Brand new player? Old player looking to refresh yourself on the basics? Look no further than this Contest of Champions beginner's guide.

Marvel Contest of Champions Beginner’s Guide

Brand new player? Old player looking to refresh yourself on the basics? Look no further than this Contest of Champions beginner's guide.

Whether you’ve just downloaded the game or you’re a veteran that just needs a few refreshers, this Marvel: Contest of Champions beginner’s guide will ensure you kick enemy butt as much as possible.

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This is a mobile fighting game where you tap, swipe, and hold on the left and right sides of the screens to perform different attacks and movements. It seems a bit complicated at first, but if you put some time in and follow this Contest of Champions beginner’s guide, you’ll be sending your enemies crying to Stan Lee in no time.


First things first in Contest of Champions: you have to know how to play. 

The right side of your screen is for offense. If you tap it, you perform a light attack. If you swipe it, you perform a medium attack. If you hold it, you perform a heavy attack. Light attacks are the fastest but weakest and heavy ones are the slowest but most powerful. Light and medium attacks can be blocked, but heavy attacks break blocks.

The left side of your screen is for defense. If you hold the left side, you will block. If you swipe the left side, you will dash backwards (known as a dodge in game) and create space between you and your opponent. If you swipe right from a distance, you will charge with a medium attack.


Get Defensive in Fights 

Just like dealing with jerks online, blocking is your friend. Get used to it. Your damage persists between fights on your quests, so do your best to minimize the damage you take. Blocking won’t completely nullify your opponent’s damage, but it will reduce it.

At the start of the match, unless you know your attack animation is going to be faster than your opponent’s, you will want to block. Most AI opponents will immediately try to attack you.

I like to block my opponent’s attacks until I see an opening, then I try to get a 5-hit combo in before blocking again or dashing back. Dashing back is good in situations where you need to get space from your opponent if they’re constantly rushing you down or about to heavy attack, but you never want to get yourself cornered. No one puts summoner in a corner if this Contest of Champions beginner’s guide has anything to say about it.

You can unlock dexterity and parrying in your mastery tree by buying enough stoney cores. This will completely change your playstyle, as you will want to use evades (given by dexterity) and parries as much as possible to minimize your damage and stun your opponent to leave them open for combos and special moves.

To evade, get dexterity and simply time your dodging correctly. To parry, you have to tap block at just the right moment. Check the video below from YouTube channel Dork Lessons for the perfect timing.

Taking the Offensive

The best offense is a good defense — and now that you’ve got that out of the way from the previous part of this Contest of Champions beginner’s guide, it’s time to teach you how to properly attack.

Like most other fighting games, you will do more damage if you land combos. Combos are just strings of uninterrupted attacks. In most fighting games, a combo is reset after your enemy is no longer affected by your last attack — but in Contest of Champions, your combo goes on until you get hit without blocking. This means you can combo for the entire match!

The easiest and most consistent combo I found is 5-hits. You simply tap light attack three times then swipe medium attack twice. This will do a decent amount of damage. After getting a combo in, you’ll want to block, as the AI is likely to retaliate.

If the AI is blocking your attack, you’ll want to either heavy attack them or just block until they open themselves up again for another combo. You can also do a 2-hit medium attack combo by swiping right twice and a 4-hit light attack combo by tapping four times.

Since this is just a beginner’s guide, these tips are written for lower level AI. As you progress, you’ll want to make sure to master parrying and evasion to be able to handle harder opponents.

Contest of Champions Beginner's Guide Offense Section Image

Understanding Champion Classes

Each character in Contest of Champions has a specific class that more or less ties into one of the super hero sub-types in the Marvel comics universe. There are cosmic, tech, mutant, skill, science, and mystic champions — and each has its own classes it’s weak to and strong against. The wheel below is a visual guide created by Reddit user Volcano_T-Rex, but for the purposes of this beginner’s guide we’ll break it all down in case you want more information.

Contest of Champions Beginner's Guide Weakness Wheel from Volcano_T-Rex


Cosmic champions are those whose comics deal with Marvel’s more sci-fi inspired stories. This class has characters like Ronan and Captain Marvel. Cosmic champions are strong against tech champions, but weak against mystic champions.


Mutant champions are, well, mutants. They are the next step in the evolution of man. This class includes characters like Wolverine and Deadpool. Mutants are strong against skill champions, but weak against tech champions


Mystic champions are those who rely on magic for their source of power. This class counts Dormammu and Magik among its ranks. They are strong against cosmic champions, but weak against science champions.


Science champions are those who use their intelligence to fight or were altered by science somehow. This class has characters like Spider-Man and She-Hulk. Science is strong against mystic champions, but weak against skill champions.


Skill champions are those who rely on their skills instead of on super powers. These champions include Black Panther and Daredevil. Skill champs are strong against science champions, but weak against mutants.


Tech champions are the kinds of characters that use their technology to do their fighting like Iron Man and Star-Lord. They’re strong against mutant champions, but weak against cosmic champions.

Upgrading Your Champion

This is the part of the Contest of Champions beginner’s guide where we put away our fists and break out our chemistry sets to isolate some sweet ISO-8

Every champion you get can be upgraded in some way, whether they’re a 1-star or 5-star. It is important to make sure you do this so you can progress in your quests, arenas, and alliance by making your characters stronger. Plus, stronger characters win fights faster — so you’ll earn currency and other rewards at a better rate.

The video below is from YouTube user mvince able, and features him leveling and ranking up 4-star champions.

Leveling Up Champions

To be able to rank your characters up, first you must level them. You level them by spending ISO-8, a type of currency you collect by playing the game or opening crystals. The amount of ISO-8 you get with each crystal or quest varies, but they come in specific increments, like 75 and 125. You can even get class-specific ISO-8 to help you level characters faster!

Leveling up your characters costs gold. Since there is a resource cost and 1-star heroes are only really relevant at the start of the game, you should do your best to wait until you get your first 2-stars to pour currency into leveling up.

Ranking Up Champions

In order to rank your champion, they have to be max level. Once you’ve maxed them out, you can spend catalysts to rank your characters up.

Much like there are 1-star and 5-star champions, there are tier 1 and tier 5 catalysts. The tiers don’t correspond to the stars exactly, but a 2-star champion won’t require tier 5 catalyst, whereas a 5-star champion will.

You unlock catalysts by playing special events. Each day in the event quests section, there will be a set of quests you can complete to unlock catalysts. You will earn basic catalysts by completing daily quests in the proving grounds event, and class-specific catalysts in the cosmic conflict daily quest.

Currently, the schedule for these class-specific catalysts is as follows: 

  • Monday: Mutant catalysts
  • Tuesday: Skill catalysts
  • Wednesday: Science catalysts
  • Thursday: Mystical catalysts 
  • Friday: Cosmic catalysts
  • Saturday: Tech catalysts
  • Sunday: Different catalysts depending on difficulty


You unlock the mastery tree at level 5. This is the most customizable part of the game, as there are loads of different viable mastery builds.

When you’re starting out, it’s important to go to the utility tree and focus on unlocking dexterity and parry. After that, it’s flexible in the early stages. I am a fan of playing rush down characters in fighting games like Street Fighter and Guilty Gear so I’ve focused on my offense tree.

If you don’t mind spending the gold on reassigning points, you can even experiment by recovering your points and trying out new builds. I’ll be writing an in-depth mastery guide sometime in the next few days and linking it to this Contest of Champions beginner’s guide so stay tuned!

Contest of Champions Beginner's Guide Mastery Section

Building a Team

What’s a piece of media from Marvel without team-ups? The same thing as a Contest of Champions beginner’s guide without touching on team building: incomplete.

As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock more characters. When you use these characters to build your team, you will want to keep a few things in mind. It’s important to have class variation in your teams. You want to make sure that you have your bases covered in terms of strengths and weaknesses. As tempting as it is to be like a Pokemon gym trainer and make a team of all scientists or all skill characters, you’ll have a harder time that way.

It’s also important to consider synergy bonuses when creating your team. You probably won’t have enough heroes at this point to make a team with synergy, but you should always check when selecting your champions. Synergy bonuses will vary depending on the specific characters, but they can give you boosts in areas like health, stun chance, critical hit rate, etc.

Contest of Champions Beginner's Guide Synergy Image

Story Quests

No Contest of Champions beginner’s guide would complete without discussing story quests. There are currently 5 acts, with Act 5 still pending release (currently at 2 chapters). Save for the most recent act, all acts are comprised of four chapters. Each chapter has six quests. You unlock each chapter, act, etc. by completing the previous one.

Throughout the quests, you have a chance to unlock various items on your path. Completing the chapters and acts will yield rewards like 3-star and 4-star champion crystals, 5-star champion crystal shards, premium hero crystals, ISO-8, and more.

You can look at the rewards ahead of time for completing any act up until 4. If you do this, you can see each act’s completion rewards, chapter rewards, and exploration rewards. If you go back through the quests you’ve previously completed and make sure to take every path available, you will 100% the exploration for the act and earn some pretty amazing rewards, like a 4-star hero crystal in Act 4. 


Now, let’s talk about this game’s version of guilds/clans: alliances. In Contest of Champions, alliances are totally worth it — because you can get all sorts of great rewards for joining and participating in them.

When you first join an alliance, you get 25 credits and a premium crystal for free! That premium crystal is a huge boost to you in the beginning, so it’s definitely worth joining one as soon as you can.

You also earn a currency called loyalty by going to the help tab of the alliance section and assisting your teammates! They can do the same for you when you’re out of quest energy — helping to restore some of it or to lower the cooldown of one of your heroes in versus mode.

Loyalty can be spent on alliance crystals. These crystals contain various boosts, and most importantly, a 3-star Unstoppable Colossus. Getting this hero will definitely add some more tankiness to your team, so it’s definitely worth trying for.

Alliance Events

Alliance events last anywhere from one day to a whole week. Each event has different requirements in order to earn points, but if you earn enough points to reach a milestone, you will earn rewards. Every time you reach a new milestone, you get better rewards. 

Alliance Quests

Alliance quests are unlocked at level 17. You can earn alliance quest crystals which award catalysts, alpha crystal fragments, and alliance potions.

Alliance Wars 

Alliance wars are unlocked at 17, too, and are similar to their quest counterparts — except you will be going against enemies placed by an opposing alliance of players and placing your own defensive characters for them to fight instead of facing down the AI.

Rewards for this mode are champion crystal shards, war victor crystals, loyalty, and gold. If you win your war, you will get the war victor crystal which contains various kinds of currency, boosts, and signature stones.

The video above, courtesy of YouTube channel JEGA KOJEG, shows what the offensive phase of an alliance war looks like. I’ll be creating a guide for alliance wars, as well, so stay tuned for that because I’ll link to it here!


Before I wrap up this Contest of Champions beginner’s guide, I’ll discuss my favorite part of the game: the arena. Here, you can play against the teams of other players. It’s the closest you’ll get to playing against another human in this game, outside of alliance wars.

In the versus section, you have the option of doing a 1v1 quick battle or entering one of the 3v3 or 5v5 arenas. Completing quick battles will get you versus crystals which will give you gold, energy refills, or battle chips. Similar to the Unstoppable Colossus, you can unlock a 3-star or 4-star Punisher champion in one of these crystals.

Battle chips can also be unlocked from completing arenas. This type of currency is used to unlock higher level arenas. It can also be used to purchase arena crystals. These kinds of crystals will yield better quality or higher amounts of gold, ISO-8, units, and potions. You can also get the Punisher champion here as well.

Each arena has its own difficulty, its own type of reward (crystals, catalysts, or champions) and is balanced for character stars. If you’re just a beginner, which we assume so if you’re reading this guide, you’ll want to start with the first arena quest from the bunch until you get the hang of it.

Contest of Champions Beginner's Guide Arena/Versus Image

The picture above shows what it looks like as you prepare for an arena match. You have the choice of fighting 3 teams with a difficulty assessment next to their names. After picking an opponent’s team, you can rearrange your characters in any order you want — so be sure to prioritize your champion’s class’s strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses.

For every win you earn in a specific arena, you’ll get a multiplier. This will amplify the points you get for every win, which allows you to reach milestones faster. However, with every multiplier bonus, your enemies will become more difficult. You can spend credits, though, to choose a new match-up if you’re afraid of losing a multiplier.

That’s the end of this Marvel Contest of Champions beginner’s guide. If you have any tips of your own to add or think I might have overlooked something, let me know in the comments! And stay tuned for more Contest of Champions guides to get ahead in this game.

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Joseph Rowe
World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.