**** Luke Cage (Power Man) ****



  • Black DukeBlack Duke Posts: 694 Critical Contributor
    Hey guys! I'm about to make Luke my 25th 4* champion (yeah, time to celebrate my little anniversary!). ;)

    Since I've rarely used him so far I don't know how to play him. So it would really kind if someone, who has played him more often, would share his experiences and answer a few questions like:

    Which is his best build?
    Where are his strengths and weaknesses?
    Which are his best teammates?

    Thanks in advance!

  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    I am working on him as well, I will be finishing him up in a day or so but I have been playing him a bunch, so I will offer what I have learned so far.  His black is a must at 5 the defense he lays down is crazy powerful and within a turn or two you will be taking 1-2 damage on most matches and even some attacks (especially in pve).  This power also matches beautifully with Wasp, Falcap or anybody that strengthens tiles or people like Medusa if you have to match them away.  Now for the next part and here is where the debate probably will be 5 in red or yellow.  I am leaning towards yellow because red is a little too expensive for my taste and I rarely use it.  Yellow ramps very well especially when paired with Iron Fist and it makes all the tiles even harder to remove plus it is cheep.  So I am going with 5/5/3 once championed.  On rare occasions it might be better to go 3/5/5 if you pair him with IW or IM-40 both might have more useful yellows in many situations so you will not use his as much.

    His weakness is he need the shields out to shine so he can be a little slow in PVP but again against certain pvp teams he should be very solid against.  I have not messed too much with him there he really shines in PVE because of his damage reduction.  The matches may go a little slow but you should not take more than 50-100 damage a round even in some of the higher level nodes when matched up on the right teams.

    Some solid teams I have been messing with:  Electra/Cage/IW, Cage/Electra/Medusa, Cage/IW/Medusa or Iron Fist (3 I do not have enough in the 4 to mess with him yet).  The first 3 teams are control teams, so they may be a little slow for some peoples taste but they are very solid just get Electra's red out.  You can look in the Electra thread for the optimization of those teams with her.

    I really want to try Cage/4Blade/Wasp or Medusa I think they will be killer but I have no levels in Blade yet if you have them championed try it out and let me know what you think.  Hope this helps or at least give you some good ideas.
  • VhailorxVhailorx Posts: 5,208 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited April 2017
    Just a few thoughts in response to hopper:

    I don't quite agree that black at is mandatory.  Like any "proc on enemy power use" it is devastating against goons.  But against tile moves i generally try to prevent the ai from casting anything at all, limiting the utility of cage's black.

    Similarly, cage's red is hot or miss.  It's ok if you get the high damage (a bit pricey, but solid).  And pretty bad in it's base version.  Most enemy teams will make some strike tiles, but plenty will not. 

    So that means that i think cage benefits from re-spec.  5/5/3 for goon fights, or against tile movers with cheap actives that cant be denied.  And 5//3/5 against most all-tile-mover teams.

    Yellow is the clear "must be at 5" power imo.  It's cheap, can ramp up quickly with multiple casts, or with certain teammates, and has a very useful (and rare at the 4* tier) secondary ability to fortify tiles.

    Overall he is quite solid, but not near the recent standouts like carol/medusa.  He is the new middle class, great to have when boosted, somid occasionally on his own, but not too threatening as a pvp opponent.  He fills the niche that older 4*s like thing and KP used to fill, before they suffered the ravages of power creep.
  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    I have no arguments with anything Vhailorx said, I use him much more in PVE than PVP so his points/corrections makes sense to me.  Because the red is so hard to activate in most tile mover matches I would still go for the 5 black in case you get off to a slow start you might take a little less damage by the end of the match.  I would rate him in the middle for pvp but near the top for pvp especially goons, he is great for minimizing health packs.
  • abominatrixabominatrix Posts: 219 Tile Toppler
    Just to second all of this; I'm in the 4* transition, but have a champed cage; I've changed my default goon squad to Strange/Fist/4*Cage and haven't looked back. I run red at 3 with this group since the black is so effective. Thug is firing a pistol or there's some Suriken going off? Oh... 1 damage.

  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    Now are you using 4 or 3 Iron Fist, I really want to try the two 4's out together but I only have 4 covers in the new Iron Fist.  The 3 is solid but hp are a little low on occasions, see if you like Electra in place of Strange she feeds Fists his pink which speed up black etc they work well also.
  • abominatrixabominatrix Posts: 219 Tile Toppler
    I'm using 3* fist; my 4* is still only 1/0/1 at the moment. I don't have a champed Elektra (although 5/3/3 level 185 with the rework might be interesting with Cage/Fist). I don't know about giving up the auto-damage when the goons fire, but I'll see how it goes.

    I haven't had an issue with 3* fist low HP, but he does tank purple/green in this team for me, so it's a concern. 
  • Black DukeBlack Duke Posts: 694 Critical Contributor
    Thanks for your thoughts @hopper1979 and @Vhailorx! I championed Luke today and had some really entertaining moments in Shield Sim by playing him (5/5/3) with Blade (5/5/3) and Medusa (5/5/3).
  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    Yep that is a good one, I am going to be messing with 4Cage/4Blade/Wasp in the new event, finally got some levels into Blade was able to champion and respec Cage to 5/5/3, the only down side is I have to decide if I am going to use Wasps Yellow or Cages either way I think it will be a solid team, I might throw 3Cyc in with blade and cage max his yellow and sit behind the shields and let blood lust go to work.  He is a very solid support character the more I play with him the more I am glad I leveled him, he is also good to match with OML, OML tanks and takes much less damage so the nurf is not nearly as noticeable.  
  • MarkersMakeMarkersMake Posts: 392 Mover and Shaker
    edited May 2017
    Put his black at 5 against tile spammers like muscles to remove some of their strike tiles  (your choice of red or yellow to put at 3 - probably red since at least some strike tiles will make it through), and put black at 3 against goons who do direct damage instead. 

    The beauty of champing is the flexibility to re-settle whenever you wish - take full advantage of it!  Cage is probably one of a few characters whose optimal build can vary significantly based on the opponent. 

  • abominatrixabominatrix Posts: 219 Tile Toppler
    Like everybody else, I also run Wasp/Carol/Cage, and I run Cage at 5/5/3 or 3/5/5 depending on mood. 

    To me, 5 in black is the most important; removing the special tile totally is important, and helps with the red. The other reason being is that if the board is not friendly, getting the boosting started can be difficult (getting 6 blue and either 6 yellow or 8 black can take many turns with an unfriendly board). But, keeping the protect tiles as strong as possible limits damage when this happens. 

    I like the yellow power more than the red, but if he's running with wasp and Carol, then it's unlikely that he'll use it, so I'll move red to 5 if I'm feeling it unlikely that I'll need the protects.

  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    He is really flexible that is what is nice about him.  I strictly ran him 5/5/3 for a while but sometime all that defense is overkill it relly depends on who you pair him with when I put him with wasp I go 3/5/5 so she can cast her yellow more often and then hit with his red you can do 20K+ under the right conditions.  He has quickly turned into one of my favorite characters.  
  • Rick_OShayRick_OShay Posts: 765 Critical Contributor
    edited May 2017
    Team composition and enemy planning certainly make Cage a character that should get re-specced quite a bit.
    One thing that players should consider more often though, is setting his black ability to 4. 
    Versus many enemies, if Luke removes a special, they will just replace it on a following turn. Had you set his black to 4, the enemy special will get reduced down to 1, but they will not replace it with a full strength tile. 
    This works very well versus IF, and Cag3 himself, and annoying goon specials like the Mindless Ones and Sentries. Also keep in mind, if you have a tile steal/buff ability on your team (Medusa, Elektra..); or a utility from enemy matches (Hawkguy, Doc Ock..), you may be better off reducing enemy specials until you can steal/buff/match them. Can't steal tiles you remove from the board!
  • mpitermpiter Posts: 52 Match Maker
    Team composition and enemy planning certainly make Cage a character that should get re-specced quite a bit.
    One thing that players should consider more often though, is setting his black ability to 4. 
    Versus many enemies, if Luke removes a special, they will just replace it on a following turn. Had you set his black to 4, the enemy special will get reduced down to 1, but they will not replace it with a full strength tile. 

    I agree.  I have played a lot with his Black at 4.  It all depends on the opponents.

    I think Yellow should always be at five except when an ally Yellow must be played, e.g., IM40 or Cyclop 3*  can generate red with their Yellow which can be nice for 4* transitioners with C4ge (3/5/5) against tile movers who do not create special tiles .

    That generally leaves (5/5/3), (5/4/4), or (5/3/5) for C4ge.  Choosing between the 3 possibilities should depend on strategy:
    • Against unlimited attack or strike tile spammers such as Carnage, defense seems a priority to me.  Moreover, the big Red nuke can never be used against those enemies, only the small Red will be available.  So Black at 5 seems obligatory.
    • In waves too but this is more debatable.
    • Same strategy against enemies who can place a permanent CD generators from time to time such as HT, Blade 3*...  The CD tile must be removed, so Black at 5 seems important.
    • Against fixed-number special tiles generators such as IF 3*, C3ge, BP 3*, etc, Black at 4 seems more appropriate to keep the special tiles at low level without replacement, so (5/4/4).
    • With a Red generator when speed is important and the opponent do not generate protective, strike, or attack tiles, Red at 5 seems better.
    • When we have just time for one a fight, then we will not be able to play for a couple of hours, speed seems more appropriate than defense, so Red at 5.
    • And there are many other schemes were defense or nuke seems a better choice.
    In other words, I tend to put Yellow at 5.  Then favoring Black or Red is just a question of against whom do I play in what context?  Do I need to increase defense or nuke?  What kind of special tiles the enemy team will produce?

    I think C4ge is a marvelous support character that needs to be respected all the time, depending on the situation.  This is great to vary our strategies.  He is particularly well designed for PVE where we can keep control of the board and of the special tiles he generates.  He is less impressive in defense where another human will control the board while the AI does a poor job at keeping his special tiles for us.

  • AnonAnon Posts: 1,214 Chairperson of the Boards
    Champed Luke a few days ago. His Red does great damage if you fulfill the condition. Personally, I specced him 5/5/3 and I'm cool with that. Any reason to put 5 in Red instead? And what to shortchange?
  • hopper1979hopper1979 Posts: 564 Critical Contributor
    No there is no real reason to put 5 in red especially in the current meta where you can really hammer people with his yellow.  Against goon you can sometimes switch his black and red due to shear number of protect tiles that will be put on the board but I usually stick to 5 in black.  In pvp I might recommend  slotting 5 in red due to the fact that your opponents do not cast powers frequently enough to benefit from the protect tiles and his red is nasty, though a little expensive, especially when booted.
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