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Marvel’s Avengers guide: How to get the Darkhold Exotic Major Artifact

You’ll need to play a lot of the Avenger’s Initiative to pick up Marvel’s Avengers’ weirdest Artifact

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon
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.

Marvel’s Avengers has four Exotic Major Artifacts that we know of, each with their own set of perks, properties, and an activatable ability. Two of the Exotic Major Artifacts come from the Avengers Initiative, the game’s multiplayer. You won’t get the second, Darkhold, until you complete the game’s longest mission chain: Reigning Supreme.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to unlock the Darkhold Exotic Major Artifact and explain what it does.

Darkhold Exotic Artifact details

Darkhold is your final reward for completing the massive Reigning Supreme mission chain. You’ll get this mission as soon as you finish the campaign or when select Avenger’s Initiative from the main menu.

Reigning Supreme isn’t hard, confusing, or tricky. It’s actually quite straightforward. The mission acts as a kind of tutorial, unlocking new mission types and asking you to play them to make sure you understand how the Avenger’s Initiative multiplayer works.

The problem with Reigning Supreme isn’t its complexity. It’s the length. The quest has nine steps, and it involves completing virtually every single quest in your Objective menu. You’ll need to find SHIELD Caches, complete the Iconic Avengers mission chain, and complete a long list of Faction missions over several hours.

You’ll also unlock the Hive mission type and other missions via Reigning Supreme, so focus on that when you start the Avengers Initiative.

When you’re old and gray and finally finished with this quest, you’ll earn Darkhold, a creepy book all about sacrificing either health or ability charges to create some interesting effects. Unlike most Artifacts, it doesn’t have any passives. Instead, it offers three different active abilities when you get it to +3:

  • Axiom of Brutality — Press the shoulder buttons/Major Artifact keys to drain all Heroic energy and restore all health.
  • Eldritch Invigoration — Press the shoulder buttons/Major Artifact keys when over 50% Willpower to drain Willpower to critical levels and charge all Heroics.
  • Precept of Entropy — Press the shoulder buttons/Major Artifact keys at full health and full Heroic energy to drain both to 50% and create a damage explosion.

Darkhold is highly situational, and best used on characters that have good escapes/shields/healing like Ms. Marvel, Thor, or Black Widow.

What’s an Exotic Artifact?

Exotic Major Artifacts are unique items in Marvel’s Avengers. Unlike typical gear pieces, when you get an Exotic Major Artifact, it immediately lands in the inventory of all your characters. It goes in its own slot and operates unlike any other gear piece when you upgrade it. You can only equip one at a time.

Instead of coming with a Power Level, Major Artifacts add bonus Power to your character. They begin at Power +1, and you can upgrade them to Power +10. This doesn’t affect your Power Level average. It just adds Power based entirely on your level.

The Major Artifact starts with a single perk unlocked at +1. You’ll unlock a second perk at +2, and an activatable ability at +3. To upgrade an Exotic Major Artifact, you need a special resource: Polychoron. You can collect Polchorons by completing daily missions.

Upgrades are also exclusive to each character, so your +10 Tactigon on Thor will start as a +1 Tactigon on Iron Man. All four Exotics are unique, and each offers bonuses for different kinds of playstyles.

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