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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The original wielder of La Fleur du Mal is prepared to steal souls in the Battlerealm.

An ancient and evil iron maiden Morningstar smashes her way into “Marvel Contest of Champions”  brandishing a blazing bludgeon and a seriously negative attitude. Wielding her namesake, what kind of trouble will Morningstar be stirring up on Battlerealm? Fear not, we asked Kabam Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell and Character Designer Simon Cameron all sorts of cool stuff about the Contest’s newest combatant

Marvel.com: This lady looks like she means some serious business. What’s Morningstar’s story?

Gene Campbell: Morningstar, once known as Queen Haasen of Languria used to have it all. Once a powerful Queen and tyrannical ruler over an ancient land, she used the cursed powers of the Guillotine sword to keep her frightened subjects loyal and subservient. However, her subjects had enough and the people revolted, taking the sword and its powers away. In her weakened state she was imprisoned in one of her very own torture devices she had used against them as she was locked away and forgotten over the centuries.

As time passed by locked in her iron prison, a mysterious and powerful stranger took notice. Queen Haasen was offered a deal to return to the world and become the Morningstar. All she had to do was help this stranger with obtaining a power of his own desire located within The Contest of Champions and he would return her cursed sword and all of its power that she obsessed over. But, like most deals with this mysterious stranger… there is some fine print, and The Morningstar’s vengeance will come at a price.

Marvel.com: And Morningstar a “Contest of Champions” original, right? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her before this.

Gene Campbell: She sure is! We thought it was about time to expand on the world of our first original Marvel character, Guillotine. Guillotine, not only a very important character in the story of Contest of Champions but she has become quite the popular and useful character in the game. She’s a fan favorite and players love her abilities. So like any good Super Hero, she needed a nemesis and Morningstar was created.

We worked really hard to make sure she had an interesting, unique and iconic look. We knew we wanted her to be big and imposing, to have vibrant and contrasting materials that fans have come to expect from our characters. The idea is that she would be an overbearing, strong and aggressive war machine created from the living iron and brass that she was cursed to walk the Earth in. It was also important that like any great Marvel character, that she has a strong and layered narrative and rich backstory connecting her to Guillotine.

Marvel.com: What was it like coming up with abilities for a character we’ve never seen in the comics?

Simon Cameron: It was a lot of fun! We always do a bunch of research into what a character’s abilities are, and how we could represent them within The Contest, but usually this is limited to whatever reference material we can find online or in print. Since Morningstar is an original, we were able to sit down with the person who actually created the character to talk about what she could do, and even allow some of our ideas for gameplay to seep back into her lore.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about her abilities. The key to her power is collecting Souls right? Can you give us a little more info on that?

Simon Cameron: Absolutely, collecting Souls is core to Morningstar’s kit, and how she ramps up in power over the course of a quest. When she uses her Special 3 Attack, she gains a counter. Each time she deals damage to her Opponent, the counter increases and each time she receives damage the counter decreases. If the counter reaches 100, or she wins the fight (including killing her opponent with a Special 3 Attack), she steals the Soul. If it reaches 0, her Opponent maintains possession of their Soul until she tries again. Each Soul she gains unlocks additional abilities. For example, her Special 2 Attack becomes Unblockable with 3 Souls, and empowers others such as her Special 1 Attack which gains Energy Damage for each Soul.

Marvel.com: And what else can she do?

Simon Cameron: In additional to stealing Souls, Morningstar’s Signature Ability is an excellent counter to some Buff reliant Champions, especially those that rely on potent Fury, Power Gain, or Regeneration Buffs. Once unlocked, this ability reduces the potency of any of those Buffs that her Opponent triggers, and gives her own version of each of those Buffs as her Opponent triggers them. This can be extremely potent against the right Champion, allowing her to drastically reduce Hyperion’s Power Gain, or Wolverine’s Regeneration.

Marvel.com: Who does she play well with? She doesn’t look she makes friends easily.

Simon Cameron: While I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “friends,” she does have an arrangement of sorts with Mephisto. She brings him Souls in exchange for Power. As the original wielder of La Fleur du Mal, she shares a mystical connection with Guillotine’s bloodline, and finally she shares an understanding, such as it is, with Angela and Magik, each having faced similar challenges in ruling over their domains as both powerful warriors and queens.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know?

Simon Cameron: Morningstar will be coming to The Contest on October 12! Check her out as she’ll only be playable in Contest of Champions!

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

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Can the Battlerealm handle the Prince of Lies?

Want to clean some hero clocks with one of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe? Kabam’s got you covered, unleashing Mephisto on the Collector and “Marvel Contest of Champions.”  Want to know what the crimson-clad villain’s up to? Well, we talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Champion Designer Piero Herrera about the Lord of Evil and all the mayhem he’ll no doubt be causing in the Contest. 

Marvel.com: Mephisto is a serious baddie! Can the Battlerealm even handle that much evil energy?

Gabriel Frizzera: That’s definitely a concern… the Battlerealm has been taking a beating lately, and Mephisto is known for causing mayhem wherever he goes! Nobody knows for sure how he arrived in The Contest (neither the Collector or the Grandmaster would want anything to do with the Prince of Lies), so one could assume Mephisto arrived on his own volition, which in many ways is probably worse. Whatever his plan is, Champions and Elders alike will have to watch their backs.

Marvel.com: And what exactly is his beef with the Grandmaster and The Contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: Personally I think he likes the chaos of The Contest of Champions… It’s his element. He’s not bound by allegiances, but the whole concept of a cosmic contest full of captive Super Heroes and Villains that he can manipulate attracts him. He can be free to use his mind tricks to play both sides, for his own amusement and benefit.

Marvel.com: Oh man Mephisto looks awesome here! Typically we see him rocking an all-red outfit. Where’d the bone armor come from?

Gabriel Frizzera: He’s dressed for the occasion! As much as we love the classic red tights, we thought it was a good opportunity to give give him a battle outfit to fight in The Contest. A bone armor felt like a good fit for the Lord of Hades, so we designed one inspired by a Roman Centurion, but with a hellish twist. He also wields a fiery whip to instill fear in the hearts of puny mortals.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about his abilities. Burning Aura sounds like a really powerful ability.

Piero Herrera: It sure is. This ability will shake the meta in the Alliance Wars game mode. It is also the first time we introduce an “Aura” that is based on proximity as opponents will occasionally take Incinerate damage when nearby Mephisto.

Marvel.com: And what in the world is Soul Imprisonment? That sounds crazy awesome.

Piero Herrera: Crazy awesome to counter Champions like Hyperion’s Power Gain at the start of the fight? Yes. This ability reduces the chance for opponents to activate their Buffs by 100%!

Marvel.com: What should we be looking for in teammates? I can’t imagine too many heroes or villains would want to hang out with the Mephisto.

Piero Herrera: Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider bargained with Mephisto, enabling them to get enhanced powers if on the same team. Doctor Strange gets more Life Steal and Ghost Rider gets a good boost to his attacks at the start of the fight.

Marvel.com: And when can we tap into his eldritch energies for ourselves?
Piero Herrera: Mephisto is live right now! Check your in-game inbox for more information on how to get him.

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

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Lord over Battlerealm with the Queen of the Inhumans!

Medusa makes her way from the small screen—or the big screen if you’re watching the first episode of “Marvel’s Inhumans” in IMAX—to Battlerealm ready to mete out Inhuman justice in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” While the redheaded queen would rather not resort to violence, if someone or something threatens her people, she won’t hesitate to get her hair dirty.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Piero Herrera about Medusalith Amaquelin and all her uncanny abilities.

Marvel.com: I’m super psyched to see the Queen of the Inhumans—or former queen depending on what you’re reading—make the cut in “Contest of Champions.” Why’d the team want her on board?

Gabriel Frizzera: Medusa is a major player in the Marvel Universe, and it was about time she’d show up. Beyond her hair powers, fighting skills, and [strategic] mind, her leadership of the Inhumans can shake her husband from inaction and shift the balance of power in the Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: I imagine prehensile hair is…tricky for a mobile game. How’d the team make Medusa’s locks cool visually, but also satisfying to use in combat? And what’s she gonna do with those machetes?!

Gabriel Frizzera: Tricky to say the least. Technical hurdles were the major reason why she didn’t appear in the game months ago. Texture size limitations, animation, and rigging complexity etc. made her classic “hair tentacles” form almost impossible to bring to a full-fledged mobile fighting game like ours. But we finally found a creative angle that made us happy: we love when the character uses the hair as an extra appendage to complement her own awesome fighting skills, and we saw her using blades in the comics many times. So we decided to give her a specific fighting style that takes advantage of the hair as an extra arm.

Marvel.com: It looks like she’s sporting a more ornate version of her TV outfit. What went into crafting this super cool costume?

Gabriel Frizzera: We used the TV design as a starting point, but pushed it to be more ornate and detailed. Since we’re a game, we have the luxury to make things impractical as long as they looks awesome on the screen, which is something our players expect from us. And being the Inhumans, my personal opinion is bigger is always better; they are wonderfully weird and we should embrace their alien-ness.

Marvel.com: Now let’s get down to brass tacks. What does Medusa do best?

Piero Herrera: Medusa is bringing an exciting new mechanic into the game. Through her Signature Ability, “Living Strands,” she is able to use her hair to break out of the opponent’s combo by doing an Auto-Block. This does not only break the opponent’s combo, but if Medusa has the Parry mastery, that Auto-Block will count as a Well Timed Block and also inflict a Stun onto the opponent. This will prove to be a good ability both when using Medusa as an attacker and also as a defender in Alliance Wars.

Marvel.com: She almost reminds me a bit of Karnak with her Armor Break/Shattered. What was the thinking behind giving her those abilities? Is her hair prodding and probing her enemies to eventually pull them apart?

Piero Herrera: The Armor Shattered ability is currently exclusive to Medusa. It has additional properties that will help her deal with the opponent’s Armor Up abilities and also will be a direct counter to Robot Champions such as Vision or Ultron. When the opponent is Armor Shattered, Medusa is able to use her hair to Bleed opponents and those stacks of Bleed will stay active until Armor Shattered expires. Medusa is designed to be a very strong, but not very complex Champion, so we decided to use mechanics that players are familiar with, but with a different twist.

Marvel.com: I can only imagine that sh’’ll get some great buffs when allied with her Inhuman brethren right?

Piero Herrera: Certainly! We are also trying out a new type of synergy that grants a huge attack bonus if you have Karnak, Black Bolt, and Medusa on the same team. The strongest Synergy in Medusa’s kit is the one with Black Bolt, which enhances both of those character’s Signature Abilities.

Marvel.com: When do we get to bring Medusa to the cosmic melee?

Piero Herrera: Medusa is coming to the Contest on September 14. Log-in to see more details on how to get Medusa!

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

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