The daughter of Thanos comes to Battlerealm, hunting for vengeance!

Thanos always manages to bring out the worst in people, including his adopted daughter Nebula. Forced to fighter her sister Gamora and mechanically enhanced when she lost, this fierce warrior unleashes her fury and combat prowess on Battlerealm, and if she runs into daddy dearest all the better.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Champion Designer Piero Herrera about Nebula and her seriously awesome abilities in “Marvel Contest of Champions.”

Marvel.com: Has Nebula finally found out that Gamora has been hanging out on Battlerealm? Has she entered The Contest looking to take down her sister, or for some more nefarious purpose?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector captured both Gamora and Nebula back in 2014, but for some reason preferred to add Gamora to The Contest and keep Nebula in storage—story of her life, really. The Guardians bump into her again when they travel back in time to 2014. All I can say is Nebula might tag along for future adventures, if Gamora and her can make up.

Marvel.com: And what’s going on with the new monthly quest? Can we get some details on that bad boy?

Gabriel Frizzera: This month’s quest, “Guardians Vol. Zero” is a throwback to the distant year of 2014, when The Contest started. Kang the Conqueror—who has a truce with the Avengers—hires the Guardians to salvage the wreck of his ship, the Damocles, where he keeps some important equipment. But Yondu gets there first, and after some shenanigans they’re all accidentally transported two years, four months, and 23 days into the past. Star-Lord sees this as a chance to warn The Collector about releasing Thanos in The Contest, but the time portal is closing; if they don’t find The Collector fast, they might get stuck in the recent past, forever—or I guess they can just wait for two years, four months, and 23 days.

This event is a great chance to look back and fill some of the untold backstory. Like in our new motion comic, where you see into the Collector’s thought process when picking Champions for his brand-new Contest of Champions. His selection process is less than perfect, as you can see here.

Marvel.com: It looks like Nebula is rocking her Ravager outfit from “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” What went into making sure her style stayed true to the movie look?

Gabriel Frizzera: We got lots of cool reference ahead of time from Marvel Studios for both Nebula and Yondu that allowed us to build models that are very similar to the movie characters—but of course we infused our own unique Contest style to them!

Marvel.com: Would you mind breaking down her kit for us? She doesn’t have a sword to swing around, but she’s got cybernetic implants and a mean left hook right?

Gabriel Frizzera: We decided to keep the two electric batons she fights with in the first “Guardians” movie, and that’s what Nebula uses most of the time. I think the animation team came [up] with a very unique fighting style that leverages the double weapons. She can also build up energy in her electric arm and discharge a powerful pulse to disable enemies!

Marvel.com: So what exactly is her style? How are we playing her and what do we need to look out for when relentlessly hunting down our sister?

Piero Herrera: Nebula is able to quickly charge up “Electroshock charges” when holding block. Those charges [enable] Nebula to deal high amounts of damage in a very short period of time and also can be used to lock the opponent’s Power Bar, temporarily disabling their ability to get Power. Hold block to get charges, land a Parry, and use Special 1 for Power Lock, or Special 2 for the high Shock damage burst. On top of it, Nebula also has a pretty good Self-Repair ability.

Marvel.com: How does her self-healing compare to some of the other regenerative characters in the game?

Piero Herrera: The way Nebula activates her Self-Repair is quite unique. Whenever she takes a lot of damage from a single hit, she will be able to heal all of the damage taken from that hit if she has a Self-Repair charge ready to be used. This also means that she is very strong against an opponent’s Special 3, since the damage from a Special 3 is just calculated in one big chunk after the cinematic sequence. Basically, the Self-Repair will activate whenever you need it the most.

Marvel.com: And when can we harness Nebula’s fury for ourselves?

Piero Herrera: Nebula is just about ready to start electrifying opponents with her electric arms and energy pulse discharges; be sure to check her out when she comes to The Contest on May 11!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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A different take on the floral colossus hits Battlerealm hard!

Getting psyched for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”? Want to crush some skulls with a Groot from another reality? Look no further than “Marvel Contest of Champions” and King Groot!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and QA Analyst Gordon Thornton about the big bad new tree on Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: Oh man who is King Groot and why does he look so terrifying? What happened to our cute baby Groot?

Gabriel Frizzera: Sometimes, if you don’t raise your Baby Groot right, give him love, water, and sunlight, they fall in with the wrong crowd and become an angry, spiky, wasp-spewing tyrant tree. It’s sad but true.

But in all seriousness, King Groot is basically an updated version of the original “Groot, King of Planet X,” when he was an evil tree King trying to “branch out” his empire to Earth. We just shortened the name to “King Groot”.

Marvel.com: I have to give props to the team—King Groot looks incredible. What went into crafting this guy?

Gabriel Frizzera: When Marvel approached us to be part of the Monsters Unleashed event, I immediately called dibs on the original Groot, knowing we wanted to do a Guardians-related event featuring Angela. But when I looked at the original 1960s design again, I felt that it needed a bit of an upgrade to be the aggressive fighting boss we needed in the game. We didn’t want his bark to be worse than his bite.

So, inspired by the original [Jack] Kirby design, I bulked him up a bit, enlarged his “crown” and spikes. and added a mace hand. I also looked at the gnarly quality of tree barks and vines drawn by artists like Steve Bissette and John Totleben. Once approved, the design fell into the hands of our capable modeling team—which is getting pretty good at modeling alien trees. Since all our characters are carefully sculpted in Z-Brush, all the cool organic details can be created before they’re baked in the game model.

Marvel.com: If you had to guess, what would happen if King Groot ran into Groot and Rocket Raccoon in the Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: Hmm… I’ll go out on a limb and say they wouldn’t be friends. If you play our new event quest, “King Groot’s Loot,” you definitely find out more details, but what I can say is King Groot has been giving regular Groot a bad name in the Battlerealm, and Rocket isn’t happy.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s talk about how hard this guy hits! What is Unyielding Might? Is this ability as awesome as it sounds?

Gordon Thornton: King Groot’s Unyielding Might Signature Ability is definitely as awesome as it sounds! This Signature Ability gives King Groot amazing combat resilience by empowering him with regeneration while he’s waiting for his Fury Buffs to begin stacking again. This allows him to stay in the fight longer and focus on offense when he’s got Fury, and defense while he’s Regenerating, offering maximum face mashing time. Hello face, meet my new friend: Club Arm!

Marvel.com: From the looks of it, King Groot seems a little like a regenerating machine, able to bring himself back from the brink and avoid any status ailments along the way.

Gordon Thornton: King Groot has two regeneration abilities he can rely on. One will happen automatically when he switches from his Offensive to his Defensive State; the other is on command, a rarity for Regeneration abilities, when he performs his Level 3 Special Attack. It’s also possible to stack one on top of the other, to really get yourself back in the fight.

Marvel.com: In your opinions, what’s the coolest thing about King Groot?

Gordon Thornton: I think my favorite thing about King Groot is that when in his Offensive State he can instantly remove Debuffs at the cost of one of his Furies. Not only does this make King Groot very hard to shutdown with a Heal Block, it gets him out of fight ending Stuns, and has the added benefit of pushing him into his Regeneration State sooner as his Fury Buffs are removed.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about the hulking brute?

Gordon Thornton: We all expect King Groot to be a strong defender with his tree-like resilience due to Regeneration and Debuff removals; Parry what Parry? Additionally, he has very high Base HP, which helps boost the strength of his Regeneration Buffs. Be sure to check him out when he comes to The Contest on April 27!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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The man who brings Drax to life forms his team and prepares for battle!

He’s big, green, knows his way around a knife, and stands as one of the toughest guys in the known universe—and now he’s drawing a line in the stardust for “Marvel Contest of Champions” players everywhere.

Dave Bautista, aka Drax the Destroyer in “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” challenges all comers to test their might against his team of cosmic combatants. We talked to Dave about what makes his crew so formidable, why it’s better than all the challenge teams that have come before it, and the reason you won’t be able to get past his boss fight.

Marvel.com: Dave are you sure you’re ready to take on millions of “Contest of Champions” players who have been training for years to bring down the biggest and baddest villains the Marvel Universe has ever seen?

Dave Bautista: The real question is, are they ready for me? I’m here to test the mettle of these Champions and I expect that many of them will be destroyed by my challenge.

Marvel.com: You couldn’t have picked a better team to face down such overwhelming odds. Tell us a little about why you got the Guardians of the Galaxy gang together for this challenge.

Dave Bautista: You’ve got to trust your friends; you’ve got to trust your family. When asked what team I wanted to use for the challenge, there was no question who it was going to be.

Marvel.com: I love that you made Drax the boss for this event. How does it feel seeing a character you played on screen make the move to “Contest of Champions” and duking it out with Marvel’s other heavy hitters?

Dave Bautista: Being part of the Marvel family is still very surreal but nothing makes me happier than seeing Drax in a mobile game. Fighting as Drax in “Contest of Champions” feels like the perfect fit for both me and the character.

Dave Bautista’s Champion Challenge in Marvel Contest of Champions

Marvel.com: Have you taken Drax for a spin in the game? What do you think of the Destroyer as a combatant in the Contest?

Dave Bautista: Drax is a beast in The Contest. His abilities and special attacks make him a fierce offensive opponent. With his Fury and Bleed abilities, he can take down even the biggest adversaries.

Marvel.com: Ok if you hadn’t gone with the full Guardians roster, are there any other heroes or villains you would have wanted on your team?

Dave Bautista: I like the Champions who can get into a knock-down-drag-out brawl like Wolverine, Beast, and Venom. And of course the other big green guy: Hulk!

Marvel.com: How do you think your team matches up against Chloe Bennet, Clark Gregg, and Ming-Na Wen’s squads?

Dave Bautista: I like where their hearts were but their teams didn’t have that one thing that brings them all together. With my team at my side, I think we can show the players what a real challenge looks like.

Marvel.com: Finally, what do you have to say to the players that will be gunning for you and your crew?

Dave Bautista: They won’t be able to get past my challenge…my reflexes are too fast. Prepare to be destroyed.

Take on Dave’s Drax and the rest of the Guardians now, and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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The Avenging Angel of Asgard descends upon Battlerealm!

Hark the Asgardian herald Angela appears to kick butt and take names this week in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Wondering how Odin’s oldest daughter fights compared to the rest of the cast? We got a chance to talk to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about this damsel definitely not in distress and all the pain she’ll be bringing to Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: Has The Grandmaster moved on from mutants and graduated to gods, or is Angela gracing The Contest for some divine intervention?

Gabriel Frizzera: Angela is a perfect fit for The Contest. A consummate warrior with Asgardian might and Angelic moves, she’s entering the game to show how it’s done. She’s such a perfect character to have in “Contest” that we don’t even explain how she got in the Battlerealm. She was already there, waiting for her turn to bash heads. We might know more about the connection between the Elders and new Asgardian Champions later in the year, but for now let’s leave it a mystery.

Marvel.com: Holy gosh she looks great. Her armor and weapons and are all spot on! What went into helping Angela make the jump from comics to Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: Angela was originally created in the 90s, and I suspect [she] was influenced not only by fantasy literature and RPGs, but also a nascent video game culture. Or maybe they all converged in this over-the-top, almost impractical golden outfit, with weird weapons and backstory. Whatever the case is, she was in our plans for a long time, because it just makes sense for the game. Our character team lead Gene Campbell modelled this one himself, and she’s been in the game files for some time now. We were just waiting for the right time to release her. Turns out the fantasy-style quest loosely tied to the Guardians was the perfect outlet for her.

Marvel.com: I can see she’s rocking a sword and what looks like a double-bladed glaive, but the real question is can she use her ribbons in combat?

Gabriel Frizzera: Unfortunately not. We use it a lot for visual effect and flair, but we decided to concentrate on the other weapons. We have limitations of how many props we can use before memory starts becoming an issue in the slower devices, so we gotta pick and choose. But the good news is we are developing a better system for tentacle-like appendages, since we have plans for future characters that use them.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about her Battle Focus ability. How exactly does that benefit her in combat?

Simon Cameron: Angela is heavily based around her Buffs, but that also leaves her very vulnerable to Nullify abilities. Her Battle Focus Signature Ability gives her some resistance to Nullify, and helps keep her in fighting form.

Marvel.com: And her other abilities—Fury, Armor Up, Precision, and Expertise—make it sound like she just wants to stay in her opponent’s face wailing away.

Simon Cameron: Pretty much! She gains Buffs based on how much Power she has, basically one Buff for each possible power state. She can create an additional copy of each of these Buffs by landing Critical Hits, and another stack by using the appropriate Special Attack. She’s definitely happiest when landing hits on her opponent, however, careful Power Bar management will be needed to keep her at max damage output.

Marvel.com: And her teammates fit well, getting bonuses from her Aesir brethren Thor and Loki, and her Guardians of the Galaxy crew. Nothing flashy here though. What can you tell us about the dev strategy behind those bonuses?

Simon Cameron: Angela’s Synergy Bonuses are more defensive with health and block bonuses. Both synergies work well with her Resilience Regeneration ability, keeping her in the fight for longer.

Marvel.com: And when can we get her into the fight?

Simon Cameron: Angela will be coming to The Contest this Thursday, [April 13]! Make sure to check for in-game messaging and arenas to see how you can get your hands on this mighty warrior!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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The X-Men’s coolest original mutant joins the Battlerealm!

Something frigid this way comes, and his name is Bobby Drake! The X-Men’s coolest original mutant joins the “Marvel Contest of Champions” crew as the game’s newest combatant. Ready to freeze your opponents solid? We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Justin Ostensen about how Iceman will be lowering temperatures all across Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: With the Grandmaster sending seriously deadly mutants at the Collector, is Bobby just another of the Elder of the Universe’s incredibly powerful pawns?

Gabriel Frizzera: Iceman is probably the most important piece in his mutant army, with his omega-level mutant powers and all. But he wants to go along in a very surreptitiously way, since he’s still trying to convince Summoners he’s the good guy, and that the Collector is the bad guy. He even hides his connection to the X-Enforcers, and blames it on his unsuspecting brother.

Marvel.com: Iceman’s sporting a more modern look for The Contest. I know people love his smooth ice style, but I really digging the jagged edges and icicles he’s sporting here. Were you guys going for a more mature look?

Gabriel Frizzera: We have fans of all “Icemen” in the studio, even the original snowman-in-boots design! Many reasons led us to pick the “jagged” version. On the visual side, the bumpy surface creates more opportunity for dramatic light/shadow interplay. Russell, one of our very talented rendering engineers, wrote a specific 3D shader for Iceman, with translucency and reflection variation that mimic the way ice looks in real life.

On the story side, we wanted to have a version of Iceman on the verge on unlocking his omega-level capabilities. In the event story, he’s tempted by Psylocke who promises to unleash his true potential in exchange for him joining the X-Enforcers. Bobby is on the run, and his tortured mental state creates blizzards all over the Battlerealm, which people have probably already experienced playing the game.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about Iceman’s abilities? Absolute Zero sounds like a perfect Iceman move.

Justin Ostensen: Definitely. Iceman’s signature ability, Absolute Zero, lets him reform his defenses faster than normal and much more importantly, allows him to start the fight with a Coldsnap active on the opponent. This allows him to deal a large amount of Energy Damage at the start of the fight, and to shut off his opponent’s ability to Evade any attacks while they’re under the Coldsnap. Clever players who find themselves faced with a tough Spider-Man fight might be well advised to bring Iceman to the duel.

Marvel.com: How do Organic Ice, Frostbite, and Coldsnap fit into his fighting style?

Justin Ostensen: Organic Ice is Iceman’s defensive capabilities, while Frostbite and Coldsnap allow him to put the hurt on his opponents. While it’s active, Iceman’s Organic Ice provides him full immunity to any Bleed, Poison, or Incinerate effects, and also grants him a large boost to his Armor Rating. Meanwhile, if Iceman is ever about to get Stunned or take a massive amount of damage, his Ice Armor will absorb the blow and protect him. Frostbite and Coldsnap are how Iceman dishes out the damage. By landing Critical Hits or launching special attacks, Iceman can land these effects on his opponents, which cause them to take both constant damage and large bursts of damage as long as Iceman stays offensive and takes the fight to his opponent.

Marvel.com: If you just had a single sentence to tell players how cool Iceman is, pun intended, what would you say?

Gabriel Frizzera: This is an experienced version Bobby Drake, at the peak of control of his powers, ready to fight whoever crosses his path… so in a sentence, “No More Mr. Ice Guy.” 🙂

Justin Ostensen: On the gameplay side: He can bypass Evade, deal constant Energy Damage and is protected from those powerful Stun and Special 3 attacks; grab him!

Marvel.com: When do we get to take a crack at Bobby and start turning bad guys into popsicles?

Justin Ostensen: The X-Enforcers have been working to recruit Bobby Drake in the new monthly quest, and he’s just about ready to step into The Contest! Keep an eye on in-game messages and arena announcements to know when you can get Iceman for yourself!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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The X-Men’s resident ninja warrior hits hard in Battlerealm!

Betsy Braddock makes her inaugural appearance in “Marvel Contest of Champions” this week, katanas and psi-blades ready to slice her opponents to shreds. A new combatant on the fields of Battlerealm, she enters the fray alongside Archangel and a host of other Champions with less than pure intentions.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Psylocke’s kit and the all the ninja awesome she brings to the game.

Marvel.com: Psylocke is definitely a unique mind-melding, soul-swapping, one-of-a-kind mutant. As collectibles go I have no doubt Betsy’s a must-have. The question becomes, why’d it take so long for The Collector to snatch her up?

Gabriel Frizzera: As it’s been the case with many recent arrivals, Psylocke was brought to The Contest not by The Collector, but by a third party. In her case it was The Grandmaster, as part of his X-Enforcers. He knows Betsy spells trouble for his brother: She’s a skilled ninja warrior, capable of physically subjugating her enemies, but also possesses incredible psychic powers. The Collector’s many secrets are not safe around her!

Marvel.com: Where’s this Psylocke from in the Marvel-verse? I can’t quite place her costume. Is it from a particular comic or is this another “Contest of Champions” exclusive?

Gabriel Frizzera: This one is a blend between her classic purple costume from the 90’s and two of the more recent black-and-white incarnations from UNCANNY X-FORCE. We wanted the X-Enforcers to look like an homage to that fantastic team, but at the same time feel like they’ve been “evolved” by the Grandmaster. So we did some subtle tweaks to both Psylocke and Archangel, but without changing too much.

Marvel.com: Recently she’s been using her katanas to slice and dice, but from the image I saw it doesn’t look like she packed her swords for the trip to Battlerealm. Any reason why she’s just rocking her psi-blade?

Gabriel Frizzera: Actually she uses both the katana and the psy-blade in her basic moveset! We really wanted her to feel like a ninja warrior, so the sword is out all the time, along with the psychic bag of tricks. And that’s not all: in her special 3 attack she uses her “psy-bow and arrow,” a personal favorite from the comics!

Marvel.com: I’ve always been curious, when the team takes a crack at someone like Psylocke, how do you figure out how she fights? She’s shown up in fighting games before, so did you take any inspiration from those appearances, or is this Betsy all “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: If a character has appeared before in movies or TV shows, I usually guide the team to it. But as a general guideline we only go to other Marvel games as a last resort, to avoid getting overly influenced by it. Sometimes we end up in the same creative space, but this approach helps create something fresh for [“Contest of Champions”]. In the case of Psylocke, we mainly wanted the comics “bad-girl” attitude, and then used Japanese sword fighting videos as animation reference to get the stances and moves straight from the source.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s dig into her abilities. Her Signature Ability in game is Psi-Feedback. Can you tell us a little about that?

Simon Cameron: Certainly! Psylocke’s Signature Ability increases her Critical Damage the lower her opponent’s Power is. It also gives her the ability to suppress her opponent’s Abilities when she’s reduced them to zero Power. If she can set up her opponent and keep them from gaining Power, she can do big critical damage while preventing them from countering her with an ability of their own.

Marvel.com: The rest of her abilities, Power Burn/Drain/Lock, make it seem like she’s the mutant you want to use when you really don’t want your opponent using their special powers.

Simon Cameron: Shutting down her opponent’s Power is certainly one thing Psylocke does very well. This goes hand in hand with her Psi-Charges, which allow Psylocke to continue attacking her opponent without granting them Power in return, but at a risk. Psylocke builds Psi-Charges by siphoning away some of her opponent’s Power. She can use it to power her own abilities, but these charges can also be reclaimed by her opponent to use against her. She’s a talented assassin and reflecting this she can be extremely powerful if she gets her opponent into the situation she wants.

Marvel.com: And when can we pick her up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: This skilled mutant hero and assassin will be available on March 16!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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The Lord of the Dark Dimension lays siege to Battlerealm!

Everyone please join me in welcoming the dark lord of the Dark Dimension, the one and only Dormammu, to “Marvel Contest of Champions”!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Dormammu’s appearance on Battlerealm and what players can expect from Doctor Strange’s arch nemesis.

Marvel.com: Oh boy what has The Collector done to draw the attention of the one and only Dread Dormammu?

Gabriel Frizzera: This time The Collector has nothing to do it. Without spoiling the story too much, the person responsible for luring the Lord of Darkness to the Battlerealm was our own Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. I’m not going to say for what purpose, you’ll have to play the quest to see!

Marvel.com: In the “Marvel’s Doctor Strange” film we only really got to see Dormy’s face, but here you have him all fleshed out, pardon the pun. What went into his full body design?

Gabriel Frizzera: We knew that Dormammu, being a god-like creature, would be too powerful—and large—to fit the battle arenas. However, he’s known to assume a material [form] to physically battle earthly heroes so we took cues from a couple of incarnations of Dormammu in the comics: the classic design with the crown of thorns and curved shoulder spikes, and the Dark Reign massive armored version. We kept the elements we felt define Dormammu, and pushed the obsidian armor to make it more aggressive-looking.

Marvel.com: His signature ability is Soul Leech. That sounds crazy ominous. What’s going on there?

Simon Cameron: The Lord of the Dark Dimension is not only a massively powerful entity in terms of more direct power but he can also have a strong, shall we say, corrupting effect on those he wishes to control. To reflect this, his Signature Ability gives him a chance to do damage over time to a target each time one of their Buff effects ends, twisting their own strengths against them.

Marvel.com: His other abilities seem like they’re all about controlling his opponents and making sure they can’t use their most powerful attacks. Is that fair to say?

Simon Cameron: Absolutely. Dormammu is a control character. He Nullifies Buffs, he Power Locks, Power Drains, and Power Burns. He’s all about preventing his opponents from using their most powerful abilities while building his Dark Energy charge to enhance his own attacks.

Marvel.com: If you manage to pick up Dormammu, who should be showing him around Battlerealm? Tell us all about those sweet sweet synergies.

Simon Cameron: The two Sorcerer Supremes—current or past—in The Contest are obviously his Enemies, with Doctor Strange going a step further to be his Nemesis. And while Dormammu doesn’t have friends per say, he also has synergies with two of his pawns on Earth, The Hood and Mordo.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about the ruler of the Dark Dimension? When can we pick him up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: Just that he’s coming soon! Keep your eyes on in-game messages to see exactly when.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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Parker Robbins brings his wicked wardrobe to Battlerealm!

Something wicked this way comes, and his name is Parker Robbins.

As if the denizens of Battlerealm didn’t have enough to worry about, now The Hood, an emissary of a mysterious evil benefactor, plans to cause even more trouble in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera, Champion Designer Simon Camerson, and Marketing Specialist Vincent Huynh to get the skinny on the Hood’s plans.

Marvel.com: The Hood’s been flying pretty low under the radar since his ILLUMINATI shenanigans. Why’d the Collector want to pick up Parker Robbins?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector has nothing to do with the Hood’s presence in the Battlerealm. He kind of came on his own free will. He’s on a mission for his master, a god-like entity with an appetite for multiversal conquest. He’s coming to spoil the Collector’s party, and The Hood is the first wave.

Marvel.com: Ooohhh sounds ominous! By the way I am loving the way Parker’s guns look here! Hellfire infused pistols have never looked cooler.

Gabriel Frizzera: Thanks! We wanted to make those pistols look special. We are familiar, through comics and movies, with what happens to a person when possessed by a demon. But what happens when guns get possessed? What happens when an object originally created to cause harm and destruction becomes infused with even darker powers? So we melted it, twisted it and added pulsing arteries and magma until it looked like an object forged in the depths of hell.

Marvel.com: And the team has overloaded Hood with some serious abilities. Does he have more than the average Champion or am I just seeing things?

Simon Cameron: He certainly has a number of abilities at his disposal, but not an untoward number of them. A number of his abilities have secondary effects, which trigger when abilities expire. He can also trigger Invisibility in a number of ways. All in all, while there may be a fair amount of text on his bio card, he’s far from the most complex character in the game, and we think he’ll be pretty easy to pickup and play.

Marvel.com: And holy—what is this team up with Dormammu? Resurrect non robot Champions?!

Simon Cameron: Dormammu has often worked from behind the scenes. Whether he’s empowering agents to do his bidding because he feels the task isn’t sufficiently important to warrant his attention, or because he’s been bound never to return to Earth; we’re looking at you Doctor Strange. We’re representing this in The Contest by giving him a chance when teamed up with the correct Champions, to resurrect any non-robot villain Champions when they’re knocked out of a fight.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about his play style? How are we fighting with Parker?

Simon Cameron: Well he’s a Mystic, and like most Mystic Champions he’s well equipped to fight opponents who use a lot of buffs with both Stagger and Fate Seal. His special attacks all have various debuffs, and his heavy attack allows him to refresh their timers, so you’ll likely want to land some Heavies to keep them rolling.

Also his Invisibility makes a big difference, both increasing his Critical Damage, and giving his opponents a chance to miss with their attacks, which doubles against ranged attacks. This is great because it doesn’t break his animation the way an Evade does, allowing him to charge through most ranged attacks in relative safety.

Marvel.com: Anything else you can tell us?

Gabriel Frizzera: Our new event, “Dawn of Darkness,” is a direct sequel to the mystic event from last November, “Conclave of Sorcerers.” Doctor Strange is regrouping the Illuminati to create a final solution to stop Thanos from creating an entirely new set of Infinity Stones. He intends to be prepared for when the Mad Titan shows up next. But for that end, Strange has a plan so dangerous in mind, he doesn’t dare tell his closest allies… a plan that will involve a cat-and-mouse game with one of his most dangerous enemies, one of the most powerful mystic beings in existence.

Vincent Huynh: “Dawn of Darkness” has just kicked off and is ready to play now until March 1! Help Doctor Strange take on The Hood and his overlord from spreading evil and destruction across the Battlerealm. Check out our latest Motion Comic here to find out which demonic figure The Hood is bound to serve.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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The unlikeliest of candidates gets her shot in The Contest!

Did you have fun wrecking faces with Howard and the Iso-Loader in “Marvel Contest of Champions”? Well now you can take Gwen Poole, comic book trivia queen and all-round ne’er do well, for a spin!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Simon Cameron about the blonde bomber and the chaos she’s bringing to Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: So the Collector’s picking up comic book nerds now? Who’s he gonna collect next, me?

Gabriel Frizzera: Nobody is safe. The Collector has noticed you’ve been working out, so you could wake up trapped in a crystal at any point!

Marvel.com: Well thanks for noticing! But Gwenpool’s slightly less conventional than a lot of the other Champions in the game and her particular brand of weird is very Deadpool-y. What makes her special?

Gabriel Frizzera: She does have the Deadpool vibe, but there’s a distinction: she’s just a normal person who’s very knowledgeable in story tropes and Marvel lore. Deadpool is part of the Marvel Universe and can’t help being who he is, while Gwenpool is very methodically manipulating in what she thinks is a fictional universe for her own benefit. And she does that in the game too. She has played [“Marvel Contest of Champions”] in her “real” universe, so she knows how the gameplay goes, and how to exploit it.

Marvel.com: And she’s looking fly in that pink and white. Any special “Contest” flare?

Gabriel Frizzera: She’s such a new character, we wanted to keep her really close to what we have seen in the comics. One thing we paid special attention to was not to make her body idealized: she’s a normal teenage girl playing Super Hero, not a muscled athlete. We also gave her some interesting weapons, like the pink bazooka, the football bomb and the Special-Edition Collector Plushie, which she uses as a shield when blocking.

Marvel.com: Plot Armor sounds like a really interesting ability. Essentially this puts a hard cap on the special damage her opponents can dish out right?

Simon Cameron: It’s actually even better than that. It caps based on her current health. This means once her signature ability is unlocked, Gwenpool can’t be killed by a special attack, though she’ll come really close to death! Turns out knowing all your opponent’s powers and abilities is a pretty big advantage!

Marvel.com: Are there good times to use Gwenpool specifically because of this ability? Maybe in a really tough boss fight?

Simon Cameron: Definitely! Tough boss fights are definitely a place where she can shine. This is especially true for bosses with really scary special attacks.

Marvel.com: What about her other abilities? How do they fit into her kit?

Simon Cameron: The rest of her kit is built around Debuffs. The most important of these is Bleed. She has two different Bleeds: one comes from her basic attacks but is relatively short, the other involves landing a heavy attack on an already bleeding target but lasts a long time.

Her other Debuffs come from her Special Attacks, each with their own—Incinerate, Ennervate, and Armor Break respectively. Then when one of these Debuffs expires, she will remove a Bleed to re-apply her Special Debuffs. She definitely needs to play aggressively to keep lots of Bleeds stacked up. With clever timing of when she applies her Debuffs—you don’t want them to all expire at the same time!—she can stack several of them or keep one Debuff alive for as long as possible.

Marvel.com: And when can we break her out of a crystal and recruit her for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: She’ll be available on January 5!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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