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 to add power to their in-game characters, grant them new abilities and even create new team possibilities. I 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 collect, 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 crystal correctly. At the same time, you need to have Blaster Focus Crystal to put it into 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. It will create powerful synergies – help you achieve higher ranks in the Arena, to complete some 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 75 character levels, you will progress to T2.
T2 crystals are harder to get. There are no campaign nodes for them, but players are collecting them from Doom 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 put 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 put a barrier on themselves on spawn and each turn. Barrier size depends on their health. It is an undesirable ISO-8 class, and people tend to ignore it. Concerning team synergy, Fortifiers should be a character who you want to stay alive as long as needed. Or someone who already has a barrier, and with an additional from the Fortifier ISO-8 class, he 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 vulnerable effects on hit. Assist or counter also count. Later, when they progress, they can clear positive statuses from targets if targets have a vulnerability. Any character who needs to put important debuffs on the enemy team or remove buffs from the enemy team should be Skirmisher.
Skirmisher ISO-8 class has increased focus. More of it, and you have a better chance to do the previously mentioned things. We will take Pyro as an example now. I know he is an old character – few people often use him in any game mode, 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 puts pair of bleeds on targets. Ultimate putting disrupts – primary and adjacent targets. So, you don’t want enemies to resist any of those attacks.
Raiders have an increased chance for crit. They also have increased critical dmg. If they crit, they apply the vulnerable effect. Raider should be a character who can attack a lot of targets at the same time, with AOE or chain attacks. But those attacks should not have some crucial game effect like stun, ability block – then he should be Skirmisher. So, he can put Vulnerable on more than one target with one 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 primary, he will go on two adjacent targets with his base attack. If all those attacks are crits, it will be three targets with a vulnerable effect.
As you noticed, I mentioned the “Vulnerable” effect. It increases incoming dmg by 10% (stacks with defense down). It allows Strikers to follow up attacks on targets who have it and allow Skirmisher to cleanse 1 Positive effect on that target. Everyone does more damage after attacking the Vulnerable targets, but Strikers and Skirmishers benefit the most from it.
I said we will talk about T2 ISO-8 later, and now is the time for it.
I already mentioned that they are harder to get. But T2 ISO8 Matrix levels are increasing character power more than T1. After you reach Commander level-75 ISO-8, the store will expand, and you can 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 are opening 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 class, characters will not lose progress on the ISO-8 Matrix. They will need to spend ISO-8 Ions and level up new from the beginning, but they will not need to put (already put) 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. Because of the debuffs the first two classes provide and exploit them by a third one. That is a basic rule. But it is better when we use specific heroes as an example.
Let’s take the new Gama team. And look at this 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, other team members, and sometimes even opponents. So, we do not have one sure answer.
But you can always check our Hero Tier List and ISO-8 suggestion page. And get answers to your doubts there.