Marvel Heroics: Help! What hero should I play?

Superheroes are quite used to hearing cries of distress and pleas for help, but who lends a hand when the caped crusaders need assistance? I do, that’s who! Also the wider Marvel Heroes community. And probably Daredevil; he seems like a good sort.

Probably one of the most-asked questions that’s asked both in-game and on the outside — and the one that is the most difficult to answer — is, “What hero should I pick? Whom should I play?” When Gazillion recently gave away a free superhero of one’s choice to everyone for the game’s second anniversary, players formed countless threads and spammed the in-game chat with entreaties for others to help them decide. After all, Marvel Heroes is going on its 49th hero with no signs of stopping, and making decisions which characters to save up for or buy can be one of the toughest calls that any player has to continually make.

With the assistance of a lot of observation, research, and my own personal experience, I put together the following guide to hopefully guide such seekers in finding the hero who best complements them and their playstyles. However, the true answer to that question will always be the hero that looks like the most fun!

What heroes are the most popular right now?

For some people, gravitating to the most popular heroes is quite important because it can be a sign that that class is overpowered (OP), has more developer support (including a proportionally larger amount of costumes), or has a greater-than-normal number of community builds and guides out there.

Currently, I see a lot of OP accusations being tossed around at Scarlet Witch, Doctor Doom, Hulk, Venom, and Captain America. Overpowered or not, these heroes are seen all of the time, and I hear great things about all of them (SW and DD are personal favorites of mine).

I do want to mention that any heroes that have been the stars of multiple movies, such as Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, will be overrepresented in the game as well, no matter how “good” they actually are. Sometimes we want to play our favorite pop culture heroes, not just the metagame champions.

What heroes are the easiest to play?

Sometimes we don’t want anything complicated; we want a straight-up button-mashing experience where one or two skills are all that’s needed to have fun. We want to click and make things go boom or die. I get that.

So what heroes are as straight-forward as can be? In my opinion, you really can’t go wrong with Cyclops or Cable, since shooting stuff from afar is what they do and do rather well. Storm has long been popular for her ability to fly around and zap everything around her with her AoE attacks. If you like going melee, then Thing, Hulk, or Wolverine are good bets for simple spammy combat styles.

What heroes are underappreciated gems?

I think that this is a much more interesting question because popular is easy to suss out, but with 49 heroes, you know that there have to be more than a few that are secretly terrific but are overlooked because they’re a more obscure character or haven’t gotten as much press.

So what’s the verdict? I think a case can be made for many characters, but I’ll highlight seven picks here. Ghost Rider is a hero that is passed over a lot, yet when people play him, they rave about his magic attacks. Psylocke gets a lot of good word-of-mouth for being a hard-hitting stealthy melee fighter (with phantom summons!). Black Widow may not be flashy, but she plays great and has endeared herself to many. Squirrel Girl’s quirky theme might distract some from seeing her as a powerhouse summoner (she is my main, by the way). Husband-and-wife team of Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic both have low-key but passionate supporters who have found much virtue in each of their powersets. And while everyone gravitates to Iron Man for obvious reasons, Nova is just as good in his own way.

What heroes have the most unique gameplay?

With each new hero added, Gazillion attempts to provide something new in the way of gameplay, sometimes diverging very slightly from what’s been done previously and sometimes veering off to make characters that have mechanics that are difficult for average players to wield properly.

Doctor Strange is perhaps right up there with his fiddly magic powers, although players swear that if you take the time to get to know him, he’s quite good. Moon Knight has a bizarre mix of melee and ranged that gets stronger the more he’s hurt. Mr. Fantastic gets the award for the strangest-looking with his different stretchy forms (bouncy ball, attack!). Doctor Doom has two resources and three signature powers, setting him apart in the game’s roster.

But for my money, none is more unique than Rogue, simply because she can absorb both heroes’ and villains’ skills to create a build that’s as diverse and creative as a player wants it to be. There are some limitations on what and how many powers she can absorb, but if you want to go outside the box, then pick her.

What heroes are the best summoners?

I have never seen an MMO that has such affinity for pets as Marvel Heroes. There are so many heroes that have summons of one kind or another (and that’s not even to mention summons that come from gear or team-ups!). I love summons and am working on collecting all of the heroes that can bring pets out into the field.

As I said before, Squirrel Girl is an underrated summoner. Past her, Iceman, Doctor Doom, and Rocket Raccoon all have top marks as summoners (even with Rocket’s recent nerf), and all are different in their own way. Emma Frost is fun in that she can charm any non-boss mob as a semi-permanent pet, but her character is currently out of favor with the community. Loki has an emphasis on summons, but his are reportedly pretty weak. There are also some other heroes that have summoning abilities that aren’t utilized as much with common builds, such as Black Panther, Colossus, and Luke Cage.

What heroes are the cheapest to buy?

If you want the biggest bang for your buck or eternity splinter, there are eight heroes that Gazillion has, for whatever reason, priced at a discount. Black Widow, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Storm, X-23, Taskmaster, and Thing all cost just 200 splinters, which means that you can grow your roster by eight for 1600 splinters total.

If both value and quality are important, I’d say that you can’t go wrong with Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, or Storm from that list. X-23 maybe too; she’s another nominee for underappreciated hero (and a less expensive Wolverine substitute).

What heroes have the best quotes?

Maybe the verbal quotes aren’t the deciding factor for most people, but you’d be surprised how the sporatic one-liners that heroes spout influence how much you like (or dislike) a character. She-Hulk, Deadpool, and Squirrel Girl are often mentioned for their funny quips. Rocket and Star-Lord are snarky in their own ways.

And everyone likes Hulk because HULK QUOTES.

Fun Marvel Heroes fact: Gazillion has gone to great lengths to secure voice actors who have done many of these heroes’ roles in other games and on TV. Check out the IMDb list!

Any other heroes that you didn’t mention?

A few other heroes do pop up as generally recommended for various reasons. Punisher is a decent ranged nuker (with actual nukes!) who gives players a chance to walk the darker side of the Marvel universe. Jean Grey isn’t outstanding, but I’d say that she’s very solid with few critics. Magneto pours out the pain and looks great doing so. Star-Lord is neat because he gets to call in area attacks from his ship all of the time. And even though they’re popular, don’t turn your nose up at Thor and Iron Man, as both are incredibly tough and have great powers with which to play.

Really, most all heroes have something good about them. In the end, it’s not about picking the “best”; it’s about picking “best for you.”

Are there any additional resources you could recommend?

If you like lists and wading through spreadsheets in your quest for finding the perfect hero for you, I’d recommend this post on Reddit as well as Exqzr’s Hero Rankings (which, while outdated, is still useful).

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Wratts
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Wratts

BalsBigBrother bargamer The thing about having an axe to grind is you find it’s never sharp enough

syberghost
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syberghost

Shienne not only can you do perfectly well with her, you can also get her teamup, and walk around with two She-Hulks.

syberghost
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syberghost

Colossus has great quotes, has a natural pairing in teamup with his sister Magick (which means lots of great quotes between them), and is very easy to play with a couple of different builds. I avoided all the summons except Magick (because two Magicks!) and concentrated on just pure beatdown, and it’s just clang clang clang.

Evidently it works, because when I recently had a pug go wrong on the final boss, I revived alone (Phoenix Feather) and just soloed him.

I might redo him with the summons some day for variety, but this build is just fun.

Shienne
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Shienne

The only incentive I have to play Marvel Heroes is that She-Hulk is in it. If I can’t do fairly well in the game by using She-Hulk exclusively, then I don’t have any interest in it.

ExecutionTherapy
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ExecutionTherapy

Thank you so much for this article, Mr Olivetti and commenters.  I only recently started playing this game (my Hawkeye just hit 13), and the choice of a new hero is boggling.  I still don’t know who I’ll choose next, but at least this article+comments has given me a start on how to decide.  Again, thank y’all!

Enikuo
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Enikuo

KenAddeh I agree. tried Black Widow early on and didn’t like her until I started unlocking the bombs.

molleafauss
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molleafauss

sw is actually pretty easy to play…

BigMikeyOcho
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BigMikeyOcho

Hackholm There are bank expansions, which are almost mandatory, but no character inventory expansion, but you can also use your Team-Up inventory to hold loot, too.
Advice on loot: Once the purples start dropping, only take upgrades that are purple, cosmic, and unique. Ignore the rest, feed them to pets or donate to vendors. In areas that drop a metric ton of loot like Midtown, only pick up Purple or better (sometimes if it’s an event, even ignore the purple). Vacuum up the rest.  
Personally, while leveling, this is my strategy: Only equip purple or greater only; If a purple item is a greater level than a purple you have slotted, equip it; if the purple is 2 levels greater than a slotted cosmic, equip it; if the purple is 4 levels greater than a slotted unique, equip it. Basically working on a +2 per rarity level system, always favoring the higher level item. IE: A Level 20 Purple = 18 Cosmic = 16 Unique. At max level, it changes to try to find the best in-slot, which there are a metric ton of guides about… or just try to get the level 60 uniques if guides aren’t your thing.

Carthoris
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Carthoris

I think an important thing you didn’t explicitly address is “Are there any heroes you *shouldn’t* jump right into?”, because in similar games there’s plenty of characters that are decidedly not friendly to newcomers at least at endgame. From the podcasts I get the impression you’re not into or haven’t bothered doing the harder content in MH, so I’m not really surprised you didn’t go over it because you probably haven’t encountered it.

Almost every hero is playable while leveling, but there’s a few that become difficult to manage at the cap if you are trying to be optimal – notably, Dr. Strange requires swapping between two hotbars every few seconds because he has so many skills to manage if you want to maximize effectiveness. There’s a few that need quality-of-life overhauls on their skills (Emma Frost is the top of the list here) or still need their uniques updated (Nightcrawler, Spider-Man) but for the most part even the “bad” heroes are still viable.

It’s also worth pointing out that Deadpool and Cable have not yet had their “52 reviews”, and as such their uniques and skill trees are several years out of date design-wise. Still fun and playable, but it might be worth it to wait a couple of weeks for Cable’s review to hit live if you’re interested in the character. Deadpool’s is due in a month or two.

Carthoris
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Carthoris

Hackholm Inventory expansion items are called S.T.A.S.H. and are purchased directly from your S.T.A.S.H. (bank). I don’t think they’re listed in the actual shop itself, but you can definitely buy them.

You can’t buy character inventory expansion, but you really don’t need to be carrying anything but medkits around anyway.