Character rankings 12/2013 edition: the results!

mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
edited March 2014 in MPQ Character Discussion
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you guys to help me rank all the characters. I took all the responses, averaged them out, and arrived at a final ranking. Thanks to our voting panel: FoxInSox, Nonce Equitaur 2, DumDumDugn, russnout, soloL27, rabscutle, lleywen, ihearthawthats, TheLadder, beezer37_84, and one anonymous contributor for your time and thoughts!

I'm going to reveal the rankings in reverse order over the next few days. Feel free to argue about the results -- remember, if you don't agree, you should make your voice heard next time! (And there will be a next time, because we didn't get Hulk into these rankings, so start thinking about where he slots in now!)

Posting schedule:
Bottom 4: the worst of the worst
#18-25: meh
#13-17: good, but…
#9-12: quirky and squishy
#4-8: heavy hitters
Top 3: far and away

Final order (will be updated for each new post):
1. Ragnarok
2. Spider Man
3. Magneto (classic)
4. Thor
5. Wolverine (yellow)
6. Black Widow (grey suit)
7. Doctor Doom
8. Iron Man (Model 40)
9. Storm (classic)
10. Punisher
11. The Hood
12. Black Widow (original)
13. Daken
14. Storm (modern)
15. Hawkeye (modern)
16. Magneto (Marvel now)
17. Black Widow (modern)
18. Loki
19. Venom
20. Captain America
21. Wolverine (X-Force)
22. Juggernaut
23. Iron Man (Model 35)
24. Bullseye
25. Moonstone
26. Invisible Woman
27. Hawkeye (classic)
28. Yelena Belova
29. Bag Man
«1345

Comments

  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    Bottom 4: the worst of the worst

    If you’re playing with one of these characters, you’re either experimenting or tanking.

    29. Bag Man

    Well, who were you expecting? Poor Bag Man — no mask, no suit, no respect. His purple power would be ok for creating web tiles, except that it creates at best one web tile per 4.5 AP, whereas Venom’s purple does it for 4 and stuns to boot. His blue is hideously expensive, although occasionally useful against countdown timers (against strike or attack tiles, there's just too many of them to counter with blue). His one semi-useful power, yellow, relies on web tiles that are expensive to generate, and countdowns tend not to be that powerful anyway (even if they are, there are plenty of other ways to deal with them).

    Bag Man was named last on all but 2 of our voter’s ballots, and was no higher than third to last on any. No wonder he has to hide his face.

    Best build: who cares, but probably 4/4/5 or 5/3/5.

    28. Yelena Belova

    Blondes might have more fun, but redheaded Black Widows are much, much stronger. Yelena’s purple power is a virtual clone of modern Black Widow’s, but it costs 3 AP more in exchange for a small amount of damage; since mBW’s purple is already too expensive to be reliably useful, Yelena’s is even worse. Her black is similarly toothless in damage, and while turning 2 tiles to criticals isn’t the worst power, it has no effect against opponents who don’t have special tiles, and is still fairly expensive. No wonder Yelena has such an inferiority complex; you would too if modern Widow was always hanging around showing off how much better she was.

    Yelena was named bottom 2 on all but 2 ballots, and no higher than 4th from last. She’s as close to a lock for second-worst as you can get.

    Best build: probably 5/5, although you might entertain an argument for 4/5. Really, you’re never going to use her for anything where it’ll matter.

    27. Hawkeye (classic)

    The recent change to drastically lower the cost of his purple power hasn’t changed most people’s opinions of Hawkeye; placing critical tiles will occasionally get you out of a tight spot but it’s not something you want to rely on as a consistent damage dealer. The one exception is when you have 200% buffed characters; getting a critical to match environmental tiles can be a big difference maker. But let's face it, taking a character with 1320 max hp to a lightning round hoping you get to use his critical power is like taking origami to a gun fight.

    Even at 7 AP, his red is still a little pricey, considering it doesn’t generate AP. Hawkeye is probably most useful in the early stages of the prologue, for dealing with HAMMER minions that pack a big punch via countdown. After that, you’ll quickly outgrow his limited capabilities.

    One of our voters had Hawkeye as high as 24th, but he’s otherwise solidly in the bottom 4.

    Best build: no-brainer 5/5.

    26. Invisible Woman

    The first of the generally disappointing **** characters to make an appearance, Invisible Woman was a big letdown for many folks, and not just because her character portrait is no Jessica Alba. At 19, her yellow is all-but-unusable, and has no effect on offense, which is significantly more important than defense in the current meta-game. Her blue is arguably worse than Bag Man’s — it’s similarly expensive, doesn’t neutralize enemy special tiles, doesn’t protect friendly tiles, and requires that she be tanking in order to generate force bubbles, which is a problem given her low health.

    Her green is ok, in that it can potentially generate 24 AP, but it’s still expensive, even without factoring in the cost of the blue required to get the force bubbles on the board in the first place. Having it end the turn so you can’t even use the AP is the icing on the poop cake.

    Invisible Woman was the only character other than Yelena and Bag Man to be named dead last, though one voter had her as high as 16th. She does max out at 7k hp, which isn’t bad, if you discount how much ISO it takes to get there.

    Best build: 3/5/5. As we said earlier, yellow has no effect on offense, and no decent player is going to let you get anywhere close to 19 AP on defense, much less keep a yellow tile protected for long.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    #18-25: meh

    These characters all have some usefulness, but they’re either not powerful enough or not consistent enough to merit regular time in a serious roster.

    25. Moonstone

    The recent No Man's Land tournament forced a lot of players to give Moonstone an extended look, and I'll bet more than a few of them were surprised to find that she isn't totally useless. Her health scales much better than the other women, on par with Wolverine, and her red is similar to his; it usually does a bit less damage but it's capable of hitting quite hard when there's a lot of red tiles on the board.

    However, that's where the comparisons end, because Wolverine's red is arguably his *worst* power. Moonstone's black is way too expensive for either controlling countdowns or stunning, and while Moonstone's red can pack a punch, it's heavily board-dependent, and so you can't always get full effect from it when you want it.

    Her purple is really two different powers — against characters that use special tiles in a single color, you should be able to use it to eliminate a special tile by warping it into a match, getting 3-4 AP. If there are no special powers on board, you can often set up 4-matches and sometimes criticals; you get 1 AP for the warped tile, and you do a reasonable amount of damage. The latter is significantly better, but neither is really a good value for 8 AP.

    Moonstone plays best when she can take full advantage of her red power by getting red without matching, so she'll play well with anyone who generates red tiles (the AI tends to avoid matching special tiles), Model 40, and in the jungle environment.

    Best build: 5/5/3; black is just way overpriced.

    24. Bullseye

    If this list were ranked in order of most annoying to play on defense, surely Bullseye would have landed in the top 3. His purple power is slow to animate, and it's hard to clear those tiles once they're on board, since matching one just creates another. Once there are 3-4 on board, it's hard to do any kind of damage from regular matching, which puts a bit of a dent in your damage output. However, it won't slow down strike tiles much and it certainly won't protect against big damage-dealing powers, so in the end it's more of an annoyance than real protection.

    His black looks scary, with the huge damage number, but in practice it's tough to get two critical tiles on board at the same time that you cast Murderous Aim. You can do it with Marvel Now Magneto or grey Widow's purple powers, but then you've got two of your team slots taken up by low health characters.

    Bullseye plays well with characters that can steal AP, preventing damage powers from being cast. He's easily countered with characters that shatter random tiles, or just by powering through the protect tiles and doing direct damage via powers.

    Best build: 5/5.

    23. Iron Man (Model 35)

    A moment of silence for poor discarded Model 35, please. Back when we first started, his red seemed so powerful, and when you finally unlocked his blue, it was overwhelming. So much damage! And stun!

    But once you start earning some of the 2* covers, Model 35 quickly falls by the wayside compared to his primary competition, Thor. His red is solid, but too expensive to get off multiple times for the damage it does, and his blue is too expensive period — the stun is negligible since by the time you get it off, the match should be over. The one ability that actually plays decently well even as you start transitioning to a 2* team is his yellow, which is pretty underrated: it does a decent bit of damage, and the protect tiles can be meaningful for teams in the level 30-40 range, which is about where you'll start outgrowing this fellow.

    Best build: 5/5/3. Better to get 5 yellow than either of the others, but really you'll outgrow him so quickly that it won't matter that much.

    22. Juggernaut

    Juggernaut is a pretty strong character for a 1*, with relatively high health and two of the cheapest 1* powers in the game. He's a good option to swap in if you're lower level and your Model 35 is low on health, but the problem is that his red always damages himself, so you rarely get away from a match without needing some kind of healing. His green is good for shaking up the board and is often good for a couple of cascades, but it's not really consistent enough to rely on.

    Juggernaut is much better on defense, when the realistic goal is just to make sure your opponent is slowed down and takes significant damage — the loss of health is negligible and the board shakeup is good for taking out strike and attack tiles that the AI isn't otherwise smart enough to target.

    You'll outgrow Juggernaut about as quickly as you do Model 35, and he's a good candidate for selling off to save cover space if you're pinched (you can always get him back from recruit tokens later, which are plentiful).

    Best build: 5/5.

    21. Wolverine (X-Force)

    Sigh. More than one player has lamented the relative weakness of the 4* Wolverine and wondered whether the powers should have been swapped (spoiler alert: 2* Wolverine's pretty good). His green is so expensive that it should be game-ending, and while placing 15 strike tiles is pretty monster, the tiles max out at 15 damage per tile, which is absurdly low. His yellow is a huge heal, replenishing over 4k health at max level, but even a 3-turn countdown is so long that if you're relying on it, you've likely already lost the match by the time it hits.

    The one saving grace is his red, which isn't even that good: it does around 3k damage at max level, which is pretty good, but it's incredibly expensive and clashes with his green ability. (If it generates AP, though, it's pretty monster, and maybe worth playing him sometimes — can anyone confirm?) He also has the second highest health in the game, but it's a whole lot of ISO to get there.

    Best build: 5/5/3 — the yellow isn't reliable enough to count on as a heal.

    20. Captain America

    Many of us were surprised to find that Captain America is the fourth-most used non-1* character, trailing only Thor, CStorm, and IM40. The basic problem here is that the good Captain plays very similarly to IM35 — his yellow is like the blue, in that it's so expensive that you'll rarely even get a chance to use it, except that it's worse because it's harder to generate yellow, and the effect of the yellow isn't even that powerful. Sure, every now and again you might use it to get an important critical tile by setting up a 5-match, but that's not a great use for that much AP.

    The damage from red and the stun from blue are both solid powers, especially as they allow you to transform enemy special tiles, but their high cost isn't really offset by the countdown tile, as the countdown is quite long. The one exception is if you can gather up enough AP to cast on consecutive turns; with the ability to place the tile, there's less of a risk of matching it, and then you can start a chain where you're getting back almost as much as you're casting every turn.

    Captain America plays well with characters that have high red and blue costs that you don't necessarily want to trigger right away — while you're building up, you can use Captain's ability first as a bonus, until the time is right to trigger the bigger power. For this reason his best buddy is probably Model 40, who has two such powers, and has a yellow that can replenish red and blue to set up the consecutive turn casts mentioned above.

    Best build: 3/5/5; yellow's just too expensive, and you want to be able to have complete freedom of placement on his red and blue so that you can snuggle those precious countdowns into the corners.

    19. Venom

    Before the recent change to his black power, Venom was good for a fun combo with Spider Man: start with 6 blue and 6 purple, stun 4 times to lay 4 web tiles, gather up a bit more blue and purple, lay 4 more web tiles, om nom nom the entire opposing team. Unfortunately, now this ability is gone, as Venom's black is just a straight increase in damage and always requires 6 web tiles to eat just one member of the opposing team. It's still a decent power for a 1*, and so is his purple, which is a cheap stun, but neither are strong enough to merit time in a decent roster.

    Best build: Used to be clearly 5/4, as the web tile from the stun was more valuable than stunning the entire opposing team. Now it's not so clear. I'd say 5/4 if you're planning on teaming him up with Spider Man but 5/5 is a teeny bit more versatile (whole team stun, an extra 300 HP, and more damage on Devour).

    18. Loki

    Another victim of the nerf bat, Loki is now clearly the worst of the 3* characters. His black is very expensive, and highly situational: it excels against Wolverine and Daken, but Daken's one of the weaker characters in the game, and Wolverine can spin up so fast that you might never get the black off. The other problem is that turning strike tile to protect tiles doesn't help you win faster; for that you need enemy protect tiles to turn into strike tiles, and there aren't very many situations where you'll see more than three or four protect tiles.

    The purple is actually quite underrated: even at lower levels, it swaps enough tiles that it will often create several matches, and it's cheap enough where this can chain itself. The problem, obviously, is that occasionally it won't match anything, and even when it does it won't always match purple, so you can't rely on it to keep your power activation chain going.

    You're not likely to ever see Loki except in the Lightning rounds — his covers are too rare and he's too weak — but if you do find yourself up against him when using Wolverine, watch out for the black. It's a real annoyance to have 12 of your strike tiles turned into protect tiles.

    Best build: 5/5.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    #13-17: good, but…

    There are legitimate reasons to sport one of these characters in your roster; the problem is that for most of them, you’ll outgrow them. Each one has an area in which he or she shines, but there’s another character that does the job better.

    17. Black Widow (modern)

    Modern Black Widow has some clear drawbacks: she's got one of the lowest health pools in the game, and her purple is so expensive as to be almost completely negligible. But she almost makes up for it with her blue, which is one of the strongest 1* powers in the game, and isn't afraid to play on a 2* team. Its strength are highlighted by the fact that around the time you get it, a lot of your PvP opponents will have a clear tank character and a couple of support characters — stun the tank, and by the time he wakes up you're likely to have enough blue to stun him again.

    Unfortunately, at 9 AP, Black Widow's blue gets outclassed by Classic Storm's blue, which costs only two more and does massive team damage, and then again by Spider Man's blue, which costs only 2 AP. Even after you've outgrown her, though, if you should find yourself in a situation where you need to sub her in, she's still quite capable.

    Fun fact: Modern Black Widow is the only character in the game whose powers do not scale at all with level (Bag Man comes closest, but technically Switcheroo can cause a match, whose tile damage scales).

    Best build: 5/5; you can make an argument for 4/5, as the purple's so expensive that you're almost never going to cast it twice, but really there's not too much difference between 15 and 16 in terms of getting the first one off.

    16. Magneto (Marvel Now)

    Poor neglected 2* Magneto could really use a tournament or something; as it is he might be the least-used character in the game. At least some people tank with Bag Man. And the worst part is, he doesn't even deserve it! It's true that his powers aren't the greatest; his blue is reasonably costed, but the countdown timer is way too long and doesn't generate AP. His red is the opposite: does decent damage, generates up to 24 AP, and has a nice short countdown, but is too expensive at 14.

    His purple power is by far the best, as 5 blue tiles will often generate 2 criticals and a mass of blue AP, which is quite strong, but for generating criticals it's outclassed by grey Widow's purple. Perhaps the best use of Magneto was during the Hunt event, for pairing with critical-multiplier-buffed-modern Hawkeye to take down level 240 characters. Matching one purple and creating a critical tile to match environment tiles and then throwing down 7-10 critical tiles for 3k damage apiece was a ton of fun; unfortunately, this strategy doesn't work anymore now that critical multipliers aren't buffed. Sad panda.

    Best build: 2/5/5; at 3, the blue countdown is too long for the effect. A reasonable argument could be made that 4-red is better than 5-red: you only get up to 8 AP back for a cost of 11, instead of up to 24 for 14, but you can cast it more quickly, and you're more likely to get all 8 since tile placement is less important.

    15. Hawkeye (modern)

    Speaking of The Hunt, that event was many players' first prolonged exposure to modern Hawkeye, who's actually not that bad once he's properly leveled. His red and blue both do significant damage, and the red is area damage to boot while the blue has a nice long stun on it. The problem with the blue, though, is that you have to target the character you want to hit with it the turn before the blue triggers — so if you have boosted match damage via strike or attack tiles, or you just get a lucky cascade, you might wind up taking a big chunk out of the target before the blue hits. In practice, this often means you won't get full use out of the stun effect.

    His purple is an interesting power: at low levels it can be more hurtful than good, as it's hard to rely on, and occasionally you'll want Hawkeye to take a hit to keep other characters alive. But once you get it to 3, you can almost always rely on it triggering, which means that you can level Hawkeye with impunity even with his low health pool, counting on Avoid to have damage go to your intended tank instead. To set this up, note that the character to Hawkeye's left in the selection screen is the one that takes his damage; e.g. if your setup is Classic Storm, Thor, Hawkeye, when Avoid triggers, Thor will take damage. This wraps around too, so if Hawkeye is on the left, whoever is on the right takes damage. Note that Thorned Rose doesn't always work this way; sometimes it picks the other character.

    Best build: 5/5/3; even at 2 the countdowns are a bit long, but the effect is strong enough to (almost) be worth it; at 3 they're almost worthless, so you want both those at 5, and you don't need more than 3 in purple to trigger it basically all the time.

    14. Storm (modern)

    Easily the strongest 1* character in the game, modern Storm even made it into the top ten on one voter's ballot. When paired with modern Black Widow, or really anyone with a cheap stun, it's not terribly hard to go off for infinite chains: red Storm to get rid of environment tiles, green Storm to get a bunch of AP, stun, match blue/green, repeat as necessary.

    The problem, as with most 1* characters, is that her powers are quickly outclassed: the red is generally only useful the first time you cast it (and even then it's often a tough decision between Storm's red and a direct-damage red that hits harder), the green is almost exactly the same as classic Storm's green, and the black just doesn't hit that hard (and the damage goes down quickly over time as almost every match will clear at least 2 attack tiles). Also, it's important to note that when Storm casts her red, she's the primary character, so you don't get the advantage of a buffed character's environmental AP generation.

    When you add it all up, in most situations where you might use modern Storm, classic Storm is better. That being said, like modern Black Widow, even after you outgrow her, modern Storm is still quite capable of substituting when someone is low on health, and she won't embarrass herself on a team of 2* or even 3* characters.

    Best build: 5/5/3, but the important one to get right is the green. 5/4/4 is pretty similar — the difference between 5 and 6 red is negligible and so is the difference between 20 and 24 tiles.

    13. Daken

    Much like his Dark Avenger partner-in-crime Bullseye, Daken is one of the most annoying characters in the game to attack; between the (relatively short) animation for his heal every turn and the (much longer) animation for Pheromonal Rage on every green match, you're doing a lot of waiting. Also like Bullseye, one of his powers, his regeneration, is mostly an annoyance, as it can be easily countered by simply powering through with a couple of direct-damage abilities.

    Unlike Bullseye, however, Daken's other ability actually has a fair bit of punch behind it. Making two strike tiles on every green match is pretty strong, and eventually all those strike tiles do add up. Occupying all the red tiles is quite achievable, and so Daken offers a soft counter to Wolverine, Doctor Doom, and Punisher's abilities by denying them a place to put their dangerous tiles.

    However, like many of the other characters in this section, Daken is outclassed at almost every turn by Wolverine, who is both his literal and figurative daddy: Wolverine's heal is just as good, his strike tiles are almost twice as strong and able to be produced in greater quantity per green match as you build up red, and he has a direct damage red on top of all that. Perhaps the greatest point in Wolverine's favor, though, is that he gets a huge boost in startup speed from using green AP boosts, creating up to 4 strike tiles that are the equivalent of 8 of Daken's, whereas Daken has no way to get up and running that fast.

    Some interesting mechanical notes:
    - in a Daken v. Daken matchup, the player's strike tiles are always created immediately after each green match, then cascades happen, then if any red tiles are still available, the AI gets to create strike tiles. So, if there is one red tile available, and you make a cascading green match that causes 4 red tiles to fall in, you get 1 strike tile and the AI gets 4. This is true regardless of whose turn it is.
    - This means that if you cascade in a Daken v. Daken match, if you match green, you get the benefit of the strike tiles on subsequent cascade matches, but the AI does not.
    - However, in Daken v. Daken, the AI only creates strike tiles if the player does. That is, if there are no available red tiles, you match green, and red tiles fall in, they won't get strike tiles from either player.
    - This is handled differently if there is just one Daken; in that case, he creates strike tiles immediately if any red tiles are available, and if none are available, he doesn't get to create any, even if some fall in.

    Best build: 5/5.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    #9-12: quirky and squishy

    The characters in this section are undoubtedly strong, and each has a power that sets him or herself apart from the rest. But in general, they’re held back by low health, which makes them attractive retaliation targets.

    12. Black Widow (original)

    At last, we've gotten to the characters that start to merit significant time in your A-team roster. And even at #12, original Black Widow might be underrated. It's true that on paper, her powers don't seem that impressive — her purple looks just like modern Black Widow's, but cheaper; her blue doesn't heal for all that much, and her black adds only a piddly amount of damage.

    But play with original Black Widow for an extended amount of time, and you'll quickly gain an appreciation for the depth of her power: at the cheaper casting cost, combined with the purple steal from her black, OBW's purple is enough on most boards to keep all but the cheapest powers from going off, ever. When your opponent doesn't get to cast anything, her blue is suddenly a strong healing option, since you only need to heal tile damage.

    And her black? Well, as mentioned, the purple steal is very strong. Blue and black aren't as good, since there aren't many good black powers, and there are so many strong blues that you often won't have her matching blue (and often don't want to; see below). The damage is quite negligible, except when you have strong strike tiles. Throw up a handful of high-level Wolverine or Punisher strike tiles, and all of a sudden OBW is a death machine, easily doing over 1k damage per turn while also stealing AP and healing herself.

    OBW's best buddy is Wolverine, for several reasons:
    - strike tiles make Espionage ridiculous
    - healing power is enough to overcome match damage, while her purple steal prevents powers from going off
    - every purple steal lets you cast feral claws, which helps you ramp up crazy fast
    - Wolverine's tile damage is exactly opposite hers, so she's free to trigger Espionage on all three of her colors

    She also plays well with characters who are strong in blue; you don't get the steal or bonus damage on blue, but if you've left her out in front too often for purple and black matches, you'll want to have someone else tank while you gather up enough blue to heal her. Model 40 plays really nicely here, as he has a ton of HP and a yellow that generates blue so that you can heal by matching two colors instead of one.

    OBW's biggest drawback is on defense — she doesn't have a ton of HP, and if you take out the damage dealers, she can't hurt you much on her own. But even there she's pretty annoying, since while you're taking out the rest of the team, she's in your Espionage, stealing your AP.

    Best build: 3/5/5. Some like 5/3/5, but 3-purple gets you off the ground faster. You can cast it off the first purple match with boosts, and then usually every 2 matches thereafter with Espionage, plus your opponent is more likely to have 3 of a color than 4.

    11. The Hood

    The Hood is similar to OBW, in that his primary function is to steal AP from the opponent. Consider that there's 64 tiles on the board, and 6 colors plus env, so an average of just over 9 tiles per color. That means that at L5, his blue should be stealing something basically every turn; that's quite strong.

    Unfortunately, that's about as good as it gets; Hood's yellow is pretty good in that it generates up to 18 AP while being able to target special tiles, but it's also quite expensive at 15 AP, especially when compared to, say, modern Storm's green (16 random tiles for 10 AP), and when considering the fact that it's much harder to generate yellow than it is to generate green. Intimidation is horribly weak; at max level it does only 1200 damage, and in order to get it to work with countdown timers you need enough AP to cast the countdown power *and* the 9 black for Intimidation. Yuck.

    Best build: 5/5/3 — ending the turn is a massive drawback that renders all but the best powers unusable, and you really want to be stealing as much as possible with his blue. Plus it's pretty rare to have more than 3 countdown tiles at a time. Exception: IM40, and if you're playing IM40-Hood, make sure you don't cast Intimidation after a double Recharge (see why in the IM40 section)!

    10. Punisher

    Punisher's high ranking might be boosted by Shiny New Thing Syndrome; his powers are solid, but not exceptional. His green is reasonably strong, putting out up to 3 114 strike tiles, but the randomness of the 3x3 area destruction means you'll often destroy one or more of your own strike tiles on the second cast. His red isn't bad either; it's relatively cheap at 8 AP, does a modest but appropriate 1482 damage at max level, and can come in handy for downing huge health targets in PvE or Lightning rounds. Black is probably his best power, since the area damage and the attack tiles both self-synergize from the attack tiles, but the area damage is pretty meager on its own, and the countdown for attack tiles is too long for the attack tiles to really build up.

    As an aside, I know it doesn't actually do anything different, but man oh man does it feel badass to finish off an opponent with Retribution. Taste it, suckas.

    Best build: Lots of argument over this one, but I'm still going with 3/5/5. In most games you're not likely to get more than 2 attack tiles, so the extra damage doesn't matter all that much, and even a 2-turn countdown still has reasonable likelihood of getting matched. Arguments for 5/3/5 (you'll cast the black most often; he has too many special tiles to risk destroying them with green) and 5/5/3 (3 strike tiles is strong, red is too situational) are reasonable as well — in the end it just comes down to how and when you intend to play him.

    9. Storm (classic)

    Probably the hardest hit by the nerf bat, before her yellow was changed, Storm might have ranked a few spots higher. It's a testament to how strong her other powers are that she's still in the top 10. Her green is a powerhouse for AP generation, especially when matched with some of the other characters that generate lots of green (Ragnarok, Hulk, grey Widow), and her blue not only has a nice long stun, but also does massive area damage for the AP.

    Her yellow used to be one of the strongest powers in the game, but after the change, is now mostly an annoyance. You still want to take her out first, though — if you take her down second, having to eat 4-6 Raging Tempests will add up, and if you leave her for last you run the risk of triggering the big-boy version, which will take a big chunk out of your team.

    As noted, Storm plays very well with green-generating characters. She also likes strike tiles, which make a big impact on the area damage of both Wind Storm and Raging Tempest.

    Best build: Used to be you could make an argument for just about anything; these days it's hard to see any reason not to go 5/5/3.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    #4-8: heavy hitters

    Five of the strongest-hitting characters in the game slot in here. Any of them would be viable candidates to build a roster around, and a few of them work well together too.

    8. Iron Man (Model 40)

    IM40 is probably the best example of the 3* design philosophy: characters that are quite weak with one or two covers, but when fully leveled up, really come into their own. Both his red and blue powers are incredible AP sinks, though they also do quite a bit of damage; as such they're best thought of as game-enders rather than powers you rely on throughout the match as a primary source of damage.

    However, both become much stronger once he gets his yellow, which is his best power; with it, he can much more easily get to the 13 and 20 AP requirements that otherwise might take the whole game. His yellow also produces the best colors in the game (red, blue) at the lowest levels. That plus his huge health pool and strong tile damage make him a good support character for many teams.

    You do have to be a bit tactical about Recharge — to get maximum use out of it, you want to try and match all the available yellows so that you can protect all 3 countdowns. Also, if you're going to cast multiple Recharges, make sure you do it all at once! Otherwise, he'll stun himself after the first set, and the second set's countdowns will freeze until he comes out of the stun, effectively making it a four-turn countdown. Same goes for using him with Hood's Intimidation, which you need to have at level 3 to use for one Recharge and level 5 for two or more.

    Model 40 plays best with someone else on the team who can convert the surge of reds (and blues and greens, if you choose to go that route) into instant damage, because otherwise it takes too long (cast Recharge, wait two turns for the countdown, wait another two turns for the stun, cast Unibeam). It helps if this power is relatively cheap, so that you're not spending multiple turns taking damage before you can get off any powers. When facing Model 40, he's generally safe to ignore until the end because his powers are so expensive, but you do want to make sure he doesn't sneak in a whole bunch of red when you're not looking. It's also a good idea to check his yellow, in case he's only at 1, to make sure you don't get ambushed by a Recharge that turns into four Thunderclaps.

    Best build: 5/5/2; there are too many other good options for producing green, and getting yellow off at 8 (or double yellow at 16) is way easier than 10. 5/5/1 might be even better, especially on defense where it's harder to prevent, since red is usually the color you want anyway. When's that respec option coming, again?

    7. Doctor Doom

    Doctor Doom is a bit of a one-dimensional character. But that one dimension is pretty powerful; at max level you're looking at 185 damage per attack tile, or over 1k damage per turn. At 12 AP, this is a pretty expensive power, but his blue makes it a bit easier to get off (and possibly getting some criticals or 4-ways in the process).

    One thing to note here is that Doom creates his attack tiles on red, and because it takes a while to get his black charged, it's not terribly difficult to blunt his power significantly by using Wolverine or Daken to eat up all the available red tiles. If you're going that route, make sure to leave one open; if there aren't any tiles available, he won't cast it, which opens the door for a board-clearing move to give him several more red, whereas if there's just one tile, he'll cast it, wasting the 12 AP and giving you just one attack tile to deal with.

    A fun pairing for Doctor Doom is grey Magneto: use two boosts to get 6 blue and 6 purple; match one purple and cast Polarity Shift, making one blue match right away and putting the others in places where they'll match blacks. Then cast Doom's blue — this should get you enough for two black casts. Then sit back and cackle as your demons rip through the opposing team, 1.5k a turn.

    Best build: 5/5.

    6. Black Widow (grey suit)

    Like Model 40, grey Widow has a couple of hideously expensive powers, but paired with one that helps get there faster. Her green is the strongest area damage in the game, doing over 3k damage at max level and taking out a huge chunk of the board, and is the main reason she ranks so highly — get one of these off and you're halfway to victory; get two off and that's all she wrote. Her red is comparatively boring, although allowing you to pick the tiles makes it occasionally useful in a pinch for dealing with a pesky PvE countdown tile.

    The purple isn't quite as flashy as the green — there's no giant reticle of destruction, no massive damage — but it's every bit as powerful. You can almost always generate at least two critical tiles and usually a whole bunch of cascades; in the aftermath it's pretty common to have all of your non-purple powers full charged and ready to unleash.

    Note that while making a T or an L will create a critical, making an H doesn't create any, and won't match the tile in the middle. This is especially important on boards that have a good bit of green to start with — you don't want to accidentally connect two sets of green, because then you'll only get one critical instead of two.

    About the only strike against her is that she's just about useless on defense. She has 5k health, which isn't that low, but the AI places her green tiles randomly, so it's usually safe to leave her for last, watching her flail at your team with just tile damage, never reaching 19 green AP.

    Best build: 5/3/5; the red is just too situational. Just for kicks, it's fun to imagine what she'd look like if the red did generate AP. Yikes.

    5. Wolverine (yellow)

    When Punisher was released, some were quick to pronounce Wolverine outclassed. Sure, at first glance, Punisher creates 3 114 strike tiles for 8 AP, whereas Wolverine creates 3 89 strike tiles for 9 AP, which seems close but clearly worse. But when you consider that Punisher's second cast is likely to destroy at least one of his own strike tiles, and that with boosts Wolverine can have 4 tiles on turn 1, whereas Punisher only has 3 on turn 2, and that it's not uncommon for Wolverine to get off late-game casts that create 4-5, it's clear that Wolverine is still the king of strike tiles.

    If he had no other powers than Feral Claws, he'd still merit a top 10 ranking. His yellow is pretty strong at high levels too, as it wipes away most match damage, leaving Wolverine vulnerable only to abilities, and his red does a considerable amount of damage. Due to his green relying on red, it's best to think of his red as a game-ender or for emergency use if an enemy has a massive power charged.

    The one knock on Wolverine is that he's much, much worse on defense than he is on offense. The AI doesn't know to save up red, so he's usually limited to creating one or at most 2 strike tiles, and players are smart enough to prioritize matching those strike tiles, so it's rare to be getting hit with more than 4 or 5 (whereas it's easy to have 8-10 strike tiles hitting the AI). Also, the AI doesn't have the luxury of being able to put Wolverine out front to absorb match damage and heal it back up.

    Strike tiles play quite well with just about everyone, but he's especially effective with attack tiles, area damage, and Espionage. He also likes cheap, low-damage abilities (like his own Feral Claws), because with strike tiles, they become cheap, high-damage abilities (yum).

    Wolverine doesn't play nicely with Daken, because Daken tends to take up the red tiles with inferior damage strike tiles, leaving fewer for Wolverine, and he also doesn't play as well with characters that have board-clearing moves, since they'll often wipe out his strike tiles.

    Best build: 5/3/5 is the standard, but really it's just important to get 5 green. 5/4/4 isn't that much different, and 5/5/3 is actually a nastier build to face on defense, and perhaps a bit quicker on offense as well. That is, if you're not pairing him with…

    4. Thor

    Everyone's favorite god, Thor is the gold standard for tanks as his covers are readily available in the Prologue and therefore common among mid-level teams. He's the very definition of brute force: high health, a cheap red that does a considerable amount of damage, a more expensive but not excessive yellow that does massive damage, and a green that hits for area damage.

    Thor would be a solid character if his powers only did damage; his high ranking is based on the fact that they also chain into each other. Two casts of red are often enough to get a cast of yellow, which then gives green, which plays well with tons of characters, including both Storms, who can use it to clear the board, get red AP, and start the chain all over again.

    It's usually best to save up the red for at least two or more casts in a row, unless the opponent has just cast it, because you're much more likely to have the yellows chain and/or set up 5-matches for extra turns. As such, Thor plays well with Wolverine, because he's got a cheap-ish direct-damage power that plays well with strike tiles; he likes to save up red; and he generates green tiles. As mentioned, he also plays well with both Storms (which is thematically cool, thunder and lightning), and he's a pretty solid fit on just about any team.

    When facing Thor, the key is to deny him red; you can do this either by matching it yourself or stealing it. With boosts or a sufficiently high level team, even his 5k hp can be easily chopped down by the time he gets 6 red (and in many cases your team should be able to take one hit, as long as it doesn't cascade into yellow). For many mid-level teams, taking him down or stunning him means you just have to mop up the rest.

    Best build: 5/5/3; red starts the chain, so you want it as cheap as possible; yellow is the next link, so you also want it as cheap as possible. You'll almost never cast green — there's always someone with a better green available.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    edited January 2014
    Top three: far and away

    Easily the best three characters in the game, these three were named in the top 3 on every single ballot except one (who had Magneto 4th).

    3. Magneto (classic)

    Magneto might have the strongest stable of powers in the game. His purple is the star here, as it deals damage based on the total number of blue tiles (the swapping effect is mostly incidental, since most of the time you won't be creating new matches). At max level, this is over 8k damage, which was until recently the highest direct-damage in the game, and is still probably the best when you consider average damage per cast.

    His blue is world-class as well, and is similar in that the protect feature isn't even relevant most of the time, as you mainly want to use it when you can make a 5-match, generating another 5 blue and a critical. It can also synergize with his purple, adding 2 extra blue tiles on boards with fewer than 13, giving another whopping 1200 damage. His red is the only lackluster ability, doing a paltry 133 damage plus tile damage, but even that is nothing to sneeze at if you had it at max level — 2 AP abilities are extremely strong.

    As noted previously, Magneto is weaker on defense, because the AI places the blue as soon as he can, into random positions. So just deny him purple and power through the blue protect tiles.

    Best build: 5/3/5

    2. Spider Man

    What was it we just said about 2 AP abilities? Extremely strong? In Spider Man's case, they're game-breaking. With boosts, you can come into the game, immediately stun the entire opposing team, and with a bit of cooperation from the board, keep them stunned for the rest of the game. Since his stun scales with web tiles, it'd be strong at 3 or even 4, but it's absurd at 2.

    When you throw in his yellow and purple, Spidey is the king of playing defense on offense — his purple absorbs match damage, his blue stuns anyone who dares to charge up a power, and if anyone does get through, his yellow heals up your whole team so that they're ready to go for the next round.

    On actual defense, he's not quite as deadly, but he's still dangerous; one cascade and he can lock up your team for a few turns, especially if you've already laid a web tile or three. When playing against one, it's best to check what level his blue power is, and if it's anything less than 5AP, you want to target him first. Better to take a couple Thunderclaps in the face than have to spend the whole round watching Spider Man throw webs at you.

    Best build: 3/5/5; you will occasionally wish yellow was a bit cheaper, but most of the time you can either delay the end of the game long enough to get one off anyway, or just go into the next round with boosts and cast it then. Blue is the no-brainer 5, and purple's just more useful throughout the round than reducing the yellow casting cost. 5/5/3, for those that built their Spider Mans (Spider Men?) before the change, isn't the end of the world either.

    1. Ragnarok

    Now that CStorm has been addressed, Ragnarok takes over as the most complained-about overpowered character in the game. And for good reason: if he only had his red power, and it did 0 damage, he might still be a top three character. The red is just so good on so many levels: it's absurdly cheap, so you can cast it three times out of the gate on offense; it generates a ton of green tiles, so those three casts get you at least a few green and likely a cascade or two or even a critical tile; and it actually does a fair bit of damage, which adds up fast.

    On top of that, he's also got high health (fourth in the game, behind Hulk, X-Force Wolverine, and just a shade under IM40), which makes it almost impossible to down him before he gets off a couple of red casts, and a green power that doesn't completely suck — it's mostly good for shaking up the board, and occasionally will get a cascade match or take out some important tiles — plus a prominent position as one of the recurring buffed Lightning round characters, so there's always a tournament going on where he'll be useful.

    Ragnarok does have a couple of weaknesses: namely, his tile damage isn't that high, so you have to be careful who you pair him with, else you won't be taking full advantage of his health pool; and he's weak in four powers instead of the usual three, so if you can match reds and greens, you can keep him both from his deadly powers and from doing any significant match damage.

    Ragnarok plays well with just about everyone, but particularly well with those who can make use of his incredible propensity for generating green tiles. Prime candidates include Storm (either, but usually classic), Wolverine, and grey Widow, though Hulk also looks promising.

    Best build: 5/5, obviously.
  • This is tiny kitty awesome!!!

    Bags: I have him at 5/5/3. I messed up the worst character icon_redface.gif

    Yelena is so tiny kitty horrible that I didn't even know one of her powers creates crits.

    Invisible Woman: She is the most powerful member of the core fantastic four... this doesn't bode well.
  • I'm going to guess that Rags, Mags, and Spidey are going to be the top 3, with Rag being #3, Spidey #2, and Mags #1. This is from knowing some of the contributors beliefs on each character, even though I would have to disagree with it.
  • DayvDayv Chairperson of the Boards Posts: 4,449 Chairperson of the Boards
    Good call on reserving the spaces for the additional main posts, it'll make this thread a lot more readable once it's all written.

    I think the subject line should have had a "class of '13" date or something, though, as it will be outdated once another character or two get released (or revised).
  • I don't get why Bags is the bottom. Yelena is clearly the worst character in the game.

    Bag-Man actually has a use (PVE) and his 2 stars + 3 skills let him level to 85 to get him slightly less non-pathetic match damage and almost non-pathetic maximum health (3500+).

    Dark Widow is a 1-star with only 2 skills, capping her at a max of 40, which means her tile match damage and her max health will never be anything other than pathetic (less than 2K). Her primary colors (black, purple) also overlap with all the other Dark Avengers characters other than Rag which means she has no synergy with her teammates, and without exception, every single one of them is better than her. Matter of fact, she has no synergy with any other character in the game as far as I can tell. Venom, he can get something going with Spidey or even Bag-Man, Bullseye can do crazy damage if you build a totally crazy team (ask Aiolia or Bugpop), Daken's basic level of usefulness is well-documented, and Ragnarok is a top-tier character made to work with Grey Widow.

    Sorry to say it, but we have shenanigans right out of the gate on this one. icon_e_confused.gif
  • I would also rate Modern Bow and Arrow Guy higher than IW. He's at least useful in PVE and he gets buffed every so often in events. IW's abilities are totally cost-prohibitive from an AP standpoint and leveling her to 230 costs a fortune in both HP and ISO, which puts a max-level IW out of the hands of most the normal player population.
  • Thanks for this poll and post! Would you mind updating the (now-closed) Google Doc spreadsheet with the final rankings and best builds once you've revealed them all?
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    Sure thing.
  • someguy wrote:
    I don't get why Bags is the bottom. Yelena is clearly the worst character in the game.

    Sorry to say it, but we have shenanigans right out of the gate on this one. icon_e_confused.gif

    While I agree completely with you about Bags and Yelena (my personal rankings are in the original thread for everyone to see) I disagree about the shenanigans.

    The voting lasted for around 3 weeks and only a few of us participated. So the rankings are based on our own opinions and possibly our particular characters/builds.

    So shenanigans? Nah. A good thread that will foster more discussion and hopefully more participation in voting next time? Hopefully!

    Thanks again mischiefmaker.
  • So shenanigans? Nah. A good thread that will foster more discussion and hopefully more participation in voting next time? Hopefully!

    That's fine by me, I'd just be a little concerned about newbies seeing this and thinking it's gospel.
  • mischiefmakermischiefmaker Age Unconfirmed Posts: 932
    Glad folks are enjoying the results! Installment 2 is now up.
  • edited January 2014
    Amazing post, thank you mischief!

    Can't wait for the rest of it, i think it's a really good post to help the newcomers like me understand their heroes better, and helping us make better teams icon_e_smile.gif
  • Glad folks are enjoying the results! Installment 2 is now up.

    Even though I had them ranked fairly low I do like Moonstone and Loki (just never have a good opportunity to use them).

    That's one of the things I like most about this game. Even some of the worst characters bring something to the table.
  • someguy wrote:
    I don't get why Bags is the bottom. Yelena is clearly the worst character in the game.

    Bag-Man actually has a use (PVE) and his 2 stars + 3 skills let him level to 85 to get him slightly less non-pathetic match damage and almost non-pathetic maximum health (3500+).

    Dark Widow is a 1-star with only 2 skills, capping her at a max of 40, which means her tile match damage and her max health will never be anything other than pathetic (less than 2K). Her primary colors (black, purple) also overlap with all the other Dark Avengers characters other than Rag which means she has no synergy with her teammates, and without exception, every single one of them is better than her. Matter of fact, she has no synergy with any other character in the game as far as I can tell. Venom, he can get something going with Spidey or even Bag-Man, Bullseye can do crazy damage if you build a totally crazy team (ask Aiolia or Bugpop), Daken's basic level of usefulness is well-documented, and Ragnarok is a top-tier character made to work with Grey Widow.

    Sorry to say it, but we have shenanigans right out of the gate on this one. icon_e_confused.gif


    Yelena is the worst character in the game, not bagman. Bagman sells for 125 ISO instead of 100......
  • OnesOwnGriefOnesOwnGrief Chairperson of the Boards Age Unconfirmed Posts: 1,387 Chairperson of the Boards
    Yelena is the worst character in the game, not bagman. Bagman sells for 125 ISO instead of 100......
    I can't stop laughing and agreeing with just how much right this is.
Sign In or Register to comment.