Spidey goes up against a classic super villain in the Battlerealm!

Soaring above Battlerealm the Vulture picks his targets with a bird of prey’s ruthless precision, and with all that alien tech at his disposal, takes them out with brutal efficiency. Coming off the success of “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, Vulture’s found a place to roost in “Marvel Contest of Champions” and Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron chatted with us about all his in-game goodies.

Marvel.com: You know at first I was wondering what the Collector would want with a guy in a bird suit, but then I remembered all the people in spider suits he’s wrangled in the past. He’s building a regular menagerie isn’t he?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector wants to catch them all! His favorite Champion is Spider-Man, and he wouldn’t miss on having the web-head’s awesome gallery of rogues. A complete set is much more valuable, and that includes the Vulture and his crazy mechanical wings. But he’s just the beginning. More Super Villains are coming soon…

Marvel.com: I have to admit, the Vulture and his killer outfit were the highlight of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” for me, mostly because his getup was just so awesome! What was it like translating it for the contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: To be honest, we had our doubts in the beginning. Initially, all we could see from the trailers was this crazy-looking dude with wings much bigger than we could ever fit on screen! But then we got some very detailed reference material from our friends at Marvel Studios, and we saw great gameplay potential. We still had to reduce those wings a bit to make them fit our maximum size rig, but the rest is pretty close to the movie version. Once we saw the Vulture moving in game, we all became converts.

Marvel.com: And the team already had the wing tech from Archangel, so do we get to see the turbine wings on at all times?

Gabriel Frizzera: Flying is the Vulture’s defining trait, so yes, he’s in the air all the time. His wings are actually more complicated than Archangel’s because the rotors are connected to a smaller second set of wings, and move independently from the main ones. And the wings also detach from his body, so we made sure to have them do that in one of the special attacks. Add to that those giant foot claws and the “ferry-cutter” gun, and his arsenal becomes even more fearsome.

Marvel.com: Appearance aside, when it comes to his kit, what does Vulture do best?

Simon Cameron: Vulture’s Kit is best used to counter Champions with access to a lot of Power, or Champions who need power, he’s also a hard counter to Incinerate. His Critical Hits build charge in the Chitauri Reactor which powers his suit. He will later spend this charge in several different ways, such as Power Drains, Incinerates, or a new Buff, Decoy. He also has a built in Dexterity effect, which can even spend his Chitauri Charge to Incinerate his Opponent as he dashes away.

Marvel.com: Can you go over his different abilities and how players should be looking to maximize his damage potential?

Simon Cameron: Vulture’s new Buff, Decoy, causes the next attack against Vulture that would otherwise hit, to miss. He also has a couple of new Debuffs, Siphon Charge and Thermal Feedback. Both of these Debuffs cause him to immediately drain a portion off all Power that his opponent gains, great for slowing down a Power Gain Champion, or just allowing him to land more hits per Special his Opponent builds up.

Siphon Charge converts the drained Power into Vulture’s Chitauri Charge making it great for utility and power control, whereas Thermal Feedback converts it into damage making it the way to go for err… damage. Finally his Signature Ability allows him to gain Power while his opponent is Incinerated, to help keep his Opponent suffering under these Debuffs as often as possible, and allows him to consume any Incinerate placed on using it to power his Chitauri Charge as well.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to take the Vulture out for a spin?

Simon Cameron: Vulture has entered The Contest; you can grab him up right now!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow us @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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The Wall-Crawler gets a Stark-sponsored upgrade to his fight game!

With the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” debut just around the corner at a theater near you, “Marvel Contest of Champions” finds itself with one more arachnid caught in the Collector’s web with the Stark Enhanced Spider-Man swinging into Battlerealm. We talked with Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about translating the Web-Slinger from the silver screen to the mobile game and how he’s going to be dishing out damage to the bad guys.

Marvel.com: We’ve got an all-new Spider-Man joining The Contest, this time coming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s fought other heroes in “Captain America: Civil War,” but Battlerealm is a whole different beast. Can he hack it?

Gabriel Frizzera: Like we have seen in the MCU, this version of Spider-Man wants badly to be in the big leagues. He believes he’s ready to fight with the best of them, and what better place than the Battlerealm to prove he’s worth it? Of course, his brand-new Stark Enhanced spider-suit won’t hurt when he faces the heavy-hitters in The Contest of Champions!

Marvel.com: I noticed he’s sporting those slick white accents in his costume just like from “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Did the team make this costume movie perfect, or is there a little Kabam flair in there?

Gabriel Frizzera: The guys at Marvel Studios were kind enough to share very detailed reference from Spidey’s movie costume ahead of time, and we made sure to stick to it as much as we could, down to the web count over his body—very important. But, since we wanted this Spider-Man to play and look different from the classic Spider-Man in the game, we decided to add some glowy tech details in specific areas to complement the movie design. That will allow players to recognize at a glance which Spider-Man they are fighting against.

Marvel.com: We already have a couple Spider-Men and Women in The Contest duking it out; what are the chances they’ve got some advice for our boy?

Gabriel Frizzera: More than likely. The Spider-People in The Contest have gained a lot of experience in the last couple of years, and they’re very familiar with the unsavory types that would love to crush anyone wearing that familiar blue-and-red spider-suit. Since this version of Spider-Man hasn’t met most of his future rogue’s gallery, he’ll need all the help he could get.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk abilities: what are we trying to do with Spidey to make the most of him?

Simon Cameron: Stark Enhanced Spidey is good at getting in his opponent’s head, and comes with a couple of new abilities to help him do this. He gains Poise by Evading, or triggering the Dexterity Mastery. Poise represents Spidey taking control of the fight, granting him extra attack as his confidence builds. He can then convert Poise into Taunts, by landing uninterrupted strings of attacks. Taunts lower the target’s attack, and increases the chance that they’ll trigger a Special Attack, as he goads them into doing something rash. His new suit also packs a Stack Tech AI, giving him a huge chance to avoid Special Attacks, but it can be disabled by landing Heavy Attacks, or by Cosmic Champions.

Marvel.com: What’s his signature power, Hero’s Mantra, all about?

Simon Cameron: Hero’s Mantra is all about improving his Smack-Talk abilities, Poise and Taunt, and is broken into two basic conditions: Below 50% Health and above it. Above 50% Health, Spidey gets an offense boost, with his Poise Charges granting him additional Critical Rating and his Taunts lasting longer. Below 50% Health Spider-Man plays things a little more defensively, his base Evade chance increases, and his Poise Charges grant additional Block Proficiency instead of Critical Rating.

Marvel.com: Last but not least, we have a new event quest hitting the game. What’s going on there and what awesome new stuff can players expect?

Gabriel Frizzera: The one-shot this month is called “Battlerealm: Homecoming, and it’s about a young Spider-Man trying to prove himself in The Contest. His mentor Tony Stark tries his best to keep Peter out of trouble, but like all things in the Battlerealm, this proves to be exceedingly hard. Peter decides go after some bad guys and ends up uncovering a nefarious plan to harness a mysterious new power source, capable of shifting the balance of power in The Contest. We also have a new motion comic that hints at bigger adventures by the Web-Crawler, and the arrival of some classic villains!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow us @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!

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The face of judgment from the future breaks through to Battlerealm!

Bullets and blades blast and slice across Battlerealm as Jake Gallows, the Punisher of 2099, brute forces his way into “Marvel Contest of Champions” as the game’s 100th character.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about what makes this particular Punisher tick like a time bomb.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, how much effort does it take for The Collector to reach through the past and future to snatch up a specimen?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Punisher 2099 was captured in the original batch of Champions for The Contest. But it wasn’t necessary for Collector to reach through time, since Jake Gallows had travelled back to the 21st century to execute Carnage, as part of an initiative by the future Hydra regime to punish criminals in different timelines. They’re very proactive at the Secret Empire— they won’t let small things like the space-time continuum get in the way of their punishment!

Marvel.com: And what makes Jake Gallows so special that he gets to fight it out in The Contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: Gallows was one of the characters Marvel allowed us to redesign for the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS comic book, and appeared briefly in the last issue—before being quickly dispatched by Frank Castle. We had plans to put him in the game for a while, and when the opportunity to do a Secret Empire tie-in came about, we decided to have him as the villain. Turns out he’s also our 100th playable character, so it worked out great that he’s one of our original designs!

Marvel.com: 100 characters is a super cool milestone, and outside of Angela, this may be my favorite looking combatant in “Contest of Champions.” Seriously, this Punisher looks absolutely awesome! What can you tell us about his design?

Gabriel Frizzera: We are fond of his ‘90s garish outfit and gadgets, but we wanted to push him to look more like a “futuristic shock-police on steroids.” The central piece of the design is the chest skull made of knives and guns—which teleport into his hands; not a second to spare in the future. His whole arsenal is white to contrast with the black and red suit, but also to speak to the nature of 2099’s technology: all weapons would be freshly formed and reconfigured on the spot by nanotechnology. His original concept had way more weapons—like mag-blades on his arms and an electro-baton—and a tactical helmet, which ended up having to be cut for memory reasons. But we kept his bad-ass disintegrating gun and “Grenazers”!

Marvel.com: Aside from his bad ass new look, what sets him apart from Frank Castle?

Gabriel Frizzera: We joke in the office that Jake Gallows makes Frank Castle look like a soft-hearted hippie! We had a lot of fun writing the contrast between the two, the same way other writers love to contrast Frank Castle among more “straight” heroes like Captain America. In the story, when placed between Jake Gallows’ and Steve Rogers’ radically different views of justice, Frank Castle is forced to admit he might be a bit closer to Cap than the fanatic Punisher 2099. It was fun for me to write dialogue where Gallows calls Castle a “half-measure,” the same way Castle called Matt Murdock [“Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix]. That shows how far Punisher 2099 has strayed into villainous territory.

Marvel.com: Tell me a little about Punisher 2099’s abilities…

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 gets much of his strength from his Nano-Tech, which is powered by the Nano-Tech Battery. This charge builds over time, and his Special 1 gives him an Overcharge Passive effect, giving him additional Nano-Tech charge for a few seconds. This charge is spent by a number of automatically triggered effects—things like: Triggering a Heal Block on an Opponent when they trigger a Regeneration Buff, Draining the Charge to Regenerate Punisher 2099 if his Health drops below a threshold, or adding a Stun effect to his Heavy Attack. He also enters an Overdrive mode if his Charge reaches 100%. This drains his Charge over time, but grants him additional Attack, and reduces the amount of Power his Opponent gains when they’re struck by Punisher’s attacks.

Marvel.com: And what’s Retribution 2099 all about?

Simon Cameron: Retribution 2099 is Punisher’s Signature Ability. It lets him start the fight with his Nano-Tech Battery partially charged; it also adds a new automatically triggered effect to spend his Nano-Tech Charge on. This ability triggers when his opponent hits full power, draining a small amount of it, and power locking them for a couple seconds. It’s a little like a Special 3 get out of jail free card.

Marvel.com: And when can we hope to bring the Punisher’s weapon mastery to bear on the bad guys?

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 opens fire on The Contest June 29!

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

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Spider-Man’s most psychotic foe enters the fray of Battlerealm!

Spider-Man might never want to see another symbiote again, but The Collector no doubt has a special section of his menagerie dedicated to the Klyntar. So it should come as no surprise that Carnage has finally made his dangerous debut on Battlerealm.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about the murderous Spider-foe and his impending killing spree in “Marvel Contest of Champions.”

Marvel.com: I’m super psyched to see Carnage making an appearance in The Contest. He’s the perfect amount of crazy to really shake things up. What’s he doing on Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: As always, Cletus is causing mayhem. He was probably captured by The Collector at some point, but he was too wild to play nice in The Contest, and broke free. Or was set free, like a discarded pet crocodile. Who knows for sure…the fact is you can’t have Carnage in your neighborhood without some bloodshed, and the Champions will need to deal with that sooner than ever.

Marvel.com: When it came to designing Carnage, what were some of the visual aspects the team felt were necessary to bring him to life?

Gabriel Frizzera: He needed to be repugnant. Our team took special care in modeling the muscle fibers and sticky symbiote goo travelling through his body. We tweaked the shaders to make him look wet and gross like an inside-out Spider-Man, and added scythe-like appendages and tentacles that skewer people alive, or carry him like giant spider legs. We wanted to show in no uncertain terms that Carnage is a monster, both in appearance and attitude.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about Carnage in-game. I’m imagining him fighting like a whirling dervish, slicing and dicing everything in sight. How does he play?

Simon Cameron: Cletus Kasady’s psychotic tendencies were definitely a driving force behind how Carnage will be played. The symbiote mutates to provide him with bonuses based on what his current needs are, and he loves blood, so [he] gains bonuses against a Bleeding opponent.

Marvel.com: Yeah his abilities seem to fit him perfectly. Would you mind digging a little deeper on Bloodlust and Precision?

Simon Cameron: Bloodlust is a unique ability that allows Carnage to increase the amount of power he gains for each attack he performs or receives. Precision increases the chance to land Critical Hits; this goes hand in hand with Carnage’s ability to trigger additional Bleeds on an already Bleeding target with those same Critical Hits.

Marvel.com: When are we picking Carnage? Any heroes or villains that he does particularly well against?

Simon Cameron: Carnage loves going on killing sprees against anyone, hero or villain, he does not discriminate. Pretty much anyone who can Bleed is a favorite target of this psycho. Though as a Cosmic hero he gains even more damage against Tech Class heroes—Rocket Raccoon, Howard the Duck, [and] Civil Warrior are all excellent targets.

Marvel.com: When do we get to harness the psycho power of Carnage?

Simon Cameron: This psychotic monster will be coming to The Contest on June 8. Stay tuned for in-game messaging and arena announcements for your chance to get him!

Marvel.com: Oh and before I go, we have an event quest starting up on June 7. Can you give us a breakdown of what we need to know?

Gabriel Frizzera: Our new event is called “Secret Empire Forever.” It starts with The Civil Warrior hunting Carnage before he causes too much damage in the Battlerealm. But soon they find out that, like a cornered animal, Carnage is merely reacting to being hunted by a much worse monster: an alternate version of The Punisher 2099, who became the Minister of Punishment for a Hydra Empire that dominated the USA for almost a century. Now it’s up to an uneasy alliance between Civil Warrior and the current Punisher to defeat this future fascist villain, who makes Frank Castle look tame in comparison. To take a closer look at Punisher 2099, check out our brand new Motion Comic!

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

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The galactic rogue joins the game, and we’ve got comments from Michael Rooker himself!

Do you hear whistling? Then it’s already too late.

He might have blue skin, bad teeth, and a weird fin on his head, but Yondu’s one of the most deadly Ravagers to take up arms, and an arrow, in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Michael Rooker, the man who brought Yondu to life in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and Kabam Character Designer Simon Cameron, all about the Zatoan and his savage charm and in-game abilities.

Marvel.com: Hey Michael, how does it feel to be digitized as your blue-skinned alter-ego in “Contest of Champions?”

Michael Rooker: It feels great to see that handsome devil make an appearance in such a popular game!

Marvel.com: And how does Yondu look in the game? Like looking in a mirror, or did the gang at Kabam put their own little spin on the Ravager?

Michael Rooker: The folks working on “Contest of Champions” did a great job capturing the essence of Yondu. It’s almost like looking in the mirror, except I’m still more handsome.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, what’s ol’ finhead capable of in the game? Does he use his arrow to take people down or would he rather get his hands dirty?

Michael Rooker: Yondu doesn’t need to get his hands dirty to take down a whole army of enemies; just some well-pitched whistles and his arrow does the job! His punches and kicks are a good nod to his Ravager brawling skills. He also calls for an airstrike from his crew when he’s tired of hand-to-hand combat.

Marvel.com: Can we get a breakdown of his abilities from the team?

Simon Cameron: Yondu’s big into Debuffs; his Yaka Arrow, which he uses both in his Special Attacks and as part of his base combos, causes Bleed, even if you Block it. It also causes Armor Breaks if used against someone Immune to Bleed. Then not being above kicking someone while they’re down, Yondu also reduces the amount of Power his opponent gains based on the number of Debuffs he’s managed to put on them.

Marvel.com: Is there anyone currently competing in the Contest that Yondu might not want to tango with? And who do you think he would have no problem taking out?

Michael Rooker: I still need to teach Star-Lord a lesson for mucking around with my plans before! Yondu is the best; he’ll have no problem taking anyone on!

Marvel.com: Who do you think he’d want watching his back in the Contest?

Michael Rooker: Although he may never admit it, the Guardians would be great to watch his back; they are all kind of family right?!

Marvel.com: And when do we get to recruit Mary Popp…I mean Yondu, for our crew?

Michael Rooker: Yondu will be whistling his way into the Battlerealm come May 25. I’ll announce the start of the Arenas on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!

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

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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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