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2018 Guide to Progressing Fast from 1* to 5* Characters

bbiglerbbigler Posts: 990 Critical Contributor
edited October 31 in MPQ Tips and Guides
Hello there fellow tile-swapper.  Looking for some tips?  Well, I've compiled everything I can think of into this article, but unfortunately, it's a ton of advice.  So, I've tried to organize it based on the current strength of your roster.  Some advice is relevant throughout the game, while other advice only applies at certain points.  This advice is also current as I'm a veteran player who decided to start over this year because I thought it would be fun.  I will also update this article based on feedback I get.  Honestly, this advice is more for the hardcore player than a casual one.  The goal here is progressing as fast as possible from the beginning to 5* play.  Here is the potential timeline based on my personal experience:

The Timeline:
Day 15: Champ your first 2*
Day 25: Champ your first 3*
Day 30: Champ all 2*s
Day 40: Roster all 3*s
Day 55: Champ 10 x 3*s
Day 80: Champ 20 x 3*s
Day 105: Champ 30 x 3*s
Day 140: Champ All 3*s
Day 150: Champ your first 4*
Day 195: Champ 6 x 4*s
Day 235: Max cover your 1st 5*
Day 275: Max cover your 2nd 5*
Day 305: Champ 3 x 5*s!

So, Yes, it will take almost a year to reach 5* play, but keep in mind that most 5* players spent years getting there, so this is the fast track.  These timelines also make a few assumptions: you play for 3 hrs per day and you're willing to spend some money, up to $300 during the 1st year.  This means playing PVE to max progression rewards and PVP to 40 wins or 900 points.  This timeline probably looks very fast to veteran players, but it is possible.  The biggest limit to building a strong roster fast is the HP cost of roster slots.  So that's why making some wise purchases for HP will speed you along.  I've explained below how this is to be done.

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1* - 2* Roster (No 2* Champs) - 2 week period

  • INTRO: welcome to Marvel Puzzle Quest.  I hope you like it as it has taken years to develop the game into what it is now.  The game is designed to help new players reach a competitive level fairly quickly.  So, progress is very fast in the beginning but slows down the further you go.  The mechanics are match-3, but the name of the game is roster building. Growing your roster and characters to be stronger and stronger is fun, in addition to finding new strategies and teams. 
  • Try to play any event that you can: you need those rewards.  Try the easy nodes of Story events and seed teams of Versus events.  Try DDQ and definitely replay the Prologue nodes that you can beat.  As your roster strengthens in the first 2 weeks, you will be able to complete the entire Prologue, getting every reward possible. Carefully manage your health packs as you will quickly run out of them.  Also be careful with the SCL level you pick for PVE events.  Pick an end time of day when you will be available and not busy.  It's best to play at the beginning and end of the time period.
  • Buy the SCL Starter Packs: it's a great value and will give you a big boost in the beginning.  Within the 1st week, you should be able to get the SCL 3 & 4 Starter Packs.  The main reason to buy these packs is for the Hero Points (HP), ISO and covers.  The other tokens and command points are just gravy.  
  • How to Spend your ISO: during the 1st week, spend it on your main fighters, like 1* Iron Man and 2* Wolverine.  Juggernaut and Spiderman are very good 1*s, but you'll gain covers for Iron Man much faster.  I would only level up Iron Man to 30.  If you have some 3*s with at least 7 covers, then level them up and fight with them too.  On your 2nd week, spend ISO on your other 2*s so that you can start champing them all.  Champion characters give you more rewards and become stronger as time goes on.  
  • Only spend Hero Points (HP) on roster slots: you may not realize it now, but HP is precious as you need to buy a ton of roster slots to play this game.  The SCL Starter Packs give you HP, but you may want to buy even more.  The game rewards you for rostering everyone as PVE events have required characters.  The exception to spending HP is buying a 3 hr shield in PVP so you can win some nice placement rewards.
  • Save Legendary Tokens (LT) and Command Points (CP): it may be tempting to get a 4* or 5* character, but paying for those roster slots is expensive and could make you lose some 3* covers because of it.  A 1-cover 5* character is useful in the beginning, but it hurts your long term goals.  The better long term strategy is to save LT and CP for max covering 5* characters later.
  • Save Heroic Tokens (HT): the only reason for this is the cost of roster slots.  You have the chance of getting 4* characters in those tokens, but now is not the time to start building the 4* tier.  Your roster slots should go to all 2*s and 3*s right now.
  • Farm experience points (XP) from 1* covers: whenever you apply a cover to a character, you get XP.  This is a fast way to gain Rank levels and get extra ISO, but be careful as you could rank up so high that you're locked out of lower SCL levels for PVE.  If you find yourself hurting for roster slots, then sell your 1*s and roster 3*s instead.  You could go down to 2 x 1* roster slots.  1 character for fighting the DDQ node and 1 slot for applying 1* covers to get XP, then sell the character and apply covers for someone else.  It's tedious, but it works.  Having a slot for each 1* is easier but pricey.
  • The Best 2* Teams: Wolverine with Marvel and Widow forms rainbow coverage and is an all purpose team. Ares with Daken and Moonstone also have rainbow coverage with big hits but less defense. Storm with Magneto and Hawkeye is a 1 trick pony team, where you use Mag's purple to get a Blue match-5. I like using Marvel instead of Hawkeye with this team though.
  • THE BOTTOM LINE: Focus on building up your 2*s and champing all of them ASAP.  Forget about leveling up 1*s, your ISO is precious.  On the side, roster every 3* cover you get and save all HT, LT and CP.  Farm XP from 1* covers.  If you would like to make a comparison, after 2 weeks I had: Rank 29, 54 roster slots, 48 HT, 1 LT, 100 CP. 

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2* Champs Roster - 2 week period

  • INTRO: at this point you start to get a sense of the true mechanics of the game.  It's all about building up your characters so that you can fight tougher battles and get better rewards, which in turn helps you to build up more characters.  This cycle continues to the top level of play.  The strong get stronger, which means that with dedicated play you can out-pace others and rise above people that have stronger rosters than you right now.  Your progression speed is what matters most.
  • How to Spend your ISO: this is split between the 2* and 3* tier.  Since champing all 2*s is a higher priority, I would spend about 75% of my ISO on champing 2*s.  Once done, it's a major relief and exciting as you can start fighting with boosted 2* Champs and getting champ rewards while building up those 3*s.  Even before your 3*s are champed, they can be useful for battles.  I played SCL 5 during this time period.
  • Keep saving LT and CP: this is important for the long term goal of champing 5* characters, so hold fast and be strong!  Besides, you don't want the burden of rostering another new character during this period.  Don't worry, the 4* covers will come even while saving LT and CP.  Also, keep saving those Heroic Tokens for the next phase.
  • Climbing in Versus (PVP): there are other threads that talk about this in detail, but here's my advice: start early to get some easy wins from the seed teams.  You want to get the progression reward at 40 wins right?  Well, you could space it out and play 10 battles at a time.  If you go too high in the beginning, everyone will hit you.  I've found that I can get maximum points at 11 hrs out from the end.  So, I could use an 8 hr and 3 hr shield to finish, but I don't want to spend 225 HP on this, so I do my last 10 fights at 3 hrs out, which only costs 75 HP and then I win back 50 HP in the placement reward. 
  • Getting 75 wins in Shield Simulator: this is a simple matter of playing 2 or 3 Shield Sim battles per day.  If you procrastinate, then it becomes a burden trying to catch up.  So, just make it a part of the daily routine, like DDQ.  Pick whatever team you like to win battles, but make your last battle of the session with a team that people would rather avoid, like characters with annoying passive powers (Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Scarlet Witch, Daken). 
  • Playing for points in Story (PVE): I didn't want to explain this strategy for beginners, but now you need to know.  In order to get good placement rewards, you need to clear each node 4 times (2 for wave nodes) when it first starts, then clear those nodes 3 more times just before it ends.  The order that you clear also matters.  In general, do the first 4 clears on the highest point nodes first.  This is also where your full roster gives you an advantage as every PVE has required characters.  If you don't have the required characters, you can't play the nodes and get the points and rewards. 
  • Shield Clearance Level (SCL): if you haven't noticed this by now, there are SCLs that determine the difficulty of the enemies you face in PVE.  It's very important to choose the correct SCL for your roster so that you can get maximum rewards for a reasonable amount of effort.  You may be able to fight at a higher SCL, but it would require more heath packs and also take longer.  So, choose wisely.  During this 2 week period, I played SCL 5.  The SCL level you choose in PVP does not determine the difficulty of your opponents (it's based on your top character's levels) but it does affect the pool of players you're matched up against.
  • Deadpool's Daily Quest (DDQ): this should always be completed because the rewards are great and the effort is small.  Because of DDQ, you need to maintain a decently leveled 1* character.  You should also be able to complete the first 5 nodes to get 6500 ISO, 10 HP, 1 Standard Token, 1 Elite Token, 2 Taco Tokens and 3* cover.
  • Join a good alliance: at this point you should be a part of a good active alliance.  Most importantly, you get alliance rewards, plus the occasional CP from purchases.  A good alliance has active players and gets decent placement rewards.  A great alliance gets better placement rewards and good progression rewards in Boss events.
  • VIP Membership: if you don't mind spending a little more each month, VIP membership is good for getting extra rewards, most notably it gives 2 LT per month.  Technically, your characters heal faster, but I don't think I've noticed.  In general, it's definitely good to spend the bare minimum per month (Bugle Pittance = 200 HP) just to get the Bonus Rewards.
  • Supports: once you get 3* characters, you get some free supports.  What do you do with them?  Well, not too much.  But I did find the Vintage Shield to be useful for characters with naturally Low Health.  I would focus on leveling up just 1 support at first and keep it attached to the character that needs it most.  As you get more supports (which is slow) you can level them up to make a significant difference in PVE.
  • THE BOTTOM LINE: Focus on champing all of your 2*s before building those 3*s.  Try to roster every 3* character you get and seek after those covers.  Establish a regular routine of play, which is something you can live with.  If you would like to make a comparison, after 4 weeks I had: Rank 40, 76 roster slots, 128 HT, 6 LT, 288 CP, 12 x 2*s champed, 2 x 3*s champed, and 10 x 4*s rostered.

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3* Champs Roster - 16 week period

  • INTRO: if you've made it this far, then you've shown some endurance.  You've graduated 2* high school and now it's time to go to 3* college.  This will take more time and commitment, but it will payoff in the end and lead the way to 4* champs.  With active play, you can champ all 3*s within 16 weeks, which is 3.7 months.  During this time, your roster will get strong and diverse, giving you multiple teams and strategies to fight with.  You'll be able to take down almost any opponent.
  • Shield Clearance Level (SCL): with a few good 3* champs you can play SCL 6, but with a few of the top 3* champs (Strange, IM40, Fist, Cage, Magneto, Kamala) you can play SCL 7.  Playing SCL 7 makes a big difference because it rewards 4* covers in the progression rewards, and you need to start collecting those 4* covers ASAP.  During this time of champing 3*s, SCL 8 and 9 will open up to you.  With some boosted champed 3*s, you can play SCL 8, but I warn you, it will be difficult, take longer and require health packs.  The rewards are marginally better, so it's your choice.  SCL 9 will destroy you, so don't attempt this until you have 4* champs. 
  • How to Spend your ISO: this is simple, spend it on leveling up and champing your 3*s.  Don't spend it on 4*s unless you have a really good reason (like beating DDQ's Crash of the Titans).  It will be a relief having all 3*s champed when you start leveling up those expensive 4*s.  I think it's best to setup a champing assembly line.  I level them up as I get their covers instead of leaving them at level 40 until they have 13 covers and 125K ISO.  I will leave them at level 120 before champing them because the ISO leveling cost jumps at that point. 
  • Bonus Heroes (BH): this is a life saver and a way to combat random covers.  At first, I set my BH to the best characters in the tier, like Dr Strange, Thanos, Iron Man Model 40 (IM40) and Iron Fist. Once they were champed, I set it to the characters that were close to 13 covers so that I could keep champing 3*s.  Once I started getting so many 3* covers that I didn't need that help, I set my BH to my lowest covered 3*s so there won't be any stragglers at the end of 16 weeks. 
  • Open Heroic Tokens when all 3*s are rostered: you've been saving your Heroic Tokens, right?  Well, after the 40 day fast it should be time to start opening them.  Hooray!  I had about 150 saved before I started opening them in batches of 40 - 60.  I would open them until I had 2 - 3 unrostered 4*s, then I would stop and spend the next week or so rostering them.  Once my reward covers (the vine) were cleared, I would open another batch of Heroic Tokens.  If I opened them all at once, then I would have too many characters to roster and be forced to either purchase HP or waste them.  Hence, the opening in batches.  Because these tokens replenish between opening sessions, it may take a couple months to open them all. 
  • Acquiring 4* covers while saving LT and CP: the hoard should continue, trust me.  During this time of champing 3*s, you definitely want to collect as many 4* covers as you can.  The main way of doing this is by playing SCL 7 or above, which rewards a 4* cover in the progression rewards.  Another source is from tokens, but not Legendary tokens.  A 3rd source is from 3* champ rewards, which give out a 4* cover at level 183.  They also give out 4* covers at levels 223 and 265, but by that time you're already champing 4*s anyway.  A 4th source of 4* covers is from Boss events and other special events.  With a good alliance, you can win 3 x 4* covers in one Boss event.  The goal here is to roster all 4*s by the time you're done champing 3*s.  Part of this strategy is spreading out the cost of roster slots, to minimize any real money you would need to spend.
  • Lightning Rounds: perhaps you've ignored these until now, but they're a good source of easy ISO.  I just play the seed teams and can win 1000 - 2000 ISO per event for about 5 minutes of work.  You really can't win good placement rewards without champed 4* or 5* characters, so I don't bother.   Even if I did have the roster strength, it would be one more thing to spend time on. 
  • Crash of the Titans: you've probably been ignoring this DDQ node, but now is the time to pay attention to it.  It's a 1-on-1 battle between a required 4* and a level 270 character.  For new rosters, this is a tough battle, but it rewards the ultimate prize, an LT.  So, how do you win?  Well, it's highly dependent on the match up, but in my experience if you have at least a 6-covered 4* at level 125+, then you have a chance.  How your 4* is covered also makes a big difference as some powers are far more useful than others in these match-ups.  Going invisible is a huge advantage, along with stuns and special tiles.  You can't use team-ups but you can use damage boosts and supports.  If you've gotten close to winning but still died, keep trying!  There are so many times I thought I would never win, but I did because I kept trying until I got a lucky board.
  • Farming 2*s: have your 2*s reached max champ level of 144, so no more champ rewards?  Well, I've got good news for you, you can restart the character and get those champ rewards again!  This may sound crazy but it's a common practice in the game.  People do this in different ways, but I'll explain my way.  After a 2* reaches 144, I'll start to collect their covers in the reward queue, which expire in 2 weeks.  Before the oldest one expires, I sell the max champ and rebuild them, usually champing them right away. This costs a little ISO, but you'll get it back in future rewards. 
  • The Best 3* Teams: Cage & Fist & Scarlet Witch are great against Dark Avengers or used in Shield Sim; just collect purple, flood the board with black and punch everyone to death. IM40 with Strange and Kamala is a fast all purpose team; just recharge ASAP, then Stun, Bash and Unibeam. Thanos with Daken and Patch are great for quick wins on easy nodes or seed teams. Thanos-Strange-Fist is also fast against goons, but my favorite goon team is Hawkguy, Strange and Scarlet Witch. I just focus on matching their CD tiles, then throw down strikes and stun-hit with Strange; it works surprisingly well. Scarlet's green can also destroy CD tiles.
  • THE BOTTOM LINE: Focus on champing all 3*s while collecting and rostering all 4*s.  Continue to save LT and CP for the next phase.  Enjoy the new strength and diversity of your roster because you'll be fighting with them for a long time.  Your resource acquisition rates should be around: 350K ISO/week, 100 - 150 CP/week, 2 - 4 LT/week, 5 - 15 x 4*covers/week, 2 - 3 New 3* Champs/week. For comparison, after 20 weeks I had almost all 4*s rostered with my best ones with 8 covers; my hoard was up to 162 LL pulls, my rank was 81 with 135 roster slots.

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4* Champs Roster

  • INTRO: Congratulations, you've champed all 3*s and rostered all 4*s! (hopefully).  Anyway, things are about to get very interesting.  Most likely, your best 4*s only have 8 covers, so they can't be champed.  But if they were fully covered, it would take 3 times more ISO to champ them than 3*s.  Since this tier has the greatest level of dilution, fully covering 4*s may be very difficult, but it's worth it.  When a 4* is boosted, their health and damage increases by about 100%, unlike boosted 3*s which get about a 50% increase in health and 20% increase in damage.  Just like other phases of progression, you need to champ 4*s while building up towards 5*s during this time.  4* champs are key in sustainable 5* growth.
  • Heroes for Hire (HFH) and Vaults: Once you have rostered all 4*s, something new becomes an option for you: Heroes for Hire (HFH) and Vaults.  Because you'll be acquiring HP faster than you need for roster slots, you could spend the extra HP buying specific 4* covers that you need.  Given the 4* tier dilution, this is a great option.  HFH store usually sells a specific 4* cover with extras at 3600 HP.  Special event vaults are usually a good value if you want the 4* covers inside.  Plus, you would get a bunch of other rewards from those vaults. 
  • How to obtain 5* covers: this is not easy, they usually come to you through Legendary tokens at the 1:7 ratio, but you can also get them from 4* champ rewards, which is great, but champing 4*s and getting them to those levels is not easy either.  Another way is to simply purchase them from the HFH store for 250 or 500 CP when it comes around.  You can also purchase them outright (if you already have at least 1 cover already) for 720 CP in the character screen, but I don't think anyone likes that option.  Perhaps one day they'll open SCL 10 with 5* covers as progression and placement rewards.
  • What to do with the Hoard: By now you should have saved between 65 - 75 LT and 2100 - 2300 CP, which would give you 150 - 165 Latest Legend pulls.  Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to fully cover 3 x 5*s.  So, how many pulls does it take?  Well, it comes down to probabilities: if you had perfectly even distribution of 5* covers between 3 characters and you pulled at the rate of 1:7, then it would only take 273 pulls.  But, it will not go perfectly, so it really takes 350 - 400 pulls to account for uneven distribution.  But is this the best way to transition to 5* Champs?  What about Classic tokens? What if you didn't hoard?  Let's look at that.
  • The 5* Transition: Because 5* dilution is so great in the Classic LT pool, it would take years to champ your first 5* by opening Classics. So, the fastest way to get into the 5* game is by using your hoard to get a headstart covering the latest 5*s. After opening the hoard, you then continue to open Latest to fully cover them before they leave the pool. Because of PVP matchmaking, it's best to champ your first 3 x 5*s at the same time. With this plan, the oldest 5* in the pool may not get max covered before leaving, but you should be able to max cover them going forward. In order for this to work, you will need 4* champs to increase your rate of pulling Latest. 4* champs give you great champ rewards and they increase your gameplay variety. Once you have 5*champs, they will be your main fighters, but you still need to champ those 4*s for the rewards.  
  • What about the Classic 5*s?: Since Classic 5*s are essential for PVE nodes, you will need them to be competitive for placement rewards. You can get Classic 5*s from 4* champ rewards, but that's a little slow. If you have a good set of 5* champs, you could start opening Classics instead. Then when all are rostered, go back to Latest, because it would still take years to champ Classic 5*s.
  • Who to set as your Bonus Heroes?: if you opened a hoard of 200 pulls, then you would get about 10 BH covers. You could use those to champ the best in the tier (Grocket, Medusa, Gamora, Vulture, Chavez) or spread them out among your highest covered 4*s to get multiple champs ready. 5* BH are rare, so I would use those to finish covering a 5*, and not try to cover someone from scratch. 
  • Top 4* Teams: Grocket + Gamora is a great 2 person team to add to any PVP battle. Chavez + Ghost would work well in getting high match damage. Vulture alone can wreck teams. Carnage + Medusa are annoying to fight against. In Shield Sim, many people play Grocket + Gamora + Medusa. To counter that team you could use Dazzler + Grocket + Gamora to stun Medusa and remove their strikes. In PVE, 3*Thanos with some combination of 4*Grocket / Medusa / 3*Strange make quick work of the nodes. IM40 can fuel Riri, Nebula or Dazzler. There are many great combos at this level. 
  • THE BOTTOM LINE: This is an exciting time and your patience in hoarding pays off now. You enter a higher level of play with 4* champs, but you have to have a plan to get 5* champs as well. The ISO cost to champ the entire 4* tier is tremendous, so you'll end up champing 5*s while you're still working on the 4*s. And remember that once you champ 5*s, your PVP matchmaking drastically changes. 
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5* Champs Roster

  • INTRO: You've made it!  You've reached the top level of the game!..............or have you?  Obtaining 5* champs is probably a bittersweet experience for you.  You'll notice that there are still players with much stronger rosters than you.  They may have a dozen or more champed 5*s and their 5*s are at high champ levels.  You may even notice that they have high level supports or even duplicate 5* champs too.  Don't worry and try not to compare yourself to them.  The important thing is to enjoy the new power that your roster has. 
  • Now What?: the game is designed to never end, so don't try to get to the "end" of it.  Obviously, you can continue to develop and champ new 5*s very slowly to expand your roster power.  D3 continues to develop new characters and other features to keep you interested, but eventually, you may get bored and want to quit.  Honestly, that's OK and not a bad choice IMO, but you probably have played for such a long time because it was fun.  It may be hard to find that fun in the 5* tier.  Your PVP battles may be very repetitive.  PVE may become a mindless grind.  New 4* characters may not be interesting anymore.  If you can't find a way to make it fun, then don't torture yourself. 
  • PVE and PVP: because time is precious, many 5* players go down to SCL 7 in order to clear the nodes super fast but still get good rewards.  This is certainly the bane to 3* and 4* players competing with them, but the game allows it.  Perhaps you can look at it as the reward for obtaining 5* champs.  But I have heard that 5* players distribute themselves evenly among SCLs 7, 8 and 9.  With proper 5* character balancing, PVP battles should be diverse, but there will always be top tier characters you see over and over.  Nevertheless, you should be able to obtain the 1200 point reward much easier now.  Boss battles will also be easier too. 
  • How do I compete with the best?: Well, most of the top tier 5*s are in Classics, which means that the best way to obtain them is by hoarding for a new 5* store which includes one of them. That would take about 7500 - 8500 CP. Another option is to hoard LT and CP for Latest, but with the goal of getting them to level 500+. That would take 1300+ LL pulls. 
  • 3* and 4* Duplicates: By the time you reach this level of play, your 3* champs are near or at max champ level of 266, so many 5* players will create a duplicate character to collect their covers.  This is similar to 2* farming, but with a twist.  You can either sell the max champ (which took over a year to obtain) and champ the duplicate, or simply spend the ISO to champ them.  What's the point of having a duplicate? (other than getting champ rewards).  Well, you can save health packs by fighting with the duplicate instead of healing the original.  This same method applies to 4* champs, but getting them to max champ level takes much longer.  You do have the option to create duplicates before the original reaches max champ level, but those higher champ level rewards are really good. 
  • THE BOTTOM LINE: you've worked very hard to get to this level of play, so try to enjoy it despite the negatives.  There will always be a carrot to run after, but if you find yourself bored of playing this game, then be satisfied with your "accomplishment" and move on.  I don't think D3 expects anyone to play this for the rest of their life. 

Comments

  • PongiePongie Posts: 1,155 Chairperson of the Boards
    Good guide but note that the recommended number of pulls for 3x 5*s is not 300 (it was under 50% with swaps). 

    Number of pulls required 

    To cover all three:
    50%: with swaps: 315, without swaps: 377
    55%: with swaps: 323, without swaps: 388
    60%: with swaps: 331, without swaps: 398
    65%: with swaps: 339, without swaps: 410
    70%: with swaps: 348, without swaps: 423
    75%: with swaps: 358, without swaps: 438
    80%: with swaps: 369, without swaps: 456
    85%: with swaps: 383, without swaps: 478
    90%: with swaps: 402, without swaps: 508
    95%: with swaps: 431, without swaps: 556
  • bbiglerbbigler Posts: 990 Critical Contributor
    Pongie said:
    Good guide but note that the recommended number of pulls for 3x 5*s is not 300 (it was under 50% with swaps). 

    Number of pulls required 

    To cover all three:
    50%: with swaps: 315, without swaps: 377
    55%: with swaps: 323, without swaps: 388
    60%: with swaps: 331, without swaps: 398
    65%: with swaps: 339, without swaps: 410
    70%: with swaps: 348, without swaps: 423
    75%: with swaps: 358, without swaps: 438
    80%: with swaps: 369, without swaps: 456
    85%: with swaps: 383, without swaps: 478
    90%: with swaps: 402, without swaps: 508
    95%: with swaps: 431, without swaps: 556
    Thanks for the information, I updated the guide recommending around 400 pulls. 
  • rixmithrixmith Posts: 653 Critical Contributor
    This is a fantastic guide! Very nice work. Every new player who wants to excel at this game should read this!
  • AardvarkPepperAardvarkPepper Posts: 103 Tile Toppler
    edited September 8
    1)  1* Juggernaut is best 1*.  When transitioning to 2*, a 6 AP red that hits for 1100 is still relevant, and a 6 AP green that destroys 16 tiles is great.  His red-green-black suite also means he can take some hits.

    On the other hand 1* Spiderman's red-blue-purple often hides behind 2*s, and I don't consider his purple quite worth the slot he takes up on a team.

    Adding 1*s to roster and covering them is fine as long as a player has roster slots available.  But I would not put iso into anything but Juggernaut.  More Juggernaut covers can be obtained in Standard tokens, available through Lightning Rounds. 

    2)  In 2* land, Bullseye and Daken are both useful though situationally.  Bullseye offers precision board control and persistent Protect tiles.  Daken is a functional regenerator.  Wolverine is not as reliable a regenerator against larger hits, as Wolverine won't heal up much past 50%, so often can't tank even one big hit.  (Daken feeds off Strike tiles and is almost useless on offense without Wolverine's Strike tile generation, but his regeneration and two-hit power make him worth considering - especially since the two-hit power can be used in PvP to kill two weak enemies using only 5 AP, triggering 3* Thanos twice, which helps speed a lot.

    I also piloted a new account for a while for fun, and I found both Bullseye and Daken useful.  Nothing on the level like Mag-Storm in most situations, but each has their own particular uses.

    3)  "2 weeks I had: Rank 29, 54 roster slots, 48 HT, 1 LT, 100 CP. " - All respect, but this does sound like it's fueled in some part by money.  It's a good idea to at least mention special deals available to new players, and how they match up against other deals, but providing reference points absent context can be misleading to free players.  I don't think free players would normally be able to hit 54 roster slots in two weeks; would you disagree?

    4)  I don't recommend two slots for 1*s.  Instead I recommend one slot for 1*, and two open slots to rotate in 3*s (and 4*s as applicable).  Assuming a player isn't buying in to new player specials, their roster slots will be quite limited, but they can still get the Essential character for PvE events by earning them as progression rewards.  If they play at SCL 7 (which is quite possible with just a few good 3*s, key 3* Strange and Iron Man but also imo others which I won't get into here) - but anyways they can push to PvE SCL 7 pretty quickly.

    Yes, SCL 7 usually has 4*s that newer players can't afford to roster so much (even more so for free players), but I think even new players should identify which particular 4*s they want, then go after them.

    I would fully agree that a player's infrastructure and rewards structure favors rostering all 3*s before 4*s.  But I also think earlier key 4*s helps cut a player's real time spent in game, which is also important.

    5)  At the beginning, I don't think it's "correct" to save Heroic tokens.  Yes, once a player has developed key 3*s to push into higher SCL, then I'd think saving Heroic tokens might be a thing to do.  But at least in the beginning, Heroic tokens represent possible additional 2* and 3* pulls that feed the player's roster strength.

    I'm not saying it's "wrong" to save Heroic tokens; again in terms of infrastructure and rewards it's the smart thing to do.  But again, I think opening Heroic tokens can speed a player's development especially when they're making that initial transition from 2* to 3*.  Imagine your 3* Iron Man or 3* Doctor Strange don't quite have the right covers you want, but that you don't have enough covers to champion them.  Would it make sense, in that context, to open Heroic tokens for a faster and easier push?

    Yes, a player will have to discard an occasional 4*.  But I think a player can afford to keep *good* 4*s, and that they should do so even while they're making the transition from 2*-3*.  I also think that a player should look into pushing into PvE SCL 7 ASAP so they can earn key 4* covers when they are available.

    6)  "then clear those nodes 2 or 3 more times just before it ends.  The order that you clear also matters.  In general, do the first 4 clears on the highest point nodes first."

    Isn't it always 3 clears at the end?  When the timer starts, the points are reduced to 2/3 maximum.  When the timer is near zero, the points are near 100%, then once removes 1/3, twice removes another 1/3, third removes another 1/3 then the node's worth near zero.

    Also I'm not sure that doing the first 4 clears on highest point nodes is always correct.  It depends on clear times.  If a player's clear times for highest point nodes is super quick, then sure, they want to set those timers ASAP.  But if the clear times on highest point nodes is a little slow, all the easy node timers are starting later as well.

    Besides, there's the question of having to have hit easier nodes in the first place to *get* to the harder nodes.

    7) "Heroes for Hire (HFH) and Vaults: Once you have rostered all 4*s, something new becomes an option for you: Heroes for Hire (HFH) and Vaults. -

    I think it depends in some part on the player.  Let's say you've finally max champed some 3*s, and let's also say that by that point you're some way along in the 3*-4* transition, so you have a good number of fieldable 4*s.  But do you still really want to start over with that 3*?  Or do you want to dupli-roster 3*s?  The same is true for 4*s, what happens when you max a 4*?  Do you really want to sell it?

    My thought is a player may want to dupli-roster so may need those HP.  It depends on the player, but it's an option I think at least worth considering.

    8) "Who to Champ First: there are many good ones, but here's my 2 cents: Star Lord is awesome against goons!  His passive triggers immediately and he can overwrite their CD tiles.  Peggy is generally good.  Combining her with IM40 and Red Hulk is a near perfect team.  Medusa and Grocket are a PVP deterrent and do great against goons.  Vulture is a good green & blue battery.  Wasp, Carol and Gamora are generally good.  Thor works well with IM40.  Cage works well with Wasp.  Cloak & Dagger are a good yellow or black battery.  Iceman is very good alone.  Prof X can form a winfinite with 3* Widow.  Rogue is a good tank.  Kate Bishop and Moon Knight are strong. "

    Is that in a context of playing PvE SCL 9?

    Specifically - from what I've heard, PvE SCL 9 offers more points than SCL 7, so if you *can* play SCL 9 then you can score higher points, so you're more attractive to top alliances so you can pull better alliance rewards.  So yes, if those 4*s are going to enable you to hammer PvE SCL 9 then that's a consideration.

    But if you're just playing at PVE SCL 7, then perhaps 4* Rocket and Groot would be the priority instead.  Sure, it's overkill, but you *really* burn through nodes a lot faster.

    ==

    I liked what I read, but I think in places a bit more context would provide readers with a clearer understanding of why particular recommendations were made over others.
  • AardvarkPepperAardvarkPepper Posts: 103 Tile Toppler
    Pongie said:
    Good guide but note that the recommended number of pulls for 3x 5*s is not 300 (it was under 50% with swaps). 

    Number of pulls required 

    To cover all three:
    50%: with swaps: 315, without swaps: 377
    55%: with swaps: 323, without swaps: 388
    60%: with swaps: 331, without swaps: 398
    65%: with swaps: 339, without swaps: 410
    70%: with swaps: 348, without swaps: 423
    75%: with swaps: 358, without swaps: 438
    80%: with swaps: 369, without swaps: 456
    85%: with swaps: 383, without swaps: 478
    90%: with swaps: 402, without swaps: 508
    95%: with swaps: 431, without swaps: 556
    By "swaps" you mean asking customer service to swap one 5* cover for another?  Do they still do that?
  • bbiglerbbigler Posts: 990 Critical Contributor
    edited September 10
    @AardvarkPepper Thanks for the feedback.  Here's my comments on your comments:

    1) Juggernaut is very good, but the problem with using him in the beginning is timing.  By the time I had a 5/5 covered Juggs, I was already fighting with 2* Wolverine, so Juggs never saw any play until I leveled him up for DDQ.  The same goes for Spidey, but I did get 1* Iron Man covers immediately, so I put ISO into him.  In my restart experiment, I only fought with 1*s for 2 days, then moved onto 2*s. 
    2) Agreed, Bullseye and Daken can be useful, but both lack the ability to deliver a killing blow.  I hate how Daken's Blue ability works against himself - collect Blue, he doesn't heal but hurts himself instead and then removes the few strikes tiles you tried to build up.  3* Daken is useful against seed teams or easy nodes though. 
    3) Yes, I spent a good amount of money in the 1st 2 weeks (around $100) on SCL Starter Packs and HP purchases, which is how I got 54 roster slots.  A free player would not be able to do this.  I thought it was clear that I was spending money, but I'll add a sentence explaining that my timeline is not for "free" players.
    4) The extra slot for 1*s is simply for farming XP.  My overall strategy is "no cover wasted", which is why I opted to buy HP for roster slots rather than rotate 3*s and 4*s for required PVE nodes. 
    5) Opening Heroics in the beginning is a short term gain long term loss, I believe.  I was gaining 3* covers so fast that it was not limiting my progress.  ISO and roster slots are what limited my roster progress.  Plus, I don't want to waste any of those precious 4* covers.  I do agree that playing in SCL 7 ASAP is best.
    6) You're right, but I didn't want to go into the details of ideal clearing order for new players.  I think they'll naturally figure out that order by following the principal of clearing the highest point nodes first because they regenerate points the fastest. 
    7) I consider having roster slots for 3* and 4* dups to be a veteran practice, meaning that it doesn't apply within the 1st year.  This progression timeline is so fast that by the time your 3*s have reached max champ level, you're already champing 5*s.  In my experience, my 3* champs gained an average of 1 level per week, each.  So, it would take well over a year for any of them to reach level 266.  4*s would gain 1 level every 2 - 3 weeks.
    8) The SCL you want to play at is a personal choice, I believe, instead of a strategic one.  SCL 9 has slightly better rewards, but it will take longer to play.  It's a greater challenge, especially for a 4* champ roster.  SCL 7 with 4* champs would be a breeze, and perhaps time is more important than rewards.  In the referenced paragraph I was just giving my advice on good 4*s. 

    Anyway, I'll go back to my OP and modify a few things, thanks for reading it. 
  • PongiePongie Posts: 1,155 Chairperson of the Boards
    Pongie said:
    Good guide but note that the recommended number of pulls for 3x 5*s is not 300 (it was under 50% with swaps). 

    Number of pulls required 

    To cover all three:
    50%: with swaps: 315, without swaps: 377
    55%: with swaps: 323, without swaps: 388
    60%: with swaps: 331, without swaps: 398
    65%: with swaps: 339, without swaps: 410
    70%: with swaps: 348, without swaps: 423
    75%: with swaps: 358, without swaps: 438
    80%: with swaps: 369, without swaps: 456
    85%: with swaps: 383, without swaps: 478
    90%: with swaps: 402, without swaps: 508
    95%: with swaps: 431, without swaps: 556
    By "swaps" you mean asking customer service to swap one 5* cover for another?  Do they still do that?
    No, the saved cover feature replaced it. 
  • AardvarkPepperAardvarkPepper Posts: 103 Tile Toppler
    @Pongie ; Thanks for the reply.

    @bbigler ; Thanks for the reply; comments:

    1)  1* Juggernaut is a usable character early in the 2*-3* transition for his cheap red hit and green shakeup.  You mentioned keeping things simple, which I understand can be best for some guides.  So take my word for it that 1* Juggernaut is without question the way to go.

    2)  There may not be a need to write "2* Bullseye and Daken are not as good as you may think."  Players want to roster them anyways for 2* farming.

    3)  2* Daken is not for killing blows.  He's only fielded if you want a regenerator, and then he's as good as you'll find in the 2* range.

    As to 2* Bullseye, he's damage mitigation and precision black/green board control.  Not killing blows.

    If I were going to dump on any 2*s it would be 2* Bagman.  He doesn't come in regular tokens, so he's slow to build, and he's not an Essential character in almost any event.

    4)  I understand you may not want to go into the details of each character, but rather than saying particular characters aren't good (which only tells readers what not to do), focus on a couple specific good combinations, like 2* Wolverine's Strike tiles combined with 2* Black Widow's Espionage, or 2* Magneto's purple feeding 2* Storm's blue.

    5) As I read it, the priorities of the guide are spending minimal money (but still spending) and not throwing away any covers, and in that context not opening Heroic tokens makes sense.  My thought regarding opening Heroic tokens is free players will have to be throwing away covers anyways, so they may as well get on with it - but that they should prioritize characters that will bring them better gains considering real time spent.  Then free players can leverage those gains to building roster slots and conserve tokens as they like, once the push to develop a few key characters is over.

    6)  Regarding "real time spent" (and health packs) - as I see it, a player may spend only a certain amount of time on the game in a day.  Suppose you have a player in the 3*-4* transition playing PvE SCL 7.  They could push to PvE SCL 8 and spend more time and get slightly better rewards, or they could stay with PvE SCL 7 and spend additional time on PvP SCL 7 for an additional source of tokens, 3* covers, and 4* covers.

    I'd say PvP doesn't pay as well as PvE for time spent, but doing PvP and PvE combined will earn better rewards than pushing up in PvE SCL.
  • TheireTheire Posts: 4 Just Dropped In
    Thanks for this guide! I'm still building my 3* champ roster and found it very useful. Just some comments from my personal experience:

    The Day 55 milestone (Champ 10x 3*s) was pretty accurate for me, but nearing Day 80 I'm nowhere near Champ 20x 3*s. I'm have 14x 3*s champed and another 11x 3* max covered, but am horribly short of ISO.

    Also, even though I have most of the top 3* champs you mentioned (only Magneto max covered, the rest like Strange, IM40, SWitch, IF, Cage, Kamala, Thanos, Hawkguy, etc. are champed), I still found that SCL7 was a horrible grind and got burnt out very quickly. I would struggle to hit the 4* cover progression reward and stop (meaning that I would miss out on the CP progression rewards).

    I've ended up dropping down to SCL4 for most PvE events, which allows me to clear out all the nodes quickly and hit full progression. SCL4 full progression gives 20 CP, which is good for a CL pull (so I figure it's worth missing the 4* progression reward in SCL7, since I won't hit full progression in SCL7 anyway). At this point, I'll only do PVE SCL7 and/or hit 40 PvP wins when there's a specific 4* cover I want.
  • bbiglerbbigler Posts: 990 Critical Contributor
    Theire said:
    Thanks for this guide! I'm still building my 3* champ roster and found it very useful. Just some comments from my personal experience:

    The Day 55 milestone (Champ 10x 3*s) was pretty accurate for me, but nearing Day 80 I'm nowhere near Champ 20x 3*s. I'm have 14x 3*s champed and another 11x 3* max covered, but am horribly short of ISO.

    Also, even though I have most of the top 3* champs you mentioned (only Magneto max covered, the rest like Strange, IM40, SWitch, IF, Cage, Kamala, Thanos, Hawkguy, etc. are champed), I still found that SCL7 was a horrible grind and got burnt out very quickly. I would struggle to hit the 4* cover progression reward and stop (meaning that I would miss out on the CP progression rewards).

    I've ended up dropping down to SCL4 for most PvE events, which allows me to clear out all the nodes quickly and hit full progression. SCL4 full progression gives 20 CP, which is good for a CL pull (so I figure it's worth missing the 4* progression reward in SCL7, since I won't hit full progression in SCL7 anyway). At this point, I'll only do PVE SCL7 and/or hit 40 PvP wins when there's a specific 4* cover I want.
    Thanks for the comments, I'm glad you're finding this useful. The timeline is aggressive, so if you're close to it, then you're doing good.  Champing all 3*s does take a lot of ISO, so I know it's tough. Double ISO events are your relief and catch up time, which should happen around Christmas. 
    As for SCL 7, it is a long grind with a 3* roster. It took me about 60 - 90 minutes to do the beginning or ending clears. It's not easy,  but it is worth it if you can manage. Against tile movers, I would use IM40 + Strange + Kamala. Against goons, I would use Strange, Hawkguy(5/3/5) and Switch(3/5/5).
    But my fastest team against goons, which reduced the grind was Thanos + Strange + Fist/Essential. To avoid using a lot of healthpacks, I would make sure Strange hit 3 times with his passive when the first enemy goes down so that Thanos' ally damage would be negated. I would also make sure that Court Death triggers just once because it kills a 2nd goon. So, I would switch targets when 1 goon is below the Court Death threshold. Plus, you have to watch their CD tiles. It's a little tricky process overall, but if you get the hang of it, the team clears goons fast with almost no healthpacks. With Thanos + Strange, SCL 6 should be a breeze and SCL 7 is manageable. 

  • TheireTheire Posts: 4 Just Dropped In
    bbigler said:
    Theire said:
    Thanks for this guide! I'm still building my 3* champ roster and found it very useful. Just some comments from my personal experience:

    The Day 55 milestone (Champ 10x 3*s) was pretty accurate for me, but nearing Day 80 I'm nowhere near Champ 20x 3*s. I'm have 14x 3*s champed and another 11x 3* max covered, but am horribly short of ISO.

    Also, even though I have most of the top 3* champs you mentioned (only Magneto max covered, the rest like Strange, IM40, SWitch, IF, Cage, Kamala, Thanos, Hawkguy, etc. are champed), I still found that SCL7 was a horrible grind and got burnt out very quickly. I would struggle to hit the 4* cover progression reward and stop (meaning that I would miss out on the CP progression rewards).

    I've ended up dropping down to SCL4 for most PvE events, which allows me to clear out all the nodes quickly and hit full progression. SCL4 full progression gives 20 CP, which is good for a CL pull (so I figure it's worth missing the 4* progression reward in SCL7, since I won't hit full progression in SCL7 anyway). At this point, I'll only do PVE SCL7 and/or hit 40 PvP wins when there's a specific 4* cover I want.
    Thanks for the comments, I'm glad you're finding this useful. The timeline is aggressive, so if you're close to it, then you're doing good.  Champing all 3*s does take a lot of ISO, so I know it's tough. Double ISO events are your relief and catch up time, which should happen around Christmas. 
    As for SCL 7, it is a long grind with a 3* roster. It took me about 60 - 90 minutes to do the beginning or ending clears. It's not easy,  but it is worth it if you can manage. Against tile movers, I would use IM40 + Strange + Kamala. Against goons, I would use Strange, Hawkguy(5/3/5) and Switch(3/5/5).
    But my fastest team against goons, which reduced the grind was Thanos + Strange + Fist/Essential. To avoid using a lot of healthpacks, I would make sure Strange hit 3 times with his passive when the first enemy goes down so that Thanos' ally damage would be negated. I would also make sure that Court Death triggers just once because it kills a 2nd goon. So, I would switch targets when 1 goon is below the Court Death threshold. Plus, you have to watch their CD tiles. It's a little tricky process overall, but if you get the hang of it, the team clears goons fast with almost no healthpacks. With Thanos + Strange, SCL 6 should be a breeze and SCL 7 is manageable. 

    Thanks for replying!

    I had a couple of questions and clarifications:

    1. Is it possible to negate Thanos ally damage if Court Death kills the rest of the enemy team? My Court Death hits allies even on the starter nodes where goons have ~1000 health.

    2. Your recommendation of IM40 + Strange + Kamala works nicely for non-goon nodes, but what team would you recommend if you had to include an Essential?
  • bbiglerbbigler Posts: 990 Critical Contributor
    Theire said:
    Thanks for replying!

    I had a couple of questions and clarifications:

    1. Is it possible to negate Thanos ally damage if Court Death kills the rest of the enemy team? My Court Death hits allies even on the starter nodes where goons have ~1000 health.

    2. Your recommendation of IM40 + Strange + Kamala works nicely for non-goon nodes, but what team would you recommend if you had to include an Essential?
    1. On the easy nodes, you can't avoid Thanos' ally damage, so I would use Thanos + 3*Grocket + Any 5* (for match damage). You should win in 1 or 2 turns. When Grocket is low, match yellow to heal. Doing 9 - 12 clears this way should only require 1 health pack. If you have 4* Grocket and/or 4*Ghost, they ensure a 1st turn win on easy nodes. 
    My previous suggestion to negate Thanos' ally damage using Strange, only works on harder nodes that have higher level goons.  If you had a usable 4*Medusa, she could also help to burst heal and kill faster.  It's faster than Hawkguy + Switch + Strange, but the latter is more fun. 

    2. For essential nodes, I used IM40 + Strange against tile movers. Strange's blue stun is so awesome! It solves any problem being both offense and defense. If the essential doesn't have a good red or green power, then simply wait for IM40 to nuke someone with Unibeam. This team also works well against goons, but Thanos + Strange is faster against any number of goons.
    Any other 3* combo I've tried is slow compared to Thanos or IM40 teams. This should allow you to place top 50 in SCL 7. 

    Some other notable 3* teams: 
    Panther + Fist + Switch => generate 15 purple, flood board with black, Rage of the Panther, flood more black, Rage again. Also good on easy wave nodes, but I would use the Hawkguy team above for hard goon wave nodes. 
    IM40 + Magneto + Kamala => recharge, clear TU tiles, Magneto blue nuke, Kamala purple to create green cascades, Green Bash x 2. Many times, this can go on and on, which works well on boss events, like Sinister 6. 
    Another Sinister 6 team could be 3*Thor + Kamala + 2*Storm, which is a true winfinite. Yellow and Purple flood green, and Storm's green destroys 25+ tiles to keep things going on and on. Don't forget to hit with Red and Blue too. It's slow to get going, so use AP boosts and AP producing supports. 
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