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Marvel Strike Force Crucible Counters

Marvel Strike Force Crucible Counters
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Initially, Marvel Strike Force Cosmic Crucible mode was rather simple: Your success in Crucible battles depended on countering the defensive teams with appropriate hero power and team synergies. Oh, how things have changed from those early days.

After several updates, MSF Cosmic Crucible went to a whole other level in terms of tactics. More and more teams received Crucible-exclusive buffs, and rooms got both general and stage-specific rules. As a result, certain defense teams have become so tough they may seem undefeatable. Chances are this is precisely why you’re here, reading Marvel Strike Force tips for Cosmic Crucible. Well, have no fear – this Marvel Strike Force guide will help you dominate the next Crucible season.

Related: Marvel Strike Force Tier List: Best Characters Guide

Table of Contents:

Marvel Strike Force Cosmic Crucible Season 4 Explained

If you’ve been active on MSF for some time, you’re probably familiar with how Cosmic Crucible has worked in the past few seasons. Namely, specific teams have received (sometimes OP) boosts for the game mode. This alone has been a source of headaches for attacking players. But when we include how said boosts combine with room buffs in season 4, some rooms become downright frustrating to destroy.

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To that end, we should first go through the specific rules set for rooms in season 4:

  1. Pressure Points: The rule applies to ISO-8 classes. Raiders apply Minor Defense Down when attacking with a crit, while Strikers receive a massive damage boost (200%) if their health drops below 50%.
  2. Raid On Crucible: This rule is simple but with far-reaching consequences: Teams get their Raid buffs, both on offense and defense.
  3. Cosmic Shielding: The room is tailored for Cosmic Hero characters, as they gain Deflect every turn and debuff attackers with Defense Down.
  4. Wrecking Ball: In this room, characters with Taunt also receive Offense Up. Additionally, Offense Up grants Assist each turn.
  5. Mutant Spiders: The rule states that all Mutant Hero characters count as members of any X-Men team (Astonishing, Uncanny, and Unlimited). Likewise, all Spider-Verse characters gain Web-Warrior and Tangled Web traits.
  6. Building Momentum: This room lowers the cost of Special and Ultimate abilities by two.

In addition to these rules, all rooms have the Multiversal Warriors boost. This specifically applies to the New Warrior team (Cloak, Dagger, Deathpool, Gwenpool, and Firestar). These characters get more powerful with each Charged, gaining a 10% increase for crit chance and damage per Charged stack. Also, New Warriors receive one Regeneration when they attack Blind enemies. Due to these boosts, New Warriors are hands-down among the Marvel Strike Force’s best characters for Crucible, offense and defense alike.

Finally, all Crucible rooms get the standard defense boost of 10% more damage and 20% more health for defending characters. This boost is the least relevant for your Marvel Strike Force strategy in Crucible. After all, the damage and health boosts will only give the defending team an edge if you’re attacking with a comparable team. And in Crucible season 4, you probably won’t do that ever.

Marvel Strike Force: How to Win Against Common Crucible Defense Teams

Due to the constant roster updates in Marvel Strike Force, best characters for Crucible defense aren’t hard to find. In fact, when you start a Crucible Trial, chances are you’ll see most of them already set in your opponent’s rooms. Let’s go over the most common defense setups and their potential counters.

Gamma

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There’s no way around it: Gamma is one of the toughest Crucible defense teams in Marvel Strike Force. How to win against a team of hulking (pun intended) giants that get more powerful the more you debuff them?

There’s one obvious answer here. If you want to beat Gamma in Crucible, attack them with a stronger Gamma! However, there are several problems with this strategy. Firstly, Red Hulk and the entire Gamma team are necessary for the Apocalypse saga, which means most players will have them at least at gear tier 15 or 16 with maxed-out abilities. Therefore, most Gamma Crucible defense teams you encounter will be well over 1,000,000 strong.

Naturally, you’ll need to turn to teams that can punch up against Gamma, i.e., those that can win the fight even if they’re somewhat weaker than the defending team. It should come as no surprise that the teams capable of this feat count among the strongest in Crucible:

  • Darkhold
  • Unlimited X-Men
  • Tangled Web
  • Masters of Evil

In addition to the mentioned heavy-hitters, you could also punch up Gamma with a Dr. Doom-Apocalypse-Dormammu combo. Let’s also mention that, of the teams listed here, Masters of Evil will absolutely dominate the fight, being able to punch up against a 30% stronger Gamma opponent.

Although punching down, i.e., attacking a Gamma team weaker than your offense team is less likely, we have two options worth mentioning in that regard:

  • Eternals with Dormammu
  • Weapon X

Combining Ikaris and Sersi with Dormammu will lead to success, but only if you have at least a 10% power advantage. On the other hand, Weapon X will need to be significantly more powerful. For instance, if you’re facing a 1.5M Gamma team, Wolverine and friends will need to have a combined power of no less than 2M.

Darkhold (And Alternatives)

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The Darkhold team is a beast in Crucible offense. Yet, when it comes to defense, the team is nowhere near the notoriety of Gamma. This will be true even if for a Dormhold team (Dormammu instead of Scarlet Witch). You can smash these otherwise formidable magic users by punching up with several teams:

  • Unlimited X-Men
  • New Warriors
  • Tangled Web
  • Gamma
  • Masters of Evil

Additionally, Dormhold will also successfully punch up against a defending Darkhold/Dormhold in Crucible. A couple of teams can win the fight when punching down, too:

  • Death Seed
  • Darkhold

While Darkhold/Dormhold doesn’t seem particularly challenging, your chances of success will plummet if you encounter the Darkhold-Apocalypse combo, where Apocalypse replaces Scarlet Witch. In that case, your punch-up options will be severely limited:

  • New Warriors
  • Tangled Web
  • Masters of Evil

If you have the team power for it, you could punch down with a few teams:

  • Unlimited X-Men
  • Dormhold
  • Death Seed

If you’re going the punch-down route, you’ll need to keep a few points in mind. Firstly, Unlimited X-Men will need to be at least 10% stronger and have Emma Frost replace Fantomex. Next, both Dormhold and Death Seed teams have to be no less than 30% stronger than the defending Darkhold-Apocalypse combo. In the case of Death Seed, you’ll only be successful if the defending Wong has lower damage than the rest of the defense team.

Infinity Watch

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Infinity Watch was for long the ultimate meta team in Marvel Strike Force, and that extended to Crucible defense, too. While the team is still nothing to scoff at, you’ll have a much easier time defeating them compared to the juggernauts we’ve covered so far. Yet, you’ll be able to do so punching up with a somewhat smaller selection of offense teams:

  • Masters of Evil
  • Eternals-Apocalypse
  • Death Seed-Apocalypse (instead of Psylocke)
  • Darkhold/Dormhold
  • Gamma
  • Infinity Watch

Infinity Watch is among the somewhat rare defense teams that you can punch up with the same team in Marvel Strike Force Crucible. Plus, you can win against Adam Warlock & friends punching down with Unlimited X-Men.

Unlimited X-Men

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It’s no wonder that another Horseman-led team finds its place as a common nuisance in MSF Crucible defense. Unlimited X-Men are one of those teams where you don’t know who to attack first, with each hero representing a heap of trouble in their own right. Hence, the list of offense teams capable of taking on Rogue and co. while punching up will be quite short:

  • Unlimited X-Men-Emma Frost (replacing Fantomex)
  • Masters of Evil
  • New Warriors
  • Eternals-Quicksilver-Apocalypse

When it comes to punching down, two options will give you a fighting chance, albeit only if they’re 30%+ more powerful:

  • Infinity Watch
  • Dormhold

Bifrost

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The Bifrost team is a bit of a shock in terms of Crucible defense as many players don’t expect it to perform especially well outside of Raids. After all, the team was initially promoted as the go-to solution for Mystic Raid battles. Nobody expected it to become the Crucible obstacle that it is today.

Worse yet, there’s little information on the best counters for Bifrost in this game mode since the team isn’t as represented there as our previous entries. Here are two surefire way to send the band of Loki’s packing while punching up:

  • Masters of Evil
  • New Warriors

The suggested teams are hardly a surprise, being the go-to solution for practically any struggle in Crucible. In terms of punching down, Death Seed would be the best choice, but with a massive asterisk. Namely, if you’re attacking Bifrost with Death Seed, the total power of either team won’t matter as much. Instead, your Magneto and Dark Beast will need to be stronger than Vahl and Sylvie. If they are, you’ll have a good fighting chance.

Tangled Web

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Since Spider-Weaver was introduced in Marvel Strike Force, the Tangled Web team became a force to be reckoned with in practically every game mode. Tangled Web is a trio, with the team often being completed with Eternals or Undying. Whichever variant you encounter, punching up will be very tough – unless you use the following teams:

  • New Warriors
  • Unlimited X-Men
  • Eternals-Emma Frost-Loki-Baron Zemo
  • Masters of Evil
  • Tangled Web

The trio of slippery spiders can also be beaten punching down:

  • Dormhold
  • Infinity Watch
  • Death Seed
  • Dark Hunter-Dormammu

Except for New Warriors and Masters of Evil that can ignore Spider-Weaver’s accuracy debufs, other teams will need to focus on neutralizing her with ability blocks or stuns. Otherwise, your chances of actually landing a blow will drop significantly.

Other Common Counters

Now that we’ve gone through the sturdiest Crucible defense teams, let’s see other common options and their counters at a glance. Before we start, note that Masters of Evil and New Warriors are a given in practically every situation, so we won’t mention them in the following lists. The same goes for several other teams that can defeat nearly every defense setup while punching up:

  • Tangled Web
  • War Dogs
  • Death Seed
  • Darkhold
  • Infinity Watch
  • Weapon X
  • Eternals
  • Wakanda
  • Gamma
  • Unlimited X-Men

We’ll refer to those teams as the “usual offense” to keep the lists relatively short. Let’s start.

  1. Black Order: Usual offense; Black Order
  2. Secret Avengers-Kestrel: Usual offense
  3. Young Avengers: Usual offense; A-Force; Young Avengers
  4. Hero Asgardian: Usual offense; Rebirth; Hero Asgardian
  5. Invaders: Usual offense except Tangled Web and Unlimited X-Men; Rebirth, Hero Asgardian, and Wakanda must punch down
  6. Masters of Evil: Usual offense except Weapon X and Wakanda; Eternals, Infinity Watch, and Darkhold must punch down
  7. Underworld: Usual offense; Wakanda, Darkhold, and Infinity Watch must punch down
  8. Wakanda: Usual offense; Young Avengers; Bionic Avengers
  9. Rebirth: Usual offense; Rebirth; Hero Asgardians must punch down
  10. Bionic Avengers: Usual offense; Invaders; Rebirth; Bionic Avengers; X-Factor
  11. Death Seed: Usual offense; Rebirth (must punch down)

Marvel Strike Force: Best Characters for Crucible Counters

As Crucible seasons bring more and more tricky trials, you need to keep adjusting your strategy to come on top. However, the rewards are also going up along with the challenge (hello, seven-star Quicksilver). With this guide by your side, you’ll be able to take on most defense teams – or, at least, know which teams to farm to achieve the ultimate Crucible glory.

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Uroš Ignjatović

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Marvel Strike Force Crucible Counters