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Arena META


On this page, we will describe the current Arena META. Arena META changes often, and we will update the page with every new synergy that will grant you certain progress on Arena Leaderboard.

We will also provide you with Videos with the current META to describe how to achieve certain wins against difficult opponents and mirror matches. Enjoy!

Arena Meta

marvel strike force teams horsemen and apocalypse 03022023

Red Hulk, Morgan Le Fay, Archangel, Apocalypse, Rogue


Ok, we all knew that sooner or later 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse will be the new Arena Meta. Even before we learned any of the abilities of any of the members of this team, we expected what would happen in the end. So, this is not a surprise.

To understand the current Apocalypse thoroughly please visit the Apocalypse page.

When Apocalypse’s initial kit was released, some content creators even without testing him started to insist that he would not be strong enough considering the time and “money” needed to be invested in him (to be fully precise, unlocking Apocalypse was possible on the first day of the release of the Apocalypse Saga, if you followed official Blogs and MC articles about T2 Level 4 investment priority – you could have all 23 characters ready even without Ions from first 4 Heroic Nodes – it is easily provable and most importantly you could do it without limiting the progress in other game features).


When I learned about the kit, the possible available options of his initial kit immediately gave me the perspective of his future role in the game. In short, I was more than happy with the possibilities given, because I immediately realized that Apocalypse will grant a 100% winning rate against every existing Arena Defense, that he will counter WAR Meta (Red Hulk would not have Safeguard at the start of War battle so he could be stunned before he uses ultimate). He will Counter CC Meta (Unlimited X-Men would not have Safeguard in CC, which would allow you several obvious ways to easily win against them in both Offense or Defense). From my perspective, a character who can grant you certain wins in offense against all existing META in all game features is definitely worth your time and “money”.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), 99% of the community + all other content creators have the other opinion, that is diametrically opposed to mine. The first impression of all of them was that Apocalypse is not strong enough (at best) and many even claimed that he is useless. Cancel-campaign that followed and the spending embargo that occurred afterward was something that I have never seen before in the history of MSF.

Scopely had to react immediately and after a few days, we got a boost for Apocalypse in the way the community can undoubtedly recognize his improvements (I even heard that he will be boosted more, but this is not confirmed). I could write about implementations of his new kit until tomorrow, but I will not – Apocalypse is now the strongest character ever created in Marvel Strike Force. His real strength and the implications that it can have on future not-released characters is something that was never seen before and I don’t think that we will witness anything similar in a formidable future. Now, I don’t doubt Scopely’s capability to keep the roster balanced, but I am kind of worried, tbh.

The Epilogue of his boost is that now Apocalypse is that character who must be in Arena Defense for all those who want to compete. People can use other defenses if they don’t have him yet but their standing will be reduced sooner rather than later because all Defenses without Apocalypse will be a primary target for everyone and keeping the position in Arena will be almost impossible regardless of power.


The important thing to know is Arena Defense with 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse can be countered by a non-Apocalypse team (Rogue, Red Hulk, Sersi, Kang, Ikaris), but Emma Frost is placed in defense instead of Archangel, the only way to counter Apoc is that the placer of Apoc defense is not aware of Horsemen passives. If Rogue or MLF is next to Red Hulk, the chance to win without Apocalypse is 0%. Since the majority of players still don’t have Apocalypse, most of the current Arena Defenses emphasize Emma instead of Archangel.

However, with the passing of time as more and more people unlock Apocalypse, it will be obvious that Emma is a liability in defense (she is completely useless against any Apoc synergy) and the best current defense is once again 4 Horsemen+ Apocalypse.

Even though 4 Horsemen + Apoc can be countered with Kang+3 Horsemen + Apoc or even without Apocalypse (Rogue, Red Hulk, Sersi, Kang, Ikaris) when everything is considered they are currently the strongest possible defense for many reasons.

All those reasons have one common linking character – Apocalypse. I will try to avoid complicated explanations so you understand easily – Apocalypse is stronger with every additional Horsemen in his team. Each one of them has a really powerful passive that Boosts both Apocalypse and team usefulness.


Most importantly there is no way to safely control happenings in the battle even though you are aware of everything that can happen and you know exactly what you need to prevent enemies from winning.

There is a dozen of important facts that you need to know about the 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse team for both offensive and defensive purposes:

  • If Apocalypse HP drops below 50% for the first time, he will instantly heal and play – it is of utmost importance that you avoid hitting him before you ultimately control the match.
  • Red Hulk will play first in the team. With his special, he will fill the Speed bar of 1 adjacent Ally and of Apocalypse (regardless of his position). This means, that by choosing formation and putting RH in a corner, you can decide who will play after him – MLF is the best option because with her ultimate she can place Disrupt and Slow and determine who will play after her. There is an option to put Rogue next to RH, so you are sure she will play before enemy Rogue.
  • Red Hulk will accumulate Charges at double the Speed when with Apocalypse, so when you see that he has 2-3 charges that usually means that he is 1 hit or 1 turn away from being ready to use his ultimate.
  • Archangel with his ultimate need to kill. Knowing the damage potential of Archangel ultimate and recognizing when he will kill an enemy with it, is of the utmost importance because as soon as an enemy dies, especially if they are killed by Archangel, everything will be over. His ultimate cannot be blocked, so do not be afraid to target Red Hulk or Archangel (squishiest Horsemen) with it.
  • Rogue’s Basic will always attack twice (3 times with Striker if the target has Vulnerability) and she gains a +25% crit chance per Horsemen or Apocalypse (100% in a full team). That means that it is often better to use her Basic instead of special or ultimate, especially if enemies are protected by Immunity. It is better to not have Taunt on Rogue and cause maximum damage with her (Basic grants the highest damage) than to waste Stun and her special against Immunity, especially since Stun will have a high chance to lower enemy Apoc’s HP below 50% and grant him an instant play that can turn the tide in enemy favor.
  • If Apocalypse is with 4 Horsemen after using his ultimate (can use it in the second turn but you cannot rely on that because as soon as his HP is below 50%, he will use it instantly) he will have an immediate bonus Empowered attack. After the boost, Apocalypse’s empowered attack one-shots all existing characters in MSF Roster including Apocalypse regardless of their buffs and protections! Now, I don’t know if you are aware of what this means, but if you don’t activate his 50% passive before his 1 turn, this usually means that RNG will decide if you will win or lose, because no matter which counters you use, he will always have a chance to kill any member of your team instantly at any time which you can’t control (well you can, if you are using only single-target basic attacks to be sure that he will not drop below 50%).
  • In the full Horsemen team, Apocalypse has a 100% counter chance. When he counters, he gains Charged. On the next Counter or Assist, he will Stun the target and lose Charged. In practice, this means that you are allowed to hit Apocalypse only once – when he receives the next damage of any kind from passive or active ability, he will Stun some of your team members passively. So, in short, every second attack against Apocalypse = Stun on the attacker.

If you had the patience to read all those facts you will understand that in the current META, you cannot be 100% sure that you will win against Apocalypse in the Arena, even when you know everything that can happen and everything you need to do.

In 5 years of Marvel Strike Force, not even once, we had the situation that Arena Defense will always have a certain chance to win even against the mirror match or against other possible counters. So, when you see a video or article about 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse counters always know that no one can guarantee you 100% that you will win. I think that should be enough to say that 4 Horsemen +Apocalypse are the current Arena META.


Backup Meta

We will add specific counters for each popular Meta Defense as soon as we record videos. There are only 3-4 acceptable Arena Defenses at the moment. For the moment I will provide you with the list of those Defenses with the best counters for each of those. Keep in mind though, that in the current META, you can’t be 100% sure that you will win even with the best counters. Here is the List of Arena Defenses that you will see in the days to come:

  • 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse – Best Counter is Kang + 3 Horsemen + Apocalypse
  • Emma +3 Horsemen + Apocalypse – Best Counter is Kang + 3 Horsemen + Apocalypse
  • Kang +3 Horsemen + Apocalypse – Best Counter is Kang + 3 Horsemen + Apocalypse
  • Dormammu +3 Horsemen + Apocalypse – Best Counter is 4 Horsemen + Apocalypse

We will provide you with Videos for all matchups (you will be notified on our Discord) and as soon as they are available, I will write down the most important strategy suggestions. When Quicksilver becomes available, we will have new possibilities but Apocalypse will be the key figure in all of them.

This is a pure feeling and theory craft, but something tells me that we will see more Apocalypse rebalances in the future.

Best arena Defenses and their counters without Apocalypse

While writing the text above and having APocalypse in my f2p roster, for a moment I forgot the fact that Apocalypse is unlocked by only a small percentage of players. That means that the majority of others have totally different perspectives about the current Arena Meta and their needs are not the same as the needs of those who unlocked the character.

That is why I will write down what I promised on Discord a week ago (it seems to me that after the 7.0 update, passed a whole year considering the number of changes and rebalances that we had). Anyway, the list will contain all available Arena Defenses (listed by quality from top to down) in the current use that can be beaten by payers who don’t have Apocalypse. Next to the specific Arena Defense (left side, bolded), you will see the best possible current counter.

  • Apocalypse teams without Emma – Rogue, Red Hulk, Sersi, Kang, Ikaris (40-50% win percentage, punch up is possible)
  • Rogue, SM 2099, Weaver, Emma, Hela – Kestrel, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma (100% win percentage; Stun Weaver and focus on Rogue, while avoiding killing Hela ads. If you have problems winning using Kestrel, just replace her with Rogue and you will have a 100% win chance still, but there is a 50% chance that enemy Weaver plays first)
  • Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma (100% win chance)
  • Rogue, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Emma – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma (100% win chance)
  • Red Hulk, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Emma – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma (100% win chance, as long as you don’t let RH use his ultimate – if you play accurately he will never be in a position to use it)
  • Rogue, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Red Hulk– Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Red Hulk (100% win chance)
  • Rogue, Morgan Le Fay, Dormammu, Weaver, Red Hulk – Rogue, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Kang (100% win chance)
  • Rogue, Morgan Le Fay, Dormammu, Archangel, Red Hulk – Rogue, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Red Hulk (100% win chance)
  • Rogue, Morgan Le Fay, Dormammu, Emma, Red Hulk – Rogue, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Kang (100% win chance)
  • Dormhold – Rogue, Morgan Le Fay, Dormammu, Archangel, Red Hulk (100% win chance)
  • Darkhold – Rogue, Morgan Le Fay, Dormammu, Archangel, Red Hulk (100% win chance)
  • Sersi, SM 2099, Dormammu, Weaver, Ikaris – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Dormammu (100% win chance)
  • Sersi, SM 2099, Emma, Weaver, Ikaris – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Emma (100% win chance)
  • Sersi, Rogue, Emma, Red Hulk, Ikaris – – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Agatha (100% win chance)
  • Sersi, Rogue, Dormammu, Red Hulk, Ikaris – – Rogue, SM 2099, Kang, Weaver, Dormammu (100% win chance)