with 2*s (and until Daily Deadpool there wasn't any reason to use 2*s at all, other than as "essential characters" in PVE). Same thing goes for 3* to 4*... once you have a team of 4*s to use you rarely will ever use 3*s, especially due to the PVP MMR and PVE scaling. (Exceptions will occur, such as revamped IM40 being used with 4*s, but the same type of exceptions occur for some 4*s being used with 5*s.)

    Now, I suppose, the main purpose of the newer 4* characters for you is the ability to get another Legendary Token from Deadpool's Crash of the Titans -- they've become useful only for Deadpool battles and essential characters, and not much more than that. Which is exactly what happens to everyone else as they move on from the lower tiers.

    I won't disagree that there are major differences with your tier/transition, and those have been talked about a lot -- the small number of opponents seen in PVP, the giant power difference between the 5* tier and 4* tier, the excessive amounts of ISO needed to level anyone, etc. But in the end, we're really just talking about how it doesn't pay for you to level up any additional characters from the tier lower than what you're currently playing at, which can be said about any of the tier transitions in the game.
  • GrumpySmurf1002GrumpySmurf1002 Age Unconfirmed Posts: 3,511 Chairperson of the Boards

    That is why they are irrelevant. The game as structured right now will not see them get any play. Those who have 5* PvP MMR and PvE scaling keeps you from using them. Any of the transitioners who have older more well-covered 4* will be putting their precious iso in to those instead of a new character.

    The devs have made some really good new characters that will hardly ever see the light of day. In my book that makes them irrelevant.

    From the top of the mountain I'd agree, sure. There's nothing for a 5* player to use 4* characters in, because of MMR/Scaling nonsense. But I mean, that goes back to October at least. Miles, Venom, Cho (a True Mr. Irrelevant), Ghost Rider, X23, are all after OML was released. Can argue any of those are equally irrelevant when the race to Surfer was already completed by some, and the race to OML was run quickly behind it. Maybe GR and X23 got some play, but I'm doubtful Miles/Venom were used outside of a handful of players for a week or two, and again, I doubt Cho was ever used.

    From where I'm at (375 OML, 11 cover unleveled Surfer, 9 champ 4* incl all the top tier) - I can easily see investing in Nova (12 covers) and maybe the more recents as I desperately cling to the version of the game that isn't reduced to OML/PHX all day every day. The I7 as you're calling them are only irrelevant for me because there's not an ice cube's chance in hell I'll get Iso in time to do anything with them.

    From below that, you have players that may/may not have hit the 4* transition 'on time', and could easily have as many/more of some of these newer characters than a Jean or Iceman. So it's not a total waste to keep producing interesting characters for those players that are a year + behind the veterans.

    I agree with your bigger point, new content is a unicorn; there hasn't been any since Ultron (Galactus/Civil War/Hearts of Darkness don't count). They just refuse (or are too slow) to recognize that the game is a 4* game now, and the gameplay and economics needs to reflect that, likely because the number of 4* players among the developers is (I believe) near zero.
  • MawtfulMawtful Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    This is a great write up and great analysis of these characters.

    I started to look at the 4* as if it was self-contained. That is, imagine that they are the only characters in the game. There's no 5*'s to deal with, and no Fistbuster, or Winfinite, or Iron Maiden (IM40 + 4Thor), etc. My reasoning behind this was that the developers believe that the 3* tier is "complete" and we're drawing very close to the 4* tier matching the same number of characters, so there's a bit of expectation that maybe the 4* tier will soon be just as complete as the 3* tier. For the record, I think that the 3* tier is incomplete - and in looking more closely at the 4* characters, I'm seeing similar problems between the two.

    Anyway, I think the top 5 probably remains pretty similar - they're the top 5 already because they'll help you against other 4* teams and not just against 3* teams - although there's a few characters who do get shuffled around a bit. I think Quake certainly helps cast more than a few characters in a new light. A team with Quake has a lot less to fear from, say, Jean or Rhulk - or Iceman to an extent, but I think his stun means he's still a threat. I think that probably the biggest impact that could still be made on the 4* tier (and the game) would be a 4* character who is either immune to stun or has the ability to remove/reduce the stun on allies. Punisher may have been a step towards this, since his Black is much stronger when he's the only one active. A soft counter to Iceman's Blue would not be enough to remove him from the top 5, but would allow players to play a Scissors-Paper-Rock style counter pick game.
  • Are any of the new characters not worth a roster spot at all? Are they all better than, say, Devil Dinosaur? Quake and Nova are well-regarded, it seems. What about the others?
  • OzarkBoatswainOzarkBoatswain Posts: 645 Critical Contributor
    Are any of the new characters not worth a roster spot at all? Are they all better than, say, Devil Dinosaur? Quake and Nova are well-regarded, it seems. What about the others?

    If you don't have two good 5*s then all of them except Howard and Drax are worth a slot in my opinion. If you're in 5* land then none of them offer a lot.
  • Are any of the new characters not worth a roster spot at all? Are they all better than, say, Devil Dinosaur? Quake and Nova are well-regarded, it seems. What about the others?

    If you don't have two good 5*s then all of them except Howard and Drax are worth a slot in my opinion. If you're in 5* land then none of them offer a lot.

    I'm in the 3 to 4 transition
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