Alliance War defense teams list

Alliance War Defense list is a list of the best MSF teams used in AW defense. Teams are fully described (tap on a name for description) and sorted by quality according to our in-game experience.

With the introduction of new teams and characters, this list will be updated accordingly.


marvel church gamma team 1 copyright

The GAMMA team is definitely the strongest AW defensive option at the moment. They are so strong that Red Hulk had to be nerfed because it was almost impossible to beat them in AW Defense until Red Hulk’s passive is reduced to be triggered only once per war.

In order to beat the GAMMA team in the first attempt, you will have to use a mirror team. There is no other synergy that will grant you one shot against them. In order to beat them at this point, you will have to use the SAC team that will trigger Red Hulk’s ultimate and then use Darkhold or Weapon X in the second attempt. Even then, GAMMA will be an extremely difficult opponent!



Characters on image (left to right):

  • Wong
  • Scarlet Witch
  • Doctor Strange [Heartless]
  • Agatha Harkness
  • Morgan Le Fay

Darkhold is the strongest MSF team at the moment, which is fully described in our “Darkhold – new MSF META” article.

As a team that is currently hardest to beat and without a proper counter, they are obviously the strongest Defensive option as well. However, in AW there are different rules, and some teams are fully specialized for AW Offense (Weapon X for example), so there’s no guarantee that Darkhold will protect Node indefinitely.

Nevertheless, fighting Darkhold will be an extremely challenging task and there may be only 3 viable counters (with Punch Up) at the moment – Darkhold, Weapon X, and Ravagers.

Assembling a full Darkhold is definitely the best option if you ask me. They can be extremely powerful even without all members. You can mix various characters with them, starting with Dormammu, Emma Forst, or anyone to improve their already insane synergy.

One thing is certain – no one would like to see Darkhold against them.

Custom Defense


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Deathpool
  • Dagger
  • Dormammu
  • Cloak
  • Doctor Doom

The main purpose of the AW Defense team is to grant as many defensive victories as possible. Having that in mind, I’ve assembled a team that is insanely hard to beat and that can preserve sustenance and ability distribution through multiple continuous battles.

Dormammu is a prise character from DD5 and extremely hard to get. Any synergy with him is at least 50% stronger than the original synergy. Since he has the ability to passively resurrect allies, it is better to keep him for Defense than Offense.

New Warriors have a natural Synergy with Dormammu. They are extremely potent if their sustain is good enough (Dormammu grants them exactly that).

The 5th member of this can be picked among a lot of Heroes but Doctor Doom is obviously the strongest option. WIth Deathpool in the team, Doctor Doom’s ultimate will be ready in no time and his Mystic perk makes incredible synergy with Dagger.

This team is custom, and it’s not specialized or boosted for AW Defense but nevertheless, I can’t think of many stronger Defense teams now.

Heroes for Hire


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Luke Cage
  • Colleen Wing
  • Iron Fist
  • Misty Knight
  • Shang Chi

Heroes for Hire are made for only 1 purpose – to make your life miserable when you see them in Alliance War defense. All of them have 1 free instant full health healing when they drop below 50% Health and at least 1 full Revive per battle.

Misty Knight and Colleen Wing can use all their skills on the lowest health or highest damage opponent during the entire battle regardless of Taunt and Stealth. Not to mention that both of them have amazing skills and that even Iron Fist can ignore Taunt and stealth in AW defense. When we add natural healing by Iron Fist and the amazing sustenance of Luke Cage we are getting 4 Heroes who don’t need the 5th member.

With the introduction of Shang Chi, H4H becomes even stronger. Shang Chi grants additional Charge to Coleen and Misty so they need to be killed 3 times before they finally stop defending the base. That fact only improves H4H significantly. On top of that, Shang Chi has amazing offensive capabilities which allow him to literally tear apart everyone but Darkhold, Punch Up Infinity Watch and Punch Up Weapon X.

It’s important to mention that Dark-Hunters are created with an idea to be H4H counter but in practice that match-up mostly goes to the H4H side.

The core Defenders were the first synergy team in Marvel Strike Force but with the introduction of Heroes for Hire, they are definitely not needed anymore. Just don’t be nostalgic too much.

Hero Asgardian

marvel church heroasgardians

Characters on image (left to right):

  • Thor
  • Heimdall
  • Mighty Thor
  • Valkyrie
  • Sif

Asgardians’ power in AW Defense become obsolete lately, so Scopely thought it is time to give them new life… And they did it.

Thor, Heimdal, and Sif are now literally twice as powerful as before with sightly improved skills while Mighty Thor and Valkyrie kits are an equal to new META characters’ kits. Just imagine Thor being able to execute his free AOE every turn while the rest of the team has a utility that is capable of flipping your positive effects and buffing themselves with both Defense Up and Offense Up. Besides that, some of them will ignore your Def Up, they will place Trauma constantly and open a battle with Blind or Disrupt on your most effective characters.

In short, you will not be able to beat them except with META offense (Darkhold, Infinity Watch, Weapon X, Eternals maybe …) that is already needed for other Defensive METAs.

Thor, Heimdall, and Sif are already fully maximized for most of the people so improving Mighty Thor and Valkyrie for the team like this is a cheap price to pay.

Infinity Watch


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Gamora
  • Moondragon
  • Adam Warlock
  • Phyla-Vell
  • Nebula

The power of the Infinity Watch is well known. Besides Darkhold and another Infinity Watch, there aren’t many teams that can match them and have much of a chance even if it is divided into multiple combats.

Revive, passive restoration, and self-buffing of this team are so potent that it will be extremely difficult just to take down a single member of the team, not to mention the entire team.

However, I am not a fan of placing Infinity Watch in defense because they can contribute much more to offense in my opinion.

For inactive players, they are definitely one of the best Defensive solutions!

Weapon X


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Silver Samurai
  • Wolverine
  • Omega Red
  • Sabretooth
  • Lady Deathstrike

Most AW specialized teams receive Bonuses for defending or attacking Helicarrier. Weapon X Teams get AW bonuses for both Offense and Defense. That means that their amazing synergy can be used in both directions depending on your priorities.

I am a big opponent of using any META team in Defense but the team fully specialized for Defense. I will probably never use Weapon X for that purpose, but one fact remains – to beat them you will need either Infinity Watch or Darkhold. That fact alone justifies their placement in Defense but as I said, more attacking options are definitely better than maximizing your defense.

In short, the Weapon X team is one of the best Alliance War teams whether you are defending or attacking.

Emma Frost/Madelyne Pryor & Marauders


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Stryfe
  • Mister Sinister
  • Emma Frost
  • Madelyne Pryor
  • Mystique

Emma Frost and Marauders were on the Meta Defense team for a long time until Kestrel and X-Factor formed a powerful AW Offense synergy that could beat them without any difficulties. That initial Marauder team had difficulties against maximized X-Men and even Symbiots on some occasions.

With the introduction of Madelyne Pryor, all those problems became history.

New marauders are extremely powerful, and they can easily prevail against all those counters (even if heavily underpowered). In short, no Mutants can touch them including new X-Men with Magik.

This team will prove to be an unsolvable enigma for most offensive options and only high META teams (Darkhold, Infinity Watch, Weapon X) will pose a threat to them.

Young Avengers


Characters on image (left to right):

  • America Chavez
  • Squirrel Girl
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Echo
  • Kate Bishop

Kate Bishop and Echo brought an insane power to already troublesome Young Avenger synergy. This team now easily beats anyone but High Meta in Defense. They are literally impenetrable to average teams and there is no custom synergy that can threaten them.

They are always under the effect of Offense UP, they punish every attack against them with passive auto-attack under the effect of Offense Up. They prevent any assists, they continuously harass enemies with blind and protect themselves with Evade. They are highly resistant to enemy debuffs due to Squirrel Girl’s special and passive.

When we add assists on every attack due to the original brawler synergy we conclude that every PC invested in this team will be paid off by double.

Secret Avengers & S.H.I.E.L.D.


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Sam Wilson
  • Maria Hill
  • Sharon Carter
  • Nick Fury
  • Agent Coulson

Secret Avengers is primarily a Raid team, but their base stats and passive sustenance make them an ideal AW defending Set-Up. That will prove their worth against most offensive options.

Agent Coulson and Nick Fury have known defensive synergy with S.H.I.E.L.D. characters. They provide Immunity at the start of combat to all S.H.I.E.L.D. allies and copy all positive effects to them during the combat. Since Maria Hill is also an S.H.I.E.L.D. member, she benefits from that synergy in full.

Sharon Carter has powerful synergy with all Skill characters, so some players will decide to use Kestrel instead of Agent Coulson. That team definitely has better offensive capabilities but it will be without everything Agent Coulson has to offer in AW Defense.

Whatever you decide Secret Avengers will be up to the task. They will bind up one of the high META teams on them and decrease the enemy’s offensive options for other nodes.

Black Order


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Sam Wilson
  • Maria Hill
  • Sharon Carter
  • Nick Fury
  • Agent Coulson

Placing Black Order in Defense is a viable option because only a few teams (Darkhold, Infinity Watch, Weapon X, Eternals, Black Order) can beat them. Their power and advantages are well known and there is no need to mention they are simply immune to most of the teams.

However, placing them in Defense will decrease offensive options and since Black Order can easily beat many of Defense Meta teams, it is questionable whether to do it.

I am placing them in Defense only when I know that I will not be active for the next War.



Characters on image (left to right):

  • M’Baku
  • Killmonger
  • Black Panther
  • Okoye
  • Shuri

After the 6.1 Update, the Wakanda team is dramatically improved. They are specialized for Cosmic Crucible indeed, but an increase in their base stats and the difference in their abilities made them really effective for both AW Offense and Defense.

If they are put to defend Helicarrier only several teams will be able to prevail. To understand how effective they are we should just say that BoM and original X-Men (if they are of equal power) cannot beat Wakanda anymore. Having that in mind, placing them on this list was a natural thing to do.

Mercenary Team


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Mercenary Riot Guard
  • Killmonger
  • Taskmaster
  • Mercenary Lieutenant
  • Bullseye

Mercenary Team proved to be an effective Defensive option many times ’till now. Most players are using a mix of Wakanda and Mercenary trying to exploit Shury’s virtues and upgrade using her instead of Bullseye (who is usually not improved in many rosters).

There are a lot of counters (all high META’s, Ravagers, etc..) to Mercenaries but the most used one is the X-Force team. I must say that using Bullseye is definitely a better option than using Shury because the team with him is far more deadly, and can easier defend the node against X-Force.

Upon rework, Mercenaries were top-notch. Unfortunately at the moment, they are only an obvious Defensive Set-Up and nothing more than that.

Fantastic Four & She-Hulk


Characters on image (left to right):

  • She-Hulk
  • Thing
  • Human Torch
  • Mister Fantastic
  • Invisible Woman

With the introduction of She-Hulk, the Fantastic Four became a viable Defensive option.

Unlike Namor who is boosted for Offense, She-Hulk has improved abilities in AW Defense, and frankly, those benefits are more useful than Namor’s. The main difference is She-Hulk’s ability to passively transfer all negative effects after every 5th consecutive received attack against the team, to the most dangerous target. This ability may not seem that powerful in theory but in practice, it is decisive against most of the viable offensive options.

This team cannot deal with METAs. Its main weakness is a lack of options against initial bursts against Human Torch, but it can bring some unexpected victories. The point is that enemies will try to use average teams to beat it and they will make the mistake for sure.



Characters on image (left to right):

  • Heimdall
  • Hela
  • Thor
  • Loki
  • Sif

Asgardians are the first specialized Defensive team but at the moment they are heavily underrated because they are easily countered by Symbiots, Astonishing X-Men, and all other Metas.

In my opinion, it is only natural to use a specialized AW Defense team in a defensive role. That’s why this team is placed in front of some other teams currently looking better for the role. I cant see a better use for members of this team regardless of fact that they will be easy prey for anyone who can assemble a team that benefits from easy kills.

Nevertheless, fully maximized Asgardians can still prove to be a threat to most of the average offensive options. You shouldn’t abandon them unless you are sure that you can use Thor, Hela, and Loki for better purposes. However, if you decide to do so, know that Heimdal and Siff become useless parts of your roster and all investment in them was for nothing.

Red Skull & Hydra


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Hydra Armored Guard
  • Hydra Rifle Trooper
  • Red Skull
  • Hydra Sniper
  • Hydra Scientist

Red Skull’s ability for multiple Hydra Minions revives while immune to damage in AW Defense is annoying to the enemy. The only way to effectively deal with it is to have characters with “True Kill” ability. Those characters are Black Bolt and Baron Zemo.

Once the Revive is impossible, Red Skull’s usefulness diminishes. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that attackers will have to use a specialized counter for dealing with annoying Hydras.

In the attempt to make Hydras stronger, many players use a combination of Baron Zemo’s team and Red Skull only placing Hydra Genadier minions in a defensive Set-Up. This team may have better chances against Inhumans but all in all, a player who does that will lose Zemo in Offense and this team will still be easily beaten by another Zemo synergy.

By placing this team in the Defense, don’t expect miracles if only a few members use them on Helicarier. If all Alliance members place them in defense, there is a high possibility that the opposing alliance won’t have enough counters and will be forced to spend High Metas on them. That’s the true strength of this team.

S.H.I.E.L.D. and Kestrel


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Shield Security
  • Kestrel
  • Nick Fury
  • Agent Coulson
  • Shield Medic

S.H.I.E.L.D. team with Agent Coulson was easily countered by the Brotherhood of Mutants (besides METAs), regardless of their defensive synergy and Mass Immunity at the start of the battle. Since the main purpose of AW Defense is to at least pose a threat to the enemy Set-ups it’s mandatory to add a stronger character.

Placing one of the strongest Skill Damage Dealers instead of S.H.I.E.L.D. DPS seems good, especially knowing their main counter outside of META won’t be effective anymore. However, this means that Kestrel won’t be available for offensive tasks resulting in several repercussions. The first and most important is that X-Factor won’t have a key member for countering enemy Marauders.

It is up to the player’s judgment if having decent S.H.I.E.L.D. in defense payoffs in a long term. It is true that this team will require a powerful enemy Set Up, but it’s not wise to trade a sure-to-win Offensive option for any Defensive option. In my experience Offense brings victories in the end.

Astonishing X-Men


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Bishop
  • Kitty Pryde
  • Beast
  • Iceman
  • Jubilee

Jubilee and company proved their worth many times against many enemies and their usefulness in Defense or Offense are literally the same – they are useful. If you have a strong Astonishing team and already more than twelve offensive options, you won’t make a mistake by placing them in Defense.

They are extremely strong against any team with squishy members or summons, and they can’t be beaten by most of the custom teams. However, a natural counter for them – Uncanny X-Men – is in majority of rosters so their real strength in Defense is questionable.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Astonishing team in Defense is not something that most of the players like to see while attacking.

Wave I Avengers


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Captain America
  • Thor
  • Black Widow
  • Hawkeye
  • Hulk

At some point, Scopely decided it’s not normal that the most famous Marvel Heroes are useless in MSF. They slightly boosted each of them and gave Thor the same passive abilities as if he is with Asgardians. That made Thor more versatile and made some characters like Loki and Hela useful in other combinations.

The benefits of this change are not great as they should be, especially knowing that the second oldest synergy team – Brotherhood of Mutants – can easily counter them.

Nevertheless, the sustenance and utility of this team are quite formidable and for many players, members of this team are fully improved just because of their names. Even their damage potential can be amazing with Thor on the team. That opens an opportunity to Set-Up a decent defensive option that could require at least an equally strong counter.

Unfortunately, having Black Widow in this team prevents us from assembling a quite deadly Skill Military combination in the Offense.

In the end, it is up to you whether to honor the Marvel lore by having real Avengers useful or to exploit a stronger combination in the Offense.

The fact that you need only 12 AW Defense teams may help you in this decision.

Pym Tech Defense


Characters on image (left to right):

  • Stature
  • Wasp
  • Ghost
  • Antman
  • Yellow Jacket

Pym Tech is an unorthodox team that was created for Dark Dimension and whose usefulness never reached its desired potential.

Due to their improved sustenance when they are together and their decent healing, and utility, they can be quite useful in AW’s Defense.

A lot of players tried to use Ghost’s undoubtful qualities in some custom combinations, but he is most effective with the rest of Pym Tech. Besides him, Yellowjacket can be a threat with his ulty but other members are frankly just sitting ducks that are extremely hard to hit.

It is highly unlikely that more than a few players will have fully improved Pym Tech. Their main chance in defense is to trick enemies into attacking them with a team that cannot beat them due to lack of power.

Surprisingly, statistically speaking, this team has brought me the most victories in defense and that is only because of 1 reason – most of the players simply underestimated them.

AIM Team


Characters on image (left to right):

  • A.I.M. Security
  • A.I.M. Assaulter
  • A.I.M. Monstrosity
  • Graviton
  • Scientist Supreme

Honestly speaking, the only reason why AIM is on this list is that many of the players have improved them at some point and this is the least “bad” synergy team that can be used for defense.

Their initial synergy exploited Scientist Supreme’s ability to start up the fight by placing multiple debuffs on all enemies. Unfortunately, at this point, there are a lot of teams that are practically unaffected by this, leaving AIM as a slow and harmless team that cannot pose a threat. If they could unleash their most dangerous attacking abilities 1 turn earlier, they could gain some advantage but unfortunately, they cannot.

They will indeed lock some average synergy into attacking them and they will prevail against most of the custom teams. In reality, their only advantage is the fact that the opponent cannot pick 5 random available characters and beat them.