Marvel Midnight Suns: Firaxis unveils the Nico vs. Chthon showdown Marvel fans have been waiting for!

I find the constant crashing on sleep to be unbearable. Everyone has their line, I guess.

He does.

Carol, like Ghost Rider, needs support from other characters. Though she can build up decent shield with her knee strike, once binary. I keep hoping to find a different ability for her to generate shields. There is a consumable item that gives a hero armor for every enemy targeting them, which seems tailor made for her.

Gotta disagree. I find Iron Man to be very strong, and I don’t even have many upgrades for him. And Strange’s kit is full of game-changing skills. More card plays, more damage for allies, resist for everyone, restoring used consumables, etc.

But you are much further along in the game than I am, so maybe things change ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Dr Strange is very strong, not sure I could call any hero weak in this game. The ability to permanently buff attacks for the entire encounter and then redraw them AND give you more card plays is pretty nuts, especially with chain abilities like Blade.

It’s definately going to be an issue the more I play it. I kind of find a lot of my Steam Deck experience to be mostly frustrating - maybe becasue I have a Switch and the games I play on that all seem to work, look great, and play great without me having to “boot into desktop mode” to rename a fucking folder, or dealing with how just about every game on the system crashes randomly. I’m not really very happy with that investment so far, I have to say.

But, I did get almost 3 hours of fun out of my Midnight Suns play time last night just upstairs watching Beat Bobby Flay with my wife and it was a genrally great time, once I got the save game stuff figured out (WTAF though) and even if I had to relaunch the game and reload after a crash (I would say it crashed 3-5 times in the three or so hours I played - frustrating, but not the end of the world). I was doing a LOT of constant saves though, just in case, and bemoaning that I couldn’t tap F6 on the Steam Deck (though I suppose, now I type this out, I could probably configure a button to act like an F6 press).

Captain Marvel may not tank that well but Captain America tanks like a boss…

Playing on ultimate III difficulty, I actually think Dr. Strange might be the strongest character after the Hunter? He certainly enables at least one really strong Hunter build that I’ve been using and seems like the best resource generation/buffing character in the game.

I’m not sure who is on the weaker side, but I feel like I have more difficulty in missions with Ghost Rider (lacking damage output after he starts losing health), Captain Marvel (surprisingly low damage for a character that wants to be the team focus, and tanking at ultimate III doesn’t seem viable outside of Resist stacks), Magik (miss chance for drops can absolutely screw you), and Nico (who combines low damage with RNG).

I’m loving the game so far and have been fortunate to avoid any crashing issues that seem be plaguing people. For me, Midnight Suns is the worthy XCOM successor that I was hoping for.

It’s funny how I saw multiple tier lists for the heroes in Midnight Suns recently and the only thing they agreed on is that the Hunter is S tier. It was easy to see a character with a D in one list and an A+ in the other. And that is a good thing. It means the game is more balanced than we think, and depends heavily on deck building, synergies and gameplay style to measure the “strength” of any given team, which is great.

I think it’s pretty cool that all of them (that I’ve seen) have a role they can fill and feel like they are the most powerful at. Dr. Strange is one of my favorites as well - his passive just genrates Heroism every turn and when you tend to find yourself with 6 or so points to spend on big swings like 100+ damage spells from him, he synergizes with himself quite well.

I’m finding Iron Man to be super reliable as well so far, and I’ve unlocked a few Epic cards from Spider-man that have made him someone I am using more and more often as well.

Dr. Strange’s card that refreshes items is also extremely strong, because high-tier items do things far beyond the power level of most cards and it enables you to keep those items for the next mission (to do it all over again). Using Overdrive Serum and Evil Eye Totem can give you 4-8 heroism and 3+ extra card plays on turn 1 for every mission, for example, which you then just reclaim.

They really did a great job making each hero feel unique and flavorful as who they’re supposed to be as well as having all kinds of fun synergies that aren’t immediately obvious. Iron Man and Spiderman are definitely great in this game.

I don’t know that you can talk about strongest/weakest or worst/best in this game given how much the movesets vary by which cards have been unlocked, which have been improved, which have effects added, which items you can bring into battle, which passives you’ve got, and so on. And even then, it’s all going to be heavily situational based on which enemies you’re fighting and the goal of the battle. In some battles, Spider-Man is easily the best. In others, Captain America is MVP. In yet others, those Magik tricks saved the day!

(One of this design’s greatest strengths, and something I don’t think anyone has talked about yet, is the variety of enemies. And not just visually or aesthetically! On that level, the variety is actually pretty poor. But in terms of behaviors, I’m seeing some really cool tricks. Each of the enemies makes for very different kinds of battles. And it gets at the problem with proclaiming “best” or “worst”. Best or worst against whom?)

All that said, the most powerful character is obviously Captain Marvel, who I’m dating in case I haven’t told you guys.

I do wish there was a “bare” version of this game, without all the abbey cruft and progression detritus piled so high. Because this is an absolutely fantastic tactical combat engine, and I would love to play through it without spending 20 hours wading through the Superfriends Sims Dating And Multi-Issue Story Arc RPG Game. I understand how integral that is to the game for many of you, and I’ve certainly had fun with it as well. But for me, it’s mostly just getting in the way of this amazing Firaxis design that I want to flex more.

I hear you here, though my take is a bit different. I actually appreciate the way the Abbey stuff forces you to space out the combat, and gives the game more of a sense of time and purpose as it were. As someone who knows bupkis about these characters, it’s allowed me to learn something about each of them and develop a sense of which ones I can identify with or care about.

The best compliment I can give a strategy game, and that definiately applies here, are when there are enemy types that show up that make me audibly groan and mutter “fuck, these guys again”.

I’d pay real money for a Slay the Spire like mode where you pick 3 heroes to start a run, with their basic decks, and progress through random battles/events/challenges while collecting new cards and items along the way, just trying to get as far as you can each run.

Yes! But for me personally, it’s slightly different. When the enemy variety in a game isn’t very good and the behaviors don’t really play into the game design, then an elite or sub-boss pops up and I get that “ugh, these fuckin’ guys” sensation, in a bad way.

But in Midnight Suns, without fail, when some of the funky enemies show up – and I look forward to talking more specifics later, but right now, while the game is only a week old, I think some of the enemy discussion might be construed as spoilery – when these weird guys show up, I tend to be all “oh, these fuckin’ guys!”, but in a positive way. Like, “aw yeah, it’s these guys, let’s fuckin’ go!”

At the risk of spoilering a very minor issue in the second set of enemies you face: there’s an enemy called a Guardian, who pops up a shield and the Protection keyword for another enemy. I don’t know if his Hydra counterpart works the same way, but when he pops his shield, he also takes damage. Which is odd. I hadn’t noticed that before, so I paid closer attention during battle and realized that he spends some of his own health to make his shield.

Now this might seem like a minor thing, but it means when I’m attacking him, even though I’m hitting block, I’m still damaging his overall pool of hit points. Which “feels” a lot more fair than a monster who just gets a big-ass shield over-and-above whatever hit point total he has. So when I see those guys, I don’t think, “ugh, these fuckin’ guys” in the sense that now I have to chip away at a giant shield in addition to a big bag of hit points.

Instead, I think, “aw, yeah, these guys who use their hit points to protect other enemies, let’s fuckin’ go!” because they’ve shifted the tactical situation rather than just made it harder for harder’s sake. That’s the kind of stuff I’m really enjoying in the enemy design: they don’t just get more difficult, they get more interesting, more complex, more varied, offering more opportunities to flex and experiment with the things the heroes can do. They get more interactive.

Scott, can you please be in charge of Firaxis from now on?

I have no idea what plans Firaxis has for DLC or whatnot, but I’m excited for whatever they decide.

Some helpful stuff to know:

Such as? I’m not really interesting in jumping over to Twitter to read about the game, but if you’re finding any interesting stuff, I’d love for you to share it here.

  1. Bring every hero on a mission at least once to unlock their research projects in the Forge! Each hero has a mini tech tree and their first research is revealed once they go on any mission. Complete that first project to see the rest!
  2. Heroes will earn a small friendship boost by going on combat missions with the Hunter. If the Hunter isn’t on the mission…well, it’s hard to become better friends with someone who isn’t there!
  3. A Gamma Coil’s hero ability cards will always match the heroes who went on the mission which rewarded it. (The associated hero icons will appear in the tooltip when hovering over the Coil.) If you’re looking to get cards for a specific hero, bring them on missions!
  4. Once a hero has gone on enough missions, non-upgraded modded cards can start appearing for them in Gamma Coils. These modded cards can still be upgraded; they require more Essence, but do not require a duplicate card.
  5. A mod can be salvaged off of a card for a small amount of Essence. This removes the mod but doesn’t salvage the full card. This can be useful if you have a modded card but want to use it as a duplicate for an upgrade.
  6. Combat Items can be salvaged too! Opening Arcane Chests can be a great way to discover & collect new Combat Items.
  7. Using all steps of a Chain ability which applies a status effect against a single target will stack the effect! Each “chain” in the attack counts separately. For example, using Blade’s “Strike” with Chain 2 + Apply 2 Bleed on one target will result in them having 4 Bleed.
  8. The Library is an excellent source of Arcane Knowledge. Read the new books every day to get quick boosts toward your next Arcane Level. You can tell a book is new if the interact tooltip has a gold border and star around it.
  9. Beating the game unlocks two new modes! Endgame is continued play with same Hunter and adds high level general missions with customization option rewards. New Game+ restarts the story with a new Hunter, but carries over hero roster, friendship levels, & customization unlocks.
  10. The maximum level heroes can reach by training in the THREAT Room will rise over time so the max matches the highest hero level on your roster. The mission description text sorta implies the max level is locked - It’s not, it will scale as your heroes level up!

BONUS TIP: It’s been said before but always worth repeating - Pet Charlie every day! She’s a good doggo and gives treats for pets (Credits, Gloss, etc). Pet her enough and her friendship level with the Hunter will increase, improving her treats AND upgrading her combat abilities!

Tips for those who don’t want to go to Twitter (like me).

“Advanced” gameplay tips. LOL.

(BTW, I finally found out last night why some of y’all are so pro-Charlie! Okay, now I get it!)

God I hope they fix Steam Deck soon, because I adore this game.

Also, Carol looks like my actual girlfriend, and that makes me Feel Things when she’s on screen.

Glad to know you’re dating, Mark! Life goes on. Happy for you.

Also, that was a humble brag if I ever saw one. Good for you! :D