Daredevil217's 5* Character Ranking and Analysis 2.0 (Updated 06/20/2022)

Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
First off, I would like to welcome everyone to my 5* character ranking guide. It's been about 10 months since I updated my last guide (due to real life stuff), but had a lot of people reach out showing appreciation and/or asking if  and when I planned to update it.  So, here it is! I was hitting "character/megabyte limits" in my old thread and was having formatting issues, so decided to start anew here and give myself more space.  A lot has changed since I last updated this thread.  Not just 12 new 5*s and a couple meta shifts, but the introduction of 5* god boosts, which really shifted some of these rankings.  A lot of "play for fun" characters are now possibly the best character on your roster during their boost week.

Usual disclaimer: 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  450-480 range. So that’s my MMR and experience (clearly the 550 crowd may rank these differently).

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 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?
Playability Boosted- Does this character play well boosted, and if so by how much?
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?


  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #70) 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 two niches as 1) the only 5* that can turn allies invisible and 2) the only character that uses “swarm tiles”.  Unfortunately, this is not enough to move her out of last place due to power costs and her overall kit being trash.

    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 she 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 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.  I will say, if we ever get a 5* Pym added to the game that just destroys you with swam tiles, maybe Wasp here will see a resurgence? Champ em all, as they say!

    Wasp’s ability to turn allies invisible is helpful to Black Panther, who deals big damage when returning from a stun or invisible status.  Gargantos places an extra Tentacle Tile and Yellowjacket deals extra power and match damage when invisible.  But both overlap on blue/black.  Yeah, not great.  So, Panther is really the only character with built in synergy.  Other than that, if you are itching to play Wasp for some reason, just look for people at the top of this list who compliment her colors and can carry the dead weight.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Expect Wasp to remain firmly planted on the bench.  She really is awful. Most MPQ players have her as the worst character in the game for a reason.
    #69) The Hulk (Bruce Banner)
    bluetilepng577 blacktilepng513 purpletilepng449 290
    greentilepng73 yellowtilepng67 62  Health: 41,357

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

    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.  So why did he get the nod over Wasp? He can put special tiles on the board, which there is a meta for.  So, there’s that.  He also 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.

    Hulk actually has synergy with Kitty Pryde since she can eat enemy attacks and buff friendly ones. Similarly, Ultron can multiply and Amplify Banner’s attack tiles.  Also, power boosters (Okoye, Apocalypse, Scarlet Witch) can boost that 1k passive damage if you can get the less than 7 green condition to proc; which board manipulators (Sersi, Storm) can help with. While you can try to make him work by building around him with other mediocre characters, 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.

    What to expect when boosted:
    The best upgrade that Banner has during boost weeks is the fact that god-boosted match damage can put a real hurting on opponents, and Hulk form’s passive red allows you to double-dip on that goodness.  If a match damage amplifier like Colossus or Warlock are boosted with him, it wouldn’t be the worst pairing in the world.  Shoutout to the developers for fixing a bug where boosts were only applying to Banner and he was reverting to base numbers when transforming.  Though appreciated, it still isn’t enough for this character to be taken off the bench.  Should have fixed the broken character rather than the broken mechanic.
    #68) Iron Man (Mark XLVI)
    655 bluetilepng582 yellowtilepng509 329
    blacktilepng83 greentilepng76 purpletilepng70  Health: 49,845

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    For his time, Iron Man was 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, that has only gotten worse over time. 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 have.

    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. Shang-Chi? One of the MOST versatile characters in the tier, but you’d never fire Tony’s red over Shang-Chi’s so the Team Tony affiliation is meaningless.  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!  Overall, 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!

    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.

    What to expect when boosted:
    God boosts actually hurt Tony as his best power (Girl FRIDAY) doesn’t get better with levels. Plus, the likelihood of another team Iron Man character he has synergy with also getting boosted is pretty low (only four 5* characters get god boosted each week).  So, Tony here will likely ride the pine in favor of pretty much any other boosted 5* or unboosted meta characters on your roster.
    #67) 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. Overall, it does okay damage for the cost. 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, making Forced Hand a very complex ability that involves both luck and proper setup to pull off. Compare this to cheap blue nukes that have come out since that do more damage and require no setup (i.e., Havok, Beta Ray Bill), or those that require some setup but hit way harder (i.e., Sinister, Ronan), and you find your self asking why use this power at all?

    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.

    Kingpin basically pairs with anyone who spams specials cheaply/passively to fuel his blue and has little active overlap (e.g., Old Man Logan, Jessica Jones, Carnage).  Weirdly, Kingpin’s 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. Funny enough, the Elektra version of Daredevil can do the same with her purple and also makes a solid partner.  The other contender for best partner 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.  Kitty Pryde is interesting as she has two ways of adding tiles to the board that Fisk can offer up, only for her to overwrite them and deal huge damage (they also cover the match damage rainbow!).

    What to expect when boosted:
    There are still not a ton of blue nukes in the tier and Fisk’s hoops are more worth jumping through when you tack 100+ levels onto that Forced Hand damage.  His black dropping enemy match damage would be useful against 5* boosted match damage if it didn’t cost one billion AP… you know… for something Colossus does for free.  The reality is you are likely to have 2-3 other boosted characters that that you’d rather field than Kingpin here, as playing a character this bad is basically begging for retals.  But at least he’s tanky and can save packs on early climbs if a tile-spamming character is boosted along with him.
    #66) 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 (less so with power creep), 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 "cheap 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.

    Natasha’s expensive powerset (seriously, how are all three double-digits?) and low health scream “I need a battery!” (e.g., Thor), “I need a bodyguard!” (e.g., “Beta Ray Bill) or both (e.g., Scarlet Witch). The problem is, instead of using these meta characters to cover her weaknesses, you could just as easily cut out the middle man and play someone else who is, I don’t know… good?

    What to expect when boosted:
    Boosted, Natasha’s powers still cost way too much and she will likely drag out matches longer than running most other characters would.  She’s not a character that has any real synergy with anyone (as noted above you run people to cover her weaknesses rather than amplify her strengths).  At best, she has three active abilities, so you may use her if the other three boosted characters that week have heavy yellow, green, blue overlap and you need additional coverage.  Beyond that scenario (and sometimes even in that scenario), she will ride the bench.

    #65) Doctor Octopus (Classic)
    blacktilepng712 bluetilepng633 greentilepng554 358
    90 purpletilepng83 yellowtilepng76  Health: 51,627

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Doctor Otto Octavius is a 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. 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 if he is ever boosted with 5* Thanos and his ally-stunning Court Death).

    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 to fully 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 an interesting character, he’s one I break out now and again. But he’s also not one that will hurt you not to have champed.

    If you are building around his reactor, a green battery is a must (e.g., Thor).  If building around his blue, anyone who can flood the board with single-colored tiles (e.g., Jean Grey, Star-Lord, Iron Man) can help.  You just may need a newer/more competitive third to help the older characters along.  Scarlet Witch fits the bill well as she can mildly fuel green and potentially create match-4 opportunities with her purple.  Further, characters that help create match 4’s (Carnage, Shang-Chi) or benefit from them (Professor X, Onslaught) can pair well with Octavius.

    What to expect when boosted:
    While Otto’s kit isn’t great, almost everything he does gets boosted when he does.  He provides AP outlets in three colors and two of them (blue/green) are not terrible powers with reasonable costs (especially for a character as old as him).  While he won’t be a defensive deterrent, or super-fast offensively, he could be worth using in early climbs paired with a newer school boosted partner.  If you can get Ock’s repeater out early, it can provide some nice healing for his partner (who is likely to do most of the tanking due to having more modern match damage).
    #64) 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. She does have better health and match damage than many ranked around her on this list, but that plus a decent red outlet (in a tier full of them) do not make her a character necessarily worth chasing. But if you happened to have champed her, Rescue’s  strengths can be leveraged with the right people augmenting what she does.

    Pepper’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 that ruled the 5* tier during the time of her release. 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/Kamala/Apocalypse/Polaris-spam teams 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, the 5* tier is loaded with quality red abilities. Meaning, the one thing she brings to the table is often done better 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).

    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? Moon Knight?) 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.

    What to expect when boosted:
    If for some reason you need a good red outlet, she might see use (as you won’t play her for her other two trash powers).  But the reality is, she will likely be boosted with someone else who has at least a serviceable red plus other powers that make them more valuable to a team than ole Pepper here.

    #63) Captain Marvel (Galactic Warrior)
    797 greentilepng709 yellowtilepng620 394
    blacktilepng101 bluetilepng94 purpletilepng86  Health: 60,586

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5
    Alternate Build: 3/5/5 (if you value possibly instant green damage over quicker strikes)

    Carol Danvers was easily one of the most anticipated and hyped characters before her release. With Marvel heavily promoting their first female superhero film, we all knew she was coming well before she was officially announced. With her 4* counterpart already being one of the best characters in her tier, the hype train for the 5* was off the charts. She was going to change the meta! What we ended up getting was a far cry from that. Carol is a slow character due to her reliance on repeater tiles, countdown tiles, and going airborne. She also has low damage numbers (even without the delays) and happens to share active colors with some of the absolute best in the game. Thus, what you get from Carol is a character who can be okay with the right partners; but ultimately not competitive. A letdown for those expecting her to make a titanic shift to the game.

    Captain Marvel’s red (Mean Right Hook) costs 8 AP and has her place a 2-3 turn repeater tile that does about 5800 damage and places 2-3 small strikes (strength 266). The passive component of her power states that she gets 2 yellow AP when a strike is destroyed by something other than a match.

    Event Horizon (green) is Carol’s passive that sees her flexing her muscle as a green battery. Unfortunately, she needs more time in the gym. She puts down a 3-turn repeater that generates 3 green AP. That’s +1 AP per turn, if the repeater survives... which it very often doesn’t. But it’s free... so whatever. When her team has 10 green AP, the power becomes Photonic Rush- a 10 AP active ability that depending on covers, places a 1-2 turn countdown or deals instant damage (6643 at all 3 levels). She then destroys a random row (leaving friendly tiles intact) and will then destroy additional rows for each friendly tile in the initial row destroyed (again... leaving friendly tiles unharmed).

    Captain Marvel’s yellow (Got Your Six) is in my opinion her best power, given the lack of great yellow damage dealers in the tier. Danvers sends either herself or an ally of your choosing airborne and when the character lands, they burst heal for about 5400 health and Carol deals about 12k damage to the target. That’s pretty good return for the 8 AP this ability costs. The only issue is that arguably her only good ability has a hard counter in Archangel (mentioned later).

    Usually, when effects are delayed in MPQ or there’s a risk of them not going off at all, you get a bigger payout. Carol bucks this trend as her damage is lower than other characters, her strikes are weaker, and her AP generation is slower and harder to pull off. Compare her to someone like Beta Ray Bill (discussed way later) who is similar, but does his stuff with protects instead of strikes. He gets 2 AP when either team destroys a protect tile (by any means) and he starts the game putting them on the board. Carol’s damage is lower and delayed. She gets AP if only her team destroys a strike tile without matching it. And she has to wait forever to get strikes on the board. Upon her release she had some of the highest health and match damage in the game, but power creep has taken that advantage away too. One thing to note as well is that Carol shares a minimum of two colors with some of the absolute best characters in the game like Apocalypse, Thor, Okoye, Beta Ray Bill, and Kitty Pryde (obviously those characters are discussed much, much, later). So, if you have any of the tippy top, her use goes way down. With the number of characters growing every month, Carol here is a hard pass due to being slow, low damage, and overall uninteresting.

    My absolute favorite partner for Carol is Green Goblin. He fortifies all her repeaters/countdowns to help ensure you get something back for the AP you spend; while Gobby Glider and Pumpkin Bombs can do huge damage- which Carol isn’t great at. Carnage, Bill and Iceman despite overlap can all be great for spamming the board with special tiles to allow you to get the most out of her green active ability (Polaris as well a tier below). Jessica Jones can similarly put strikes on the board for Carol while providing a nice black nuke.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Similar to the other Cap (ranked just a bit above her), Carol’s best attribute is decent damage on yellow.  If you are in need of that during your boost week, she might see some play.  However, you are almost guaranteed to have better red/green options boosted alongside her, so even a decent yellow might not be enough for her to see play, even when boosted.
    #62) Silver Surfer (Skyrider)
    bluetilepng586 521 blacktilepng456 294
    purpletilepng74 yellowtilepng68 greentilepng63  Health: 47,471

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Silver Surfer is the original charged tile specialist 5*.  He is not a very good 5* by any means due to eons of power creep that have occurred since his debut.  While he once had a niche that elevated him in the tier (being unstunnable), power creep took that from him too (Hi Apocalypse!).

    Silver Surfer’s blue (Perfect Being) is where his niche once lied. He has a passive component to this power that states he cannot be stunned. This can be pretty huge against certain characters (but is much less necessary since Bishop's reign of terror has ended). The active part of this power costs 9 AP, true heals Surfer a large amount (10-14k), and charges 3-4 tiles in a color of your choosing. This power is great for a tanky tank. Stay up front, shrug off stuns, absorb hits, and heal back up. Unfortunately, his match damage is so laughably bad that he very often can’t do the one thing this power is designed to do!

    Surfer’s red (Cosmic Beam) is his best and only direct damage-dealing power. So you’ll want this one at 5 covers where he does about 9500 damage for only 7 AP. He also puts 3 random charged tiles on the board when he fires this ability.

    Surfer’s black (Silver Singularity) is a pricey 12 AP power that puts a 3-turn “black hole” on the board. Each turn it ticks down, the hole destroys 4-5 adjacent tiles. When it “implodes” it does around 5-8k damage. Overall, you are spending a ton of specific AP in order to get a ton of random AP back (from the destroyed tiles) and do middling damage. This power is not really worth the effort, considering the other amazing black abilities in the tier.

    Silver Surfer is ultimately a support character who- due to power creep- now needs way more support than he gives. His red ability is okay for the cheap cost and his blue passive makes him a hard counter to stun-lock teams (assuming you can keep him up front which is not an easy task). It is for these two reasons that Surfer could occasionally find use on a team against certain opponents. Unfortunately for Norrin, another character in the form of Apocalypse was released who has no problems tanking, does 2-5x more damage on red for the same cost, has an excellent black, and happens to be unstunable when paired with a mutant (bye bye niche!).  So if you need stun immunity and don't have Apocalypse, Surfer might work in a pinch if you can keep him up front.  However, he has two mediocre/slow active abilities, is laughably bad on defense, and more often than not just heals, does small damage, and puts charged tiles on the board. If ever there was a character desperate for an upgrade to match damage, health and AP costs, this cosmic being would be it!

    Given their proclivity for charged tiles, Storm and Black Bolt are two great partners that can make use of the charged tiles Norrin spits out. Storm specifically often ends up with more black AP than she can use, so Surfer can assist with an outlet there, even if it isn’t a great power. He also gets to tank red/blue with them which helps out against stun-heavy teams where you want him up front. He can similarly tank red/blue teamed with Colossus or Adam Warlock, both of whom can benefit from charged tiles ramping up their already high match damage.  Surfer’s stun immunity and true heal also make him an ideal pairing with Thanos, as he is the only character that can negate both of the friendly drawbacks of Court Death (being stunned and taking damage). Thor can act as a decent battery for Surfer, while Daredevil and Norrin also make a sneaky good full rainbow true-healing duo.

    What to expect when boosted:
    If Surfer is in dire need of a health and match damage boost in order to be playable, you’d think he’d see more play boosted.  The issue here is that while he will tank his colors over unboosted characters, Silver Surfer and an unboosted 5* aren’t striking fear in the hearts of anyone.  Because the characters boosted with him may lack synergy, tank his colors, or not bring enough offense to cover his weaknesses, he might not see use at all.  However, with the right partners (high offense with opposite strong colors), a pumped-up Surfer may save you some healthpacks early on.
    #61) 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.

    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 (for a character this old). 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 a while 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 mean he can play “filler third” if you fancy rainbow teams. And he has a lot of partners that can amplify the stuff he does.

    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 a stun on a second color for Murdock. Jessica Jones as a third makes a full rainbow “Team Cap” theme team. While Ghost Rider as a third makes a full rainbow “three-color stun” team. If playing around Cap’s blue, anyone who floods the board with specials is not a bad play (Hela, Carnage, Phoenix, Ultron, Apocalypse)- especially when they all have a better red outlet. The beauty of Cap is he’s versatile for an older character depending on what you want to build around. This versatility is why he ultimately gets ranked higher than his more limited Civil War counterpart.

    What to expect when boosted:
    While he’s not scary defensively, Cap will often have the best yellow power available amongst your 4 boosted toons, and because of this, he might see some play depending on your other options.  Good stuns are a rarity in the 5* tier and so even one as expensive as his has value (especially with all the other stuff it does).  Paired with a tile spammer or amplifier, and/or with a higher ranked character who has red/black/green/purple coverage, Steve can put in some work as a secondary attacker, even if he’s a bit older.  On weeks he doesn’t come off the bench it will likely be because his high costs and low damage are outclassed by boosted characters who have benefitted from power creep.  If Cap’s kit was mostly kept the same but he received tweaks to his numbers, he’d be used way more.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #60) Cable (Nathan Summers)
    bluetilepng713 greentilepng634 yellowtilepng555 353
    91 blacktilepng84 purpletilepng77  Health: 52,701

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Cable is a character who has a decent power set, but one that is rapidly aging. Perhaps his best quality is his X-Men affiliation and the fact that he pairs well with a lot of characters (especially X-characters). His biggest drawback is the fact that he is expensive/slow, and all of his powers are pretty much done better by others. Still if you don’t have those other characters, or are simply looking for a decent blue/green/yellow filler, you could do a lot worse than Cable.

    Cable’s Blue (Cyborg Strategist) is a bit of a wonky power. For a pricey 9 AP, Cable creates a 3-5 turn countdown tile. While it’s on the board, when you make a green match, he stuns his target 2 turns and turns 4-5 basic green tiles to charged tiles. The problem with this power is unless there is one enemy remaining (or you make a green match 5), the opponent gets first dibs on your charged tiles. Second, I wish the length of the stun went up by a turn at 5 covers. 9 AP just seems pricey for what this power actually does in execution, as you often get one match/stun out of it before it expires.

    Green (Plasma Barrage) is without a doubt Cable’s bread and butter power, and is the one you want to ensure is at 5 covers. For 12 AP, Cable does just under 22k damage- big around his release, but now could use an update. If he KO’s the enemy, any remaining damage is dealt to each of the remaining targets. Overall, this is a cool ability that is awesome boosted. However, I think the cost is too high for the “potential” of hitting that character with 100 health and dealing 21k to everyone else. In practice that big hit can only happen one time, and only if you whittle them down just right. Every other cast is a bad return on investment. I give credit for the outside the box thinking on this one. It’s just a tad too expensive like his blue.

    Cable’s yellow (Veteran Instincts) is the exact opposite of Plasma Barrage with regards to creativity. For 9 AP he creates 2-3 strikes (~500 strength) plus 1 for each ally in the fight. Nate is cooler than this! The passive portion of this power also states “when you make a yellow match, do something that Green Goblin does 3x as fast and for free”. Wait, no... “when you make a Yellow match, fortify 1 random friendly Countdown or Repeater tile”. There it is.

    Overall, Nate has self-synergy on paper, but in execution it doesn’t work as well as one would think. That said, I actually found myself playing him a ton when he was first released (non-competitively) as either his color combo, powerset (especially his proclivity for stuns, charged tiles, and strike tiles) and/or both, make him an ideal partner for a lot of X-Men.

    Professor Xavier is perhaps my favorite pairing with Cable. They have no active overlap, and Prof will shrug off more damage with Cable by his side. Gambit is a close second as they cover the full rainbow. The Ragin’ Cajun will deal some nice damage and help fuel Plasma Barrage with his red, while Cable can fortify Gambit’s countdowns by matching yellow. Kitty Pryde can boost Nate’s strikes (at the cost of her not dropping protects), while his presence makes her buff threshold go down one tile. Storm, despite massive overlap, works surprisingly well if you use his green and her yellow. Some non-X pairings I’ve enjoyed are Daredevil (who benefits from stuns and strikes), Jessica Jones (5 colors covered), Ultron (See: Jones, Jessica), Thor (fuels two of Cables powers), Beard Cap (again... covers 5 colors), and Apocalypse (5 colors again, plus the mutant affiliation makes Apocalypse unstunable). Lots of quality partners is why he is ranked as high as he is. Some slight number tweaks would have him so much higher!

    What to expect when boosted:
    Much of what Cable does (e.g., stun duration, fortification, charged tile creation) doesn’t get better with levels- which is why Cable still lands in the lower half of the rankings.  What he does do is put down stronger strikes and his pumped-up green is way more worth the high price tag.  Ideally, he needs to be paired with a boosted battery and/or one of the many partners he synergizes with (listed above).  He’s still super slow even at boosted levels, but can see use simply because he plays nice with others, which will be key on weeks where you see a lot of overlap amongst the other boosted characters in popular colors like red and black.
    #59) Wolverine (Old Man Logan)
    blacktilepng624 yellowtilepng554 485 314
    greentilepng79 purpletilepng73 bluetilepng67  Health: 42,480

    Recommended Build:

    Much like Old Man Logan himself, this character was once “the best in the world at what [he did]”, and is now an old broken-down version of what he used to be. Even after his very controversial nerf, he still serves as a decent healer and strike tile creator. The problem is that even with Logan doing both things passively, there are people who are still somehow better at both of his specialties, making him quite expendable. He has a “transformation” mechanic that replaces all of his powers with actual good abilities, but it takes him a ton of time to get there. In a speed-based game where seemingly everyone is bringing their fastest guns... time is not always on this old man’s side.

    Logan’s black (Living Legend) is one of the simplest powers in the game. Spend 9 AP. Put down 4 strikes (strength 645). End turn (this part usually sucks). If he happens to be holding 12 yellow (yes that’s 20 AP total), then he gets a whole new set of powers. We’ll discuss Logan 2.0 later.

    Yellow (Die Hard) was once his marquee power that had people from all tiers of play using him with just a single cover. Now, he can barely shrug off new age 5* match damage, as each turn, he heals 1400 for each ally in the fight (so 2800 total). I’d just as soon bring Daredevil, Okoye, Doom, Yellowjacket, Crystal, or Shang-Chi if I wanted a healer.

    Red (Reluctant Hero) sees Logan creating two strength 338 strikes when his allies fire a power, if there are less than 5 on the board. Given the special tile meta still has its place in MPQ, this ability is probably his best one.

    If Logan “transforms” (fires his 8 AP black while holding 12 yellow AP), all of his powers change to crazy good abilities. Black (Still Sharp) costs only 7 AP, does almost 14k damage, and destroys up to 4 friendly strikes, doing about 3700 damage for each. Wow!

    Yellow (Old Habits) costs 6 AP, meaning it can be double-cast as soon as you transform (as you’ll be holding 12 yellow). Logan does 2600 AOE damage plus an additional 1275 for each enemy still standing (so almost 6500 AOE against a full team).

    Red (Finish the Fight) is 2.0’s “expensive” ability that at 8 AP, sees Logan doing big damage (around 12k) plus additional big damage (around 9k) it he’s below a certain level of heath (40-60%). Given that Logan 2.0 doesn’t heal, it’s possible that extra damage will proc.

    Overall, version 1 Logan is a very slow character that relies on his allies firing powers in order to contribute to a fight. He is meant to be played in long, drawn out matches that give him time to collect AP to do what he does best. Once transformed, Logan 2.0 is actually one of the faster characters in the game. I believe the developer’s strategy here was to make you struggle through first attacking a character who heals, lest you regret it when he transforms and rips your team to shreds. The problem is he is SO SLOW in his transformation, that I’ve never regretted leaving him for last (especially since he no longer heals with no allies). The other huge detriment to Old Man is he needs to take damage in order to heal it, and his pathetic match damage means many of his best partners take hits that would be better served for him. Still, at worst he’s good for early climbs and to eat some Court Death damage. While he is by no means a good character (especially compared to the “new guard”), the fact that he does two things for your team (strikes and heals) by virtue of existing and the fact that he can do something on offense if you work to transform him, places him higher than those below him on this list.

    Despite being a mediocre character, Logan has some good partners that either benefit from or can amplify what he does. Kitty Pryde is an exceptional partner, as she can boost his strikes. Unfortunately, 4* Rocket & Groot (and Polaris) are a thing. Otherwise, we’d see this pairing way more. I’d still suggest these two in a PVP where the 3* has quick fire abilities (like Vision). Professor X allows Logan to tank two colors and both can shrug off damage (Professor even more so thanks to Logan being an X-Man). Logan and any true healer that compliments his colors (Phoenix, Daredevil, Loki, Shang-Chi, Yellowjacket) are good for saving health packs on early climbs. He’s also good with maniacal villains who harm their teammates (Thanos/Carnage) as he can heal back that damage. Beta Ray Bill provides extra protection, two more active colors, and allows Logan to tank red/black.  Kamala Khan provides three active powers and a nice passive that deals damage when you match friendly tiles (like Logan's strikes!).  Finally, if you want to build around “the transform”, you can use Thor as an excellent yellow battery, while chasing black. The problem is Thor will usually tank all but yellow/black, so you might want to bring a third partner with new age match damage to cover for Odinson. Similarly, Scarlet Witch can add either yellow or black to a dry board to help transform and still allow Logan to tank all his strong colors!

    What to expect when boosted:
    With the right partners, Logan can save health packs on early climbs and see lots of use boosted.  This is mainly because in longer matches you can work for the transform in ways you wouldn’t unboosted.  However, even boosted he is still not scary to face defensively.  He can still be left for last and disposed of, especially by other boosted 5s.  Even with all that extra health, and matches being drawn out, I STILL don’t feel the AI has enough time or common sense to transform before he’s dead, which speaks to an overall problem with his kit.
    #58) Gambit (Classic)
    purpletilepng621 552 blacktilepng483 312
    greentilepng78 yellowtilepng72 bluetilepng66  Health: 51,277

    Recommended Build: 4/4/5
    Alternate Build: 5/3/5 (if not pairing with other charged tile specialists)

    Once upon a time, Remy Lebeau ruled the meta with an iron fist like no one before or since. After much developer deliberation, he was hammered repeatedly with a nerf bat. What remains is a character that has tumbled down the rankings to bottom of the pack. Gambit is now a double-edged sword, actively hurting teammates by blocking their purple/red actives and really limiting his team composition. However, with a very select few partners (discussed later) he can be pretty phenomenal still.

    Gambit’s purple (Ragin’ Cajun) is a pricey 11 AP and sees him creating 3 countdown tiles that look to replace enemy attack/strike/protect tiles. When these tiles resolve, they do 8-10k damage each, which is pretty good IF you can get them to resolve (they usually all don’t make it).

    Gambit’s red (Aces & Eights) is much cheaper at 7 AP. He destroys 2 charged or basic tiles (looking for the former first) and he deals around 3-4k damage for each charged tile he destroys. He then puts three charged tiles on the board.  What this ultimately means is that on his own, the first cast of this power does almost nothing other than put some charged tiles on the board. But with the right teammates putting charged tiles on the board for him, he can spam you to death while simultaneously fueling his teammates (since you get AP for the destroyed tiles!).

    Finally, Gambit’s black (Stacked Deck) is a passive power that places a 2-turn repeater when one doesn’t exist. When it resolves, Gambit gets 3 red and 3 purple AP (at 5 covers). Combined with his red, this makes Gambit a decent battery. However, he is mostly fueling himself due to a clause at the end of this power that states “Gambit’s allies may not fire Purple or Red Powers”. Ouch. Pretty selfish, Remy.

    Overall, Gambit is bringing two things to the table. One, he has a decent but expensive purple nuke (albeit delayed by countdowns). Second, he pairs very very well with other charged tile specialists in the tier due to his red. With the right teammates he can still wreck opponents. However, trying to stick him on a team outside of those that accelerate him can be a painful endeavor due to the last line of his power set. The Cajun would be much more fun to play and could be extremely versatile as a battery (though still not top tier) if this “block” were removed. But as it stands, Gambit’s lack of versatility is ultimately what drops him to the low tier.

    Tier 1: Storm, Black Bolt; tier 2: Cable; tier 3: Star-Lord, Crystal, Silver Surfer, Hawkeye, Havok. Gambit’s tier 1 partners passively add charged tiles to the board, making Gambit’s red scary from the beginning. They also have no active overlap, making the “selfish” clause in Gambit’s black a non-issue. Cable similarly has no overlap, but relies on an active ability to put charged tiles on the board and get the ball rolling. This pairing is fun, because all of Cable’s charged tiles are green, meaning Gambit’s red directly fuel’s Cable’s powerful green. Tier 3 happens to be weaker characters in general (sans Havok and Crystal), but they also have one power each that Gambit blocks, making them much less ideal pairings. So, Gambit’s “zone” is quite limited, but if he stays in his lane, he can be good. Outside his lane he is much slower, having to cast red twice to get it to do anything. He can still tag along with higher ranked characters that don’t actively overlap him like Doom, Beta Ray Bill, Colossus, Kamala Khan, or Gargantos and do well enough. But those tier 1-2 characters are really where Gambit shines.

    What to expect when boosted:
    OG Gambit was made extremely squishy as a way to balance him upon release.  Unfortunately, his low health remained after his nerf.  So, you can’t really run him unboosted against god-boosted 5*s.  This means he is really only useful boosted.  But as mentioned above, he really only works with select 5* characters.  If these few characters are not boosted with him, then he will probably ride the bench due to the aforementioned squishiness and purple/red block.  His lack of quality partners really hurt his boost potential, which has ultimately dinged him in the rankings.
    #57) Loki (God of Mischief)
    purpletilepng696 greentilepng618 blacktilepng541 344
    bluetilepng89 82 yellowtilepng75  Health: 53,841

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Loki is a character with a decent kit, who can hold his own on a team when boosted. He has no awful powers, but doesn’t excel at anything either. His overall powerset screamed “middle of the pack” upon release, and time has only seen him drop with each new release ranked above him.

    For my AP, Loki has a pretty good active purple (Shadowplay).  For 7 AP, Loki spams the board with 4 black countdowns. Destroy one and two more take its place (Hail Hydra!). While these countdowns are out, the power becomes a 4 AP power called “Dagger Surprise”, which removes up to 4 of his countdowns and deals about 8900 damage for each. So you can play this as an 11 AP nuke, or if you are lucky enough with regards to spamming more countdowns, you can get a second 25k nuke for 4 AP.

    For 11 AP, Loki’s green (Destroy Everything) puts down a 3-turn fortified repeater that does about 6600 AOE damage and destroys a random row (hopefully hitting some Shadowplay tiles along the way). This ability is ultimately way too slow to be considered effective. It obviously becomes more “worth it” the longer the match drags on and it’s out. While it’s fine as an “AP dump” there are far better greens in the tier.

    Finally, Loki’s black passive (Feign Death) has him place a trap tile on the board when he is KOed. If matched by either team, Loki is revived with 45-62% health (true heal!), and he generates 1-2 green AP to help fuel his expensive repeater.

    Loki is best used boosted for that awesome purple ability in early climbs. Loki’s passive and a little luck can save on health packs and gives him some solid sustainability, especially if you are able to revive him a few times before he is ultimately downed for good. His purple alone makes him a solid third for many pick-3 teams as well- as long as you aren't playing a competitive team.

    The number one thing I look for in a Loki partner is an active black ability. You will be chasing black a lot to spam Shadowplay tiles, so it makes sense to have an outlet for that AP. Doctor Doom is an awesome partner for Loki in this regard, plus Doom’s board shuffle can often help get to a hard to reach Loki trap to revive him. Doom also works because he’s another early climb/true heal MVP (Old Man Logan can be used in a similar capacity, he just isn’t as good on offense or defense). Electro provides an insane black, better green that can help hit Shadowplay tiles, and a cheap yellow.  Plus, Loki is a villain which adds to Electro’s defense.  Jessica Jones is another person with an excellent black outlet. Her strikes can fuel his AOE, while his countdowns can up the damage on her Body Check. Black Panther also provides a black AP outlet as well as some use for team-up AP, while Silver Surfer provides coverage in three colors (including black).  Deadpool has an excellent red outlet, and a spammable black power- which is fueled by taking damage (did I mention Loki revives?!). Finally, Apocalypse is an excellent selection as his repeaters can boost Loki's and he provides yet another amazing black outlet once that repeater spams protect tiles.  Looking at non-black users, Hawkeye can benefit from any Shadowplay tiles that don't get destroyed- fueling his powers when they expire.  Heimdall is also an excellent partner who can fuel Shadowplay/Dagger Surprise, make them cheaper, and he provides red, blue and yellow AP outlets.  Magneto, while not as good as Heim, also provides outlets in the same three strong colors and makes a decent pair.  Finally, Kamala gives yellow, blue, and a better green outlet, and she deals passive damage to random enemies as you match Shadowplay tiles!

    What to expect when boosted:
    As you can see above, Loki has no shortage of quality pairings, which means you can usually come up with a decent duo on a boost week.  Longer matches mean you may actually get to see him revive and/or have a match drag on long enough to both cast Destroy Everything and see the repeater do something.  But neither of those abilities are the main reason to play Loki.  You do so for the insane purple outlet which gets better with levels.  Similar to when he’s unboosted, he plays best as an early climber, saving on packs.  I still am likely to switch him out for better defense near the end, depending on who is boosted with him, but overall he should see use during a lot of events boosted- and it helps that he is a generally fun (albeit slow) character.
    #56) Black Panther (Civil War)
    blacktilepng671 yellowtilepng597 522 337
    purpletilepng85 bluetilepng78 greentilepng72  Health: 51,075

    Recommended Build: 5/4/4
    Alternate Build: 5/3/5 (If only used with Thanos)

    Black Panther is a character that plays better against certain characters than with. The notable exception of course being his one-time partner in crime that he ruled the meta with long ago. While he has fallen far down the rankings as the meta has passed him by, he still has some unique mechanics that allow him to do things no one else can.

    Panther’s Prey (black) allows you to choose a character on the opposing team to target for 9 AP. Panther then places a 5-turn Countdown tile. While this tile is on the board and your chosen opponent takes damage, they suffer over 5k extra damage. That’s pretty insane considering cascades, attack tiles, and powers that spam ticks of damage. I’ve seen cascades melt opponents with this tile out. Unfortunately, it’s garbage on defense where a human player can simply let a non-targeted character tank until it resolves.

    Spirit of Wakanda is an active team-up ability posing as a yellow passive ability. When T’Challa has 11 team-up AP and makes a yellow match, he spends 7 of it and does huge damage (23-27k!). The nice thing here is while it takes a lot to get the prerequisite 11 AP, you only need 7 more for a second casting of this gigantic nuke.

    Panther’s red (Move... Or Be Moved) is a true passive ability and the one that puts him on the map. When The King of Wakanda takes a certain amount of damage (between 6-9k depending on covers), he negates 60% and stuns himself two turns. Whenever he returns from being stunned or invisible, he deals around 12k damage. This is once again a great power on offense, but super easy to avoid on defense, as is his entire kit honestly.

    Overall Panther is best played as a counter character to opponents who stun- especially Iceman who often hits for very short stuns, allowing T’Challa to dole out quick retaliations. He also has use in PVE wave nodes and new release PVPs with a specific partner (see below).

    “Panthos” (Black Panther and Thanos)- a once feared meta- has now been passed over for faster teams, more resilient teams, and more defensive teams. However, it is still a combo that works better than maybe any other in CL9 and lower PVE wave nodes. Kill one enemy to trigger Court Death, when the next set of enemies appears, Panther returns from being stunned to hit Move... Or Be Moved, downing an enemy, and triggering Court Death again... rinse and repeat. Not health pack friendly by any means, but super fast. Similarly, they can gang up on low health new release characters in PVP and hit their famous 1-2 punch for some quick deaths. As mentioned earlier, Panther is the only 5* “Team Iron Man” character to have no active overlap with Stark, so there is good synergy there. Panther and Loki also work well, as Loki collects a lot of black AP he has no outlet for. Okoye, despite complete color overlap, works well with her fellow Wakandan Warrior as they actually share no active ability overlap. She spams the board with the team-up tiles he so desperately needs to trigger his yellow “passive” (it’s still active to me dammit!). These two function better with some much needed blue/purple/green coverage in pick-3 (Iceman, Professor, Parker, Star-Lord, Onslaught, Bill, Yellowjacket, ...).

    What to expect when boosted:
    I think Panther has been so tied to Thanos, that people forget that he is a solid character in his own right.  Hopefully, some separate boost weeks will allow folks to re-discover just how good Panther can be apart from that synergy.  Move… Or Be Moved can be one of the more annoying powers to face defensively.  And even though red is contingent on taking big hits, yellow is expensive, and black is fragile, all can pack a punch.  While I don’t think anyone will cower in fear at a boosted T’Challa, one could do a lot worse on offense.  His issue is that he really only has one AP outlet (black) and it’s a popular one in the tier.  So, if one of the 15+ characters ranked above him with a solid black outlet are also boosted, you may be put to a choice.  But if you don’t have those options and do have Panther, he won’t disappoint.
    #55) Abigail Brand (Commander of S.W.O.R.D.)
    978 870 761 484
    124 115 105  Health: 66,029

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    For the most part, MPQ does a good job of releasing characters within a certain bandwidth of power (though power creep is an obvious thing). Though every once in awhile a character clearly breaks the mold and becomes meta, much to the excitement of players. Conversely, we often get characters who for whatever reason miss the mark and fall on the left of the bell curve. Unfortunately, Abby falls in this category. She’s not a complete wash, as you can build some annoying teams around her and/or use her in PVP boosted. But if you happened to skip her, your roster really won’t suffer.

    All of Abby’s powers contain countdowns/repeaters that do a little more than nothing. The first such ability is her 8 AP purple (Peak Performance) that deals about 9K damage and has you place a 2-turn repeater that destroys 2 AP in whatever color you place the repeater on. This is probably her best power and is her only direct damage-dealer.

    Abby’s blue (Burn Notice) is a cheap 6 AP power that creates a pair of strength 622 attack tiles and yet another 2-turn repeater. This repeater removes an enemy strike/attack/protect tile and creates another strength 622 attack tile each time it resolves.

    Abby’s yellow is just… weird. For 5 AP she creates a 2-turn countdown that upon resolution will then resolve a random countdown or repeater tile. Since you can’t pick the tile that gets resolved, it’s kind of a throwaway AP dump. There is a passive attached to this power that helps her see use as a nuisance/troll character. It states that when a countdown or repeater resolves her team burst heals 1700-1900. I tend to keep this at 3 covers and forgo the 200 damage difference. This healing doesn’t seem like a lot, but all her powers drop either a countdown or repeater and if you play her with other characters who do the same, she can be annoying.

    I should note that with each of her powers, her countdown/repeaters come fortified at five covers. This is another reason I play her 5/5/3. I’d rather fortify repeaters that will last over a countdown that will disappear.

    Overall, Abigail’s whole brand is about slowing down the opponent by spamming countdowns/repeaters, placing attack tiles, suppressing AP, and generating more health for opponents to chew through. While she can be annoying and lengthen a match, she’s not at all dangerous unlike other defensive characters who also slow you down (I.e. Scarlet Witch and Colossus- both ranked much higher). Also, she slows your team down waiting for everything to resolve just as much as she does the opponent. Not great for game where speed is king.

    Abby works well as an annoying character due to the burst healing. Her best partners are going to be those who spam countdowns and repeaters to proc her team healing. Scarlet Witch (an annoying defensive character herself) creates a 1-turn repeater passively, while Gargantos (a suppression character himself) does the same with countdowns. Hawkeye, who collects AP from expired countdowns makes an excellent third!  For just 7 AP, Apocalypse and Iceman can cheaply spam 4 and 5 2-turn repeaters respectively. Iceman also spams blue countdowns, while Apoc can provide the heavy damage for the team. Finally, Ghost Rider covers the rainbow for Abby and comes with some heavy nukes. He also has two powers that spam countdowns (his green makes one that recreates itself each turn!).

    What to expect when boosted:
    Abby will have value in weeks where the best boosted characters rely on active powers. Her AP suppression means little against a meta based on passive damage. However, if someone like Deadpool or Apocalypse is the best boosted option in a given week, Abby’s ability to target those red and black AP pools could prove handy. She is not a primary damage-dealer and is slow, so she may often ride the bench. But, if she can support a boosted heavy hitter on your team while suppressing the opponent’s big gun, she may find use in some early matches, because though slow she may save you some health packs.
    #54) Captain America (Infinity War)
    637 purpletilepng566 yellowtilepng495 320
    bluetilepng80 blacktilepng74 greentilepng68  Health: 57,846

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    “Imma kill this man’s whole career... with one punch” - Cap in every boss event ever. That’s right! At this stage of the rankings it is common to see people who are extremely niche/specialists. In a tier with over 70 characters, sometimes it’s better to be elite at one thing, than okay or even good at a lot of things. Cap stands above the rest in 1 vs. 1 competition, while his kit is good enough to bring along in standard PVP as well (at least when boosted).

    Beard Cap’s unique red (Rope-a-Dope) costs 8 AP and does just over 10k damage to non-targeted enemies (the schlubs in the back). When one enemy remains, the power becomes Coup de Grâce. For 10 AP, Cap deals 15k damage; plus he drains ALL colored AP, dealing 868 damage for each! The pro of this (and reason to play him) is in 1 vs. 1, 10 AP usually ends the match. The con is that the power is super ineffective when two enemies remain. So, like Riri in the tier below, you have to play around that limitation. But seriously, if Cap is on your team and you can get down to one enemy, it’s pretty much over on a red-heavy board.

    While red is the “star power”, purple (Man Without a Country) is a very underrated and cheap (6 AP) ability that is excellent at suppressing the opponent. At 5 covers, Cap destroys 6 enemy AP in a color of your choosing (huge); and places a countdown that prevents firing powers in that color (perhaps overkill since you just destroyed 6 AP in that color). This power has been huge in my team avoiding big nukes and saving health packs.  That said, in PVP, active powers are being built around less and less and this power does zilch against Passive Puzzle Quest.

    Finally, yellow (On your Feet, Soldier!) has Steve playing the role of necromancer, reviving your dead characters (40-60% burst heal). While it is cool when you pull it off, the ability has three issues that make it one of the worst powers in the tier. First, it costs a ridiculous 15 AP. Second, it only works when your characters die, which is something you try to actively avoid in MPQ. Third, the benefit only lasts that one match since the healing is burst. You go right back to KO status when the match is over.

    As mentioned earlier, Cap is a specialist in 1 vs. 1 due to his red power defaulting to Coup de Grâce to start. So boss events and PVPs like Festival of Fights are places where he is arguably one of the best in the game. In Standard PVP, his lack of passives hurt him compared to others who you’d be more inclined to bring along because they “do free stuff.  That said, he’s not going to be a liability on your team, and will definitely carry his weight.

    My favorite BeardCap pairing is with Doctor Doom as a special tile counter team. Doom essentially chases yellow (his strongest color) allowing him to tank and eventually die, clearing all the special tiles from the board. Cap continues to chase yellow, paying the ridiculous sum of 15 AP to the devil and reviving Doom. Doom can then true heal off the strength of his own passive. Other than that, I like playing Cap with the many blue/green (Iceman, Cable, Beta Ray, Kamala) or blue/green/black (Ock, Angel, Yellowjacket, Gargantos) users in the tier.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Cap can really shine boosted for two reasons.  One, the boosted meta for the week is less likely to rely on passive damage than the unboosted meta (where it’s pretty much a guarantee).  What this means is that Cap’s purple suppression can be clutch in these matches where firing powers are a thing people do once again.  Second, his red can be even more of a game changer against these god-boosted health pools.  Yellow is still pretty much a non-factor; so, you are looking at a person with two solid actives and no passive ability.  But the two things he does work better in the boosted environment and it should be noted that a red/purple outlet is pretty uncommon in the tier.  So, depending on who else is boosted chances are he can find a good partner and go to work. 
    #53) Moon Knight (Avatar of Khonshu)
    greentilepng738 blacktilepng656 purpletilepng574 365
    94 bluetilepng87 yellowtilepng80  Health: 63,616

    Recommended Build
    : 5/5/3
    The best word to describe Moon Knight is “throwback”… and unlike with 90’s East Coast rap, that’s not a good thing. Everything from his low match damage and health to his high power costs, to the simplicity of his move set feel like a throwback to a bygone era before power creep gave us tons of better options to replace these older characters. Suffice to say that while he’ll possibly be useable boosted (depending on other options), Moon Knight isn’t moving the needle in an overly bloated tier.

    Green (Crescent Darts) costs 10 AP, has Moon Knight destroy a random row (which doesn’t deal damage or generate AP… ****!?) and deal over 13k damage. He then drops a fortified 4-turn countdown tile that reduces up to 4,263 damage from the target you just hit and reflects up to the same amount of damage back. This power is a cool concept but way overpriced for what it does. Especially compared to other green nukes in the tier.

    Black (Knightmare) is probably Mr. Knight’s best ability, but unfortunately it also hits the double-digit AP mark. For the high cost of 10 AP (once again), Marc/Steven does 31k damage to the lowest health enemy. If that finishes them, Moon Knight gets just over a third of his already low health back and four strength 892 attack tiles (not bad!). If the enemy survives the hit, Khonshu instead creates a low level (strength 178) protect tile for each enemy in the fight and takes a little over 10% of Moon Knight’s health. This is a better power than his green due to raw damage output. But black is arguably the strongest color in the tier. So there are lots of other great options that 1) allow you to choose your target 2) don’t have potential drawbacks and 3) don’t cost a ridiculous 10 AP.

    Purple (Moon Shadow) once again costs 10 AP! For this exorbitant amount, Marc/Steven places (just) 3 trap tiles that (only) trigger if matched (not destroyed) by the enemy (and not you). Yikes. When this happens, Moony deals just over 4K damage; which is low- especially for the amount of work. He also steals 2-3 enemy specials and gives them a one-time small buff. This power is pretty bad all-around but especially for the cost. I started by calling Moon Knight a throwback… and the passive attached to this power all but seals the deal. He has unconditional stun-immunity- a characteristic shared only by the very first 5* ever released (Silver Surfer). Moon Knight takes the stun immunity to a new level though by taxing anyone who tries him to the tune of about 5k (3 covers) to 7.5k (5 covers) damage and 3 AP from a random AP pool. This is easily the best part of his kit (probably because it doesn’t cost 10 AP?) but is only situationally useful.

    Overall, Moon Knight reminds me of Black Suit Spider-Man or pre-buffed Archangel. Both have situationally good passives but never got used because their numbers are/were so low and power costs are so high that playing them both slows you down and paints a target on your back. While Knight’s active powers are better than those characters (as they should be given he was released in 2022), his passive is more easily avoided. Err… just stun someone else? Something tells me Moon Knight won’t be the threat you want to stun anyway. I have to say that overall, this was a pretty disappointing release given the other far superior characters released around him.

    Moon Knight desperately needs a battery, so Thor or Star-Lord (for green), Storm (for black) and/or Scarlet Witch (for both, but probably black) are good starters. Onslaught’s cascades can also help him gather AP. Heimdall, another slower character, can help cover the rainbow, lower AP costs, fuel green, and save on packs by healing himself. Beyond that, Moon Knight doesn’t really have much synergy with others and is more of an old school solo guy. So powerful red, yellow, and/or blue users could work like Elektra, Ronin, or Havok. For a thematic, fun (and downright awful defensively) pair, put Moon Knight with Silver Surfer. Both heal, have stun immunity, and suffer from high costs. They do cover 5 colors between them though, so there’s that.

    What to expect when boosted:
    All of Moon Knight’s powers do scale when boosted. So big damage becomes bigger damage. He may be worth playing for that black alone, depending on the other options he’s paired with that week. He could however easily ride the bench in favor of those with lower ability costs and better passives, and probably will more often than not. Better than when unboosted for sure, but it still might not be enough.

    #52) Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2)
    yellowtilepng1016 purpletilepng903 greentilepng790 511
    128 bluetilepng118 blacktilepng108  Health: 73,934

    Recommended Build
    : 3/5/5

    Star-Lord is one of many “jack of all trades, master of none” characters in the game.  Historically, when the developers stuff “too much” into a power, the effects are massively watered down, or the costs are way too high.  Quill here is no exception to this rule, and it has hurt him in the rankings.  He recently received a rebalance that netted him 20k more health, top tier match damage, a boost to his healing, and a slight reduction in some power costs.  It was enough to move him up the rankings some, but the reality is he is still lower/mid tier because his kit is still that of a boosted mediocre 3*.

    Yellow (Something Good) sees Quill converting 5 standard tiles of the opponent’s strongest color to green charged tiles for 9 AP (now 1 AP less, post-rework). He also gives a burst of 6059 health to the team if someone is below 50%. 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. This can be an amazing battery if the right color is selected, and is his best power by far.|

    Purple (Something Bad) costs 8 AP and steals up to 4 enemy special tiles. If none are available, Star-Lord steals up to 8 random enemy AP instead. The tile theft can be nice, especially against the tile-spam/ tile-buff metas. 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 10 AP.  It used to be 12, so it's better.  But still not a great green ability.

    Overall, Star-Lord is best played as a green battery. The problem is there are other green batteries that flat out bring more to the table than him- both in his tier (Kamala, Thor, Beta Ray Bill) and the tier below (Vulture).  Sadly, his own green outlet to use all that AP is lackluster.  So, while the yellow is decent, it’s hard to justify bringing him to a fight over other options, as his other powers just do not do enough. Star-Lord does so much (AOE, boardshake, AP theft, tile theft, healing, green battery, and charged tile creator), so he can find some use on boost weeks.  But he lacks interesting mechanics or a passive ability to make him viable unboosted.  The best thing his rework gave him was killer match damage, which pairs nicely when matching charged tiles.  However, taking off a couple AP and boosting his conditional healing (seriously, was anyone playing Star-Lord for that!?) could only move what was once a rock bottom tier character so far up the rankings.

    For years, Star-Lord was the only 5* that could boost 4* Rocket and Groot thanks to his Guardians tag.  Now he doesn’t even have that nice (thanks, Gamora).  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.  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.  He can also fuel Big Wheel's green and/or create cascades for Speed Points.  Despite overlap on all strong colors, Star-Lord and Sersi can have fun warping the board, as long as you have a third to carry red/blue/black.  Ultimately, you can play Star-Lord on fun teams or when boosted but he’s nothing special on offense and easy to dispose of on defense. Even after the rework he can definitely can be skipped.

    What to expect when boosted
    Star-Lord reached this high on the list, because his yellow is great and his increased match damage is killer, especially on boost weeks.  Also, AOE, board shake and tile theft are useful things.  That said, even boosted you may not reach for Quill as there could likely be better options that week.  However, given that Quill sports three solid active abilities, you may find use for him as a secondary attacker and support to a higher ranked character.
    #51) Black Bolt (Inhuman King)
    greentilepng592 blacktilepng526 yellowtilepng460 297
    75 bluetilepng69 purpletilepng63  Health: 48,835

    Recommended Build:

    Once one of the top characters in the game (due mostly to some very unique mechanics that allow him to pair very well with others), a significant nerf to his partner in crime has seen Boltagon finding himself among the lower-middle tier of 5* characters.  He still has use as a charged tile and passive damage specialist.  But as the game has evolved, neither of those things are as hard to come by as they once were.

    Black Bolt’s green (Quasi-Sonic Whisper) costs 10 AP and does about 14k damage while destroying the middle two rows. While the damage per AP is low compared to other green in the tier, the board shake can be nice. Low damage? Not enough shake for the cost? Well, if you cast it while holding 5 AP in all other colors; he’ll drain ALL your AP and scream from the top of his lungs, destroying the ENTIRE board and doing ~27,000 to the entire enemy team! While this both looks awesome and can severely cripple the opposition, it is still a bad return on investment (that is worse, the more “extra” AP you hold). Especially compared to heavy green hitters like Thor, Bill, or even Thanos.

    Black Bolt’s black passive (Energy Channeling) is by far his best power; and the reason one would play him competitively. Every turn he passively creates 2 charged tiles in the color most prevalent on the board. That last part is key as it makes it more likely the tiles are matchable and can fuel your team more than the opposition. If the tile does happen to land in a hard to reach place, that’s where the second half of Bolt’s power comes in. He deals ~5300 damage passively each turn if there are at least 4 charged tiles on the board. This damage absolutely adds up and can wear opponents down to nothing.

    While black is the good power, yellow (The Silent King) is the fun one! Ever wonder what a character would play like if you had more covers? Wish you could defy game mechanics and run a character 5/5/5? Now you can! Bolt drops a “motivation tile” that counts down (like a countdown?) and while on the board, ups the power level of a chosen teammate (or all teammates with more covers). While not something most build around other than playing for fun/experimenting, it can be a decent yellow dump.

    Overall, Black Bolt achieved this high of a ranking off the strength of having one of the better passives in the game.  As mentioned earlier, Bolt’s role is clearly that of charged tile specialist and passive damage dealer.  Why is he not ranked higher? His role as premier passive damage dealer was usurped by a Witch of Scarlet and a big green monster who triggers faster and does AOE rather than single-target passive damage (discussed later). The fact that charged tiles help both teams means that he plays better on offense than on defense, where your opponent will likely utilize those neutral tiles smarter than your AI defense. Still, offensively he can hold his own, especially with a few key partnes that he happens to have great synergy with (see below).

    “Gambolt” (Gambit and Black Bolt) once the premier meta team in MPQ is still the best pairing for Boltagon. While it obviously lacks the fire power it once had, it’s still pretty devastating (would be even more if not for health/match damage power creep). Okoye is the other premier pairing for Bolt. He does damage passively. She boosts damage passively. Yeah. Storm is also an okay pairing that works better on paper than in practice due to complete color overlap. So they’ll mostly be played in pick-3 where you can pair them with their number one partner Gambit. Silver Surfer and Star-Lord make an abundance of charged tiles. So, while you mostly bring Black Bolt to charge up teammates, these are two teammates you could bring to charge up Black Bolt. Finally, people with amplified match damage (e.g., Colossus, Adam Warlock) can hit much harder with charged tile matches.  Shang-Chi is probably the best character to benefit from said strategy, and a great partner with zero overlap!

    What to expect when boosted:
    Black Bolt only has one really good power, and it is a passive.  Meaning he needs to pair with someone who really benefits from or can amplify that passive damage/charged tiles he puts out.  Or, he needs to pair with someone who will bring a lot more quality AP outlets.  Since he does not have a ton of truly great partners (just the charged tile folks, damage amplifiers, and match damage monsters), you could very well end up passing him up for a duo with more synergy.  As with every character, it will ultimately depend on who else is boosted.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #50) Odin (All-Father)
    yellowtilepng909 808 bluetilepng708 309
    blacktilepng116 greentilepng107 purpletilepng98  Health: 83,979

    Recommended Build: 5/4/4

    Odin was released on the heels of two ultra-defensive characters that shifted the meta. Perhaps the developers felt a desire to triple down on that success, but unfortunately, Odin has some fatal flaws that his predecessors lack.  Ultimately, he is a support character that can play “third wheel” well enough if you build a team that leverages his strengths. His biggest issue is that he’s not better than the meta characters unboosted and his powers get harder to proc when boosted. This makes calling on his number difficult outside of specialty builds/teams.

    Odin’s passive yellow (Protector Of The Nine Realms) is the reason most people would think to build around and play him. When Odin would take 5792 or more damage, he fortifies three friendly tiles. If a friend would take that damage, Odin jumps in front and reduces the damage 12-20% for each color of fortified tile on the board. So, if all 6 colors are fortified, all big hits do zero damage! The issue here is in order to get the fortified tiles in play, Odin needs to be up front taking hits. And in order for him to actually reduce damage, he needs to be in the back avoiding hits. This makes the whole thing convoluted in that you want him tanking initially, but then sitting in the back waiting to take hits.

    Odin’s only active power (The Spear Of Heaven) is a 7 AP red ability that does 9-10K damage and allows you to place a 2-turn repeater that destroys 2-3 AP in the enemies highest pool. While it is nice that the power is cheap; as his only damage-dealing ability, 9-10k means he is going to need a lot of help against modern health pools. This power forgoes some offensive “oomph” in favor of doubling down on him being a nuisance by adding the suppression repeater.

    Finally, Odin’s blue (Odin’s Blessing) is another passive. This states that at the beginning of your turn, if there are 3 colors of fortified tiles on the board, he creates a 3-turn countdown that does three things. 1) each countdown on the board grants allies +2 levels to all abilities, 2) the countdown grants a small burst of health (just over 2K) to weakest ally each turn (“but daadddd!! I don’t want to go to the doctor” - Thor), and 3) if the countdown expires, it places a random fortified strike tile (thus helping fuel his yellow/blue shenanigans).

    All three of Odin’s abilities are built around being annoying and dragging a match on longer. He makes it so any big hits target him first. He can potentially negate most of the damage, and he can heal little hits done to your allies. He also suppresses active powers via his AP-siphoning repeaters. All of this sounds great in theory, but hinges on him tanking enough damage to start fortifying, or bringing partners who can fortify for him.  Doing the latter usually means sacrificing offense for nuisance- again, unless you have a third to carry much of the heavy lifting.

    Odin is a pretty beatable character defensively. You just have to take him out first and watch him spam fortifications while you do it. So offensively, pairing him with other characters that your opponent ALSO wants to take out first (e.g. Scarlet Witch, Colossus, Professor X) is where you will see him used most. Odin’s best partner synergistically is Heimdall. Unfortunately, they share all three strong colors, and both have red as their only damage-dealing ability. This makes for a poor offensive duo, but they can really fuel a third partner by combining Odin’s protection and fortification-spam with Heimdall’s cost-lowering passive. They are one of many great choices to flank Shang-Chi if you want to try going Shangfinite.

    What to expect when boosted:
    If boosted with another kill-first nuisance character, Odin will be a rockstar by letting them hang around longer than the opponent wants. If boosted with stronger offensive options, he may very well sit the bench. As mentioned earlier, the damage needed to spam fortifications or jump in front and negate damage (the reason to play him) goes way up when you tack 100+ levels on him. Some pretty big hits become “chip damage” that float under his radar, making him much more manageable defensively. He still has heavy enough health/match damage and a decent enough red for him to see play over more fragile old school characters, but he will likely sit in favor of many modern characters.
    #49) Magneto (Age of Apocalypse)
    bluetilepng922 yellowtilepng820 718 456
    blacktilepng117 purpletilepng108 greentilepng99  Health: 58,447

    Recommended Build
    : 3/5/5

    Before his debut, a 5* version of the master of magnetism was probably the most requested variant in all of MPQ. Unfortunately, what we got was a whole lot of disappointment when granted our wish. While some panned him as Banner/Wasp level garbage upon his debut, I personally don’t think he’s THAT bad- which is sad, because if he were THAT bad, we could maybe hope for a buff one day.  While clearly the worst character to come out in a very long time he’s just good enough to not get rebalanced and stay mediocre and forgotten about forever.

    Magneto’s blue (Polar Coordination) costs 10 AP, converts 4 basic green tiles to yellow; and sends Mags airborne for 2-3 turns. When Magneto returns to battle he deals a slug of damage (~6000-8500) for every 3 yellow AP you have banked (max: 8 hits). While this power can obliterate the opponent under optimal conditions, the cost to do so is extremely high. 10 AP is a high cost on its own for a nuke that has no battery. But, to get the highest return on investment you ALSO need to hold 24 yellow AND wait 3 turns (or two turns and sacrifice damage per hit) for this power to pay dividends. While each hit can be boosted by the usual suspects (Okoye/Apocalypse)... those characters use yellow AP themselves to do said boosting (they also overlap Mags on red). While the roughly 67k damage you get for firing this under optimal conditions is nice, two of iHulk’s nukes (14 red) or anything Apocalypse does can get you there with much less hoops to jump through.

    Magneto’s yellow power (Eternal Induction) costs only 6 AP and sees Magneto converting 3-4 tiles of a chosen color into protect tiles. If the power hits a friendly strike, attack or protect tile, he gives those tiles a small boost instead. While this is an adequate AP dump, the problem is you want him holding AP to stack hits for Polar Coordination. If that power relied on banking a different color (or this power wasn’t yellow), it’d be fine. But as it stands, firing this power means weakening his big nuke. Mag’s yellow also has a passive component, which for me, is the one thing that keeps him out of the trash bin. He makes protect tiles 30-40% stronger for EACH X-person on your team. There are over 10 5* with the X-tag (not to mention meta 4*s like Polaris and Juggs), so there are no shortage of great partners to beef up your protects.

    Finally, Magneto’s red (Magnetic Inhibitor) costs 9 AP, creates two weak strike tiles and two 2-turn repeaters. When they tick down, the repeaters turn an enemy strike/attack/protect into a friendly strike tile. They also deal a decent chunk of damage (~5800 at 5 covers). This is another ability that clashes with Polar Coordination. When airborne, Magneto’s repeaters don’t tick down, and just sit there unfortified, waiting to be matched.  While a bit counterintuitive, this is probably Mag’s best active power (it’s just unfortunate that it is costly and that there are plenty of better red powers in the game).

    Ultimately, Magneto feels like a failed attempt at a counter-meta character who was dead on arrival due to how slow he is. His ability to both convert green and put protects on a color of his choice seem like a great option to shut down Immortal Hulk. That is, until you realize that by the time Mags has collected the AP needed to slow him down, his team was killed passively. Mags ability to convert enemy specials seems like a counter to Rocket, Bill, Polaris, Carnage, etc.  That is, until you realize that by the time you collect 9 AP and then wait 2 turns just to nab 1-2 tiles, the board has been flooded with enemy specials. So why isn’t a slow, convoluted character with no self-synergy ranked lower?  Essentially, it’s his aforementioned yellow passive, new school match damage, and the fact that he plays better boosted that put him above some lower tier 5s. If you play him for his red/yellow primarily and think of blue as something to cast in a pinch (instead of something to build around) he’s but not terrible. But the crazy amount of way better red/yellow users in the tier make him ultimately forgettable... which again is a real shame.

    Magneto’s best role is likely going to be third wheel to Beta Ray Bill and Kitty (who unfortunately have better partners). Mags can make Beta’s tiles 80% stronger, allowing you to shrug off hits from passive AOE characters like Adam Warlock and Immortal Hulk on turn one, saving on health packs as Kitty buffs them each turn. While you are sacrificing the top/notch offense of Polaris or extra AP gains of Carnage by making Mags your third, you do get that stellar turn one protection. In pick 2, Mags doesn’t have that “must play” partner, which makes sense as his overall kit is clunky. If the essential is a special tile user, Kitty is an excellent pairing. Both do “special tile things” and benefit from X-Men affiliated partners. Continuing the X-theme, Xavier is probably Magneto’s best pick-2 partner as they cover four colors and boost defense by virtue of teaming together. Scarlet Witch (despite blue overlap) may be a close second, as she can also provide a great battery for either blue or yellow.  Phoenix is nice as a red battery (as stated earlier, red is probably Magneto’s best active power). Looking beyond the X-Men, Green Goblin, while squishy, provides nukes on black/purple and can passively fortify Magneto’s repeaters. I’ve had some success with Carnage, despite red overlap. The idea is to have Magneto’s repeaters convert the enemy attack tiles that Carnage puts down. Daredevil is a serviceable partner, as he tanks two colors and can heal- which is needed as Magneto matches tend to be slower to win. Perhaps my favorite pairing that I’ve tried has been Yelena Belova. Since Magneto tends to be slow, having a character that slows the opposition down as well (while providing outlets on two additional colors) works surprisingly well. While none of these teams will put a dent in the meta powerhouse pairings, they are fun to play on early climbs.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Re-ranking characters post-boosted 5*s actually saw Mags here get a small bump.  This is for three reasons.  One, he’s terribly slow to get going when unboosted, but in longer matches he can actually have enough time to hit hard on blue.  Second, unboosted he has stiff competition on red/yellow in a pool of over 70, whereas boosted, he has way less competition being one of four.  Finally, he has three active abilities, none of which are awful, which means he can provide some great outlets on any given week he’s up for a boost. Again, if his kit didn’t work against itself, he’d be way better, but he can be used as a blue nuker or a red/yellow AP outlet depending on your needs that week!
    #48) Spider-Man (Back In Black)
    bluetilepng639 greentilepng568 purpletilepng497 321
    yellowtilepng81 74 blacktilepng68  Health: 43,529

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5
    Alternate Build: 5/5/3 (against non-strike tile teams; PVE essential)

    The original 5* Spidey clocks in at a higher ranking than a lot of his peers that are clearly better than him in a vacuum. But since these characters don’t exist in a vacuum and this character provides a very valuable service to players (albeit super niche), he has earned his ranking.

    Symbiote Spidey’s blue (Taek-web-do) is a spammable 6 AP power that does around 8k damage if he fires it while invisible. If not invisible, he stuns the opponent for a turn and deals about half the amount of damage.

    Spider-Man’s green (Automotive Artillery) is a 14 AP nuke that deals 11-16k damage (ignoring protects) and stuns a random enemy for 3-4 turns (depending on number of covers). This power is extremely cost inefficient but is usually a better option than Daredevil’s green (sadly) whom he partners best with (more on that later).

    Finally... we come to the reason for Spidey’s high ranking (it obviously wasn’t the first two powers)... his purple passive (Shadowy Acrobatics). When an enemy is stunned, Black Suit goes invisible! Not impressed? Oh, there’s another part to his passive. At 5 covers, as long as Spidey is alive and well, enemy strikes add 100% less damage.

    Spidey’s kit has a natural synergy that on paper plays well. Fire green to deal huge damage and stun someone. While stunned Spidey goes invisible (purple passive). While invisible, his blue does good damage for the AP. All this is great... but falls apart at step 1, because his green is way way too expensive. Couple this with abysmal health and match damage due to power creep, and playing him just paints a gigantic “kick me” sign on your back (uhh... I thought Bag-Man was the 2*?). So why play him at all? Given certain meta teams rely heavily on strike tiles (more so since Polaris’ debut), Shadowy Acrobatics has given dark webs here new life as a counter character!  Of note, Black Suit also has use in PVE CL9+ against Kaecilius, whose strike tiles can absolutely ramp up to devastating levels after beating him several times. His main problem, and a reason he has dropped in the rankings, is that Colossus and his 80% match damage reduction serves in a similar capacity to Spidey’s strike tile reduction.  Except Colossus is a huge asset to your defense and not a raging liability like Spidey.  For this reason, he has lost some of his shine, but is still serviceable.

    The purple passive is really the sole reason to play Black Suit on anything but a fun team. When countering “Gritty”, his best synergy is with Daredevil. The idea is to let Kitty buff her team’s strikes since Spider-Man’s presence prevents them from adding any damage. Daredevil’s Sonar Strike then flips them to friendly strikes, allowing you to kill your opponent with their own weapons. Sonar Strike also being a purple stun means that Spidey goes invisible and can spam his blue ability and do extra damage. It’s truly a match made in heaven! Apocalypse is his second-best pairing as he'll deal most of the damage himself, boost Spidey's green and spammy blue, and let Parker exist just to ignore strikes.  Ghost Rider is another character you can play with Spidey with a similar idea to Daredevil (stun with Rider’s red to up the damage on Spidey’s blue). Okoye is a character with no active overlap that can boost Spidey’s offense. While Jessica Jones and Doctor Doom, are stronger defensive characters that also provide alternate AP outlets. Daken and Elektra are two other solid options against strike tile teams.  They can capitalize on Spidey nullifying strikes, buying time to remove/replace (Daken) or steal (Elektra) enemy strikes.  Elektra also provides a red stun.  Finally, Gamora provides three additional AP outlets and her random stun on yellow can allow Parker to pop in and out of the shadows!

    What to expect when boosted:
    Except in extremely rare cases, expect not to play him.  His health, match damage, and green cost are all too high to justify running him over other boosted options.  You only play him for his purple passive and that doesn’t get better with levels.
    #47) Mister Sinister (Nathaniel Essex)
    blacktilepng738 purpletilepng656 bluetilepng574 365
    greentilepng94 87 yellowtilepng80   Health: 66,964

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Mr. Sinister, despite being a strategist-type in the comics, is one of the most luck/RNG based characters in the game. He’s extremely high variance in that he can be a damage dealing AP factory one match and be dead weight the next. He’s a character that you put on your team and hope for the best. For this reason, he’s one of those characters that can seem much more effective when you oppose him than when you try him out yourself. While he gets points for novelty, fun, and for being the “trap tile specialist” of MPQ, he is hurt by his slowness, reliance on luck, and overall clunkiness (clicking on various trap tiles to see what they do is NOT fun!).

    Sinister’s passive black ability (Original Sinister) procs when the enemy would deal 6975+ damage. When this happens, he drains 2-3 black AP, negates 5581-6976 damage, and spawns two traps that deal a small amount of damage (2214-2767) if matched by either team. While the damage negation can be nice in certain circumstances, potential small damage predicated on the enemy hitting you for big damage does not make for a great power.

    Sinister’s purple (Sinister Secrets) is another trap-based passive ability. When the opponent fires a power, Mister Sinister creates 2-3 trap tiles that when matched by either team, will either destroy 2 or steal 3 enemy AP, depending on how much AP of that color the opponent has when the tile is matched. While this can be a good power against characters with cheap abilities, it is the second power that procs based on the enemy smacking you around, which isn’t ideal. Also, with only one active power, you have to make sure your partners are packing a lot of active abilities, lest the AP you collect go to waste.

    Sinister’s trap-spamming ways culminate with his final ability- an 8 AP blue power (Behold!) that sees him once again putting traps on the board. At 5 covers (you want this one at 5!), he places 3 traps that if matched by either team do 3395 damage for each friendly trap tile on the board (max 8). That’s a beastly 27k damage under optimal conditions! Unfortunately, the road to get there may be slow and laden with health packs.

    Mr. Sinister was designed to be a “strategy” character... someone you have to put thought into to use effectively. A character that brings the puzzle element back to puzzle quest. However, that is not how he operates in practice... a shame given how much of a strategist the source character is. Most of his powers rely on luck and on the enemy doing stuff. He waits to get hit with enough powers and damage (things outside your control) to flood the board with traps. You then fire his one active and hope the damage dealing traps land in matchable spots (again, out of your control).  To get the most mileage out of him, you really want to pair him with one of two trap-tile spammers in the tier (discussed below) which limits his versatility.

    Mister Sinister’s ideal partner in 5* land is one who spams friendly traps to fuel blue. Two such 5* have been released since Sinister's debut and helped him climb a bit in the rankings.  Yelena Belova spams a bunch of traps for cheap, while Killmonger does it more slowly but passively.  Both are excellent partners!  As mentioned earlier, characters with three strong non-blue active abilities will also pair decently with Sinister to capitalize on his AP gains. Top 10 characters that fit that description are Thor and Apocalypse... both of whom make decent pairings. Okoye turning little damage traps into big damage traps is a good combo (but don't Thorkoye have like a million good partners?). Electro gives outlets on green/black/yellow, and she happens to love pairing with villains!  Sersi can choke out a color and add one to the board allowing trap-matches to happen more frequently.  Finally, Doom’s yellow board shuffle and/or Big Wheel's board rotations can give hard to reach traps a second chance at tipping a match in your favor.  

    What to expect when boosted:
    Sinister is a character whose powerset does not play up well.  The damage proc on his black is harder to meet, and his blue damage is much slower to ramp up without someone spamming traps for him.  Of course, if a trap spammer happens to be boosted with him, it’s a game changer- but the odds of that are low.  That said, he has a really good blue outlet, and can often be the most annoying character to face defensively among the four boosted characters when his number is called.  So, while he won’t be the best climbing option due to his slowness, Sinister with 119 extra levels could be a good option nearer the end of your run- slowing your opponent down with his big health pool, damage negation, and AP suppression.
    #46) Hela (Goddess of Death)
    703 greentilepng625 blacktilepng547 348
    purpletilepng89 bluetilepng83 yellowtilepng76  Health: 54,209

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Hela has some damage dealing capabilities and a couple of nice passives. But, her main niche in the 5* tier is going to be that of “special tile creator”. She does what she does well, which is how she earned her ranking. What keeps her out of the top tier is the fact that a lot of what she provides is done passively by others. Plus, she doesn’t have crazy synergy with many other 5*s and similar to Daken (ranked higher), struggles to compete with other strong red/black/green characters.

    Hela’s red (Knives Out) costs 9 AP and when cast, places 4 strikes on the board (strength 514) that look to overwrite enemy strikes/attacks/protects before landing on other tiles. This may have been conceived as a counter to Rocket/Kitty. But it is ultimately too slow to truly be effective.

    Hela’s green (Death’s Best Friend) has both a passive and active component. For 8 AP she deals about 6700 damage to the target as well as two hits of around 4400 damage to random enemies. While the damage isn’t huge, the fact that it is broken up means that each tic can be boosted by her strikes. The passive portion of her power punishes enemies for stockpiling too much green AP. If they hold 10+, she destroys 2 enemy green and she deals ~4400 damage to the target. By my count, there are currently 15 characters with 10+ AP green abilities in the tier (including her fellow Asgardians- Thor, Bill, and Loki) and another 9 are right on the cusp with 9 AP greens as well. So, this ability is a nice one to have.

    Hela’s black active (Death Becomes Her) is a pretty cool ability that is heavily board dependent. For 8 AP, she converts ALL blue tiles into strength 270-405 attack tiles. Given the potential sheer number of tiles that could spawn, those are pretty strong. The passive component of her black gives a one-time buff to all friendly specials on the board (strength 223-335) when an enemy is downed. While nothing to build around, it’s nice when it triggers with a board full of friendly specials or is spammed in wave nodes.

    Overall, Hela is a pretty straightforward character with regards to her main purpose (spam tiles to boost multiple small hits of damage). To get the most out of her, you really need to pair her with people who can capitalize on what she does well (see below). The passives she brings to the table, while nice, are not usually things to build around. And what she excels at (special tile creation) is something that others often do passively (Daredevil/Logan/Rocket strikes, Carnage attacks, Beta Ray protects, Polaris/Ultron duplication, etc.). This is really the biggest reason I imagine we don’t see more Hela out and about. She’s really good. But why pay for what you can get for free?

    Kitty is Hela’s number one partner with a bullet. The synergy between someone whose whole deal is making tiles and someone whose whole deal is buffing tiles, need not be explained. The problem is Kitty has more efficient partners to dance with (namely Grocket and Bill). Okoye and Daredevil pair well as they can boost all her “tics” of damage. But everyone seems to pair well with Hornhead and Okoye. The same is true of Thor who can fuel two of her powers. But his own are probably better, and again, he pairs well with everyone. I’ve found Strange to be a good pairing due to the full rainbow and Hela’s strikes boosting his passive damage (but Strange is too squishy in PVP). A slept-on pairing is First Avenger Cap whose cheap blue can hit hard with enough specials on the board (Hela... she spams that...). Scarlet Witch has no active overlap, and can protect and fuel Hela.  Scarlet Witch can then pump up Hela’s damage with her purple/blue, while Hela can pump Wanda’s passive damage with her strikes.  Finally, Loki is not bad as well (despite green overlap) due to them covering most the rainbow.

    What to expect when boosted:
    As I mentioned above, Hela is not played more because there are others who do what she does passively.  If those characters don’t happen to be boosted, Hela looks a lot more appealing and will bring a lot to the table.  Sporting three active abilities and a suppressive damage-dealing passive (all of which get better with levels) is enough for her to have some use- usually as a secondary attacker and support to a higher ranked boosted character.
    #45) Ultron (Age Of Ultron)
    bluetilepng992 blacktilepng882 772  491
    greentilepng126 purpletilepng116 yellowtilepng107  Health: 75,462

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    I believe Ultron was the first attempt at countering the defensive meta in MPQ (the second attempt is ranked a bit higher). Ultron is one of those characters that could have a really good kit, but each one of his powers have a fatal flaw that render it pretty ineffective. So, what you have is a character who can play decent third in the tile spam meta, but is otherwise pretty ineffective, as others do similar things without all the drawbacks, setup, or reliance on others.

    Ultron’s blue passive (Hive Mind) creates one friendly strike/attack/protect tile each turn, adjacent to one that already exists (max of 6). If there are more than 5 of these tiles on the board, he instead improves a random tile by just over 1k. This is a great power for keeping special tiles on the board, but the fatal flaw is it doesn’t put any special tiles on the board. So, unless you bring a partner to help him along, or fire his own red, it really does nothing. At least Polaris is granted a random strike to get her train moving.  Ultron needs 6 tiles to start boosting at all. Once Kitty Pryde has 6 tiles, her boost is TRIPLE the power that Ultron does. So not only is he slow to ramp up, he’s also outclassed by a character released long before him in the thing he does best. Still, this power can be insanely annoying to play against and is the reason most use him.

    Ultron’s black (Gravitational Force) costs 8 AP and places a 2-turn fortified countdown tile that reduces AP in the target’s strongest color each turn by 1, 2, or 3 (at 3, 4, or 5 covers). When the tile expires, it stuns the target 2 turns. 8 AP for some minimal AP loss and a short, delayed stun is not great. Best to leave this at 3 covers.

    Ultron’s mediocre kit ends with a 7 AP red ability (Energy Beams). At max covers, he does a mere 8450 damage that can’t be reduced if there are 4 friendly strike tiles on the board. He then creates 4 strike tiles of strength 415. So, on his own, you need to double cast (14 AP) to cut through the defense and even then, you are still only doing about 11k unreduced damage- and that’s if all 8 strikes stay on the board. That’s an awful damage/AP ratio. Truly awful.

    Overall, Ultron suffers from each one of his powers being slow to ramp up and pay dividends. Like I said, he can play decent third in the special tile meta because he both spams and boosts passively; but he does both worse than others in the game. Black is sort of whatever. And while he can deal damage that can’t be reduced, the amount is so pitiful, he’d have to cast it probably 5-7 times (35-49 red AP!) in order to take out a 450 Wanda (this number fluctuates due to the amount of strikes on the board and how boosted they are any given cast). So, a great power marred by awful numbers.

    Ultron is pretty good as a third to two of the following: Kitty Pryde, Beta Ray Bill, Knull, or 4* Polaris. He can also play third to Thorkoye, as his unreducable damage needs a battery and a booster. In pick 2, he can keep Daredevil flush with strikes and allow Matt to tank all his strong colors (I really like this pairing even if they’re slow as molasses). Similarly, he can keep specials on the board for Samurai Daken, while Daken can fuel Ultron’s red (again… slow but fun).

    What to expect when boosted:
    It’s very simple. If he happens to be boosted during 3* Blade, Daken, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, etc. PVP, he will be a rockstar. He’ll take the tiles they passively create and replicate them with boosted 5* numbers. Similarly, he will be great if boosted along with 5*s that rely heavily on strikes/attacks/protects for their offense. Beyond those niche cases (where again, he will shine), he probably won’t leave the bench in favor of better options with more offensive output.
    #44) Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)
    blacktilepng564 purpletilepng501 yellowtilepng438 283
    bluetilepng71 greentilepng66 60  Health: 43,529

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Norman Osborn is like the Steph Curry of MPQ. He can drop huge bombs on you that will annihilate your team. But he’s also frail as heck, god awful on defense, and needs a good team around him to rack up wins. If ever there was a powerset that screamed “offense-only”, this would be it. However, he also has a niche specialty that helps propel him higher in the rankings than he otherwise would be.

    Despite being old as dirt, Goblin’s black (Goblin Glider) holds up with some of the best single target nukes in the game. For 8 AP he does a whopping 22k+ damage. The drawback for such a big hit is he places a 2-turn countdown that disables the power (permanently if it doesn’t resolve).  Meaning if destroyed, I hope you enjoyed that one use. This is easy enough to work around on offense, but the AI will cast it ASAP, rather than looking at potential black matches on the board first. Also of note, while this is a good power, we are not at a loss for black nukes in the tier (God Doom, Jessica Jones, Electro, Moon Knight, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, Apocalypse, Yellowjacket, etc.).

    Purple (Trick or Treat) costs 10 AP and it places three 2-turn countdowns of a chosen color (choose red) that have various effects based on the color you choose (again, choose red). EACH tile does the following:
    Red: ~10k damage
    Blue: stuns a random enemy 2 turns
    Green: destroys 4 random tiles and deals damage
    Purple: steals 3 AP of 3 random colors
    Yellow: Creates a strength 1400 protect tile
    Black: Creates a strength 1400 strike tile

    Finally, Goblin King (Yellow) is an awful active ability (9 AP to reduce countdowns by 1 turn) but an amazing passive ability (fortify 3 countdowns or repeaters every turn). He is the only character who fortifies repeaters passively, which is huge. Especially given that the game is shifting more toward repeaters and away from countdowns.

    So while Goblin has mechanics that make him laughably bad on defense, he is a wrecking ball in the players’ hands who can bump the utility of the many countdown/repeater users in the game through his fortification. More often than not, he’ll be a quick out on defense, where the AI will undoubtedly pick the wrong color with purple, waste AP on yellow, and cast black when there are plenty of black matches on the board. Couple this with laughably bad health and match damage, and you can see why he has the offense-only label. Along with Surfer, Daredevil, Logan, etc. you can easily add Norman here to the list of those who could most benefit from nothing more than a health/match damage boost!

    Goblin pairs well with CD/repeater users that don’t utilize black/purple AP (as he wants that for himself). Iceman is a dream pairing (one of my favorites in the whole game), as Bobby spams the board with all sorts of protect/repeater tiles and can deflect some hits on defense. Beta Ray Bill or Kamala Khan can benefit from the fortification while also giving some protection to their frail partner. Heimdall provides red, green, a better yellow outlet and is another Asgardian that can tank for frail Norman. Not to mention that AP costs passively get cheaper when Goblin fortifies stuff.  Captain Repeater and Mehneto both absolutely benefit from the purple/black coverage and fortification Goblin provides.  Ronan can tank black, provide red/blue outlets, and benefit immensely from Gobby’s fortification.  Finally, Parker Spidey or Havok isn’t a bad play due to the full rainbow coverage and both characters sort of having self-synergy.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Green Goblin will absolutely hold his own when boosted as a black/purple outlet, even without repeater/countdown characters as his partners.  If he happens to be boosted with one of his naturally synergistic partners (like Iceman or Ronan), all the better.  But unlike other characters, he doesn’t necessarily need them to shine.  He still will likely cost you healthpacks once you start queuing other god boosted characters, so you might be selective about when you run him, but he’s good enough to see use despite his age.
    #43) Wolverine (Samurai Daken)
    900 blacktilepng800 greentilepng700 445
    purpletilepng114 bluetilepng106 yellowtilepng97  Health: 61,241

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3
    Alternative Build: 4/4/5 (if tanking/healing is a priority over offense)

    Old Man Daken can be boiled down to a character who does a bunch of really good things really poorly. This is unfortunate because he’s a cool character and it’s clear that a lot of thought went into his design and unique kit. Sadly, his all-around weak numbers hold him back from being a major player in the tier. As you can see by those ranked above him, in a tier this big, it’s often better to do one thing extremely well, than it is to be mediocre at a bunch of things.

    Daken’s red ability (Master of laido) costs 8 AP and sees him removing up to 4 enemy strike/attack/protect tiles, and spamming two tiles of his own (at 4 covers) for every one removed (strength 220-293). He also deals a very small amount of damage (4395 max). The problem is that if you aren’t facing a tile-spam team, the negligible damage is ALL this power does. While if you do bring him to a tile-spam fight, the main players (Beta/ Kitty/ Polaris/ Carnage/ Apocalypse/ etc.) are likely to overwhelm and wreck him with passives before he collects the AP to hit back. Daken’s red also packs a passive: a flat debuff of enemy special tiles (up to 25%), but again, the meta players (especially Kitty) will outpace it.

    Wolverine Jr.’s passive black (Lawless Warrior) is perhaps his best ability. If he has more than 6 black AP, he converts 3 of it to red, then he creates two 2-turn repeaters that do decent damage (6152 max) each time they expire, if there are 2-3 special tiles on the board. Without specials present, they do nothing upon expiration. Unfortunately, the only special tiles that Wolverine creates independent of other characters are these here repeaters... which don’t count for the power. So, you really need to be mindful of who you pair him with and/or who you are facing.

    Finally, Wolverine’s green (Lethal Fury) brings a new mechanic to the 5* tier. Damage done by this ability reduces health permanently. Sorry true healers! For 9 AP he destroys 3 green tiles and deals around 5600-9200 unrecoverable damage. The fact that he gets AP for the destroyed tiles, makes it a net cost of 6 and quite spammable. This power is disabled when he is below 25% health and becomes Unkillable Ronin- a passive that heals him 6-9K if he’s holding 3-4 green AP at the start of your turn. Unfortunately, both the threshold to proc his heal and amount of health regained are painfully low.

    All in all, Daken is a character with a fun and unique kit but he is marred by two major issues. One, his numbers are bad in just about everything he does (his damage is too low, he heals too little, the threshold to heal is too low, the repeaters are too long, the special tile reduction is minimal, and AP costs are high compared to many of the higher ranked characters). His second issue is his reliance on other special tile makers to do much of anything. I like that chasing black both fuels red and creates repeaters that do possible passive damage. The double-dipping there is nice. And his green doing permanent damage is unique (even if he doesn’t deal enough damage for it to matter most matches). While he does a lot, it’s unfortunate that just about everything he does is done way better by other people.

    Wolverine’s ideal partners are going to be people who make special tiles to proc his passive damage (which adds up over time with multiple repeaters). Unfortunately two of the best special tile makers in the tier have complete overlap (Hela/Carnage) and many overlap on two colors (Ronan, Ultron, Knull, Jessica, Apocalypse) . Despite red/black overlap, Apocalypse is a great partner to boost damage, add specials, and provides a better outlet for the red. Thor is an excellent red/green battery (again... despite that overlap) that Daken can take advantage of (Thor also can put specials on the board via his yellow). There’s definitely interesting synergy with Immortal Hulk, whom Wolverine can tank all but green and blue for. Hulk will fuel Daken’s green while Daken fuels Hulk’s red. He also has some true healing to try and stick around when Hulk does his rebirth thing. Black Suit Spidey can be a good pair against strike tile teams. Let Parker passively nullify their strength while Daken removes them and spams his own! Professor X and Onslaught are two powerhouses with no active overlap that have the ability to put specials on the board (via their purples). Finally, Daredevil is a great option as he provides special tiles passively and he can ensure that multiple repeaters firing will melt any stunned enemies with his Sonar Strike.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Special tile spammers are not all that uncommon in the tier (though as mentioned above, many overlap with the Samurai).  Daken will be great paired with and especially as a counter to those characters if boosted along with him.  However, on weeks light on the special-spam, Daken might not see the light of day in lieu of better options.  Due to his heal, he might still get some run early as a healthpack saver, but once he is KO’ed I am saving my healthpacks to revive stronger and/or more synergistic characters if specials are not part of that week’s meta.
    #42) Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
    bluetilepng647 greentilepng575 503 320
    yellowtilepng82 purpletilepng76 blacktilepng70  Health: 52,337

    Recommended Build: 4/5/4

    Parker Spidey is a bit of a complex character to play (stupid “web tile math”!), but if you fire his powers at the right time, he can be quick, hard-hitting and downright fun. He’s definitely the web tile specialist of the 5* tier. The problem with that is all the people who benefit from said tiles exist in the tier below him. Despite being very good, his lack of playmates and complexity in the stupid AI’s hands does hurt his standing in the 5* tier.

    Spidey’s blue (Stick Around) is cheap at 6 AP. It creates web tiles if there are not already a certain number on the board. If there are, then he removes 2-3 web tiles and stuns the enemy team for two turns instead.  With the enemy incapacitated for two turns, you are guaranteed to get 6 AP back at minimum (from matching while they're stunned), making this an excellent return on investment. Conversely, all of Spidey’s powers depend on a heavy web tile presence for maximum efficiency. So, while team stun is nice, you will more often than not be using this ability to flood the board with webs.

    Green (Arachnid Agility) costs 10 AP and has Spidey leaping around the board dealing about 5700 damage to a random enemy followed by ~5700 damage to random enemies for EACH web tile on the board (maximum 5 tiles). Yes... that’s over 34K damage raw damage… and each of the 5 hits is bootable.  Insane.

    Red (Web Shot) is another cheap ability at 7 AP. When cast, Spidey does a good chunk of damage (12–14k) and then converts 1-3 web tiles to critical tiles if there are a certain number of webs on the board when the power is fired. Spidey’s red also comes with a passive that puts 1-2 web tiles on the board if there are less than 2. This is super important given the fact (once again) that every single power in his kit is amplified by the presence of web tiles.

    So how do you play Spidey? The ideal build for most is 4/5/4. At this build he passively makes 2 web tiles to start. Matching 1 web, means there are less than 2 again and you get 2 more next turn for a total of 3. Firing blue gets you 3 more since there are less than 4, which gives you 6 total. With 6 total, you can fire green with maximum efficiency and then fire red, converting 3 webs to crits since there are 5 or more. Has your brain exploded yet? Unfortunately, the AI is not programmed for “optimal web tile math”, which really hurts Pete on defense. When his best partners are similarly easy kills for human opponents (see below) it really hurts his overall effectiveness.

    Parker’s best partner in the 5* tier is everyone’s best partner... Okoye. She really likes people with cheap powers and people with multi-tap powers, which Parker has both. Scarlet Witch can also fuel the web head, just not as well (and she overlaps on blue).  Thor is a good pairing as he can fuel Spidey’s heavy damage abilities at half health. Since Spidey self-synergizes so well, he benefits from people who compliment his colors and/or have their own self synergy. Examples of these characters are God Doom and Green Goblin. Professor X is also a person who can benefit from the critical tiles Parker drops, while providing a purple outlet.  Similarly, Colossus and Adam Warlock with their mega match damage also appreciate the crits Parker puts down.  However, a tier below is where all of Spider-Man’s best partners truly lie. Miles’ purple and yellow will give Parker all the webs he needs. Spider-Man 2099 will help create webs passively on black/blue matches, while Vulture can fuel green/blue insanely well. While these are all fun combos, unfortunately bringing any 4* not named Polaris to a fight makes you an instant target for serious play.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Spider-Man has more utility boosted than not.  A lot of top tier characters are great in tandem with specific partners.  This can hurt them in the rankings when only one half of a dynamic duo is likely to be boosted in a given week.  Spidey here has no such separation anxiety.  So, while having no great partner hurts him unboosted, it helps him immensely boosted, because he’s a one-man wrecking crew.  Just pair him with a character who can cover some of his off-colors or has great passives, and let him do his thing!  
    #41) Archangel (Classic)
    bluetilepng878 greentilepng780 blacktilepng683 441
    yellowtilepng111 102 purpletilepng94  Health: 66,796

    Recommended Build: 5/4/4

    The Angel of Death is known mostly for one thing in MPQ; that being his niche role as a hard counter to characters that go airborne. This makes him an amazing counter to an ever-growing list of characters in the tier that get stronger with each release (Captain Repeater, Mehneto, Heimdall, and finally... Kamala Khan, a character worth countering!).  A recent buff to his stats (big bump in health/match damage and a small reduction in blue/green AP costs) help him pull more of his own weight and make him less of a liability to run.  Ultimately his buff and Heimdall/Kamalas releases have moved him from bottom tier to mid-tier.  But as it stands, in the game today, there is still little use for Archangel unboosted.  But he pulls his weight surprisingly well boosted.

    Angel’s blue (Angle of Attack) is the power mentioned above that puts him on the map. The active portion of the power gives you 6700 damage and a 2-turn stun for 9 AP.  But it’s the passive attached to this power that makes him interesting. At the start of the turn, he deals 7k damage and stuns any opposing airborne character 2 turns.

    Angel’s green active (Enemy Down) also costs 9 AP, but it is miles better than Angle of Attack in the damage department. When cast, Angel deals 14,701 damage and destroys 4 random enemy AP.

    Finally, Archangel’s black (Ariel Superiority), costs 7 AP and creates 2 countdowns of a chosen color that deal about 7k damage when they expire. While on the board, enemies cannot gain AP in the chosen color.

    Warren was designed to be one of the earliest suppression characters in the game. All of his powers in one way or another are about slowing down the opposition (e.g., stun, AP destruction, can’t collect AP). It’s a very cool concept, but he’s so slow himself that he easily gets outpaced- even with the recent reduction to his power costs. I give kudos for trying to make him a specialist in this way, but I think they could have gone further with the numbers buffs in order for him to perform in the way he was conceived. Green and blue are expensive, the stun is short, the destruction is minimal, etc. Still, his use as a “Vulture/Heimdall/Kamala-killer” make him worth having (not to mention he could always counter a future meta down the road).

    Angel doesn’t really have a synergistic partner in his tier (A Riri or Nova who can send foes airborne for Warren to pull down would be cool). I’m a big fan of Archangel with Professor X, as Professor will tank most colors and shrug off damage due to Warren’s X-Men affiliation. Angel and Infinity War Cap are also a fun suppression team. While slow, they cover the compete rainbow. Elektra is another full rainbow partner who can help suppress special tile teams.  Thor isn’t a bad play as a battery, though really, he’ll do the heavy lifting. Ironically, Heimdall- the character he hard counters- makes a decent pair as The Gatekeeper can help with AP costs and they cover 5/6 colors between them.  Finally, Angel's master Apocalypse is a good pair who (despite black overlap) combine to cover 5/6 colors as well (Gamora is similar but less effective).

    What to expect when boosted:
    I think Warren was one of the first characters to shock people with how good he was after weekly 5* boosts were enabled.  Unboosted, he mostly suppresses active powers in a passive world and counters airborne.  But boosted, he becomes a guy with three active abilities, a stun (always welcome in the 5* tier), and his suppression actually matters if the other boosted characters have strong actives.  While he is slower to get himself going, longer matches with larger health pools means he can make more of an impact actually getting to fire his abilities.  He’s one who plays up well.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #40) Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
    purpletilepng592 bluetilepng526 460 297
    blacktilepng75 yellowtilepng69 greentilepng63  Health: 48,835

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Hawkeye has always been a “fun character” that you put on your team if you need countdowns, spamable abilities, or countdown fortification.  However, has a lot of drawbacks... and I’m not talking his bowstring.  Namely, he's slow and has abysmal health.  Despite this, Hawkeye enjoyed a short-lived revival in the meta.  However, since hammer Cap got nerf-hammered, Clint fell out of the meta and has just been waiting for the right partner to once again make use of his gifts.  After a string of 5* releases, it appears the archer is on the cusp of greatness once again (don't be surprised to see him climb the next update).
    Hawkeye’s purple passive (Can’t Seem to Miss) is the meat and potatoes of what makes him so good. Whenever a countdown expires, he gets 3 blue and 2 red AP. He also fortifies 3 countdowns passively at the beginning of each turn. This ability fuels his other two, creating a nice self-synergy.

    If purple is the good power, blue (Full Quiver) is the fun one! For only 5 AP, he places a blue 2-turn countdown that has a different effect upon resolution each time he casts it. In the following order his countdowns are.
    1) Bola Arrow: stun the target 3 turns
    2) Explosive Arrow: do 17k damage
    3) Electric Arrow: create 8 charged tiles
    4) Sonic Arrow: create 3 strikes
    5) Ant-Man Arrow: steal 11 AP in a color
    6) Acid Arrow: create 3 attack tiles
    7) Smoke Bomb Arrow: 2-turn team invisibility
    8) Shrapnel Arrow: ~8500 AOE damage
    Paired with his passive, this means that if the countdowns survive, they have a net cost of 2 AP. After the 8th arrow, Hawkeye’s blue becomes Out of Arrows. He engages in some pretty impressive hand-to-hand combat dealing 10k damage for only 5 AP!

    Hawkeye’s red (Deep Breath) is mostly his throwaway power. It adds some decent chip damage and provides yet another countdown tile source to help self-fuel. For again, only 5 AP, he places a 3-turn fortified countdown that does ~6k damage. If you happen to have 9 more red AP banked when it expires, Clint spends it and deals way more than “chip damage” (20-26k depending on covers). Ultimately, I find it better to spam arrows and get back AP rather than to spend 14 AP on a nuke. But it’s nice that you have the option to play it differently depending on the situation.

    The strategy with Hawkeye is pretty simple. Spam countdowns that do cool things. Collect AP when they resolve. Spam more countdowns that do more cool things. He’s a “snowball character” in that once he gets rolling, he can become a problem very fast. While his damage per AP numbers are good, the thing that keeps him “just a fun character” and out of the top tier is that he has some pretty glaring weaknesses. One, for a “fast character” his reliance on countdowns actually makes him pretty slow. A problem he shares with many below him on this list is low health and match damage. It’s too easy to kill him in one or two big shots before he actually gets rolling. That said, certain partners that can exploit his purple really help him in the rankings!

    As far as 5* partners go, Loki isn’t a bad look due to his countdown spamming. Neither is Storm who can benefit from Clint's electric arrow. Heimdall is also great (despite active overlap) as he can make Clint's already cheap blue even cheaper passively.  But really, Clint pairs best with Gargantos, who is just a match made in heaven.  Garg spams a 1-turn countdown every turn (more when invisible), and has probably the hardest hitting blue outlet in the tier.  These two are scary good.  Abigail Brand is a good third for Hawkeye teams as she provides healing each time countdowns resolve.  Since both are support, you really need a primary attacker like Gargantos flanking them though.  In the 4* tier, Agent Coulson, makes the most of what Barton does best.  Coulson has passive abilities that spam and speed up countdowns, and one that allows him to collect AP when they resolve. Wow! The quick napkin math on this means that if you fire a red/blue power for 5 AP and everything resolves, you actually get back 14 AP (6 blue, 4 red, 4 random).  When paired with a stunner, this can create a winfinite trio that ensures the enemy never gets to make a move once the engine is going. There are however way faster options for Winfinite teams- but it's a thing.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Many of Clint's trick arrows and his biggest advantage (AP collection) remain the exact same regardless of extra levels.  However, Hawkeye’s biggest weaknesses are still pretty glaring even boosted (e.g., he’s still slow and squishy- especially going up against other boosted).  He is best played with people who can tank for or protect his frailness in some way.  Otherwise, he will be a healthpack suck, eating that boosted 5* match damage.  Any good red/blue outlets ranked above him will likely get played over him when boosted, because again, that health is real a liability.  However, he will get play even unboosted on Gargantos' boost weeks; so that should make up for likely NOT getting played on his own boost week.
    #39) Havok (Classic)
    805 greentilepng716 bluetilepng626 398
    yellowtilepng102 blacktilepng95 purpletilepng87  Health: 54,209

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    The best description of Havok I’ve heard is “damage stick”. That’s pretty much what he is, and he’s damn good at it. In my opinion he may be the character that has been released with the least amount of “noise”. The masses didn’t complain about how bad or rave about how good he was, nor did they speculate on how he’ll play fully covered.  Just... “on to the next one”. Reason being, while you usually expect a new 5* to be unique and creative, he’s a pretty bland character in terms of his power set. Despite this, his solid ranking is due to the fact that he is a cheap, hard-hitting character who will give you big damage in three active colors. If you are a newer transitioner, you won’t regret covering him. However, if you have a large roster, you might not be hurting for damage sticks- especially in his active colors.

    Havok’s red (Plasma Beam) deals just over 18k damage (ignoring protect tiles) for 9 AP. He then converts three blue tiles into charged tiles. This is probably one of the better red abilities in a tier that unfortunately doesn’t suffer from a lack of awesome red abilities.

    Havok’s green (Cry Havok) is a pricey 12 AP ability that sees Havok destroying up to three enemy special tiles (protect/attack tiles at 3 covers, protects/attacks/strikes at 4 covers) and dishing out a small amount of AOE damage (2800-5800) plus additional damage for each tile destroyed (1800-2200 per tile). This isn’t a terrible AP dump if he’s your only green outlet or at 5 covers against a tile-spammer. Still, this is by far Alex’s worst power as there are many other green abilities that are better, cheaper, and way less conditional.

    Finally, Havok’s blue (Radiation Absorption) costs 7 AP and has you choose red or green. Havok the then coverts 2-3 AP (depending on covers) of the color you didn’t choose into AP of the color you did choose. At 5 covers, he then deals either 18k single target damage (choose red) or 9k AOE damage (choose green). That’s an amazing use of 7 blue AP! One drawback of this ability is that you also need to have the red or green AP necessary to convert, in order to fire this power.

    Let’s be honest. Few can dish out pain with the efficiency of Havok- especially in red/blue. However, since most times you are only bringing two dogs to the fight (sometimes three), most people will sacrifice some AP efficiency for something Alex lacks... a passive ability!  It’s rarer and rarer these days to see a character (especially a 5) released without at least one passive.  The developers made up for it by ramping up the damage per AP, but it still may not be enough for people to bring him off the bench with any regularity. Those players without a good force multiplier like Kitty/Okoye, defensive duo like Switch/Colossus, or accelerator like Thor/Bill, can absolutely build a solid team around Havok, as he’s clearly better than most of the “old guard” off the strength of his numbers alone. But his lack of a passive ability and lack of unique mechanics have him on the outside looking in at the top 30 rankings.

    Havok is a pretty straightforward character, so ideal partners are those that provide outlets in at least two of black/yellow/purple.  Goblin, Doom, Black Bolt, and Storm are examples of such characters. The latter two can benefit from the charged tiles Havok puts down.  Professor X can provide a purple outlet and put some extra red on the board, while Havok provides Chuck some extra defense via his X-Men affiliation. He also gives Apocalypse stun immunity by virtue of his mutant genes (though they'll fight over red). Finally, despite color overlap, Thor and Jean can be excellent batteries for Havok.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Expect Havok’s stock to go way up when boosted.  Unboosted, he has a hard time standing out in a tier of 70+ when all he does is “big damage”.  Tack 119 levels on him and he will definitely stand out above most his peers.  Boosted Alex is pretty insane and well worth playing on the weeks he gets amped up.  You will hardly miss the fact that he lacks a passive ability with damage output like his.
    #38) Gamora (Deadliest Woman)
    955 blacktilepng849 yellowtilepng743 472
    bluetilepng121 greentilepng112 purpletilepng103  Health: 69,186

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Gamora is a niche character that is best used as a counter for the damage-reduction meta that has run rampant in MPQ since the back-to-back releases of Colossus and Scarlet Witch.  She fills this role decently, and provides solid active abilities in all three colors. Her biggest drawback however is complete active overlap with perhaps the best character in the game. This means that while she is a decent soft counter to a handful of characters, she will often be passed over for someone who has insane raw damage output in her colors… even if his can be reduced and hers can’t.

    Gamora’s red (Bladed Finesse) costs 9 AP and does just over 10k AOE damage plus separate single target hits of the same amount for each enemy that has been downed (max 3). So, where a regular AOE would do 30k against 3 targets, 20k against 2, and 10k against 1 (putting out less damage as enemies die), this power will always do 30k when cast in a standard 3 vs. 3 match, no matter how many characters are standing. That’s a pretty cool twist on a pretty common power! This is also her best damage-dealing ability by far.

    Black (Relentless Assassin) is easily Gamora’s worst ability, as it is way too convoluted to get a payoff, making the power not worth it. For 6 AP (at least it is cheap!) Gamora does just under 10k damage and places a 3-turn countdown tile targeting the character (all of this is at 3 covers). Every time the targeted character takes damage, the timer increases by 1. If the timer is at 10+ when the target character fires a power, the tile is removed and Gamora does about 20k damage. The problem with this power is that you have to keep hammering the same character to try and get the tile moving (as it counts down each turn). By the time you get in the double digits, that character should be dead (or near dead) anyway. PLUS, it’s tied to an easily destroyed countdown. AND, you have to rely on that specific enemy firing a power in order to get the payoff (which ultimately isn’t that great for the amount of work you put in). I just look at this power as a 10k nuke for 6 AP, which isn’t awful, but there are far better outlets in the tier.

    Finally, Yellow (Pulse Disruption) is Gamora’s niche power that is really great against a handful of often-used characters but pretty mediocre outside of those matchups. For 7 AP, she again deals around 10k damage (all her powers like to stay near that mark it seems), and she places a 2-turn repeater that stuns a random enemy one turn each time it resolves. With enough of these on the board, you can really disrupt the opposing team, though it’s expensive to get multiples out (and unfortified repeaters tend to be fragile). The best part about this power is that while one of these tiles is on the board, friendly damage cannot be reduced. And this right here is really the reason you would put Gamora on your team.

    Overall Gamora is a character you bring to fight against certain opponents rather than with certain allys. This is because her yellow is great against damage-reducers like Scarlet Witch, Odin, Colossus, Professor X, and Electro- not to mention, protect tile spammers like Beta Ray Bill.  As mentioned earlier, her issue is cover overlap with some of the best in the game. Would you rather do 10-30k damage that can’t be reduced, or 50-80k damage that can be reduced (Hi Apocalypse)? Most would choose the latter. So, this is where Gamora ultimately fails. Without the last part of her yellow, she has a mediocre kit and when not facing an opponent where getting around damage-reduction is the primary threat, she is just… mediocre.

    Gamora doesn’t have synergy with any one character in particular. She overlaps her fellow 5* Guardian on their best color (yellow) unfortunately. So I’d suggest pairing her with any strong character that gives outlets in Purple/Blue/Green (Beta Ray Bill, Mister Sinister, Moon Knight, Professor X). Especially if they do AOE (Iceman, Knull) or can do passive damage (Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, Yelena Belova), as you want to ensure all those hits cut through the opponent defense.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Not everyone “champs them all” so Colossus/Wanda are a popular team for people to play who don’t have good boosted options any given week. So, at minimum, Gamora (along with another boosted character to cover her off-colors) will get play hunting any Scarlet Witch/Colossus duo being played that week (whether they’re boosted with her or not). Beyond that, while her biggest drawback is overlap with some of the best in the game (and not quite measuring up numbers-wise), that all goes out the window with a 119 level advantage. Because she provides an excellent red, cheap black, and unique yellow outlet (which still provides damage and intermittent stun even if playing a non-defensive opponent), she will likely have use boosted- as all three powers do damage and all benefit from the numbers bump.
    #37) Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes)
    greentilepng722 642 blacktilepng562 363
    yellowtilepng91 bluetilepng84 purpletilepng77  Health: 70,413

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Ghost Rider is the most recent 5* character to receive a rebalance, which resulted in his green getting a nerf in terms of utility and uniqueness.  That said, his health, match damage, AP costs, and red/black damage all received a huge boost.  So, while he’s still not good enough to be part of the unboosted meta, he is much more of monster for the weeks he is boosted!

    As mentioned, Rider’s green (Hell Ride) got a bit of a nerf.  It still costs 9 AP, but places one fragile countdown that hops around rather than three repeaters that burn to the bottom.  When it expires, it destroys 3-5 random adjacent tiles (based on covers) and does around 1k extra damage for each tile destroyed in his strong colors (this is less than the 3x tile damage it used to do).  The tile then recreates itself.  Unfortunately, this power does not generate AP like it used to either.  While the power was updated to fix tiles eventually falling to the bottom and doing nothing, we had to give up a lot to get there and, in my opinion, it is a net negative.

    Chain Whip is Robbie Reyes’ red (yay alliteration!) active ability. For 7 AP he stuns his target 1 turn and places a long (6-8 turn), fortified countdown tile. The stunned character is now “marked” and while the countdown is out, whenever they make a match, they take upwards of 6700 damage! This is an ability that is easy to avoid on defense as you can just match the non-targeted character’s tiles. On offense however, it can add some serious damage to a tanky opponent.  While his countdown is out, this power becomes Judgment Day. For another 7 AP, Robbie removes the countdown and does just over 20k damage!  Having an 8-turn countdown (5 covers) gives you enough time to collect that second slug of red AP after casting Chain Whip, to hit the big nuke while the enemy matches themselves to death.  If you can hit on Judgment Day just before the tile expires, it’s a hefty amount of damage. Massively increasing the damage on Chain Whip and Judgement Day while keeping the mechanic the same has made this an actual good red power instead of the AP dump it used to be.

    Ghost Rider’s black (Damnation) was Robbie’s best power pre-balance, and it has only gotten better! While not as creative or unique as the other two, it’s probably the best bang for your buck. For 8 AP he does ~17k damage to the enemy. If you hit the enemy who has done the most damage, he does closer to 28k instead. Thanks to the rebalance lowering the cost (down 2 AP) and increasing the damage (up 8K), this ability is on par with some of the best black actives in the tier.  The issue is that the tier does not lack for excellent black outlets (e.g., Colossus, Doom, Jessica Jones, Moon Knight, Apocalypse, Electro, Green Goblin, etc.).  Plus, the character you want to hit is not always the one who did the most damage (but that was always the drawback to this power).

    Overall, Robbie went from a fun/unique lower tier character, to a less unique but higher-ranked damage stick.  He packs enough of a punch to leapfrog some other characters that overlap him and were ranked higher (e.g., Hela, Daken), and when boosted will definitely see play over those overlapping characters ranked above him (e.g., Immortal Hulk, Carnage).

    Daredevil is a fun pairing with Ghost Rider due to the extra damage Sonar Strike can do when the countdown is out smashing up the board. The red stun is also super helpful if even for just a turn. Similarly, I enjoy Black Suit Spidey with Reyes due to the red stun allowing Spidey to get max damage from his blue (I actually enjoy all 3 together). While not scary on defense, Doc Strange is a really fun pair for full rainbow coverage. Professor X can benefit from the cascades Robbie’s green provides. And when Professor fires his purple, he will more often than not be adding green and red tiles to the board, which Reyes can benefit from.  Scarlet Witch is perhaps Ghost Rider’s best partner, as she can fuel red or black with her purple, provide added protection and passive damage, and gives a blue outlet.  Though to be fair, Wanda pairs well with almost everyone.  Her percent-based damage boost works better with big hits (which Robbie has in spades) rather than the smaller multi-hit characters that other damage-boosters love.

    What to expect when boosted:
    While his rebalance wasn’t enough to make him usable over better meta options unboosted, Ghost Rider is a beast on boost weeks due to his high damage tied to low AP costs.  Pair him with a quality boosted purple, yellow, blue, and/or green user, and you’ll have a formidable duo that can take on most teams.  If you don’t have a partner with a killer green AP outlet, Robbie’s is a decent dump.  But you are really playing him for this red/black, and will not be  disappointed doing so!
    #36) Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme)
    bluetilepng630 purpletilepng560 yellowtilepng490 317
    blacktilepng80 73 greentilepng67  Health: 35,842

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    The Sorcerer Supreme is one of the few characters on this list that has a niche as an almost entirely PVE specialist. This is due to his kit giving him a huge advantage against goons, and his low health painting a big target on his back against human players. Overall, Strange has seen a bit of a plummet as faster options have replaced him in PVE and his health looks worse and worse in PVP with each powercreepy release.

    Doctor Strange’s blue (Crimson Bands of Cyttorak) is the best reliable stun in the tier (Iceman’s can be way better, but also way worse depending on the board). For 9 AP he freezes the enemy 3 turns. While that seems pricey, when you cast it, you also place a 3-turn countdown tile that deals ~6400 damage and drains 3 enemy AP on the color tile you chose EACH turn it ticks down. So, in total that is a 3-turn stun, over 19000 damage, and -9 AP to the enemy if it resolves fully. This is a great value for the power cost!

    Strange’s purple (Eye of Agamotto) is not only Strange’s worst power... it’s arguably one of the worst powers in the entire tier. For the high cost of 11 AP; he creates an “eye” tile that removes one enemy special per turn (the types of tiles removed increase with covers). At 4 and 5 covers he removes invisibility and trap tiles respectively... which I guess is a “thing” (if you really want to lower his other two amazing powers). Otherwise, Kitty does what he does for 11 AP cheaper (i.e., it’s free... oh and she deals big damage after the specials are gone).

    At least we get to end on a positive note, as Strange’s yellow (Flames of the Faltine) is the amazing power that puts him on the map. Whenever an enemy fires a power, Doctor Strange passively deals around 5800 damage. This isn’t a ton, until you realize that every time a goon spams another countdown they are “firing a power”. Then you realize just how spectacular the good Doctor can be. This ability also has an active component that seems like a tacked-on afterthought. Deal 16k damage for 14 AP. The damage to AP ratio is bad, but it’s actually a good place to dump extra yellow AP, especially when you realize that aside from FA Cap, Elektra and Gamora, this is the only yellow ability that does straight damage not tied to countdowns (Iron Man), going Airborne First (Carol), or changing powers first (Thor, Wolverine).

    As mentioned, Strange’s niche use is melting PVE goons who spam tiles (Mindless Ones being some of the worst offenders), seriously speeding up clear times. However, if you have faster teams, Strange might not leave the bench for that either.  In PVP his low health can make him a huge liability, but he often works as a third in pick-3 (especially with that stellar stun) with the right teammates around him.

    Okoye is often seen paired with Strange due to her boosting his passive damage. Daredevil pairs very well, due to his punishing of stunned characters and strikes pumping up the Flames damage. Strange having a top tier passive and phenomenal blue/yellow powers (in a tier that lacks them) makes him an ideal “filler” character if you have strong red/black/green users (the most popular strong colors in the tier) and are looking for rainbow coverage. Hela, Jessica, Carnage, and Ghost Rider are examples of such characters.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Even boosted, Doctor Strange still feels like a liability to play in PvP due to his extremely low health (similar to Hawkeye mentioned earlier). His passive damage is getting easier to work around, shrug off, or heal back as power creep gives us more and more massive health pools. That said, his blue is one of the best in the game- so if you play him boosted, it will be for that. In PVE, most of the damage he does unboosted comes from being paired with others (Okoye/Apocalypse/etc.) and that won’t change much boosted. Honestly, he’s one that that doesn’t play up as well as some other characters. If you need that blue or it’s a particularly weak boost period, he might get the call up, but there are others with larger health pools I’d rather bring to a megaboosted fight.
    #35) Cyclops (Phoenix Five)
    888 yellowtilepng789 greentilepng691 439
    blacktilepng113 bluetilepng104 purpletilepng96  Health: 75,651

    Recommended Build: 4/5/4

    Cyclops was immediately branded “Sighclops” right out of the gate due to some pretty big flaws.  Aside from the pumped up health and match damage, Scott’s numbers seem like a throwback to a bygone era of pre-powercreep characters . He also has cover overlap with some of the very best in the game. Despite the flaws in his kit (which I’ll get into more below), new characters have been released that make Summers much more playable (and even good in some cases!). Also, while weekly 5* boosts have helped a lot of characters, the Phoenix 2 have especially benefited, helping them in the rankings (the benefits bestowed upon Colossus will be discussed much later).!

    Cyclops’ red ability (Phoenix Blast) by no means lives up to its namesake. For 9 AP, Scott does around 10-12k damage and he puts down 2 to 3 red repeater tiles that destroy 1 green tile. While the AP gathered from these is nice, the fact that they are 3-turn unfortified repeaters means that he will rarely see them stick around long or do anything significant in a match. So you are mostly paying 9 red AP for damage slightly better than a Silver Surfer or Iron Man in an era where red nukers like Apocalypse, IHulk, Killmonger, Thor, Jessica, Deadpool and Havok exist.

    Cyclops’ yellow (Savior of Mutantkind) is once again a misnomer, but is his most interesting power. For 7 AP, Cyke boosts his teammates’ match damage by up to 75% each time he casts it (max 300%). He also swaps 2 random tiles for each team-up AP he’s holding when he fires the ability. While 300% match damage could put a hurting on opponents, the 28 yellow AP needed to get there could be better used elsewhere. Unfortunately, this power pales in comparison to the passive strike tile boosting meta, which is a way more efficient way to crank out mega match damage- at least unboosted. However, now that 5* god boosts are a thing, Scotty here can do some significant damage pumping up your level 550+ characters.

    When Cyclops is the only member of his team standing, his yellow and black match damage swap, and this power becomes. Dark Phoenix Unleashed; an AOE nuke with a very heavy price tag. For 13 black AP, Cyke deals around 12.5k (3 covers) to just under 20k (5 covers) damage to the enemy team plus a small amount of additional damage for each team-up AP you’re holding (1258-1731); after which, he drains said AP. He also cannot be stunned when his powers swap. This is Cyke’s “break in case of emergency” power that allows him to actually hit hard on offense if a match goes south (at the expense of losing his teammates).  Cyclops’ yellow and black have  built-in synergy. He holds yellow to increase the swaps, and then drains it all when it switches to black. Scott boosts his allies’ match damage with yellow so they are up front tanking. When his frontline buddies fall, Cyke unleashes the full power of the Phoenix force. The problem with this particular synergy is that it relies on trying to deactivate (or flat out kill) his team in order to switch, and even then the power is expensive and isn’t that great.

    Cyclops rounds out his mediocre kit with a 10 AP green ability (Disarming Gaze) that does too many things and is overcosted as a result. This power stuns a random enemy for two turns, and converts up to 7 tiles to red, targeting enemy strikes (or strikes and protects at 5 covers) first. The main reason to play this power is to flood the board red. Scott’s wife does said board-flooding without all the bells and whistles for 2 AP cheaper on perhaps the least utilized color in the tier (purple) as opposed to arguably the most utilized (green).

    On paper, Summers’ power set makes a lot of sense and seems synergistic (see: the yellow/black synergy discussed above). His ability to spam red with Disarming Gaze, directly fuels fuels Phoenix Blast, whose repeaters destroy green (once again fueling Disarming Gaze). While this loop reads nicely, green is too expensive to fuel red reliably and red’s repeaters are way too slow to fuel green reliably. Not to mention that spamming red ups the likelihood of the repeaters getting matched, and removing green from the board lowers the likelihood of fueling the old fashioned way (making matches). The sad part is, even if he did self-accelerate better, the “big reward” to it all is his mediocre red damage. Similar to Wasp and Banner (mentioned earlier) it’s a lot of setup for minimal damage output.  So, it’s safe to say that Cyclops could use a buff.

    Cyclops does have some utility as a decent third for Professor X and Onslaught. He provides three actives and gives damage resistance to Xavier via his X-Men affiliation. In pick-2, I think the best option for Cyclops is to build around his match damage boosting, or to play him with strong characters who help provide more coverage.  P5 Colossus was clearly made to be played with P5 Cyke. They have 5 actives, no overlap, and Scott can boost Colossus’ already heightened match damage. Killmonger provides a better red, a killer purple, the ability to spam critical tiles, and an additional 150% match damage boost in the opponent’s strongest color. Yellowjacket gets a match damage boost when invisible and covers blue/black. Doctor Doom can help fuel Cyclops’ yellow and once his match damage is increased, can serve as a true-healing tank. Scott found new life with the release of Shang-Chi, who benefits greatly from people who don’t overlap on red/purple and can either fuel those colors or provide board shake/ tile swapping. Scott here does both and so has been a staple for many players on Shang-Chi teams. These two are clearly offense-only and will attract a ton of hits in PVP, but are great for punching way up or hitting extremely difficult PVE challenge nodes. The idea is to let Shang-Chi build up combo points by matching red/purple, and when the board dries, using Scott’s green to add red, or Scott’s yellow to shuffle the board around, to keep the winfinite engine going. Shang-Chi, plus weekly boosted 5*s (see below) have definitely helped Cyclops climb higher on the rankings than he would have sat upon release.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Depending on who else is boosted with him, Cyclops could absolutely see play on boosted weeks. Like I mentioned earlier, there is stiff competition for his colors, especially Apocalypse and Okoye on his best color (Yellow). But boosting 550+ match damage 300% is way better than boosting 450+ match damage. Pumping up an unboosted partner is not really a viable strategy for success, but a boosted one is a strategy you can build around. Unboosted, Cyclops is simply outclassed. But when you are looking at a pool of 4, he all of sudden doesn’t look so bad with 100+ levels on those better options. So, if you did happen to chase Cyke, he’ll be worth dusting off on many of his boosted weeks.
    #34) Adam Warlock (Infinity Watch)
    yellowtilepng866 purpletilepng770 blacktilepng674 428
    bluetilepng110 102 greentilepng93  Health: 70,136

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3 (for more sustainability)
    Alternative Build: 5/3/5 (for faster offense)

    Adam Warlock is a unique character in that health management is the key to running him successfully. If you can keep him topped off (and there are several ways to do so), he can dole out boosted match and passive AOE damage. Much like Onslaught (mentioned later), Adam is a character that hits hard out of the gate, but has diminishing returns as a match drags on and he gets injured.  He’s an overall solid choice to build around in pick-3, but is much harder to utilize competitively in pick-2, where all of his tricks are done better by others.

    Adam Warlock’s yellow (Miracle of Science) is a cheap 6 AP ability that heals him a small amount (4673-7009) if he’s above half-health, and a much larger amount (7476-11214) if he’s below half-health. The reason for that additional boost is that Adam’s yellow also has a passive that states his match damage is increased by 76-113% if his health is above 50%.

    Like Adam Warlock’s yellow, his purple ability (Cosmic Skein) is yet another cheap power that has the potential to true heal him. For 7 AP, Adam places 4-5 yellow trap tiles that damage the enemy if they match them (7971-8642) or heal Adam that same amount if your team matches them. The best part about this ability is that the traps do something great no matter which team matches them, and the amount of damage done (or health restored) by this power is by no means inconsequential. The biggest drawback however is the fact that the traps all land on yellow. So a dry board (or match against stupid Maggia goons) could make them hard to access.

    So, why all the healing? Great question, dear reader! It’s because Adam’s main damage-dealing ability comes in the form of his passive black ability (Body and Soul). If at the start of your turn you have 4-6 black AP banked (the threshold goes down with each additional cover), Adam spends one and loses 15% of his health. Then, 55-60% of that damage is dealt to the enemy team.  So, at full health, this salvo does about 5800-6300 damage to the enemy team.

    Adam Warlock actually has some versatility to his kit and I see him mainly played two ways. “Offensive Adam” is best at 5/3/5 where the goal is to use his yellow and black passives to deal quick damage (boosted by partners if possible) as much as you can. He’s likely going to be more health pack intensive, killing himself to pump out passive AOE damage. The amount of damage is inconsequential as it will ideally be ramped up by others. “Defensive Adam” is best at 5/5/3 where the goal is to play him as a sustainable tank with multiple methods of healing. Here, the main source of damage will be “chip damage” from his traps and high match damage. But his main role will be absorbing damage meant for others, and healing himself back up via his active abilities. So defensive Adam is great for climbing and saving packs, while offensive Adam fits into the boosted passive damage meta.  While he boasts a lot of strengths, it should be noted that Adam’s main issue is that the things he does best are done better by others. For example: 1) there are plenty of characters that don’t have to chase AP to heal, 2) if building around his match damage boost, Colossus and Shang-Chi quite frankly do it much better, and 3) his passive AOE is not quite good enough to supplant Hulkoye in pick-2 (though he can make a great third for them). It should be Adam was hit hard when a couple counters were released to combat Immortal Hulk (e.g. Electro, Scarlet Witch). If Adam’s superior was rendered non-existent just imagine what it did to Warlock here.

    Depending on how you build Adam, he can work with several characters. He’s one of the few who can cheaply heal back Immortal Hulk’s friendly damage while tanking some colors and providing a second source of passive AOE damage. Okoye and Apocalypse are characters who can boost Adam, but the competition for yellow on the former means Adam will likely be eating health packs so Okoye can keep her boost going.  As a “defensive climber”, Adam is all about chip damage; so strong nukers that cover most of the rainbow are his best play. Characters with blue, red, green or black (in the event that you don’t want to trigger Adam’s self-destruct damage) outlets work well. Examples include Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Havok, Ghost Rider, Hela, Doctor Octopus, Big Wheel, Yellowjacket, Carnage, and both Spideys. Peter’s crits and Carnage’s extra match are especially great for Adam’s boosted match damage. Crystal or Doctor Octopus provide a third healing source for Adam to stay tanking. Thor is a great option to keep Adam healed (via passive yellow AP collection) while drying the board of his own strong colors, so Warlock can stay in front tanking.  Yellowjacket and Adam can take turns tanking and healing as the former moves in and out of invisibility. Finally, a slow but very fun pairing is Mister Sinister whose only active ability can be fueled by Adam’s traps.

    What to expect when boosted:
    God boosts may have helped Adam more than any other character in the game. He’s a classic character who does really great things, but others do what he does better.  So normally he’s never taken off the bench in favor of those other options. Well, add 119 levels to him and for that week he will be the best boosted match damager, the best AOE damager, and a great health-pack saving healer with a massive health pool. Unless he is boosted along with two metas that pair well (BRB/Kitty, Thor/Apoc, Colossus/Wanda, Hulk/Okoye), he should see play and be quite scary during his boost week.
    #33) Electro (Francine Frye)
    greentilepng909 blacktilepng808 yellowtilepng708 450
    116 purpletilepng107 bluetilepng98  Health: 57,493

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Electro is a character whose main purpose was to counter the boosted AOE meta prevalent prior to her release. The problem with that is Wanda Maximoff was released not long before Electro and essentially put an end to that meta already with a superior kit both offensively and defensively. What this means is that for those who have Wanda, Electro will likely only see play boosted. Luckily though, she has enough other interesting stuff in her powerset to warrant use when her turn comes.

    Electro’s green (Volts, Bolts & Jolts) costs 7 AP and has her drop 3 countdowns (1-3 turns) on basic red tiles. Each deals ~2200 (3 covers) to ~5800 (5 covers) damage and destroys all the tiles above it. This means that if the countdowns survive, you get some
    chip damage and board shake for three consecutive turns, which is not a bad use of
    7 green AP.

    Black (Love of Villainy) is Electro’s best offensive power. For 8 AP she does over 20k single target damage, plus an additional 18k if there are less than 8 teamup tiles on the board. If you can meet her board conditions,  that is insane damage output rivaled only by Apocalypse. Electro also has a passive attached to her black that states she takes 25% less damage for each other villain still standing on her team. I remember running her boosted during a villain PVP (3* Doctor Doom) and trust me when I say it can be quite the healthpack saver!

    Finally, yellow (Free of Charge) is the AOE counter ability that was mentioned above. Whenever an enemy power damages Electro’s team, she reduces the damage by 4.3K to 6.6k and then generates 5 free yellow AP. So this power provides a nice AOE shield on defense while passively fueling your offense. This passive is best used to fuel another yellow character, but if you have no other outlet, Francine does have a cheap (5 AP) active yellow as well that places a strike tile on the bottom row (probably so it doesn’t get destroyed by her green… smart).

    So overall, Francine has a really solid kit. Her main issue is that she’s a counter character meant to shut down AOE characters like Immortal Hulk and Adam Warlock. If your queues lack said opponents, then her yellow is mostly useless and she becomes a two-power character, one of which is excellent (black) while the other is just okay (green). However, if played in the niches she was meant to excel in (with villains, when you can limit teamups, against AOE, etc.) she will absolutely excel and be worth her weight.

    As mentioned above, Electro is one you likely bring to a fight against certain opponents more than with certain allys. Still, there are people who can amplify what she does. Villains who can provide more coverage are likely her best play. This can be hard though as many top tier villains like Goblin, Yellowjacket, Doom and Apocalypse also have excellent black outlets. For 5 yellow AP, Electro can start Ultron’s strike-spamming early. Ronan can benefit from Francine’s board destruction (hopefully destroying his repeaters). Killmonger’s black is passive (no clash!) and he provides additional nukes in red/purple. Gargantos is a villain with an excellent blue outlet.  Finally, Onslaught may be Francine’s best partner since he has no active overlap and can wipe all teamups from the board with a simple match 4. Outside of villains, Francine can also be used as a battery for better yellow characters (e.g., Okoye, Gamora, Elektra) against the right opponents. I’ve also seen people team Francine WITH Scarlet Witch- instead of either/or, opting for double AOE protection, which can work well as they share no actives and cover five colors.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Francine will for sure get use if boosted with others that she plays well with (the above-mentioned villains) or against (AOE spammers). She also will see use if the other boosted characters don’t have a good black outlet (hers is just that good). However, in weeks where AOE isn’t prevalent, she’s the only villain boosted, PVPs are hero-focused, and you’re not looking for a good black outlet, she will likely ride the bench in favor of stronger options. Since she’s so niche, she will either be your main go-to and wreak havoc or one that you don’t call on at all. It really just depends on what her boost week looks like any given week (I will say that as of this writing, I've used her more often than not).
    #32) Storm (Ororo Munroe)
    blacktilepng720 greentilepng640 yellowtilepng560 356
    92 bluetilepng85 purpletilepng78  Health: 51,735

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5
    Alternative Build: 3/5/5 (in Puzzle Gauntlet)

    Storm is best described as “controlled chaos” as all her powers will shake up the board and yet at the same time, you can manipulate said chaos, to warp the board in your favor. She’s a slow but ultimately fun character that is way better on offense than defense.

    Storm’s black is called Gathering Clouds, which is the perfect name for the passive portion of the ability. Simply put, she charges one black tile each turn. The name is a bit of a misnomer for the active portion of her power though, as it is her only damage-dealing ability. For 9 AP she destroys all charged tiles, dealing 2600 AOE damage for each. Her damage is capped at just over 20K total (so 8 tiles gives max damage). Getting the first crack at those black charged tiles, means you usually have way more black AP than Storm alone can spend. You usually spend more time waiting for charged tiles than you do gathering AP to fire the power.

    Storm’s green (Ice Storm) destroys tiles without generating AP. It might be worth the cost at 5 covers (where it destroys all of a color), but I can’t bring myself to drop either of her other covers below 5.  The exception is the monthly Puzzle Gauntlet events, where win conditions are often based on manipulating the board rather than doing direct damage.  In these matches, you’ll want this at 5.  Outside of Puzzle Gauntlet, Storm’s green should be set to 3 and is mostly a “use if you have the AP and nothing better to spend it on”, as spending 10 green to destroy 6 of a color is a horrible trade-off.

    Storm’s 9 AP yellow (Aurora Totalis) is personally my favorite of her abilities. Storm turns 6 random team-up tiles to a color of her choosing. She then converts three of that color into charged tiles after the board settles. Usually, you can create matches and cascades in helpful colors by observing the board and choosing the right color.  This essentially makes her a battery in any color you need!

    With Storm, two out of three abilities don’t do damage (green/yellow) and the one that does (black) has a damage cap that isn’t super high. On the plus side, her damage is AOE, cheap, and self-fueling, but without a proper partner, you may be waiting awhile before actually firing the power, as you wait for charged tiles to trickle in. And one cast destroys all charged tiles, meaning you get to start all over after you finally get that big hit. All in all, this makes her a slow character alone who needs the right partners to get going (see below). On defense, board control powers tend to work pretty awful due to the AI’s stupidity. Storm has two such powers, so when playing against her you only really need to keep an eye on black, which again, only hits hard with the proper amount of charged tiles on the board. So you can consider her an offense-only character, which the meta is moving further and further away from.  Still, her versatility and ability to warp the board for puzzley events like the aforementioned “Puzzle Gauntlet” make her a character worth having.

    Storm’s propensity for match-4s and X-Men affiliation make her a good Professor X partner. Onslaught can also benefit from the match-4s that Storm's cascades can create.  Her affinity for charged tiles and color combo will absolutely have you dusting off your old nerfed Gambits (assuming you held onto him).  This combo of two mediocre characters is downright brutal when played together.  Surfer and Havok are great partners who add red/blue actives to the team, and both create charged tiles to fuel Storm’s black. The former gives an additional outlet for all the banked black AP, while the latter gives a better green ability.  Crystal can passively create charged tiles for Storm to blow up on yellow matches, once firing her green active (which is great since you’ll also be chasing AP for Storm’s best power).  Finally, there is some charged tile synergy with Black Bolt and Cable, but the color overlap makes them perhaps better third options than partners in pick-2 situations. In pick-3 it is sometimes helpful to bring along an additional black user, because as mentioned earlier, Storm often creates more black than she can use. So, an extra black AP dump (Jessica, Goblin, Ghost Rider, Colossus, etc.) can be beneficial.  Finally, Killmonger or Shang-Chi with Storm cover 5/6 colors and their crits matching her charged tiles can result in crazy match damage and AP gathering!

    What to expect when boosted:
    With only one damage-dealing power, you’d think that Storm doesn’t play up as great as some others. However, all the cascades and boardshake she creates are capitalized on by boosted 5* match damage. As a more support-based character, her utility will depend more than most on who is boosted with her. A good character without black/yellow overlap booted alongside her is really all she needs to be a force of nature (pun intended) for that week.
    #31) Heimdall (The Gatekeeper)
    bluetilepng900 yellowtilepng800 700 445
    greentilepng114 purpletilepng106 blacktilepng97  Health: 72,048

    Recommended Build: 4/5/4
    Alternative Build: 5/3/5 (if playing for pure support/tanking)

    Heimdall is a solid support character that will do a decent job of making outdated/weaker characters better. He also has a niche as a targeted fortification specialist. His main drawback however is that he best supports people with strong active abilities, while the meta mostly relies on passives. For this reason, he finds himself on the outside-looking-in at the top tier. But he is a fun and sustainable character to play around and chase wins with nonetheless.

    Heimdall’s blue (The All-Seer) has both an active and a passive component. The former costs only 6 AP and allows him to fortify 3 friendly or basic tiles of his choosing and then he true heals for a small amount (~6-8k). His passive at 4 covers (the minimum you want this power at) reduces other friendly powers (including his other active abilities) by 1 AP for each fortified tile in the power’s color. Very cool! This ability to make nukes cheaper, make him a pretty decent third for speed clearing teams (Thorpocalypse/ Thorkoye/ etc.), especially when featured.

    Heimdall’s red (Prismatic Cleave) is his one damage dealing ability, and it packs quite the punch. For 10 AP, Heimdall does 16,211 damage plus 4,864 per color of fortified tile on the board. So, he caps out at 45,495 damage when backed by the full power of the rainbow bridge!

    Heimdall’s yellow (Bifrost Bridge) costs 8 AP, and has him send his allies airborne for a turn. When they come back, each ally returns 3 AP richer in their strongest color. Spending 8 AP and waiting a turn to get back 6 doesn’t seem great on paper, but remember that 1) you can make this ability cheaper via fortification 2) yellow doesn’t have a lot of great outlets in the tier, and 3) you can leverage this ability by being mindful of the characters you bring along and what powers you want to fuel. Bifrost Bridge also has a passive component that allows him to shrug off 25% or 33% of damage dealt to him if he’s the only character active. This means you get to chew through that much more health if you leave him for last. It also means that he can negate some big damage if you send your people away to safety right before a big nuke. While not something to build around it’s something that will come in handy at times.

    As mentioned earlier, Heimdall would be much better in a bygone era before passives ruled everything. His ability to choose fortification means that you have a lot of flexibility in how you use his blue. Create a match-3 of all fortifieds to get back 6 AP? Protect certain special tiles you don’t want matched away? Spread love around the prism to stack damage on his red? Or simply fortify three of the same color to make a particular ability spammable? All are possibilities for just 6 blue AP! His yellow has similar flexibility as different partners will give back different AP when sent away.  His main drawbacks are that the newly buffed Angel is a hard counter to his yellow, and Thor does the whole AP gathering thing way better than Heimdall (or anyone else for that matter).  Heimdall finally has a good partner in the 5* tier (Kamala), but the pairing isn't meta. However, he’s one of those characters that could see a spike in the future due to the targeted fortification and the AP reduction that goes along with it. He just needs the right partner (similar to what pre-nerf Hammer Cap did for Hawkeye). I think he’s worth chasing to build different fun teams with, even if he never gets that perfect partner.

    Heimdall’s best partners are going to be those that spam fortified tiles to take advantage of his blue passive. He actually plays down a tier well because of this, as there are many fortified tile spammers in the 4* tier. Currently it’s really just Hawkeye, Green Goblin, and Kamala Khan in the 5* tier. Beta Ray Bill’s already dumb-cheap Clash of the Worthy can get cheaper each cast. Same with Onslaught’s invisibility if you have him return with a fortified attack tile. Similarly, Loki’s expensive green gets 1 AP cheaper each cast if the repeaters can keep their fortification. I really want to try Heimdall/Loki/Hawkeye. Both have purple as their strongest color to fuel ShadowPlay/Dagger Surprise (a single fortified purple will make the latter 3 AP!). While Hawkeye pumping out fortified blue tiles will have him out of arrows in no time at all! Heimdall can be a great third to Ronan/Goblin.  When Norman auto-fortifies Ronan’s ever-replicating repeaters, power costs will passively go down.  Finally, Shang-Chi can go infinite easily if you bring a third character (like Odin) to spam fortifieds and make all of his powers 3 AP.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Heimdall is very similar to Storm (above)- a support character with 3 actives and only one damage dealing ability. The difference is while he doesn’t create tons of board shake, he has a massive health pool and true heal. For these reasons, he has lots of utility as a tank/ healthpack saver. In longer matches against boosted health pools, he actually has time to put fortified tiles on the board and do his thing. I stated that Heimdall would fare better as a support in a bygone era where people collect AP to fire powers.  In the boosted meta, where those older characters may be kings and queens for the week, that is often the case.  Thus, he can see quite the resurgence on his boosted weeks.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #30) Yelena Belova (Black Widow)
    756 purpletilepng672 greentilepng588 374
    blacktilepng96 bluetilepng89 yellowtilepng82  Health: 54,322

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Yelena is a bit of a mixed bag with regards to her powerset. She is clearly a defensive character, and a creative one at that! Rather than wear opponents down with protects, copious amounts of banners/animations, or being immortal, Yelena relies on AP manipulation mechanics that make the opponent think when playing against her. Because thinking takes time, and this game punishes playing slowly, her value lies in being annoying to play against while not slowing you down on offense (the thing that hurts Sinister).

    Yelena’s red passive (Top of the Class) is her best power by far, and the reason one would likely bring her to the dance. When the enemy has 9-10 AP in a color, Yelena does about 3700 passive damage, creates a decent strike tile (strength 472), and she then reduces the enemy’s largest AP pool by 4. While this does little against the new wave of quick hitting abilities in MPQ, she can put a hurting on goons, high AP nukers, and teams who utilize mostly all passives to do damage (collecting AP with no outlets).

    Yelena’s purple ability (Spycraft) is a cheap 7 AP and sees her placing 5-6 trap tiles on the enemy’s strongest color. These trap tiles do around 5-6k damage each and convert 4 AP of the enemy’s strongest color to their weakest color. The con of these traps is that they are only triggered on opponent matches (useless against goons!). The pro is that they trigger when the opponent matches OR destroys them. If only all traps worked this way! This is probably her best damage-dealing ability that will add up on offense, taking advantage of the stupid AI.  But it is easy enough to avoid on defense as you’ll know exactly what color to avoid.

    Finally, Yelena’s green (Military Surplus) is pretty underwhelming compared to other green abilities in the tier. For 9 AP she does around 1600-4200 AOE damage, destroys 2 enemy strike/attack/protect tiles, and then for each destroyed tile, converts 2-3 AP of the enemy’s strongest color to their weakest. This is a 3* ability masquerading as a 5.

    The synergy of Yelena’s kit is pretty clear. And honestly, it’s quite fun! All three of her abilities manipulate the enemy’s AP pools. Ideally, she uses her green/purple actives to convert a strong/useful color into an AP pool with no outlet. Once that useless AP pool is built up, she then punishes you with her red passive. While all of this sounds good in theory, her biggest problem is that she doesn’t hit hard enough. So, the chip damage likely isn’t enough to scare people away.  The AP shenanigans will definitely slow down and frustrate opponents, but most characters/teams should have no problem beating her. To do so swiftly, you definitely want to think about who to bring and what your in-match strategy will be. But even without a plan, most high-health or healing 5* can shrug off the hits and persevere.

    As mentioned earlier, Sinister has been looking for trap tile partners in the 5* tier, so Yelena is a natural pair there. Carnage can create enemy attack tiles for Yelena’s green to mess with their AP (though it may not be worth it if his specials overwrite your traps). Doctor Doom is an excellent suppression partner with no active overlap who will punish strong black/yellow users by siphoning said colors. Apocalypse and Okoye can boost Yelena’s “chip damage”, while adding active abilities of their own. The former is near rainbow and makes her much scarier to face with his own quick abilities. Colossus and Yelena together can make an annoying defensive team.  Ultron can replicate and buff the strikes she puts down, and somehow tanks red (his weakest/her strongest)… thanks power creep!  Finally, against certain opponents, I feel Yelena pairs well with slower build characters that have little active overlap. Yelena gives them time to get going as she slows down the enemy. Examples of such characters are Magneto, Storm, Old Man Logan, Havok, and Jessica Jones.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Yelena is a flat killer boosted. If she’s boosted on a week where damage is mostly tied to active powers instead of broken passive combos (way more common in any given boost week than in the unboosted meta), she will slay the opposition and may be the most dangerous option of your 4 characters. She actually got a boost in the rankings due to how well she can play up, especially when partnered with someone who can carry more of an offensive load. Don’t sleep on this agent.
    #29) Thanos (The Mad Titan)
    blacktilepng671 purpletilepng597 greentilepng522 337
    bluetilepng85 78 yellowtilepng72  Health: 64,964

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    Thanos may seem a bit too high on this list to some, given how much of a pushover he is in PVP. Seeing him out usually means an easy victory for pretty much any 5* combo. That said, he is still- years after his release- the undisputed king of PVE in CL9 and lower. He also pairs well with a particular 5 and can obliterate PVP teams that include low health characters. An amazing feat for a game with such rampant power creep, given the age of this character.

    The reason for Thanos’ ranking begins and ends with his black passive (Court Death). If you kill an enemy, the Titan stuns everyone (friend and foe) for 2 turns, then he does ~14k damage to his remaining enemies and ~3.5k to allies. 7K teammate damage is nothing to sneeze at, and is a significant drawback for some. Double this with the fact that his other powers are nothing to write home about, and you have a one-trick pony whose trick must be really really good to land him so high in the rankings.

    Thanos’ purple (Infinite Power) costs 8 AP and allows you to place a CD on the board that pumps up his match damage (+65-85%) and makes destroying or altering tiles by anyone not named Thanos a no-go. This can be as much of a hindrance as it is helpful at times.

    Thanos’ green (Come and Get Me!) is pricey at 12 AP. When cast, he places a random 3-turn countdown that can do upwards of 20k AOE damage. That’s huge damage for the cost, but the reality is that if playing him right (as a bully), his matches shouldn't last long enough for you to collect 12 AP in one color plus wait 4 more turns to place and resolve the countdown. If the match does turn to a grind, then the countdown often doesn’t survive since it isn’t fortified and you can’t choose where to place it.

    Overall, Thanos has two distinct uses. In PVE CL9 and below he is essential for fast clears. The goal is to target the weakest character and let Court Death do the rest after they fall. Thanos has dropped in the rankings due to the release of CL10.  Unfortunately, 14k AOE isn't enough to chew through the high health pools in 10, where the very best rewards in the game reside.  But he is still king of all other clearance levels (Fury just denied him level 10 access).  He was once atop the PVP meta, but now his best use in PVP is a niche role in new release events. In said events, people often run low-covered or even loaner versions of the essential character. This makes the Titan’s ability to summon Death a “snap” (you see what I did there).

    Thanos has two very distinct qualities he looks for in a partner. 1) Someone who can pump up match damage in order to court Death sooner and/or 2) Someone who can heal back the damage Death inflicts. In PVE the 5* essential’s boosted match damage is usually enough to set Death in motion. If you don’t have them champed, then 4* Grocket’s strike tiles boosted by another Guardian, or by Kitty Pryde, will do the trick. The aforementioned “Panthos” still works amazingly well for PVE wave nodes and against PVP loaner characters. Speaking of PVP, Immortal Hulk is easily Thanos’ best partner there as he has given the Mad Titan newfound life. In release events chalked full of loaners, Hulk’s passive damage can take them out easily, resulting in Court Death. While everyone is stunned, chase red for Hulk’s gigantic nuke to hopefully set Death in motion again. Beyond the Hulk and Panther synergies, Logan and Daredevil are both quality pairings as they can pump up match damage via strikes and heal back some of Thanos’ friendly fire. Similarly, Silver Surfer has a true heal and since he does not get stunned by Death, he provides consistent high(ish) match damage in red/blue.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Boosted Thanos becomes in CL10 PVE what he is in CL9 and lower unboosted. While still not a huge factor in PVP (aside from new releases), Thanos reclaims a lost spot in PVE, which makes him tons of fun when he gets the call up. So when he gets that 119 level boost, I hope you reclaim your youth and Court Death everything in PVE… ahh nostalgia.
    #28) Big Wheel (Jackson Wheele)
    955 849 743 472
    121 112 103  Health: 73,934

    Recommended Build
    : 5/3/5 (supporting Shang-Chi)
    Alternate Build
    : 3/5/5 (as a primary attacker)

    Big Wheel came rolling into MPQ (get used to those puns) as perhaps the most controversial 5* character ever. Not his abilities mind you, but the character himself. A section of the player base got revved up over someone so obscure making it to the highest level of the game; while other more notable characters continue to remain in park (seriously where is Omega Red?). Other players lauded the developers for their sense of humor and drove home the point that this is a match-3 game that should not always take itself so seriously. So, how does Jackson Wheele’s kit measure up to other 5s? Surprisingly he’s pretty middle of the road. He’s slow, which removes him from meta contention, but he’s one that hits harder the more time he has to get rolling. He’s also a lot of fun and is a dude who rolls around in a giant hamster wheel… so there’s that.

    Big Wheel’s whole gimmick is geared around rotating the board and collecting Speed Points in order to rev up his damage and roll over the competition. His cheap (6 AP) green ability (Spin Me Right Round) has him rotate the center 2x2 or 4x4 (at 5 covers) block of tiles, clearing out any special tiles in the block (including your own) and dealing very small (~2400) AOE damage. Big Wheel then does a max of 848 damage to a random enemy for each Speed Point he has. This damage is very minor, even if you max out on points.

    Big Wheel’s red (Tread On Me) is also cheap at 7 AP. Upon firing, you choose a 3x3 block of tiles (again removing all the special tiles in the block). Then, rather than the tiles rotating (as with his green), the entire board rotates around the chosen block. He then does anywhere from 3500 (3 covers) to 6600 (5 covers) damage plus an additional 900-1400 for every Speed Point he has.

    Jackson’s blue passive (Wheelhouse) is the engine that makes the entire machine work, and finally tells you how to collect the Speed Points that fuel his other two powers. Whenever you make a match beyond the first in a turn you gain 2 Speed Points. So on the right team (cascade-heavy or winfinite), they can add up quick. However, the passive also states that at the beginning of your turn, if you have 10 or more points, the entire board rotates and you deal damage (~2100-2700) for each Speed Point you have, then the total number is dropped down to 1-3 points (depending on the number of covers).  Pro tip: though not stated in his powers anywhere, the maximum amount of Speed Points that Big Wheel can collect is 20. So his powers have a hard cap. Though not likely to be reached before spinning out on a non-winfinite team, it’s important to note it’s there. 

    Overall, Big Wheel can be slow out of the gate but eventually do big damage as he picks up speed (points). The second part of his blue passive means that once he “spins out” you have to basically start all over again building momentum so he can do big damage. Ideally, you want to cast his other powers before spinning out, as that is when he will have the most Speed Points, and thus do the most damage.

    Team composition for Big Wheel is pretty simple. You really want him with people who will afford you as many matches in a turn as possible. Winfinite is the ideal scenario for him, which is why Shang-Chi is far and away his best partner. Thor at half-health makes a great third (or even second) for Jackson due to the cascades he can create. Carnage, despite complete active overlap can passively give you an extra match each turn depending on board conditions (Banner too but he’s trash). Onslaught can create cascades via his passive removing all teamups from the board. Finally characters who like to flood the board with colors or remove them like Storm, Sersi, Iron Man, Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Scarlet Witch can create cascades for Big Wheel to do his thing. All 6 of these characters have the ability to spam red tiles, which happens to be the fuel for Jackson’s best active damage-dealing ability, while the cascades fuel the passive damage-dealing ability.

    What to expect when boosted
    Big Wheel plays up pretty well, especially defensively. This is because over time through the natural progression of a match he will do big damage if you don’t take him out fast. But targeting him early means possibly letting another threat build up steam. With more boosted health to chew through, Big Wheel has time to get rolling and can do damage just by being there. I’ve paired him with “the other best boosted option” and if there’s little active overlap, they do well even if there’s no inherent synergy.
    #27) Knull (King In Black)
    blacktilepng968 greentilepng861 purpletilepng753 479
    123 bluetilepng114 yellowtilepng104  Health: 103,359

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Knull is one of those nuisance characters that are all the rage. Upon his release, his biggest draw was his massive amount of health and match damage. Though if history is any indicator, his best feature will be outclassed in a year due to power creep. So, while he may fall later, as it stands today, his numbers are enough to see him land in the top-half of the rankings.

    Knull’s black (Knull Space) is a pretty weak power. For 7 AP, Knull destroys 3-4 green tiles and converts 2-3 random tiles to purple. This power does not deal damage or generate AP, which is a real waste, given that match damage is one of his selling points.  Thus, it’s best to keep this power at 3 covers.  Knull also has a passive stating he can’t benefit from friendly protect tiles. But his powers cut through enemy protects as well.

    Knull’s green (Summon Dragons) is far and away his best ability, and the reason one would play him. Knull creates a 3-turn countdown that puts a strike tile (strength 322) on the board each turn it ticks down. When it expires, Knull does around 2100 permanent damage to the enemy team.  While these are little tics of damage tied to a fragile countdown, free specials and damage is still nothing to sneeze at.

    The active portion of Knull’s purple (Amortal Coil) is just odd. For 9 AP he creates two 5-turn countdowns targeting a chosen enemy. While these tiles are on the board, a third of the damage dealt by the enemy is deflected to one of the target’s teammates. So, I’m spending 9 AP in hopes I can eat a big nuke just to send a small portion of the damage back?? Like I said… odd. If the tiles last long enough to expire, each drops a strength 485 attack tile.  Knull has a passive attached to this power too, that states if there are 4+ friendly specials at the beginning of the turn, Knull doles out more passive permanent damage (1379 to the lowest health enemy). With the prerequisite specials, this damage can add up and wreck a weaker character that you may be trying to shield (e.g., half-Thor, Polaris).

    Knull is a slow character offensively, which makes him hard to reach for over much faster options. Where he best shines is as a defensive deterrent (though there are scarier options there as well). Since he doesn’t have a big nuke, he is often targeted last and easy to beat. However, all of his little damage (which is permanent and unblockable) adds up and can cost health packs if you let him hang around too long. If you do decide to go after him first, his health pool is beefy enough that he’ll still get some shots in. While he’s not good enough at anything to reach for unboosted in pick-2, Knull can play third string contributing to three distinct metas (passive damage boost, special tile boost, and defensive meta). He just needs the higher ranked meta partners to help amplify what he does.

    As mentioned, Knull works great with a lot of meta builds, especially as a third. Use a power booster (Okoye/Apocalypse) to turn small tics of damage into big chunks of unblockable, unhealable damage. Use Kitty to boost his attacks and strikes (and Polaris to get more on the board quicker). He works well with Colossus and Wanda as a third defensive nuisance as well. While he’s not the most fun character, or great at any one thing, he does bring added value. Beyond meta teams, I’d look to bring anyone who can flood the board with friendly specials faster (e.g., Carnage, Iceman, Ronin, BRB, Ultron) in order to proc his passive damage quicker. Kamala Khan not only spams protect tiles, but does free damage whenever friendly specials are matched, which Knull creates tons of with his countdowns, attack tiles and strikes.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Knull actually plays up well, which really helps him in the rankings. While he normally doesn’t have enough firepower to be a factor in pick-2, the god boost helps give him more of a punch. While boosted he may still not be your most impressive offensive option, there’s a high likelihood he makes your top two defensive options.  While a 450 Knull is not more defensively annoying to face than a 450 Switch or Colossus, a level 569 Knull is way more brutal to stare down. If making an opponent think twice about chewing through his massive health pool is a reason to play him unboosted, then add another 119 levels and see how difficult that is. Depending on who else is boosted, Knull may be the best choice for beginning grinds due to his massive health pool saving on packs. He also may be the best choice for your end grind as well, due to his presence deterring hits. Overall, he’s a solid character who should get play during his boost week.
    #26) Sersi (Eternals)
    955 849 743  472
    121 112 103  Health: 64,438

    Recommended Build
    : 3/5/5

    Sersi is a unique support character in MPQ, in that rather than just act as a battery who adds a color to the board or increases its drop rate, she can actually choke out a color entirely as well. This makes her one of the game’s ultimate board control characters.

    Sersi’s first board-control power comes in the form of her 3 AP active purple (Cosmic Purpose). Firing it allows Sersi to choose a color and transform 4-5 tiles of that color to other random colors. For the remainder of the game, this power becomes a passive (Cosmic Path) that reduces the drop rate of your chosen color by 50% and puts a strike (if you chose red or purple), attack (black or green) or protect (yellow or blue) tile down when there are 4 or less tiles on the board of the chosen color.

    Sersi’s green (Gift of Transmutation) acts as a more traditional board control power than the aforementioned unique purple. For 9 green AP, Sersi can convert up to 6 tiles to a color other than green. Firing this power also fortifies all specials in the chosen color and increases their strength by just over 1100 each.

    Yellow (Eternal Life) is Sersi’s only direct damage-dealing ability... and it’s not all that direct. This passive power triggers whenever her team makes a match-5. Doing so results in a fortified 3-turn countdown tile being placed. If Sersi is downed while a countdown is out, she removes one and revives at half health. If the countdown resolves, it does a whopping 25k AOE damage. While there are a lot of hoops to get there, the damage output is nice.

    Sersi has some self-synergy in that she uses her purple/green board-manipulation powers to hopefully trigger match-5s and deal damage. However, since this is a team game, Sersi will most often be used as a support/battery to help other characters deal damage by warping the board in their favor. Once she fires her 3 AP purple, the most important aspects of Sersi’s kit are happening behind the scenes. The rest of what she does (e.g. damage, special tiles, fortification, reviving) are nice when they trigger, but ancillary to her main role as a board-manipulator. She’s excellent in Puzzle Gauntlet, and while any partner can benefit from a favorable board, she pairs well with a select few characters who really benefit from more frequent cascades.

    Sersi being almost all-support, means she really works well as a third wheel to some power couples. She’s a great third for Shang-Chi teams, as he is probably her best partner. Sersi is one of the best at passively manipulating the board, while Shang can do it actively- easily triggering match-5’s with his abilities. Sersi can help create more match-4s for Professor X and Onslaught triggering lots of passive damage and almost eliminating two tile colors from the board entirely. She’s a good third for Kitty Pryde teams, as she can drop extra tiles for her to buff. She can also choke out blue and create shields for a Thor/Apocalypse team. A fun combo is Sersi with Heimdall and Jean Grey (or any character who can spam specials on a single color and have a good power in said color). It’s expensive, but once Jean casts red and Sersi fortifies all the strike tiles with her green, all subsequent red powers cost 3 AP. Sersi also works well as a defensive character against a very popular meta team, Hulk and Okoye, by choking out the green tiles they need to function.

    What to expect when boosted
    Sersi actually plays well boosted because as was stated earlier, everyone can benefit from a favorable board. Pair her with the best offensive option during her boost week and she will work well as a support to them. Her one damage dealing ability also hits like a truck boosted, but is less likely to trigger if the other boosted characters you pair her with don’t help her create match-5’s (like Shang-Chi or Onslaught). Unless she’s boosted with two can’t-miss metas, she will likely get played.
    #25) Jessica Jones (Alias Investigations)
    678 blacktilepng603 bluetilepng527 341
    greentilepng86 purpletilepng79 yellowtilepng72  Health: 57,846

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3
    Alternate Build: Any other configuration

    Jessica was once pound for pound one of the best single-target damage dealers in the tier. While her active powers aren’t the fastest, she still hits hard.  And she has a dangerous damage-dealing passive that is rivaled by few on this list (Hulk, Switch, and Chuck).

    Jessica’s red ability (Defenstrate) costs 9 AP, does around 11k damage (5 covers), and places 5 strength 373 strikes on her off-colors.

    Her red synergizes directly with her black ability (Body Check) which costs 11 AP, deals almost 16k damage plus 2600 for each color friendly special tile on the board (this includes countdowns). So, the extra damage is anywhere from nothing to DOUBLE the damage (if you have specials on all 6 colors).  That is insanely good.

    Her blue ability (Damning Evidence) is the fun one that makes her more than just a variation of your standard damage-dealing tank. She passively places an enemy trap tile each turn (up to 4 total) on her dominant colors (now you know why her strikes are placed on her off-colors). If you happen to match a trap, she does big damage (around 10k) passively and you get 3 AP in your strongest color for each trap matched. You can either hunt for traps blindly, or, if you hold enough blue AP (the threshold goes down with more covers), you can briefly see where the traps are at the start of your turn.

    Jessica’s main role on your team will likely be that of primary damage-dealer. She is played pretty straight forward. Prioritize red/black matches hoping to hit on traps. Then fire her small nuke (Defenstrate) to help up the damage on her big nuke (Body Check). While she was once one of THE premier damage-dealers in the tier (and is still quite good), power creep has made her much less of a force than she once was.

    Jessica benefits from board-shakers who can trigger her traps, people who can fuel her powers, and people who can put special tiles on the board (especially red/black/blue ones). Scarlet Witch is an excellent battery for Jessica’s more expensive powers.  Thor is an ideal pair for her due to the shake and fuel. Sersi and Storm are also great battery options. She is one of those people that can play “filler” on almost any team that needs actives in her colors. Kamala Khan, Daredevil, Iceman, Cable, Loki, Yelena, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange and Beta Ray Bill are all examples of said characters. It’s seriously hard to go wrong with Jessica plus someone offering decent coverage in at least two other colors.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Jessica is going to see a lot of play boosted off the strength of her passive, and huge nukes in red/black. Her health pool was big for the era she was released in, so she won’t be too much of a liability there. While not the fastest in the game, she’ll have some teeth on defense (those boosted traps are scary threats to your precious health packs) and be added value on offense.
    #24) Elektra (Woman Without Fear)
    978 870 761  484
    124 115 105  Health: 75,760

    Recommended Build
    : 5/5/3

    Elektra is a pretty middle of the road character. She has one weak, one okay and one phenomenal power. She doesn’t bring enough to the table to play unboosted or break through in a tier of 70+, but her best power makes her a must-play when she is boosted.

    Elektra’s red (Audible Sai) is her “decent power”. It costs 9 AP and stuns the target for two turns (5 covers) and places a 2-turn countdown tile that does around 20k damage upon resolution. It’s not a bad AP outlet per say, but there are so many better red outlets in the tier. I think about a character like Deadpool, who has a similar, but far superior, red in my opinion- despite doing 4K less damage. His damage is not tied to a fragile countdown and he has the chance to keep stunning his opponents. While Elektra doesn’t want to fire her ability with a red-heavy board, that scenario is actually a bonus for Deadpool, who might be able to use it to keep the stun-train going. Characters like Apocalypse, Killmonger, Havok, Parker, and Gamora all also have superior red nukes and none of them are tied to fragile countdowns going off either.

    Yellow (Shadow Dance) is the reason one would likely play Elektra, as it’s a fun, unique, and powerful ability (especially boosted). For 6 yellow AP, Elektra puts down 3 yellow trap tiles. When anyone on your team takes damage and there’s a trap tile out, the damage is halved, a trap is destroyed (generating AP!), and she deals about 8688 damage. If all three traps resolve, that’s 26000 damage for just 6 AP, and she’s a single match away from casting it again. This is a rare power that is good both offensively and defensively. And it’s very cheap and self-fueling.

    Purple (Queen of Strategy) has both an active and a passive component. The passive is okay. Whenever an enemy creates strike tiles, Elektra steals one of them and debuffs the remaining enemy strikes by a small amount. It is cool against characters who passively spam single strikes, but it’s not a game-changer. The active component allows you to steal 1-3 strike, attack, or protect tiles and give them a small buff. Whichever tile type you choose changes the type of tile the passive will steal when the enemy creates one (or you can stay with the default strike tiles). The big problem with this ability is it costs 10 AP! That’s the cost of many mega-nukes, and all you are doing is stealing 1-3 tiles. That’s awful and it really brings down what was a cool concept. If you could choose the default type prior to each match, Elektra would be a specialist counter for meta characters like Beta Ray Bill and Apocalypse, as each time they drop a protect tile, Nachios would steal it. If you can’t choose at the start of the game, then this power should be 6 AP (at most), allowing her to pivot from strikes to attacks to protects like the ninja she is! By the time Elektra actually gets the AP to cast purple and counter the big meta characters mentioned above, she is likely dead or the board has already been flooded. Since the developers were way too cautious with this power, it’s best to leave it at 3 and forget it.

    Like I said before, Elektra has a great (yellow), okay (red), and poor (purple) ability. While there are better red outlets, stuns are always appreciated in the 5* tier. Shadow Dance is just phenomenal and really propels her up the rankings, but not enough for you to play her competitively unboosted over the higher-ranked meta options. With some slight adjustments to red and purple she could have been just outside top 10. There are some great ideas in this kit that didn’t quite come together, but despite those limitations, she still finds herself in the upper half of the rankings.

    Thor at half-life may be Elektra’s best partner. He can fuel her two big powers as well as his own AOE. I also like anyone who can add yellow to the board to keep Elektra dancing. Scarlet Witch can do so while adding extra defense. Sersi can while eliminating an unneeded color. I really like Elektra/Electro against any AOE-heavy team (iHulk mainly, but also Adam Warlock). Electro negates the AOE and provides a heaping helping of yellow for Elektra to trivialize the damage further and clap back. Sinister can benefit from the traps Elektra puts down, shares no active overlap, and can fuel her abilities with his Sinister Secrets. Finally, no synergy per say, but Elektra can add solid red/blue outlets to a great green/blue character in Beta Ray Bill.

    What to expect when boosted
    Elektra is pretty much must-play boosted for her yellow alone. Unless one of the “yellow-boosters” (Apocalypse/Okoye) happen to also be boosted on her week, you will likely work Elektra on your team for the opponent-melting yellow and ability to fire off a stun in a key moment.
    #23) Crystal (Crystalia Amaquelin)
    900 800 700 445
    114 106 97  Health: 61,241

    Recommended Build
    : 5/5/3

    In MPQ, many “Jack of all trades” characters (which Crystal is) get ranked low due to everything they do being watered-down. They do a bunch of things weakly instead of 1-2 things strongly. Crystal here bucks that trend as most of what she does, she actually does well. She’s a true Swiss Army knife with all of the tools well-sharpened. Her powerset makes her pure added value and a great support for a lot of builds. However, her big caveat is while she is good, any of the “things” you’d bring her to battle for are likely already done better by someone in the tier.

    Crystal’s red (Some Say the World) is pretty basic. For 7 AP she does just over 9K damage and drops a strike, attack and protect tile (all strength 435). Firing this also (at least temporarily) ups her match damage by 312. This is because she also has a passive that states her match damage increases by 104 for each type of friendly special on the board.  They include strike, attack, protect, countdown, repeater, and invisibility tiles (sorry Gwenpool, leave Chekhov's gun at home).

    Getting one of each special tile with red gives Crystal a little versatility, but green (Elemental Affinity) is the power that really makes her a walking toolbox. For 6 AP, Crystal does 6600 damage to the enemy team and gets to pick an element. Each element has a passive effect that triggers when you make a match in a certain color.  Her default is red/fire but can switch up anytime she casts the active portion of Elemental Affinity. The passives attached to each element are as follows:
    Fire: Red matches deal just under 4K permanent damage (she has this passive by default)
    Earth: Green matches improve a random friendly special tile by 90%
    Air: Yellow matches create 3 random charged tiles
    Water: Blue matches heal Crystal just under 4K

    Finally, Crystal’s yellow passive (Inhuman Ambassador) grants your team a burst of around 2200-3300 health whenever the opponent makes a match and has more AP in that color than you. Inhuman allies (that’s just Black Bolt in the 5* tier) get a little extra health. Crystal also gets 1 free AP whenever the opponent makes a match-4+ in said color. Not amazing, but I won’t turn down free AP.

    Overall, it can’t be stated enough that Crystal’s value is in her versatility. New players should absolutely chase her as she is a great sidekick/contributor to many metas. She can tank/heal for your glass cannons and save health packs, she can provide special tiles for others to buff (buffing a bit herself), and she can provide passive permanent damage for others to boost. She has a great kit for starters. However, the bigger your 5* arsenal gets, the less likely you are to reach for an unboosted Crystal, because you likely have someone who better does the thing you wanted to build around. It’s cool that Crystal can pivot cheaply in a match with her green, especially when she experiences a board lacking the color she was hoping to match. But, playing her you’re likely going in with a strategy in mind and building around that. Even if there are people who do something better than Crystal she’ll still contribute to your win count. Her biggest drawback is that her active colors (red/green) are popular ones amongst the higher ranked characters you’d want to pair her with. Despite this overlap she still has some quality teammates.

    Despite the aforementioned overlap, Crystal can pair with Thor (battery), Okoye/Apocalypse (damage boost) and Kitty Pryde (tile boost). Building around her own percentage-based boost (instead of the more traditional flat damage), you can pair her with characters who drop single special tiles like Electro, Onslaught, and to a lesser extent Knull; and see how high you can buff the single tile. Her charged tile production make her a natural pair with Shang-Chi or Storm/Black Bolt (whom she gives a red outlet to). She can also give some life to Adam Warlock, who uses his vitality to deal damage. She can do the same for iHulk’s self-harming ways, but they compete for red. Last but certainly not least, Scarlet Witch can passively put whatever color you’re chasing on the board to keep your strategy moving.

    What to expect when boosted
    Aside from being good for new players entering the tier, Crystal’s big money is in her boost week performances. On those weeks she could very well be the best in the game at all the things she does so well, which makes her very easy to build around as your primary attacker instead of supporting someone else. It should be noted that her Air affinity and Earth affinity do not get better with levels (the latter it is a percentage-based buff). But all of the other stuff she does is accelerated. So she will likely get played either supporting another heavy-hitting boosted toon or being built around herself. Either way, her assortment of skills will afford her playing time.

    #22) Yellowjacket (Darren Cross)
    blacktilepng922 bluetilepng820 greentilepng718 456
    purpletilepng117 108 yellowtilepng99  Health: 62,754

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    True to his namesake, Yellowjacket was created to be an annoying pest of a character.  I think he was massively overlooked at the time of his release, because he came out during a time when the meta revolved around hyper-boosted passive AOE.  Now that the meta seems to shift with each weekly boost, it might be worth giving Darren here a second look when his number is called to be boosted.  He has a solid kit, a unique niche, can be annoying to face, and in my opinion is one you won’t regret leveling if you happen to pull a bunch of his covers.

    Yellowjacket boasts three active abilities, all of which are inexpensive; making him quite spammy. His 6 AP black (Cross Your Heart) restores about 5k-7.5k health (true heal!) and he becomes “energized”. When energized, the next time Darren fires a power, he does additional damage (about 8k to 12k depending on covers).

    Yellowjacket’s blue (That Shrinking Feeling) is the power that gives him a niche and differentiates him from others in the tier. For just 6 AP, Cross goes invisible for 2 turns.  Once invisible, Yellowjacket gets an extra turn of invisibility for each match he makes in any of his strong colors. Since Cross has to be the one to tank in order to add to his invisibility, it makes team composition very important, as you ideally want his icon on blue, black and green tiles. There is also a passive attached to this power that increases Yellowjacket’s power and match damage by up to 5383 when invisible. A lengthy cascade can mean both huge damage to the opposition as well as multiple extra turns in the shadows, as long as you keep matching those colors.

    Finally, Yellowjacket’s green (Sting Like a Bee) is his “expensive” power, clocking in at just 8 AP. Darren fires two blasts of around 4K damage. If invisible when the power is fired, he also destroys 3-4 enemy strike, attack, or protect tiles. While not the best green in the tier, it’s definitely not the worst either; especially if you fire it while energized and invisible. Since there is a less than 400 damage difference per blast going from 5 covers down to 3, I’d suggest keeping this power at 3 (even if it means destroying one less special tile).

    Overall, Yellowjacket boasts a lot of strengths. First, he has three cheap powers, all of which are very solid. So he can play filler on teams that need any of his colors (as long as he can tank). Second, his ability to go invisible easily and stay there for huge lengths of time, mixed with his ability to effortlessly heal while in the shadows, makes him quite the healthpack saver on early climbs, a potential nuisance to face, and a beast in 1v1 nodes. Darren is easily the best invisibility character in the 5* tier and may allow players without better options to punch above their weight on a solid board where he can stay hidden. Finally, he’s a flat out fun, puzzley character, which is much appreciated. Despite a solid kit, what keeps Cross from being ranked higher is the fact that he doesn’t fit any real meta when not boosted. He has three good active powers, but top meta teams revolving around special tile spam and hyper boosted passive damage don’t need to fire a single power in order to steamroll the opposition.   Also, while the ability to go invisible effectively is something that has been missing in the 5* tier, pumped up AOE damage (e.g., Hulkoye) blasts right through his best parlor trick.  However, given that those teams are much less prevalent than they were when Yellowjacket was released, put him to work and you likely won’t be disappointed!

    Two people that I wish Jacket tanked fully for are Carnage and Onslaught (both will tank green at similar levels). Carnage’s extra matches can be brutal if Darren is invisible. Similarly, Onslaught’s cascades can melt opponent’s if Darren is hiding (it can also be fun to see if you can keep both invisible). However, I don’t feel it’s worth employing any strategy that cuts Jacket’s ability to stay invisible by a third. That said, Darren has no shortage of quality partners in the tier.

    One strategy I like with Yellowjacket, is to pair him with another true healing tank (like Shang-Chi, Daredevil, Okoye, Adam Warlock, Heimdall, Jean Grey or Old Man Logan). Let Yellowjacket take damage and then heal in the shadows while his partner absorbs damage. Then Yellowjacket can pop out, resume tanking, and let his partner heal. Okoye and Daredevil can also tack extra damage onto Jacket’s green multi-hit. Apocalypse is another great parter who does this, just without the healing). If you play YJ right, he’ll be leaving his partner holding the bag and absorbing a lot  of damage. So, if you want to save on packs, there are a slew of solid non-healing characters you can churn through who can help cover Darren’s weak powers. Magneto, Professor X, Killmonger, Infinity War Cap, and Elektra (a nuisance in her own right) are great examples.  Like I said, as of now, he has lots of solid teammates, but I expect viable partners to dry up as more characters with higher and higher match damage get released (dang power creep!).

    What to expect when boosted:
    Yellowjacket is much better when boosted for several reasons. One, he can more easily tank, thus expanding his list of potential partners. Two, his boosted match/power damage while invisible is way better.  Three, there’s a high likelihood he won’t be boosted with someone who hard counters him, which ups his defensive/annoyance potential.  With three active color outlets he will likely see play at some point during his boost week and help you save on packs as he constantly looks to heal up that massive boosted health pool. If he’s boosted with another true healer, they can probably rampage their way to 1200 with little difficulty or resources needed.
    #21) Jean Grey (Phoenix)
    918 816 714 461
    116 107 98  Health: 70,894

    Recommended Build
    : 5/5/3

    Of all the “tweak” 5* rebalances we have gotten recently (e.g. Ghost Rider, Star-Lord, Archangel), Jean’s has been far and away my favorite.  My previous write-ups discussed how she has a great kit that still holds up well (despite being one of the first ever 5*s), but was marred by laughably bad numbers- especially health.  Well along with a 40% increase in health (!), pretty much every complaint I had was fixed in her rebalance (and then some), causing her to fly up the rankings, like some sort of bird emerging from some ashes.

    Jean’s green (From the Ashes) is a passive that creates a 1 or 2-turn countdown tile when she is downed (even if she is stunned).  If resolved, she revives at about 50-60% health (depending on covers). This means that you essentially have to target her last... or potentially have her revive with a huge chunk of life and a new active green ability (Phoenix Force).  For a cheap 8 AP, Jean does 27k AOE damage to enemies and about 5k to her allies. This is some insane damage for the AP, you just have to down and revive her to get there. I like this ability at 5, just to put her revive countdown at 1-turn, but you have to sacrifice one of her other great abilities.

    Purple (Psychic Rapport) makes Jean a great cheap battery for herself or others. For a spamable 7 AP, she converts 5-7 (depending on covers) basic tiles to red. This is great for triggering crits and cascades. She also has a passive that buffs 3 friendly tiles (+849 or 1017 each) and reduces 2 enemy tiles (-848 each) on match 5s, which she is hoping to trigger firing this power.

    Jean’s red (Psychic Flames) received a huge damage boost and a slight AP reduction.  She now does anywhere from 14k to 16k damage for just 8 AP, and puts down 3-4 strength 695 strike tiles. Unfortunately, she also gives some meaty attack tiles to her opponents (3-4 strength 834 tiles!) if there are 5+ friendly specials on the board after firing this power. This makes the ability a double-edged sword where you have to think carefully about spamming all the red you collect. She is absolutely banking on the passive purple to help both buff her tiles, as well as reduce the enemy’s.

    I always loved the design behind Jean, even before her rework.  Her green passive is a great representation of her death/rebirth cycle and her green/red show her struggles controlling her power. She has some great self-synergy predicated on dying and coming back to life to wreak havoc, but she didn’t have the numbers to support the vision (i.e., her health was so bad you could kill her twice easily, and she hit like a wet noodle so was never scary).  Now she finally has the numbers to be a (Phoenix) force!  The best way to play her is to chase purple- to fuel red- to spam specials- to buff with match 5s. Then, she tanks- dies- revives- and finishes the opponent with a cheap team nuke that does insane damage.  Bring her into the next match at half-health and do the whole thing over again.  A lot of rebalances make characters better for the AI, this one really helps the player as she can really save on health packs with 5 in green.  I know if people complain about rebalances (“if they’re not meta why bother?), but count me as one who loves this rebalance and hopes to have more like it (Daredevil and Green Goblin please!!)


    True healers who don’t share too much active overlap (Doom, Heimdall, Loki, Okoye, Old Man Logan) could be options to mitigate Jean hurting her allies. Storm, is a good person to pair with her on a fun X-Men team due to the insane cascade potential of Phoenix purple and Storm yellow fired in succession. Professor X could make a great third for his passive (though they will compete on purple).  Kamala Khan is an excellent partner who can provide a green outlet until Jean revives, as well as yellow/blue actives.  Kamala also does passive damage whenever a friendly tile is matched.  iHulk is a dream pairing due to the damage he does to friendlies and his "must target last" clause allowing Phoenix to live a potentially longer life. But perhaps the best partner for Jean is Kitty Pryde. When Jean spams red, Kitty can get rid of the enemy attacks and buff the friendly strikes. This team is infinitely better with Jean tanking 6/7 colors (it used to be reversed!).

    What to expect when boosted

    I really like Jean boosted (as I do most true healers).  She can get you to 1200, spending very few packs along the way, just melting down the opposition with strike-fueled 5* match-damage cascades, before dying and going scorched-earth with her match-ending green.  She is absolutely must-play boosted as she will pay huge dividends offensively, defensively, and in terms of sustainability.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #20) Ronan (The Accuser)
    blacktilepng968  861 bluetilepng753 479
    greentilepng123 yellowtilepng104 purpletilepng114  Health: 77,519

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5
    Alternate Build: 5/5/3 (without a better red user)

    The accuser is one of those characters that is a weapon unto himself, doling out big damage both passively and actively in a powerset that is pretty self-sufficient.  Unboosted, Ronan is a character that will mostly ride the bench in favor of meta pairs. However, he is a character who scales up during boost weeks better than most, and is one you will absolutely play when his number is called (more on that below). Ronan’s crazy good scaling when boosted ultimately lands him in the upper half of the character rankings.

    Ronan’s black passive (Judgment Call) has him place a free 3-turn fortified countdown targeting a random enemy when one doesn’t exist. Ronin’s match damage against non-target characters is reduced by 30%, but match damage against the accused is doubled. Ronan’s countdown does over 22k damage to the marked character when it expires (5 covers). That is a very nice chunk of free damage!  While I like this ability, I should note that there are two big issues with this power.  1) it can often target characters you don’t want it to and mess up your plans. 2) Kitty Pryde is a pretty hard counter to this ability. Both of these issues are way less impactful when Ronan is boosted and the tile acts as a ticking time bomb ready to kill shot an opponent (or severely weaken them).

    Red (Swift Hammer of Justice) is probably Ronan’s weakest power, and is one I would keep at three covers. For 8 AP, Ronan does about 6.6k damage plus an additional 3.3k to anyone who damaged him last turn. If Ronan hits all characters with this power (which is guaranteed when one opponent remains), he destroys a random 3x3 block of tiles.

    Finally, blue (Uncompromising Power) is far and away Ronan’s most interesting power. For a cheap 6 AP, The Accuser places two 2-turn repeaters that make copies of themselves on random basic tiles when they expire. When one of his repeaters is matched/destroyed, Ronan does about 1700 damage for each repeater on the board.

    Overall, Ronan is a slower character, relying on long countdowns, and waiting for his repeaters to multiply in order to dole out big damage. He is a character that performs much better when one character is left standing, as his passive is guaranteed to target the character and his red is guaranteed to do some tile destruction (hopefully hitting some repeaters and triggering Uncompromising Power along the way). Unboosted he is not likely to get played because he is not fast, nor does he have a go-to partner to capitalize on his repeater spamming.  Boosted however…

    I’m a big fan of Green Goblin as a partner for Ronan. Norman can fortify all of his repeaters, allowing them to stick around and multiply if they’re matched. Norman also provides unique AP outlets on three colors. I like Heimdall as a third for them, as he can passively lower AP costs as the board floods with fortified tiles. The other option I like is Electro. She wants to pair with Villains, and Ronan likes people who can smash up the board and potentially his his repeaters; which Francine’s green can provide. Kamala Khan, despite blue overlap, can smash the board cheaply and gets bonus damage for destroying friendly repeaters, basically allowing herself and Ronin to double-dip when hitting repeaters.  Abigail Brand could make a decent third (maybe second?) on a Ronan team, adding a purple power and healing the team each time a countdown or repeater goes off.  Other than that, since he doesn’t have any other synergistic partners, playing good characters with coverage in black, yellow, purple, and green is probably your best play. Storm, Black Bolt and Star-Lord are examples of characters who can also add charged tiles into the max to capitalize on Ronan’s boosted match damage.

    What to expect when boosted:
    As I’ve mentioned throughout this write-up, Ronan is a beast boosted, and I’ll explain why. Unboosted, Ronan is simply too slow to be a factor. But against massive god-boosted health pools, the matches inevitably take longer, thus giving him time to ramp up to huge payoffs. His main counter (Kitty Pryde) will die quickly if you bring her to a fight against him unboosted (especially if she is “accused” out of the gate). Finally, where the unboosted meta is all about synergistic pairs, the boosted meta is often about running the best two boosted characters that don’t have much overlap. Since, as I mentioned earlier, Ronan has a pretty self-sufficient kit, you can play him with anyone who can cover his off-colors and get great results. If boosted, he’s likely to get some play regardless of who is boosted with him. He really is that good.
    #19) Doctor Doom (God Emperor)
    yellowtilepng669 blacktilepng595 bluetilepng521 331
    purpletilepng85 79 greentilepng72  Health: 57,701

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5
    Alternate Build: 5/5/3 (if you value burst team heal over true self heal or 4/5/4 if you want to split the difference)

    God Emperor Doom is arguably the coolest version of one of the coolest characters in comics. Did he live up to the hype? Did he save us from a redundant meta in the same way he saved a multiverse? Unfortunately, not. He has a solid kit and does a lot of good things, but not quite enough to break him into the meta tier when not boosted. Unfortunate for a character as awesome as God.

    Doom’s yellow (Brave New World) is his weakest power, but one that  might help you in a pinch. He shuffles the board and gives his allies a burst of around 5-10k health for the somewhat pricey cost of 10 AP. It should be noted that the shuffle usually results in some nice cascades, netting some AP back... but not always. This can be a good yellow outlet, even if a tad too pricey.

    Doom’s black (Fallen Favor) is a phenomenal single-target nuke; and as his only damage-dealing power, it should be. For 9 AP he deals just over 23K damage (while also draining 1 AP from each of his off-colors). He also has a passive component to his power that wipes all enemy specials from the board when he dies. Thus, he can sacrifice himself against a certain tile-buffing 5* or tile-spamming 4* to help will his team to victory. Not exactly a health pack-efficient counter; but it works in a pinch!

    Doom’s blue (Render Unto Doom...) is a passive that has two effects when the opposing team matches black or yellow tiles. First, Doom steals 1 AP of that color. Second, he true heals for around 3000-4500 per yellow/black match. This power allows doom to slightly fuel his own active abilities while making him a pretty sustainable tank to climb with. Unfortunately, his health and damage were low even for his peers around the time of his release, not to mention those released after (though better than the "old guard").

    Unboosted, Doom’s best roles are 1) during initial PVP climbs where he can use his sustainability to save on health packs and 2) during the rare 1 vs. 1 nodes and PVPs (festival of fights!) as Doom is one of the best solo characters in the game. Whether you build around him or bring him along as a filler in pick 3, you really want to chase black AP to fuel your nuke!

    As an admitted fan of strong true heal characters I have had a lot of success running him with an abundance of characters. He works well as a third with Thor/Okoye. But in pick 2 he pairs well with other true healers Daredevil, Jean Grey, Shang-Chi, and Loki. For the former, they can take turns tanking while the other heals. For the latter two, Doom’s board shuffle can be key in matching a hard-to-reach Loki trap and reviving him, or in making more red/purple matches to keep your combo points going. Infinity War Cap (mentioned earlier) works great with Doom against Kitty Pryde/Polaris- where God sacrifices himself to cleanse the earth of enemy specials; only to have Cap revive him.  Similar to Cap, Doom and Yelena make a fun suppression team against strong yellow/black users.  Big Wheel of Doom is a fun board shuffle team with 4 actives.  Sersi is a fun partner who can make black/yellow more prevalent (I just hate that she tanks yellow over him). I also like Doom with characters who hurt their allies (Carnage, IHulk, Phoenix again, Thanos), due to Doom's passive true heal. I also want to give a shoutout to Hawkeye/Doom. No synergy in particular, but due to match damage creep, my Doom happens to tank blue for the squishy archer, allowing for more arrows to fly- which is honestly just fun.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Doom is pretty much must-play when boosted. He seemingly never dies on offense and is annoying to face on defense due to the healing, siphoning, and potential to nuke you to smithereens.  He was marred with low match damage for his release era, so if you want to use him as a tank, you need to be mindful of his partners. That said, Doom will often be one of the best boosted options any given week he gets called up.
    #18) Daredevil (Matt Murdock)
    yellowtilepng662 greentilepng588 purpletilepng515 333
    bluetilepng84 77 blacktilepng71  Health: 47,984

    Recommended Build: 5/3/5

    The Man Without Fear is without a doubt one of the most fun characters in the game. He has a great set of powers that make him an excellent partner for many characters. He is arguably one of the best overall partners in the game along with Shang-Chi, Okoye, Scarlet Witch Kamala Khan and Apocalypse. If he had health and match damage to compete with some of the newer released 5*s, he’d probably vault 3-4 people on this list (or if he had a strong nuke... but that’s not really Matt’s style). As it stands, he remains a solid addition to any roster.

    Matt’s yellow (Fighting Spirit) shows off his fighting spirit! It is one of two passive powers that defines his kit. When he is below 50% health, he creates a pretty heavy (strength 718) strike tile, and then heals for just over 1K for every strike on the board (up to five- so max 5,825 healed per turn). Much like his Netflix incarnation, this ability makes putting Daredevil down for good a pain, as he keeps getting back up. It also doubles as a great offensive ability because the more you hit him, the harder his team hits back.

    Daredevil’s green (Hand-to-Hand) is his weakest power by far. For a pricey 11 AP he places a 5-turn countdown that does ~1600-1900 damage each time it ticks down. If you match it, you get a lot of the AP back (6-8 depending on covers). And if the opponent matches the tile or it is destroyed, Matt deals around 10-15k damage. A lot has to go right for this power to be effective for its high cost.

    However, Daredevil’s purple (Sonar Strike) is his second defining ability. For 9 AP, the active component allows him to stun his opponent for two turns, steal up to 4 enemy special tiles and turn them into friendly strikes. This ability alone makes Matt a key cog in a counter-team to boosted strike tiles (see below). The passive component of Daredevil’s purple states that when a stunned enemy is damaged, they take ~1800 extra damage. This doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve seen stunned opponents melt due to Matt’s presence as each tic of damage procs this power.

    Matt is a pretty versatile character whose role on your team varies depending on what you are building around. He adds friendly specials, steals enemy specials, heals, stuns, and punishes stunned characters. Needless to say, he has a lot of people he plays well with. I believe no character would benefit more from health and match damage bump than old hornhead here (Goblin is a close second). You want Daredevil on teams where he is out front absorbing damage and dishing out strike tiles for the enemy to deal with. Those strikes coupled with him punishing stunned opponents makes Daredevil a force-multiplier who will pile on to what other characters on your team do.

    Fun fact: Daredevil is probably my most used character (and not because he’s my namesake). Matt can heal from Thanos' Court Death while adding strikes to help kill the enemy’s weakest link faster. He pairs amazingly well with Black Suit Spider-Man as a counter to Kitty/Grocket teams. He pairs well with Thor (despite overlap) due to both punishing you at half health. He’s great with Okoye, due to her boosting Sonar Strike damage. He's great with Apocalypse due to 5/6 colors covered and Sonar Strike boosting all the multi-hits.  He’s great with Kitty due to her buffing his strikes (though would be way better with standard match damage so he tanked for her). He’s great with Doom or Yellowjacket, due to how hard both are to kill. He’s great with Colossus who adds two colors and makes Matt Harder to kill.  He’s great with Carnage, due to Carnage hurting allies, producing strikes and creating attack tiles when special tiles are matched. He’s great with Jessica Jones due to compete rainbow coverage.  He’s great with Ultron due to the robot keeping Matt flush with strikes. He's great with Immortal Hulk, as he's one of the few characters who can keep up with the friendly damage Hulk dishes out. And he’s weirdly great with Kingpin who can “sacrifice” Matt’s specials to do big damage before Matt steals them back with his purple. Finally, and obviously, he’s great with any stunner (Iceman, Deadpool, Cable, Ghost Rider, Strange, FA Cap, Ock, Gamora, Elektra), especially in the 4* tier where the best ones reside (Gamora, Polaris, Iceman). He’s just... great!

    What to expect when boosted:
    Daredevil is again one that is perfect mechanically and just suffers from some outdated numbers. During his boost week, he once again becomes a force. With a larger health pool, he’s less likely to get one-shotted and more likely to be able to absorb hits, drop (boosted) strikes, and heal back damage. His healing factor will allow you to climb with almost no healthpack use. His biggest drawback is the same as when he’s unboosted- you want him to tank and his match damage will be low compared to other boosted characters. When looking at a pool of only three other boosted options finding the right partner can be tricky. But usually there’s some combo that can work, because as mentioned above this guide, Matt’s powerset is one that pairs well with SO many characters.
    #17) Iceman (Bobby Drake)
    yellowtilepng817 greentilepng726 bluetilepng635 404
    104 blacktilepng96 purpletilepng88  Health: 62,083

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    Iceman in PVP is best described as an “annoying pest”. His specialty is defense/slowing the opposition down. The problem however is while he’s annoying to face (especially if you like to run Thorkoye/ThorPoc) he’s not flat out dangerous (e.g., BRBitty, Okoye/Hulk, Apocalypse, Profslaught) to face. And because of that, most won’t bat an eye when facing him; especially if it means sidestepping those ranked above him. Still, his fun factor is high and he has a great kit that makes him a solid addition to any team in PVP. In PVE, Bobby has found newfound life with the introduction of CL10 and its high-health enemies.  It is mostly because of his utility there that Iceman has found a place high in the rankings.

    Bobby’s yellow passive (Champion Defender) is probably his worst power. When the enemy hits for big damage (over 9-10k) and Bobby has 2-3 teamup AP; he spends it to create an “ice wall” negating 9-10k damage. He then creates a countdown that if you can’t match it away, will deal the negated damage to Iceman upon resolving. Though not bad per se, I honestly forget about it a lot and that’s for two reasons. 1) I don’t play with animations on and 2) the board is usually filled with CDs and repeaters once he gets going.  So, adding a yellow CD in a sea of them usually goes unnoticed by me. I’ve probably taken some delayed damage or matched the tile and shrugged off damage unknowingly on more than one occasion.

    Iceman has only one damage dealing power, in the form of his cheap 7 AP green (Icemen), and it comes with some pros and cons. The cons are the damage is tied to five 2-turn repeaters and they do very small “chip damage” (~2500 each). They also hit random characters, making it harder to control on offense. If you match the repeaters you get ~2K AOE damage which I guess is a bit more control; but minimal damage. The pros are that the power is super cheap/spammable, the amount of repeaters can add up quick, and the “chip damage” can be boosted by Okoye/Apocalypse to insane levels.  This last point is what makes Iceman so important to CL10.  Okoye (with a bunch of team-up tiles) spearing a row of repeater tiles is one of the quicker ways to chew through high health pools in Cl10.

    On offense, Bobby’s main attraction is his very unique stun (On Ice). For a very low cost (3 blue) he passively spams the board with blue countdown tiles that either stun a character or add to their stun duration (1 turn per tile matched/destroyed). The pro is that matching blue fuels blue to keep the tiles coming. The con is that matching blue dries the board of blue, so you eventually run out of places to put countdowns. So, his best power is extremely board dependent and is one of those high risk/high reward powers that that will either do little, or save the match for you. A very cool thing about his blue is that it applies AFTER match damage is dealt. So, if you KO an enemy with a match 4 of blue “On Ice” tiles, the next opponent in line gets stunned for 4 turns.

    In summary, Bobby is slow on offense and annoying to face on defense, but not scarily so. The fact that he passively stuns gives his value a huge boost, as there aren’t many quality stunners in the tier. He works well on any team that needs blue to “complete the rainbow” as both his passives provide added value. The fact that he stuns, hits random characters, redirects damage, and has somewhat high health makes him somewhat annoying to face in PVP; but there’s not enough there that you shouldn’t beat him reliably. Because he lacks a strong nuke, he usually finds himself in a support role synergizing with others (a few characters he pairs extremely well with as noted below).

    As mentioned, Okoye is probably his best partner; as she can boost EACH of his repeaters to insane levels. She also spams team-up for his yellow, while her red can target a row full of Bobby’s tiles. Similarly, Apocalypse can boost each of Bobby's repeaters, they cover 5 colors, and Iceman makes Apocalypse stun-proof. Thor is a great partner due to a) Thor fueling green b) Thor sapping the board of non-blue so there are more for Bobby to spam tiles on c) Bobby tanking and d) Bobby spamming the board with specials to up Thor’s red damage (note that he’s definitely a pest against Thorkoye as well- where the random damage can hit a hiding Thor and the stun can freeze Okoye’s tanking in its tracks). Bobby paired with Thorkoye is easily one of the best CL10 kill squads in the game as Thor fuels, Okoye boosts, and Bobby provides the damage outlet via his green while slowing the enemy down with his blue. Bobby has dropped a bit in the rankings, as a lot of what he brings is done just as well by 4* Polaris.  In PVP, Green Goblin is a match made in heaven due to no active overlap and Gobby fortifying all of Bobby’s tiles. A match-3 with all-fortified blue tiles locking the enemy down 6 turns is beyond satisfying! Daredevil (despite color overlap) makes a great partner to take advantage of Iceman’s stun mechanic, due to the tacked on Sonar Strike damage. Deadpool or Elektra also make a very fun two-color stun squad. I like hitting the opponent with their two-turn stuns, then tacking on extra turns by matching Bobby's countdowns.  Abigail Brand can up the annoyance factor by healing her team every time a repeater/countdown resolves.  And finally... Professor plus any X-Character (except Gambit because of the purple-block) is always gold.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Iceman shockingly doesn’t play up as good as others. His chip damage is slightly bigger, but against massive health pools, it doesn’t really matter. And his blue, while good, is the exact same as it was unboosted. Don’t get me wrong, he’s such a good character unboosted, that you’ll still play him boosted. He just doesn’t play beyond himself like a Killmonger, Deadpool or Ronan do boosted. Iceman is at his best when you have amplifiers upping his damage. If one of the “big two” aren’t boosted with him, he loses some of the oomf he has when all characters are equal level. But the stun alone (maybe best in the tier?) will make him worth playing.
    #16) Killmonger (Erik Stevens)
    blacktilepng879 781 purpletilepng684 435
    yellowtilepng112 bluetilepng103 greentilepng95  Health: 59,765

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Killmonger is a character that seems like he has a great little niche on paper, but is somewhat wonky in practice. However, he packs two strong single target nukes.  While stronger than the “old guard”, his nukes are likely not enough to choose him over other better (read: meta) options, unless playing around for fun and chasing wins.  But if you are doing that, you likely play Shang-Chi (ranked later) as your red/purple guy.  So why then is Killmonger ranked so high? Because he is a stone-cold assassin when boosted!

    Black (Repatriation) is the aforementioned “niche” that comes in the form of a passive power. Essentially, he locks crit tiles that the enemy creates with a match 5+ and unlocks any locked criticals on your turn. If the enemy matches a crit, they “pay” you 5 red AP and if they don’t have the AP, they take huge damage instead (~18k to ~29k). The first part of his passive is somewhat wonky as the enemy usually locks the crit, it gets matched, it unlocks, and potentially gets matched again- all on their turn! So instead of harming them, they often get multiple matches. The penance for crit-matching only seems to happen when it’s unlocked. And while cool when it happens, it’s not something to build around, especially since you like to avoid the heavy damage that comes from your opponent matching critical tiles if you can.

    Killmonger’s 9 AP red (Extreme Prejudice) is the first of his two aforementioned nukes. Killmonger deals around 11-14k damage and spams 2 critical tiles (at 4-5 covers). He also has a passive that increases friendly match damage (100-150%) in the enemy’s strongest color. Again, the passive is not something you’ll ever build around and likely will forget it’s even a thing.

    Finally, Killmonger has a great purple nuke (Decisive Strike) in a tier that lacks them (Professor X and Shang-Chi are the only characters ranked higher who have one). He lays benign traps down each turn that the enemy didn’t fire a power. For 10 AP he’ll then do 15k-23k damage plus an additional 2-3k for every trap on the board. So, the longer a match drags on, the more mileage he gets from this power.

    Killmonger plays as a pretty straightforward 2-nuke beatstick/single-target damage dealer. There is not a ton of finesse to his game.  That said, I've seen his ability to spam criticals and his ability to punish enemies for matching them both end matches instantly.

    Killmonger’s best partner is Mister Sinister. Sinister’s big blue active is fueled by friendly trap tiles, which Killmonger makes passively. Sinister will also collect AP to fuel Killmonger’s expensive nukes. Beyond that, Erik will also pair well as a second or third on any team that needs strong red/purple actives. Storm and Kamala each cover 5/6 colors  with Erik and their board destruction can allow for more critical tiles to play with. Doom’s board shuffle can also play nicely with Killmonger’s crit-spamming. Sersi's board warping can make criticals way more common.  Beta Ray Bill is a solid partner that allows for strong actives on 4 colors.  Colossus gives black/blue coverage and loves matching critical tiles with his boosted match damage.  Electro gives coverage on three powers and loves pairing with villains to help her reduce damage.  While Killmonger can also play well with Archangel (5 active colors) against airborne characters.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Killmonger is one of the best “play up” characters in the game. In fact, his utility boosted has upped his overall ranking. Amplified match damage and criticals are way more important with boosted 5*s, and Killmonger here can provide a valuable service with both. Add red/purple nukes (the latter is very uncommon in the tier) and you have a villain that punches WAY above his weight class and has tons of added utility.  Unboosted he is on the outside looking in of the meta, but on any given boost week he often IS the meta.
    #15) Carnage (Prophet of Knull)
    greentilepng837 744 blacktilepng651 414
    purpletilepng106 yellowtilepng98 bluetilepng90  Health: 66,964

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    Nicknamed “Carbage” by forumites upon his release, while hilarious, was also a huge misnomer.  At first glance, it is easy to see why he was trashed.  His tiles are weaker than his 4* counterpart and he puts them out more slowly. Thus, people were disappointed. He's also easily disposed of as a stand-alone character.  But what people didn't account for was old Cletus here being a pretty good defensive character both due to his ability to slow matches down, and due to his special tile spam amplifying other top tier characters.  At minimum Carnage specializes in enemy tile production, which as we know from the 4* tier, absolutely has its place in MPQ.  At best, he functions as good third on defensive meta teams.  For the annoyance factor alone, he is one you won't regret chasing.

    Carnage’s green (Red Eyed Monsters) is an expensive power for what it does. For 9 AP, he smashes up the board, destroying 5-7 tiles (does not gain AP). This power is ultimately not worth the cost in a tier with ridiculously strong green abilities.  The passive component of his power is much better however, and sees Carnage creating a small attack tile (strength 168-224) whenever his team destroys an attack/strike/protect tile (friendly or enemy!). What this means is that Carnage greatly helps keep the board flush with special tiles for his team.  This power can get out of hand if a match lingers too long, or when paired with the right allies.

    Carnage’s spammable red (Blood Feud) clocks in at 6 AP and does ~8400 damage to the target. If your team has 4+ specials on the board when he fires this power, he does ~2500 additional damage to the enemy team. Given how much Carnage spams tiles, this isn’t a hard threshold to hit. He also steals a very small amount of health (about 1k) from his allies when he fires this ability.

    Carnage’s black passive (Knull and Void) has him making a free match and dropping a small strike tile (strength 168-322) if the enemy team has 4+ special tiles on the board at the beginning of your turn. If the enemy has less than 4 tiles, Carnage helps them along by dropping two enemy attack tiles (strength 105-209) at the beginning of each turn instead.  The extra match while seemingly inconsequential on paper, can be huge in turning a match in your favor.  It was easily the most slept on part of his kit upon release and arguably the thing that puts him over his 4* counterpart and helps him rank so highly in the 5* tier.

    The Carnage synergy on paper is pretty simple. He drops enemy tiles to start with the hope that by turn 3 he can start turning the tide in your favor with extra special tiles and matches (and of course the AP that goes with it). He has a really nice red outlet and pairs well with others who can make use of the stuff he does. Also, perhaps his biggest strength is as a defensive character where he can be downright annoying. While he’s not tough to beat, his attack tile animations, extra swaps, tile spam and high health pool will slow the opponent down enough where they might think to skip instead. The issues with Carnage are he is slow offensively, his green active (probably the best color in the tier) is garbage, he gives tiles to his enemies (when Kitty Pryde is a thing), and all of his powers do very little damage. He’s not at all hard to beat as a standalone character. But with the right team accentuating what he does... he can be a monster.

    Carnage works best with two characters either separately in pick-2, or as a trio in pick-3. The first partner he synergizes with is Kitty Pryde, who can buff the special tiles that he puts down. Second and perhaps even better, is Beta Ray Bill, who spams protect tiles. Matching away the tiles, means spamming attack tiles, turning defense into offense. Bill also solves Carnage’s low damage issue by bringing a couple nukes to the table. With these three together, the board can get out of hand fast, with tiles everywhere being buffed, extra matches made, and nukes being dropped. Kamala Khan is another great partner who really benefits from matching the friendly specials Carnage puts out. Another fun option to play Carnage with is Daredevil, whose Sonar Strike can add damage to all the extra stuff Carnage does. He also benefits from Carnage’s attack tiles and can heal from Carnage’s health steal. Doom similarly can heal up, shuffle the board, and provide an additional AP outlet in two colors. Magneto, while not great, can use his red repeaters to turn enemy tiles Carnage puts down into offense for his team. Gargantos works similarly with Carnage's enemy tiles guaranteeing the squid has something to smash.  Finally, characters who benefit from match-4s (Professor X, Doctor Octopus, Onslaught) or extra matches in general (e.g., Mister Sinister, Colossus) pair well with Carnage due to the extra matches he makes.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Carnage does two things well, that are even better boosted.  One, he’s slow and annoying to face.  Give him a massive health pool and that only gets worse.  This makes him a great defensive option to run.  Second, his extra matches hit way harder with boosted 5* numbers, which helps him offensively as well.  While he won’t be as good without his synergistic partners boosted alongside him, he will still be added value as a PITA and by collecting extra AP for your other characters to use during his boost week. 
    #14) Deadpool (Spirit of Vengeance)
    blacktilepng900  800 bluetilepng700 445
    yellowtilepng114 greentilepng106 purpletilepng97  Health: 57,038

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3

    I just want to quickly say that as an “MPQ original character”, GhostPool here is probably my favorite in terms of art and backstory. Very well-done variant! But do his powers hold up to the gold standard original known as Peggy Carter? While his kit isn’t quite as good (a least for her time), DeadRider here definitely has some unique strengths that can be leveraged. His biggest drawback is that to get the most out of him it’s likely going to cost you healthpacks if you don’t play around his limitations. And while people will begrudgingly deal with that for once-meta characters like iHulk, Thanos, or pre-nerf Bishop, bringing a squishy tank that isn’t meta is not ideal when you have other options. However, on his boost weeks he usually IS meta, and people happily run him because he's so good.

    Deadpool’s black (Penance Fare) is a play on 4* Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare (only much better). While Johnny can deal damage to his target equal to up to 200% of the damage the target has dealt, Wade is capped at 150%. However, Wade’s ability costs 40% less (only 6 AP) making it quite spammable and dangerous. Deadpool also has the option to spend 3 extra AP in one of his weak colors to add an additional effect to this ability. The options are as follows:
    +3 yellow AP: Deal ~8K additional damage to another random enemy.
    +3 green AP: Destroy 5 tiles in the target’s strongest color.
    +3 purple AP: Creates a 5-turn countdown tile that deals just under 10k damage if matched or destroyed.

    Deadpool’s red (Abyssal Blades) costs 8 AP and can deal over 16k damage (5 covers). He also stuns his target for up to 2 turns, and creates a red countdown tile. If the tile is matched or destroyed, the target is stunned again, and another countdown is created. While it’s theoretically possible to infinitely stunlock a target with this power, you’d have to get quite lucky and have a red heavy board to do so. 5* Iceman’s blue stun functions similarly but is better overall. Still, having the stun on red coupled with the huge chunk of damage allows this power to stand on its own as a quality ability.

    Finally, Deadpool’s blue (Wade and Measured) is a passive that triggers off of matching the target’s strongest color. When you do, GhostPool takes 1 AP of that color from the enemy and he deals ~2900-4700 damage. This damage can be boosted by the usual methods (Okoye, Apocalypse, strikes, etc.) and since it’s based on the target’s strongest color (not the team’s), you can swap who is in front and/or chase certain colors in order to get the most from this ability. Conversely, if you don’t want to be constantly rotating your target, you can just play your normal game and be happy when it procs incidentally.

    Deadpool’s percentage-based damage on black and stun-duration on red don’t get better with extra levels. Similarly, his blue procs no matter who tanks. These factors combined with his general squishiness, lack of healing factor, and high match damage, mean that there’s not a whole lot of benefit to stacking extra levels on Wade here. In fact, “baby champ” might be your best option. Even with that, you might want to be selective in who you pair him with (see: “Pairings” below).

    *** It’s also important to mention the importance of using 5* Deadpool everyday regardless of how much you like him (similar to his 3* counterpart). Doing so will reward you with a “Spicy Taco Token”. While the 40-item vault it’s attached to is pretty mediocre, it does contain a 4* that rotates daily and a beginner support token. So ultimately, it is a good investment with regards to free stuff. And these tokens can add up when paired with the ones you get for completing 6 daily milestones. ***

    I personally like Wade paired with people who can tank and heal back damage, opening the door for Wade to counterattack with his cheap Penance Fare. Daredevil is the best option for this strategy since he’s not only the best passive true healer in the tier, he shares no strong colors with Poolio. Other less stellar options are Loki and Jean who can tank purple/green and revive from death. Despite red overlap, Heimdall is a beefy true healing tank that at similar levels can tank all but black/green (and with a couple levels can likely tank green too). He heals for cheap, can make Pool’s powers cheaper, and can even send him airborne to tank more if need be for a turn. This will be a slept-on pairing for those who want to climb with Deadpool but save on health packs!  Moving away from the healing strategy, Onslaught and Bill are quality offensive pairings. The former’s board destruction can trigger cascades that will proc Deadpool’s passive and fuel his cheap powers, while Bill has no active overlap and can provide some damage reduction with his protect tiles.  Kamala Khan has BOTH the protect spam and board smash capabilities, and adds three active powers.  Scarlet Witch can also provide some damage-negation and be a great red battery to dole out damage and create red matches to keep enemies stunned.  Iceman and Cable are also pretty great. Similar to Bill, they provide missing blue/green AP outlets; but also add a second stun color. Plus, I mean who doesn’t love running a 5* Cable & Deadpool combo!?

    What to expect when boosted:
    I mentioned that a lot of what Deadpool does doesn’t benefit from extra levels. That said, he does benefit immensely when both he and his opponents are blessed with 119 extra levels. Reason being, in longer matches, it is almost impossible to deny your opponent two black matches. With the amount of damage it takes to down a mega-boosted 5* (let alone two), having all that damage coming back at you at any point in a match can cause huge swings and even result in a loss. This makes Deadpool one of the more dangerous characters to face during his boost week. While the fear factor is enough to run him boosted, the red nuke and passive damage see a nice increase boosted. Plus, stuns (especially non-blue) can be game changers in 5* matchups. Deadpool is pretty much must-play on his boost week.
    #13) Kamala Khan (Origin)
    922 820 718 456
     117 108 99  Health: 58,447

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5

    You know those complex board games where the best way to explain them are “you’ll pick it up as we play?” Well that’s Kamala Khan’s moveset in a nutshell. It seems convoluted on paper but is easy to grasp in practice. So how does the MCU’s Cosmic Khan fair strength-wise? Extremely well! Overall, she works as a strong standalone character due to her self-synergy, but is at her best when accelerated by others.

    It helps to start by explaining Kamala’s last (and most convoluted) ability, as the other two are pretty straightforward. Cosmic Course is a 6 AP blue. When cast, she places a 2-turn repeater tile, then goes airborne for 1-2 turns (so Archangel is a ready-made counter). When she lands, her repeater starts ticking down and each time it expires, it fortifies and transforms 2-3 friendly special tiles to yellow or green. At 4+ covers she gets to choose the tiles that get converted. Each time her repeater expires she also drops a 6-turn countdown called a “Study Tile” if one isn’t present. While active it gives a boost to her other powers. If her repeater resolves and there is already already a Study Tile present, then she instead boosts two random special tiles by 50%. The power also boasts a really nice passive that gives Kamala +4 AP in one of her strong colors whenever the opponent fires a power. So both the active and passive components of this power serve as a battery for all of Kamala’s powers (especially green and yellow).

    Kamala’s yellow (I’m a Super Hero) costs 10 AP (pricey) and spams 11, 12, or 16 random protect tiles (depending on the number of covers) of over 350 strength. If she has a Study Tile on the board, she fortifies 4-6 of them. This is a pretty basic power that puts a ton of protects on the board, but is important because these tiles serve as fuel for both of her other powers.

    Kamala’s green (Embiggened Blast) sports both a cheap (7 AP) active and a passive component. Her active power does low AOE damage (4689 at 5 covers) and smashes a 3x3 block of tiles (no AP or damage from these tiles). When a Study Tile is present, you can choose the block and Embiggened Blast does a little extra damage (around 1800). The passive part of this power sees Kamala dealing 2577 to a random enemy whenever her team destroys a friendly special tile. This can absolutely add up if you can flood the board with specials (which her yellow does).

    Whoever designed Kamala’s kit gets a huge thumbs up from me. It is a very good one with tons of self-synergy. I also love that she has more control over her powers the more she "studies".  Here’s the cliff-notes version of how to play her. Her yellow spams the board with special tiles. Her blue fortifies and coverts said tiles to yellow and green (albeit slowly)- making her a battery for her own powers (especially if you can get a few of these repeaters in play). The blue passive accelerates said battery when opponents fire powers. Her green actively destroys tiles and passively she deals damage for each special tile that gets destroyed. So there it is. Kamala is a self-sustaining character who provides all the things she needs to do big damage (e.g., battery, special tile-spam, even a little tile-buffing), she just does all these things slowly. So any character that can expedite her kit (i.e. a faster battery, or tile-spammer) really helps her along and turns her from “good character” into a monster fast.

    As stated above, anyone who collects AP or spams special tiles faster than Kamala really helps her along. Polaris is the best tile spammer in the game and Thor is the best green/yellow battery, so you can start there. Beta Ray Bill makes a great third due to his own blue/green battery that is triggered when protect tiles are destroyed. Heimdall is an interesting partner because he can make powers cheaper once Kamala starts mass-fortifying, which also help her along. Apocalypse is an amazing partner because he can keep churning protect tiles with his superior yellow, boost her multiple hits of damage, and add top-tier red/black powers. Other red/black users that work well (just not as good as Apocalypse) are Deadpool, Jessica Jones, Hela, and Ultron. The latter three have the ability to spam specials to fuel Kamala. Ultron’s ability to replicate specials makes him a great partner, especially if you can use a support or third partner (like Knull) to get some tiles on the board early. Carnage and Old Man Logan also spam specials passively (Carnage more easily than Wolverine). Scarlet Witch makes another great battery option and provides some protection for the squishy Kamala. Ronan provides tons of repeaters for her to destroy (double dipping on the damage). She is so self-sustaining, that even strong characters who don't fuel her, but provide outlets in her off-colors (like Killmonger, and Jean Grey).  Bottom line, her kit is so well-designed, she should not have a loss of great options to pair with!

    What to expect when boosted
    Kamala is going to be a star anytime she’s boosted. As seen above, she has no shortage of great teammates. She even has synergy with the meta stars that she overlaps colors with. Or, she can play solo and just partner with the best boosted option that compliments her colors. Either way, the only drawback to playing Kamala every single match during her boost week is her low health costing you some health packs. Small price to pay however for her offensive dominance and high fun factor.
    #12) Onslaught (Psionic Entity)
    purpletilepng879 greentilepng781 bluetilepng684 435
    112 blacktilepng104 yellowtilepng95  Health: 73,828

    Recommended Build: 3/5/5
    Alternate Build: 5/5/3 (If you want attack tile fortification over increased blue damage)

    Facing Onslaught reminds me of a boxer with great punching power but not a lot of stamina. If you can withstand his early barrage, he easily loses his legs and will fall. That said, in the players hands he has more than a few tricks that make him a viable addition to a well-rounded roster.

    Purple (Astral Projection) is Onslaught’s worst power. For 8 AP, he creates three traps and stays invisible as long as at least one is on the board. If a trap is matched by either team, all the traps disappear (thus disarming the invisibility) and he creates a pretty beefy attack tile (around 1300-2500 strength; fortified at 5 covers). While (with the exception of Yellowjacket) good invisibility powers are sorely missing and much needed in the tier, this power is simply too unreliable to be an answer, as the traps are often disarmed way too easily.

    Onslaught’s green passive (Know His Name) is conversely Onslaught’s best power. This is the power you must have at 5 covers as it triggers on match-4s instead of on much rarer match-5s. When Onslaught makes said matches, he destroys all the team up tiles on the board and deals 1316 damage for each tile destroyed. Since this is THE reason most people play him, many players have sort of handcuffed him to Professor X in the same way Panther was elevated by Thanos once upon a meta. If you see Onslaught in PVP, 9 times out of 10, he’s stuntin’ with his daddy (and for good reason... this duo is killer).

    Onslaught’s blue (Psychic Blast) costs a cheap 7 AP and has you choose a tile. Onslaught then deals ~3500-5500 damage for each enemy special in the chosen tile’s row and column. Pro-tip: if your selected tile contains a special tile, the power will count it twice when calculating damage- once for being in the selected row and again for being in the column).  This power also converts all tiles of the enemy’s strongest color to their weakest color in said row/column. While this power requires more thought (and AP) than his green, it can be equally devastating with regards to triggering cascades. In the player’s hands, firing blue usually leads to his passive green, tearing up the board in the process. However, you have to take time to think with this ability which makes him a slower character the longer a match drags on.

    Overall, Onslaught is a character that punches down well. Paired with Xavier, his opening salvo on a match-4 can knock out a low health support character (hi Polaris) turn 1, while simultaneously filling up his team’s AP pools. However, since each cast of his green tends to have extremely diminishing returns as the match wears on, his utility drops as matches drag on. Because of this, aside from use on fun teams, he also has use as a bully character making short work of weaker opponents. While not meta, he’s arguably a tier just below.

    As mentioned above, Onslaught’s passive makes him the perfect partner for Professor X. Sapping a tile type from the board often results in multiple cascades and additional match-4s, each of which see Professor doling out big damage. While you CAN beat this team (pretty reliably), a match against them can get out of hand very fast, as you watch multiple cascades obliterate your team. For this reason, the pair is not only offensively efficient, but it has teeth on defense as well. While Xavier is his main pairing, I don’t agree with the notion that he’s “handcuffed” to Chuck. Onslaught also pairs well with characters that have multiple strong active abilities, as his green and blue make him quite the AP factory (funny that Chuck only has one AP outlet and it overlaps with Onslaught). Apocalypse is probably Onslaught’s second best partner for this reason (full rainbow match damage as well!). Hela, Deadpool, Jessica Jones, and even someone like Ghost Rider or Magneto would also fit the bill on less competitive teams. I also like Onslaught with true healers (like Doom, Jean and both Wolverines), trying to let them tank while he attempts to stay invisible. Crystal is an interesting character who can passively attempt to buff Onslaught's attack tile to insane numbers.  Sersi can make match-4's much more common so makes an excellent second (or third with Xavier).  Carnage is a great partner whose passive will never miss a match 4 and give you even more AP as a result. They also have 4 actives between them, and Onslaught’s blue damage gets pumped up thanks to Carnage’s enemy attack tiles.  Similarly, Colossus’ amplified match damage loves extra matches that come from Onslaught’s cascades, while Onslaught’s blue again benefits from the enemy strikes Colossus drops spamming black.  Finally, Shang-Chi is a character who benefits immensely from cascades and wiping a tile type from the board as he actively hunts red/purple matches.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Onslaught is a character whose weaknesses really show boosted. His big nuke on the first match-4 can hurt an opponent while creating tons of cascades and AP. But once you absorb that hit, he’s pretty much done.  This can be painful when you’re slogging through two boosted 5* health pools.  So, he’s best used when people he works well against are boosted (tile spam teams where his blue can slaughter) or when people he works well with are boosted. He’s one of those rare characters you can pair unboosted with a boosted Shang-Chi or Professor and they will use what he does to create a competitive duo. When Onslaught is boosted and his partners aren’t, it’s much less effective. So, while good, he doesn’t reach a new plateau during his boost week.
    #11) Professor X (Classic)
    bluetilepng719 purpletilepng639 blacktilepng559 362
    yellowtilepng91 greentilepng84 77  Health: 38,121

    Recommended Build: 5/5/3
    Alternate Build: 5/3/5 (if building around X-Men synergy)

    Professor can best be described as a “Swiss Army Knife”. Put him on any team and he will provide added value on offense and defense.  But he is also a character you can respec and build around to truly leverage different strengths.

    Professor’s blue (Signal Boost) is the marquee ability that people busted hordes for. Essentially, when his team gets a match-4 or greater, he does huge (~7800) passive damage and destroys a random tile in that color (netting you the extra AP). I’ve seen nasty cascades melt high-health opposition to KO-status thanks to this ability alone. The fact that the AI sees and hits every match-4 makes it an even deadlier defensive power. Getting an extra AP every match-4 may also seem small; but it can add up.

    While that AI-proof, hard-hitting blue passive may be the reason most people run Professor, his purple (To Me, My X-Men) is also an amazing power. For only 8 AP, you can hit with a huge single target nuke, nice AOE, or 4 other niche powers that may be helpful in different situations (my favorite being providing attack tiles to Kitty). The utility (especially for the cost) makes this one of the best and most fun powers in the game. The fact that in the AI’s hands, they won’t usually use the best ability is perhaps Professor’s only real drawback.

    Professor’s passive black (Xavier Protocols) seems like his “throwaway power” but it can actually be something to build around.  At 5 covers when he’s flanked by two X-Men (of which there are now 9 candidates in the 5* tier alone!) it can be downright brutal. It seems counter-intuitive to have the 5* with the second lowest heath (I think only Strange is lower) act as your primary tank; but the health he does have will stretch far, as he shrugs off 75% of ALL damage. Not only that, but with two X-Men, the opponent’s red, green and yellow powers cost +3 AP. So imagine trying to do a quick hop with Thorkoye or Thorpocalypse and having to slug it out with a character that negates 75% damage AND makes your powers more expensive. Might want to just skip instead?

    Professor X is a very versatile character that adds speed to a game built on speed. He has varied builds and will play different depending on who you play with and against (see below). He’ can provide rapid-fire offense with Thorkoye or Onslaught, and can create tons of killer defensive teams when paired with other X-Men. He is one of few characters great in both PVE and PVP and is one of few in the tier worth going out of your way to chase!

    There are tons of X-combos that can make him the most annoying character for hoppers to face. How about OML healing and making strikes for Kitty? Boosted Rogue making you choose which health pool to slog through? Iceman throwing out that yellow countdown and either shrugging off damage or eating it for Professor. Havok dishing out insane damage in three additional colors.  The possibilities are seemingly endless! Heck I even use Angel and Cable a TON in pick-2 thanks to this guy. Of all the X-Men, Storm has the best natural synergy due to her propensity to create cascades and match-4s (or greater). While not an X-Man, Apocalypse makes an excellent partner as well.  They cover 4 colors, and Charles makes his nemesis stun-immune. Another non-X-Man mutant that pairs insanely well with Chuck is Onslaught.  It just takes one match 4 to blow up the board and create multiple cascades to melt the enemy.  If you can combine a third person to provide outlets for all the AP you obtain... even better!  As mentioned earlier, Professor at 5/5/3 is a great pick for team Thorkoye.  In a game built on offensive speed, Professor will add more of that than any other character in the game sans maybe Apocalypse. Thor’s cascades and Okoye’s team-up spam will help trigger Professor’s awesome blue power.  Big Wheel's board rotating shenanigans can help Xavier find more match 4's, while Sersi can make them much more common.  Finally, there is some synergy with Carnage, whose extra matches can trigger Signal Boost.

    What to expect when boosted:
    Simply put, Professor X is a must-play character when boosted.  He will be the character opponents likely target first, as letting him hang around means doom for their team.  He’s great as a stand-alone 5* and has only one AP outlet (purple).  So, he will pair easily with whoever the other best boosted 5* is on his boost week, given he is so versatile.  His damage negation makes him difficult to dispose of, and he carries one of the best passives and most versatile active powers in the game. Add 100+ levels to that and he will mow through the opposition being likely your best all around option on offense and defense.

  • Daredevil217
    Daredevil217 Posts: 3,926 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2022
    #10) Gargantos (Multiverse of Madness)
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