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Marvel’s Avengers Iron Man leveling and skills guide

How to hot-swap gadgets as Tony Stark

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.

Iron Man is one of Marvel’s Avengers most complex heroes. As Tony Stark, you can swap between multiple gadget types and use all sorts of tools — some unique, depending on the job you want to do.

You’ll spend quite a bit of time as Iron Man in the game’s campaign, so when you get into multiplayer in Avenger’s Initiative, you should have a decent idea how he works. As you level him up, you’ll see how many different permutations he can have.

In this Marvel’s Avengers guide, we’ll teach you everything we’ve learned while leveling our Iron Man, and make your ramping up experience a bit easier than our own. Below, we’ve got tips for leveling Iron Man, including how to use some of his abilities, and which skills to pick up first.

Five quick tips for playing Iron Man

Here are some quick tips to set you up for success as Iron Man.

  • Swap your gadgets. One of Iron Man’s biggest advantages is his ability to swap between repulsors, lasers, and rockets. Each has their own place, so swap often to get in the flow.
  • Hulkbuster is your best escape. Like Thor’s Bifrost ability, Hulkbuster is a great escape for Tony. Iron Man dies easily in Marvel’s Avengers, but he’s temporarily invincible inside the Hulkbuster armor. Use it to save yourself.
  • Stay away and in the air. In training, Marvel’s Avengers encourages you to use Tony as a close-range combatant when you need energy back for your gadgets. This can be a pretty big mistake in harder content, so sometimes it’s best to stay back and let your energy recharge on its own — or find an enemy off by themselves to beat up and get your energy back.
  • Use your flyby. As one of the two flying characters, Iron Man can launch attacks when he’s in mid-flight. This is actually a great way to deal with turrets and drones in an area. You may never deal enough damage to take out an Adaptoid this way, but it’s much safer to clear out some of the fodder enemies mid-flight than while hovering like a sitting duck.
  • Invest in defense. Iron Man starts out with very few defensive skills, but must pay close attention to them to stay alive. Early on, all you’ll have is the parry. Iron Man can’t tank hits like other characters, so if you’re in an enemy’s face, get ready to react. Iron Man also has some ability upgrades that can boost his defense, which we’ll get into below.

10 best skills for Iron Man

When you reach level 50 in Marvel’s Avengers, you’ll have unlocked your hero’s entire arsenal of abilities. But getting to 50 is a commitment, and there are some skills worth picking up as early as you can.

You can’t access most skills in the Mastery tree until you reach level 15 or 20, so you won’t be able to grab them immediately. Some skills also require prerequisite skills above them, so think of this as 10 skills to work toward. Acquire and use these skills early to help you get a real feel for your hero’s potential.

Laser Beam (Primary, Lasers)

With lasers equipped, aim then attack to fire a focused laser. The longer the laser is held on the enemy, the more damage it will inflict. While flying, wait for the reticle to auto target an enemy, then hold attack to lock onto and fire a sustained laser at them.

Unlocking Laser Beam unlocks a few skills with it, and it gives you access to a completely new gadget. Laser Beams are an incredible tool against multiple enemies, and it should be the first skill you pick up.

Micro Rockets (Primary, Rockets)

With rockets equipped, hold aim then attack to fire a small, high damage rocket. While flying, wait for the reticle to auto-target an enemy, hold attack to lock onto up to four targets, then release attack to fire missiles at all locked targets.

Like Laser Beam, Micro Rockets give you access to a new gadget. Micro Rockets deal very high damage to single targets and round out your three gadget modes.

Whirling Tempest (Primary, Lasers)

With lasers equipped, hold heavy attack to slice through surrounding enemies with a spinning dual-beam attack.

This is a great attack for dealing with a large group, and it can give you some breathing room in a pinch. It also deals high stun damage, which will let you Takedown more enemies.

Rocket Strike (Primary, Rockets

Rapidly press attack, attack, attack, heavy attack to chain the light attack combo into a forceful rocket heavy combo finisher that breaks through enemy defenses, pushing back the target before exploding and leaving them vulnerable to additional attacks.

Rockets are hard to get used to, and they don’t chain together as nicely as lasers or repulsors. Rocket Strike gives you a deadly combo with your rockets, and it gives you a way to integrate them into your combat.

Arc Field (Specialty, Support Heroic Ability)

Arc Overload generates a one-directional protective bubble that blocks incoming projectiles but allows ranged attacks from inside the bubble to pass through, damaging enemies outside the Arc Field.

Tony’s biggest problem is survivability, so giving yourself a bubble shield helps mitigate some damage. It’s also a great support option, since it lets you safely pick up allies and protect pals on a capture point.

Omega Beam (Specialty, Assault Heroic Ability)

A concentrated beam that combines both repulsor and unibeam firepower into a single, massive energy blast that deals a large amount of damage to everything in its path.

The Unibeam starts as a useful tool for burning down the health of a single enemy. The Omega Beam specialization basically turns it into a shotgun of damage, but with unlimited range. It does shorten the attack, so you can’t deal as much damage to one Adaptoid, but it can wipe out an entire wave of enemies if you time it properly.

Magno-Missile (Specialty, Ultimate Heroic Upgrade)

When using Hulkbuster, press the Ultimate button to fire a spread of enemy-seeking rockets that can target up to five enemies. Rockets explode on impact, inflicting collateral damage on nearby combatants.

The Hulkbuster is a pretty weak damage tool until you get this skill. But once you get Magno-Missiles, you can dump your entire energy bar on it and clear the room. It does extremely high damage, and it’s a great way for Iron Man to contribute to the team.

Energy Barrier (Specialty, Defense)

Hold block to create an Energy Barrier that blocks all incoming projectiles until it takes enough damage to be destroyed.

We’ve already mentioned that Tony has a tough time staying alive. This Energy Barrier helps give you some in-air on on-ground coverage to keep you safe. It lets you build your own walls, which can really help in a crisis situation.

Ranged Combat Mastery (Mastery, Ranged, Ranged Attack Mastery node)

Increases all ranged attack damage by 15%.

This ability isn’t particularly exciting, but Iron Man does have some trouble keeping up in the damage department. This skill helps alleviate that.

Air Superiority (Mastery, Utility, Flight Mastery node)

Increases the damage of ranged attacks while flying by 15%.

We mentioned flyby damage in our tips earlier, and this skill helps you take out turrets and drones a bit quicker.

How to level and get gear

With your first character in Marvel’s Avengers, you’ll have a bunch of different quests to complete. They’ll point you in the right direction and net you some serious gear in addition to the mission rewards. But on your follow up characters, you have a bit more freedom on how to gear and level.

Most missions are usually good for one grind and not the other:

  • Hive missions and HARM Challenges net some serious XP, but there are very few chests inside, so you have to rely entirely on enemy drops for new loot.
  • Vault missions are easily the best gear grind, with plenty of chests to loot around each map and multiple chests in the final area. But you only fight a lot of enemies toward the end, so you won’t get a ton of XP.
  • Priority missions, which rotate weekly, usually offer a good mix of both. However, some of them require a pretty high Power Level, so you won’t be able to complete them all until later in your journey.

Focus on gear and Power Level over your Hero Level. We haven’t had a single case of getting to the soft cap of 130 before hitting level 50. Plenty of missions gate you by your Power Level, but nothing requires you to be level 50.

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