ISO-8 is a powerful feature added to the MSF game a long time ago. The importance of ISO-8 is massive and allows players to customize their characters. It is a progression feature that can add power to the in-game characters, grant them new abilities and even create possibilities for the team. We will try to explain everything about ISO-8 so people new to this game can better understand it.
ISO-8 unlocks at Commander Level 55, and upon opening, you’ll have access to the Isotope-8 Campaigns. By completing/farming them, you can collect ISO-8 crystals. There are multiple types of crystals, each focusing on a specific attribute:
Each attribute crystal is attached to one of the five traits:
In total, there are 25 distinct types of ISO-8 crystals.
After you collected them, it’s time to equip them. Each type of ISO-8 Crystal can fit into one of five slots in the Iso-8 Matrix. The slots are the same as crystal attributes: Health, Damage, Armor, Resist, Focus. So, you have to place the crystals accordingly. Meaning that you need to have a Blaster Focus Crystal to equip it to the Focus slot of the Blaster character (for example).
When you equip all five slots with at least one crystal in each, you can choose between five specific classes:
And this is where the fun begins. Customizing your characters is crucial for many aspects of the game. It will not just increase their power but also create powerful synergies – help you achieve higher ranks in the Arena, complete challenging nodes in the campaigns/raids, etc.
For every new level on each slot, you will need more specific Crystals. There are five levels in total for T1 ISO-8 progression. When you achieve level 5 T1 and if your selected Character is level 75 or above, you can progress to T2.
You can get T2 Crystals from Isotope-8 Hard Campaigns.
T2 crystals are harder to get because of a smaller drop rate, an alternative way of collecting them is through Doom and Incursion Raids, We will talk about them a little later.
Strikers have increased damage and they can follow up their attacks if the target has a Vulnerable effect. The amount of follow-up damage depends on the striker’s power and ISO-8 level.
A fine example of a Striker class is Kestrel. When she attacks with her ultimate, she will remove all positive effects and place defense down on a target. After the initial attack, she will go again on the target that already has decreased armor from the previous strike.
Fortifiers place a barrier on themselves on spawn after each turn. Barrier size depends on their health. It’s an undesirable ISO-8 class, and people tend to ignore it. Concerning team synergy, Fortifiers are intended for characters, who you want to stay alive as long as possible. Or someone who already has a barrier mechanic and with the Fortifier ISO-8 class will be almost unbreakable. Stryfe is a good example.
Healers heal the lowest hp ally at the beginning of each turn. The quantity of healing goes up by progressing through ISO-8 levels. A quality choice for Healer is Viv Vision. She has perfect synergy with her team – healing all the time when any of the team members gain ability energy. With Healer ISO-8, she will heal even more.
Do not fall into the trap and build every character who can heal as Healer. Brawn is the best example. He is a supporting character, but he needs to copy/remove buffs from the target when he attacks with his special. So Skirmisher is the best ISO-8 class for him.
Skirmishers apply the Vulnerable effect on hit. Assists or counters also count. Leveled up, they can clear positive effects from targets that have a Vulnerability. Any character who needs to place important debuffs on the enemy team or remove buffs from the enemy team should be Skirmisher.
Skirmisher ISO-8 class has increased Focus. The more Focus you have – the better chance to do the previously mentioned things. We will take Pyro as an example now. I know he is an old character, but he is a perfect example. With his special attack, he attacks primary and adjacent targets, removes all buffs (if Magneto is on his team), and places a pair of bleeds on the targets. His Ultimate is applying Disrupts to primary and adjacent targets. So, you don’t want enemies to Resist any of those attacks.
Raiders have an increased chance to land a Critical Attack. They also have increased Critical damage. If they Crit, they apply the Vulnerable effect. Raider is a class for characters, who can attack many targets simultaneously, with AOE or chain attacks. But if those attacks have some crucial game effect like Stun or Ability block, Skirmisher class should be considered. That way, the character can place Vulnerable on more than one target with a single attack. And later on, your Strikers can exploit those effects.
Iron Man – ideal Raider. With his Special, he can put vulnerability on all enemies if he has enough Crit and little RNG help. After hitting the primary target, he will attack two adjacent targets with his Basic attack. If all those attacks are Crits, enemies will have a Vulnerable effect applied to them.
As you noticed, I mentioned the “Vulnerable” effect. It increases incoming damage by 10% (stacks with Defense Down). It allows Strikers to follow up with attacks on targets who have it and allow Skirmisher to cleanse 1 Positive effect on those targets. Everyone does more damage after attacking Vulnerable targets, but Strikers and Skirmishers benefit the most from it.
I already mentioned that they are harder to get. But T2 ISO-8 Matrix levels are increasing character power more than T1. After you reach Commander level-75 ISO-8 store will expand, allowing you to buy T2 crystals. If your Alliance can finish at least 30% off “Doom I” Raid difficulty, you will constantly gain resources for T2 ISO-8 (every day).
Among Raid rewards, players will get T2 ISO-8 credits. With those credits, they can open specific ISO-8 orbs: Blaster, Protector, Support, Brawler, Controller. They can focus on particular traits – in other words, “buy what you need the most” (but that is not always the wisest decision). Sometimes it is good to split everything (open one of each orb), but sometimes you should focus on the traits you need the most.
How to use ISO-8
By switching ISO-8 classes, characters will not lose progress on the ISO-8 Matrix. They will need to spend ISO-8 Ions and level up new class from the beginning, but they will not need to equip new Crystals into the Matrix again.
This ISO-8 system allows us to have some deadly combinations on the field. Skirmisher + Raider + Striker is good to have in the same team. The Debuffs that the first two classes provide are very advantageous for the third one. That is the basic setup. Let’s use a specific team as an example
Take the Gamma team. Here’s the preferred combination. Hulk – Raider, She-Hulk – Striker, Brawn – Skirmisher, Abomination – Raider, Red Hulk – Striker.
On this ISO-8 team combination, you can count on a lot of Vulnerability from Raiders and follow-ups from Strikers. And you also have a Skirmisher to increase the number of Vulnerabilities and decrease the number of Buffs. It is just one example of many.
If you are wondering what’s the best ISO-8 for specific characters, that depends on a few factors: game modes, team members, and sometimes even opponents.
You can always check our Hero Tier List and ISO-8 suggestion page. And get our questions answered there.