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Marvel’s Avengers Captain America leveling and skills guide

Here’s how to level your Cap so you never drop your Ultimate

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.

Captain America is the brawler in Marvel’s Avengers. He’s all about getting into scrapes, stunning enemies, and using Takedowns.

Captain America is dead for much of the Reassemble campaign, but the Avengers’ Initiative is where Cap really gets to shine.

In this Marvel’s Avengers guide, we’ll teach you how to make the most of your leveling experience with Steve Rogers. Here are some tips for leveling Captain America, including how to use some of his abilities and which skills to pick up first.

Five quick tips for playing Captain America

If you’re diving into Captain America for the first time, here are some quick tips to set you up for success.

  • Always use your abilities. As Captain America, you’re going to be in the middle of enemies frequently, so it’s best to just use your abilities when you have them, as certain enemies can take ability energy away from you pretty easily. Cap’s abilities also work well together, so use them all at once when you need to deal some serious damage.
  • Block. Unsurprisingly, several of Captain America’s skills revolve around blocking and parrying enemy attacks with his shield. If you get the timing down, you can really use some of the skills to your advantage, counterattacking harder than the average Avenger.
  • Dodge if things get too hairy. Relying too much on Cap’s shield is a mistake, as there are still some moves Captain America can’t parry. Just because you benefit from blocking doesn’t mean you don’t ever need to dodge.
  • Captain America can be effective at a distance. You’d think Captain America’s main weakness would be range, but you’d be wrong. Captain America’s shield throw ability — especially once you upgrade it — is strong. Use it often.
  • Use Brooklyn Brawler strategically. Yes, you should use your abilities all the time as Captain America. But with practice and in the right situation, you can use Brooklyn Brawler — Cap’s Ultimate — forever. We’ll get into how to do that below, but make sure you cast your Ultimate when there are plenty of enemies nearby, and always cast it at the start of a fight.

10 best Captain America skills

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

When you reach level 50 in Marvel’s Avengers, you’ll have 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.

Commander’s Call (Primary, Heavy Attack)

Press heavy attack while blocking with Shield Block to trigger a powerful shockwave that sends enemies tumbling backwards and taunts enemies, drawing their attention. Also trigger the Captain’s Defense buff that significantly reduces the cost for blocking enemy attacks by 50% and reduces all damage taken by 15%.

Commander’s Call is great for the Captain’s Defense buff alone, but taunting nearby enemies — and knocking them back for a quick breather — can be especially helpful in group play.

Shield Kick (Primary, Ranged Attack)

After performing a Ricochet Throw, press attack as the shield is returning to kick the shield back out to ricochet between nearby targets.

Shield Kick is one of the coolest abilities in Marvel’s Avengers, and it basically doubles Cap’s already substantial ranged capabilities.

Patriot’s Throw (Primary, Ranged Attack)

Complete the Shield Throw combo by pressing attack after catching the shield a second time, performing a ranged combo finisher that inflicts significant damage.

Cap’s Shield Throw combo is part of what makes him such a formidable ranged character. Patriot’s Throw is the final upgrade, and it lets Steve do some serious work against blocking or standard enemies — even when he’s far away from them.

Driving Force (Specialty, Support Heroic Ability)

Defeated enemies marked by Rally Cry have a 25% chance to drop a Heroic Orb.

This is where we start getting into Captain America’s true potential. Heroic Orbs grant ability energy to Heroes, and by generating as many of them as possible, you can keep Captain America in his Ultimate, Brooklyn Brawler, indefinitely. Driving Force is a great pickup, because it’s an easy, passive way to generate Orbs.

Threat Control (Specialty, Support Heroic Ability)

Critical Attacks on enemies marked by Rally Cry deal 15% bonus stun damage.

Later on, we’ll pick up an ability for Cap that makes him generate Heroic Orbs by using Takedowns on enemies. With Captain America, building stun damage is crucial, allowing him to use more Takedowns.

Concussive Strike (Specialty, Assault Heroic Ability)

Increase stun damage dealt by Steamroller by 25%.

With this ability, Steamroller becomes a more effective tool for stunning nearby enemies, allowing you to use even more Takedowns.

Vanguard Charge (Specialty, Assault Heroic Ability)

Every two enemies defeated with Steamroller generates a Heroic Orb.

Here’s another easy way to generate Heroic Orbs. These Orbs aren’t just great in solo play either, as allies can pick them up to charge their own abilities.

CQC Specialist (Specialty, Ultimate Heroic Ability)

While Brooklyn Brawler is active, Takedowns can be performed on critically wounded enemies.

CQC Specialist is critical to using your Ultimate efficiently. Instead of only using Takedowns on enemies you’ve stunned, CQC Specialist lets you use a Takedown on every single enemy before you kill them.

Adrenaline Rush (Specialist, Ultimate Heroic Ability)

Takedowns extend the duration of Brooklyn Brawler by 3 seconds.

This is arguably Steve’s most important ability. With Adrenaline Rush — especially when combined with CQC Specialist — you can extend the duration of Brooklyn Brawler indefinitely, causing you to deal increased damage all the time. This is an extremely powerful feature for Captain America and currently your best bet for making him work in endgame content.

Heroic Takedown Master (Mastery, Combat, Takedown Specialization node)

Performing a Takedown spawns a Heroic Orb.

This ability completes this very powerful Captain America build. While in Brooklyn Brawler, you’ll stun more enemies, Takedown more enemies, and increase the length of your Ultimate. But every Takedown also spawns a Heroic Orb, meaning that when you finally drop out of Brooklyn Brawler, you’ll have it back immediately and can use it again.

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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