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Video Game / Marvel: Avengers Alliance

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Marvel: Avengers Alliance was a Facebook game launched in March 2012 and shut down on September 30, 2016, by Marvel and Playdom (later Disney Interactive) Games.

In the game, the player, or Agent, was 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 were 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's all this talk about "The Circle of Eight"? It's clear S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers had their work cut out for them.

The game took place in an alternate continuity that somewhat resembles the Ultimate Marvel/Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is mostly based on the 616 comics. The storyline was split into seasons, which in turn were split into chapters comprising six 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 and Wakanda.

The game played as a turn-based Western RPG with Final Fantasy-esque mechanics (i.e. 2-D character sprites and Limited Animation).

There were 2 sister games for iOS and Android called Avengers Initiative and Marvel Puzzle Quest, which were in the same Marvel XP continuity. Additionally, a Spinoff titled Marvel: Avengers Alliance Tactics was 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. Avengers Alliance Tactics shut down in October 2014. Marvel Avengers Alliance 2 had been announced and released on the Apple Store and Google Play, though discontinued with its previous installment in 2016.

Not to be confused with the older Marvel Ultimate Alliance titles.

This game provided examples of:

Specific Characters

For the full list of the heroes and main villains, and descriptions of the classes they belong to, see the Character Sheet.

Everything Else

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  • 100% Completion: In season 1, getting five-star mastery on all six missions of a chapter earns a special Golden Weapon. In season 2, completing all tasks/deploys/missions/Incursions/Epic Bosses earns an alternate hero uniform as a reward.
    • To recruit a Lockbox-exclusive hero, the player is required to collect 8 comic books to complete the specific set.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Mission control made hay out of Fixer's unlikely alliance with Mephisto in Season 2, with Fixer's machines working with Mephisto's demons. It should also be noted that Mephisto has a record of being someone you don't go back on a deal with without great price. Fixer later on joins the heroes just because he's bored with villainy.
    • Nick Fury got stranded on the wrong side of an incursion portal that closed late in season 2. Is he dead? In an alternate universe? We'll never know, thanks to the game getting sunsetted so suddenly.
    • The "Inhumanity" Spec Ops ended with Thanos getting his hands on a Terrigen bomb. Due the game's cancellation, said plot went nowhere (not even when Thanos returned in the very last Spec Ops).
  • 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.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: More than 90% of weapons or gadgets (normal, limited edition, custom, etc.) sell less than the consumable supplies. When one consumable normally sells for ~500 silver, excess weapons can be sold for a paltry 250 silver. Woe to you for accidentally purchasing a 100,000+ outdated weapon and wish to resell it.
    • Leveling-up a hero from Level 2 to Level 15 moves up in huge increments, having a grand total of over 1 million silver. At this point, even the 100,000 silver reward from PVP seem paltry compared to being regularly active in Group Boss fights.
  • Adaptation Expansion: There were subtle clues during season 1, but season two brings it forefront: Avengers Alliance season 2 is an expanded retelling of the Fear Itself storyline. Complete with the worthy, hammers, and Sin being among the chosen. The reason it's expanded is that it takes much more time for each worthy to appear, and the avengers also have incursions, shifting villainous organizations and HYDRA attacks to worry about concurrently.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Omega Sentinel spent most of her time in the comic books fighting alongside the X-Men. In game, however, her humanity is overwritten by Sentinel programming and she appears as a boss instead. This is eventually subverted as she becomes recruitable via Lockbox in Spec Ops 8.
    • 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 Distillation: The game typically does its best to distill all of a character's various traits and relationships and powersets into one set of moves/passives and tone for their dialogues, occasionally veering into Flanderization or Character Exaggeration (though this isn't necessarily a bad thing considering some characters may only get a handful of dialogues to play with). It draws liberally from the classic continuity, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the Ultimate Marvel universe.
  • 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 for Nothing: Meta example. Spent years grinding to recruit all those heroes? Too bad, the game has shut down and all your hard work is gone forever!
  • 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.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Stark Tower, Avengers Mansion, and even the Agent's Helicarrier have been targeted by various evil forces. This is usually an It's Personal moment for the specific hero.
  • 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.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Boss battles in Spec Ops 5 are fought on the Bifrost.
    • 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.
    • Amusingly averted with Fixer, which cyber-eye changes sides depending on which side you're facing. This might have been deliberately invoked, though, as his 'Hero' sprite (which naturally faces the right) shows his human eye and hides his glowing cyber eye, and thus averts Red Eyes, Take Warning.
  • 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: Ant Man, Black Cat, Black Panther, Black Widow, Falcon, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Squirrel Girl, Phoenix, Wolverine, Wasp, White Tiger, Hellcat 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.
  • Anti Poop-Socking:
    • 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 two days. Unlike character training, there's no option to research two items at once.
    • 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.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Isotope-8.
  • 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, the first being Skadi. For the next 7 chapters (Ch.6 till 12), each new hammer turns one of the Alliance members into the Worthy (as chapter reward outfits).
    • And, of course, Iso-8, what a good chunk of the plot revolves around.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Spidey's bio.
    ...since then has been a dedicated fighter for what's right. And what's funny.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In Player Versus Player:
    • '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...
    • Christmas 2014: jst like the previous year, on December 25 you can open the lockboxes to get Hybrid. What's so special about this hero? The fact that it has five costumes (for each non-generalist class) for a total of six E-ISOs and twenty A-ISOs!
    • Christmas 2015: same as the last two years, this time the hero is Howard the Duck!
  • As You Know
    • "Agent, I'm sure you have heard about Charles Xavier..."
    • 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.
  • Assist Character: part of some heroes' attacks (see the characters page). Also deployed by certain villains.
    • Constrictor can call Elektra and Abomination, among others, with his "Distress Call" ability. Extra amusing when Abomination proceeds to use Consume Ally on Constrictor. The heroic version of Constrictor calls in a random Lockbox Hero instead.
    • Satana can summon demons as well.
    • Mephisto releases demons with his Bound Souls attack to intimidate your team.
    • Doctor Doom can summon random Servoguards using his Summoning Portal move, as can the Agent after stealing his Servoguard Programming Interface.
    • Daimon Hellstrom can summon demons with his level 6 ability.
    • Arnim Zola can summon various test subjects to attack his opponents.
  • Back from the Dead: An essential part of the powers of many heroes and villains.
    • 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 Boast: Quite a few. Once you confront a boss with a Guest-Star Party Member in your team, you can tell said character will give Badass Boast to the villain, and vice versa.
  • Badass Bookworm: Most of the intelligent characters, who get a teamup bonus titled 'Eggheads'. Some of the heavy hitters are better termed Genius Bruisers.
  • Badass Family / Brother–Sister Team / Sibling Team: Bonus points with various taglines are granted if the Agent brings in a pair of family (siblings, twins, parent-child, etc). Also, it's interesting to note that the game treat Cable as Phoenix's son, so bringing them in the team still gives you bonus "Family Reunion" (in the comics, he is son of Madelyne Pryor, Phoenix's clone).
    • Another special mention goes to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Bringing a pair of them in the battle grants you six team-up bonuses.
    • Another pair who has six team-up bonuses is a pair of Hawkeye and Mockingbird. This pair is interesting in their own rights, because they are implied to be exes or Star-Crossed Lovers in this game.
  • Badass in Distress:
    • 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").
  • The Bad Guy Wins
    • 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.
    • SpecOps 23's scenario basically is Maximus double-crossing everyone (And angering both Tony Stark and Thanos), before running back to the evil overlord with Terrigen crystals and making a Terrigen bomb for him (Which is powerful enough to kill millions of people). Black Bolt then rightfully punches his brother's teeth out... " before a horrified Medusa not only notes that he was making three bombs, but also that the middle one is missing ". The SpecOps ends with Thanos gloating about how Earth is utterly screwed, and Nick Fury himself flat-out says it's the worst thing to ever happen to them.
  • Barrier Warrior: Several heroes and enemies can raise shields.
  • 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.
  • Beehive Barrier: The appearance of certain Deflector Shields.
  • BFG: Coulson's Revenge. Most of the higher-level guns are massive in comparison to the Agent's size.
  • BFS: Phoenix Talon/Pinion. Most Spec Ops and Limited Edition blades also tend to be this way.
  • 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
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • 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.
  • Blood Knight: Hercules, Thundra, Hulk, the Thing...
  • Body Horror: Several villains have engaged in horrific "experiments" that turn humans into unwilling mutants or cyborgs.
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: High damaging weapons and stat boosting passives are likely to be this. The best example is the Savage Spear which is a high damage slashing melee weapon with three poison based attacks to choose from that do the same damage but debuff a different type of attack (namely ranged, melee and psychic) which can also stun, cause attacks to ignore defense and poison that can also spread to bleeding enemies, topping it with a 10% stat boost to all stats and health. Playdom released it as a research exclusive weapon during Special Operation 21, offering it for 11 more Gold than the usual Limited edition weapons on sale whenever it goes for sale again.
  • 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 15, 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.
  • Brick Joke: In his recruitment message, Star-Lord says he likes what we've done with Earth, "except for that whole dubstep thing. Which supervillain thought of that?". Then some time later cue SpecOps 23, where Maximus uses robots that employ weaponized dubstep.
  • British Stuffiness: Invoked with Captain Britain and Union Jack, who are stuffed full of British cliches in the names of their passives and attacks.
  • Browser Game
  • 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).
  • Call-Back:
    • 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 15. 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.
  • Cassandra Truth: Downplayed example in SpecOps 23, where Stark keeps harping on how Maximus is obviously up to no good while everyone else insists on helping Maximus and protecting him from Thanos. Downplayed in that nobody else really trusted Maximus either, it's just that they trusted the Black Order less.
  • Character Class System: Blaster, Scrapper, Infiltrator, Bruiser, Tactician, or Generalist. Other than Generalist, each is strong against one class and weak against another. Heroes have a native character class; Agents may switch between them at will with a change of uniform. Some alternate costumes also provide an alternate class.
  • Character Customization:
    • 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.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.:
    • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • 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 Punisher showing up as a PVP reward, similar to Deadpool, without warning; the only previous hint was a themed weapon drop, the Frank Castle Special gun. Fittingly, his in-game depiction shows this gun slung behind his back.
    • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: All mentions of Namor were mysteriously removed from the game. The euphemism 'an Atlantean' is used instead. Speculation is rife that this was done as Marvel did not have Namor's video game rights.
    • Also, enemy organization RAID vanished near the end of Season 1. The last mention of RAID was a Black Cat deploy in Chapter 12 in which she investigated what have been of them (she found nothing).
  • City of Adventure: Much of the first season of action takes place in New York or in convenient portals from the city leading to hell and the Bifrost. Spec Ops and later adventures expanded into San Francisco, London and Wakanda.
  • Cleavage Window: The Phoenix Five outfits of Phoenix and Emma Frost.
  • C-List Fodder: an ongoing subplot in Season 2 is the Circle of 8 making systematic killings of some of the more obscure Marvel villains.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Tacticians (green target-like swirl); Blasters (red "explosion"); Bruisers (blue shield); Scrappers (yellow outward fist); Infiltrators (purple winged boot); and Generalists (white pentagon).
    • 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)
  • Combat Tentacles:
    • Cable grows an impressively frightening set of these out of his arm with his "Techno-Organic Rampage" move.
    • Dr. Octopus also has a set, which he uses to transmit his annoying ISO-8 virus.
    • Fantomex's external nervous system, E.V.A. mangles opponents with a set of these in his "OVNI-E.V.A." attack.
    • Anti-Venom's I AM THE CURE! attack is this.
  • Combination Attack: done by using attacks and/or weapons that exploit buffs or debuffs caused by other attacks, resulting in extra damage or effects.
  • Comeback Mechanic:
    • 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-Stomp 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.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • 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.
  • Composite Character:
    • 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.
  • Continuity Lockout: The story of Avengers Alliance is actually rather detailed. Each "chapter has its own subheading of goals, but deaths, events, shipments and characters are liberally added and subtracted. Furthermore, some important plot points such as Ultron and Vision being created, the introduction of Savin and Malekith or Thor going missing happen in the Special Operations, meaning that once those are over, you lose that piece of the story forever as a playthrough.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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: With over 100 playable characters, the new heroes to be included have gone past "famous", and "well-known" into "fan-favorite" level. The most well-known heroes not yet to be included are probably Silver Surfer, Namor, second-tier X-Men like Jubilee and Polaris, and third tier Avengers like Dr. Druid and Firefox. Even the included villains are starting to reach a similar level, with recent Spec Ops focusing on important-in-comics-but-you-probably-won't-be-seeing-them-in-a-movie characters like Ymir, Maximus the Mad, and Stegron. A teaser image for season 2 even featured Armless Tiger Man, though the fact that he has yet to appear in-game may define the lower limit of obscurity.
    • Most of the heroes and villains killed by the Circle of 8 are namedropped just for this, being hilariously obscure. Captain Ultra, noooooo!
  • Contractual Boss Immunity:
    • 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.
  • Curse Cut Short: At the start of the Premium Mission of Chapter 2:
    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.
    • Fury also has tendency to say "Sonuvah..." or "Son of a..." without finishing it.
    • From Psycho Collection No. 6 (required to recruit Moonstone):
    Moonstone: I can't tell you how many people have tried to take my stone. Baron Zemo, Steve Rogers, that traitor Hawkeye, even the so-called "Ms. Marvel", that b— ahem. Excuse me.
  • 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?
    • Molly Hayes, a 12 year old girl who's also a bruiser.
  • 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.
  • Cyborg:
    • 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-Sponge Boss: The group bosses, who must be fought several times to defeat them.
  • 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • 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.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Invoked with a identically-named teamup bonus, for female heroes based on a male counterpart: Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, X-23, Ms. Marvel and Rescue.
  • 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.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: This line of Dialogue between Hank Pym and Nitro before their fight:
    Nitro: Doc, it hurts when I do this.
    Nitro: I meant that it hurts you.
  • Doomed by Canon: As soon as we hear that Hank Pym is going to name his new embodied electrical matrix "Ultron," we know it won't end well.
  • Double Entendre: Hercules' Likes It Rough, Succubi's Petit Morte, among many others.
    • Advanced Succubus enemies are called "Meretrix," Latin for "prostitute."
  • Downer Ending: Spec Op 36, the final new content in the game, ends with Phyla-Vell and Adam Warlock attempting to stop the incursions, and failing. It's implied that the Avengers Alliance reality is about to be destroyed. If this was a comic book, it would almost certainly have had the "There is only SECRET WARS" logo on the last panel. And of course, no, the universe wasn't restored afterwards.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Mystique, as revealed at the end of Chapter 11.
  • 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: The Animated Series 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?
  • invokedDude, Not Funny!:
    • Mission 7.2, when Nick Fury talks about the "mutant problem". It led to a reply from Kitty Pryde (in-universe, a Jew, granddaughter of a victim of the Holocaust), and Fury's attempts to be a Deadpan Snarker with the topic only make things worse.
    • Magneto and Professor Xavier have this reaction to Tony joking about letting Bastion and the Sentinels attack the Brotherhood.
  • 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.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • 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.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Dormammu.
  • Elemental Powers
    • Blow You Away: Storm.
    • Casting a Shadow: Malekith
    • An Ice Person: Iceman, Storm, Blizzard, Ymir, the Ice Giants under the command of Loki (Loki quite honestly should technically count since he IS of Ice Giant descent).
    • Light 'em Up: Karolina Dean and Moonstone
    • Making a Splash: Hydro Man and Nerkkod
    • Playing with Fire: The Human Torch, Ghost Rider, Phoenix, Dormammu, Magik, Daimon Hellstrom, Sunfire, Savin, Dragoness and Surtur.
    • Shock and Awe: Storm, Thor, Constrictor, the Wrecker, Electro, Shocker, Zzax
  • 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 shows the 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 , 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 bonus 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.
  • Energy Absorption:
    • Dr. Strange and Havok can absorb energy from enemy attacks to gain extra turns or further empower attacks, respectively; likewise with the Living Pharaoh's power to morph into the Living Monolith.
    • Human Torch gains a 'Flame On!' buff when he is hit by an attack that should cause Burning, and is also immune to Fire attacks.
    • Ms. Marvel gains stamina when hit by Energy attacks, and she gets healed by them after using her Absorb Energy move.
    • A couple of demon Mooks are healed when hit with Energy attacks.
    • Half of Bishop's moveset revolves around this trope.
  • Energy Weapon: Psylocke uses a telekinetically-charged katana, and can project her psionic energies into Psychic Knives.
  • Ensign Newbie: The player character Agent is either this or Rookie Red Ranger, having jumped from training directly into the front lines at the head of a squad of heroes.
  • Epic Flail: The villain Thunderball's weapon.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • 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.
    • The game ends with a final Incursion imminent. Of course, in the comics, this was depicted as everything fading to white.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: It was 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 the body of the Golden Age Human Torch, who is blonde (and also a very human android); 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?
  • Evil Overlooker: the loading screen, which features three of Marvel's greatest supervillains... and the Juggernaut.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Magneto is using Iso-8 to turn ordinary humans into unwilling mutants.
  • The Faceless: The Mandarin.
  • Faceless Goons: HYDRA, RAID, AIM, street thugs, Test Subjects, Hellfire Club soldiers, and the Circle of Eight consist of them.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In he Civil War II special operation, the heroes are split in two factions. The agent must take a side, Team "Change the future" or team "Protect the future". If you select the former, it will end it a world-destroying disaster, Kang rescues the agent, and sends him back to the begining. And if you choose the latter, it will end it a world-destroying disaster, Kang rescues the agent, and sends him back to the begining. Eventually, the heroes will have to Take a Third Option.
  • 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 have a fixed percentage amount based off the victim's maximum health. Debuffs like Dark Void, Burning, and Poison deplete 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).
  • Flawless Victory: Provides a "Perfect Strategy" bonus.
  • Flying Firepower: Several characters, most of whom are Blasters.
  • Expy: The player's agent is basically a stand-in for Agent Coulson. At least until the real thing turns up in Season 2.
  • Flaming Hair: Ghost Rider, Dormammu, others.
  • Flaming Sword: Magik's soulsword. Psylocke's telekinetic katana has a similar look.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English:
    Black Knight: When she shows herself, I will be ready. The Philosopher's Stone must not fall to Hellfire.
    Tony Stark: "Fall to Hellfire"? What is this, Shakespeare in the Park?
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Daredevil & Elektra, Ghost Rider & Satana. There are also hints of one-sided attraction with Viper (Captain America) and Enchantress (Thor).
  • Foil: While the heroes have abilities to complement each other, Playdom releases buffs/debuffs and new heroes that have moves to counteract each other for the sake of PVP.
    • Emma Frost is extremely effective against heroes with all-out offense skills. Psylocke, Jean Grey, Juggernaut, and Magneto have passives that allow them to have anti-psychic advantages.
    • X-23's, Elektra's, and Thane's assassin moves allow them to finish off weakened heroes for good regardless of active revival buffs.
    • Bishop's moveset is built solely for taking down Mechanically based enemies, particularly for War Machine and Iron Man in PVP.
  • Follow the Leader: Special Operations 22 features an eternal night of vampires. Dr. Strange prepares an enchantment to break the spell, and Blade and Morbious help the heroes against Mephisto and Dracula. This Special Operations was released at the same time when Dracula Untold (unrelated to comics) hit the theaters.
  • Forced Tutorial
  • 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.
    • Several other 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.
  • For Science!:
    • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: 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.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • 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 so it only affects enemies; the move, however, still shows a 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. Sorrow 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.
    • At one point, there was a bug that caused Cable to constantly cycle through his numerous animations, and the bug would continue even after he was defeated and removed from the fight. Many of his animations involved a lot of movement or flashy effects, which could hinder the performance of some players' devices and even cause the game to lag out and crash. A number of players took advantage of this and placed Cable on their PVP Defense teams, earning them easy defense victories whenever the challenger's game crashed.
  • Genius Bonus: The Bauxite Interference Helmet, a usable item you get during Spec Ops 2, when Emma Frost was introduced. "Bauxite" is the ore from which aluminum is mined, and aluminum is used to make foil. . . it's a tinfoil hat to keep your thoughts in!
  • Genius Bruiser: Bringing in a pair of such heroes (Hulk, Iron Man, Hank Pym, etc.) earns the team-up bonus Dr. or Eggheads.
  • 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.
    • Very late in the game, Faiza Hussain was added as a playable character.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping:
    • Hank Pym's move "Bug Squashing" takes the form of him growing so large that all you can see on the screen is his gigantic boot stomping on all of the enemies.
    • Wasp's "Fist Bump" is a variant that smashes an enemy with Janet's enormous fist.
    • Galactus in this April Fool's announcment on Marvel's website, which shows him as just a giant pink boot on the allies' side.
  • 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.)
  • The Glasses Come Off: Cyclops pulls down his visor for his ultimate skill, "Mega Optic Blast."
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Crimson Dynamo, with his Gratuitous Russian and calling the Hellfire Club 'capitalist swine'.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom
    • The Human Torch.
    • Storm.
    • The Phoenix Five X-Men.
    • The human enemies in Spec Ops 4 have these, being tainted with demonic power.
    • On the villains' side, Dormammu and Mephisto.
  • Going Native: The Black Knight is American...but mentions in Season 2 that he's "pledged his sword to the Queen" and calls Stark a "Yank". Maybe Faiza finally completely won him over?
  • Got Volunteered: Poor Constrictor in Spec Ops 10.
    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.
  • Grammar Nazi: Maria Hill in one mission.
    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.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • Nightcrawler and the Red Skull display Gratuitous German pretty much every time they show up in a dialogue.
    • The Crimson Dynamo engages in a little bit of Gratuitous Russian from time to time.
    • 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 
      Grey Gargoyle: Guêpe!note  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 
      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).
  • G-Rated Drug:
    • 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.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Squirrel Girl's first attack is a thick blur of hits that ends with a brutal knee to the cajones. Trust Squirrel Girl to go for the nuts first.
    • If Hawkeye attacked enemy who is very tall like Proxima Midnight or Crimson Dynamo, his arrow lands right at their crotch.
  • 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).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • 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 weapon is really worth using 15 levels later when the damage output is lower. Customized weapons could then be reforged, but 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 forgot that MAA was a part of Marvel XP, and completing Marvel XP achievements could net you some in-game cash and even weapons.
    • Avengers Initiative was also part of Marvel XP. Doing Marvel quests in Avengers Initiative can also net you some nifty awards.
    • 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. At least, it was like that until Initiative got sunsetted in April 2014 - which makes these prizes a case of Temporary Online Content. 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.
    • Spec Ops 22 involves Dracula and Mephisto teaming up to block out the sun, letting vampires and demons roam free, with Blade as the reward hero. There's also a covert op mission to get Michael Mobious.
    • Spec Ops 30 has your player team up with Spitfire and Heel–Face Turn Baron Mordo against Morgan le Fay, Hela, Umar, and Dracula. The fight against the three witches is a nod to Hocus Pocus.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Season 1 Chapter 2 Mission 6 is this. The level is filled with Demonic Spiders Hacked Servoguards, two Sentinels as minibosses, and two Nimrod Sentinels as another group of minibosses. Each of the Hacked Servoguards have ability to give additional turn for them and immediate additional turn for their allies, which means if you fight three of them, good luck when there is at least one of them who use that ability. They are also immune to some status effects. The Sentinels and Nimrod Sentinels minibosses are all Generalists, thus almost have no weaknesses. They have a lot of HP, high-damage attacks, and they are also immune to some status effects, including stun, so if you have EMP Blaster against them, it will only do normal damage and won't stun them. The main boss of this mission is Crimson Dynamo. Very surprisingly, he absolutely has no immunity to any status effect. One of his "special ability" is called as "Going Haywire"... which do nothing but stun himself for one turn. His other attacks are also much less dangerous than the Hacked Servoguards', Sentinels', or Nimrod Sentinels'. In-Universe justification, however, is that he lost control of his Powered Armor. That's why his boss fight becomes very easy.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Referenced with the Red in the Ledger team-up bonus for ex-villains.
    • 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.
  • Homage:
    • 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 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.
  • HP to One:
    • "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!
  • I Am Not Shazam: A Discussed Trope in-universe. The Runaways wonder why everybody keeps calling them that.
    Nico Minoru: We never called ourselves that. Is that, like, official?
  • I Call It "Vera": Valkyrie's sword is named Dragonfang.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Instead of admitting that downloading Ultron was a mistake, Hank Pym insists that the alternative of leaving him in New York's electronic systems would have been worse.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Abomination, when he uses 'Consume Ally' move to instantly OHKO his own team members.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Black Cat and Enchantress are the toplisters. Modern Emma Frost's dialog art is downplayed in comparison with the first two.
  • Improvised Weapon: Spec Ops 8 gives us the "Pym-Grown Needle", which is, seriously, a perfectly ordinary sewing needle...albeit grown to be about 4 feet long.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Fire is cool. Just ask Ghost Rider, Human Torch, or the Phoenix Five.
  • Instant Runes: Some magical attacks.
  • 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 levelling, the Generalist Agent would increase all stats equally.
    • The Mandarin and Thanos, they have the Omnipotence attribute, it gives them all five class advantages... as well as their weakness.
  • Just Between You and Me: At the end of SpecOps 9, the Mandarin called S.H.I.E.L.D. and told them that "You'll never see me coming". Except that he has just told them, and now they will be ready for his attack.
  • Kid Hero: The Runaways and Nova are in their teens. Molly Hayes is the youngest on the roster, at 12.
  • Killed Off for Real: Probably so as not to give themselves a headache, the Circle of 8 starts killing off minor villains like wildfire. (the total will eventually equal 64, 8 for each hammer). Known victims so far included Sumo, Mandrill, Obnoxio the Clown, and a host of other z/d list villains.
  • Kudzu Plot: Let's just say that since this is the marvel universe, there's at least 3 if not 6 different plots going on on a chapter to chapter or episode to episode. And what with HYDRA, AIM, The Maggia, The Hand, RAID, The Kingpin, the Mandarin, Ultron, The circle of 8, The Hood, Mephisto, Dormmamu, The Worthy and tens of other villainous leaders all trying to rule the world and use the chaos to their advantage, it's no wonder the timeline page is such a mess.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • 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.
  • Last Ditch Move: Blaster demons will explode once their health reaches 0. This final attack can be avoided if they are inflicted with Damage Over Time debuffs that kill them for good .
  • Legion of Doom: the Syndicate, which consists of Doctor Doom, The Red Skull, Loki, and at first Magneto, among others.
  • Level Grinding: Tactically wise in standard missions but useless in Bonus Missions and Spec Ops (where enemies are all set at the Agent's current level), and worse than useless in Challenge Mode (where the enemies are set at five levels above the Agent's current level).
  • 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.
    • The Dyed Egg is another one. Basically, using it means that you throw an easter egg at you target. It apply the Blinded debuff on the ennemy, making it very likely that it will miss it's next attack. If you outnumber your opponent and keep using one after each enemy attack, you won't be hurt often. It also deal PercentDamage, hurting bosses way more than an eastern egg would have any right to do so. The off-balance effect is a bonus.
  • 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).
  • Loading Screen: With tips to look at for starters, but usually bordering on the painfully obvious.
    Cyclops actually has two eyes.
    Emma Frost doesn't have power over ice.
  • 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 in Translation: In English, the Serpent once said that "I am Fear Itself". In the Spanish translation, he says "Yo soy el miedo", and the reference to the crossover gets lost (as the comic was published under the name "El miedo mismo").
  • 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:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. The last two moves are major powerhouses. Example: Black Widow's third move does major damage and is a debuff.
    4. 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...
  • Male Gaze:
    • 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 have certain attack animations which emphasize their backsides.
    • Probably unintentional, but Ghost Rider's Penance Stare ability hits female characters directly in the chest.
      • Against Moonstone, who flies and prominently displays her backside to the screen, he Penance Stares at her ass.
    • Chase Stein gets the cosmetic passive "Nice." after using his X-ray goggles on a female character. ("Chase Stein likes what he sees.")
  • 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.
  • Midair Bobbing: All "Flying" characters, when idling.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • 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.
  • 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
  • Mildly Military
  • Military Superhero: Bonus points are granted if the Agent brings in a pair of heroes with military background. There are two of them, actually: "Proud to serve" and "War buddies", the latter is exclusively for three heroes who served Allied Forces in World War II: Captain America, Union Jack, and Wolverine.
  • Mind Rape: "Mental Anguish" and "Stare of the Abyss" are two of the well-known psychic banes.
    • The Psychic Forse set is a very effective set of weapons that applies some nasty mental debuffs, dealing about 80% damage within the first turn. it applies "Manipulated", "Weak Mind", "Deep Disorientation", "Mental Anguish" and "Cerebral Agony". Cerebral Agony is able to evolve to "Cerebral Agony stage II" and "Cerebral Agony stage III", that is, if the afflicted individual survives long enough.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: In Spec Ops 3: Avengers vs. X-Men.
  • 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. Nick disappears again later, this time forever.
  • 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.
  • Money Sink: Once a hero has reached two-digit levels, the cost of training him increases gradually from 100,000 toward 500,000 silver.
  • Mooks: Maggia mobsters, the Hand ninjas, A.I.M. and HYDRA agents, mutated human experiments, escaped convicts from Rykers, Latverian robots, demonspawn from hell...
  • Most Common Superpower: Most, if not all, female characters seems a bit more busty than their usual appearance in the comics (although it's also depending on the artists). Even Maria Hill is included here. Notable aversion is Nico Minoru, since she's still a child.
  • Motifs: The SpecOps have various themes regarding the reward equipment.
  • Motive Decay: It seems that, after the first chapters, nobody is concerned about the Pulse anymore, and things returned to the usual good vs. evil chaos.
  • Multiform Balance: the Agent can equip various armor corresponding to the various classes. Some characters, in their Alternate costumes that have various bonuses, also qualifies.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Largely averted: the characters who are pure brawlers tend to have the physique to match.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • 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.note 
    • 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.
    • Mission 2-7-2 takes place in Savage Land and the team-up hero is Wolverine. This is a reference to The Savage Wolverine which feature Logan's adventures in the Savage Land.

  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Satana and Dagger have outfits with plunging necklines.
  • 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.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Implied by Havok's reaction to Tony trying to snark Shakespeare.
    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 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.
    Tony Stark: Surprising no one, it seems, but Dr. Henry Pym. Way to go, Doc.
    • Also noteworthy is that the Agent is present for that battle and assists Pym (there is no option to believe Kang and either stay out of the fight or try to dissuade Hank from creating Ultron).
  • Ninja: Daredevil, Kitty Pryde and Psylocke are labeled as shinobi. The Syndicate's own faction of this is The Hand ninjas.
  • No-Damage Run: Actively encouraged, because it nets the player a double bonus: one for Vitality (health remaining) and one for Perfect Strategy.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: No one ever gets killed in combat, even though Never Say "Die" is clearly not in play. Villains flee; heroes apparently stagger to their feet and retreat while the villain gloats at their departing backs.
  • Not His Sled
    • 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 The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest 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 That Kind of Doctor: The "Dr." team-up bonus is more or less a reference to this trope. The heroes who get such bonus is either those who have medical skills or not. Those who are actually have medical skills of sorts are: Doctor Voodoo and Moonstone (psychologists), Shanna (veterinarian), Dr. Strange (surgeon), and Jane Foster (former nurse who became a doctor). The rest of them are non-medical doctorates.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: Via a Conqueror from the Future. Kang the Conqueror, the '40th century man', has something to say about Hank Pym's 'Project Ultron' in Spec Ops 7 Mission 3.
    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.
    Hank Pym: Well, you came to my present, where I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen. Now stand down and do not get in the way of my work.
    Kang: This Ultron construct is more dangerous than you imagine. You cannot control it and are a fool to try. Destroy it now...or I will.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Syndicate, an alliance of nefarious villains seeking to undermine the heroes and S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: 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 one for Hank Pym, whose decision to create Ultron is still a point of mockery two Spec Ops later.
  • 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 had 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'.
  • Optional Boss: Epic Boss battles 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.
  • Overly Long Gag: In season 2, announcing the deaths of unknown minor villians attributed to be killed by the Circle of 8.
  • 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.
  • Pegasus: The winged horses Aragorn and Valinor, belonging to Valkyrie and Black Knight, respectively.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: Averted, with "Iso-Saurs" in Spec Ops 21. Iso-8 empowers them.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Tony's role in Mission Control involves throwing out as many jokes as facts. When Nick and Maria disappeared, he got a lot more serious — then returned to his old ways once they were safely recovered. Though sometimes he meets his match.
    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.
  • Power at a Price:
    • 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 
    • 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).
    • Played razor straight with the Demon Set. Each piece gives a damage-over-time debuff to the Agent, with an associated debuff, but gives a powerful bonus if you have another debuff (provided by a different set piece) active. With the whole set, one of the weapons (Grief) can one-shot all but the most powerful enemy parties. Not individuals, parties.
  • 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.
  • Prehistoric Monster: The "Iso-Saurs" (as Tony called them) in Spec Ops 21. This is just one of example how Savage Lander Saurians can be used as Iso-8 subject.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Emma Frost and TA-Beta when they use their psychic powers.
  • 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.
    • During Spec Op 2, when Emma Frost was introduced, a new item was added to the daily roulette: The Bauxite Interference Helmet, which gave a buff negating psychic attacks when used.
  • Psychic Powers:
  • 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.
  • Public Service Announcement: The sponsored Covert Tasks by Underwriters Laboratories have this feel, since UL doesn't need to advertise to the public, per se, and tasks are about pirated intellectual property and the danger posed by counterfeit products.
  • Pun:
    • Many, but when considering just moves - 'Raise Hell' (raises "hellth"), 'Tired' (tyre throw), 'Smashing' (a literal ground smash), 'Money Shot' and 'Unsafe' (safe throw) are a few.
    • The team-up bonus titles are about 1/3 puns, 1/3 stock phrases, and 1/3 Shout Outs.
  • 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 Kill No-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,Kang, Sabretooth(at the start with his personal E-iso and once he revives at 50% health without) and Dr. Doom)
    • Inverted with Fixer; he's fairly tame as a boss with weak abilities and only moderate damage potential, but surprisingly dangerous as a hero with tricked out shields, powerful guns, and bombs that can easily one hit overkill even a boss with enough setup.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The game has been adapted into a four issue comic mini series that can be read for free at Marvel dot com.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: So, you can research temporal warping, and use it 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
  • Religion of Evil: The Circle of Eight appears to be one of these.
  • Required Party Member: Special Deploys; especially important in missions with Epic Bosses.
  • Right Makes Might: Invoked by "Right is Might", one of Captain Britain's moves.
  • 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.
  • Running Gag:
    • The earlier Spec Ops heroes being blond(e)s.
    • 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.
      • This, however, ended with Falcon in Spec Ops 17.
  • Russian Reversal: This exchange in Spec Ops 2:
    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  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 Episode: Some Spec Ops follow the plot of previous ones:
    • The first one is Spec Ops 2, which reveals who was behind the plot of Spec Ops 1
    • Spec Ops 20, which focuses on the Guardians of the Galaxy, is oddly enough, a follow up of Spec Ops 13, which was an adaptation of ''Infinity
      • The final Spec Op 36, Truth of Infinity, is another sequel, introducing Adam Warlock. Unfortunately, the same patch came with the news the game was closing.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: The first chapter of Season 2 is mostly set in Britain. Some missions in later chapters are set in Wakanda.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Doctor Strange uses large words alongside a formal, slightly stiff conversational style.
    • Scarlet Witch is characterised in the same way as her fellow magic user, dignified and serious in her dialogue.
  • Set Bonus:
    • Future Countdown 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.
  • Short Teens, Tall Adults: The Runaways' character sprites are smaller than the adult characters, even though most of them are old enough to be at their adult height.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • 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.
  • Sneak Attack:
    • The Infiltrator Class bonus is Combat Reflexes which turn all their attacks into stealthy attacks that cannot be defended against or countered.
    • Kitty Pryde's Level 2 ability is literally called this. Extra damage is dealt when she uses this move while Phased.
    • All of Nightcrawler's revamped skills are stealthy attacks. Elektra's, too.
    • One of Black Widow's alternate outfits has Stealthy on all her attacks as well.
    • On the enemy's side, IN-Alpha and IN-Beta have Invisible Strike. The Ice Pick and Slicer have Ambush.
  • Socketed Equipment: The Agent's various purchasable armors as well as the heroes' normal and alternate costumes.
  • Socialization Bonus: Like whoa.
    • 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.
  • Stance System: For the hero examples, check the character sheet.
    • 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.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Cable plays one in SpecOps 7.
    Tony Stark: That's not Doom. Something else is going on—whoa. Cable.
    Cable: It's a time-travel signature. I'm going to find that out in about an hour, your time.
    Tony Stark: And there he goes again. I hate when he does that.
  • Stealth Pun: The Iron Man knockoff, Tactical Force. Guess what class he is?
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Lampshaded hilariously in Ironclad's Marvel XP entry.
    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'.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: The last 2 released chapters of Avengers Alliance effectively functions as this. To wit, the Serpent is dead and defeated, and Thanos was driven away from Adam Warlock. However, Thor and the Jane Foster Thor are in odinsleep from their wounds and when the avatar of oblivion combines her powers with Adam Warlock to try and fix the Incursions, the last thing we hear is Phil Coulsen saying, "See you on the other side agent." A pretty downbeat ending to a game that was mostly trumpeting its own success from mission to mission.
  • Succubi and Incubi: The succubus-type enemies.
  • Super Serum: Iso-8.
  • 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.
  • Sword Drag: Heimdall does this.
  • Symbolic Blood: The amount of silver that spills out of Group Bosses are by the torrents, especially with multiple-hit powerhouse skills and or stacked-up damage-over-time debuffs.

  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Blaster > Bruiser > Scrapper > Infiltrator > Tactician > Blaster. The 'Generalist' class is neither weak nor strong against any class.
  • Take That!:
    • 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.
    • From Mission 10-3:
      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.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. In Spec Ops 8-1, while Loki indulges in Evil Gloating over releasing inmates from the Vault and forging an alliance with Ultron, Quicksilver takes the opportunity and delivers a fist to his face.
    • Played straighter as the Chapters and SpecOps continue, and the boss fights get more elaborate. Many bosses have scripted dialogue in the middle of their fights, usually triggered (apparently) by the boss reaching a certain level of health. The boss actually interrupts a turn (the icons on the top row re-arranging to show it's now his turn), even in the middle of a character (like Quicksilver) taking multiple turns.
  • A Taste of Power:
    • 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.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • 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.)
    • The game itself is this since September 30th 2016.
  • That Came Out Wrong: After coming back from a deploy, Maria Hill asked Daredevil if he saw something suspicious. She apologized immediately afterwards.
  • 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. Foes defeated in this manner also fade to a red silhouette as opposed to disappearing into purple nothingness when beaten normally.
  • 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.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • Sif's Flying Sword.
    • Union Jack's Over the Top (although it's technically a dagger that's being thrown).
  • Time-Limit Boss: In Spec Ops 8, the Ultron copies disappear from your map if you and your allies cannot defeat them in 3 days' time.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Spec Ops 22 starts with Mephisto and Dracula teaming up to create a permanent eclipse to sunk Earth on a perpetual night.
  • Token Evil Teammate: What happens when ex-villains like Magneto decide to cooperate with the other heroes, albeit grudgingly.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While all the heroes are Badasses, any hero who was on the crap tier then the devs decide to power him/her up and make the players gawk fits in this category
  • Touché: When Iron Man mocks Falcon for relying on his birds for information, Falcon retorts by asking if that's like how Tony relies on J.A.R.V.I.S. and his computers. Tony then responds with this.
  • Trash Talk:
  • 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..
  • Troll:
  • 20 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.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: 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)
  • 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.
  • Underground Monkey: Various mooks get an upgrade over the course of the story, including Sentinels.
  • 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.
  • Vampiric Draining: Several weapons and items allow characters to drain the Health or Stamina of another, usually to increase their own.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Most bosses end up escaping through convenient portals after you defeat them.
  • The Virus: Iso-8 Contagion. The infected character can pass it on to whichever he/she attacks next.
  • Visible Silence:
    • Used during every conversation with the Destroyer.
    • Hulk's conversation with a Sentinel in Mission 8-1.
    • Black Bolt's dialogue switches between this and other people speaking for him.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: Used at the top of the screen to keep track of everyone's turns via little face portraits.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Piledriver in Mission 5-1 has a move called "Money Shot" or "Unsafe" which involves him throwing a safe full of dollar bills at you. A similar attack is also called "Tired".
    • Deadpool has a move called "No Holds Barred" which involves beating up the enemy using his Life Bar.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A lot of the heroes are this to each other (just about everyone is to Tony Stark), and the banter can get a little barbed at times.
    • Implied from team-up bonuses (although it's more like a Mythology Gag) between Phoenix and Emma Frost. Bringing a pair of them in battle grants you five team-up bonuses. The thing is a pair of Cyclops-Phoenix only grants four team-up bonuses and Cyclops-Emma only grants three. That's right, Phoenix and Emma are more beneficial when they are together than when they are with Cyclops!
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Loki and Mystique are 2 instances, with Loki having impersonated Valkyrie before, and Mystique impersonating Emma Frost and Magneto.
  • Walking Armory: The Punisher's second skill grants him to swap among the six classes, where each class equips him with a unique gun and grenade combo for a total of 12 armaments.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene:
    • Hercules walks around in just a warrior's kilt.
    • Daimon Hellstrom wears just a pair of leather pants for an outfit.
    • Hulk sports his classic purple ripped Magic Shorts in most of his costumes. Red Hulk, though a different sprite, dresses similarly.
    • Thing wears only a set of pants in his default look, but averts the trope with his Future Foundation outfit that resembles a wrestling singlet.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Tigra fights in a blue bikini.
  • 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: Melee attacks are quite damaging, but the Immobilized debuff will shut down heroes and villians alike with an all-melee skillset.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Nick and Maria's abduction in Chapter 7.
    • The resurrection of Red Skull at the end of Chapter 10.
    • Ultron escaping at the end of Spec Ops 7.
    • The Mandarin making his first appearance at the end of Spec Ops 9.
    • She-Hulk being transformed into Skirn, Breaker of Men in Season 2, Chapter 6, Mission 1, followed up by the appearance of both Skadi in Mission 4, and The Serpent himself at the end of the mission.
    • Season 2, Chapter 8, Mission 4: Longtime villain Baron Mordo is killed at the hands of his modified Mindless Ones when Dormammu turns them against their master.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • Forget the fact that we know what happens when Hank Pym dabbles in the creation of entities named 'Ultron'. Why would he choose to store a rogue artificial intelligence warped by the Pulse in a functioning robotic body? Pym also seemed confident that his failsafes would ensure the system's stability, but when even Kang the Conqueror comes from the future just to stop you, you should know that things will go horribly awry...
    • The heroic battle of Season 1, chapter 2, mission 6. "The Warriors Three are hosting a party at Avengers Mansion! What could possibly go wrong?"
  • When Dimensions Collide: The whole purpose of Incursion events is to ward off the encroachment of parallel universes onto our world.
  • Wild Card:
    • 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 ).
  • 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.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe:
    • HYDRA's Evil Twin of Thor flanderizes Thor's mildly antiquated speech into this trope. War Machine and Stark both complain bitterly about how annoying it is.
    • Parodied somewhat in the banter between Black Knight and Selene in Season 2; they do it back and forth for a bit before the Knight says "all right, that's enough" and starts talking normally again.
    • Fury also notes that he'll "shoot the first person who speaks in iambic pentameter".
  • You Are Already Dead: Can be caused by any status effect that causes characters to lose hit points on their turns. Especially when said status effects stack.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The game employs several resources to keep up with your heroes' progression.
    • 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.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Captain America and Avalanche discussed about this in London.
  • 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.