Daredevil217's 5* Character Ranking and Analysis (Updated 2/14/2021)

Daredevil217Daredevil217 Posts: 3,172 Chairperson of the Boards
edited 15 February 2021, 00:49 in MPQ Character Discussion
First off, I would like to welcome everyone to my 5* character ranking guide. I made this guide as a labor of love.  Before getting into the rankings, I think it’s important to understand my perspective and purpose. Know that I’m just one player and you can feel free to disagree with my opinions (I encourage it!). I know I can “get it wrong”, and would love to to hear things I might not have been considering when it comes to these characters.
As of this writing, I have champed all of the classic 5* characters and (knock on wood) hope to keep up with the Latests as well.  I play these characters (meta or not) a lot and am constantly looking for different uses for all my characters. All my champs are in the  450-470 range. So that’s my MMR and experience.
So how did I ultimately determine these rankings? It was a combination of factors ultimately, including (in no order):
Speed- Since both PVE and PVP reward winning fast over just winning, does this character win fast?
Efficiency- What do their powers do for the cost?
Versatility- Can this character play on a number of teams and/or amplify others?
Specialization- Does this character do something few or no one can do? Do they fill a unique niche?
Defense- How scary is this character to face in the AI’s hands?
Sustainability- Does this character help you climb/save health packs?
Fun Factor- Quite simply, are they enjoyable to play?
Roster Importance- When really stuck between ranking two characters I simply asked, who would I rather have on my roster?
This guide skews way heavier toward PVP and CL10 PVE than CL9 and below PVE where most 5* combos work well enough. This guide is also skewed way more toward established 5* players than those looking to transition. Though hopefully this guide helps them too. With a few notable exceptions (Polaris, Grocket, etc.), I mostly stick to talking about 5* pairs that could work with each character, because that’s mostly what I play.

So without further ado...
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  • Daredevil217Daredevil217 Posts: 3,172 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited 22 February 2021, 23:51
    ***Powers, abilities and stats discussed are all for a level 450 champion***

    #50) The Hulk (Bruce Banner)
    bluetilepng577 blacktilepng513 purpletilepng449 290
    greentilepng73 yellowtilepng67 62  Health: 41,537

    Recommended Build
    : 5/3/5
    Alternate Build: 5/5/3 (if trying to avoid Hulk form)

    Well, someone had to come in last place, and Banner here got the honor. Bruce Banner is considered complete garbage by most MPQ players, and it makes total sense why. Of the five powers he somehow was given, only one deals direct damage (and of course he has to “transform” to get there first). He’s convoluted, slows you down , and hurts his teammates in several ways. If any character is screaming for a compete remodel, it’s Banner and his alter ego.

    Banner’s blue passive (Gamma Ray Experiment) transforms 2 enemy attack/strike/protect or basic tiles to green basic tiles and deals about 1K damage if there are less than 7 green tiles on the board. Otherwise... it does... nothing?

    Bruce’s black (Smartest Guy in the Room) costs 7 AP and has Banner place 3 friendly attack tiles (strength 987) as well as a strength 765 enemy attack for each of Hulk’s allies still standing. This is beyond terrible. I guess he’s banking on there being less than 7 green tiles on the board and hoping to overwrite the enemy tiles? Ugh.

    Purple (The Other Guy) is... yet another passive... that triggers when his team has 6 green AP. When that happens, Banner places a 2-turn countdown that replaces him with the Incredible Hulk! Woo! Not only that, but he gets a whole new set of powers, replacing his old ones! Thank god, because those were awful!

    Okay!  I collected my 6 green in order to place a 2-turn countdown. It somehow resolved and now I’m the Hulk! Got ‘em! Now Hulk can smash! Hey, he has a green power called “Smash” for 9 AP! What does this do? 8411 AOE damage? That’s it. For all that work? GRAAAGH!

    Wait... there’s ONE more power! Surely this next ability will make him worth it! Banner’s red (GRAAAGH) is... oh another passive. CPU Banner makes a free match, but doesn’t get the AP from it. Just... why?
    At least that bottom tier 5* match damage will put a real hurting on the opponent! Wait.. there’s more! When Hulk is downed, he becomes Banner again. Guess that’s it. Time to start the death/rebirth cycle anew. Eat your heart out Phoenix!

    Hulk is by far the trashiest trash ever. The only reason to play him is that he can’t get insta-killed in Hulk mode and instead will just go Banner mode. He’s the antidote to insta-death powers like Galactus’ and Whales. The problem is... more often than not you’d be better off with him dead. Yeah I said it.

    Pairings:
    Hulk actually has synergy with Kitty Pryde since she can eat enemy attacks and buff friendly ones. Also, Okoye can boost that 1k passive damage with her teamup tiles if you can get the less than 7 green condition to proc. Beyond that, Hulk is best used as a trophy that only the most OCD completionists chase, rather than something you actually bring to a battle.  Luckily, for Hulk fans there was a second (and much better) version of The Hulk released that finally got the character "right". Obviously, that version is ranked much much higher. 
    #49) The Wasp (Hope Van Dyne)
    bluetilepng695 yellowtilepng618 blacktilepng540 349
    88 purpletilepng81 greentilepng74  Health: 50,383

    Recommended Build
    : 3/5/5
    Alternate Build: 5/3/5 (if pairing with Black Panther)

    Hope’s big struggle is that most of her powers do essentially nothing just to set up a big expensive power that does slightly more than nothing. She has a niche as the only 5* that can turn allies invisible, but it’s unfortunately not enough to move her out of the garbage tier due to the cost and the rest of her kit being bad.

    For 6 AP, Wasp’s blue (Sting Operation) steals 3-4 random AP and places a countdown that creates 2 swarm tiles. No, I’m not making this up. At least it’s cheap?

    Yellow (Shrink Tactics) is very expensive for the payoff. For 10 AP, Wasp turns an ally invisible 3-4 turns and places 2-3 swarm tiles. This is her one big niche in the tier, and there is a particular 5* who can benefit from it.

    Finally, Wasp’s black (Pain Index), arguably her best ability, steals about 5.5k (burst) health from her target, plus just over 1k for each each swarm tile on the board. If she hits a low healing threshold she places 2 swarm tiles on the board. The unfortunate part of this power is that it costs a beefy 10 AP, which really takes a lot of the shine off of it. 

    All of Wasp’s active powers put swarm tiles on the board. When Hope has 4 such tiles on the board, all of her powers become “Call the Swarm”, and her match damage increases 10% for each swarm tile on the board. This 12 AP ability sees her doing almost 7k damage and blowing up her swarm tiles while destroying 3 tiles around each of them. I have heard something about the developers overvaluing board shake? Seems like quite the understatement.

    So again, Wasp’s powers ultimately do a whole lot of nothing for the cost, and her AP would be better used by someone (anyone!) else. She obviously needs a rework with this kit, so why did she beat out Banner for second to last (especially since Banner/Kitty is a better team than anything Wasp may pair with)? Well, I operated under the premise that both are “use only if the game forces me to” status. While Wasp sits there doing a whole lot of nothing, letting her teammates do the heavy lifting, Banner/Hulk can actively slow you down and harm your team. So a net nothing ultimately beat out a net negative. Congrats Wasp!

    Pairings:
    Wasp’s ability to turn allies invisible makes her a decent pair with Black Panther who deals big damage when returning from a stun or invisible status. In this case you want yellow at 3 so he returns from invisible status sooner. Due to Panther’s synergy with Thanos (discussed later), he makes a good third. Other than that, Wasp doesn’t really have much synergy with others, so you could always look for people to compliment her colors like IW Cap, Loki, Professor, Killmonger, Dakverine, and Gambit.
    #48) Iron Man (Mark XLVI)
    655 bluetilepng582 yellowtilepng509 329
    blacktilepng83 greentilepng76 purpletilepng70  Health: 49,845

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Iron Man is a character that could have been really great in theory. He has one cool/unique power, one ridiculously overcosted power, and one that needs very specific teammates (most of whom don’t compliment him) to be remotely worth it. What this boils down to is perhaps the least versatile character in the tier. This is sad for a character who is arguably the most popular in the entire company. My hope is he is either reworked or we get a second Stark in the tier. But, for now... I shall review the one we’ve got.

    Iron Man’s red (The Winning Team) is the power that most harms him in the rankings. For 9 AP, at five covers he does 8744 damage to the opponent. This is a terrible return on investment! However... if he teams up with another person with the “Team Iron Man” affiliation, the damage almost doubles. Add a third and it almost triples! Now we’re talking! The problem is, the list of people in the 5* tier with the “Team Iron Man” tag is... shall we say lacking? Parker? Silver Surfer? Both overlap Tony’s two best powers. Black Suit? Somewhat better, but blue is both character’s best active ability. Black Panther? He’s probably your best bet as even though they both have red/yellow strong colors, they have no active overlap. And that’s it. Those are your options to make this power worth it if you don’t want to play down a tier. Tony Stark is out here giving “Wakanda Forever!” a whole new meaning. Because that’s who you’ll want to pair him with.

    Tony’s blue (Girl FRIDAY) is a pretty good power and is what saves him from being ranked even lower than he is. For 10 AP, he converts 8 tiles of the enemy’s strongest color to red, then after matches are made, he blows up the board destroying all red tiles. This does three really cool things. One, if their strongest color isn’t red, then it can fuel your own red nuke due to the matches it makes. Two, while fueling yourself, you’re also depriving the enemy of their strongest color. Three, you are effectively removing two colors from the board which can lead to all kinds of crazy cascades and power-fueling. I feel like as cool as this power is, it's 1-2 AP more expensive than it would be if released today. But, it’s still great... if the opponent's strongest isn't red.  If it is, you just get some overcosted board shake and a hard time fueling "The Winning Team".

    If red is the power that most hurts Tony in the rankings, yellow (House Party Protocol), with its insanely high cost, certainty isn’t helping him. For 12 AP, he places three 3-turn countdown tiles that deal ~6500-8500 damage each. If Stark would take 6558+ damage, remove one and negate the damage. While that secondary part can be huge in shrugging off a major nuke, you’d have to 1) have the tiles out when the nuke hits and 2) have Iron Man actually be the one tanking. Otherwise, this power just does small damage for a huge cost and I’d rather use that AP for better/faster offense than defense anyway.

    Overall, Tony is way too handcuffed to characters he has no synergy with to be ranked higher than he is. While his Civil War counterpart Cap (discussed later) gets a minor drawback for recruiting outside his team, Stark gets dinged big time. If his red didn't handcuff him and his yellow was better (way cheaper, did more damage, or both) he could be worth it. But as it stands you’ll mostly be playing him just for his blue, which while interesting, doesn’t even deal damage. But I mean, if you really love Girl FRIDAY, that’s what teamups are for!  As it stands, he is way too handcuffed to "Team Iron Man" folks and sadly, even when paired with them is mediocre at best.  He absolutely needs a rework!

    Pairings:
    The best use for Iron Man is during PVPs that feature a “Team Iron Man” character. It’s one thing to reach down two tiers to find some dead weight to boost Tony’s red. It’s quite another when both teams are saddled with said weight. Might as well make it work to your advantage. 3* “Team Iron Man” characters are as follows: Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Ragnarok, Sentry, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, The Hulk, and Vision. That’s 19% of the tier. Not bad. Pair with 5* Panther and go to work! In Pick-3 you can lose some red damage and pair Tony/T’Challa with Professor X who can benefit immensely from any match-4s Girl FRIDAY sends his way.

    #47) Kingpin (Spider-Verse)
    bluetilepng713 blacktilepng634 greentilepng555 353
    purpletilepng91 yellowtilepng84 77  Health: 57,701

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    Just like those ranked below him, Kingpin is a completely convoluted character whose tricks can be difficult to pull off in the player’s hands, which makes him laughably bad in the AI’s hands. He’s ultimately ranked this low because while many many on this list could be much better with simple health, match damage and ability cost tweaks, Fisk’s whole kit really needs to be re-examined (like Wasp/Banner/Stark). Other characters ranked above him need buffs. He needs a rework.

    Kingpin’s blue (Forced Hand) costs 7 AP and allows you to give a friendly strike/attack/protect to the enemy in exchange for 5 AP in your strongest color. This is not a great ability. However, if the enemy happens to have less than 5 AP of that color, you take it all and deal almost 14k damage. That’s a decent single target nuke, If you can pull it off. This is by no means easy as you have to 1) collect 7 blue 2) ensure your opponent has 4 or less AP in your strongest color and 3) have a special tile to give them (otherwise this ability literally can’t fire). Doing all three isn’t always easy. So while it can be good, it’s a very complex ability that involves both luck and proper setup to pull off. This power can either be his best or worst depending on conditions, so it has super high variance.

    I changed my mind. Forced Hand is never his worst power. Kingpin’s black (The Harder They Fall) is arguably the worst power in the tier and maybe the game. For 11 AP (yes...11), Fisk drops a fortified black tile (you don’t place it) that destroys 8 enemy AP in the opponent’s largest pool. While the countdown is on the board, he reduces match damage (yes... just match damage) by 35% (at level 3, where you’ll keep this garbage power) plus 5% for each AP you destroyed. This is just bad.

    Kingpin’s green (Break Their Will) puts down a fortified 2-turn repeater for 9 AP that deals over 8k damage. This ability is fine and ultimately elevates him above those ranked below him. If Fisk has more AP than his opponent in his team’s strongest color, then he also creates 3 small attack tiles. Since this is the only way he can put special tiles on the board to fuel his blue, you want to either bring a proper partner or make sure you are outpacing your opponent in the right color when you fire this ability.

    So yeah... like I said, Fisk needs a rework to his entire kit. His green should put down specials regardless of AP, his blue should be able to do something if he doesn’t have specials on the board, and his black should be way cheaper and do literally anything else. Overall, in a game based on speed, Kingpin is slow and wonky. Constantly checking AP pools and waiting to fire powers is not only slow, but it’s not enjoyable. So add Fisk to the rework list.

    Pairings:
    More than many other characters, pairings are super important to Fisk. The number one thing you want to look for is a person who can put special tiles on the board for him to offer up. Weirdly, his arch-nemesis Daredevil is arguably his best partner. Fisk offering Matt’s passive strikes before Daredevil snatches them back with Sonar Strike is fun if you pull it off. The other contender is Apocalypse, with his protect tile spam ensuring you're never at a loss for tiles to offer.  Apocalypse's yellow repeater can also double the damage on Fisk's green repeater.  They also happen to have actives on everything but purple.  I’ve also had success with Jessica Jones who puts down strikes, and offers a way better black outlet. Kitty is interesting as she has two ways of doing adding tiles to the board that Fisk can offer up, only for her to overwrite them and deal huge damage (they also cover the rainbow!).  Finally, Old Man Logan can ensure that you get specials on the board when you fire green, regardless of your AP count, saving you some math. But with any of these teams, expect hard retaliations because as stated earlier, as bad as he is in your hand’s, he’s worse with the AI playing him.
    #46) Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
    purpletilepng592 527 blacktilepng460 297
    bluetilepng75 greentilepng69 yellowtilepng63    Health: 45,699

    Recommended Build: 5/4/4

    Black Widow is unfortunately one of the worst characters in the game. She can hit somewhat hard, but all of her abilities are super slow/expensive, and rely way too much on what the enemy does for them to be somewhat reasonable. While I understand what they were ultimately going for (turning the enemy against themselves in a very Natasha-like way) they missed the mark badly.

    Black Widow’s purple (Tell Me Everything) is a ridiculously costed 12 AP ability that deals just under 11k damage and removes up to 3 enemy special tiles (including countdowns and even repeaters). This ability costs 1 AP less for each enemy countdown on the board (minimum 7 AP). Rather than this feeling like a power that punishes the enemy for spamming countdowns, it instead feels like you have to wait for the enemy to give you permission to fire this at a somewhat reasonable cost. Giving that much control to your opponent is not good character design.

    Black Widow’s red (Acrobatic Takedown), while better, unfortunately suffers from the same problem. For 12 AP she deals almost 16k damage, and if the enemy has 12 of any color AP stockpiled she deals an additional 11K. If she’s able to down the enemy she destroys 6-7 AP in a random enemy color. Once again, it feels like you are relying on the enemy’s choices to make this power worth the cost. With powers getting progressively cheaper (as power creep keeps creepin’) this ability seems more and more archaic.

    Finally, black (Red in My Ledger) is Natasha’s cheapest ability. At 10 AP, she deals 12-14k damage and if any ally is below 20% health, she steals 4 random AP and deals about 9k additional damage. While doing over 20k damage for what ends up being a net cost of 6 AP (after accounting for what you steal back) is a great deal, one of your allies needs to be near-death to pull it off. This power also has a passive attached that stuns a random enemy for a turn when one of Natasha’s allies gets stunned. Seeing that it’s only a turn, it’s more a minor nuisance on defense than anything substantial.

    Black Widow in the comics and movies is a fast, quick hitting character who uses her savvy to get the upper hand. What we have instead is a character that is super slow, and lets her enemies have the upper hand as their choices determine how effective her powers are. Couple this with “old school” health and match damage weighing her down, and what you get is a character whose kit is not very good.

    Pairings:
    Natasha’s powerset screams “I need a battery!”, so Thor is a decent choice as someone who can fuel her red, while the two of them cover 5/6 colors. Other than that I’m going to say, Iceman, Cable and Bill because they have opposite strong colors? Bill actually isn’t half bad because his protect tiles can absorb some damage for Nat while she tries to collect the 10 billion AP needed to fire her powers.
    #45) Doctor Octopus (Classic)
    blacktilepng712 bluetilepng633 greentilepng554 358
    90 purpletilepng83 yellowtilepng76  Health: 51,627

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Doctor Otto Octavius is a “fun” character who is ultimately too slow and complex to have any real impact on your roster competitively. He’s likely one you will break out to shake things up rather than look to play or build around. His powers are all convoluted which I guess fits the “mad scientist” theme, it just consequently hurts him in the rankings. I will say this for Ock though; I’d rather someone be slow and fun than slow and unfun. So he does get points for his uniqueness. He adds a puzzle element to MPQ that many lack. So kudos for that Doc!

    Octavius’ black (Superior Science) costs 11 AP, but costs 1 less for each tentacle tile he has on the board. So it can get down to 7, which still seems 1-2 AP too expensive for what this does. He stuns the enemy 1 turn and places a 3-turn countdown that deals damage (~6k at 3 covers) and throws down a couple strikes (strength 867). This is one of the slowest powers in the tier for a small payoff you may or may not actually get. 

    Blue (Tentacles) is Ock’s best power. At 8 AP he does 11k damage plus around 3800 for each tentacle tile on the board. So a total of around 15k under optimal circumstances. Oh... this power also has a passive that tells us how to get these things on the board. You get one for a match-4+. And can’t have more than 4 out because real Ock has 4 metal arms. Makes sense. By the way, he also cannot be stunned if a tentacle is out, which can be super nice against some stun-heavy teams, or that one time he is the 5* essential, you take a vacation from CL10, and he doesn’t take Court Death damage when you’re speed-clearing with Thanos.

    Doctor Octopus’ green (Cunning Scheme) is a cheap 6 AP and sees him placing a 3-turn repeater tile that burst heals his team for about 4k health. If matched away by either team, the tile explodes and deals ~6k damage to the enemy team. The power changes names (Phase 2, Phase 3, Final Phase) but the gist of it is that for 6 AP you can keep paying to “upgrade” the reactor (meaning it resolves a turn quicker, and the damage for matching it increases). After spending a total of 18 AP for final upgrade, you’re looking at ~25k AOE damage. 

    Overall, Ock has to get a lot of things to go right in order for his powers to pay off and be worth the investment. And even then, there isn’t a guarantee of payoff. His black countdown can be matched away before dealing damage, his reactor can be destroyed in a match 4, and his blue requires four match-4s to get max damage. So he’s constantly building to a big payoff. Since most game modes rely on speed, this really hurts him. But still, as I said earlier, because he’s a fun character, he’s one I break out now and again. But he’s also not one that will hurt you not to have champed. 

    Pairings:
    I’m a big fan of pairing Ock with Thor at half health. The AP generation can get the reactor going, allowing Thor to actually make matches, knowing he can heal back up. Professor X is a good third here as both characters benefit from match-4s (which Professor’s purple can help with) and they complete the rainbow. If you only ever want healing, Goblin is a good partner as he will fortify the repeater, but don’t expect to get damage for matching it away as it’s really hard to do! His other Syndicate brother Carnage has some interesting synergy. Carnage damages his team, Ock heals it. Carnage makes extra matches, Ock needs match-4s. Beyond that, anyone who can flood the board with single-colored tiles (like the aforementioned Xavier) can help get tentacles out, like Jean Grey, Star-Lord or Iron Man. You just may need a newer/more competitive third to help the older characters along.

    #44) Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2)
    yellowtilepng688 purpletilepng611 greentilepng535 346
    87 bluetilepng80 blacktilepng73  Health: 50,041

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Star-Lord is the first of about three characters on this list I’d consider a PVE specialist. And that’s because when you are looking for a 5* Guardian of the Galaxy to pair with a certain raccoon and tree for speed-clearing, he’s the only game in town. This puts Quill in a weird place because while he’s the only 5* who can boost them, a 3* can do the job almost just as well (you do miss out on that sweet 5* match damage though). In PVP, Quill is mostly a support character who does a bunch of stuff, none of it particularly well, and all of it is way too expensive.

    Yellow (Something Good) sees Quill converting 5 standard tiles of the opponent’s strongest color to green charged tiles for 10 AP. He also gives a small burst of health (~4600) to the team if someone is below 40%. If the enemy’s strongest color is not green, this ability can lead to some nice charged tile matches fueling his own AOE or someone else. While it can be an amazing battery if the right color is selected, it does have a steep cost and is ultimately too expensive for what it does. Sadly though, this is his best power by far.

    Purple (Something Bad) costs 8 AP and steals up to 4 enemy special tiles. If none are available he steals up to 8 random enemy AP instead. The special tile theft can be nice, especially in the special tile meta era we are in. But Daredevil for 1 AP more is likely a better play here. And random AP is random. While it can be helpful, it is usually not worth the cost.

    Green (Bit of Both) is one of the many examples of the “developers overvalue board shake!” theory out there. This does about 8k AOE damage and destroys three columns (leaving friendly tiles unharmed). Overall, it seems like a good power until you realize it costs 12 AP!

    So overall, Star-Lord is best played as an expensive green battery. The problem is there are other green batteries that flat out bring more to the table than him- both in his tier (Captain Marvel, Thor, Beta Ray Bill) and the tier below (Vulture).  So while the yellow is decent, it’s hard to justify bringing him to a fight, as most of his powers are way too costly for what they do. So, he ultimately is a niche character whose main purpose will likely be to boost 4* Rocket and Groot’s strike tiles (see below).

    Pairings:
    As mentioned above, Star-Lord’s main partner is going to be 4* Rocket and Groot in PVE. He can boost Rocket’s strikes and when paired with Thanos, can trigger Court Death- using less health packs (or less time switching characters) than his 4* and 3* Guardian counterparts. However, there are now faster PVE options for speed clearing. But it’s a decent use if you lack those options. In PVP, his best partner is probably Gambit, who can benefit from all the charged tiles Quill creates. However, Gambit pairs better with Storm, Black Bolt and Cable, all of whom won’t have powers blocked by the Cajun. In PVP, he could be a decent third with Grocket (again) and Kitty Pryde. But there are way better thirds for those two. Star-Lord can play decently with half-Thor and Professor in pick-3. Use Thor’s green passive to fuel Star-Lord’s yellow. He can then add a bunch of tiles to fuel Professor’s Signal Boost and Thor’s AOE. But again... Professor/Thor have better thirds. Ultimately, you can play Star-Lord on fun teams but he’s nothing special on offense and easy to dispose of on defense. He definitely can be skipped.
    #43) Captain America (First Avenger)
    yellowtilepng615 547 bluetilepng478 309
    purpletilepng78 greentilepng72 blacktilepng66  Health: 49,845

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    Captain America is a “jack of all trades, master of none” type character. He’s a bit costly for what he does, and definitely could  benefit from a health/match damage upgrade. Steve doesn’t have a particular niche that makes him “must play” over other options, but he does a lot of good stuff and is very solid overall. He’s basically what 5* Star-Lord wishes he was. 

    Cap’s yellow ability (Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) sees him assembling his Avengers to wreck havoc on the opposing team. For 10 AP, Cap and friends do roughly 9k damage to the target, ~3k AOE damage, stun a random enemy 2 turns, and throw down 4 specials (2 strength 765 attacks and 2 strength 1366 protects). This is probably Cap’s best power (and it’s on yellow!) as it gives a lot of bang for your buck. 

    Cap’s red (Shield Bash) is his weakest power. It costs 11 AP and  does only around 7500 damage. He then puts down a 2-turn countdown that nets 7 AP in your strongest color, plus 2 more for each other “Team Cap” affiliated partner on his team. In the 5* tier, that’s Black Widow. Daredevil, Hawkeye, Jessica Jones, and Okoye (way better squad than Iron Man!). The AP collection is nice; and if red is your strongest color, then with 2 Team Cap members (say the 5* Defenders), he could spam it and get his AP back identical to 2*/3* Steve (except you don’t get to place the countdown, or overwrite enemy tiles... so really not as good at all). The other option would be using it to collect another color, like his own yellow. So overall there are both limitations and versatility here.  The cost is just too high though. 

    Blue (Coordinated Offensive), is Cap’s spammable 7 AP attack that does 3062 damage plus 1225 additional for each friendly attack/strike/protect (max of 8 tiles). So on an optimal board, with the right partners, or with 20 yellow AP himself, he can do 12,862 damage which isn’t bad for the cost. He also destroys 1 random AP in an enemy color (just... why?). 

    Overall, Cap here does a lot. He is much less handcuffed to people  with his affiliation than Mr. Stark and has better partners anyway. Getting a slight boost to his worst power (Shield Bash) is more of a bonus than something to build around, which is how it should be. He can be played in a myriad of ways but will mostly see use on fun teams where you build around his unique-colored stun or his spammable blue. His yellow is worth it for the cost but may do too many things when you want it to do one thing. His red is way too expensive even with the potential payoff. His blue takes awhile to set up for max efficiency,  making it slower than it looks on paper. He lacks any passives which is what makes truly great 5*s. And his health and match damage are low. That said, three decent actives means he can play “filler third” if you fancy rainbow teams. And he has a lot of partners that can amplify the stuff he does. 

    Pairings:
    You will hear this a ton during this guide, but Daredevil is a really great partner (not because he’s my forum name!). Daredevil can tank yellow and add strikes passively to fuel blue, they have near rainbow coverage (missing black), and Steve provides stun on a second color for Murdock. You can add Jessica Jones for a better red, more strikes, a passive blue and full rainbow coverage with her black nuke. That’s a fun “Team Cap” theme team. Or you can add someone like Ghost Rider for rainbow coverage and 3 colored stuns!. If playing around Cap’s blue, Hela or Carnage may be his best partners. Both provide a better red outlet and can flood the board with tiles to fuel his cheap blue ability. Phoenix is a great old school tile spam option as well if you don’t have Hela or Carnage. Finally Apocalypse, despite overlap on two colors, works decently as well. After firing Apoc’s yellow once, all other yellow goes to Cap. And once the board is flooded with protects, Cap’s blue can do max damage. That’s the beauty of Cap. He’s versatile depending on what you want to build around. This versatility is why he ultimately gets ranked higher than his more limited Civil War counterpart. 

    #42) Rescue (Pepper Potts)
    bluetilepng703 yellowtilepng625 547 348
    greentilepng89 blacktilepng83 purpletilepng76  Health: 60,586

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5
    Alternate Build: 3/5/5 (If you are building around protect tiles instead of tile theft).

    Rescue is a character that has always felt like a failed counter-meta attempt. Her biggest issue since her arrival has been that 2/3 of her powers are slow and have awful numbers that ultimately aren’t worth the cost. However, being a more recent 5* puts her on the right side of the power creep bell curve with regards to health and match damage. Ultimately one great power and “modern” health do not make her a character necessarily worth chasing. But if you have her, her strengths can absolutely be leveraged with the right people augmenting what she does.

    Rescue’s blue (All Systems Go) costs a whopping 9 AP and depending on covers, deals 644-1555 damage. She also steals 2-3 special tiles and converts whatever enemy specials remain to red. If this ability was 6 AP, it’d be a much better counter to the tile buff meta often seen in the 5* tier. But as it stands, without an accelerator she is usually dead before collecting the AP; and even when she does, she does not take enough tiles to make the cost worth it. I will say that those rare times when you turn pretty much the entire board red when facing those Carnage/Bill/Apocalypse-spam teams that are all the rage almost makes this power worth it.

    Rescue’s yellow (Your Shield) costs 8 AP and is equally bad. She flips all friendly strikes/attacks to protects and gives them a one time small boost of 324-466 each. If no such tiles exist, she creates two strength 311 protect tiles. The issue with this ability is you are paying AP to actively slow your team down. Protect tiles are also not particularly scary to face on defense. The passive component of her power sees Rescue giving her teammates burst healing of ~1k-1.5k each turn passively if two or more protects are on the board. While that healing is laughably bad and seemingly inconsequential, it can add up if you manage a board full of protects and -1 damage turns from the opponent.

    Luckily, Rescue saves the best for last, as red (Do or Die) is easily her best ability, especially with the right board conditions. For a spammable 6 AP, she deals two blasts of 5317 damage followed by an additional blast of 2853 if there happen to be 2+ friendly strike/attack/protect tiles on the board. While this is by no means huge damage, the cost is low and the three separate tics can all be boosted (just don’t use yellow first and flip your strikes!).

    Ultimately, Rescue’s first two abilities are slow/weak enough that they seem like 4* or even 3* abilities. The damage on blue is outclassed by 2*s. The passive healing on yellow is burst, less than a match-3, and doesn’t target herself. Further, paying AP to slow yourself down by swapping out tiles that accelerate is usually a bad decision. 4* Wasp does this for cheaper and can swap back to offense if need be. While Rescue’s red is good, and saves her from being “trash tier”, the 5* tier is loaded with quality red abilities. Meaning, the one thing she brings to the table is often done just as well by others who will bring more to their team. Unfortunately she was dead on arrival and a huge letdown given all the hype around Endgame. That said, since her arrival, a few character releases have boosted her utility a bit (see: below).

    Pairings:
    Upon release, Okoye was immediately pegged as a good partner despite active overlap on two colors. The idea is that Okoye could boost each blast of damage from Rescue’s red. Though to get the most out of it you need a third to put specials on the board before firing red (as you should be using yellow for Okoye in this combo). Well what do you know? Since her release, Beta Ray Bill has debuted and happens to passively and cheaply spam the board with protect tiles AND pairs well with Okoye himself. While there once again is a ton of overlap, Bill’s protects will start the heal train early while also giving Rescue special tiles to see the most out of her red. He is probably her best partner. These two with a solid third to provide more color coverage (Goblin? Doom?) are a fun pick-3 combo. Daredevil is also a good partner. He can add specials passively for Rescue’s red, provides a green/purple outlet, and can get three tics of Sonar Strike damage if you stun before firing Pepper’s red.

  • TPF AlexisTPF Alexis Posts: 3,813 Chairperson of the Boards
    Nice write-up. Nothing too surprising to me, but it should be a good reference for newer players.
    It still doesn't make him good, but I'd also note that Kingpin works quite well with Kitty. She can make Attack or Protect tiles for him to give away, buff those and the Attack tiles he makes, and turn the tiles he gives away into an additional ~13K nuke with Circuit Breaker. Plus, they have full rainbow coverage on match damage, and all but purple in actives.
  • Daredevil217Daredevil217 Posts: 3,172 Chairperson of the Boards
    And done!
  • tiomonotiomono Posts: 1,600 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited February 2020
    Do you have banner champed? Gamma ray experiment does not prioritize overwriting enemy specials. It can hit basic tiles too and its random. Which actually makes it worse than what you wrote. But since he is already bottom of your barrel I guess it doesnt matter.

    I am one of the few players that actually kind of like banner. I run mine at 3-5-5. Gamma ray experiment does the same damage at 3 or 5 covers. At 3 covers it only changes 1 tile to green instead of 2 so you can squeeze a few more turns of damage out of it sometimes. 
  • ThaRoadWarriorThaRoadWarrior Posts: 6,015 Chairperson of the Boards
    LOL at #1
  • ThaRoadWarriorThaRoadWarrior Posts: 6,015 Chairperson of the Boards
    I really wanted Rescue to work better than she does as a Gritty counter. She can do monster damage with Okoye, particularly if there is a SAP generator on the table, but even with Bishop her blue takes too long to get moving for that. I similarly thought WCap would help her get started by adding red and blue all over the board, and charging it for bonus AP gain, but my 270s champ can't hang with my MMR. Really, she is outclassed by 4* Sabretooth for pairing with Okoye to beat Gritty teams. 
  • ThaRoadWarriorThaRoadWarrior Posts: 6,015 Chairperson of the Boards
    Kind of commenting on these as i read them - Ghost Rider would really benefit from Hell Ride taking advantage of Wakanda Forever! I've always felt it should, given that it doesn't just do match damage, but 300% of what would have been match damage, thus seemingly meeting the "bonus damage" described in WF!, but since it's based on tile destruction it seems to be specifically excluded. In 1-on-1 combat he can be pretty rough, since he hits like a truck and you don't have to worry about any conditionals on his black. Since he was my first 5*, I ran him a lot, and settled on 5/3/5 as his best build. He's just a little slow, and lacks the survivability of Doom or one of the other true healers.
  • abennessabenness Posts: 209 Tile Toppler
    Awesome writeup.  I read the lowest ranked few and then skipped to LOL at #1.  Will peruse the others at my leisure.

    I haven't champed Bill yet, but if he gets out enough shields, does that mean Bishop isn't triggering off match damage while they are out?  Similar to how Bishop sometimes won't trigger if you target Prof X and his damage reduction passive means it doesn't meet the Overclocked trigger threshold.
  • abennessabenness Posts: 209 Tile Toppler
    edited February 2020
    Thor's red does extra damage per friendly special (not enemy special), which I like using with Iceman as you mention
  • Daredevil217Daredevil217 Posts: 3,172 Chairperson of the Boards
    tiomono said:
    Do you have banner champed? Gamma ray experiment does not prioritize overwriting enemy specials. It can hit basic tiles too and its random. Which actually makes it worse than what you wrote. But since he is already bottom of your barrel I guess it doesnt matter.

    I am one of the few players that actually kind of like banner. I run mine at 3-5-5. Gamma ray experiment does the same damage at 3 or 5 covers. At 3 covers it only changes 1 tile to green instead of 2 so you can squeeze a few more turns of damage out of it sometimes. 

    Nope.  Anyone with an asterix is unchamped.  I mentioned that in the OP, but to be fair, it's a really long OP.  I just went off power descriptions for him and totally overlooked "basic tiles".  That's way worse.  Updated!


    Nice write-up. Nothing too surprising to me, but it should be a good reference for newer players.
    It still doesn't make him good, but I'd also note that Kingpin works quite well with Kitty. She can make Attack or Protect tiles for him to give away, buff those and the Attack tiles he makes, and turn the tiles he gives away into an additional ~13K nuke with Circuit Breaker. Plus, they have full rainbow coverage on match damage, and all but purple in actives.
    Added! Now I really want to try this team.  That's a really smart combo.

    abenness said:
    Thor's red does extra damage per friendly special (not enemy special), which I like using with Iceman as you mention
    Yeah this one I did know (as seen in the pairings).  Definite typo.  Good catch! Fixed as well.


    LOL at #1

    I thought it was funny :)  He's really just a placeholder until I get a feel for Sinister and where he falls.  And yeah I definitely thought of you when writing up Rescue and Ghostie.  I know you are/were high on both, and was shocked how low they ended up being.  I will say, I moved people around a ton right up until hitting post.  And probably will again.  Unchamped people that I don't know if I have too high or low are Phoenix (though she's almost champed), Star-Lord, and Bolt.

    If this ends up being helpful, it'd be cool to get it stickied and continue updating it.  If not, I still had fun writing it!

  • heybubheybub Posts: 251 Mover and Shaker
    First of all, this is a great write-up.  Thank you for putting this together.  As a 4* player, this really helps me understand what each 5* character does, who they pair nicely with, and to understand who they are good against and who they should avoid.  It's pretty much exactly what we have been asking the devs to do for like ever.  Also the writing style is entertaining - first and last place are great.

    One thing that would be helpful (not that you haven't done enough already) is to get a feel for how much damage they powers do in relation to the amount of health the opponents have.  I see 5k damage, and am like, wow that sounds like a lot.  But I just fought a champed JJ that had 120k HP, so 5k isn't really that much.  Now that I have seen a JJ in action, I get the feel and can do the math, but might be helpful for others who are reading the post.

    A few things come to mind when reading these, the first being how sad the power creep is.  I always liked Silver Surfer - cool and unique character, but it sucks he has faded so badly.  For guys like him or Logan, it seems like all they need to be relevant is some added match damage and some extra HP.  I wonder what the landscape would look like if the devs did just that.  It might not make a new meta, but maybe we would see some of these characters more.

    Since the best 5* character is a 4*, when do you think we will see him nerfed?  I never realized how powerful that guy was (I don't have him champed), and only really use him as a blue battery.  

    Will you be updating this as time goes on?  Even without the addition of new 5*s, some of the rankings will change depending on new characters that boost them (as you mentioned for Hawkeye), or if the character they counter becomes irrelevant (Black Suit Spidey for instance if Kitty is negated somehow).

    And finally, dude, Banner is SO bad...I mean the Hulk should be feared....by the enemy team, not the owner.  I really hope they scrap this one and do him right.  I like the fear/waiting for the hulk to come out, but when he does, he should be a terror.  I mean like smash the whole board when comes out and do like 5k passive damage randomly every turn (for so many turns).  The opposing team should really work hard to keep Banner calm.

    Thanks again for the awesome post!
  • heybubheybub Posts: 251 Mover and Shaker
    edited February 2020
    One comment on Carnage - he has a bit more synergy with BRB than you describe.  He creates enemy attacks that fuel BRB blue countdown since they add an additional enemy attack each turn for ~1 damage, and when he makes matches with a flooded board of protects, he creates additional blue/green AP for Bill.  They also flood the board making it harder for the AI to create their own tiles.  I would probably rank him higher, just for that synergy.  True it is a bit slow, but being good on D still makes them effective.  Through Medusa in the mix and now you are generating AP on matching those enemy attacks and fully (burst) healed by the end of the match.  I actually really like that team (fun, too) but then again, I don't have many other 5*s fully covered.
  • TPF AlexisTPF Alexis Posts: 3,813 Chairperson of the Boards

    Nice write-up. Nothing too surprising to me, but it should be a good reference for newer players.
    It still doesn't make him good, but I'd also note that Kingpin works quite well with Kitty. She can make Attack or Protect tiles for him to give away, buff those and the Attack tiles he makes, and turn the tiles he gives away into an additional ~13K nuke with Circuit Breaker. Plus, they have full rainbow coverage on match damage, and all but purple in actives.
    Added! Now I really want to try this team.  That's a really smart combo.

    I honestly ran into it just sort of by default, since Kitty and Grocket are my usual pair for accompanying Essentials who don't specifically synergise with someone else. Even with Fi5k just at 4/1/3, I found myself using his blue and green on the 5E nodes all the time, which doesn't always even happen when I've got the 5E champed.
    heybub said:
    One thing that would be helpful (not that you haven't done enough already) is to get a feel for how much damage they powers do in relation to the amount of health the opponents have.  I see 5k damage, and am like, wow that sounds like a lot.  But I just fought a champed JJ that had 120k HP, so 5k isn't really that much.  Now that I have seen a JJ in action, I get the feel and can do the math, but might be helpful for others who are reading the post.
    Getting used to 5* health pools and damage takes a bit. The gap between the 4* and 5* tier is much larger than any other, and they break a lot of the patterns we're used to from the lower tiers. There was a while when I was wasting health packs on Kitty (my first 5* champ) because I'd just see the "time to heal" in the team selection screen being longer than any of my 4* and heal her out of habit, but eventually I realized that I wasn't even really noticing that much damage on her health bar during fights.
  • tiomonotiomono Posts: 1,600 Chairperson of the Boards
    tiomono said:
    Do you have banner champed? Gamma ray experiment does not prioritize overwriting enemy specials. It can hit basic tiles too and its random. Which actually makes it worse than what you wrote. But since he is already bottom of your barrel I guess it doesnt matter.

    I am one of the few players that actually kind of like banner. I run mine at 3-5-5. Gamma ray experiment does the same damage at 3 or 5 covers. At 3 covers it only changes 1 tile to green instead of 2 so you can squeeze a few more turns of damage out of it sometimes. 

    Nope.  Anyone with an asterix is unchamped.  I mentioned that in the OP, but to be fair, it's a really long OP.  I just went off power descriptions for him and totally overlooked "basic tiles".  That's way worse.  Updated!
    I read the whole intro but somehow mentally checked out when reading that part lol. I was too excited about seeing your thoughts on how the characters rank I guess. Great write up though. I'm looking forward to more.
  • ThaRoadWarriorThaRoadWarrior Posts: 6,015 Chairperson of the Boards
    It should also be said - I have defeated AI opponents who were using Banner by leaving Hulkform for last, and downing him, and he doesn't revert, it just ends the match in the same way a match with a dead Phoenix countdown on the board will just end. I assume that'a a bug, but it has happened more than once to me in PVP. My own Banner isn't worth trying, so I can't confirm it on offense.
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