Foxnext at first, and Scopely after them continue to exploit a well-known MSF practice that has kept players occupied and active all those years. That practice is to introduce a new Arena Meta once every 9 months.
During that time all players can assemble a current META team (if they are active and know what to do) and as soon as they start thinking what the point is of playing a new META is released.
New META teams are always significantly better than old ones, forcing players to begin farming all over again. Someone would think that this strategy cannot last for long, but 5 successful years of Marvel Strike Force have proved otherwise.
Scopely has realized that Arena META Heroes are Heroes who will always attract players. Therefore, they have slightly changed their release strategy by introducing Eternals. That allowed the creation of custom teams capable of ruling the Arena. Previous Arena META, Infinity Watch, could deal with those custom teams but the interest in Eternals was immense, nevertheless.
Having all this in mind, it was not an easy job creating a team that would be an answer to everything. Darkhold Heroes fulfil all those requirements and more but that comes at the cost of the overall balance, unfortunately. At this point, Darkhold Heroes are so overpowered compared to other teams that it is kinda disturbing considering the time and effort needed for improving existing teams and heroes.
The Darkhold team
The Darkhold team is made of 4 new Heroes and the Scarlet Witch who is significantly boosted. Team mechanics is quite simple – it prevents enemies from being buffed, team members from being debuffed and cleansed, has sustenance that is higher than all other teams combined and provides concrete disables against all of the current META heroes.
I think that Darkhold was designed by “reverse-engineering” – the strongest synergies are just plainly countered by specially designed new skills.
I will try to explain further.
Morgan Le Fay
Morgan Le Fay has the highest speed, and she will play first on most occasions. If she is not Ability Blocked (with Baron Zemo/Emma Frost synergy it is possible but hard) she will initiate a fight by clearing Immunity and placing Disrupted and Slow on primary and adjacent targets. At the same time, she will automatically debuff all enemy Controllers by Trauma and Ability Block while flipping 2 positive effects on all others.
Knowing which Heroes are Controllers, it is obvious that she locks down almost all the current Meta Heroes. But this is not all because at the start Morgan passively buffs all Darkhold allies with a powerful Barrier (cumulative with barriers of other members of the team) and with Safeguard that prevents enemies from stealing or flipping buffs on the team.
Her damage is immense, and her HP pool is the 2nd largest in the game. With her basic attacks, she cleanses and steals up two positive effects from an enemy. Also, she can reset ongoing Hero rotation by setting everyone’s speed at 0 and placing Speed Up on all allies meaning that the entire team will have a free turn before the enemy can react.
For some reason, Devs thought that while doing that Morgan should cleanse all buffs from enemies, and all debuffs from allies, heal herself to full HP and cause damage equal to 10% of her maximum HP – interesting isn’t it? 🙂
Last but not least is her ability to increase the Speed Bar of all allies whenever an enemy plays and to totally prevent enemies from exploiting Assist Chance. In the battle, this means that Darkhold members will play at least twice as often and that Heroes like Gamora + Nebula or Sersi + Icaris will have their damage output halved. Someone would think that Morgan alone can compete with anyone else but her allies will make her even stronger as you will see.
Doctor Strange [Heartless]
Next in Darkhold rotation is Doctor Strange [Heartless]. He is a decent character who cannot do much outside of Darkhold. However, he passively increases the Critical Chance and Critical Damage to all Darkhold members, significantly increasing Darkhold’s already high damage.
Other than that, he initiates a fight with a skill that clears and steals up to 2 Positive effects from the primary target while placing Slow and reducing Speed Bar at the same time. This skill is similar to Moondragon’s special (we all know how effective that skill is) except that evil Strange causes considerate damage as well.
He also has extremely powerful AOE. That damage is increased with every existing buff or debuff on him and the enemy. Unfortunately, this AOE cannot be used before Strange’s 3rd Turn. With Morgan on the team, 3rd turn will come in no time.
Other than that, Strange is increasing the overall sustenance of Darkhol by granting a decent Barrier at the end of each Darkhold’s turn (I will repeat – all Darkhold Barriers are cumulative).
Next in line is Agatha Harkness and she is something! She grants symbolic Drain ability to all Darkhold allies and makes their CCs land by increasing their Focus considerably. With her on the team, the term “near-death” has a different meaning for both allies and enemies. She will prevent Darkhold from dying whenever they drop below 30% HP while she pushes enemies to certain death if they are under 30% of HP.
She initiates the fight with a totally overpowered ultimate (she could be Ability Blocked with Zemo/Frost synergy, but that would mean that Morgan is not blocked). This Ultimate will literally lock down all Hero Mystic Blasters (Silver Surfer, Ikaris …) and Hero Mystic Controllers (Sersi, Cloak) while preventing all others from healing and causing optimal damage. At the same time, it will Heal and Barrier all Darkhold allies, cause decent Piercing damage against all enemies and return 2 Ability Energy per Mystic enemy.
I am not sure everyone understands how powerful this ultimate is against all the current meta.
Agatha basic is also extremely powerful. It does extremely high damage against any Mystic enemies (as you know Mystic Heroes and Controllers are the most dangerous adversaries at the moment). Just to remind you this is the 3rd Darkhold Hero who grants Barrier to all Darkhold allies.
Scarlet Witch will be the 4th Hero in the Darkhold rotation. Her skill set is similar to before with a few significant changes. She can choose how to initiate the fight according to the circumstances.
If the situation is dire and the enemy’s initial Burst has dangerously threatened the team, she can nullify that by equalizing the HP of all allies. If not, she will prolong already placed debuffs from Morgan, evil Strange, and Agatha while placing Defense Down on all enemies at the same time. In other words, she will lock down Mystics and Controllers for another turn as if avoiding them for 1 turn is not already enough.
Most importantly, as long as Scarlet is alive there is a 50% chance to spread any debuff to adjacent Heroes. It will depend on luck, but mathematically in every second battle Ability Block will be spread on the entire enemy team.
Unlike the first 3 Darkhold members, Scarlet Witch will emphasize sustenance with Deflect and Defense Up.
Wong is the only Hero on this team. Poor Wong follows Strange throughout the entire Multiverse even when his Master is flirting with known enemies. Wong’s role in the Darkhold team is straightforward. He will grant Defense Up to everyone when a battle starts and guard them (if they need guarding at all) by any means necessary. Like other members of the team, he can also steal and flip positive effects while being protected from cleansing himself.
As a Protector, he obviously Taunts but his Taunt is kinda different – it is boosted by barriers from other members and by his own powerful barrier and constant Def Ups and Deflects. If you thought that hitting maximized Strife is a difficult task, think again.
This would usually be enough for Protector but not for Darkhold Protector. Wong, unlike other colleagues, protects his team by punishing enemies as well. He has an extremely powerful assassinating Punch that ignores Def Down (similar to Ultimus). He passively attacks (as long as he is not Ability Blocked) with decent Piercing Damage whenever an enemy attack a Darkhold member.
They are an amazing team, still one of the best options in the Arena. Still capable of winning against most of the opponents. Horseman’s + Dormamu + Ema can beat them, and Dormhold also. But that’s it. Everyone else will have a hard time with Darkhold in that game mode.
In CC Unlimited X-Man team is better, Tangled Web trio +2 should beat them, but they will be one of the best teams for CC.
In the War, there is a Gama, who is the better team, but Darkhold will still be one of the best choices in both Offense or Defense spots.
All in all, improving Dakhold fully will be imperative for all players because alternatives don’t exist. In the end, I must remind you that Morgan Le Fay is just 1st of 4 Horsemen.
Knowing Scopely, this is the right time for improving the most useless members of your roster and learn Lore about the Marvel Universe – we can help you with the last one. 😉