Marvel Battle Lines Beginner's Guide: Everything You Need to Assemble a Winner

Marvel Battle Lines combines superheroes and villains with old-school tic-tac-toe strategy for a fun and challenging game. Learn how to outmaneuver your opponents and rack up the wins.

What do you get when you take Tic-Tac-Toe and toss it in the blender with a universe containing not just decades of successful comics but also the most successful movie franchise of all time? You get the latest head-to-head online battle game, Marvel Battle Lines.

While a game which can be credibly compared to a game little children play may seem like a poor choice for anyone looking for strategic gameplay, Battle Lines manages to pack a great deal of plotting into a very simple structure. Then end result is a game which is engaging right out of the gate, unlike many of its competitors, and also allows for strong play without breaking the bank on microtransactions.

Unfortunately, for all the appeal the game has once you figure out how to make the engine purr, it doesn't do the best job of teaching new players how to play effectively. If you've been struggling in your online Arena matches and failing to progress in the campaign mode, try these tips the next time you assemble your squad.

Deck

The key to success in any game like Marvel Battle Lines starts with the deck you bring to the digital table. If you field a flawed team, you're doomed to failure before the first turn. There are many different styles of decks you can build and succeed with, but there are some core concepts to consider to ensure you build a deck with some punch.

Zeroes Can Still Be Heroes

While most online dueling games see players automatically generating energy every turn, that's not the case in Battle Lines. Because you have to play cards onto cosmic fragments in order to earn more power for playing cards, most of your cards which have a cost to play will be a push at best, unless you progress into later stages where squares begin to earn multiple fragments at once.

No-cost characters let you get valuable soldiers in the field while stockpiling resources, and offer flexibility as they can be played onto resource-free squares to set up lines without it sacrificing your ability to act next turn. You will start the game with multiple basic no-cost characters, but as you unlock more you will find characters with special powers to replace them.

Actions Make a World of Difference

You can only make one character action in a turn, be it playing a new character from your hand or moving and attacking with one already in play. You can make as many actions as you wish prior to that play, however, meaning action cards are the key to setting up chain reaction plays. An action that lets you eliminate a blocking enemy means you can fill their spot before your opponent has the chance to block again.

Choose a Deck Leader

The biggest and boldest names of the Marvel Universe hold a special place in your deck, offering boosts to the player in addition to serving as powerful characters on the battlefield. As you play through the game you'll build a nice stable of options for deck leader, so choose the one you like most, then build a deck of cards which work in conjunction with your leader's strengths.

Stocking Up on the Cheap

If you're opposed to spending to build your deck in a hurry, don't despair. There are plenty of ways to quickly build out your array of cards in order to give yourself more selections on the battlefield.

Finish the Campaign

The easiest way to fill your arsenal with useful heroes is to play through the single-player campaign. While it may be tempting to jump online straight away after playing through the tutorial, you're missing out. Unlike many games which offer a smattering of randomized rewards throughout their tutorials, Battle Lines comes with some solid guaranteed additions as heroes help you out in the storyline and are then earned as a reward. Playing through the whole campaign will give you plenty to work with when deck building.

Get in the Holiday Spirit

If you're a seasoned player of freemium mobile games, you already know to be on the lookout for free loot in the form of daily, weekly and monthly challenges. Marvel Battle Lines is no different, and you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to gather them in, but also be on the lookout for seasonal specials. These not only bring in some unique challenges to play through, but also have their own set of unlockables for checking in and playing multiple days or completing holiday challenges.

Kick, Whack, Throw

Picking on heroes and villains in the field is all well and good, but to win the game you need to take out your opponent and that means triggering battle lines. Conceptually, it's a very simple goal -- fill out an entire row or column to trigger everyone in it, or connect three characters on a diagonal. In practice, it's not as easy as it sounds. Your opponent isn't going to just let you walk to those lines unopposed, so you need to plan so that they can not stop you.

Stack Your Attack

Anyone who played Tic-Tac-Toe growing up likely learned pretty quickly to block any time their opponent got two marks lined up. To win, therefore, you had to create a situation where you had two winning moves, so your opponent couldn't block them both. Battle Lines is no different.

Take advantage of the chance to give yourself two or more attacking lanes at once. In the example below, Shang-Chi's ability was used to eliminate an enemy between Hawkeye and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent while he himself took the lower left square. This created two lanes which each had a pair of characters in them, leaving the opponent in the position of only being able to shut off one of them.

On the next turn, playing a character into the middle square in the second row triggered a battle line for the win.

Think Like Dr. Strange

So, now that you know the key to getting lines triggered is setting up multiple attack lanes at once, how do you get those options? You have to be thinking ahead on every turn. Don't just look at what is most immediately beneficial, instead think what is most likely to lead to an unstoppable line. Occasionally the direct route will be the best route, but often in the early game, a move which builds for a few rounds is much harder to stop.

Attacking Actions Open Lanes

Another effective way of forcing a battle line is to utilize attacking actions which damage opposing characters. Since the action doesn't end your turn, if an opponent has a square filled which would complete your line, use an attacking action to wipe them out, then drop a character in to trigger your battle line. This is the most effective way to hit at an effective defensive player who keeps shutting down your attacks.

Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to implement these tricks, and to learn how to plan moves several turns ahead, is to get out there and start playing.

Consider what you've learned about building a deck with synergy, then hit the arena or single player modes with these new tricks in mind. If you execute them correctly, you should see your win rates going up and up and be a better Marvel Battle Lines player for it.

Contributor

Published Dec. 17th 2018

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