Go Inside Avengers Alliance: Spec Op 35

“Marvel: Avengers Alliance” goes dangerously cosmic, with the arrival of the immensely powerful Black Vortex and its ability to augment the power of any who submit to its will.

Fortunately for us, the Guardians of the Galaxy have a plan…we think.

Mantis rallies the troops in this latest Spec Op, and we spoke with Associate Producer Tony Sherrill about recruiting the former Celestial Madonna, taking on new enemies in J’Son and the Spartax, plus what else to expect, and more!

Marvel.com: What’s the plot of the newest Spec Op?

Tony Sherrill: An artifact known as the Black Vortex comes to Earth bringing Mantis, Moondragon, J’son, and the Spartax Soldiers with it. The Black Vortex tempts anyone that would look into its depths with promises of power—power that S.H.I.E.L.D. and their allies must fight in order to keep Earth safe.

Marvel.com: Where did the decision come from to present your own version of the Black Vortex event?

Tony Sherrill: Our design team is always looking for fun Marvel events to bring into “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” and the Black Vortex was not only that, but with it we could introduce a variety of Marvel heroes, like Mantis, Moondragon, and Richard Rider.

Marvel.com: Why focus exclusively on the Guardians of the Galaxy for this Op?

Tony Sherrill: We love the Guardians of the Galaxy, plus it’s always exiting to add more characters to the game. Having the theme of this Spec Op be based off the Black Vortex gave us an avenue to add even more heroes that had belonged to the Guardians of the Galaxy at some point, which is really just a win-win for us. We have already introduced a variety of the Guardians of the Galaxy from [sometime] members like Agent Venom and Angela—to name a couple—to the core team one may think of today: Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and some star guy.

Marvel.com: What does J’Son bring to the table as a new villain?

Tony Sherrill: J’son is actually a NPC, so you’ll only be able to see his pretty face and not punch it. J’son brings trouble and seeks to empower his Spartax soldiers with the untold power of the Black Vortex.

Marvel.com: How will the Spartax soldiers add a new element to the game?

Tony Sherrill: These guys are fun.  Dressed in all gold armor they come in two varieties: Spartax Warrior and Spartax Gunner.

The Spartax Warriors carry a big Plasma Spear which they use to swipe and thrust at the enemy, you. Their attacks apply the Pain—increases damage taken by 15%–and Fumble—single-target attacks provoke a counterattack—statuses, plus they protect each other with Covered—taking 50% damage from all attacks—and can buff their fellow soldiers with Strengthened—attack increased by 25%.

The Spartax Gunners carry a Plasma Rifle which they use to, well, shoot you with. Their attacks apply Radiation Exposure—deals damage every turn, plus increases damage from enemy attacks—and Ionized—taking additional damage from Radiation Exposure. A single gunner can also buff his entire team with Combat Tactics—performs a counter against the next attack.

Marvel.com: How did you land on Mantis as the reward hero and what are her strengths?

Tony Sherrill: Mantis is just simply a great character. She’s a Telepathic, Grandmaster martial artist that can manipulate plants. As a psychic super hero she has some pretty useful combat skills. She has a chance to counterattack enemy actions with Disadvantage—creates a negative effect according to the class and beneficial buffs of the target—with her Cosmic Calculations passive. When enemies attack an ally, she has a chance to apply Rising Up—chance to gain Focused, Fortified, Agile or Strengthened—to that ally with her Premonition ability.

Mantis comes with a couple of new statuses: Cerebral Agony and Psychic Suppression. Psychic Blast which is a Quick Action applies Cerebral Agony. Cerebral Agony causes the enemy to take Psychic damage for 2 rounds, plus will damage the enemy if they perform an offensive action.  Her Energy Projection attack will apply Psychic Suppression on a target for one round. This will prevent most psychic resistances and reductions from functioning. This is really fun to use against Psychic characters.

Marvel.com: What kind of tech can we pick up on this Op?

Tony Sherrill: The set for this Spec Op is all psychic based. There are 4 pieces in the Psychic Force Set: Psyche Operator, Staff of Agony, Metaphysical Rifle, and Metaphysical Amplifier. The set bonuses for these are awesome and give the player access to the new Cerebral Agony status. Players can also gain a follow-up attack on enemies with Weak Mind, counter enemies with Disoriented, or even buff their entire team with Mentally Aware—chance to pre-emptively counter single target and area attacks.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else to look out for?

Tony Sherrill: Once people have had a chance to fight Moondragon for a bit, we plan to release a Covert Task for her. Players that complete a small number of tasks and collect a predetermined number of Black Vortex Shards will unlock Moondragon.

Keep checking Marvel.com for all the latest on “Marvel: Avengers Alliance”!