2019 Guide to Progressing Fast
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 - 180: Begin champing 4*s
Day 245 - 280: Max cover 3 x 5*s
So, Yes, it will take 8 - 10 months 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 2 - 3 hrs per day and you're willing to spend $300 - $500 during the 1st year. 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 all of this is to be done.
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.
- Performance: Try to play 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.
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.
BOTTOM LINE: Focus
on building up your 2*s and champing all of them ASAP. You only need 1 good 1* before transitioning to 2*s. 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.
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 better 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 a 3 hr and 8 hr shield to finish, but that costs 225 HP, so I do my last 10 fights at 3 hrs out and then shield, which only costs 75 HP. I win back 50 HP in the placement reward. You should be able to get 600 - 700 points and finish top 5 in SCL 5.
- 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. At the end, clear the nodes from lowest to highest. 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 and you get PVE bonus rewards from spending in general. Technically, your characters heal faster, but I don't think I've noticed. 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.
Champs Roster - 16 week period
- INTRO: if you've made it this far, then you've shown some endurance. You've graduated 2* middle school and now it's time to go to 3* high school. 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 rostering those 4* characters. 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 slightly better, so it's your choice. SCL 9 will destroy you, so don't attempt it.
- 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 with 13 covers. I will put 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 collecting HP to roster them. Then 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 4* covers. Hence, the opening in batches. Because Heroic 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 didn't bother.
- 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-cover 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 lucky.
- 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 175 LL pulls, my rank was 81 with 135 roster slots.
Transitioning to 4* / 5* Champs
INTRO: Congratulations, you've champed all 3*s and rostered all 4*s! (hopefully). Anyway, things are about to get very interesting. Entering 4* play is great as you can win battles faster and use a greater variety of teams. When 4*s are boosted they have roughly double the health and damage, unlike 3*s. With 4* champs you can earn better rewards in less time and join a better alliance. Transitioning to 4* champs quickly will require opening your hoard though.......but you also want to open your hoard at the opportune moment so that you can also build some 5*s. This is explained further down, but the process to enter 5* play is not straightforward.
- When to open the Hoard: Timing is everything in this game and this decision is very important. There are 3 objectives here: begin champing 4*s, build up to 5* champs and collect Classic 5*s to access PVE nodes. It takes about 350 - 400 pulls to fully cover the Latest set of 3 x 5*s. But if you wait that long, you won't be champing any 4*s in the meantime. Plus, there's the problem that if you only open Latest, you'll be missing the Classic 5*s (which are required for PVE nodes). I can think of 2 good ways to accomplish all of these goals. But the way that I don't recommend is staying in 3* land until you have 350+ pulls and trying to skip over the 4* tier. That is not the fastest way.
- Method #1: Continue to hoard to 200+ LL pulls, which should take a month after champing all 3*s. During that time you should be stockpiling ISO, but leveling up your best 4*s to 150 is fine. Then when a new 5* enters Latest, open all LTs and spend all CP on Latest tokens; Set your 5* BH to one of the 2 newest 5*s; Use your 4* BH covers to finish your 4*s that are closest to being champed. Hopefully, after opening everything you'll be able to champ 3 x 4*s right away. Your 5*s should have about 7 - 11 covers each, which is fine. The oldest 5* may not get finished before leaving the pool. The 2nd oldest 5* has a good chance of being finished and the newest 5* should get finished. As you continue to open Latest exclusively to finish these 5*s, you should be able to champ a 4* every week. As your 4* champs level up, they will start to reward Classic 5* covers, which helps to solve the other problem. This is the fastest way to 5* champs and your 3* / 4* champ farms can sustain further 5* growth. The downside is busting your hoard no matter how good the Latest 5*s are. So if your 5*s are mid-tier, then I would level them up to 360 until you get some better ones.
- Method #2: Open all LTs and spend all CP on Classics to jump start your 4* champs, then start a new hoard for Latest. This will also jump start the goal of collecting all Classic 5*s. Opening 100+ Classics should give you a dozen or more 5* characters, but you'll also need 15,000+ HP to roster all your new 5*s from this mass opening. So, you'll probably need to purchase some HP to make this method work. Use your 4* BH covers to finish your 4*s that are closest to being champed. Afterward, you start hoarding LT and CP again until you reach 200 - 300 pulls (depending on when a good 5* will enter or leave Latest). After opening that hoard, you continue to open Latest going forward to champ all new 5*s. This method gives you Classic 5*s faster for PVE node access, but 5* champs come slower compared to the 1st method. You also get the benefit of a ton of 4* champ rewards when you open your 2nd hoard.
- Lightning Rounds: If you can spare the time, this is a good way to get more ISO and Heroic tokens. I would play the seed teams early getting past 200 points; then I wait until 10-15 minutes are left and push up to 280+ points for a top 50 finish. If you do this all day long, the Heroic tokens add up quick.
- PVP Scoring: This should get easier now, allowing you to reach 900 points instead of doing 40 wins. You may need to use shields to get there, but climbing should be much easier with top tier 4*s or boosted 4*s. Skip teams with 5* champs, you can find easier targets. Also experiment climbing in different time slices and at different times during the event. Find a sweet spot and try not to get frustrated from attacks. Everyone is looking for an easy target, so try not to be one.
- Heroes for Hire (HFH), 40-Packs and Vaults: Once you have rostered all 4*s, you'll start having excess HP. You could spend it buying specific 4* covers that you need in the HFH store. Given the 4* tier
dilution, this is an OK option. It usually sells a specific 4* cover with extras at 3600 HP. For 11-12K HP you could buy a 40-pack, which gives an LT and should give you 3 x 4* covers along with a ton of champ rewards. The 80-item vaults are not a great deal. With 40-item vaults you could buy the 10x daily deal until you get the 4*cover. You could also buy the 1x Heroic daily deal for 100 HP for extra 4* covers.
- 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 or fuel many characters. Carnage + Medusa are resilent and annoying to fight against. In Shield Sim, many people play Grocket + Gamora + Medusa. To counter that team you could use Kraven or Bishop or Grocket & Dazzler. In PVE, 3*Thanos with some combination of 4*Grocket / Medusa / 3*Strange make quick work of the nodes. IM40 can fuel Riri 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 changes.
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 higher champ levels. You may even notice that they have high level supports or max champed 4*s 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. Demiurge 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. If you can't find a way to make it fun, then don't torture yourself. Enjoy playing in the 5* tier, but understand that further progress is slow.
- The PVE Grind: because time is precious, many 5* players go down to SCL 7 or 8 in order to clear the nodes super fast but still get decent rewards. This is certainly the bane to 3* and 4* players competing with them, but the game allows it. I found that competition is easier in SCL 9, plus the rewards are better. The downside is the greater difficulty and time to clear it. It's your choice. In order to be competitive, you need a very fast team, usually one that includes: Thanos, Okoye, 5*Thor, Kitty, 4*Grocket, Medusa or Chavez. A boosted champed 5* for the event can also help.
- The PVP Battle: If your first champed 5*s are mid-tier, then PVP will be harder for you because you'll be a target. So, it's best to transition with at least 1 top tier 5*. It's important to have a team that's fast for climbing but also a team that's good on defense. Kitty + Grocket fit this description. Thor + Okoye is fast and resilient, but easy on defense. At this level of play, I would recommend joining a battle chat to coordinate shield hops to make climbing and placement easier. With top tier 5*s, getting to 1200 is not difficult, but a battle chat can take you higher.
- 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 Legendary store which includes one or two of them. That would take about 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 and champ the duplicate, or simply spend the ISO to champ a 2nd one. 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.
- Supports: Getting top tier 5* supports could be considered the MPQ end-game if you focus on PVE. It's possible to start a battle with a ton of AP and win before making a single match. The 0 turn win. Right now, high level supports are difficult to obtain. You can chase them if you like to make PVE easier, but it's all speculation if they'll be enabled in PVP.
- THE BOTTOM LINE: you've worked very hard to get to this level of play, so try to enjoy it despite the repetition of play. 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 Demiurge expects anyone to play this game forever.