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Marvel’s Avengers Hulk leveling and skills guide

Hulk smash to you heart’s content

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.

Hulk is all about smashing stuff in Marvel’s Avengers. He’s a massive tank who excels at beating enemies up close, but he suffers at range. He’s exactly what you’d probably expect.

You’ll play quite a bit of the campaign as Dr. Bruce Banner and his alter ego, the Incredible Hulk. As such, you should be pretty familiar with his moves when you reach Avengers Initiative. But Hulk has some serious potential you can’t realize until the endgame.

In this Marvel’s Avengers guide, we’ll teach you some some tips for leveling Hulk, using his abilities, and the best skills to pick up first .

Five quick tips for playing Hulk

Here are some quick tips to set you up for success with Hulk in Avengers Initiative.

  • A.B.B: Always Be Bounding. Hulk has the worst mobility in Marvel’s Avengers, which is bizarre considering he can jump into outer space in some comics. But Hulk does come with a Mario-esque triple jump. Jump, and then hit the jump button as you land, and you’ll jump higher. This stacks up to three jumps. If you want to move fast and reach high places, time your jumps.
  • Avoid ranged combat. Hulk is bad at ranged combat. Sure, he can pick up some rocks and hurl them at drones, but you should avoid getting into ranged combat. Try using big area attacks on the ground to take out nearby drones — like some of the upgraded heavy attack slams.
  • Thunderclap is the best Ultimate in the game. Hulk’s Ultimate ability is extremely powerful, and it can clear entire rooms. Start fights by walking into an area and clapping your hands. This will also help you avoid ranged combat.
  • Use Rage often. Hulk’s Intrinsic ability is Rage, which causes him to deal more damage and heal himself. Hulk is all about staying in the fight, so activate Rage often to regain health.
  • Pick up your enemies. Hulk has the unique (and thematically appropriate) ability to pick up his enemies and wield them as weapons. This is great, as you can use some unique combat abilities while wielding foes. But it also has the added benefit of removing an enemy from combat temporarily, which is a good way to even the odds.

10 best Hulk skills

Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix via Polygon

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.

Tectonic Fury (Primary, Heavy Attack)

After executing a power attack, rapidly press heavy attack to combo five more radial attacks before unleashing a powerful ground smash.

This is Hulk’s bread-and-butter combo. It does extremely high area damage and even deals damage to nearby aerial enemies on the final slam. Pick this up as early as you can.

Earth Smasher (Primary, Heavy Attack)

While midair, hold heavy attack to slam into the ground with a powerful area attack that knocks down nearby enemies.

Earth Smasher is great for two reasons:

  1. It’s Hulk’s best way to break blocks, as it’s very easy for enemies to stagger you out of your heavy attack at early levels.
  2. It’s also a great start to the Tectonic Fury combo, where you slam in from the air and then punch the ground a bunch.

Smackdown (Primary, Grab Attacks)

Hold attack while already holding an enemy to grab a second opponent. While holding two enemies, rapidly press attack or heavy attack to execute dual light or heavy grab combos.

Picking up one enemy removes a single threat from battle, so picking up two enemies removes double the threat. Two enemies are also better than one as weapons, as that extends your attack range and is great for area attacks.

Gamma Crusher (Primary, Grab Attacks)

After grabbing two enemies, hold heavy attack to slam both enemies together, dealing tremendous damage to held enemies and sending out devastating damage shockwave.

This ability is cool, as it gives you a new way to interact with your living weapons. Gamma Crusher can deal decent damage to a nearby group and is useful for finishing off your enemies when you’re done using them. It also feels very Hulk-y to shout “NOW KISS” when you slam the two enemies together.

Cataclysm (Primary, Rage)

When Rage is full, attacking builds up extra energy to Overcharge it. While Overcharged, Rage is automatically active and damage from all sources is increased by 20%. In order to stay Overcharged, keep attacking enemies or perfectly parrying enemy attacks. Getting hit or not attacking enemies for a short duration will cause Overcharge to end.

Once you get in the groove with Hulk, you can dish out some serious damage with Rage. But Overcharging Rage causes Hulk to automatically activate it, meaning you’re doing bonus damage and healing just by playing well. This ability does stop when you’re hit, but if you’re Hulking correctly, enemies are too busy flying around to do anything to you.

Savage Heroism (Specialty, Support Heroic Ability)

Defeating enemies who are taunted by Boneshaker causes them to drop Heroic Orbs.

Boneshaker is a great tool to keep you alive and keep enemies focused on you instead of your squishy pals. But with Savage Heroism, any enemies you kill can help you recharge your next Boneshaker, as well as your other abilities. This helps you use Boneshaker more, therefore generating even more Heroic Orbs.

Double Strangle (Specialist, Assault Heroic Ability)

Grants an additional charge of the Stranglehold Heroic ability.

Stranglehold is an odd ability, but it has some powerful upgrades — including one that heals you based on the damage you deal. But no matter what upgrades you have, being able to use Stranglehold multiple times in a row is useful.

Thunderclap Heroic Recovery (Specialist, Ultimate Heroic Ability)

There is a 50% chance defeating enemies with Thunderclap will cause them to drop Heroic Orbs.

Thunderclap is easily the most powerful ability in the game. You’re going to kill a lot of enemies with it, so adding a chance that it will drop Heroic Orbs ensures that you can regenerate your other abilities — and Thunderclap — even faster.

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

Performing a Takedown spawns a Heroic Orb.

Most heroes have this ability, and it’s always worth picking up. Because Heroic Orbs grant you ability energy for all three of your abilities, they’re extremely valuable. And paired with some of Hulk’s other abilities on this list — which cause you to spawn more Heroic Orbs from ability usage — you can create a powerful cycle of ability regeneration.

Rubble (Mastery, Ranged, Projectile Specialization node)

Thrown debris of any size explodes on impact, inflicting normal and stun damage over a wide area.

This ability gives your ranged attacks a bigger impact area. This will help you clear out drones and other flying creatures more quickly, and help shore up one of your biggest weaknesses.

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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