Logan's fiercest foe makes his way into Battlerealm!

Sabretooth’s been sharpening his claws and finally makes his first feral foray into “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Kablam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell about Wolverine’s arch enemy, what he’s capable of, and what exactly he’s doing in the Contest!

 Marvel.com: Loving all the mutants that are finding their way to Battlerealm recently. Any reason for the X-Gene immigration?

Gabriel Frizzera: This latest wave are more refugees than immigrants, I would say. Somewhere in the space-time labyrinth of the Battlerealm there’s a dark future where a corrupt mutant elite dominated the Contest and enslaved everybody, using a new breed of Sentinels to do their bidding… and their future conflict has spilled into our present.

Marvel.com: And y’all have picked one of the most vicious X-foes out there, the deadly Sabretooth. Why does this maniac deserve a spot on the roster?

Gene Campbell:  For a long time now, Sabretooth has been one of the most highly requested characters from our player base. We knew he’d be a popular addition, but we needed to wait for the right time to introduce someone of his caliber to the Battlerealm. We knew we would need an aggressive character to upset and disrupt some of the more prominent figures in the Contest, and in Victor Creed, we found the perfect Champion for that job.

Marvel.com: Like Bishop before him, I’m getting a very 90s Victor Creed feeling here. What was important to the team in bringing Sabretooth to life?

Gene Campbell: When we think of Sabretooth here at Kabam, everyone fondly remembers watching the 90’s X-Men TV series every Saturday morning when we were young. For us, this is the quintessential version of Sabretooth that we need to represent. The ferocious, vicious psychopath that was a constant threat to our childhood heroes. We hope this version triggers the same sense of nostalgia to all the Sabretooth fans in the Contest.

Marvel.com: How does he play? How did you make him feel like Sabretooth?

Piero Herrera: His entire kit is based on Furies and Bleeds. A simple concept, but combined with Persistent Variables this means he will get more and more furious and deal a lot more damage as he knocks out more opponents. Player will be rewarded by hunting mutants while playing with Sabretooth, his special attacks feel very ferocious with long jumps and boulder throws, and last but not least his Bleed effects will also scale with his Fury bonuses, making special attacks extremely powerful.

Marvel.com: He gains passive regeneration stacks? How does he cash out and get that sweet sweet healing?

Piero Herrera: Actually, those Regeneration stacks will start healing right away, over a long period of time and based on the damage Sabretooth takes from a hit. The only way to completely stop his ability is by inflicting a Heal Block, or if players are feeling adventurous, reversing his heal effect will also work.

Marvel.com: You guys also gave him cold immunity, which means he’d be a pretty decent pick into characters like Iceman and… Who else freezes their foes?

Piero Herrera: Currently, this is just going to be useful against Iceman! A lot of player are currently fighting against Iceman in Alliance Wars, making Sabretooth a really good option not only because of his utility, but also because of his damage potential when all of his Fury Buffs are charged up.

Marvel.com: Typically a loner, does he have any good synergy bonuses?

Piero Herrera: You bet he does! A lot of his utility comes from his synergies that he will be able to get when paired up with Champions like Scarlet Witch, Magneto, Old Man Logan, Black Panther and Killmonger. He will be able to bypass effects like Black Panther’s Stun Reflection ability and also will prevent other Champions like Kingpin and Agent Venom from shrugging off debuffs. Please read more about those synergies in Sabretooth’s Champion Spotlight in-game.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to unleash his animal fury on the Contest?

Piero Herrera: This beast will be unleashed on March 29! Check your in-game messages for more information about this awesome addition to the Contest.

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

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This mutant is ready to challenge some Sentinels on Battlerealm!

Following close on the rocket-fueled heels of the Sentinels, Bishop, X-Man and energy manipulator extraordinaire, enters Battlerealm ready to do some hunting of his own. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Shane O’Connor about Bishop’s new look, his abilities, and why you need him on your “Marvel Contest of Champions” roster.

Marvel.com: We just saw some nasty Sentinels crash land on Battlerealm, is Bishop here to turn them to slag?

Gabriel Frizzera: Or die trying. He came from the alternate future where a corrupt mutant elite dominated The Contest of Champions, and used the Sentinels to enslave not only mutants that disagreed with them, but all Champions. He thinks Sabertooth is the key to stop that from happening, so he’s traveling to our present timeline to eliminate him.

Marvel.com: And he looks so dope! I’m getting a serious 90s X-Men cartoon vibe here, minus the mullet.

Gabriel Frizzera: Yeah, there’s lots to love in the 90s versions of the X-Men, but some stuff didn’t… age so well. We updated the hair to a dreadlock ponytail, filled the beard a bit more, and changed the scarf to a more current version. But we kept the rest like the classic from the 90s.

Marvel.com: Bishop’s mutant gift is all about absorbing kinetic energy and redirecting it. How does that play out in the game?

Shane O’Connor: Bishop is a master of absorbing energy, and he can do so from a variety of sources. Kinetic Energy is absorbed by performing a well-timed block. Other forms of energy, such as abilities like Shock or Coldsnap and attacks like beams or lightning, are passively absorbed at all times. All this stored energy fuels Bishop’s Power Meter and magnifies his Special Damage to record-breaking levels.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s talk about all of Bishop’s abilities. What kind of powers does he get from Foresight and how does that factor into the rest of his kit?

Shane O’Connor: Bishop has the unique ability to maintain his Power Meter from fight to fight. With a bit of Foresight, Bishop starts the fight with a unique bonus to help him deal with specific scenarios, or to simply arrive on the scene ready to explode. The most niche bonus powers up his block to help against specific opponents, while the most threatening bonus is a force multiplier on his Special Damage.

Marvel.com: What do his team-up bonuses look like? Who does he fight best beside?

Shane O’Connor: Bishop is best paired with Psylocke for some extra control over the enemies’ Power Meter. Allies that deal large amounts of energy damage, such as Storm or Doctor Strange, are also able to use that energy to charge up Bishop in advance so he starts the fight with Power and bonus Special Damage – some for each teammate that triggers the stackable Energy Conduit Synergy.

Marvel.com: When do we get to play with the energy absorbing mutant for ourselves?

Shane O’Connor: Bishop time-travels into The Contest by way of the Era of Strife, Product of Oppression, and Agony of Memory Arenas today, March 15.

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

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These mutant-hunting robots enter the Battlerealm this week!

A fleet of Sentinels make their way to “Marvel Contest of Champions” this week, fueled by ISO-8 energy and on a mission to bring mayhem to the arena. Big, bad, and ready to reduce players to their component parts, the Sentinels came to blast first and ask questions never. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Erich Kohlweg and got the breakdown of all of Sentinel’s awesome abilities.

Marvel.com: It was only a matter of time before the mutant-hunting Sentinels made it to Battlerealm. But they’re not just chasing down mutants right?

Gabriel Frizzera: There’s a bit of a twist on this version of the Sentinels. They actually come from the future of The Contest, where a corrupt mutant elite are the ones imprisoning everyone else in prison camps, including their own kind. The Sentinels were their army… But the robots rebelled against their masters, and after dominating their own timeline, they have breached the other territories of the Battlerealm to exterminate all forms of life, be them mutant or not.

Marvel.com: What makes these Sentinels different than what our heroes have dealt with in the past?

Gabriel Frizzera: They are a new experiment for us. We wanted to create a new, more powerful kind of “grunt” to replace the Symbioids, which we love, but were getting a bit overused. So we created a different version of the Sentinel for every class in the game (which worked well in the story since Sentinels can adapt to various kinds of foes), and they’ll be populating all our game modes. But we had an extra character release slot in March, so we decided to have a special playable version, so the Summoners can add giant killer robots to their team!

Marvel.com: How did the team trick out these Sentinels for Contest of Champions? They look pretty similar to the metal monstrosities we know and love but I’m sure you all did something to set them apart.

Gabriel Frizzera: The Sentinels are one of the characters that is always changing. There are many versions of them and it’s very hard to pick a favorite. So, starting from the classic model from the original “Days of Future Past” storyline (the inspiration for this month’s event), we designed our own version. We call this one the “Mark-ISO”, since they have evolved to use ISO-8 as a power source. Their design is analogous to what Marvel has done to Iron Man in the last decade: from simple and “Super Hero-like”, Iron Man’s armor evolved to take cues from vehicle and industrial design. We did the same with the Sentinels, adding machine-shaped curves and panels but still paying homage to the original. Also, he’s BIG! Sentinels are supposed to be large, and although we can’t make them 30 feet tall without compromising gameplay, we made them our largest character to date.

Marvel.com: And does their enhanced weaponry match their new and improved sense of style? What makes them tick?

Erich Kohlweg: Sentinel is as a tanky Champion that builds up increased defensive and offensive abilities throughout the fight. Sentinel’s core ability, Target Analysis, allows it to analyze the target’s actions through their movements and attacks. Each time the target performs a consecutive action, Sentinel’s Attack, Armor, and Critical Resistance increases leading to the target becoming fully analyzed. Once fully analyzed, the duration of Debuffs that Sentinel inflicts with his abilities are all doubled! Sentinel is a Champion that can easily get out of control if not dealt with quickly.

Marvel.com: Overall they seem like a fairly straightforward addition to the roster, while being very difficult to bring down.

Erich Kohlweg: Sentinel has strong defense but even if they are broken, there’s still more to deal with. Sentinel’s Signature Ability provides valuable utility by reducing the effectiveness of target’s Power depletion abilities such as Power Burn. This is particularly good when combined with another of Sentinel’s abilities, Special Attack cost reduction as Sentinel analyzes a target.

Marvel.com: And teammates? Do any of their directives have them playing nice with any other champs?

Erich Kohlweg: Sentinel is a machine and has no “teammates” as it is only concerned with its own objectives. Pairing with a wide variety of Champions from almost every Class, Sentinel assimilates powerful abilities to overcome the exact Classes matching those that provided the ability. When Sentinel is paired with Ant-Man, Sentinel gains the ability to reduce Debuffs when facing Science Champions. This same structure applies with The Hood, Iceman, Kingpin, Green Goblin, and a quite few more!

Marvel.com: When can we grab Sentinel for ourselves?

Erich Kohlweg: As of today, March 1!  Make sure to keep an eye out for the in-game message and you’ll be able to get your hands on Sentinel.

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

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The Black Panther baddie enters Battlerealm!

Erik Killmonger, longtime nemesis of The Black Panther, enters “Marvel Contest of Champions” today! He threatens T’Challa no matter where the King goes—from Wakanda to the cosmic Battlerealm! To celebrate the villain’s arrival in the mobile game, we talked to Kabam Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell, Game Designer Piero Herrera, and Product Marketing Manager Vincent Huynh to get all the details.

Marvel.com: Battlerealm is getting an infusion of a classic Wakandan villain! This wouldn’t have anything to do with a certain Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” hitting theaters this weekend, would it?

Gene Campbell: Of course it does! All of us here on Contest of Champions are huge fans of the films, like you would expect. We were already hyped for the upcoming “Black Panther” movie. The team always gets super excited when we get the chance to release a build alongside a big event like this, and even more so when we can be inspired by one of the main villains of the film!

Marvel.com: How closely did you work with Marvel Studios to get all of Erik Killmonger’s costume details just right?

Gene Campbell: So much detail and thought goes into creating these amazing cinematic costumes for the big screen. It’s very important to us that we can get as close to these designs as possible. We gather all the great reference from the Marvel Studios team and keep checking in with the cinematic teams to make sure we are getting all those design points correct so we can honor all the hard work and attention to detail that went into making the costumes of “Black Panther.”

Marvel.com: And what about his abilities? Where does this character excel?

Piero Herrera: Erik Killmonger has one of the best defensive abilities in the game when you play him offensively. Whenever activating a Special 2 Attack, he will receive Indestructible Charges that enables him to withstand the opponent’s Special 3 Attack without taking damage. He also has something called Counterpunch Charges, which enables him to shrug off the impact of the opponent’s attack when he is blocking, allowing him to immediately start his own combo. Use this against Stun Immune opponents!

Marvel.com: We know that Erik wants to take T’Challa out by any means necessary, but who else is best equipped to help him survive the ravages of Battlrealm?

Piero Herrera: Put him on a same team with Winter Soldier, Black Panther (Civil War), and Void to maximize Killmonger’s power. Those synergies will provide various bonuses like Regeneration and easier ways to get True Strike, which should help a lot against Champions who Evade such as Spider-Man.

Marvel.com: And he’s available today?

Piero Herrera: Yes! Players will be able to utilize Erik Killmonger starting February 15! Check in-game messages for more information.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about the character or other Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” related events?

Vincent Huynh: If you’re looking to battle the real Erik Killmonger, head to our Event Quests page and challenge Michael B. Jordan’s hand picked team of characters in his Champion Challenge! This quest will only be live until February 21, so test your skills today to get some awesome rewards!

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

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Prepare to unleash the Grandmaster's champion in the Battlerealm!

Smashing his way through Sakaar in the big screen’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and into “Marvel Contest of Champions” comes Hulk, the Grandmaster’s champion.

Hulk demonstrates a unique blend of savage rage, showmanship, and unstoppable strength to smash through some of the strongest beings in the galaxy, and The Contest has no shortage of Champions for him to smash. Hulk’s revamped look highlights Sakaar’s gladiatorial armor and weapons.

In “Marvel Contest of Champions,” this “Gladiator” Hulk differs from his classic counterpart relying on the adoration and excitement of the masses (and they’re out for blood), their judgment of a champion fighter’s performance, and his special moves powered by his arena weapons.

Hulk’s ability kit focuses on what Hulk does best – SMASH! Special 1 knocks out his opponents when he smashes his hammer down sending out shockwaves. Special 2 unleashes a whirlwind of powerful series of attacks with both weapons. And Special 3 is a favorite of the crowd where Hulk uses his axe to throw his opponent to the ground before launching himself into a leaping smash.

Pairing Hulk with “Gladiator” Thor, Black Widow, Hela and Loki will provide him with unique bonuses while increasing his teammates’ special attacks.

Hulk (Ragnarok) is now available to check out in-game!

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

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Robert Reynolds' dark alter-ego leaps into Battlerealm!

The Sentry revealed his awesome might in “Marvel Contest of Champions” a couple of weeks ago—and while it’s been fun to harness the power of a million exploding suns, one must pay a price for that kind of ability.

This week, The Void comes to collect on that debt. Revealing himself in all his shadowed glory, the unrelenting alter-ego of The Sentry fights for the soul of Robert Reynolds—and will look to plunge all of Battlerealm into darkness.

We talked to Kabam Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell and Game Designer Piero Herrera about The Void and how he aims to tear the Contest apart.

Marvel.com: Uh oh…who let The Void out?

Gene Campbell: It was an accident, we swear! But seriously, The Collector has been waiting for his powerful compatriot, Sentry, to return to him for what feels like an eternity now. For what task exactly? We don’t know…but as expected, the familiar dark force that accompanies him, The Void, still hides within, ready and waiting to reveal itself. Surely The Collector—in all of his ancient wisdom and foresight—expected this. Whatever he tasked Sentry with, he must have thought it worth the risk.

Marvel.com: How did the team decide just how The Void would manifest visually on Battlerealm?

Gene Campbell: We were considering the more monstrous form of Void early on. Early development of Sentry and Void had them switching back and forth during gameplay, but we found it very challenging and confusing to have a man morph into a big tentacle covered space creature like that. The final version also made sense with our storyline. The “Marvel Contest of Champions’” version of Sentry has been to the edge of the multiverse and back, all the while looking for something. He’s older and wiser, and has a better grip on the darkness within. So when his concentration slips, he’s able to contain it better and not let the whole monster out.

 

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about the abilities that Bob Reynolds’ evil alter-ego has…how does he differ from The Sentry?

Piero Herrera: Void’s abilities were built around the concept of fear. All of the Champions are vulnerable to the Void’s debuffs and they do direct damage over time—even if Void does not directly land an attack. Summoners have to remove those damaging effects by constantly fighting.

Marvel.com: It looks like his gameplay centers around his Intimidating Presence. What’s going on there?

Piero Herrera: Exactly! After a delay, Void’s Intimidating Presence becomes powerful enough to inflict a debuff onto the opponent. Those debuffs are capable of not only doing direct damage over time but also enable him to deal with the opponent’s abilities—like Regeneration, Power Gain, and Evade.

Marvel.com: Dark Stinghave we seen that ability before? Or is it unique to The Void?

Piero Herrera: Dark Sting is unique to Void. After his Special 2 Attack, he will place two Dark Stings onto the opponent that can turn into Degeneration or a Weakness debuff whenever the opponent’s activate their Special Attack. Try using Dark Sting to get Void’s huge attack increase through his Special 3.

Marvel.com: Considering that The Void is already insanely powerful, who can we team him up with to make him even stronger?

Piero Herrera: Void is great with Sentry, Hulk, and Champions that are part of the Avengers team like Black Widow, Vision, Hawkeye, and Captain America. Pair him up with those Champions and Void will become even more powerful!

Marvel.com: And when does this guy get unleashed to threaten reality as we know it?

Piero Herrera: The Void will be available today—January 18! Make sure to check in-game messaging for more information.

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

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The Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing joins the mobile party!

A big head with an even bigger ego blasts his way into Battlerealm this week in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Rejoice folks: M.O.D.O.K.’s finally joining the marvelous melee! We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Shane O’Connor about the maniacal mental organism, his nefarious plans, and how exactly he’ll be duking it out with those tiny limbs of his.

Marvel.com: What’s our favorite Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing doing on Battlerealm? Wouldn’t he be more at home, on Earth, with a bunch of A.I.M. lackeys at his beck and call?

Gabriel Frizzera: He’s been in the Battlerealm for a while, since his unsuccessful rebellion against The Collector landed him a job as his trusted Chairman for Technological Affairs. After some disastrous experiments with Terrigen, M.O.D.O.K. felt he was about to get sacked and changed sides. The Grandmaster was about to get rid of him as a leftover of the old administration, but M.O.D.O.K. convinced him to let him take over a small portion of the Battlerealm to run a Hotel/Spa/Bootcamp where Grandmaster could send all the unwanted Champions. Little does he know, that M.O.D.O.K. has other plans…check out our motion comic if you want to find out more!

Marvel.com: And this looks like classic M.O.D.O.K.—gold floaty chair, tiny purple limbs, terrible haircut. Are there any unique “Contest” tweaks I missed?

Gabriel Frizzera: No, he’s pretty much the classic. This one is pure, unadulterated M.O.D.O.K., one of the best designs for a Super Villain ever created by “King” Jack Kirby. In fact, he was one of the first characters we modelled for the game, but for the longest time we couldn’t agree on how to best introduce him. I’m a big fan, so I was always pushing for the character. It took almost three years, but M.O.D.O.K. is finally playable in The Contest!

Marvel.com: I gotta know, what the heck do his animations look like? I mean he can’t really punch or kick…

Gabriel Frizzera: To compensate for the lack of reach of his limbs, we built giant mechanical arms with a variety of abilities, like claws, circular saws, etc, that more than compensate for his tiny arms and legs; actually, his arms and legs are regular size, his head is the one that’s oversized. He also uses his trademarked psychic blasts, and lots and massive headbutts, of course!

Marvel.com: What about his abilities? I’m guessing the team worked his mad genius into his kit somehow?

Shane O’Connor: We all know it would take a super genius to calculate the optimal ability alignments that unlock the maximum killing potential…but here’s a hint: M.O.D.O.K. is protected by a powerful Force Field at all times. Enemies will need to find a way to take it down and deal damage before it comes back online. M.O.D.O.K. also oscillates his attributes with a hidden ability called Flux. M.O.D.O.K. is weakest when Flux is low, but watch out for his Incinerate and Doomsday Blades when Flux is high!

Marvel.com: What exactly are the unique block bonuses he gets from the different Classes?

Shane O’Connor: Once M.O.D.O.K. awakens his Signature “Master Plan” Ability, he’ll want to pay attention to the Classes that appear in Quests. Once he defeats a Class, he’ll activate a unique Block bonus for future fights against that Class within the same Quest. Each bonus calibrates his Block and Force Field to become more effective against that Class. For example, he’ll take less damage from Cosmic enemies using Buffs or Science enemies using Debuffs. It’s especially effective against Mystic Champions, but M.O.D.O.K. didn’t bother to develop a bonus against the Skill Class. After all, they’re not even Super Human!

Marvel.com: What kind of teammates do we want fighting at his side?

Shane O’Connor: M.O.D.O.K. has left an impression on many members of The Contest. He has seven Synergy Bonuses—more than any other Champion to date! Taskmaster is both a worthy adversary and a powerful ally, as his Advanced Idea Mechanics Synergy increases M.O.D.O.K.’s ability to recharge his Force Field. Deadpool and Gwenpool ran away with his Doomsday Chair, but if they team up with him then M.O.D.O.K.’s Flux is restored to its true maximum potential. Abomination and Ultron are also great to pair with due to their powerful Unique Synergy Bonuses.

Marvel.com: And when can we fly his big head around Battlrealm?

Shane O’Connor: Find the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing in the SCIENCE RULES! Crystal as well as the MECHANIZED ORGANISM and DESIGNED ONLY FOR KILLING Arenas on Dec 21!

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

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Celebrate three years of breathtaking bouts on Battlerealm!

“Marvel Contest of Champions” turned three this past weekend, a truly epic milestone for a truly incredible game. We got together with the gang at Kabam—Creative Direction Gabriel Frizzera and Quest Designers Scott Bradford and Dominic O’Grady—to talk a little about what this anniversary means to them, share some stats about players’ brutal brawls on Battlerealm, and what they have planned to celebrate!

Marvel.com: “Contest of Champions” is another year older and I can only imagine the solar dollars the Collector’s sunk into the upkeep of Battlerealm. The place must be a mess with all the fighting going on constantly right?

Scott Bradford: It’s definitely crazy! Every month, the game changes to a whole new beast—and sometimes permanently as we’ve done with the release of “Act 5: Elder’s War” this year. We’re always working on things for veterans and new players, to keep people on their toes with exciting—and challenging!—content!

Gabriel Frizzera: It’s been three years in Earth time. In the Battlerealm, time is relative. It could be a blink of an eye; it could be the age of the universe. But, all poetics aside, “Contest” has been a [labor] of love to all of us, and it’s truly a privilege to be the custodians of this vast universe of [colorful] Marvel characters punching each other in the face. May it last forever!

Marvel.com: Actually, speaking of constant battling, how many fights have actually happened in the past three years?

Scott Bradford – More than 39 billion! That just blows my mind. We’re so fortunate to have such a great group of players who are that devoted to having these amazing Marvel characters duke it out. A fair few of those fights may have been against The Collector! We’re looking forward to few more billion fights right alongside our players!

Marvel.com: Geez oh pizza, that’s a frick ton of fights. If you had to pick your favorite matchups, favorite battles from the last three years, what would they be?

Scott Bradford: It’s been really interesting seeing how people react to all the random Buff and Champion combinations that are possible in M.O.D.O.K.’s Lab. With completely random Buffs and Enemies, it’s hard to know what you’ll end up with, but it’s really cool to see how people handle combinations that have never been seen before and form new strategies. A personal favorite is also a particular Spider-Gwen fight in “Act 5 Chapter 2” which was a bit of a joke for our players. It was really awesome to see how much of a laugh our community got out of that fight, and how deceptively hard it was!

Gabriel Frizzera: The “wildcard” characters were the best for me. Yes, people expect us to create events based on the awesome [Marvel Cinematic Universe] films and publishing events, but every time we can shine a light on somewhat unknown Marvel characters, I feel that I’ve done my job right. To have people come to us and say they love Moon Knight, or Howard the Duck, or The Hood because of the approach we took for those characters, is very rewarding. And of course our own original matchups, like Guillotine vs. Morningstar, are something that adds a special sauce to “Contest of Champions,” and helps our game keep growing even after three years.

Marvel.com: And how many people are currently partaking in the Marvelous melee you all have cooked up?

Dominic O’Grady: A small few, over 122 million of them; no big deal, right? We’re honored to have such a massive and passionate crowd of Summoners on this journey with us, and we’re all beyond excited to go into year [four]: A year with many, many more surprises waiting ahead!

Marvel.com: What about crystals, the containers of our sweet sweet champions? How many have been cracked open?

Dominic O’Grady: With over 13 Billion crystals opened so far, it’s a wonder The Collector hasn’t thrown a fit about his stock being dipped into so often. I guess that means he’s got an even bigger collection than we initially thought. The Battlerealm has a lot of space for a guy like him! Now if only he and The Grandmaster could share better…

Marvel.com: Following that, have any champions emerged as particular fan favorites? Who have Summoners chosen most for their teams?

Dominic O’Grady: There are many fan favorites! With 112 Champions now, it can be tough to figure out who the most [favorite] is, however we do have a list of the most used Champions in The Contest based on their rarity. Experienced Summoners might not be surprised to find that they’re all some of the oldest Champions in the game, too!

  • 1-Star: Spider-Man – Spidey is one of the first Champions most Summoners will acquire, no secret in The Contest, but he’s still a fan favorite at nearly every level.
  • 2-Star: Wolverine – You can’t keep a good mutant down, and Wolverine is a well-rounded character with solid damage, the ability to heal himself, and packs in some good bleed damage, too!
  • 3-Star: Colossus – Every team needs a tank, and few are better at it than Colossus. His immunity to bleeding and massive defensive potential make him a great pick for up-and-coming Summoners.
  • 4-Star: Scarlet Witch – It’s no surprise that Scarlet Witch is a favorite here. Even with a few tweaks made to her kit, she’s a character with a ton of potential and a lot of surprises in her random buff/debuff roulette.
  • 5-Star: Star-Lord – Oh Peter, whatever will we do with you? For pro players, it’s hard to beat Star-Lord’s signature skill; the longer your combo, the more damage he does! Plus he’s got a pretty cool gun.

Marvel.com: Is the team doing anything to celebrate the game’s birthday?

Gabriel Frizzera: We’ll take a month off! Just kidding, we can’t do that—The Contest never sleeps! We’ll probably have some Isosphere-shaped cake here in the office and then go back to creating awesome content for years four, five, six, and beyond. After all, there’s nothing we [would] rather do than create Marvel goodness to the millions of fans out there.

Dominic O’Grady: I think we’re all going to catch up on sleep a little.

Scott Bradford: I’m too busy playing M.O.D.O.K.’s Lab to sleep! In all seriousness, we’ve also got some really fun celebrations lined up for our players! Everyone will receive a free Howard the Duck as either a 3 or 4-Star Champion, depending on how long they’ve been participating in The Contest, and everyone will have a 20% Boost to XP, Gold, and Battlechips for the entire Anniversary week [of] December 10-1). This, paired with week-long sales on some potions and revives, Anniversary Titles for every Summoner, and a special week-long login calendar are our thank you to players for making The Contest what it is.

Marvel.com: Anything else you want us to know going into year four?

Gabriel Frizzera: Well, there’s the small matter of one Mad Titan coming to wreck the Battlerealm that can be seen in our new trailer…

And believe me when I say the Champions in The Contest are not prepared for what Thanos is going to do when he completes his Infinity Gauntlet. Since 2014 we have been building to this moment, pretty much like in the MCU, and the payoff will be grand. I mean, if there’s any Battlerealm left, it will be the stage for a very different Contest of Champions…

Happy third birthday to “Marvel Contest of Champions,” and stay tuned to Marvel.com as well as @MarvelGames on Twitter for more news and interviews!

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The prodigious savant of mnemonic talents tears up the Battlerealm.

Taskmaster brings both swords, a shield, and a whole lot of photographic reflexes to Battlrealm ready to kick hero butt. Ol’ Tasky’s not worried about being on Battlerealm, his skills let him go up against the toughest heroes the Contest has to offer. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Taskmaster and what he brings to “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Read on to learn more!

Marvel.com: Firstly, let’s talk a little about what the Taskmaster is doing in the contest. He’s not really a go getter unless there’s money involved. Is someone else behind his appearance?

Gabriel Frizzera: Not that the Taskmaster had any choice. Like all of M.O.D.O.K.’s associates, he was once captured in a crystal by the Collector, but forgotten in a backroom somewhere in the Battlerealm. When M.O.D.O.K. freed him, he promised lots of units and gold, but also a regular job in a top-notch Hotel/Spa/Boot Camp for Champions. It beats being forced to fight in The Contest, he thought.

Marvel.com: Tasky looks really cool here in the white, blue, and orange. He’s always had a fairly consistent costume, what did the team do to set him up for “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: We looked at different inspirations. His costume is definitely one the most iconic in the Marvel Universe, with the skull mask, hood and the orange-white-blue colour scheme. But there has been some pretty cool updates in recent years, especially from animated shows that made him more tactical and armored. We wanted to keep him as classic as possible but add some of the modernized elements, so we kept the cool palette, but removed the “pirate boots” and the cape, which in our opinion would just get in the way of some of his acrobatic moves. His mask is also more angular and less of a literal skull.

Marvel.com: Taskmaster is, in a lot of cases, defined by his foes. He can mimic their moves, allowing him to pick them to pieces at his leisure. Did you guy give any extra thought to the kind of animations Taskmaster would have at his disposal?

Gabriel Frizzera: For sure! This was a chance to pay homage to some of the other Champion’s favorite moves. We lifted some of the coolest animations in the game and blended them together, so when you see him use weapons, he’s mimicking the Punisher, or Moon Knight, for example. When he’s using martial arts, it’s most likely from Black Panther or Iron Fist, or other iconic fighters in the game. It was a lot of fun to make a “collage” of moves and see them come together in a seamless moveset.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about his key abilities like Exploit Weakness, and Intuitive Pattern Recognition. What does he do?

Simon Cameron: Exploit Weakness is one of Taskmaster’s main abilities. Every few seconds the last unique attack Taskmaster’s opponent attempted is set as his target (the attack doesn’t have to have hit, just been attempted). Then to trigger Exploit Weakness, you need to land that same attack back on the opponent within a short window. Triggering Exploit Weakness does Direct Damage to the target, as well as giving Taskmaster a short window to safely trigger his Heavy Attack, instantly resetting his Exploit Weakness target. If his Signature Ability, Intuitive Pattern Recognition, is unlocked he also places Concussions Debuffs on his target when triggering Exploit Weakness.

Marvel.com: And what about Photographic Reflexes and Learn the Foe? Those sound perfectly built for Taskmaster.

Simon Cameron:  Photographic Reflexes gives Taskmaster the ability to reduce his opponent’s Offensive Ability Accuracy as he observes them performing different attacks, and reduce their Defensive Ability Accuracy by performing different attacks. While Learn the Foe gives him increasing resistance to Debuffs for each one that triggers on him in a fight

Marvel.com: What kind of characters do we want on his team?

Simon Cameron: Taskmaster loves to team up with other skill Champions. He has synergies with the likes of Crossbones, Moon Knight, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye.

Marvel.com: And lastly, when do we get to pick him up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: Taskmaster’s already in the game! Grab him now!

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

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The Asgardian Goddess of Death cuts a swath across the hit mobile game!

Slicing her way straight from the big screen’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and into “Marvel Contest of Champions” comes Hela, the Goddess of Death, and she’s got an axe to grind with her brothers and everyone else on Battlrealm. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron to get a feel for how she fights, how much trouble the Collector’s in, and more.

Marvel.com: Hela, huh? Well that definitely doesn’t bode well for Battlerealm does it?

Gabriel Frizzera: No it doesn’t. The Goddess of Death feeds on massacre and mayhem, and The Contest has plenty of both. The Grandmaster is oblivious to the danger, and carries on with The Contest like is business as usual, but Champions who have dealt with Hela before know what she is capable of. It’s up to Loki, of all people, to warn his brother Thor and the others of her coming.

Marvel.com: She looks slick as all get out here. What did the team focus on to help players feel like they’re really unleashing the Goddess of Death?

Gabriel Frizzera: Antlers! We made sure the antlers were as intimidating as the ones in the comics and in “Thor: Ragnarok.” As usual we got really good reference ahead of time from the [Marvel Cinematic Universe] team to make sure we got every detail of her costume right. She’s also capable of creating mystical blades and other weapons from thin air, so the animation and FX teams had their hands full to create special moves that reproduce the incredible moments [where] she fills the screen with a whirlwind of sharp objects.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Hela’s kit? Please tell me we actually get to create the aforementioned whirlwind of sharp objects!

Simon Cameron: Hela’s kit is built primarily around building and maintaining Fury Buffs, with her Spirits of the Dead. She gains Spirits each time she lands a hit with her Summon Swords, and she drains them over time based on the number of Fury Buffs she has active. She also has abilities which scale based on the number of Fury Buffs she has active, for example her Special 3 Attack which deals bonus damage based on the amount of health her opponent has already lost. This makes Hela an excellent closer, stepping in to finish off even the toughest bosses once they’ve been weakened by her teammates. She also builds Physical Resistance against attacks that do high damage with a single hit.


Marvel.com: And it turns out her Signature Ability is Goddess of Death, how apropos. What does that do for her?

Simon Cameron: Her Signature Ability has two parts. The first grants her Spirits of the Dead at the start of the fight, based on the number of her teammates who have already been knocked out. The second part makes her Indestructible the first time she would be knocked out each fight.

Marvel.com: What kind of opponents should we be playing her against? And with what teammates at her side?

Simon Cameron: Hela has some strong synergies with the likes of Angela, Loki, Mephisto, and Dormammu, while the Missing Health Damage on her Special 3 Attack makes her great for finishing off high health opponents.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to unleash Hel ourselves?

Simon Cameron: She’s just joined The Contest so come on in and check her out!

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

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