The King of Wakanda rules Marvel Games!

When villains besiege the nation of Wakanda, The Black Panther appears when his people need him most.

In anticipation of the February 16 release of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” T’Challa is taking over Marvel Games! In “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” players will get to bring a powerful 4-Star Black Panther on the hunt to bring down the bad guys. We caught up with D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin about the new looks, the new abilities, and the new event.

Marvel.com: Players have enjoyed using the 3-Star Black Panther for years, and with 5-Star Black Panther covers tough to come by, it’s great to see a 4-Star T’Challa! 

Josh Austin: Yeah, I only have a couple covers of 5-Star Black Panthers myself and I do take advantage of his hide Move…or Be Moved ability with Thanos. It’s a fun way to blast through some of the Deadpool’s Daily Quests to get covers. The new 4-star Black Panther (King of Wakanda) focuses on what makes him awesome in the new Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” movie, plus he is wearing the awesome new purple glowing suit!

Marvel.com: Black Panther (T’Challa) seems like a jack of all trades—he has some decent offensive and defensive utility while bringing great team damage to the table. Black Panther (Civil War) strikes from the shadows, neutralizing single targets with extreme accuracy. Where will this new Black Panther fit into the game?

Josh Austin: The new Black Panther (King of Wakanda) protects and strengthens his allies with Fortified special tiles and utilizes them for additional damage. One of his attacks damages, then strengthens Fortified Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles which comes in handy!

Marvel.com: Okay, let’s talk about 4-Star Black Panther’s abilities. What’s he hiding in that suit of his?

Josh Austin: His first ability is called Protector of Wakanda and costs 7 Yellow AP. King T-Challa stands up to protect his people by creating Yellow Repeater tiles that generate Strike, Protect, and Attack tiles. If another ally is still in the fight, these tiles become fortified; if two allies are still in the fight, this generates tiles with higher strength instead of Fortifying them.

His second ability, Kinetic Shield, costs 8 Blue AP. Black Panther absorbs enemy attacks and redirects their energy back at the opponent. He creates Fortified Protect Tiles and the power has a Passive that deals damage for each friendly Protect tile on the board, to a max of 8 tiles.

T’Challa’s last ability is called Tooth and Claw and costs 10 Red AP. Black Panther bares his claws and unleashes a powerful strike that deals damage and increases the strength of Fortified Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles.

Marvel.com: It looks like you’ll want to keep your allies safe to get the most out of Protector of Wakanda. Any advice on who those teammates should be?

Josh Austin: Black Panther (King of Wakanda) is strong with characters that create Fortified friendly tiles, which includes Green Goblin, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Luke Cage (Power Man), and Iron Fist (Danny Rand) to name a few. It’s definitely good to take advantage of the extra damage from fortified tiles!

Marvel.com: And alongside releasing a new character, the team has an entirely new story event coming up!

Josh: That’s correct! We have a new story mode titled “Fight For Wakanda” where Wakanda is under attack from H.A.M.M.E.R. and Ultron! T’Challa must travel back to his kingdom with his allies to defend its greatest resources!

“Fight for Wakanda” is a 3-Day story event. Defeating the villain each day will unlock a Sub-Chapter, and each Sub-Chapter is a different location in Wakanda that will feature different Hazard tiles. The new Hazard tiles include an Exploding Tech tile that creates a dangerous blast that harms both allies and enemies. There is a Royal Shield Tile that helps allies but can also turn the tide in the enemy’s favor. Another type of tile, Collapsing Mine, makes it harder to defeat the enemy.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know before we head to Wakanda to take on some super villains?

Josh Austin: Black Panther (King of Wakanda) is available starting today! A T’Challa & Friends Vault will be open between February 11 and 17 and will feature Black Panther (King of Wakanda).

The Black Panther (King of Wakanda)’s debut event is called Fight for Wakanda and runs from today through February 12 and he is featured in placement rewards. There will also be a S.H.I.E.L.D. Training Event featuring Black Panther that rewards tokens to the Fight for Wakanda Vault. He is also featured in the Venom Bomb event that runs from February 11-16 and rewards tokens for the T’Challa & Friends Vault. Lastly, his Versus Tournament runs from February 11-14 and he is a progression reward, along with token rewards for the T’Challa & Friends Vault.

Players can also be on the lookout for special power-ups for Black Panther (King of Wakanda) for damage that can be earned as progression rewards in various events (including the aforementioned events—Fight For Wakanda, S.H.I.E.L.D. Training, and Venom Bomb). Each stack adds about 20% damage.

And that’s not all! We will be featuring the “Fight for Wakanda” event again later in February where we will be releasing Shuri. Her details will be announced when it’s closer to her release date!

And wait, I have one more thing: be sure to check out Marvel Insider where players can earn Insider Points by scoring 8,000+ points in the Fight for Wakanda event in Marvel Puzzle Quest. Visit Marvel Insider for more details!

Enjoy the events and the upcoming film!

Pick up the new 4-Star Black Panther here and keep an eye on Marvel.com and @MarvelGames for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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Get some vengeance in the hit mobile game!

Robbie Reyes might be new to the whole Ghost Rider thing, but that doesn’t stop him from dishing out righteous punishment to the deserving criminals that cross his path. Equipped with his trusty Hell Charger and the Ghost Rider’s iconic chains, Robbie’s set to take “Marvel Puzzle Quest” by storm. We caught up with D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the newest Ghost Rider and his fiery abilities.

Marvel.com: Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider has been exciting fans ever since he peeled onto the scene a few years ago. What specifically made the team so eager to add him to the roster?

Josh Austin: We’ve wanted to make a stronger Ghost Rider for some time and Robbie Reyes will be a great addition to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” as our latest 5-Star! His art looks great and the Spirit of Vengeance’s abilities were just begging to get upgraded to a 5-Star power level.

Marvel.com: Johnny Blaze is all about covering the board in hellfire and building up to that big damage Penance Stare; what will Robbie’s attack plan be?

Josh Austin: This version of Ghost Rider focuses on creating multiple tiles that deal damage and generate AP. Robbie Reyes also punishes characters who make matches or have dealt the most damage to his team. His 5-Star abilities make him a great hero to have on your team to help bring down a character that the enemy team is relying on to do tons of damage!

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about his abilities. How does Robbie make the bad guys regret their evil deeds?

Josh Austin: Robbie Reyes’ first ability, Hell Ride, costs 9 Green AP. Robbie’s muscle car revs its engines and creates Repeater tiles that, every turn, destroy 3 surrounding Red, Green, or Black tiles. These destroyed tiles give AP and deal more damage depending on the level of the power.

Robbie’s second ability, Chain Whip, costs 7 Red AP. This is a cool looking ability that focuses on his Chain Whips that will stun the enemy and creates a Red Countdown tile that also deals damage to the targeted enemy when they make a match. While that tile is on the board, this power becomes Judgment Day. Judgment Day removes the Chain Whip Countdown tile for 7 Red AP and deals more damage to the targeted enemy, reverting this power to Chain Whip.

His last power is called Damnation. For 10 Black AP this ability focuses on the enemy with the most evil heart and drags them to the Underworld to atone for their sins. This ability does some hefty damage on its own, but will do even more if the target is the enemy that has done the most damage on the enemy team.

Marvel.com: Judgment Day sounds like a dastardly weapon you can use to target specific problematic enemies—maybe a really over-leveled opponent in PvP?

Josh Austin: That’s right! Robbie punishes opponents that do the most damage on the enemy team. He’s a good teammate to try and turn the tide of the battle by swapping to the enemy that’s causing you the most grief.

Marvel.com: What kind of covers are we looking at for Robbie? Right now I’m thinking 3/5/5, just so we can do maximum damage with Judgment Day and Damnation.

Josh Austin: That’s a good choice, focus on the powers that punish an enemy, but 5/3/5 is also a great choice to have his first power generate Red, Green, and Black AP for a team composed of characters that can benefit from this AP generation.

Marvel.com: And his teammates? Are there any particularly good backseat drivers for Robbie?

Josh Austin: He works well with characters that are built around closing off options from the enemy team. Characters like Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) and his Flames of the Faltine makes the enemy afraid to activate powers. Using Peggy Carter’s Do as Peggy Says can force a targeted enemy to make matches by stunning the other non-target enemies. Yondu’s Yaka Assault can follow-up with Ghost Rider’s assault by focusing on the character with the least amount of health.

Marvel.com: So when do we get a chance to pick Robbie Reyes up?!

Josh Austin: Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes) 5-Star is available January 25! His debut event will be Galactus Hungers that runs from January 25–29, and players can earn tokens to the Engines of Vengeance cover store from the event. Both his limited Vault and special Legendary Store starts on January 25 and runs until January 30.

Go for a ride with Robbie Reyes here and keep an eye on Marvel.com and @MarvelGames for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The Hunter is here to play the game!

From the wilds of Africa to the concrete jungle of New York City, Kraven will go to any lengths to get his ultimate trophy. Now Kraven stalks through “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” keen hunter’s mind and devious traps at the ready, prepared to take down any foe. We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about Sergei Kravinoff’s introduction and what makes him unique amongst the game’s ever-growing roster.

Marvel.com: Kraven is gonna have a great time hunting spiders in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” – he has so many options! What does Kraven bring to the “MPQ” table that he just needed to be in the game?

Josh Austin: Players like a bit of variety and often request Super Villains in “Puzzle Quest” so this was our chance to bring a new baddy into the game! Kraven the Hunter (Sergie Kravinoff) is a 4-Star character that was designed to utilize what makes him a unique foe for not only Spider-Man but also Squirrel Girl!

Marvel.com: First and foremost Sergei Kravinoff is a big game hunter, but his definition of big game could mean super heroes or lions depending on the day. How did the team integrate his hunter roots into his playstyle?

Josh Austin: The team really tried to focus on his most memorable traits, including rage when his ego takes a hit, studying his prey’s strengths to use against them, and his ingenious use of traps to bring his targets down.

Marvel.com: Ok give us the skinny on all his abilities? How will Kraven be taking it to his opponents?

Josh Austin: Kraven’s first ability is called Wounded Pride and costs 10 Black AP. For this ability, Kraven creates a Black Countdown tile that destroys AP in the enemy and ally teams’ strongest colors and deals damage for each point of AP destroyed.

Kraven’s second ability, Think like the Enemy, is a Purple Passive. At the beginning of the turn, if there are at least three enemy special tiles on the board, Kraven reduces their strength and deals damage.

The consummate hunter’s last ability, Most Dangerous game, costs 10 Blue AP. Kraven places trap tiles on the board that steal AP of a random color from the enemy team each turn. If the tile is matched away, a few basic tiles will convert to the team’s strongest color and Kraven will deal damage to a targeted enemy.

Marvel.com: It seems like Kraven’s main strength is in strategically destroying the enemy’s AP, while also making enemy matches really unfavorable, is that fair to say?

Josh Austin: Right! Kraven was designed to stalk, weaken, and destroy the enemy by slowly building up ways to remove their AP and dealing damage in the process.

Marvel.com: I’m already thinking about teaming him up with Peggy Carter and using Legendary Presence, in combination with Kraven’s Most Dangerous Game to make it super difficult for the opponent to use any powers. Who does he work well with?

Josh Austin: Peggy’s a great teammate to have at his side! Kraven also works great with characters that create enemy Special tiles, say Carnage for example, because Kraven will reduce their strength and deal damage to the enemy.

Marvel.com: And is there a specific cover build you have been using?

Josh Austin: For me I’m a fan of 3/5/5 to have less in the power that destroys my AP, it’s pretty tough if you have enough AP in it and can add the both teams AP destroyed to the attack. I like the idea of using someone that creates enemy tiles and utilizing them against the enemy, especially if they are creating strike tiles as well.

Marvel.com: When do we get to take Kraven on the hunt?

Josh Austin: Kraven is available starting on Thursday, January 11 and will be playable/earnable in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Training event that starts that same day, which rewards tokens to Hearts of Darkness that has a Kraven cover and more.

Kraven’s debut event is Hearts of Darkness that also starts on January 11 and he will be available as placement rewards. The Kraven & Friends Vault opens January 14 and features Kraven along with many different rewards in an 80 item Vault. Special Kraven Damage Power Ups can be earned in Hearts of Darkness, S.H.I.E.L.D. Training, and a Webbed Wonder event. The Webbed Wonder event starts on January 15 with Kraven as a progression reward along with token rewards for the Kraven & Friends Vault. Finally, Kraven’s featured tournament is called Constant Kraven which starts on January 14 and he will be a progression reward and will also reward tokens for the Kraven & Friends Vault.

Help Kraven track his prey here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The Ragin' Cajun arrives to the hit mobile game!

Gambit, the X-Men’s resident exploding card shark, makes his “Marvel Puzzle Quest” debut this week—and we’ve been assured the kinetic energy-charging Cajun’s ready to unleash the full deck on the bad guys.

We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the cards up Remy’s sleeves—and got some more details about all the anniversary action going down throughout October.

Marvel.com: Remy Lebeau has always been one of the coolest X-Men around—like his companion Rogue, was Gambit another popular player write-in?

Josh Austin: Yes, for “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” the most requested characters have been Rogue, Gambit, and Nightcrawler. In our last player poll, Gambit ranked as the most requested, followed by Nightcrawler—but Gambit had nearly double the amount of votes! So this news should go over well with our players!

Marvel.com: There’ll be both 3-Star and 5-Star versions of him hitting the game. Will there just be some number differences between the variations?

Josh Austin: That’s right—he’s the same power set, but with a large difference in power between the Gambit 3-Star Modern and the Gambit 5-Star Classic. The 3-Star version of a 5-Star presents a great opportunity for newer players to get an amazing fresh character if they haven’t reached the 5-star realm yet.

Marvel.com: What does his kit look like?

Josh Austin: Gambit’s first power, Ragin’ Cajun, costs 11 Purple AP. Gambit unleashes a torrent of kinetically charged playing cards that target the opponent’s weak points. This power creates Countdown tiles—replacing enemy Special tiles and dealing damage for each Countdown tile when they expire. The modern version at level 166 creates three 3-turn countdown tiles that deal 2,678 damage each. The Classic 5-Star Gambit creates four 2-turn Countdown tiles, replacing 4 enemy special tiles and they each deal 5,292 damage when the Countdown expires.

Gambit’s second power, Aces & Eights, costs 7 Red AP. For Aces & Eights, Gambit charges up a killer hand of cards. This attack destroys random Charged or Basic tiles dealing extra damage for each Charged tile destroyed this way—then creates 2 Charged tiles. For Gambit Modern 3-Star at level 166, each Charged tile destroyed deals an extra 520 damage. The 5-Star Gambit Classic deals 7,580 damage at level 450 power level 5 for each Charged tile destroyed this way.

Gambit’s last ability is Stacked Deck—a Black AP Passive ability. For this power, Gambit finds an advantage for himself at any cost, and this means Gambit generates AP every turn for his two other powers. However, the passive also prevents his allies from firing powers in the same color as Gambit’s active powers (Purple and Red).

Marvel.com: Stacked Deck means allies can’t fire Red or Purple powers? I guess we might want to avoid teaming him up with anyone who uses Red or Purple AP?

Josh Austin: Gambit gets a little selfish with Stacked Deck and will actually block an ally from using a red or purple power—this happens only if the player has a cover in either purple and/or red. So, you would not be able to use Rogue’s Red power (Sugah, You’re Goin’ Down) until Gambit gets downed, stunned, or sent Airborne. Passive powers will still trigger—only powers the player can trigger can be affected.

Marvel.com: There’s an anniversary coming up and I have no doubt the team has a ton planned. Can we get a quick recap?

Josh Austin: To start, we currently have a sale for players to take advantage of before all the anniversary madness begins. Players will get a 30% bonus in Iso-8 and Hero Points purchases. Sale ends October 4!

The anniversary festivities then begin on October 5 and every player will get a free anniversary token when they log-in that day. All events throughout the season will have double Iso-8 rewards, anniversary tokens, and more.

For events, we have the following:

Versus Tournaments

– Class of 2017 tournament starts October 5
– Let’s Be Frank tournament starts on October 8
– Danger Room tournament starts on October 10
– RRRAAAWWWR! starts on October 12

Story Events

– We have a brand new event called The X-Men vs Apocalypse that starts October 5! Apocalypse, a real baddie with Horsemen of the Apocalypse abilities, brings out some nasty tiles to try and destroy the player’s heroes. More will be announced as we get closer to the anniversary!
– Honor Among Thieves starts on October 8
– Sim Challenge (X-Men Edition) starts on October 12

Other Changes

Devil Dino is coming back to Deadpool’s Daily Quest!

Marvel.com: Let’s hear more about the Fan Favorites Legendary Token—basically, players get better odds for their favorite 4-Star characters?

Josh Austin: That’s correct, a survey was run earlier in the game for players to vote on their favorite characters.  The 12 most popular 4-Star Characters and 8 player favorite 5-Stars will be featured in a special store with increased odds. There will be a new Legendary Cover store called Fan Favorites that features players’ favorite 4-Stars and 5-Stars. Players can purchase a token to this store with Command Points or earn a token to this store from the Crash of the Titans mission in the Deadpool’s Daily Quest that starts on October 10th.

Marvel.com: What else do we need to know about the crazy celebrations on the horizon?

Josh Austin: Gambit will be released October 5 during the debut of the X-Men vs Apocalypse event. His Legendary store starts on October 5 with increased odds at getting Old Man Logan and Phoenix along with Gambit (Classic) 5-Star.

Gambit (Modern) 3-Star will be available in the Honor Among Thieves event that starts October 8. Gambit (Modern) features in the event and will have multiple covers in the Vault. Gambit’s PVP event is called Ragin’ Cajun and it starts October 15 with Gambit (Modern) being the featured character.

We will also be at New York Comic at the D3 Go! Booth (#447) this week! Come by and say hello to me and members of the team.

Finally, everyone at D3 Go! and Demiurge wants to thank all of our players for such an awesome year. We appreciate all the feedback and support we get and we really hope we can bring out more features and characters that the community has requested in the upcoming year. Thank you!

Grab the Ragin’ Cajun for yourself here and stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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The Sorcerer Supreme is heading to Marvel Puzzle Quest

Baron Mordo’s deadly apprentice Kaecilus threatens the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” universe with dimension-bending terror and it’s up to players to harness all of Doctor Strange’s mystical armaments and take him down. D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin dropped by to talk about this big new story event and the two different Doctor Strange variations players can earn in the coming weeks!

Marvel.com: With Doctor Strange dropping in theaters in a few short weeks I hear there’s a whole magical world waiting for players in “Puzzle Quest.” Can we get a tl;dr?

Josh Austin: Yes! Doctor Strange is coming to Marvel Puzzle Quest as not just one, but two playable versions! For the first time in probably forever, Doctor Strange will have a 3-star version (Stephen Strange) and a 5-star version (Sorcerer Supreme). This is the first 3-star we have released in some time (before my time on the project) and I’m sure a lot of Marvel Puzzle Quest fans will be very excited to get their hands on a new 3-star!

With the new character, we also have a new Story Event called Strange Sights, where the player will be entering three different doors with a new animation that takes the player to an alternate universe where mindless ones and other bad guys are in control. Get through the story mode to fight off against Kaecilius!

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, what goes into creating and executing on a big event like this? The boss fights, the artifacts, the enemies we’re fighting, who works on all that stuff?

Josh Austin: With these larger events that are a part of movie releases, there is a lot of planning and approvals to get through so we have to build in time to get things through in time for release. With a movie-based character and storyline, we receive direction from Marvel both in notes and from reference materials. As it gets moving, the game art is passed around for review to people at Marvel and the people working on the movie. The story outline is written by designers then passed to a writer (Alex Irvine in this case) to provide that awesome Marvel touch. When it’s all done and all sides are happy we are good to go!

Marvel.com: It’s awesome to hear that everyone works so hard to make these things a success. Ok now on to the meat and potatoes: can we talk about Doctor Strange and his abilities? What kind of eldritch energies will we be harnessing as the Ancient One’s successor?

Josh Austin: Because there are two characters coming out, this is going to be a little long!

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) are 3 and 5-star characters respectively. Doctor Strange’s first ability is called Crimson Bands of Cyttorak and it costs 9 blue for both variations. This power converts a chosen basic tile into a Countdown tile and stuns the target for 2 turns at lower levels and up to 3 turns the higher the cover level. The Countdown tile for each turn deals damage on the board (3-star level 145 damage, to 1772 damage maxed 5-star) and destroys enemy AP of the color that the Countdown tile ends up being.

His second ability is Eye of Agamotto which costs 11 purple AP for both Doctor Strange Star tiers. For 3-star Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) this power removes up to 2 random enemy Attack tiles and the player gains 2 Purple AP. At higher levels this can remove random Attack, Protect, Strike, Invisibility and Trap tiles and up grant up to 4 Purple AP to the player. For 5-star Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) this power creates a colorless eye tile that activates each turn removing a random enemy at attack tile and the eye tile can’t be removed from the board. At higher levels this power removes 1 of each tile types above at random each turn.

Lastly the third ability is called Flames of the Faltine that has a Passive component and a 14 AP yellow cost for the 5-star added to the Passive ability. For 3-star Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) this ability is a passive and thus costs 0 AP. Each time an opponent uses a power, it deals 212 damage to the target and gives a burst of 45 health to the player’s team. For 5-star Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) this ability has both passive and active elements. It still deals damage to your opponent every time their characters use a power, but for 14 yellow AP, you can deal almost double the damage on a whim. At maxed level 5 this power deals 16,016 damage!

Marvel.com: What are some of the things players should be looking out for? Any special rewards for cleaning Kaecilius’ clock?

Josh Austin: This event will feature four or five ways to get your hands on Doctor Strange. First, like any other Story event, there will be a store that will have increased odds at getting the 3-Star Doctor Strange. There will also be a new Legendary Store that will feature the 5-Star version of Doctor Strange at increased odds. Lastly, there will be three, ten item Limited Vaults (one for for each sub-chapter) with one item being a pack for the special Legendary Store. The last mission of each sub-chapter will give you a token for each of the vaults. Additional tokens can also be purchased.

Marvel.com: And what else do we need to know about Doctor Strange’s big new event?

Josh Austin: Doctor Strange is available November 3 and his all-new PVE event is called Strange Sights. Strange will also have a Versus event as well, called Strange Days, that is set to run starting in the evening of November 10 where players can earn 3-star Doctor Strange. The event before that, Red Shift, is scheduled to start on the evening of November 8, which will also reward Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) for the top players.

And I can’t forget to share that this is the first event that players can choose their own path. We are excited to see how people respond to it and hope to add it to future events. In addition, we’ve integrated some cool new animations into the event. Players will choose a node over a dimensional doorway, then an animation of the door and the camera zooming into that dimension will play. It’s just a cool thing we wanted to try out. Also, to keep things interesting, the Kaecilius boss node recharges daily.

Marvel.com: When does all this mystical mumbo jumbo come to an end?

Josh Austin: The Doctor Strange Story Event will conclude Monday, November 7, 2:00 AM EDT. The event will enter the normal Event rotation once it has concluded.

Take a crack at the Sorcerer Supreme here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews, as well as the latest on Doctor Strange in other Marvel Games. Marvel Insiders also earn points for checking out each of these articles. To become a Marvel Insider, join here: marvel.com/insider.

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Flash Thompson reports for duty!

Agent Venom, aka Flash Thompson, makes his “Marvel Puzzle Quest” debut guns blazing and symbiote raging. Eddie Brock better watch out, because there’s a new Venom in town!

We talked to D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin about Flash’s new look, his abilities, and just what the heck the black-suited soldier’s capable of in the “Puzzle Quest” universe.

Marvel.com: Flash Thompson finally gets to fight next to his hero Spider-Man! What’s going on with Agent Venom?

Josh Austin: I’ve been a huge fan of Venom since I was a kid, and now having Agent Venom in “MPQ” along with Venom (Eddie Brock), you’re never really sure when they will snap or when the suit will take over completely. While Eddie completely bonded with the suit, Flash is constantly fighting for control and when the suit fights back, well that’s really cool to see in the game.

Marvel.com: We already have a 4-star Venom in the game. How did the designers want to make Agent Venom different from the Eddie Brock incarnation? Any key themes that stick out?

Josh Austin: Agent Venom is more tactical, with Flash’s military training playing a big part. He deals damage, but he also has a great power called Take Cover that gives his allies invisibility for a few turns. However, players will need to carefully manage their AP to keep the symbiote under control. If they don’t, Venom can hurt himself and the player won’t generate AP! We wanted to show that Flash is constantly fighting with the symbiote’s more violent tendencies.

Marvel.com: Let’s go over Agent Venom’s abilities. I feel like there are so many different directions you guys could have gone. 

Josh Austin: Flash’s first ability is called Symbiotic Assault and it costs 10 Red AP. Venom channels the power of his alien symbiote to unleash the ultimate tactical strike to deal damage. If you have at least 12 AP in any color, it deals bonus damage as well.

Agent Venom’s second ability is called Military Might and it costs 5 Black AP. Flash Thompson’s military skills help keep his alien symbiote in check—for a time. He drains 2 AP from the highest friendly AP pool and deals damage. If you have at least 14 AP in any color, this power becomes Alien Weakness.

Alien Weakness costs 0 Black AP. The Venom symbiote asserts its dominance, lashing out and fighting with Flash for control. At the start of your turn, it drains 2 AP from the highest friendly AP pool, destroys random tiles and deals self-damage to Venom. The destroyed tiles do not generate AP. If all friendly AP pools are below 14, this power becomes Military Might again.

Lastly, Flash’s third ability is called Take Cover and costs 11 Yellow AP. For this ability Agent Venom lets loose his arsenal and lays down cover, so his allies can regroup. Deals AOE damage to the enemy team and renders all of Venom’s allies invisible for two or more turns.

Marvel.com: What’s his most effective build? How do you think players will get the most mileage out of Agent Venom and why?

Josh Austin: The team here believes that Agent Venom’s best build is 5/3/5 because it forces the player to keep the AP less than 14, requiring the player to fire off powers as soon as they get the AP for it. The extra damage from Symbiotic Assault has a cushion of 2 AP from Alien Weakness activating. Military Might deals 1804 damage for 5 AP, thus allowing a decent amount of damage to be dealt while managing the AP pools. Definitely want Take Cover to give the team four turns worth of invisibility. Overall this build allows Agent Venom to strike fast and often to avoid Alien Weakness.

Marvel.com: Who does he fight well with? I imagine he’s got at least a little synergy with the Guardians of the Galaxy right?

Josh Austin: Because Agent Venom has the threat of Alien Weakness, it’s best to get a well-rounded team to make sure the player doesn’t have too much AP stored up. For testing purposes. I used Kingpin to generate Yellow AP to fire off the Take Cover ability, granting the rest of the team Invisibility. The last person on the team should be someone that has the remaining colors, so using Rocket and Groot allows the team to have someone that will use Blue and Green.

The rest of the team recommends characters that generate lots of AP, like Kingpin, Scarlet Witch, Iron Fist, and Iron Man (Model 40). He’s also good at defending weaker characters with this Yellow Power. Team him up with characters that have defensive passives like The Thing or Deadpool for a fun combo where the enemy is forced to attack Agent Venom and activate the defensive powers of Rock Solid and X-Enforcer.

Marvel.com: And when can we recruit Flash into our own personal “Puzzle Quest” army?

Josh Austin: Agent Venom is available starting on November 17 and can be earned in the Thick as Thieves Event that same day and will also be available in the Simulator Story Event Vault on November 21.

Take your shot with Agent Venom here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The Sorcerer Supreme is heading to Marvel Puzzle Quest

Baron Mordo’s deadly apprentice Kaecilus threatens the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” universe with dimension-bending terror and it’s up to players to harness all of Doctor Strange’s mystical armaments and take him down. D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin dropped by to talk about this big new story event and the two different Doctor Strange variations players can earn in the coming weeks!

Marvel.com: With Doctor Strange dropping in theaters in a few short weeks I hear there’s a whole magical world waiting for players in “Puzzle Quest.” Can we get a tl;dr?

Josh Austin: Yes! Doctor Strange is coming to Marvel Puzzle Quest as not just one, but two playable versions! For the first time in probably forever, Doctor Strange will have a 3-star version (Stephen Strange) and a 5-star version (Sorcerer Supreme). This is the first 3-star we have released in some time (before my time on the project) and I’m sure a lot of Marvel Puzzle Quest fans will be very excited to get their hands on a new 3-star!

With the new character, we also have a new Story Event called Strange Sights, where the player will be entering three different doors with a new animation that takes the player to an alternate universe where mindless ones and other bad guys are in control. Get through the story mode to fight off against Kaecilius!

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, what goes into creating and executing on a big event like this? The boss fights, the artifacts, the enemies we’re fighting, who works on all that stuff?

Josh Austin: With these larger events that are a part of movie releases, there is a lot of planning and approvals to get through so we have to build in time to get things through in time for release. With a movie-based character and storyline, we receive direction from Marvel both in notes and from reference materials. As it gets moving, the game art is passed around for review to people at Marvel and the people working on the movie. The story outline is written by designers then passed to a writer (Alex Irvine in this case) to provide that awesome Marvel touch. When it’s all done and all sides are happy we are good to go!


Marvel.com: It’s awesome to hear that everyone works so hard to make these things a success. Ok now on to the meat and potatoes: can we talk about Doctor Strange and his abilities? What kind of eldritch energies will we be harnessing as the Ancient One’s successor?

Josh Austin: Because there are two characters coming out, this is going to be a little long!

Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) and Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) are 3 and 5-star characters respectively. Doctor Strange’s first ability is called Crimson Bands of Cyttorak and it costs 9 blue for both variations. This power converts a chosen basic tile into a Countdown tile and stuns the target for 2 turns at lower levels and up to 3 turns the higher the cover level. The Countdown tile for each turn deals damage on the board (3-star level 145 damage, to 1772 damage maxed 5-star) and destroys enemy AP of the color that the Countdown tile ends up being.

His second ability is Eye of Agamotto which costs 11 purple AP for both Doctor Strange Star tiers. For 3-star Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) this power removes up to 2 random enemy Attack tiles and the player gains 2 Purple AP. At higher levels this can remove random Attack, Protect, Strike, Invisibility and Trap tiles and up grant up to 4 Purple AP to the player. For 5-star Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) this power creates a colorless eye tile that activates each turn removing a random enemy at attack tile and the eye tile can’t be removed from the board. At higher levels this power removes 1 of each tile types above at random each turn.

Lastly the third ability is called Flames of the Faltine that has a Passive component and a 14 AP yellow cost for the 5-star added to the Passive ability. For 3-star Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) this ability is a passive and thus costs 0 AP. Each time an opponent uses a power, it deals 212 damage to the target and gives a burst of 45 health to the player’s team. For 5-star Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme) this ability has both passive and active elements. It still deals damage to your opponent every time their characters use a power, but for 14 yellow AP, you can deal almost double the damage on a whim. At maxed level 5 this power deals 16,016 damage!

Marvel.com: What are some of the things players should be looking out for? Any special rewards for cleaning Kaecilius’ clock?

Josh Austin: This event will feature four or five ways to get your hands on Doctor Strange. First, like any other Story event, there will be a store that will have increased odds at getting the 3-Star Doctor Strange. There will also be a new Legendary Store that will feature the 5-Star version of Doctor Strange at increased odds. Lastly, there will be three, ten item Limited Vaults (one for for each sub-chapter) with one item being a pack for the special Legendary Store. The last mission of each sub-chapter will give you a token for each of the vaults. Additional tokens can also be purchased.

Marvel.com: And what else do we need to know about Doctor Strange’s big new event?

Josh Austin: Doctor Strange is available November 3 and his all-new PVE event is called Strange Sights. Strange will also have a Versus event as well, called Strange Days, that is set to run starting in the evening of November 10 where players can earn 3-star Doctor Strange. The event before that, Red Shift, is scheduled to start on the evening of November 8, which will also reward Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange) for the top players.

And I can’t forget to share that this is the first event that players can choose their own path. We are excited to see how people respond to it and hope to add it to future events. In addition, we’ve integrated some cool new animations into the event. Players will choose a node over a dimensional doorway, then an animation of the door and the camera zooming into that dimension will play. It’s just a cool thing we wanted to try out. Also, to keep things interesting, the Kaecilius boss node recharges daily.

Marvel.com: When does all this mystical mumbo jumbo come to an end?

Josh Austin: The Doctor Strange Story Event will conclude Monday, November 7, 2:00 AM EDT. The event will enter the normal Event rotation once it has concluded.

Take a crack at the Sorcerer Supreme here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews, as well as the latest on Doctor Strange in other Marvel Games. Marvel Insiders also earn points for checking out each of these articles. To become a Marvel Insider, join here: marvel.com/insider.

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The Daywalker gets an upgrade to sink his teeth into!

Blade’s back and better than ever, bringing silver and steel to the fight along with his trademark fangs—the Daywalker’s ready for anything “Marvel Puzzle Quest” players throw his way.

D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin stopped by to talk Blade and give us the skinny on what makes his 4-Star variation so awesome.

Marvel.com: While I am super stoked to hear the team is working on a 4-Star Blade, I never even thought of upgrading the Daywalker. 3-Star Blade is just so dang useful. Why fancy him up now?

Josh Austin: With Halloween coming up, we thought it was a great time to give Blade an update! Blade (Daywalker) focuses first on his weapons, with thirst being his third ability. But Blade (Modern)’s first power focuses on his vampire hunger and is a fun way to manage red AP as he transitions that first power from The Hunger to Bloodlust depending on how much red AP the player has. Overall he’s a fun new version that players should find interesting!

Marvel.com: I used 3-Star Blade as a support, teaming him up with Cyclops (Uncanny) to quickly create a ridiculous number of red strike tiles and cascade my opponent to oblivion all while stealing their most powerful AP. What does this version of Blade excel at?

Josh Austin: Blade (Modern) is a great support character and a great teammate for characters that generate red tiles because once the team’s collected enough red AP, Blade causes constant damage each round. He also has a heal ability and can destroy enemy AP while feeding his own crimson thirst and [creating] more red tiles. Overall, he’s a great support character and a fun blood red AP hungry hero, perfect for the Halloween season!

Marvel.com: Do the designers look to the comics for new character iteration abilities? Do things that happen in say modern Blade comics influence what abilities you give him in-game?

Josh Austin: The designers pour over all the different variations of a character. We discussed the different eras and versions of Blade and sometimes the inspiration like in this instance can come to a really great image of a comic cover that inspires the look. The powers come from that era of the character, but it can really depend on what feels right for the hero/villain. Ultimately, it’s finding powers/abilities per that particular character that fits within the world of “MPQ” and making the character feel unique that’s really important to us.

Marvel.com: Alright let’s get our fangs dirty, what can Blade (Modern) do?

Josh Austin: Blade (Modern)’s first power is The Hunger, a Passive ability which means it costs 0 AP! Blade resists his thirst for blood. If there are 10 or more red tiles on the board, Blade steels his resolve and converts a random basic tile to a strength 37 Strike tile at the beginning of the turn. When Blade’s team reaches nine or more Red AP, this power transforms into The Bloodlust.

The Bloodlust is also a Passive ability. Blade can no longer resist his thirst for blood. Every turn, Blade consumes one red AP and deals 380 damage to a random enemy. When Blade’s team falls below seven red AP, this power transforms back into The Hunger.

Blade’s second power is called Tools of the Trade and costs nine green AP. Guns, blades, and fangs, Blade never leaves home without his tools. Blade attacks with his arsenal, dealing 315 damage to the enemy team. If Blade’s team has seven or more red AP, Blade uses his fangs in the attack, healing himself for 241 health.

Blade’s third power is called Supernatural Sense and costs 11 black AP. Blade can sense the supernatural, and he doesn’t much care for it. Blade destroys four AP from the enemy team’s strongest color. If Blade’s team has seven or more red AP, Blade also creates two red tiles.

Marvel.com: How are you guys building him cover-wise and who does he work well with?

Josh Austin: The build that works best for my play style is 5/3/5 to maximize on his red AP management. The last ability I’d use if I got enough black to feed into the first ability with the red tile creation.

Blade (Modern) is hungry for red AP and because of this, he works well with anyone that generates red AP. Jean Grey (Phoenix)’s Psychic Rapport, Magneto (Marvel NOW)’s Polarity Shift, Cyclops (Uncanny)’s Mutant Revolution as you pointed out above work. Other team-ups have included Kamala Khan with her Bring Out the Best ability and Wasp’s Tactical Intuition/That Buzzing Sound ability helps round out a Blade (Modern) team.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to play him?

Josh Austin: Blade is available starting on October 20 and will be earnable in The Hunt and then again in the Venom: Heroic Vault on October 24. Blade’s very own PVP event will kick-off on October 27. And finally, he will be available once more in a special Halloween Limited Vault starting on October 28.

Marvel.com: Lastly I heard “Marvel Puzzle Quest” is changing the naming structure for Seasons?

Josh Austin: Yes, each season in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” has been numbered off—in large Roman numerals—and to be honest, with its growth, the increased number feels a bit intimidating. So we are introducing a new way of naming seasons with Infinity Gems and a specific gem name will be the name of a particular season. The power gems and season are as follows: Green Soul, Purple Space, Yellow Reality, Orange Time, Red Power and Blue Mind. The first season gem will be the Red infinity gem for Power Season, starting in the evening of Thursday, October 20!

Sink your teeth into the new Blade here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The blockbuster Marvel puzzle game commemorates its third birthday with Gwenpool and more!

“Marvel Puzzle Quest” celebrates three years of optic blasting, sonic screaming, and wasp stinging with a birthday celebration like no other.

The good people at D3 Go! and Demiurge have got new events, Iso rewards, a little character balancing, and more, and D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin and Demiurge Associate Producer Anthony Novak teamed-up to give us the lowdown on all the birthday fun!

Marvel.com: First off, congratulations and happy birthday! How does it feel turning three?

Josh Austin: While it’s my first, it’s really exciting to be a part of the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” crew—many [of who] have been here all [three years]—and work on such a great game that has so many diehard fans. To see people come up to us at various events with their daily reward day totals in the 1000’s is such a great feeling!

Marvel.com: When you take a look back at the last three years, what characters or features or events really stand out?

Josh Austin: I’m a little too new but since I’ve been on, I have been excited about the addition of Championing characters and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Ranks and Clearance Levels. This is a great step to allow players to play the game in fresh new ways and to earn rewards that are better for players at all stages of their development.

Anthony Novak: Hey! This is my second Anniversary. To me, the biggest thing that has happened to the game is Boss events. Boss events have become a big thing for my Alliance and are so much fun every time they come around. I got really into the game with the first Boss Event, Avengers vs. Ultron. I still can’t believe we got Howard the Duck in the game—[drawn] by the Joe Quinones no less!

Marvel.com: Now let’s talk about the celebration you guys are throwing! I heard the team is planning some smaller scale stuff along with a whole new mode?

Josh Austin: Devil Dino will be getting a revamp to make him a bit more devastating. Anniversary time is always Devil Dino time, and this year he’ll be doing a whole lot more damage, biting chunks out of the board, and his tiny arms will be doing more than just swapping tiles.

Not only will there be an Anniversary sale, but the Anniversary also has a vault packed full of 4-Star characters, Legendary Tokens, tons of Devil Dino covers, a jackpot of Hero Points, and Iso-8 rewards. Every player gets one free token for this vault and there are plenty of tokens to be found in the Anniversary Versus Season and in event rewards, in addition to the normal Event tokens. Also, all event rewards will have double Iso-8 during the Anniversary; how cool is that!

And the secret character you’ve seen in the loading screen—yes, it’s Gwenpool—is coming out on Thursday, October 6!

Anthony Novak: The new event being introduced this Anniversary is Boss Rush. This is just like the other Boss events but this one has a couple of cool new twists. First, the Boss mission is a wave mission where each wave has a different boss. The bosses are either an existing boss—Ultron, Galactus, etc—or an adapted version of existing characters with newly designed abilities—Cosmic Force Phoenix, Herald of Galactus Silver Surfer, Wolverine Unleashed, etc.

Second, players get to compete against their Alliance mates and other Alliances for additional rewards. Have you ever been that person that’s helping your team across the finish line in boss events? Now you’ll get rewarded for your efforts!

Marvel.com: Boss Rush sounds absolutely brutal, especially since we’ll be taking on giant bosses and 5-Star characters. Any tips on making it through the gauntlet?

Anthony Novak: Make sure you bring you’re a-team! You also need to be a little crafty. These events have always been as fun for me to see what interesting teams the community finds to overtake the bosses. Hulk became the best ally you could have in Galactus battles since he’s constantly turning all the tiles green when he’s taking damage. Characters like Steve Rogers [are] always great for removing Ultron Bombs with his shield powers. How are we going to take down three bosses though?

I think your best chances lie with characters like Iron Man (Hulkbusters), Thor (Goddess of Thunder), Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men), and Steve Rogers (Super Soldier) as these are characters that do a whole lot of damage when they get going. I can’t wait to see what people find though!

Marvel.com: And you guys have a ton of stuff coming out for Player vs. Player fun right?

Josh Austin: The Anniversary starts on October 6 with a PVE event and the first PVP event starts later that day and debuts a new Versus Mode called Best Friends Forever featuring pairs of super-friends taking each other on. Notable Marvel best friends will be buffed similar to how couples were buffed for the Valentine’s Day Versus Event earlier this year. There will be a Devil Dino event on October 9, a Class of 2016 event on October 11, and [it] ends with a new Gwenpool PVP on October 13.

Marvel.com: Honestly there’s a ton here to digest. What do you think is the most important and fun stuff for players hitting for the Anniversary?

Josh Austin: Since there is so much going on, it really depends on the player. For me, I’m more of a Story events type of player where I can focus on building up my 4-Star roster with the Anniversary vault.

Boss Rush is going to be a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see what players think. We worked really hard to make sure the rewards and activities make players at any roster level happy. We are delighted that so many people have been playing for three years now and that they enjoy playing as much as we continue making this amazing game. Thank you!

Enjoy three years of “Marvel Puzzle Quest” fun here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more news and interviews.

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The one-time Power Man amps up with a fancy new look!

One of the original bash brothers makes his second appearance in “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin dropped by to talk about the new 4 star Luke Cage and all his new defensive capabilities!

Marvel.com: Luke Cage is one of my favorite characters in “Puzzle Quest.” He fits into almost any team comp just for his passive defense tile generation. Why’d he need an upgrade?

Josh Austin: With the excitement of the upcoming “Marvel’s Luke Cage” series [on Netflix], the addition of a new and stronger Luke Cage is an awesome way to celebrate the show and this 4 star variation brings a ton more defensive options to the table! What makes this ability even better is that he creates a defense tile each time the enemy uses a power and it doesn’t stop if the board already contains one friendly defense tile. The 4 star Luke Cage (Power Man) focuses more on defense against powers, dealing damage if the enemy doesn’t have any special tiles and strengthening special tiles. Maybe someday we can update Iron Fist too…

Marvel.com: The first iteration of Luke Cage is all about team fighting, keeping his friends alive and hitting harder when they’re around. What qualities did the team focus on with the 4 star Power Man?

Josh Austin: The new 4 star Luke Cage benefits most when the player uses teammates that create special tiles and/or if paired with characters that remove special tiles. His yellow for 8 AP will fortify a special tile and deal damage for each fortified friendly special tile on the board. This will come in handy for the player if they choose to use a hero that has a special ability that the player wants to keep on the board as long as possible. Also, whenever the enemy fires off a power, Luke Cage defends and creates a Black strength Protect tile.

Marvel.com: All right, hit us with his kit.

Josh Austin: Luke’s first ability is called Hero for Hire and costs 8 Yellow AP. Luke Cage is always ready to stand up for the little guy! He fortifies up to one friendly special tile, [and] then deals 472 damage for each Fortified friendly special tile on the board. If Iron Fist is an active ally, [Luke] creates a strength 43 Protect tile first.

His second ability is called The Defender and it’s a passive ability that costs 0 Black AP. Luke’s unbreakable skin deflects incoming attacks, bolstering his team’s defense. Whenever an enemy fires a power, creates a Black strength 44 Protect tile. If Luke is in front, he reduces a random enemy special tile by 37 (to a minimum of 1).

His third ability is called Buncha Fiddle-Faddle and it’s the most expensive at 13 Red AP. Luke doesn’t have time for all this nonsense. Give these knick-knack-paddy-whacks the what for! Deals 1076 damage, or 1721 damage if there are no enemy Strike, Protect, or Attack tiles on the board.

Marvel.com: How is he most effective? What covers are you guys building on him?

Josh Austin: For me I choose 5/5/3 while testing him out to take advantage of his defensive abilities. You can also build him 5/3/5 which does the most damage if you pair him with special tile creators like Punisher, Nova, Ant-Man, Carnage, and Sam Wilson (Captain America). He goes well with Old Man Logan or Phoenix as well since they make a lot of Strike Tiles. Or there is 3/5/5 if you pair him with opposing special tile removal characters like Spider-Woman, Ant-Man, Howard the Duck, and/or Jean Grey.

Marvel.com: Any particular teammates that work well with Luke? Does he still have serious synergy with Iron Fist?

Josh Austin: My team up when testing Luke Cage was Jessica Jones and Iron Fist. Iron Fist has his passive Exquisite Technique that brings out a green attack tile along with the bonus for Luke’s Hero for Hire ability, and then you have Jessica’s Seeking Redemption coupled with Luke’s The Defender and Heroes for Hire which will have a ton of defense and damage dodging going on.

Iron Fist and Punisher make a good team with Luke Cage (Power Man) because of Danny’s natural synergy with Luke and gives black tiles to Punisher and gives this team the complete rainbow of AP.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about Luke before he drops?

Josh Austin: Luke Cage is available starting on September 22 and can be earned in the Rocket and Groot event that will begin on the same date.

Hit the streets with Luke Cage (Power Man) in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” soon and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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