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Marvel’s Avengers guide: How to survive as the different heroes

How to stay alive in the new superhero game

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

In Marvel’s Avengers, every hero has distinct differences. Some even play like they belong to entirely different games. But if they lose all their health (Willpower, in this game) they all die the same way. Most of the heroes have some kind of damage mitigation to help them survive, sometimes healing damage or blocking it before it ever hits them.

If you go down, an ally can pick you up. But you can only die so many times in a respawn restricted zone. If you exceed the limit, you’ll need to restart the checkpoint.

Here’s how to stay alive in Marvel’s Avengers.

Health packs

The universal way to survive in Marvel’s Avengers is via green health packs that drop from enemies and specific objects. Running over these items with your hero automatically replenishes their Willpower.

If you need health immediately, you can scour the field for enemy corpses, where you may find some wayward health packs. But your best bet is via the green health barrels found in most areas. When you destroy these, they’ll drop enough packs to refill your health completely. Just know that once you’ve used up the packs in an area, they’re gone, and you’ll need to either defeat enemies or press forward to find more.

Block and dodge

The other universal method of avoiding damage comes from blocking and dodging — something the game really drills into you during the tutorials.

There are three kinds of attacks in Marvel’s Avengers: blue, yellow, and red. You can dodge or parry both blue and yellow attacks, while red attacks are unblockable and you have to dodge them.

Many heroes have different abilities that either help them parry or improve their parry abilities. It’s always best to parry, if you can, as it usually damages the enemy and causes them to deal reduced damage. However, dodging is always the safest move, as you’ll never run into an undodgeable move.

How to survive as Black Widow

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Black Widow has some of the least health of any of the Avengers, but she has a few abilities that make staying alive fairly easy.

Veil of Shadows is her support ability, which turns her and any nearby allies invisible for a short period of time. This causes all enemies to immediately lose interest in you, protecting your crew from incoming attacks. Better, attacking won’t break the stealth, so you can beat down some of the nearby enemies and reduce the numbers before you start seeing attacks again.

Black Widow also has a unique parry ability, called Widow’s Line. Widow’s Line is effectively a grappling hook, which pulls her toward a target. If you’re clever with Widow’s Line, you can move around the battlefield very quickly, dodging even unblockable attacks by simply leaving the area and pummeling a new foe. You can use Widow’s Line even if an enemy isn’t attacking.

How to survive as Captain America

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Captain America is very defense focused in Marvel’s Avengers. His Intrinsic ability — the bar that you can toggle on each hero — is a simple Shield Block. But with Shield Block, you can deflect ranged attacks and block well before an incoming attack, making sure you don’t mess up the timing. You can also run while using Shield Block, meaning you’ll protect yourself on the go.

Shield Block does have a finite limit, but the meter only drains as you block attacks. If you’re diligent, you’ll have your shield up more often than not.

How to survive as Hulk

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Hulk has two major defensive abilities, his Intrinsic bar and his support ability.

Hulk’s Intrinsic bar is Rage, which causes Hulk to deal more damage and lifesteal when toggled on. While you have Rage active, you’ll deal more damage, and each attack slowly replenishes your health. If you remember to use your Rage, you can make sure Hulk is almost always healthy and dishing out a ton of damage. You’ll gain more Rage as you fight.

Hulk also has access to Boneshaker, his support skill that taunts all nearby enemies and increases Hulk’s defense. While you can’t use this all the time, it’s a great way to bolster your defenses if you’re getting pummeled. The taunt also helps you take some pressure off your nearby allies.

How to survive as Iron Man

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Like Black Widow, Iron Man is pretty easy to take down compared to the other Avengers. However, Tony Stark still has a few tricks to keep him alive in battle.

Iron Man’s best survival trait is his ability to fly. You can take off and fly away from enemies in an instant, making escape very easy. And while you do need to attack enemies to regain some of your suit power, you can deal most of your damage from afar, keeping you relatively safe.

But when things get really bad, you can use the Hulkbuster. Iron Man’s ultimate ability lays out a suit of armor that instantly heals Tony and comes with its own health bar. You can pilot the mech for a short period of time before it disappears. But during this time period, you’re perfectly safe from harm.

You can also upgrade Iron Man’s Arc Overload support ability to drop a bubble shield around him and nearby allies, or drop an aerial shield called the Energy Barrier — also locked behind an upgrade.

How to survive as Ms. Marvel

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Kamala is the closest thing to a support that Marvel’s Avengers has. She has a healing ability and can easily parry incoming damage.

Kamala’s Intrinsic bar is Polymorph, which causes her to deal bonus damage and automatically dodge incoming attacks. When you have Polymorph on, you can fight as normal, and Kamala will take no damage from blue or yellow attacks. Be careful, as unblockable attacks can still take you down.

Kamala’s support skill is Healing Spirit, which automatically heals all nearby allies and Kamala. This is the easiest way to heal in the game, and just requires a simple press of a button — as long as you have the cooldown.

How to survive as Thor

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

Thor is one of the heavier Avengers, and it takes a lot to knock him down.

Like Iron Man, Thor can fly. With Thor, you can’t fly or take off quite as fast as Iron Man, but the ability to escape fights makes engagement quite a bit safer, as you can jump up and fly off for some health anytime.

Thor’s support skill, Warrior’s Fury, electrocutes Thor and all his nearby enemies for a few seconds. It also turns Thor and nearby allies temporarily invulnerable. This is one of Thor’s two “oh shit buttons” and is a great way to survive death if things are going badly.

One of Thor’s best defensive abilities is his ultimate, Bifrost, which teleports him out of the arena and lets him crash back down on unsuspecting enemies. Bifrost is the only ability in the game that just takes you immediately out of combat. If you need a breather or need to make sure you get out of a bad situation, activate your ultimate and you’re gone.

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