A 3* Character Ranking Guide for players in the 2*-3* transition - comments?

AardvarkPepper Posts: 239 Tile Toppler
Making a guide for new players.  Part of it is a 3* Character Ranking list.

Questions to forum:

1)  This list is generally PvE oriented.  Apart from hitting PvP at open for the easy rounds and perhaps doing a few additional matches for progression / score rewards, do players consider rewards in PvP to be better, per time spent and health packs gained, than PvE?  Assuming limited budget and not buying health packs or buying a lot of covers in store.

2)  This is a 3* ranking list.  Any comments for a couple priority 4*s?  I'm thinking Medusa, Carnage, Mister Fantastic, again assuming PvE gives better rewards per time spent, but if it works out that newer players can earn rewards faster in PvP, I'm all for comments.

3)  Any comments re: characters that should be at a very different rank?



[h1]Letter Classifications[/h1]

A:  Essential to breaking into higher PvE SCL
B:  Very useful, almost essential
C:  Very good in common situations
D:  Very good in rare situations
E:  Strong on their own but best with planned teammates
F:  Not best on their own and *need* planned teammates
G:  Best used only against particular enemies (or with *very* carefully planned teammates)
H:  Best used only against particular enemies *and* with carefully planned teammates
I:  Best used only in extremely rare situations
J:  Used with 4* Rocket and Groot or *very* specific 3-character 3* teams.

A lower letter ranking does not mean a character is "bad", it just means circumstances need to be more specific for the character to be of best use.  A player can very legitimately choose characters lower on the rank list to make other characters on their roster more viable.  For example Blade is ranked E13, but generates Strike tiles that help 2* Daken and 2* Black Widow.  3* Blade is essential to making 3* Daken and Psylocke viable, as well as being a key character to exploit 3* Sam Wilson (Falcon) and She-Hulk's abilities.

Wolverine is ranked F21 but his green power can be followed by cheap-AP or multi-damage-step attacks or team damage effects for very high burst damage, or can be combined with Loki for high damage without much drawback once both 3* Wolverine green then 3* Loki black can be fired.

Even Gamora at J47 (last place) is uniquely good when used with 4* Rocket and Groot, and offers unique utility when paired with Blade and another character with team synergies.

A high letter ranking does not mean a character is "good", especially in the D ranks.  For example Luke Cage is ranked D12, but in practice is often far less useful than E13 Blade.  Luke Cage's Protect tile simply isn't needed much of the time.  He is D-ranked because when one *does* need reliable early quick protection, there is no substitute in the 3* ranks for Luke Cage.

[h1]The List[/h1]

A1  Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange)
A2  Iron Man (Model 40) "IM40"
B3  Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) "KK"
B4  Captain America (Super Soldier)
C5  Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) "SWitch"
C6  Thanos (Modern)
C7  Deadpool (It's Me, Deadpool!)
C8  Hawkeye (Hawkguy)
C9  Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon) "IF"
D10  Black Widow (Grey Suit) "GSBW"
D11  The Hood (Classic)
D12  Luke Cage (Hero for Hire)
E13  Blade (Daywalker)
E14  Magneto (Classic)
E15  Mystique (Raven Darkholme)
E16  Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men)
E17  Doctor Doom (Classic)
E18 Thor (Modern)
E19  Black Panther (T'Challa)
E20  Storm (Mohawk)
F21  Wolverine (Patch)
F22  Daken (Classic)
F23  Human Torch (Classic)
F24  Sam Wilson (Falcon) "Sam", or "Falcon"
F25  Star-Lord (Peter Quill)
F26  Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff)
F27  Ragnarok (Dark Avengers)
F28  Psylocke (Classic)
F29  Colossus (Classic)
F30  The Hulk (Indestructible)
F31  Vision (Android Avenger)
G32  Elektra (Assassin)
G33  Daredevil (Man Without Fear)
G34  Rocket & Groot (Most Wanted)
G35  Squirrel Girl (Unbeatable)
G36  Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)
H37  Loki (Dark Reign)
H38  She-Hulk (Modern) "SHulk"
H39  Captain Marvel (Modern)
H40  Gambit (Modern)
H41  Beast (Classic)
H42  Bullseye (Classic)
I43  Spider-Man (Classic)
I44  Angel (All New X-Men)
I45  The Punisher (Dark Reign)
I46  Sentry (Dark Avengers)
J47  Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy)


  • Dormammu
    Dormammu Posts: 3,531 Chairperson of the Boards
    Trying to rank the 3-stars is a near-impossible task. I think your A-J descriptions overly complicates what is already a very subjective thing. I think you could simplify this. Saying a character is 'not best on their own and needs planned teammates' is basically saying this is a 'support' character. There are all kinds of categories a character can fit into: Damage, Support, Utility, Feeder, Tank, Healer, etc... and some fit into several categories. But is a damaging character better than a support character? Is a tank more valuable than a feeder? No, they all have their roles to play and compliment one another. So the characters who can do multiple things tend to be more well regarded.

    So for example, how do we rank Iron Fist and Kamala Khan against one another? Both are good feeders, one has a big AoE while the other has a big nuke, one is a burst healer while the other is a utility tile spammer... which is better? The answer is: neither. They're both top-tier characters.

    And that's how I like to view characters: by tiers. There are 'top-tier' characters, 'mid-tier' characters, and 'low-tier' characters. So what makes a character top tier vs. low tier? Usually you have to start factoring in AP costs, Health, Damage comparisons, etc.

    With that being said, you have some holes in your rankings. Like Colossus - he's a tank and a damaging nuker. You have him ranked 29th, smack dab in the middle. But he's a low-tier 3-star. If you need a tank, there are far better choices, and if you need someone to do damage, there are far better choices. Plus. his abilities are overly expensive. Mystique is another one you have too high - she's a low-tier 3-star. Black Widow is too high, she's a relic with overly expensive powers and everything she does can be done better and/or cheaper by someone else. Spider-Man is too low, he's a mid-tier 3-star with a lot of utility. Cyclops is too low, he's probably a top 5 3-star with the best damage output among his peers, plus he's a feeder/self-accelerator. The Hulk is too high, he's simply a broken character. As a PvE tank, Rocket & Groot are better than a dozen of the characters you have ranked above them.

    But again, this is all subjective. One man's trash is another man's treasure, right? Which is why I would advise ranking characters in tiers rather than a subjective numerical order. 
  • AardvarkPepper
    AardvarkPepper Posts: 239 Tile Toppler
    edited August 2018
    @Dormammu:  Thank you for your considered reply.

    On reading my original post again, I realize I did not properly describe the intent of this section of the guide.

    The intent is not to rank characters against one another merely in terms of tactical flexibility and practical application in a wider context.  Rather, the intent is to give newer players with limited roster slots direction regarding which characters to prioritize *assuming they do not have characters that are lower ranked on the list*.

    That said, the intent is for players to earn better rewards with less real time and fewer health packs spent - first in PvE (as I think that may be the quickest way to earn rewards), then for alliance boss events, then for at least the initial setup nodes if hitting at open of slice for PvP and at least some light PvP after that.

    More specifically, this portion of the guide is very narrowly directed towards players making the 2*-3* transition, anticipating they will for the most part want to play PvE SCL 4-6 or so to earn 3* rewards, as they cannot typically use the 4*s from progression at PvE SCL 7+ anyways.  (However, the list also is intended to allow players to play SCL 7+ to earn select 4*s when they want to.)

    This is something I should have been clear about, but was not.  I think that answers to some degree the question

    "So for example, how do we rank Iron Fist and Kamala Khan against one another?"

    Instead of what I agree would be a rather difficult-to-answer question "Which is better (given a developed roster of 3*s) - which character offers more utility when used with any combination of characters" - instead the question becomes "Assuming a player *only* has 3* Doctor Strange and 3* Iron Man, is 3* Iron Fist or 3* Kamala Khan a better choice for earning rewards in less time and to minimize need for health packs?"

    I think given that context, the answer is Kamala Khan is a better pick.  Iron Fist is certainly better against weak nodes, and has a good amount of hit points so doesn't need to use health packs that often.  But repeated use against PvE hard nodes, I think, does not see Iron Fist at his full potential, assuming a player only has Doctor Strange and Iron Man, while on the other hand Kamala Khan offers team damage and healing.  Mind the team damage and healing are really negligible when playing way up, but I don't think new players *should* be playing way up past, oh say SCL 8 or so.

    Re:  Colossus:  Well, you're right.  I won't go into why I put him at that rank, but on reflection, he really is too slow.

    Re:  Mystique:  Maybe we can agree to disagree on this one.  My thought is by that time PvE is covered, some PvP is covered (to some degree), alliance bosses are covered, but then it's a question of what else might one face?  My thought is if you can't handle it with anything else on the roster to that point, Mystique is the way to go with AP denial into bomb black, and ability to depopulate RGY. 

    But if you have thoughts on what specific character is better to add to the roster at that point, I'd love to hear them.

    Re:  Black Widow:  I'm afraid I'll have to disagree.  For most matches, yes, she is far too slow.  But for alliance bosses, I consider Black Widow essential in the 3* range - her precision tile removal has helped me out many times where simple cascades wouldn't work.

    Of course I hadn't specified the precise intent of the guide in my original post.  But in that context - given that the first few characters more or less enable a player to at a decent SCL for most PvE, then what characters should be prioritized?  I could easily say Blade was far better at speed and incidental AP drain and general purpose use - and he is.  But when it comes to precision tile removal, I don't know any character in the 3* range that can stand in for Black Widow.  And that's why she has the rank she does, not because she is "good" in most situations but given the order of priorities set for collection, I think she's the best pick for the "next" character that allows a player to take on alliance bosses where such would not otherwise be possible.  Well that was the thought anyways.  Mind, I know I hadn't detailed the intent in my original post.

    Re:  Spider-Man:  I'd like to hear more of your thinking on this if you would not mind too much.  I suppose if you're talking PvP with Spider-Man / Scarlet Witch / Cyclops or something, then sure I can see that.  Or if a situation requires multiple decent Protect tiles then yes, he certainly has an advantage (though I think the player needs an active purple power on the team, would you agree?)  But if a player wants a 2-character team that can be used with whatever Essential Node character, I think usually I would rather take Luke Cage.  The way Spider-Man feels to me is that he's just missing something, and that you really need two characters to fill in those gaps.  Maybe if you could mention a few good PvE and PvP teams he's used in?

    Re:  Cyclops:  I really like Cyclops - on my B-teams.  Unless I see a particular reason to put him above another particular character though, I'll leave him where he is.  He doesn't shake up the board much, he doesn't generate AP much, straight damage he's certainly good at, but what of it?  What distinct thing does Cyclops do that makes him a priority?  PvP defense?

    If the answer to that is "Yes, and PvP defense should be prioritized", sure I can go with that reasoning.  But let's say you have a player that's developing their roster.  What would your advice be regarding earning prizes while minimizing real time or real money spent, with limited roster slots available?  Would you really put Cyclops ahead of Black Widow if it means you can't handle alliance bosses?  Or maybe you have a team (perhaps you would mention the exact composition?) that handles the various bosses - Apocalypse, Sinister Six, Galactus, etc.  - that requires Cyclops?

    These are real questions.  Because as far as I've heard, Cyclops IS used on some alliance bosses, and of course there are PvP events far more regularly than alliance boss events.  At any rate, a more detailed response regarding why Cyclops ought be higher ranked (specifically, is it for PvP defense?  and would you say time spent for prizes is good, considering health pack depletion?  and are you using Cyclops on offense or defense or both, and for what specific teams, and all the details if you would, please and thank you.)

    Mind personally I blow through PvE with minimal health packs then maybe later do some PvP but that's it.  No PvP shielding, no popping on at PvP event close - I've looked at the prizes and generally I just don't like the matchups I get and the time I would have to spend to earn those prizes.  Probably because my SHIELD rank is artificially inflated because of 1* farming, heh.  Or something.

    Re:  Hulk:  Well I'll think on it.  Mind I didn't claim Hulk is *generally* strong.  "F:  Not best on their own and *need* planned teammates".  I mean, that isn't wrong is it?  And in that category he's only ahead of Vision.

    "I think your A-J descriptions overly complicates what is already a very subjective thing. I think you could simplify this. Saying a character is 'not best on their own and needs planned teammates' is basically saying this is a 'support' character. There are all kinds of categories a character can fit into: Damage, Support, Utility, Feeder, Tank, Healer, etc... and some fit into several categories."

    I don't *think* it's *entirely* subjective, and I think it's necessarily complicated.  If you say that perhaps I didn't do the best job of categorizing and have other specific categories to suggest, sure, I could go with that.  Or you could say I didn't do the greatest job of explaining, sure I'd go with that too.

    But as I see it, characters need to be categorized, and not simply by numbers or general "support" descriptors. Simply ranking characters 1-70 misses out on the importance of how some characters are better in some situations but not in others.  Breaking down the numbers misses the importance of AP generation, AP denial, stunning, board shuffling, neutralizing enemy Specials, and so forth.

    I can accept that I can be wrong.  But I can't accept that the process of analysis is inherently incapable of making specific recommendations for specific reasons.  As I see it, it's just a question of defining and setting priorities.  Surely that is not to much to ask of a *character ranking list*, yes?

    Re:  "not being "entirely" subjective" comment above - it's not that I'm disagreeing completely.  If one isn't actually breaking down the numbers and looking at each specific situation, then it is subjective.  But is Cyclops being considered a "good" character really a subjective measure?   Good damage per AP spent, multiple bombs, self-feeds, good hit points, and the AI can't really screw up playing him too much.  Isn't that why he's "good"?  Then Doctor Strange, it isn't that he's inherently good, it's that it just so happens that PvE events tend to use a lot of self-AP-generating non-character enemies that fire loads of powers that activate Strange's powers.  In PvP Strange dies easily.  Or with Iron Man generating 36 AP from 6 - these are all numbers and conditions that can be considered, and they are not so much subjective as they are objective fact.

    So that's where I'm coming from - yes, it's subjective, true, *until it's well and thoroughly analyzed* then it's no longer subjective, is my thinking and intent.

    Re:  Rocket & Groot:  As a regen tank, I think he's the best in 3* land so thinking about it I'd have to agree, he should be far higher ranked  Who else is going to suck up a big hit then be ready to go?  Certainly not Wolverine or Daken with their slow regeneration.  As long as you're a fan of R&G (?) I'm curious to know how, specifically, you use R&G or how you've heard others use him, particularly in Essential Character nodes when only one other teammate can be picked, but also what 3-character team you consider him best in, whether his use in PvP plays a factor in your assessment and if so, again specific characters and specific teams, if you mostly use him if at all against 4*s and 5*s in stuff like PvE Simulator, and his applications in boss fights and the specific characters and teams and specific bosses then too.

    Mind, I know on paper he's got this amazing burst regen plus board shakeup when low, but in application I just haven't been able to get it to work.  Probably I'm too fixated on using him with Thanos or something.

    At any rate, thanks again for the reply.  Certainly reading it made me realize I ought to have put in a proper write-up of the priorities of the ranking list.  As well, I'll certainly have to reconsider Colossus and Rocket & Groot's placement.

    In the meantime, specific comments on Cyclops, Spiderman, and Rocket & Groot would be much appreciated - what teammates specifically in what conditions, what events (PvE or PvP or both, if PvP offense or defense or both, if PvE any particular PvE (maybe Simulator with a bunch of 4*s and 5*s) &c.

    (edit - added in some punctuation, added a bit for clarification)
  • AXP_isme
    AXP_isme Posts: 809 Critical Contributor
    R&G tanks yellow and green for 3* Thor which is quite useful. Loki could be a useful third for some board shake. 
    Cyclops joins up well with IF and SW. she generates purple, IF turns it to black, cyclops dished the damage - simple. 
    I quite like spidey with SW and bullseye. SW generates purple and spidey creates purple in the process. Bullseye trades the protects for damage. 

    These are are all three person teams so they’re not really suited to most PvPs but you could play them in PvE or in the shield simulator. R&G, Thor and Loki carried me a long way in the simulator back when I was in 3* land. 

    If your lettering system works for you then great. Personally i’m inclined to agree with @Dormammu about it being a bit complicated. For people like me (low attention span) high, medium and low is much easier to grasp. 

    Colossus is awful though. If a good defence was a thing in this game then maybe he would have a niche. It isn’t, so he doesn’t. 
  • bbigler
    bbigler Posts: 1,804 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited September 2018
    I agree with Dormammu, but I respect the effort you've made.  In order to help new players, make this simpler for them to understand.  Organize by bottom, mid, and top tier character lists.  It would also be useful to tell new players why they are good or not so good.  Here's my 2 cents:

    Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) - low health, but he destroys with his yellow and blue, purple is too expensive
    Iron Man (Model 40) "IM40" - Great battery for almost everybody, including 4*s, Red is Good, Blue too pricey
    Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) "KK" - Green battery, self-accelerating, plus she can help you avoid health packs
    Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) "SWitch" - Purple battery mostly, but her Purple AOE is good, Green is defense
    Thanos (Modern) - Black passive is the king of speed, pair with Strange for PVE dominance, Green is difficult to use
    Hawkeye (Hawkguy) - Blue & Purple AP battery with enemy specials, Purple is strong, Blue is Good & Self-Healing
    Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon) "IF" - Passive damage + Black battery, Green power is bonus
    The Hood (Classic) - Use for defense, AP Stealer, just match least common colors
    Luke Cage (Hero for Hire) - Passive protection, pairs well with Fist, Hits hard in 2 colors
    Magneto (Classic) - 3 Good powers, but his red is the best.  Pair with Loki or Kamala.
    Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men) - self-accelerating, hits hard in 2 colors

    Captain America (Super Soldier) - a little slow, but he can hit and protect to win the match alone.
    Deadpool (It's Me, Deadpool!) - Red is cheap and powerful, Purple is a late game move, Black is almost useless
    Black Widow (Grey Suit) "GSBW" - Purple and green are great AP generators and board shakers, but needs battery
    Blade (Daywalker) - Red Strikes are unreliable, unless paired with Cyclops, Black is good, Purple is expensive
    Doctor Doom (Classic) - Slow but powerful, especially that Purple attack.
    Thor (Modern) - a little slow, even with the self-acceleration
    Black Panther (T'Challa) - 3 Good powers, but not a consistent theme.  I always hesitate to use his Black.
    Storm (Mohawk) - 1 Good power, Black, but it kills. 
    Mystique (Raven Darkholme) - a little slow, Purple is the most useful, perhaps a part of a Purple, Blue, Black engine
    Wolverine (Patch) - dangerous to use unless you can remove enemy strikes
    Daken (Classic) - only good for quick hits, his Blue power works against himself
    Human Torch (Classic) - a little slow, but can deal some decent damage
    Sam Wilson (Falcon) "Sam", or "Falcon" - killer in the right situation, but still a niche character
    Psylocke (Classic) - Red and Black are decent damage, but Blue is almost useless
    Elektra (Assassin) - 3 Decent powers, but nothing amazing
    Daredevil (Man Without Fear) - only Good in the right situation, Blue can stun lock, Red is useless without Cyclops
    Loki (Dark Reign) - works best with Patch, but unreliable AP production
    Captain Marvel (Modern) - only good if she's tanking heavy hits
    Beast (Classic) - Blue is cheap but unpredictable, Green can be good
    Bullseye (Classic) - expensive powers, but good in wave nodes
    Spider-Man (Classic) - similar to Luke cage, but more defense and 1 nuke

    Star-Lord (Peter Quill)
    Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) - good in Boss Battles
    Ragnarok (Dark Avengers)
    Colossus (Classic)
    The Hulk (Indestructible)
    Vision (Android Avenger)
    Squirrel Girl (Unbeatable)
    Rocket & Groot (Most Wanted) - only good for saving health packs, Green is weak, Blue is slow
    Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) - generally bad, but good against enemy specials
    She-Hulk (Modern) "SHulk" - Red is weak, Green is unreliable, Blue is dumb
    Gambit (Modern) - almost good, needs help
    Angel (All New X-Men)
    The Punisher (Dark Reign) - weak by comparison only
    Sentry (Dark Avengers) - strong but damages teammates
    Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • DAZ0273
    DAZ0273 Posts: 7,028 Chairperson of the Boards
    Another thing to consider is how quickly can new players acquire these 3* characters covers?

    Ragnarok may not be very good but as a 2* player you are going to obtain covers for him from Ares who is very good and who you are going to champ. You could elect to advise a 2* player to ignore that but it is a factor in getting a 3* up and useable quickly. In such circumstances you could argue that Ragnarok has more immediate value than an equally mediocre 3* such as Doctor Octopus. Anybody who has a 2* feeder automatically gets a leg up in value in the 2-3 transition simply because you have a reliable non-RNG way to collect covers for them.

    As for rankings:

    B4 - Cap has some great goon bashing powers but he really needs somebody, normally IM40, to give him a leg up to get him running. Using your ranks I would therefore class him as an "E".

    C6 - If anybody needs careful planning, surely Thanos is the very poster child of this?

    D10 - I think an expansion of what "rare" means would be helpful here. Here purple seems useful in any situation where you have a green using team mate and the fact it is one of the very few ways of making match 5's in the game which has utility and interaction with 2* Hawkeye for a 2* transitioner as well as others and of course criticals are a highly sort after tile. Is she dragged back by her high costs? I think this is one of the occasions where the ranking system doesn't really work.

    D12 - Likewise above - Luke has overall utility and his protect tile is incredibly useful against Sentry Green Eyes who deal damage from cascades - one of the most hated PvE enemy types. Also he was designed to work with Iron Fist, so it seems strange they are not on equal footing category-wise.

    E - I don't agree with some of these characters being applicable to the ranking. Cyclops & Thor can both self-accelerate which makes them perfectly viable without planned team mates. Does IM40 speed them up? Sure but then that applies to any red/blue/green user. Magneto is all about cheap powers - again IM40 can get him rolling but he works perfectly well without an accelerator.

    I'll stop there but you can probably see why doing these guides is so difficult. I think that whilst your overall objective is a good one, ranking in the manner that you are might be too hard to pin down as defining what that characters value truly is.
  • AardvarkPepper
    AardvarkPepper Posts: 239 Tile Toppler
    @DAZ0273 Thanks for the reply!

    I did consider character feeders.  To my mind, they were not so much a consideration.  But come to think on it, for a player with a three month turnaround time on 2* max champing, that's quite a few 3* covers to be disposing of over the course of a year.  Come to think on it, I could make Lightning Rounds more a priority as well.


    Re:  3* Captain America and Thanos:  I rated those highly as to my mind the utility they bring a player roster outweighs their trickiness of use.


    Re:  3* Captain America:  I agree he needs teammates to be of much use.  But I think he's uniquely useful in that he can repeatedly fire powers (though relatively low damaging) and has precise board replacement powers.  Paired with Kamala Khan, he can generate a load of temporary hit points; Hood can cut Countdown times and deny enemy AP.

    3* Captain America is uniquely useful in that he *really* goes the distance given the right conditions.


    Re:  3* Thanos:  The time he saves on easy nodes in PvE and to clear initial rounds in PvP makes him worth the slot to my mind - as well as things like Deadpool Daily Quest.  It seems trivial, but I use 3* Thanos a LOT.  As to planned teams - regenerators or fodder.  4* Vulture when available.


    Re:  3* Black Widow:  Too slow to be much general use, even with Scarlet Witch.  By "rare situations" in her case I'd say specifically alliance bosses that require multiple target precision board control.


    Re:  3* Luke Cage:  Again, speed is the factor.  I did just write about how I considered 3* Captain America good (conditionally) though slow.  So why separate 3* Captain America and 3* Luke Cage?  Granted Captain America's Countdowns are vulnerable to cascades where Luke Cage's Protect isn't (since it comes back).  But if the conditions are right for Cap, he can keep firing his powers.  Cage can sustain defense, but not attack.  His 13-yellow AP hits hard but costs a load; his black needs to be stockpiled before it can be of much use.  Plus Cap has board control.

    As you wrote, Cage's Protect tile *does* come in useful sometimes, but I don't consider it enough to make Cage *generally* useful.

    Against Sentry bots I generally run 3* Hawkeye.


    Re:  3*  Cyclops, Thor, Magneto:

    I'd say Magneto's quite good.  Generally I'd say he'd be a priority over 3* Black Widow (but that Black Widow's far better against some alliance bosses)

    For Cyclops and Thor though - not so much.  Granted both have multiple hard-hitting powers and a chunk of hit points.  But Thor's really slow - his red is weak, and his yellow and green too slow; even with self-feeding he's *still* really too slow.  In most situations in which I might find 3* Thor useful I'd consider 3* Captain America better.

    As to Cyclops, he's nice - but I don't see that he gets done what absolutely needs to get done.  Suppose you're making a tier list of 3*s, where do you put Cyclops?  He's always "nice", but where is he "essential"?  In PvE against non-character enemies, his limited board shakeups don't eliminate dangerous enemy Countdowns or multiple enemy Specials that swarm the board, and he's just a bit too slow to reliably kill stuff off before they can inflict damage.  In PvP or in some PvE matchups he has multiple hard-hitting powers but it's a one-way deal; when Cyclops blows his load the AP's gone (unlike with 3* Captain America).

    I've tried different teammates for Cyclops - Iron Fist, Doom, Spider-Man, Kamala Khan, and it always comes down to the same thing - moderately slow multiple high damage attacks which is nice, but not enough.  Either I want Strange's fast passive doing damage along with AP denial, stun, and damage, or I want Hawkeye's regeneration and AP generation - and if I'm going one-shot damage then I'd pick Iron Man with his AP generation over Cyclops.  There's not a situation in which I can say "Here's where Cyclops saves you significant time, or health packs, or even offers efficient board control to stop enemy specials" so I can't really recommend him.  Nor can I really recommend him as a priority in PvP, even though I think that's where he's best.
  • Dormammu
    Dormammu Posts: 3,531 Chairperson of the Boards
    Hey Aardvark

    Cyclops is slow, you're not wrong about that, but he does best-in-tier nuke damage and that's nothing to dismiss. I mean, max-champed his black does up to 10K damage; that's 5-star territory. When in the 3-star tier I would put him with Switch and Iron Fist to accelerate his black pretty quickly. Cloak & Dagger, if available, will do it too (even if they are under-leveled). He accelerates himself matching red & yellow to get his Optic Blasts off with regularity. When boosted he becomes an absolute terror.

    Thor is another character labeled as 'slow' but he also simply needs an accelerator. Put him with IM40 once. All it takes is for one Recharge to go off and the pain train begins. Thor is fed red and green (set both to 5). Use Thor's red to make more yellow for IM40, who converts it to more red and green. Thor will nuke your enemies' faces off with a constant barrage of red hammer slams and green AoE. Set IM40's blue to 5 and he'll occasionally join in on the fun. When boosted, Thor outperforms most 4-stars in health and damage.
  • DAZ0273
    DAZ0273 Posts: 7,028 Chairperson of the Boards

    Sorry - with regard to Thanos what I mean is if the 2* transitioner doesn't have a suitable character to heal or absorb the Court Death damage, then will Thanos not become a liability? I don't know what level you play at but am assuming it is high enough where utilising Thanos isn't really a problem in terms of health packs - a transitioner might not have that luxury. I don't question anything else - he is obviously extremely useful for fast clearing but he comes with a price other options don't.

    Re: Thor & Cyclops- I have to agree with @Dormammu The Dread One (TM) above on this. Thor gets rated highly (by me) because he not only self accelerates but he has direct attacks AND AOE. That makes him useful in multiple situations - against invisible opponents and Wave nodes as well as more traditional ones and he has decent health.

    As for Cyclops - not many 3* characters have the ability to hit as hard as he does with 2 direct damage powers. We are talking about being able to take out a Champed (not bossted) 4* with 2 hits possibly! Unless it is a bad boost week I wont tend to lean on my 3's too much but I'll take a boosted Cyclops into battle no worries, Pve or Pvp.

  • AardvarkPepper
    AardvarkPepper Posts: 239 Tile Toppler
    Re:  3* Thanos and the 2*-3* transition: 

    For the shorter matchups - 3* Thanos does on the order of 1000-1100+ damage to friendlies. 2* Daken regenerates on the order of 300 per turn (assuming enough blue on board).  2* Wolverine has around 6000 hit points and if below 50% hit points can heal 700-800 damage on a yellow match.  In practice one or the other does get KO'd when starved for blue/yellow, or if friendlies inadvertently trigger cascade into kill triggering Thanos.  But a player that rostered the non-Bagman 2*s still has eleven other 2*s, as well as a 1* (assuming a 1* was rostered for Deadpool Daily Quest), besides which both 2* Wolverine and 2* Daken heal and recover from KO at double normal rate, so after a little while Daken or Wolverine can re-join.

    Besides, 2* Black Widow's blue generates on the order of 700 temporary hit points or 1400 if no enemy Strike/Protect/Attack tiles.  She's fragile and may not get the blue AP she needs to fire the power, and may be reserved for other matches, but it's at least an option players have.

    Of the remaining 2*s, the tankier ones run 7000+ hit points.

    For longer matchups against non-character enemies that fire active powers, 3* Strange generates temporary hit points - only about 300-350, but with a few fired enemy powers, it's sufficient to offset Thanos' damage.

    For longer matchups against character enemies that fire active powers, or enemies that create difficulties with passives, 3* Thanos can still be used depending on a player's roster, but usually fielding a regenerator or other characters to offset enemy abilities ends up for longer matches, offsetting Thanos' speed advantage (so making it more feasible to field another team entirely).

    Still, in general, even players in the 2*-3* transition shouldn't be running short on health packs when using 3* Thanos.  Between regenerators, true healing, and temporary hit points, there's plenty of options to mitigate 3* Thanos' damage to friendlies.


    Re:  3*s Cyclops and Thor:  Well, I'll think on it.  But a few observations:


    3* Thor:  Even Thor/Iron Man is slow.  Theoretically Iron Man's yellow feeds Thor's red and green, but in practice Thor's red even at five covers just doesn't do enough damage.  Imagine the "best case" scenario, a player fires Iron Man's yellow and also makes a couple red matches (call it four turns), fires Thor's red a couple times for aggregate 4000 damage, makes a couple more yellow matches (six turns), fires Iron Man's yellow again (another two turns).  Thor's red does aggregate 6000 damage over eight turns, plus green for 4800 targeted / 2400 nontargeted.  So call it 15600 aggregate (doubling the nontargeted damage) at four yellow matches, two red matches, and eight turns.  Call it four yellow, two red, and two green to fire Thor's green twice to bring it to 25200.

    Consider Kamala Khan.  Iron Man fires red for 7000, Kamala does 3500 to team, tripling that and adding to Iron Man for aggregate 17500, at two yellow matches, one red match, one green match, and five turns.  Four yellow, two red, and two green over eight turns doubles it to 35000.  Besides, Kamala Khan also generates temporary hit points and has a usable purple that can set up further green matches, or at least depopulate the board of tiles of a color the team can't use.

    Thor's red gives better odds on yellow for Iron Man, but is fundamentally low damage, so the red/yellow cycle ends up not quite performing.

    3* Thor's yellow at five covers is good for board shakeup powering his green.  But there's just no way to make Thor "fast" because faster characters will still be faster, and Iron Man's AP charging uses yellow, which is one of 3* Thor's strengths.  If I were to use 3* Thor, it would be 3/5/5 on a team that didn't use yellow as an active power for anyone else.

    As to targeting invisibles, Thor's team damage usually can't do primary to the invisible character.  I consider 3* Captain America generally better to target enemy Invisibility tiles.  You could say Thor's generally good and just happens to have a team damage that can also incidentally hit invisibles for some, and that Thor isn't as vulnerable to enemy board shakeups - all true.

    But Thor is still slow. You could make a case for wave nodes or longer nodes, but in those cases I'd say Kamala Khan for healing, Bullseye for Strike tiles, Hood for AP denial, Captain America for board control, any number of other choices - all of those strike me as better for a team.


    3* Cyclops:  The ranking list is related to unique utility each character brings a roster. 

    A1  Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) - PvE punishes active powers
    A2  Iron Man (Model 40) "IM40" - accelerates AP, also has decent red
    B3  Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) "KK" - temporary HP, board shakeup, team damage
    B4  Captain America (Super Soldier) - exploits with Kamala Khan and good for drawn-out battles if enemy doesn't have board shakeups or special tile removal
    C5  Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) "SWitch" - passive AP generating board shakeup, team damage with random 5-turn stun, can spec green to destroy enemy Specials
    C6  Thanos (Modern) - speed
    C7  Deadpool (It's Me, Deadpool!) - Deadpool Whales
    C8  Hawkeye (Hawkguy) - generates AP off enemy Specials, true regeneration
    C9  Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon) "IF" - Attack tile for early damage, generates black, can store up AP and do a lot of damage in later rounds
    D10  Black Widow (Grey Suit) "GSBW" - multiple powers with precision board control, good against some alliance bosses
    D11  The Hood (Classic) - fragile but AP denial and black works with Captain America
    D12  Luke Cage (Hero for Hire) - persistent Protect tile
    E13  Blade (Daywalker) - generates Strike tiles that are key to making other characters useful, also can drain AP and create Attack tiles (though slowly)
    E14  Magneto (Classic) - board shakeup and damage that doesn't destroy tiles so won't destroy friendly specials.
    E15  Mystique (Raven Darkholme) - can slow enemy AP, has black bomb, can change away red, green, and yellow on board.  (But also fragile and AI doesn't use her at all well)
    E16  Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men) - general utility character with one decent damage attack, one not-so-decent damage attack, minor board shakeup.

    I could see a case for moving Mystique below Cyclops, considering her relative low hit points and niche role on a roster (even though she does feature in Lightning Rounds)  Or possibly Luke Cage, who is slow.  But I don't see Cyclops moving any higher.  His team synergies aren't quite there.
  • Salacious_D
    Salacious_D Posts: 15 Just Dropped In
    Thanks for this list, though not for the original purpose. I was looking for tips to beat Ultron for the alliance event now the bombs are getting towards instant death levels for my 2-3* squad. Black Widow is just what I needed to go with my championed IM40 and Cyclops. 
  • bbigler
    bbigler Posts: 1,804 Chairperson of the Boards
    Thanks for this list, though not for the original purpose. I was looking for tips to beat Ultron for the alliance event now the bombs are getting towards instant death levels for my 2-3* squad. Black Widow is just what I needed to go with my championed IM40 and Cyclops. 
    I highly recommend IM40 + 3*Cap + Kamala against a high level Ultron.  Start with AP boosts so that you have 3 Yellow.  Simply recharge, overwrite his bombs with Cap and match away any others.  Kamala is there just to hit with green and burst heal your team from incidental match damage after Ultron destroys a row.  Plus, her purple can match away green bombs too.  It's a slow process, but you win. 
  • Quebbster
    Quebbster Posts: 8,070 Chairperson of the Boards
    bbigler said:
    Thanks for this list, though not for the original purpose. I was looking for tips to beat Ultron for the alliance event now the bombs are getting towards instant death levels for my 2-3* squad. Black Widow is just what I needed to go with my championed IM40 and Cyclops. 
    I highly recommend IM40 + 3*Cap + Kamala against a high level Ultron.  Start with AP boosts so that you have 3 Yellow.  Simply recharge, overwrite his bombs with Cap and match away any others.  Kamala is there just to hit with green and burst heal your team from incidental match damage after Ultron destroys a row.  Plus, her purple can match away green bombs too.  It's a slow process, but you win. 

    I prefer 3* Black Widow as a third there. Same green/Purple coverage, but she excels in board manipulation and both green and Purple can help remove troublesome bombs.