In 2013 Playdom introduced a major change to the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance, when it added defensive teams to PvP. This change significantly altered the PvP by allowing players to easily set up a different team for defense than the one used for offense or normal PvE. While top players were already changing their teams before logging off, the average player wasn’t and this change meant that multiplayer action became more competitive overall. Because your defensive team is controlled by the Marvel: Avengers Alliance AI, creating a good one can be rather difficult. Here are some tricks that the best players use to create a powerful defensive team in PvP.
Agent Uniform – Your agent can be any of the five base classes or a generalist. No other character has this flexibility. Since you have no clue what the opposing team will be and the AI often makes poor decisions, generalist is probably your safest choice. But there is a second option which is nearly as good. Because of a mistake during a past PvP tournament, almost every player has blaster outfit with eight ISO slots and about half the players use this as their default outfit. Knowing this, and taking into account that infiltrators are rare in multiplayer, a tactician suit can give you an advantage in many fights.
Agent Gear – Once again the AI is an untrustworthy thing. Even when an item is amazing, the AI won’t always use it. A perfect example of this is the Signpost. This item should obviously be used every single round since it pays for itself and then some, but the AI will often fail to use it. You want to be wary about including items with a downside and avoid any items that require back to back actions, like the Void Generator and Power Cell Mk III. Simple equipment that deals a lot of damage, stealthy gear, and equipment with passive abilities, like Reboot should be your top choices. Also, if you have any of the various scrolls, include at least one, but you should avoid including multiple, because the AI likes using them back to back even when the second use is completely worthless.
Delaying Teams – You can actually take advantage of the fact that you do not control your AI team by building a team that will take an incredibly long time to defeat. One of the most common examples of this is Rescue, Thane, and an agent with lots of defensive and buffing items. This team has ridiculous healing and is frustratingly difficult to defeat. Even if your opponent does defeat it, it will probably take 20 or 30 minutes, which is a lot longer than most people want to spend in a battle, especially when they need to win five battles each day. It is bad sportsmanship and takes advantage of people’s real world time, but it will win you a lot of battles from enemy’s forfeiting. Other heroes that work well with this plan are Valkyrie, Phoenix, and Modern Dr. Strange.
Horseman of Pestilence – This hero can be incredibly frustrating when he is on your team, but as previously mentioned, you won’t actually be controlling the team. And, as frustrating as this hero is to you, it is even more frustrating to your opponent. Unless you opponent has specifically prepared for Horseman of Pestilence, you will have the advantage throughout the fight. You want to support this hero with characters that apply lots of debuffs, like Havok or Satana. The latter is especially good because she will turn the debuffs on your team into buffs. Do not include Rescue on this team and do not equip a scroll on your agent. In fact, you should assume that your team will be just as debuffed as your opponent’s team and try to find ways to negate that penalty.
Avoid Build-Up Heroes – Play enough PvP and you will quickly see that the AI makes lots of poor decisions. Heroes that build-up and then unleash a massive attack just exacerbate that problem. For example, it is not uncommon for War Machine to use Overcharge and then attack with Blade Punch. Similarly, Thor will often fail to use Inspiring Bravery when he has one stack of Might of Mjolnir already and then waste that stack on a Hammer Throw. The only AI that seems to actually work as intended in terms of this type of hero is Deadpool. Havok is still a solid choice because his overall power selection is so good in multiplayer that even if he misuses Channel Energy, you will still probably win, but heroes like Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Squirrel Girl are just prone to terrible AI decisions.
Gain Multiple Actions – This advice is good in any part of this game, but it is especially important for your defensive team. The one thing that the AI basically can’t screw up is an additional action. Sadly, it won’t always attack a blaster with a tactician to gain a bonus action, but that isn’t the only way to gain extra actions. Heroes like Uncanny Cyclops, Havok, Cable, and Spiral can all gain or grant extra actions. Additionally, Omega Sentinel and Quicksilver act twice per turn, though the AI for the former is so predictable that your opponent may be able to take advantage of that. Finally, heroes that grant extra attacks essentially grant extra actions. Ares is an absolute beast in terms of granting additional attacks, which can be especially dangerous when he grants an additional attack to an ally that has a powerful status effect on that attack, like Emma Frost or Horseman of War.
Passives – The Scroll of Angolob is so common in PvP that you should basically assume it will be used in every single fight. On offense you can mitigate this by careful planning, but on defense you need to rely on the AI, which is much less intelligent. The best way to circumvent this is to use as many passive abilities as possible. For your agent, this just involves getting upgraded uniforms and scouring your equipment for passive abilities. Among heroes, Horseman of Famine, Ares, Uncanny Cyclops, Phoenix Five Emma Frost, Wonder Man, Magneto, and the Warriors Three when paired up, have some of the best passives in the game.
Classes – You often can’t pick your class, but if you do have alternate uniforms, some classes are better than others. For example, most infiltrators are not particularly good in PvP, which means that scrappers won’t usually get their class advantage in battle. Since it is impossible to predict the opposing team, you have to decide between doubling down or spreading out. If you double down, you should probably have just a single class on your team. Tactician is the safest choice if you do, though bruiser isn’t terrible either. If you spread out, pick three different classes and worry more about synergy of characters than of your team. When choosing your agent uniform, try to choose a class that will help protect your most vulnerable ally. Finally, it is possible to go all generalists. This pretty much only works if you have some combination of Rogue, Angel, Blue Costume Quicksilver, or Mockingbird, but this will make your team safe from counter classes.