Marvel: Avengers Alliance is a Facebook game launched in March 2012 by Marvel and Playdom Online Games.In the game, the player, or Agent, is a S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit just finishing basic training when a mysterious Pulse comes out of space, wreaking havoc on electronic systems worldwide and showering New York with crystals of Isotope-8: an unknown but versatile substance capable of boosting human strength, speed, and endurance. S.H.I.E.L.D. soon learns that it also acts as a catalyst to focus all kinds of elemental and energy-based powers: heat, cold, electricity, magnetism, water, momentum...even magic.Naturally, the criminal underworld is eager to capitalize on this new opportunity. The smaller minds merely want to take advantage of the global confusion, but the bigger players quickly grasp the possibilities of this new source of power. Some of the biggest names in villainy are now in the Iso-8 game — HYDRA, A.I.M., the Hand, the Maggia criminal syndicate, the Wrecking Crew, the Brotherhood of Mutants, The Hood, each with their own agendas. And some of the Marvel Universe's greatest Chess Masters, like Magneto, the Mandarin, Loki, Dormammu, and even Doctor Doom, may be pulling strings behind the scene to form a villainous Syndicate of a scope never before considered. And what about all this talk about "The Circle of Eight"? It's clear S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers have their work cut out for them.The game takes place in an alternate continuity which somewhat resembles the Ultimate Marvel/Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is mostly based on the 616 comics. The storyline is split into seasons, which in turn are split into chapters comprising 6 missions apiece. Season 1 ran from March 2012 to April 2013, contained 12 Chapters and took place almost entirely in New York City. Season 2 (the current season) came out on August 1st, 2013, introduced a few new members of Mission Control (including fan-favorite Phil Coulson) and showed the SHIELD team branching out to deal with threats in the United Kingdom.The game plays as a turn-based Western RPG with Final Fantasy-esque mechanics (i.e. 2-D character sprites and Limited Animation).There are 2 sister games for iOS and Android called Avengers Initiative and Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, which are in the same Marvel XP continuity. Additionally, a Spinoff titled Marvel: Avengers Alliance Tactics is now available, featuring many concepts and assets from the main Avengers Alliance game as well as the basic turn-based format, but with some radically different mechanics.
This game provides examples of:
For the full list of the heroes and main villains, and descriptions of the classes they belong to, see the Character Sheet.
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100% Completion: Getting five-star mastery on all six missions of a chapter or completing all tasks/deploys/missions/Epic Bosses earns a special Golden Weapon (season 1) or alternate hero uniform (season 2) as a reward.
To recruit a Lockbox-exclusive hero, the player is required to collect 8 comic books to complete the specific set.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Weapons made of adamantium or vibranium bypass defense and certain resistances.
Actually a Doombot: Three of them for Chapter 3's Epic Boss Battle, another one in 10.5's Sequential Boss, and FIVE of them for Chapter 12's Premium Mission. Loki also loves to impersonate other Asgardians and reveal himself during the fight.
Skurge the Executioner, a Noble Demon that would Never Hurt an Innocent and whose last achievement in life was a Heroic Sacrifice that allowed him entry into Valhalla. He has gone on to become a posthumous ally to Thor and company ever since, but most adaptations, including this one, seems to have ignored that. At least they kept his loyalty to the Enchantress intact.
Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: One of the first weapons was the "Coulson's revenge". Agent Coulson was killed in the film The Avengers, and the game simply took it as canon, as they do with many things from the cinematic universe. As a fan favourite, Coulson was resurrected at the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and became another mission control character for the game. Although his resurrection is dealt with in the show, no in-game explanation was given for the existence of a weapon named that way.
Adapted Out: SpecOps 17 is based on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, including the mystery of the identity of the main villain. However, the movie has three twists so big that Nothing Is the Same Anymore. HYDRA is back after being thought non-existent for 70 years, S.H.I.E.L.D. ends up completely dismantled, and Nick Fury goes clandestine and is officially dead. The first one is not the case in-game. The other two would force to completely redefine the premise of the game itself, and so were simply ignored.
All According to Plan: Mandarin is not worried about the defeat of Savin at the end of SpecOps 9: he has served his purpose.
The Alliance: S.H.I.E.L.D. has joined forces with heroes of all stripes. Their counterpart is the villainous Syndicate.
All There in the Manual: Some of the plot particulars are clarified in the news section of Marvel XP. Agent Sitwell also only shows up here so far, as many of the bios are presented from his POV.
Alternate Universe: Although drawing inspiration from Earth-616, there are significant differences in the Marvel Gaming Universe's timeline. The most obvious differences can be seen in the stories of Avengers vs. X-Men and the Ultron saga. Characters who are dead in 616, such as Nightcrawler, Phoenix and Jasper Sitwell, are all happily alive here. There's also a number of elements borrowed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most prominently Stark's face and personality.
To complicate matters, the Incursion events introduced in Season 2 insinuate that there are other universes parallel to our existing Marvel Gaming Universe. The Pulse has sparked off a contraction in time-space between universes, and the current universe is being drawn closer to its parallels, causing contact between worlds. Incursion events aim to safeguard our world by defeating those from other dimensions.
Always Chaotic Evil: The Fugitive prison escapees have a Psychopath passive where they will attack anyone in order to gain power, including their own allies and themselves.
Always Night: The New York battle maps. The San Francisco map is Always Sunset.
Heimdall is a recruitable hero in Spec Ops 13. His Level 9 move transports the battle to Bifrost.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Applies to every hero and costume except Hulk's World War Hulk armor (where the metal guard is correctly on his left arm even when the sprite is facing right), Ms. Marvel, any member of the Fantastic Four and Thundra (whose top has a sleeve only for the right arm, also got two non-mirrored sprites, so the sleeve is always on the right arm). War Machine uses an Ambidextrous Sprite, except in his dialouge artwork, where the cannon (or machine gun in the case of his classic uniform) and the missile launcher are always in his left and right shoulders, respectively. The Iron Patriot dialogue artwork has the gatling gun mirrored, but his nametag in unreadably small letters, the "FF 445" in his shoulder, and the "002" in his arm? They will always be shown in the left side of the armor as they should.
Anagram Bin: The various Limited Edition scrolls are anagrams of famous meats.
Ancient Astronauts: Averted. A deploy wondered, was the Philosopher Stone made of ISO-8? Did the crisis happened earlier in history, and nobody realized it? Answer: No.
Animal Motif: Psylocke has the butterfly. Others are inscribed into their superhero codenames.
Animal-Themed Superbeing: Black Cat, Black Panther, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Squirrel Girl, Phoenix, Wolverine, Wasp and Tigra have distinct animal themes in their costumes and attacks. Mockingbird, Hawkeye, Iron Fist (dragons), and Psylocke (butterflies) are borderline cases.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Initially, alternate costumes offered just that, and a version under a different class. After the introduction of the Avengers-based uniforms, these costumes gradually gained abilities to the point that these weren't just simple costumes.
In Season 2, the alternate costumes gotten from 100%Completion are major upgrades to the character, as are the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse costumes introduced in Spec Ops 16.
10 units of Energy are required per battle. Energy refills at a rate of one point every six minutes, or one hour between fights once you run out for the day, so you'll be compelled to either buy more or take a break. Regarding PVP, Challenge points refresh at a rate of 1 per 24 minutes or full refill at two hours.
Heroes cannot level-up normally without being trained first at the expense of S.H.I.E.L.D. points, silver, and time, which all increase in duration and cost as the hero progresses in higher levels. This behooves the player to recruit and use other heroes in the roster while the hero-in-training is disabled for use. A later update added the ability to buy a second "Training room", letting you train two heroes at once, but the time and resource costs are still there.
Like character training, item research takes silver, S.H.I.E.L.D. points, and time ranging from a few minutes to a full day.
Special Ops missions introduce Unstable Iso-8 as an additional constraint: battles and deploys use 10, mini-boss and boss battles use 20, and Spec-Op-related research can use up to 120.
April Fools' Day: 2013 "introduces" Galactus as a playable character and various overpowered weapons from The Avengers as daily roulette prizes.
Appropriated Title: It really focuses on the Marvel universe as a whole, rather than one team of heroes. Still, there was a popular movie with the name of Avengers, might as well put it in the title.
Armed Legs: Made possible with shoe-based weapons like "Anklebiter", "Das Boot" and "Reboot".
Arc Number: The number eight in Season 2, where the Circle of Eight debuted. The said cult murders eight characters from the Marvel universe per chapter. It is later revealed every 8 kills are made for each of the Eight Hammers of the Worthy, elite soldiers of Cul Borson. For the next 8 chapters (Ch.5 till 12), each new hammer turns one of the Alliance members into the Worthy (as chapter reward outfits).
'Adaptable' heroes who require different attack combos for varying situations, such as Gambit or Black Widow, are completely useless. On the other hand, heroes like Psylocke and Emma Frost are lethal, because their moves are useful in almost any situation.
AI opponents have a penchant for attacking Kitty Pryde, who 1) is immune to at least 80-90% of attacks when phased and 2) will counterattack automatically in her Shadowcat uniform.
Opponent AI Invisible Woman uses Force Cage (which stops you from attacking, but PREVENTS the other team from damaging you as well) on you. The rest of the AI team then uselessly focus fire on you while you sit safe in the Force Cage and your teammates demolish them handily.
Opponent AI Human Torch uses Nova Blast to kill himself and the rest of his team. (Or did until they reduced the damage that it causes to his own team)
In a Human Torch Mirror Match, the AI will exclusively use Flame Stream, which reactivates the Flame On! buff.
Do not rely on a specific or complicated setup for your Away From Keyboard defense (be it gear or heroes), because the AI's chance of following it is 0%.
Opponent AI Agents who use Quantum Jumper and forfeit their turn, even though there is no one else on their team.
Opponent AI Agents who use Quick Action buffs to boost offensive output, followed by...a non-offensive move.
Opponent AI Agents who use a healing gadget as their first move of the game, before their team has lost any health.
An Asskicking Christmas: Christmas 2013: on December 25 you can open the boxes and get Dr. Doom as a playable character. Unfortunately, not even the spirit of the day was enough for Reed Richards or Captain America to welcome him with open arms...
A lot of Season 2 Missions start with Fury "introducing" you to a character, even if you recruited that character months before and have been using him non-stop ever since. (Dr. Voodoo actually gets a formal introduction both times he appears in Season 2)
Ass Shove: Implied by the "Where the Sun Don't Shine" attack by the enemies in mission 4-1.
Two of the weapons from SpecOps 5, the Hoarfrost Mace and Barrowguard, will allow you to revive upon dying. The Barrowguard can do this infinitely, but only after three turns have passed since the last revive.
Plotwise, the Hood and the Red Skull have been resurrected through a combination of magic and Iso-8 as of the end of Chapter 10. The Hood's case was just a test for the latter.
In Spec Ops 11 - Sins of the Fathers, a major plot point is that Blackheart is brought back from the dead.
Revival mechanics are also part of the moveset of certain characters, such as Phoenix (see the Characters sheet for details).
Back-to-Back Badasses: The game gives you extra bonus points at the end of the match if the Agent brought along two heroes with certain similarities in group affiliation, history, motif, etc.
Badass Back: About a third of the heroes (including the male Agent) stand with their bodies turned away from the enemy.
Badass Bookworm: Most of the intelligent characters, who get a teamup bonus titled 'Eggheads'. Some of the heavy hitters are better termed Genius Bruisers.
When you first encounter Black Widow in the tutorial mission, she is severely injured by foes. The aim of this is to teach players how to use items from their Supplies, and you must heal her with a Medkit.
About half of the SpecOps heroes are in some difficulty and join the Agent after SHIELD assists them. Notable cases are Mockingbird (kidnapped, Brainwashed and Crazy), Emma Frost (Mystique acted in her name and ruined her reputation), and Wonder Man (pursued by HYDRA).
Maria Hill and Nick Fury go missing in Chapter 7 and do not return until Chapter 9.
Badass Normal: Besides the Agents, who can only fight on field because of their gear, there's also a teamup bonus for heroes who have no special powers, weapons or armour ("Average Joes").
SpecOps 15 ends when Arcade decides he's proven his point with that particular version of Murderworld and lets everyone go. Mission Control is impotent, Professor X's psychic communications are limited or blocked, and the game takes pains to establish that no one — not even Kitty Pryde, Doctor Strange, or the Asgardians — was able to escape Murderworld.
At the end of SpecOps 7, Hank Pym successfully creates Ultron. This turns out to be a huge mistake that requires a sequel SpecOps to fix, and Pym has yet to live it down.
Kang:You think you are on the brink of a great discovery...but I come from a future where you are vilified as the man who began the destruction of the world.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Several characters are either nude or wearing outfits so form-fitting that they may as well be naked, but nothing shows.
Except, somewhat jarringly, Captain Britain, who features a rather noticable bulge where one would expect a man wearing a skin-tight outfit to.
Bash Brothers: Invoked with Season 2's Heroic Battles, where certain heroes are required to pair-up against a villain team (along with comedic banter). First example is Cable & Deadpool, while Battle Couple also applies with the likes of X-Men's Gambit and Rogue.
Batter Up: Also the name of the passive from Scrapper prison escapees, who fittingly use baseball bats as their weapon of choice.
The Agent can do the same if they win the S.H.I.E.L.D. Slugger, a PvP Season 7 reward.
Battle Aura: Suggested by the various suits of power armor for the Agent. The Phoenix Five costumes give their wearers a phoenix-shaped aura when using the Phoenix Force (Jean Grey's is constantly visible).
Battle Couple: Bonus points with interesting taglines are granted if the Agent brings in a pair with a past/present romance: Cyclops & Phoenix or Emma, Hawkeye & Black Widow or Mockingbird, Gambit & Rogue, Kitty & Colossus, Mr. Fantastic & Invisible Woman, Black Panther & Storm, Spider-Man & Black Cat, Vision & Scarlet Witch, Hank Pym & Wasp, and so on.
The Subcinctus and Meretrix succubi have a move called "Temptation," usable on both male and female characters.
Similarly, the Enchantress' "Alluring Voice" attack affects men and women equally.
Satana's Consume Soul. Being the succubus that she is, she uses this move equally on male and female characters/agents.
Big Applesauce: Most of the battle maps are New York regions with recognizable landmarks, both real and fictional (Stark Tower, the Chrysler Building, etc.)
Big Bad Ensemble: The story is chock full of Marvel's most notorious as well as obscure villains. With several enemies working together against S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury and gang have a hard time figuring out exactly what is going on.
Big Ball of Violence: Nightcrawler's Triple Threat and almost all of Quicksilver's moves evoke this in their animations.
Big "NO!": When Wolverne killed Bob, the agent of Hydra, Deadpool's pet... I mean, friend.
Deadpool: Haha, wow, we sure got thrashed, eh Bob? ... Bob? Oh poop. I keep forgetting other people don’t have a healing factor
Chapter 10's Premium Mission Der Rote Schadel Lebt Noch is German for " The Red Skull Lives Again". Even when the chapter was pending release, its title and flavor text foreshadowed the infamous WWII villain's resurrection.
Spec Ops 5.3 Mission "Götterdämmerung" translates to "Twilight of the Gods" in German. With the plot partially inspired by The Ring of the Nibelung.
In Spec Ops 2 Mission 2, Crimson Dynamo speaks of being hired by a 'mutant oboroten lady'. 'Oboroten' roughly translates into 'shapeshifter' in Russian, as Maria Hill subsequently notes, hinting at Mystique's role as mastermind.
Body Horror: Several villains have engaged in horrific "experiments" that turn humans into unwilling mutants or cyborgs.
Bonus Boss: Epic Boss battles, which can only be accessed by completing every fight and deployment in whatever mission they're hidden in.
Epic Bosses are usually the 25th and final task required to unlock the central hero in SpecOps missions.
Book Ends: A meta example. Green Unstable ISO-8 was used for the first Spec Ops; that color ISO-8 was not used again until Spec Ops 17, the final Spec Ops to air before the game was discontinued on Playdom. Both Spec Ops centered around SHIELD intrigue and featured SHIELD agents as the reward heroes.
Boss-Only Level: Chapter 12 is a Boss-only Chapter; all hostile spots are boss battles.
Boss Rush: The non-Premium missions in Chapter 12 don't feature fights with mooks at all, instead featuring multiple Minibosses and a single Boss that can indeed be fought in one fight.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Deadpool, as per norm. He even browses the Internet while waiting for his turn. His attacks involve using a laptop, and he can beat his opponents with his own life bar.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: All the resources needed to play this game are in limited supply and can be purchased with Gold, which is available in-game but is more readily acquired by paying real money.
To gain considerable (but not foolproof) advantage in PvP: recruit all heroes, bring them all to Level 14, and don't forget to dish out as much "gold" to buy the overpowered limited edition gear and socket the most current items in your armory. You can't do all of those without paying real money to shorten the time frame.
The British Invasion: A term informally used by Playdom to describe a string of British-themed hero releases tying into chapter 13 (or the first chapter of Season 2), set predominantly in London - Psylocke, Captain Britain, Black Knight and Union Jack.
British Stuffiness: Invoked with Captain Britain and Union Jack, who are stuffed full of British cliches in the names of their passives and attacks.
Broken Streak: SpecOps 6 started the trend of PVP heroes being a Required Party Member with Deadpool. SpecOps 14 bucked this tradition by instead using previous SpecOps heroes, Mockingbird and Valkyrie. When SpecOps 15 rolled around, both a PVP hero and a SpecOps hero (Bishop and Emma Frost, respectively) became the requisites, both following the previous trend and presumably starting a new one at the same time. The setback in 14 may have something to do with the controversial results of PVP season 9 where virtually all PVP participants in that tournament were awarded Angel.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Operation 8, Mission 6. Tony notes that while there is a breach of security at the UN, it is nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact that the Destroyer is involved. So, a UN security breach is apparently common enough occurrence to be unremarkable.
The Bus Came Back: Chapter 12 sees the return of Bosses that previously were only seen in Spec Ops.
Many Spec Op only bosses are available in the Simulator. (And because it's holographic recreations of them, rather than the bosses themselves, you can fight them with themselves)
But Not Too Evil: Necessary to justify the future recruitment of ambiguous villains who are sometimes heroes.
Cain and Abel: Wonder Man (good) and Grim Reaper (evil). Formerly: Daimon Hellstrom (good) and Satana (evil, before she fled to seek refuge with SHIELD). Also formerly: Thor (good) and Loki (evil, before he agreed to help SHIELD destroy the Dark Elves in exchange for his freedom).
In Mission 2.6, electronic systems are seen going haywire near Avengers Mansion, affecting Servobots and the Crimson Dynamo. Tony Stark talks about bringing Hank Pym in to investigate. This eventually leads to Spec Ops 7 (where Hank works on containing the problem in a robotic body dubbed 'Ultron').
Spec Ops 8 follows directly after Spec Ops 7 when Ultron was created and went rogue. At this point, Ultron begins amassing his own army of clones, and his focal creation is an android he named "The Vision".
Yet another hilarious callback for Mission 2.6 occurs in Spec Ops Mission 9.1. Crimson Dynamo boasts about his upgraded tech yet again, only for Iron Man to point out that the last time he did this, his armor was hacked by Ultron in 2.6.
In Mission 10.6, the Red Skull is resurrected by the Syndicate. This leads to Magneto's defection to the heroes' side, and explains 1) why Magneto was missing from the Brotherhood in Spec Ops mission 6.2 and 2) why the Brotherhood members were so angry at him, going so far as to even dub him a traitor. He mysteriously reappears as a boss in Chapter 11, but it turns out that this Evil Knockoff is in fact Mystique, and Mags himself goes to dispatch her.
Spec Ops 1 involved the search and rescue of Mockingbird, with a loss to main boss the Wrecker in mission 1.3 prompting him to taunt about the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. In Spec Ops 2, the player is then tasked by the White Queen herself, Emma Frost, to find out who impersonated her and solve the greater mystery behind Mockingbird's abduction. The Hellfire Club even makes a subsequent appearance in Spec Ops 6, with Emma retrieving Havok from her 'good' half of the Inner Circle to stop the Living Pharaoh's Power-Up into the Living Monolith.
In Spec Ops 4, a deploy task involves exchanging hellfire-tainted ISO-8 with the X-Men's Phoenix-tainted ISO-8, a leftover from the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline in Spec Ops 3.
In a Spec Ops 5 deploy, Wolverine demands to borrow a Quinjet from S.H.I.E.L.D., and Fury relents. When asked upon return the purpose of his sojourn, Wolverine only cryptically replies that "Let's just say that a couple of other Weapon X alumni have been in touch." When X-23 (Wolverine's Weapon X female clone) was released later, she utters this line of dialogue upon recruitment.
"...Logan said you could use some help. If he trusts you, so do I. "
In Mission 9.2, Stark snarks that he should just buy Bellevue Hospital himself because it keeps filling back up with evil people doing experiments right after they just cleared it out (see the Crimefighting with Cash entry). It seems he actually did just that, as in Spec Ops 10 it's under their control and where Wonder Man gets treated.
In Spec Ops Mission 11.2 Satana requests for help, and Tony Stark reminds her that she tried to kill them and abet Mephisto back in Spec Ops 4. Being an unapologetic half-succubus, she simply shrugs the matter off.
In their Heroic Battle (2.2.2), Daredevil calls Bullseye out on impersonating Hawkeye, which happened during the Dark Reign SpecOps.
Cap: All recruitable heroes max out at Level 14. The Agent is capped at level 300.
Captain Geographic: Several "nation"-themed heroes. Captains America and Britain have their own team-up bonus: "Patriotic."
Cardboard Prison: The Wrecking Crew have escaped from prison four or five times by Chapter 10. In SpecOps 5.3, Fury gets fed up and has you send a deploy to the Raft to tell them to tighten up their security.
Players can pick the gender, facial features, skin tone, hair color and style, and name of the Agent.
With the available alternate costumes, players can specify which class his/her heroes will take (for combat as well as PvP bonuses), as well as improve their stats with a variety of Iso-8 gems for those outfits.
Charged Attack: Gambit, Hulk, Magik, Quicksilver and Thor all require the use of a basic attack that provides stacks of buffs for their other attacks, causing increased damage or effects. One of the benefits of the Modern Armor Thor alt is that he starts combat fully charged.
Iron Man's Unibeam gets stronger with each use if fired every round.
Beast has a neat twist on this with his "Catch-22" move, which makes him stronger for every turn that he does not directly attack.
Captain Britain has a "Roar of Valor" power-up that boosts all his stats, gained whenever attacking a debuffed enemy or when an enemy is KO-ed. On the flipside, he loses a buff stack when an ally dies.
When in his Chivalrous Duty stance, Black Knight can absorb ranged attacks and convert them into the Sword of Light buff that increases his next Ebony Blade attack.
Black Panther is first referenced in-game as being busy with the ISO-8 situation in Wakanda, before appearing as a playable hero later.
Hank Pym was referenced in a number of regular mission deploys, before making his debut in Spec Op 7.
Daimon Hellstrom was first referenced as White King of the Hellfire Club in Spec Ops 2, and then in Spec Ops 4 as Satana's brother, before finally debuting in Spec Ops 11.
Doctor Voodoo is mentioned in two deploy missions, and was later released as a playable character.
Scarlet Witch notices that Vision's brain patterns are modeled after someone she knows. In a deploy mission for Beast, Nick Fury asks him to look at Pym's files to see who might have been used as the base for Vision, but we do not hear Beast's conclusions. Vision then confirms that his neural basis was from Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man in the 10th Spec Ops.
Tony mentions decorating the Christmas tree with his secretary girlfriend Pepper Potts in Spec Ops 5, before she makes her debut as Rescue in Spec Ops 9.
Several deploy and mission dialogues involve heroes being sent to liaise with Professor X, including Wolverine, Cyclops and Phoenix. However, the man himself does not appear until Season 2, as a NPC.
Interestingly, Namor used to be referenced on occasion, but has been entirely excised from the storyline in a Retcon.
That's unfortunately due to Marvel apparently not having the rights to Namor for the game.
Deadpool was first referenced in the random Pretty Cool Guy buff that could appear for Scarlet Witch's Probability Field. Subsequently and in true Troll fashion, he suddenly appeared in-game as a future release, despite no official announcement beforehand that he would become a playable (and ahead of some other previously-announced names).
The BFG Coulson's Revenge was introduced shortly after The Avengers hit the theatres. However, Agent Coulson himself was only namedropped in-game at the end of Season 1 Chapter 12, and he is due for his first appearance in Season 2 Chapter 1.
Beast making an early-bird appearance in Spec Ops 3 during a lab research task, as 'Dr. Hank McCoy', before his subsequent release as a playable character. (Although it should be noted that his future release was confirmed at this point.)
The Red Skull at the end of Mission 10.6, after Luke Cage fails to stop the Hand's resurrection ritual despite defeating Elektra.
The Mandarin appearing at the end of Spec Ops 9, claiming to have masterminded the Extremis plot and preparing to make their next move.
The Chessmaster: Doctor Doom is revealed to have created the Syndicate for his own motives, successfully uniting villain factions when they were needed and then allowing them to fight among themselves subsequently to be part of his Syndicate. He then lets S.H.I.E.L.D. do clean-up on Manhattan's villains, stalling for time to complete his plans and invade the city.
Chest Blaster: Iron Man's Unibeam, duh. Tactical Force from the HYDRA Four also has his HateBeam, which is essentially his version of Iron Man's signature attack.
Havok does this as well.
Christmas Episode: Spec Ops 5, The Wild Hunt, was released in time for 2012's December holidays. It features frost giants, snow and Asgardians galore. Oh, and the Helicarrier gets decked with Christmas decor.
Tony Stark: (Loki) might think it's time for the Wild Hunt, but I've got a Christmas tree to decorate. Pepper's going to kill me if I'm late.
Tony Stark: All we need to do now is get rid of Loki, and then we can get on with the important Christmas stuff. I mean, of course, overeating and lots of loot.
Christmas Rushed: When a new chapter, SpecOp, task, etc; is released, it can include a problem for those who play the game translated to another language: the translation is not ready yet. The elements of the interface that had already been there are in the translated language, but the new ones (such as dialogues) are in English.
City of Adventure: Almost all the action takes place in New York or in convenient portals from the city leading to hell and the Bifrost, with the only exception of San Francisco (as the X-Men are located there).
The various ISO-8 gems are also color coded in a prismatic fashion: Red is Attack/Accuracy, Blue is Health/Stamina, Yellow is Defense/Evasion, and the secondary colors combine the matching primary color stats. That being said, chaotic/rainbow-colored ISO-8 are the most valuable, being able to raise all stats by significant values.
Certain Mooks are Palette Swapped, but that usually tells you how strong the enemies are. For example, the Hand (Red > Green > Black); Mutated Human Experiments (Purple > Blue > Red); Maggia (Purple > Blue > Brown); Escaped Prisoners (Yellow > Blue > Orange); Thugs (Black > Red > Blue).
Combat Medic: The Agent will often serve as this, with one or more of the many healing and buffing gadgets available, if not straight up The Medic. Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Omega Sentinel, and others can also spread some healing power around in between taking names.
In a slightly unusual variant of this trope, Valkyrie and her team gain health when an opponent inflicted with the Deathglow debuff (through her Dragonfang ability) dies.
Colossus and Emma Frost's passive Phoenix powers grant a chance to greatly restore ally health and stamina, and a chance to clear an ally's debuffs every round respectively.
This trope is Rescue's whole purpose.
Combat Pragmatist: Ares is armed with an axe and a sword, but he's not beyond sticking the sword in the ground and attack with a gun instead. (In fact, he only uses the axe and sword in one attack. Two of his other attacks use guns, and the final attack uses no weapon at all)
Abilities with Desperation Attack attached to them inflict more damage when the hero/Agent has lower health. Valkyrie's Geirr is a straight example. Human Torch's Nova Blast comes with Power at a Price if there aren't enough protections, as it will hit everybody, including himself and his team.
When Scarlet Witch uses Probability Field, it may give her opponent "Power of Four" (see Power at a Price below), "Sudden Death" (which leaves the opponent with 1% health, but it removes all debuffs and it greatly increases attack) or both. If you are facing her on PvP and you get these, these are major comeback opportunities.
The Hoarfrost Mace (from Spec Ops 5). If you are hit with an attack that would normally kill you, you are revived to 1% of health. This removes the sacrifice status, but it gives the team "Sacrificial Strength", which gives a major attack buff.
The various revival mechanics discussed under Back from the Dead, giving your team a fighting chance even if you got unlucky with the turn order.
PVP also has this with regards to randomly generated opponents. If you have defeated an opponent soundly one time, and then the same opponent comes up during any of your subsequent battles of the day, prepare to have a humiliating Curb Stomb Battle where the AI will be as ruthless as possible. The same thing does apply if you have been beaten by the opponent first, then it becomes more manageable on a rematch.
A trait of Asgardians in general. Thor, Sif, and Valkyrie have a tendency to react with dead earnest nobility, seriousness, and poise to the sorts of low-brow or inherently doofy situations and villains where the other heroes would be more likely to voice sarcasm and/or irreverence.
Hill also sometimes comes off as this in her reactions to the odder/weirder problems, especially when in comparison to Stark or Fury being wise-asses instead.
Doctor Strange appears to be this but sometimes shows a dry and subtle sense of humor.
The Vulture: Oooh, the magic show's about to start. I can't wait.
Doctor Strange: Who mocks the mystic arts only proves himself the greater fool. Now, watch.
Since Namor was not an available character by the time of the AvX Spec-Op and Jean Grey had the fortune to be alive, she becomes part of the Phoenix Five in his stead. Jean's Phoenix Five costume is an amalgam of P5 Emma's chestpiece and P5 Cyclops' suit. Her P5 persona is essentially the Dark Phoenix, being the Epic Boss of the Avengers side after defeating P5 Cyclops.
While Hank Pym dons his Modern Giant-Man costume and uses his regular name, his moveset utilizes abilities from his Ant-Man and Giant-Man/Goliath personas.
War Machine gets Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot armor as an alternate costume, as a tie-in promotion to Iron Man 3.
Moon Knight is literally this, borrowing fighting styles from Captain America, Wolverine and Spider-Man.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: To make up for the otherwise abysmal AI play in PVP, the computer has a much better chance at procuring random buffs. This explains how Scarlet Witch can Reality Warp away all your attacks, Emma Frost's stat-raising-debuff-cleansing Cosmic Power appears on all your enemies every turn, and why Ghost Rider just won't die. Worst-case scenario, a near-death enemy Scarlet Witch procures Power of Four on a heavy hitter with her Probability Field, and begins to massacre your otherwise very healthy team with Epic Overkill blows.
The game's prize roulette in general, thanks to the Random Number God. The margin to get a good prize is quite low, which is even blatant with regards to Boss/Epic Boss rewards (which teases you of all the possible prizes). Chances are 7 out 9 possible prizes are very eye-catching; however, the highest possibility that the cursor stops on is the most measly i.e. one command point or one supply better off sold for more silver.
Each Premium roulette nets 2 exclusive prizes: one themed for the guest star hero and one for the villain, usually related to their powers or events in the comics. Spec Ops and Epic Boss roulettes have 1 such prize based on the villain.
The "Modern" costumes of some of the characters are loosely based on either their most recent arc (Astonishing/Ultimate) or from the Marvel origin films (WWII Cap, Modern Thor and Sif to name a few); which in turn the Marvel origin films are also a nod on various elements from the 616/Ultimate comics.
A Cyclops-themed weapon, the Ruby Quartz Rifle, has the caption 'Surprisingly slim for a hard hitter'. Slim is, in fact, Scott's main nickname.
Rogue's extra turn buff after using Southern Comfort is Ms. Marvel's Kree Speed, a reference to both characters' complicated history. They also get their own team-up bonus, Identity Theft.
Continuity Porn: Keep playing the game each day and get amazed on the SpecOps that bring in more and more of those Marvel characters you had always loved. Such as SpecOps 18: Symbiosis, where you will meet...Anti-Venom? Scream? Toxin? Sandman? Really scraping the bottom of the barrel, hum?
Most of the heroes and villains killed by the Circle of 8 are namedropped just for this. Captain Ultra, noooooo!
Contrary to most mooks, a lot of the bosses are "Relentless" or immune to Stun and can take two turns in a row (or the occasional three). True to the comics, some bosses are also immune to certain damage/debuff types, such as Magneto (psychic), Hydro-Man (burning), or Blob (bleeding). Additionally, certain percentage-based attacks and debuffs like Mental Anguish, Bifurcator and Fatal Blow are significantly less effective on bosses, although they still deliver quite a blow.
Though Hydro-Man is also a subversion when it comes to Storm's Blizzard or any other attack that causes Chilled, as it will actually affect him worse than it does the mooks, by causing him to freeze and lose all his turns until it wears off.
Crimefighting with Cash/Cut Lex Luthor a Check: At the end of one of the missions, Stark gripes about how the villains keep moving into the same hospital to do experiments right after they just cleared it out. He then wonders if he should just buy the hospital himself and keep them out that way. Fury snarks that it's the "The billionaire's solution." Amusingly, in Spec Ops 10 we see that he actually followed through with it.
Crisis Crossover: The Pulse is an excuse to unite the various heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe under one event.
Critical Hit Class: The core benefit of the Blaster class is that they always critically hit and ignore defense against any character in the Bruiser class.
Crutch Character: The starting heroes - Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye. They are all at least decent characters, especially with the purchase of alternate uniforms that greatly upgrade them, but you'll definitely have to diversify if you want more versatility or power in your squad. You will get one free hero after completing the first chapter, but you will have to start saving your Command Points from that point forward.
Nick Fury: Lock it down, Tony. That's an order. Tighter than a flea's—
Maria Hill: Agent, deploy to Avengers Mansion immediately. Assume all cybernetic objects are hostile.
Cute Bruiser: X-23. She's petite, young and cute...but she's also of the Bruiser class, a class usually filled with heavy-hitters like Hulk, Thor, Thing, Hercules or at least adult women like She-Hulk or Valkyrie.
Justified because unlike other conventional Bruisers who have high durability and can easily take lots of punishment, she has a healing factor as replacement (superior to Wolverine's in the comic books). Also, have you seen the abs on that girl?
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Scarlet Witch shows a flash of pity for Omega Sentinel before obliterating her, and commenting on her suppressed humanity.
Scarlet Witch: You've already had an unlucky life. Why make it worse?
Omega Sentinel: Purification imperative is in effect. Commence.
Scarlet Witch: I've known machines with more soul than this thing. She seems to have been purged of her humanity.
Cable counts as an interesting variant. Since he's been infected with the Techno-Organic Virus all his life, Cable's had to suppress it his whole life or else it'll consume his whole body (limiting his naturally powerful psychic abilities in the process too). This aspect is even incorporated into his playing style since he can "unleash" the TO Virus and go into his psychic mode.
Omega Sentinel, whose nanite technology grants her powerful weapons and durability, at the cost of turning her into a mutant-killing machine. She got better, fortunately.
Iron Man and Rescue, since their powered armor are what essentially keep them alive.
Cable is a strange case since he's not a Cyborg in the traditional sense. Because of the Techno Organic virus that eats away at his body, the parts that have been "consumed" are technically organic metal in a similar sense to Colossus' metallic state.
Damage Over Time: Several effects. The 'basic' ones are Poisoned, Dark Void, Bleeding, Burning, Chilled and their magical equivalents Soulfire and Deathfrost. Some villain-inflicted debuffs (and Bleeding) cause damage per offensive action taken.
The roster of heroes with 'Black' in outfit and codename is increasing: Black Bolt, Black Cat, Black Knight, Black Panther, and Black Widow. Granted, Felicia Hardy (Cat) and Natasha Romanova (Widow) started as villains, but have since sided with the good guys. They all even have their own Team-Up Bonus, "The New Black".
In addition to the 'dark'-themed names above, there are plenty of creepy anti-heroes or hell-based characters who ally with you, such as Magik, Ghost Rider and Daimon Hellstrom.
Darker and Edgier: Spec Ops 15 is definitely this trope. It has the heroes and reformed villains battling to the death in Murderworld, and the pre-fight banter is much more serious and unpleasant compared to the usual snark, swagger, and camp. Arcade's Faux Affably Evil showboating is rather creepy-toned as well. Finally, Tony Stark isn't one of the heroes kidnapped, and while Emma Frost and Spider-Man do get in some snark it's just not the same as when Tony does it.
A Day in the Limelight: While the sheer number of heroes makes it hard to feature more than a few regularly, everyone eventually gets at least one dialogue to their name whether through deploys or boss team-ups. The Spec Ops in particular often require for deploy dialogues whomever are the most recently released characters.
The new Heroic Battles introduced in Season 2 aim to showcase interactions between classic hero teams, whose storylines or personalities may not be adequately covered in the game's main Pulse narrative. These include Gambit & Rogue, and Deadpool & Cable.
Deadpan Snarker: Iron Man, of course, though Fury also laces almost every other sentence with heavy-duty snark. In Spec Ops 4, Tony tells Doctor Strange that "snark is [his] department," and in a conversation with Phoenix in Spec Ops 6 he hints that he does it because of "nerves."
Though admittedly the game is something of a World of Snark, in that there's very few characters who don't toss off at least one snarky comment to somebody at some point.
Death or Glory Attack: The Tesseract Simulation Device. It affects everyone on the field. It may transport them to a cosmic rift that makes them evade all attacks and gives a 30% attack bonus for a full turn. If it benefits your team, you've nearly won. If it benefits the opposing team, you basically lost.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Tried and denied in the first example, the second on the other hand, plays it straight.
Gambit:You know, dis not be the first time I steal jewels for a beautiful woman... Hill:Don't even think about it. Gambit:Heh. Mebbe it's not jus' thievin' I be rusty at.
Spec Ops 2: Long Live the Queen was an exercise in this. A typically sarcastic Emma Frost approaches S.H.I.E.L.D. (specifically, your player character) for help to investigate shenanigans in the Hellfire Club. At the end of the story, you have sufficiently impressed her enough to join your team. Where the recruitment button for other Spec Ops characters says 'Recruit Them', it says 'Impress Her' for Emma's!
Determinator: Nothing will stop Hank Pym from completing his project. Not Tony Stark's cynicism, not the A.I.M. goons trying to hijack his work, not Doctor Doom's meddling and certainly not equally-determined plunderers from the future.
Hank Pym:You go to hell, Kang. Nobody tells me what to do in my own lab with my own mind.
Kang:I fight for everyone in a future you do not wish to see, Pym. I know pride, and it is even stronger in you than it is in me. Fool.
Difficulty Spike: After earning five stars in any regular missions, subsequent runs will have enemies scale to your level.
If you're overleveled, you can opt to do Challenge Mode at any point. The enemies are set at five levels higher than your agent. Yes, this includes the Premium Missions. But you have a chance to gain level-customized gear and extremely rare epic gear.
Divided We Fall: The plot of SpecOps 3. Five of the X-Men got possessed by the Phoenix Force and wanted to use it to save mutantkind. The Avengers, on the other hand, were of the opinion that the Phoenix Force Is Not a Toy, and that it would end up wiping out the entire planet, mutants and all. And while they were at each others' throats, the bad guys were trying to turn the situation to their advantage. This even turned into a gameplay mechanic; you had to choose whether to side with the X-Men or the Avengers each time you started a mission, and you weren't allowed to use core members from the opposite side during fights or deploys.
Repeated in SpecOps 15, where Arcade's machinations divided the team into two camps (heroes vs. former villains), although the line is more indistinct this time.
Dual Boss: actively encouraged, fighting the Mini-Boss(es) with the main Boss nets a nice bonus for the mission score, and in SpecOps this will save the player valuable Unstable Iso-8s.
This is a major Guide Dang It when it comes to what not to do in a Spec Ops. If one of the tasks asks you to defeat a Mini-Boss, go after the Mini-Boss only. If you try to two-bird or three-bird, but the next task asks you to defeat the actual boss, you just wasted a run's worth of Unstable Iso-8s. So if that task comes up (usually within the first 10 tasks of a Spec Ops), don't attempt to Dual or Triple Boss.
Dub Name Change: Rogue and Juggernaut are translated as "Titania" and "Leviatán" for the game in Spanish. Perhaps because those were the names used in Spanish translation of X-Men back in the 1990s, the first big non-comic book production featuring the X-Men. First Installment Wins, so who cares about the movies and later animated series, where those translated names were not used?
Dynamic Difficulty: Premium and Spec Ops missions always scale to your Agent's current level. This also happens after achieving five-star mastery on any other mission.
In the first Spec Ops, in order to recruit Mockingbird, you had to get five stars on all three missions. For the subsequent Spec Ops, you do not need to five star every mission, but you will have to follow all twenty-five tasks in that order.
The requirement to unlock Mission 6.6 was to recruit Colossus. It has since been changed to Phoenix. However, there was a bug regarding unlocking the mission. The safest bet as of now is to recruit Colossus and Phoenix, just in case recruiting Phoenix doesn't unlock 6.6.
The entirety of Player Versus Player. When the game started it was an optional aspect of the game. Once the PvP tournament began, almost half of the game was focused on it. Early seasons gave advantage to powerhouse characters like Emma Frost, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch and Capt. America. Later on, the focus shifted to increased bonuses for heroes above Level 9. As of Season 6 with the advent of the Aegis Armors, all advantage was given to the highest Attack and Defense bonuses in their armory: players with outdated socket items in the armory will get pummeled. Hard.
Earn Your Fun: The Golden Weapons and the Epic Boss weapons are better than the items for purchase, but acquiring them is not easy. Doubly true for characters or items obtainable through the SpecOps missions.
With the introduction of Empowered ISO-8, expect to grind Heroic Battles for a very long time, since character-specific ISOs only drop there.
From Season 2, Chapter 4 onwards, Customized gear now have a special attribute if it is won in a mission's Challenge Mode.
The End Is Nigh: Discussed in Mission 4-3 when S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers a mutant wearing a sandwich board sign and asks the Agent to send someone to check it out. Turns out he's just calling for a mutant rights demonstration.
Tony Stark: Who wears those anymore? Is it going to say THE END IS NIGH? (his emphasis)
Enemy Civil War: The Syndicate gradual collapse by the end of Chapter 10, starting with the resurrection of Red Skull and Magneto's defection to S.H.I.E.L.D. Chapter 12 showsthe Syndicate's complete disintegration into different factions, as you take on Loki's minions, AIM, Hydra, the Criminal/Mystical Underworld, the Red Skull and his posse, before culminating with a final throwdown with Dr. Doom, where he reveals the founding of and the subsequent collapse of the Syndicate, were all according to his plans..
Enemy Mine: The Agent can take any two heroes into battle, regardless of their past (or current) level of regard for one another. Ever wanted to deploy, Captain America & Phoenix Five Cyclops or Emma Frost & Kitty Pryde together in the same battle? Go ahead!
Partially averted in the Avengers vs. X-Men Spec Ops, where you couldn't field core Avengers members in X-Men missions (and by extension, have Avengers members fight against each other) and vice versa.
Another aversion like the example above is SpecOps 15 where you had to choose between playing with the heroes and the villains.
Worldbreaker Hulk can fight side-by-side with same members of the Illuminati who exiled him to space.
Averted with Doctor Doom, who's so despised by everyone that you can only have Doom team up with the Agent as a two-person unit in battle.
Empty Levels: Leveling up your heroes doesn't increase any of their 6 base statsnote that is for when the Agent levels up instead, but only as means of unlocking his/her complete moveset and opening all Iso-8 slots; each new outfit has a unique set of slots for further Iso-8 customization. Fortunately, the game awards you with a massive PVP bonuses if you level up your heroes past Level 9.
Formerly the case with "customized" gear, whose power level is determined by the level of the Agent when s/he acquired it. Mitigated with the "reforge" mechanic, which will bring the gear up to the Agent's level at the cost of a hefty sum of gold, the in-game currency. At this point, such gear can still be obsolete level-wise and will need to be reforged in the future.
"Reactive" Iso-8 works the same way custom weapons/gear do, taking on the Agent's level on the moment of socketing, but cannot be reforged.
Magneto may do many things to ensure the survival of his brethren, but he'll draw the line at cooperating with resurrected Nazi war criminals.
Sandman is also an example of this once he realizes what the Green Goblin plans to do with the symbiotes in Spec Ops 18.
Everything Fades: Defeated foes either fade into purple when beaten normally or blood red if Overkilled.
Everyone Loves Blondes: It's pretty much an established Running Gag that the limited-edition Spec Ops heroes available to be won are going to be blondes. Spec Ops 1-3 and 5 were all blonde women: Mockingbird, Emma Frost, Magik and Valkyrie. For the men we have the 6th & 7th, Havok and Hank Pym, and the 4th, Ghost Rider, is blonde when he's not on fire.
Eventually averted with the Vision's release (bald android with green head), although lampshaded in-game when Tony Stark suggests that Vision wear a blonde wig.
Some folks are still arguing that the blonde theory holds, because Vision (Spec Ops 8) was constructed from a template of the original Human Torch, who is blonde; Rescue (Spec Ops 9) is played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the movies, and she happens to be blonde.
The blonde streak ended earlier with SpecOps 8's Vision (synthezoid) and with SpecOps 10's Wonder Man who is a brunette.
Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Profoundly averted. The Syndicate rapidly dissolves into chaos, while the SHIELD alliance holds despite setbacks like Ultron because the heroes can set aside their differences and work together.
Evil Knockoff: The bogus HYDRA Avengers in the Chapter 5 Premium Mission.
The U-Foes, of the Fantastic Four. Which was their whole backstory, really. Referenced multiple times in pre-fight banter between the U-Foes and their Fantastic Four counterparts.
Vapor: Oh, the jealousy. Pathetic.
Invisible Woman: I'm jealous? You're the one who tried to replicate our first mission, and you think I'm jealous. Project much?
Faceless Goons: HYDRA, RAID, AIM, street thugs, Test Subjects, Hellfire Club soldiers, and the Circle of Eight consist of them.
Fantastic Racism: Twofold. First is Magneto and the Brotherhood's "homo superior" modus operandi of transforming captured humans into mutated soldiers. Once Red Skull is Back from the Dead, he begins his own campaign of destroying the Ubermensch (inferiors) faction of the Syndicate, i.e. the mutant Brotherhood.
Fixed Damage Attack: Damage-over-time debuffs. Almost all of them has a fixed percentage amount based off the victim's maximum health. Debuffs like Dark Void, Burning, and Poison depletes the same amount each turn, while Bleeding is only one-third of the damage (but can have three stacks and damage almost doubles with Ravaged).
Foregone Conclusion: Spec Ops 7 adapts Hank Pym's quest to create Ultron and its eventual fall to sentient villainy.
Spec Ops 8 is a direct sequel adaptation, where Ultron creates the Vision to fight the Avengers, only for Vision to turn against him and stand with the Avengers.
Form-Fitting Wardrobe: A number of characters, but Vapor's◊ outfit◊ takes the top prize for looking naked but in dark green. Scarlet Witch and Crimson Cowl's outfits both appear like a pink bodysuit wrapped around with a red one-piece "bathing suit" and a huge cloak.
One of the AIM goons' buffs in mission 1-4 is titled this, described as "Healing with the power of SCIENCE!" (their emphasis)
Pym will build his Ultron pet project no matter what, no matter who points out all the things that can go wrong with it...not even if he gets an Ominous Message from the Future.
Fore Shadowing: The loading screen, ironically enough, is this for certain characters. The loading screen shows four villains (Magneto, Loki, Juggernaut, and Dr. Doom). All of these characters were eventually released into the game as playable characters, though not in that order.
Four Is Death: Some of the formidable groups of supervillains have four members:
The U-Foes consist of Vector, X-Ray, Ironclad, and Vapor.
The Wrecking Crew is made up of Wrecker, Piledriver, Bulldozer and Thunderball.
The main Asgardian supervillains are Loki, the Destroyer, Executioner and Enchantress.
HYDRA's copycat Avengers (a.k.a. the HYDRA Four) in Mission 5.6: Militant (Captain America), Tactical Force (Iron Man), Hammer (Thor), and Bowman (Hawkeye)
The weapon "Power of Four" is literally this. Appropriately, it can be won after defeating the HYDRA Four.
Freudian Excuse: Magneto's story as to why he embarked on his extremist ways. Piecing the whole story together unlocks him as a playable character.
The three heroes of Mission Control. Tony - Id; Maria Hill - Ego; Nick Fury - Superego.
The three main Asgardian villains: Executioner - Id; Enchantress - Ego; Loki - Superego.
Friendly Fireproof: Averted on the villains' side with Fugitives who may attack their own team, and Abomination who consumes his own allies. Also averted literally with Human Torch's fire-based Nova Blast ultimate and his themed Handheld Hohlraum weapon, but there are instances where this can be beneficial (e.g. healing when Chaos Shield is up, or dissipating your team's Electromagnetic Field for extra turns).
Also, Fixer's Timed Grenades, BL-Beta/Alpha's Meltdown and Vapor's suicidal explosive/poison gas whammies when she's low on health. Abomination has another Collapsing Infrastructure debuff that afflicts everybody and stacks. Mephisto's Contractual Obligation targets his allies only, and instantly overkills them as he replenishes his own health.
Storm's Blizzard move originally hit everyone (including herself and allies), but it was later changed to it only affects enemies, the move, however, still shows blizzard falling over her and her allies.
Game-Breaking Bug: Combat Validation Errors. Earlier versions had battles cut off in the middle of a battle when there is an important update, forcing you to refresh the browser. Newer patches moved the force refresh at the end of the battle. Woe to players who are forced to refresh an important boss fight. The most frustrating part is these battles are marked as a total defeat, drastically reducing your gained mastery (in PVE) or your overall rating (in PVP). This is especially punishing in SpecOps, where mastery progress is very crucial and wasting more Unstable Iso-8 just to have another whole chapter run.
Genius Bruiser: Bringing in a pair of such heroes (Hulk, Iron Man, Hank Pym, etc.) earns the team-up bonus Dr. or Eggheads.
Some of the enemy move names as well, such as "Where the Sun Don't Shine" and "Money Shot".
"Where the Sun Don't Shine" also tends to hit right in the crotch, as do several other attacks including "Shank".
The Subcinctus succubus in Spec Ops 4 has an attack called "Petite Morte" (literally: little death), which is an old euphemism for an orgasm.
A similar enemy, Meretrix, has a name which meant "prostitute" back in the Ancient Roman days.
In one of the Spec Ops 6 deploys, Deadpool asks the player if you can send him on a mission with the Scarlet Witch and give them a Team-Up bonus, as he wants to "team her up real bad".
In one of his dialogues, Nick Fury describes the "shinola" as having hit the fan.
Daimon Hellstrom's succubus summons involve different euphemisms for sexy time: "Amorous Congress", "La Petite Mort" and "Beast with Two Backs".
Spec Ops 10, Task 7 is called "Schmidt Happens".
This exchange between M.O.D.O.K. and She-Hulk:
M.O.D.O.K.: You come to face M.O.D.O.K. again? My pleasure in killing you will be enhanced.
She-Hulk: Enhance your pleasure? I don't think so.
A surprisingly dark version of this trope may be represented by the pre-fight dialogue done by Magneto and Red Skull. Taking into account both character's backstories, one could easily misconstrue their dialogue as talking about the possible extermination of the Jews. Seriously dark shit.
An unintentional example/graphical oversight that got under Playdom's radar, and it involves Psylocke's X-Force costume when it's facing to the left.◊ Possibly due to her leg sprites being pushed a bit more forward than her torso, it looks like Psylocke is exposing herself!
The Ghost: Various characters have been mentioned who are important for plot purposes but unlikely to be playable or get dialogue sprites, like Professor Xavier, Dum Dum Dugan, and Wong.
Season 2 finally gives us Professor X as a full NPC with a dialogue sprite, but also adds mentions of MI13 and Faiza Hussain to the list.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: the Epic Boss the player needed to defeat in order to unlock Havok? Norman Osborn, a.k.a. the Green Goblin, the last character you'd ever expect in a Havok-centric storyline. (Previous Spec Ops bosses, normal or Epic, at least follow the general theme of the operation's story.)
Fury: Joint operations among the enemy. Terrific. Constrictor: The Maggia's just in this for the sweet HYDRA paycheck. Push back hard enough and they'll slither back to their protection rackets and gambling dens. Tony Stark: You hear that? Sounds to me like someone's volunteering to do the pushing. Constrictor: ...Me and my big mouth.
Gotta Catch Them All: There is a roster of Marvel heroes who can be unlocked through completing SpecOps missions or collecting comic covers through Lockboxes, won by finishing at the top of PvP tournaments, or recruited with Command Points.
Nick Fury: Boomerang is overseeing the transfer of artifacts...but we don't know to who. Maria Hill: Whom. To whom. Tony Stark: Seriously? Hill: Chaos starts when little details get forgotten. We're in the business of fighting chaos. Fury: New S.H.I.E.L.D. executive order: Grammar corrections will be met with gunfire.
Grey Gargoyle's dialogue in Mission 5-2 has Gratuitous French, which Luke Cage even lampshades.
Wasp also gets to practice her French with Grey Gargoyle in a Spec Ops 7.2 miniboss fight.note Fluent French speakers have confirmed that the French in this dialogue is a bit muddled. 'Pa' should be 'pas' instead.
Grey Gargoyle: Guêpe!note Wasp! You will not stop us from getting the plans to the Omega Sentinel...and whatever your Dr. Pym is creating.
Wasp: Ne sois pa si sûr. Une peau de pierre ne te protégera pa de la piqûre de cette guêpe.note Roughly translates as "Don't be so sure! Your stone skin won't protect you from this Wasp's sting."
Grey Gargoyle: Your accent is very good, Mademoiselle!
Wasp: I picked it up watching TV5. You need a little French if you're going to succeed in fashion, non?
All of Fantomex's attacks have French names, per the character's penchant for the culture in canon (despite being technically British).
Iso-8. In-universe, it is treated by the villains as a powerful status-enhancing drug. Mystique even has a move called "Isotope-8 Doping" where she gets high, heals herself and goes hyper, getting several turns in one go.
The black jacket Slicer Mook has "Tripping" (impervious to pain) where he starts the battle in a Nigh-Invulnerability state for 3 rounds. Once those rounds are up, he falls down easily.
The Zap-8 items function like a drug, as it greatly enhances all stats, but then severely lowers them once the effects wear off (Referred to as "Zap-8 Withdrawal").
Green Rocks: Iso-8 again, which comes in nearly every color of the rainbow (including all of them at once) and has all sorts of power-boosting capabilities.
Ground Punch: Luke Cage, Colossus and Thing both have this type of attack that affects all enemies. Cage hits the ground multiple times, while Thing and Colossus hammers the ground once. Captain Britain's Smashing is of the stomping variant.
On the enemies' side, Avalanche uses his own ground punch attack with a side of seismic feedback.
Guest Star Party Member: Certain heroes must be in your party for certain boss battles. If you have not recruited that hero yet, you may still play him/her temporarily.
If the guest hero is already recruited, but is unavailable (whether he/she is in Remote Ops or in training), the player won't be able to enter that Boss battle, even in the off chance that the hero can be switched out (though you can probably blame that one on pre-battle dialogue).
Customized Weapons. Customized means that upon acquisition, the weapon level is set 5-10 levels above the agent's level. However, this means they can get obsolete. Consider the stamina costs to using the weapon and compare it to damage output while playing PvP, Five-starred Missions, Spec Ops, Premium Missions or Challenge Mode. Consider if the weapons is really worth using 15 levels later when the damage output is lower.
You can now reforge your Customized weapons. However, they cost gold, and in this case Patience is everything. The cost of reforging is as much as purchasing a Limited Edition weapon, and even then, it will eventually have to be reforged. The best strategy (unless you're willing to shell out Gold) is to wait until you're level 300 to reforge.
Marvel XP awards. Some people forget that MAA is a part of Marvel XP, and completing Marvel XP achievements can net you some in-game cash and even weapons.
Avengers Initiative is also part of Marvel XP. Doing Marvel quests in Avengers Initiative can also net you some nifty awards.
Speaking of which, you can get Blaster Iron Man Mark 5 costume for FREE by defeating the Hulkbuster in Hulk's story.
You can get Mockingbird for FREE when you defeat Taskmaster three times consecutively (without retreating) in Captain America's story. You will know you have accomplished this task if you get "Free As A Bird" achievement in Avengers Initiative.
Not any more. Initiative got sunsetted in April 2014 - which makes these prizes Lost Forever. The costume and Mockingbird can be bought for Command Points, but the Marvel XP rewards are no longer obtainable.
Whether to attempt to Two-Bird (Dual Boss) or Three-Bird the Boss in Spec Ops. This depends on the situation, but if the task is to defeat the Mini-Boss, just go after the Mini Boss by him/herself. Don't attempt to Two-Bird or Three-Bird the Mini-Boss with the Boss because one of the next two tasks might be defeating the Boss. You will waste a whole run's worth of Unstable Iso-8 trying to go after the Boss task after doing the Mini-Boss task. This is usually two of the first 10 tasks in a Spec ops. In fact, it's better to go to the Avengers Alliance Wikia and check the tasks before attempting them.
Reactive Chaotic Iso-8 changes color types randomly (and back to prismatic) once equipped. You might be surprised if you see your outfit socketed with prismatic gems all turn into another color type, which can mess up certain battles if you're not aware what stats the Iso-8 adjusted.
Halloween Episode: Spec Ops 4, All Hallows, was released in time for Halloween. It features Ghost Rider, demons and hell-lords.
Hard Mode Perks: Choosing "Challenge Mode" for certain missions increases the difficulty of fights (which corresponds to your current level, plus 5) against enemy mooks and boss battles in said mission. On the plus side, fights in Challenge Mode now give you a higher XP gain than regular missions, plus you can earn Customized Gear in Boss Drops. Said Customized Gear scales to your Agent's current level, and can be subsequently reforged when outleveled.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Magneto, apparently. After defecting to S.H.I.E.L.D. in Spec Ops 6, he subsequently declares Manhattan to be a mutants-only zone in Chapter 11, sparking widespread panic amongst the populace. Despite him appearing at S.H.I.E.L.D. to proclaim his innocence, Nick Fury and Cyclops remain highly skeptical, while Tony Stark is confident that Magneto is indeed siding with the heroes. Turns out that Tony was right. The Magneto inciting chaos is actually Mystique using Doctor Doom and HYDRA's technology, whom the real deal defeats. Real!Magneto explains that he held out on exposing Mystique to give her the benefit of the doubt.
The Lockbox-collectible characters are former villains you get to recruit, providing the player completes each villains' respective Lockbox collection to get that chance. They can't be used in missions where the character was used as a boss or miniboss. The first one was Magneto, who sided with the agent during Red Skull's impending resurrection. The following characters have diverse reasons for working for SHIELD.
Hellfire: Used by several characters, like Ghost Rider, Magik and Satana.
Hello, Insert Name Here: The player can name the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent player character, but everyone calls them "Agent."
Hell on Earth: A scenario that has happened in the regular storyline, and more explicitly in Spec Ops 4.
Chapter 11's main bosses outline the Brotherhood's roster in Pryde of the X-Men. Furthermore, the events and revelation of the entire 5th mission is a blatant fanservice on that Konami arcade classic.
Some recent Spec Ops storylines are dedicated to recreating classic moments from the comic books. For example, Spec Ops 7 & 8 are a loving retelling of the Ultron saga, with 7 featuring the 'birth' of Ultron and 8 concerning the Vision's defection against his creator. Spec Ops 9 also looks to be a mashup of Extremis, Iron Man 3 and the Rescue storyline.
Heroic Build: Applies to the character portraits, which look like they've come straight from the pages of a well-drawn comic book. The character sprites themselves zigzag this trope. Mr. Fantastic looks too reedy to qualify, while Hercules, Hulk, and Thing are arguably exaggerations.
Heroic Mime: Everybody talks to the agent, salutes the agent, gives orders to the agent, congratulates the agent, engages in small talk with the agent...but the agent never, ever speaks a single word.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Ultron Prime created the Vision to enforce his new world order, only to have the latter turn on him with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assistance.
"Sudden Death" brings a character to about 1% health left, but his attack damage increases immensely.
Some revival effects like Hoarfrost Mace and Ghost Rider's Infernal Contract passive brings them to 1% health if they are hit with an attack that normally takes them down to zero.
Hyperspace Arsenal: The Agent. During battle, only one weapon or device is visible on the character sprite; he or she pulls the others from a Hammerspace pocket which appears to be located behind the neck.
The Punisher and his assortment of weaponry. He is a 'walking armory' after all!
Insufferable Genius: Hank Pym. Tony Stark and Reed Richards have shades of this too. Nick Fury sometimes has to step in to call them out when they start arguing on who's the most genius of them.
Iron Lady: Maria Hill, who is very cool, serious, and no-nonsense, especially in contrast to Stark's snarky antics.
Item Farming: "CP Farming" is done by repeatedly playing certain missions in hope of winning Command Points from the boss roulette. They used to Randomly Drop in Epic Boss fights, but this has been phased out.
It's All My Fault: Colossus blames himself for the presence of the Sugar Man in our reality. And yet, it is not his fault, but the fault of an alternate Colossus from the Age of Apocalypse.
It's Personal: Frequently; usually when the enemy attacks someone's house or home base.
It's Up to You: Somehow you, a newbie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, wind up leading the heroes in all of the major battles.
I Warned You: Kang the Conqueror comes from the future to warn Pym not to build Ultron. Pym tells him to beat feet.
Jack of All Stats: The Generalist class, which is neither strong nor weak against other classes. Heroes with a Tactician base-class also starts with a very balanced set of stats. However, upon Level Up the Generalist Agent would increase all stats equally.
Hoo boy, TA-Betas. Has an annoying passive that drains your stamina when you attack them, buffs his own team, inflicts crappy debuffs like Stun and Weakened, uses psychic attacks that renders protectors and the Infiltrator counter class useless, and generally hard to kill in the first place given their high Defence.
Subcinctus-type enemies were initially considered this with her gloriously overpowered Hell Hath No Fury counterattack, before it was discovered that stealthy attacks put her down quickly.
Mooks with evasive passives like Squirrelly, Drunken Master and Spring Thaw.
Mooks with buff removal attacks like Pistol Whip and No Touching! can nullify your buff buildup in an instant.
Level Up Fill Up: A variant; HP is automatically replenished between battles, but whenever you level up, the Energy bar completely refills.
Lethal Joke Item: PVP Season 7's Diamond Rank weapon was a perfectly ordinary bat with the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on it, named S.H.I.E.L.D. Slugger. It has low base damage and high chance of crits. But it gives the Wide Open debuff which increases any melee damage by 25%, including itself, and Incapacitated, a debuff that can stun but never goes away at the price of only being a chance based stun, not a guaranteed one. To make sure the bat is actually useful,, it has a counter against any individual attack on your team. Once it hits a foe once, it can hit the same foe for almost double the damage since it exploits Incapacitated and Wide Open. Combine the bat with some melee based heroes like Juggernaut, Wolverine and Black Panther, and your opponent will receive much more damage due.
Let's Split Up, Gang: SpecOps 16 introduces the Strike Team mechanic, where characters are split into at least two teams to tackle varying missions in the operation. There are pre-determined heroes depending on the mission, but the player can add a select number of heroes to bolster the strike team. This notably marks the first time outside of a Heroic Battle that the agent cannot be selected for battle, since the agent can only be available for one strike team.
Licensed Game: Of the Marvel IP in general, but the game is built to tie into the release of Marvel films. For example, Avengers Alliance was originally named something else, before a name change to capitalize on the hype from the 2012 blockbuster. It offers exclusive content connected to the films, from minor goodies for non-Marvel Studios properties like The Amazing Spider-Man to full tie-ins for major releases including limited-time characters and outfits.
Life Drain: Besides the classic example of Rogue, The Agent also has a variety of gadgets at their disposal to drain health from the enemies to their team, including the Sword of the Barony and Signpost.
Lighter and Softer: Not the storyline, which sees Playdom gleefully throw whatever villain or crisis they can think of at the player, but the characterisations of the Marvel heroes themselves. For example, many characters dead on Earth-616, like Nightcrawler and Jean Grey, are alive in Avengers Alliance. The personalities of certain villains, such as Magneto, are less extreme or vicious as well. Additionally, some of the darker past misdeeds of heroes such as Scarlet Witch, Cyclops, and Hank Pym are only briefly alluded to, handwaved, or written out entirely.
Limited Animation: "Idling" characters on the battle screen. Averted with their attacks, which are fully animated (except that they all slide to the center of the screen or right in front of the enemy they're attacking to perform an attack).
Loophole Abuse: Oh so vital for Spec Ops for saving Unstable Iso-8. If a certain task asks you to use certain characters (that are not in the Spec Ops), you can generally use them in story mode. For a long time, players were able to fight certain mooks outside of the Spec Ops, saving a ton of Unstable Iso-8, but it is starting to become no longer the case. Playdom has started to patch these loopholes in the later Spec Ops, though they may have left some loopholes intentionally open.
By aborting a mission before 5-starring it, you keep its difficulty fixed at a lower level even as you gain more experience. This makes it very easy to run through missions for drops or Command Points with little difficulty.
Lost Forever: Limited Edition equipment and items that are only available after research as a Spec Op or PVP task (aka the "Blueprint" research items), as well as Spec Op boss rewards. Certain limited-edition costumes (notably the ones for The Avengers and the Phoenix Five) are lost to those who didn't buy them but occasionally become available for purchase.
Averted with the Spec Op and PvP tournament heroes, who are always released for purchase at some point (albeit with a hefty CP price tag).
This seems to be the case with the Lockbox heroes. Playdom is slowly expiring the oldest lockbox sets to be replaced by new collections. Those who have no interest or postponed unlocking these heroes won't be able to do so anymore (at least not without paying a hefty fee in Gold, as the older lockboxes occassionally pop up in PvP Roulette Spins every now and again.)
Luck-Based Mission: Recruitment of heroes specific to Collections. The player must collect 8 unique comics to complete the set and unlock the new hero via lockboxes. These boxes have a 7% chance to procure a comic cover if opened one by one, or 100% to get a comic if 10 are unlocked at once. Getting several unique covers in a row is not uncommon, but that is where probability gets higher that subsequent boxes opened will procure more and more duplicate covers. Furthermore, obtaining lockboxes is not an easy task, unless the player is willing to shell out Gold, the in-game premium currency to buy more boxes.
Magikarp Power: Several of the heroes fall under this, generally for one or more of four reasons:
The first two moves are weak, but exist to set up their better third and fourth (ultimate) moves. Example: Storm, where her moves form an interlocking chain.
The first two moves are weak but the last two moves make them much better. Example: Ghost Rider's final move increases the power of all his other moves.
The last two moves are major powerhouses. Example: Black Widow's third move does major damage and is a debuff.
They have good moves but weak stats, needing ISO slots socketed to boost them. Example: Quicksilver gets lots of turns and counterattacks, but has an initially very low attack stat. Get a full set of Attack-boosting ISOs on him, however...
The art in Chapter 5's mission briefing involves a David and Goliath face-off between Spider-Woman and Wrecker. Guess which part of Jessica Drew's physique is emphasized.
Omega Sentinel, Sif, Spider-Woman, Enchantress and especially Satana get moments' emphasis on their behind by using certain actions.
Probably unintentional, but Ghost Rider's Penance Stare ability hits female characters directly in the chest.
Man of Kryptonite: Each Bogus Avenger is strong against his real-Avenger counterpart's default class (in 5.6, anyway; the Bogus Avengers had a change in class in Spec Ops 7).
Marathon Boss: In Spec Ops 8, players can find random Ultron encounters that they can initiate. Doing so pits the player against an Ultron copy whom they must damage as much as possible, before 1) Ultron flees, 2) Ultron is destroyed or or 3) their team is knocked out. However, due to the multiple overpowered passives and attacks on each Ultron copy, as well as the player not being allowed to utilize their inventory, it is rare that an Ultron can be defeated at the first try, necessitating either added attempts on the player's side or calling his allies for help.
Marathon Level: when going after an Epic Boss, the player must finish ALL hotspots on the mission map, some of which would require more than the maximum units of energy. Mission 9.4, in particular, has a LOT of hotspots on the map.
Metagame: The PvP portion has one, consisting of people trying to figure out what characters and gear everyone else will use and setting up their own strategy to counter it. Playdom sometimes also gets involved by tweaking existing heroes and releasing new heroes with skillsets designed to counter certain strategies.
Thor and the Hulk do huge amounts of damage but take a while to get moving, though it's averted with the Modern Thor outfit, which comes pre-stacked with 2 Might of Mjolnirs.
The Bruiser class in general can became scarily powerful with their Enraged class bonus, but this requires at least 2 turns of attacks or being attacked to unlock their full potential. She-Hulk's main benefit is that she can make two attacks in a single turn, letting her charge up quickly.
The Yellow uniform Ravager can become scarily strong very quickly. This version has the passive "Furious" which allows him to get one stack of Enraged, no matter who he attacks. If he attacks a scrapper, he can get two stacks of Enraged in one go.
Hercules needs at least 1 or 2 rounds before he can gain all the buffs from his Bruiser class, and attacks for the Blessing of Olympus buff. Once he achieves this, however, the battle is usually over in very short order.
Captain Britain, along with the Bruisers' Enraged class bonus can get "Roar of Valor" stacks which increase his stats dramatically if he's got three already. If an enemy is hit with enough debuffs from his other attacks, his Level 9 "Britannic" attack does scary damage thanks to the Paragon Exploiter attack buff effect.
Ghost Rider, although he's not a bruiser. His passive ability can cast the Sin debuff on any enemy that attacks, and can cast additional Sin when the enemy does a follow-up attack. He isn't strong at first, but once you pull Burn Out and the enemies have a total of at least 7 Sin (giving GR at least 7 vengeance), the battle is going to be over in very short order.
Black Bolt is a notable example, like Ghost Rider above, in that despite not being a Bruiser, once you get all 10 stacks of Ambient Particles on all allies, prepare for some serious sonic based damage from his L9 move
Mission Control: Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Tony Stark (though Tony is more than capable of joining you in the field to kick ass as Iron Man).
Missing Mission Control: Two of the above are kidnapped at one point in the plot, and the third coordinates efforts to get them back.
Money Grinding: The easiest way to earn Silver is to send out heroes on Remote Operations. Repeatedly. The game also rewards active maintenance, which means that four one-hour Remote Ops yield more Silver than a single four-hour Remote Op.
Averted with the 10 minute missions with Level 4 planes and above. Usually the ones that take the least amount of time to complete end up netting more money over time. Doing six 10 minute missions nets you less silver than doing three 20 minute missions.
Group Bosses are a nice way of farming currency as well. The damage inflicted on the Boss = silver earned at the end of the battle.
Mooks: Maggia mobsters, the Hand ninjas, A.I.M. and HYDRA agents, mutated human experiments, escaped convicts from Rykers, Latverian robots, demonspawn from hell...
Motifs: The SpecOps have various themes regarding the reward equipment.
In Mission 9.3, Constrictor using items and calling assists is a nod towards his previous status as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the comics. In-game, while the Agent is alive, the player can summon assists via Distress calls and use items for healing, defense or offense uses.
Iron Fist in Chapter 6.5. When he faces Bullseye, Bullseye was upset that he wouldn't be facing Daredevil. Iron Fist offers some sarcastic comfort that he once dressed up as Daredevil. In the Daredevil comics, Iron Fist is one of a couple of heroes who took up the mantle of Daredevil while Matt Murdock was in jail to prove that Matt Murdock was NOT Daredevil.
In chapter 10.6, when Luke Cage ran into Elektra, his words to her include: "By the way, you seen Doom? He still owes me money." referencing the "Where's my money, honey?" incident.
In chapter 1.1 of the second season the agent Coulson mentions Apocalypse's temporal divergence, and Colossus that it is his fault that the Sugar Man is in their reality. They are talking about the Age of Apocalypse.
The "Dark Thor" from Spec Ops 12 is the mechanical Thor from Civil War
In Chapter 1.5 of Mission 2, the Heroic Battle is clash between Thor and Hercules, a grudge match so common in the comics that Marvel published a collection of their greatest hits.
Crimson Dynamo taunts Hercules about cleaning stables, a reference to one of Hercules' Twelve Tasks.
Two of the rankings that you can get in PvE fights ("Amazing" and "Superior") are, of course, two monikers long-associated with Spider-Man.
In mission two of Spec Ops. 18 has Carnage as the main boss. The three heroic deploys in the mission are Captain America, Black Cat, and Iron Fist-three of Spider-Man's allies from Maximum Carnage.
Neologism: Stark likes doing this from time to time, with a hint of Buffy Speak. He coins "cosmo-mystical" in Spec Ops 5 to refer to Asgardian-magic-infused ISO-8, and "Mutanthattan" to refer to the Brotherhood-besieged New York in Mission 11.5.
Havok:I'm pushing on towards the Living Pharaoh. Stark:Well then, cry havoc, and let slip- Havok:Don't. Stark:Touchy, touchy. What do you have against Shakespeare?
Never Live It Down: In-universe for the Crimson Dynamo. In his first appearance, his armour was hacked by an external force and he could not control it. In all later appearances, the heroes laugh on him for that.
Also in-universe for Hank Pym, whose decision to create Ultron is still a point of mockery two Spec Ops later.
Never Say "Die": Inverted. Characters are no worse than KOed in combat (both heroes and villains) but there are attacks and passive abilities with names like "Death and Rebirth," "Sudden Death," and "Fatal Blow."
However, Mephisto and his demonic minions seem to outright kill their lower ranking hellish allies to fuel their own attacks and HP.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It doesn't work out so well for Hank Pym when Ultron, which he built to contain a rogue artificial intelligence that caused computers to go haywire, disobeys his programming and decides to destroy the world. This despite reassurances from Pym that although there were multiple failsafes, 'he didn't anticipate needing them'. He even ignored the Ominous Message from the Future that told him precisely what would happen, that he wouldn't be able to control Ultron.
Hank Pym:Too late. It's already gone...Ultron has gone rogue.
Moonstone is one of the mini-bosses of the "Dark Reign" SpecOps. But not as "Dark Ms. Marvel", but openly as Moonstone.
So far, Dell Rusk has not been revealed to be Red Skull in disguise, as it happened in Avengers Earthsmightiest Heroes or the "Red Zone" comic book where the character was first introduced.
Not so Above It All: After dealing with large amounts of craziness from everyone with total diplomatic aplomb, Hill is finally driven to a tiny bit of snark after a particularly over-the-top display of insanity from Deadpool in Spec Ops 8.
Hill: We have the androids contained, Agent. Deadpool was able to delay them long enough for backup to arrive. ...Unfortunately, he survived.
Not Using the Zed Word: Tony Stark and Nick Fury get into a brief discussion about if resurrected HYDRA soldiers should be called zombies. Fury points out that they are fully cognizant, and not trying to eat anyone's brain, whereas Tony says that magically resurrected corpses count, no matter their behavior.
One-Hit Kill: Actively encouraged, with a nifty bonus for every enemy you one-shot.
One-Winged Angel: Ahmet Abdol, aka the Living Pharaoh, can absorb cosmic radiation to transform into the massive Living Monolith.
Only Sane Man: Hill is this for Mission Control, ever straight faced and no-nonsense no matter how strange things get. Out in the field, unlike most of the other heroes, Invisible Woman spends more time complaining about how crazy things/people are than she does adding to it with her own quirks.
Only Six Faces: Playdom has a tendency to recycle bits and pieces of their sprites, with only minor modifications. For a few examples, Emma Frost and Valkyrie have similar facial features, and Quicksilver's face is also recycled from the Maggia infiltrators'.
Overrated And Underleveled: Unrecruited guest star heroes and Spec Ops heroes. For beginners of the game, mandatory team-up heroes are tremendously powerful whenever they are present, being able to mow down enemies/bosses with a complete Level 9 skillset. Since these unrecruited heroes stay at Level 9, by the time the player gets his agent and own heroes above this level, they are better equipped with all 4 skills, elite gear and Iso-8. Guest star heroes then tend to be weaker and obsolete in comparison. Finally, any unrecruited normal/Spec Op hero reverts to Level 1 once recruited.
Palette Swap: Some of the alternate outfits are basically this, such as White Crown Phoenix, Classic Quicksilver or Gray Hulk. The HYDRA Four as well.
Tony: Jean, we need some serious cosmic elbow grease to get through that shield. Would you mind asking Hot Wings if we could borrow a cup of world-leveling primal flames?
Jean Grey: I don't think you're giving this the serious treatment it deserves...
Jean: No Pharaoh, but there was some kind of equipment behind the shield. It's ashes now.
Tony: Good, that probably bought us more time—
Jean: Oh, and the Phoenix Force is coming to incinerate the planet. Did I mention that?
Tony: [startled beat] Don't do that.
Jean: You're not the only one allowed to make jokes, Tony.
Popcultural Osmosis: SpecOps 12 introduced Dell Rusk, who works for the World Security Council and opposes SHIELD, to the point of creating a second team of Avengers with disguised villains. "Dell Rusk" is an anagram of "Red Skull" (and he is the Red Skull in other media), though the actual connection between the two (if any) in this game is unclear.
Powder Keg Crowd: At times, the general citizenry of the Marvel Universe (not too surprising considering it's one catastrophe after another). Nick Fury will usually tell you to dispatch a hero to calm things down.
The Power of Four: If used, you are guaranteed four turns. However, you better be able to kill of the enemy team. Otherwise you will be Killed Off for Real at the end of your fourth turn, no ifs or buts about it. note There are reports of agents using/being afflicted with Power of Four while having the Hoarfrost Mace equipped. They may not have died on the fourth turn but as soon as Sacrifice buff ends, the agent is good as dead.
Also applies to certain types of supplies, such as Zap-8 (temporarily increases all stats, but will reduce them after the effect wears off) and Kinetic Amplifier (increases attack damage but reduces damage mitigation).
Power Creep: Averted and played straight, the former mostly for heroes and the latter for weapons (which get outdated very fast).
The old heroes mostly dealt either straight-up damage or vanilla debuffs compared to newer releases, with few if any passives that were usually generic. Their moves often had awkward sequencing and little synergy as well. The first few new heroes (e.g. Black Panther, Scarlet Witch & Emma Frost) were literally god-tier entities who could decimate the opposition on their own—Emma still gives players problems despite being downgraded a record 6 times!
On the other hand, subsequently released heroes still possessed interesting buffs & debuffs, better attack chaining and unique playstyles (instead of focusing solely on damage). All of them have a place in the current gameplay environment, but none have been too overpowered.
Additionally, older characters have been buffed and adjusted as alternate costumes were released for them, with the improvements made becoming more eclectic recently, turning previously maligned characters into brutal powerhouses.
Sadly, whilst most new premium weapons released have been useless, there are always a few ludicrously overpowered gadgets popping up to wreak havoc in PvP, especially Spec Ops weapons combined with the Power of Four (the Agent gets instant 4 turns to decimate opposing teams with overpowered weapons). Loud and often justified cries for Nerfing will then often be heard. Notable overpowered weapons are Phoenix Flare, Grief, and the Hoarfrost Mace.
Power Nullifier: A lot of gadgets can turn the tides by removing buffs and debuffs. The Scroll of Angolob cleanses the party's debuffs while ripping out the enemy party's buffs; practically the reverse of Scarlet Witch's Probability Field.
Psychic Block Defense: Juggernaut and Magneto with their helmets, per the comic books. Colossus and telepaths like Phoenix take less damage from psychic attacks. The Agent's Techno-Organic Endoskeleton also grants immunity from psychic attacks. On the enemy side, all robotic enemies and Mindless Ones are immune from psychic attacks.
Handily bypasses defences and avoidance effects. Emma Frost's is of the Mind Rape variant and hence useless against mindless/robotic enemies as well as mental resistance. Phoenix (Jean Grey), on the other hand, deploys telekinesis, Psychic Linking and fiery blasts of psychic Phoenix energy. On the enemy side, TA-Beta.
Psycho Rangers: The HYDRA Four, a team made of copycats of four Avengers: Militant (Captain America), Tactical Force (Iron Man), Hammer (Thor) and Bowman (Hawkeye). Their battle sprites are basically Palette Swap of the real ones, and even have the same movesets with the names changed to be more evil sounding (for example, Thor's "Inspire Bravery" is "Incite Hatred", Hawkeye's "Arrow Volley" is "Rain of Death", and so on).
Primal Stance: Wolverine, Beast, Nightcrawler, and possibly Spider-Man. Black Cat, Black Panther, and Tigra do a "ready to pounce" version.
Puzzle Boss: Many of the Heroic Battles are this, where the heroes are given new special abilities and the opponents new weaknesses and the trick is figuring out how they combine.
Randomly Drops: Various items may drop during ordinary combat; hero deploys and boss fights yield rewards based on random selection.
Random Number God: PvP mechanics. The computer AI controlling your "away from keyboard" party relies on whatever the agent's gadgets are and the heroes' current moves. The Agent AI alternates randomly with whatever equipment set for the battle, or use a hero's move no matter how useless it is for the situation (a desperation attack at full health). These "rolls" and luck are also main factors in having those heroes' passive buffs (Cosmic Power) to kick in.
As mentioned before, this is apparent in the game's various roulettes, where the chance of getting something average or downright useless from said roulettes is quite high.
Rank Inflation: You are graded by points on how well you fought in each battle, which also tallies into your mastery upon winning the map. The ranks are Fair > Good > Great > Amazing > Superior > Perfection. The last one can only be attained when dealing a One-Hit KillNo Damage Run on both the miniboss (es) and the main boss at the same time.
A Rare Sentence: Union Jack comes back from a fight with Jack O'Lantern commenting "That's one chatterbox of a pumpkin." Coulson congratulates him on the achievement ("No one has ever said that before in the history of mankind.")
Redemption Demotion: Mostly averted so far. Other than minor tweaks to translate their abilities into the hero movesets (and lower HP), the villains who've joined the Alliance have been as strong as when they were enemies.
Well, except Loki. Were you hoping to get his awesome boss attacks like Wither, Trickster Shield, or Lightning Spire? Nope, the hero version uses an entirely different powerset (and sprite), with low stats, random debuffs, and a knife throw for his main attack.
Add Avalanche to the Demotion team. The boss version immediately sets up an automatic counter-attack for his entire team for the rest of the fight, while the player version can do it for only one turn (with a cooldown of more than one turn) and has different attacks in general.
Most enemy bosses also get two actions per turn, an ability they lose when becoming playable (except for Omega Sentinel and Dr. Doom)
Reed Richards Is Useless: So, you can research temporal warping, and use it for...giving more turns to a SHIELD agent in his super-hero fights? What a waste.
The trope has no relation with the ability (or lack thereof) of Reed Richards as a playable character in this game
The Rival: Hank Pym and Tony Stark are absolutely obsessed with trying to one-up each other verbally and otherwise, to the point where Fury gets fed up with their constant bickering. Notably, Pym seems to be the only one of the heroes who gets genuinely mean-spirited responses from Stark as opposed to friendly teasing.
The Spec Ops heroes being re-released for sale during holidays.
The PvP tournament heroes being antiheroes who are either mercenaries or willing to use lethal force.
Scrolls named after meats, be it an anagram or spelled backwards.
The various villains constantly getting captured and escaping, especially the Wrecking Crew.
There has yet to be a SpecOps hero in the Infiltrator Class. There are, however, some "close calls": Emma Frost when using her P5 alt. (ironically released in another SpecOps), Vision who can class-change into one, and Satana, who's only a secondary reward.
Kitty Pryde: In Soviet Russia, Sentinel modifies you! Crimson Dynamo: That joke is older than you, child.
Sarcastic Devotee: Wasp seems to be this to Hank Pym. She snarks about his flaws and cleaning up his messes out of one side of her mouth, but defends his honor to an enemy and vows to always have his back out of the other side.
Scripted Event: All random item drops, be it from Daily Roulette, Boss Roulette, or Deploy Reward. Most blatant with the latter for Item Collection Tasks, where the task even foreshadows a new item even before you open your deploy gift. This nullifies all pretense of the game teasing you of the cursor stopping just beside the best item, because the reward is predetermined from the start regardless of "location" on the board.
Heroic Battles have a scripted sequence for every mission playthrough. Depending on how the player's hero moves, the enemies have a predetermined sequence of turns, attacks, procs and damage values. This could be especially helpful when replaying the battle (if you lost) to try another strategy.
Sdrawkcab Name: The item "Scroll of Angolob", so named because the devs nicknamed the previous Scroll of Melsalamnote an item from which Doctor Strange cast a spell in the comics the "Scroll of Salami."
The meaty Running Gag continues with the "Scroll of Oziroch" which is a popular sausage/pizza topping.
The next scroll released was named "Scroll of Ocirebi Nomaj", which is Bilingual Bonus for Spanish speakers.
Now from the Covert Task: Cryptic Quest you get the "Scroll of Aknazsak"
Sequel Goes Foreign: The first chapter of Season 2 is mostly set in Britain. Some missions in later chapters are set in Wakanda.
Future Coundown is a hidden passive that only activates when both characters in the party are FF members and wearing their Future Foundation alts (and Human Torch's Annihilus alt.).
Overlapping with Charged Attack, the boss reward in 2.2.3, the Gauntlet, increases in power for every "Smart Weapon" used in battle, found in the same chapter.
Set Swords to Stun: Despite people cheerfully throwing everything from blades to guns to magic to the elements to hell and holy fire at each other, the storyline has villains and mooks surviving to be captured or escape, and heroes who lose simply being knocked out and rescued.
Sibling Rivalry: Even when Daimon and Satana are working together on the same side, they still can't help but bicker frequently and try to one-up each other.
Sibling Team: Cyclops & Havok, Captain Britain & Psylocke, Colossus & Magik, Invisible Woman & Human Torch, Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver, Daimon Hellstrom & Satana, X-Ray & Vapor. Wonder Man & Vision also qualify, somewhat (it's complicated). Hulk and She-Hulk are a Cousin Team.
Single-Issue Wonk: Coulson loves to talk about Incursions every chance he gets, to the point of everyone telling him to shut up about them already.
Slave Mooks: The mutated human Test Subjects; probably the various demons; possibly others.
Smug Snake: Hank Pym, who tells a skeptical Tony Stark "That's why I'm on Project Ultron and you're doing whatever you're doing." He also reassures S.H.I.E.L.D. that there are multiple failsafes on Project Ultron, 'but he didn't anticipate needing them'. Things go horribly wrong, of course.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Points are the main one; needed in large quantities to level up heroes and research weapons, items, and ISO, but only available via gifting or visiting your allies' maps which have four random prizes a day, if you don't want to shell out lots of premium currency. Energy packs and Unstable ISO for missions, both of which are rare to find outside of gifting, are also crucial.
Very crucial for Remote Ops, which require friends to be "crew" for your upgrades. If you don't have many allies, you'll be forced to spend Gold to have generic agents fill the slots instead. (Though once you upgrade the planes all the way, you never have to do it again)
Also, equally crucial for Group Boss fights, where said boss needs to be fought several times by you and your allies before they can be defeated. Doing so earns you Lockboxes the more times you help out an ally with the Group Boss.
Speed Blitz: Quicksilver takes the first two turns in a row most of the time. This can give a huge advantage in PVP when an Attack Iso-empowered Quicksilver can strike four times once the battle starts with an enemy Infiltrator, whittling down the health of an enemy party almost halfway through.
Splash Damage: Made possible with Punisher's 'Frag Grenade' ability, as well as several weapons like the Army of One, Spitting Viper and Rocket Pistol.
Squishy Wizard: 4 of the 5 magic-using heroes are very much this, despite defence in the form of healing & shields (Dr. Strange), sheer randomness (Scarlet Witch) or counterattacks (Magik). Additionally, Strange and Wanda also have Blaster as their native class. Satana doesn't have any natural defenses, belongs to the fragile Infiltrator class and actively debuffs herself to raise her attack power.
Strongly averted with Daimon Hellstrom. Despite being a Blaster as well, he has incredible defensive and supportive capabilities, including granting a 50% dodge chance with 'Cloaked in Shadows' and healing with 'Purifying Flames'. Not to mention that when he has the Dark Void debuff on himself, he heals whenever he attacks.
This is taken to an extreme when Daimon has the Burning debuff as well, which causes him to counter all attacks. Having both Burning and Dark Void allows Daimon to counter and heal each time he is attacked! Add this to the dodge chance granted by 'Cloaked in Shadows', as well as the debuff prevention of 'Purifying Flames', and you can find yourself with a magic user who is very, very hard to kill.
Vapor can switch between "Poison Gas" and "Explosive Gas" modes at will. In some SpecOps and later chapters, these modes become "Poison Iso-8 Gas" and "Explosive Iso-8 Gas", granting her new abilities and passives.
The Executioner, in Spec Ops 5.2, can switch between Ice and Fire stances. When health reaches critical levels, he switches to Blood stance, basically Berserker Rage mode.
Status Buff: Many. Some are passive abilities for heroes (which may or may not randomly transfer to teammates); others may be bestowed on the hero or the team through special abilities; most come from special items which can be found in the field or purchased at the store.
Status Buff Dispel: Several items, weapons, and attacks from some heroes and enemies have the ability to remove status buffs.
Agent Sitwell:Have you ever noticed that certain people in our various spheres of influence have amusingly or tragically ironic names? But such is not the case for Michael Steel. I mean, what are the odds that a man named Steel would develop a super-dense, metallic body when exposed to a particularly large dose of cosmic radiation? If only his name had been Michael LotteryWinner, things really might have gone his way.
Stone Wall: Captain America, Black Knight, Thing, Colossus, Luke Cage, Hercules (among others being added all the time) have abilities which let them take damage in place of the team. The Thing's version is actually called "Stonewall." Some enemies do as well. The Agent can do this with various Protect weapons like The Kuzuri, Hoarfrost Mace or The Knight equipped.
Some heroes gain counterattacks or special abilities when blocking. For example, Cap and Herc will retaliate, bashing whoever attacked them, and Thing will gain stamina, then get an extra turn.
Stripperiffic: Honorable mentions to Tigra and Classic Storm, but the crown goes to Phoenix Five Emma. Also Psylocke and her infamous bathing suit 'costume'.
Super Team: Pick and choose from a wide range of superheroes for individual missions, from psychic mutants to mystics, immortals, metahuman aliens, time-travellers, ex-villains, thieves, geniuses, battle suit operators, vigilantes, martial artists, genetically-enhanced supersoldiers and special agents.
Surplus Damage Bonus: You get a special bonus and extra mission points whenever you do more damage than stricly necessary to finish off an enemy. The resulting damage labels range from Overkill to Epic Overkill depending on how much extra damage you do.
Deadpool with his passive ability to 'Whine on the Forums' and hit people (including himself) with a literal nerf bat, greatly reducing stats. A not very subtle reference for the Unpleasable Fanbase's tendencies to whine about everything on the official forum.
There is also the joke 'Banned from PVP' debuff when Deadpool uses his 'L33t Hacking Skillz!', referencing the penalty inflicted on those who use game hacks.
Stark:Lab boys say the machinery used ISO-8 to do some kind of chemical transformation. Hill:Maybe this was just a routine terrorist op. Poison the river or something. Fury:Poison the Hudson River? Kind of a waste of effort, isn't it?
Chapter 4 of Season 2 continues the Circle of 8 killing spree, with victims including the playable characters of 2011 flop X-Men Destiny, and Dr Megalomann, the villain of an unsuccessful '80s Captain America video game.
Whenever the guest team-up partner is not recruited yet, that hero will be in a maxed-out, non-ISO'd level (sometimes) wherein he has access to all four of his moveset. Once recruited, that hero starts at Level 1 and must level up normally to use his ultimate moves.
Basically the point of Spec Ops, whether or not you actually will get to recruit that hero(ine).
Teleport Spam: Gloriously invoked with Nightcrawler's attacks, which are extremely effective on a debuff-laden enemy team and ignores any protect or counterattack effects.
Theme Naming: Nimrod Sentinels are named after electrical scientists (Faraday, Coulomb, Tesla) while the regular Sentinels are named after the mythical Titans (Cronus, Rhea, Iapetos, etc).
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Loki gets in a good one of these when you recruit him as a lockbox hero, asking you to consider your true motivations for fighting evil. He compares you to a child begging for candy. Another good comparison might be, like, a person playing a video game or something.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Actively encouraged, in that your score for a mission gets higher whenever you decide the best way to handle a weak(ened) enemy is to obliterate them into ludicrous gibs. The resulting damage labels range from Overkill to Epic Overkill.
Throw Away Guns: Deadpool during his "Bang Bang Bang!" attack gets a 25th hit by throwing his spent guns at the enemy.
Throwing Your Shield Always Works: Captain America's Shield Throw. The HYDRA Four's Militant, natural for an evil Cap knockoff, does this with his Shield Blow attack.
Occasionally Fury, Hill, and Stark engage in a friendly version with each other as well; usually ending with Fury or Hill telling Stark to shut up.
Trick Arrow: Like in the comics, Heroic Age Hawkeye's updated passive allows him to launch one of the many arrows from his Loaded Quiver for various elemental damage and debuffs.
Trivial Title: The game does feature The Avengers but also features several Marvel superheroes who are not Avengers. The name of the team is hardly used in the game. Instead, the heroes are joining S.H.I.E.L.D..
Twenty Bear Asses: It used to be that every second and fourth mission in the standard chapters required the collection of a certain number of small items which randomly drop from clobbered Mooks to unlock the next mission. This stopped when Chapter 9 arrived, and was removed from all previous chapters by a later patch.
This is still sometimes used for Covert Ops tasks, however.
Unlockable Content: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and a fourth character of the player's choosing are free. The rest of the roster must be purchased with Command Points. Bonus Missions are also locked until the player recruits the 'unlocking' character.
Unwinnable by Mistake: If you send your heroes on side-mission in limited-time chapters and don't take them back before the time expires, you can no longer reach them. (They will return on their own after completing a chapter in the normal story, but they won't bring any rewards from those side missions with them)
Urban Fantasy: The story is centered almost entirely around New York City, with a side excursion to San Francisco (and, eventually, London and Wakanda) and the occasional trip through portals to the edge of demonic dimensions and metahuman realms. As per the wide reach of the Marvel Universe, a whole load of eclectic and special characters are assembled for the action.
Wave Motion Gun: The Agent's A.R. and P.E.W. guns unleash huge beams of destruction, usually defense-piercing and debuff-inducing.
Weaksauce Weakness: Because Cable has no Recharge button and no Subtle attacks (besides the Quick Action Temporal Shift), he cannot do anything when trapped in Invisible Woman's Force Cage, and so he must always lose a turn. To a lesser extent, Cable must always suffer from Emma Frost's Mental Anguish because of said inability to recharge, although he has a 25% chance to dodge the debuff and takes less damage from it due to his own buffs.
Gambit has a passive ability called this, in which he'll randomly either join in his team's attack, or attack an enemy that just had their turn.
The Generalist Heroes. They are designed to be this way, and facing one of them can seriously screw you over in PVP:
Beast has the ability to disable class advantages and grant random buffs or guaranteed crits.
Mockingbird has the ability to change to the counterclass of her attackers, can preemptively change to a counterclass before attacking and even gains extra turns through her class change. She can retain multiple class advantages in a round through this mechanism.
Punisher can switch to whatever class he wishes to during any turn, with the potential to choose from 13 other attacks and gain multiple class advantages if someone gives him extra turns. In his Generalist form, he also gains random buffs at the start of each round.
ANY attack/passive that relies on proc rate percentages too many to list here. Thanks to the Random Number God, a simple chance to protect, stun, or clean all debuffs is a matter of life and death, especially in PvP.
Reactive Chaotic Iso-8 also have random properties, as stated above.
Wolverine Claws: Aside from Wolverine (duh) and his genderflip clone X-23, a lot of heroes and villains have claws in their arsenal, which often afflicts Bleeding. Certain weapons like Snikt! and Sabretooth's Claws also work the same way.
Wolverine Publicity: Or, better yet, Deadpool Publicity! Better than Wolverine's! At the mission 2 of chapter 4 of the second season, Deadpool can take part in a deploy. He has absolutely no idea of what is it about, but hey, it was his turn to show up at a deploy!
Woman Scorned: The Temptation attack by Meretrix and other succubi. If she has the buff "Hell Hath no Fury" and she is attacked, she will counterattack everyone with such vicious damage that it's almost comical. (Fortunately, you can take her down with Stealthy attacks).
Working with the Ex: Heavily implied with Cyclops and Phoenix, since Emma Frost is confirmed to be romantically connected to Scott. Jean and Scott's Team-Up Bonus even denotes them as "X-Lovers." Also suggested to be the case for Hank Pym & Wasp, and Hawkeye & Mockingbird (but not Black Panther & Storm, who are still Happily Married in this continuity).
Scarlet Witch and Vision are an odd Inverted version: they had a relationship in the comics which is yet to appear in-game. The first hint we get is in Spec Op 8, wherein Ultron builds Vision. In the first mission, Wanda is your team-up ally to fight the pre-Heel-Face Turn Vision. After winning, she states that there's something in his personality that is familiar to her (Foreshadowing Wonder Man's appearancenote Vision's AI was based off Wonder Man's cerebral patterns, and Simon had a crush on Wanda back in the day.).
Wreathed in Flames: Human Torch, Ghost Rider, P5 Jean Grey, and the rest of the P5 whenever they tap into the Phoenix force.
Xanatos Gambit: The formation of the Syndicate turns out to be one by Doctor Doom. If the Syndicate held, it would take out or severely weaken SHIELD; if it collapsed, the infighting would weaken his own enemies; and in both cases it kept SHIELD's attention while he was free to pursue his own projects.
Gold: Silver coins, which is the main currency to buy items, research and leveling-up your heroes.
Lumber: SHIELD points and Unstable Iso-8, which will be plenty if you have a lot of allies. Again, these are more vital in research and level-up purposes. Unstable Iso-8 are necessary for SpecOps missions and deploys.
Power: Command Points and Gold. Command Points are extremely vital to recruit heroes. Gold is the game's universal currency which can be exchanged for almost anything, from limited edition gear to skipping tasks.
Population: Allies. A player can only have up to 51 maximum allies. One distress call and 4 random rewards can be collected by visiting each ally every day.
Zero-Effort Boss: Fixer has a bit of a reputation of being the most useless major villain in the game. He almost never does any direct damage, instead either doing a little healing, throwing up a defensive shield around himself, or throwing proximity mines that go off after a fixed number of rounds or when you do anything offensive that isn't a subtle or stealthy action, but do only a manageable amount of damage. As long as you stay healed up and/or stick to said subtle/stealthy actions, he's more annoying than a real threat.