When Marvel Puzzle Quest debuted in 2013, it may have seemed like just another match-three in an ocean of them, but players familiar with the Puzzle Quest series suspected it might warrant a closer look, and they were right. The combination of high production values, a red-hot license, online competition and nuanced, yet easy to grasp gameplay proved to be a hit, and the game has been thriving ever since.
Once of the secrets to its longevity is the constant addition of new content, primarily in the form of new characters. While the first version only offered 23, each with their own powers and abilities, the developers have been adding more and more over time, and devotees of the game find the lure of growing their roster impossible to resist. At the moment, there are 115 to collect and more are always on the way.
Given that the cast of heroes and villains has grown so large, this list will take a stab at ranking them—but it’s not just a simple numbered countdown. Characters in MPQ are divided into different rarities, so a newcomer can’t just check who’s in the top ten, grab them, and start winning. No, climbing to the top of MPQ’s ranks is a slow process, so this list will rate each tier of rarity separately. It still gives a good idea of who’s top of the heap overall, but players who aren’t yet in the upper ranks can see who’s the best for the level that they’re at, and shoot for those characters as a means of carving a path to the top.
115. Yelena Belova (Dark Avengers): Poor Yelena. Most people don’t even know who she is, and she’s also the worst character in the weakest tier. She’s only got two powers, they cost a lot to use, and they’re not effective. Plus, she wants to be Black Widow… It’s kinda creepy.
114. Hawkeye (Classic): While I actually like Hawkeye’s powers because their ability to target specific areas of the board is great, they cost too much and don’t pack much punch. He’s fun to use, but fun without power doesn’t win a lot of matches.
113. Storm (Modern): This version of Storm isn’t bad at all, but as is the case with most characters in this tier, she’s pretty weak. Her enhanced versions are solid, but there are better choices in this rank. I love her outfit, though. This is my favorite iteration of Ororo Munroe.
112. Venom (Dark Avengers): Poor Venom. He used to be able to stun a whole team and devour anyone in one bite. He got nerfed when other webmaking characters joined the game and changed the dynamics of the power, and he’s just a shadow of his former nasty self now.
111. Spider-Man (Original): I love the history represented in this character. Calling back to his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy from 1962 was a nice surprise, and a great nod to comic buffs. He’s not a bad character, either. His ability to create critical tiles gives him a nice punch.
110. Black Widow (Modern): This version of Black Widow is one of the very few one-star characters that has utility in higher ranks. When used as a Team-Up, her ability to stun an enemy for five turns is supremely useful, and can often turn the tide of a battle.
109. Iron Man (Model 35): With Iron Man 35, players start to see the typical build for characters in higher ranks. He’s got a full spread of three powers and some diversity in his abilities. He’s a good all-arounder, and players starting out can’t go wrong with him.
108. Juggernaut (Classic): He’s the biggest fish in a small pond. Juggs has a lot of health, he dishes out a (relative) ton of damage, and he’s got a good board-shake which can earn some cascade matches and get rid of enemy tiles. This guy is the ticket to getting into two-star.
107. Spider-Man (Bag-Man): He is the worst, the worst, the worst. Not only does he look like a total dork, his powers are worthless and they cost a lot to use. He is an absolute disgrace and a failure from any perspective.
106. Bullseye (Dark Avengers): This version of Bullseye is yet another low-ranker whose powers cost too much for what they do, although he does have some use thanks to his passive ability to create defense tiles anytime anyone matches purple. Even so, it’s not enough to make him worth using.
105. Steve Rogers (Captain America): The only problem with this version of Cap America is that he’s just too weak. Creating defense tiles is fine and his ability to override enemy tiles is great, but his attack is absolutely toothless. Forget vibranuim, his shield is so weak that it’s apparently a repainted whoopee cushion.
104. Daken (Dark Avengers): Wolverine Jr. is underwhelming from any perspective. His self-healing isn’t enough to keep him alive, his hits are soft, and while his power to create strike tiles is somewhat useful, his daddy still isn’t proud of him.
103. Moonstone (Dark Avengers): Moonstone is frustrating. When the AI uses her, she’s surprisingly effective. When used by the player, she’s usually a letdown. The randomness ruins her tile-moving ability and her attack depends on having a red-heavy board, but stealing tiles can turn a loss into a win against much stronger enemies.
102. Human Torch (Johnny Storm): The Torch is totally middle-of-the-road. He’s got decent offense capabilities, but his black cannibalizes his own team’s power and his green relies on the player to constantly make more green matches. He’s a bit high maintenance.
101. Wolverine (Astonishing X-Men): I like the costume this version of Wolverine is wearing, and if he’s the last character standing, his claws gain quite a bit of power for a knockout slash. His healing ability is disappointing, though… He gets KO’d a lot quicker than a good Logan should.
100. Captain Marvel (Ms. Marvel): This Captain Marvel is only effective in very specific situations. Her destruction of shield tiles and supersonic attack aren’t anything to write home about, but she makes a ridiculous number of Team-Up tiles which create cascades and pays for high-cost abilities to be used.
99. Thor (Marvel NOW!): Two-star Thor is a solid character, but a little boring. He’s exactly the same as his bigger three-star brother, except that he’s just plain weaker all-around. Not a bad choice, but not a great choice, either.
98. Storm (Classic): Although her powers are a bit on the expensive side, Storm can gain AP to help herself along, and her blue power is devastating. Not only does it damage the entire team, the five-turn stun is a huge amount of time to knock an enemy out.
97. Hawkeye (Modern): Now we’re getting to the good stuff. If the player can make a match-5, Hawk creates a series of tiles which do massive damage. It obliterates enemies, but in order to get the job done predictably, he needs to either be absurdly lucky, or to team up with…
96. Magneto (Marvel NOW!): …This guy! Magneto’s purple ability is a perfect complement to Hawkeye since it lets him easily create match-5s. His red also does a healthy chunk of damage, but his real value is in being BFFs with Clint. They are a supreme combo in this tier.
95. Black Widow (Original): This spider has some bite! Her black boosts the match damage she does, so every move is stronger than most in this tier, she can also steal power from the enemy team, and her blue power delays enemy actions or heals the friendly team. She’s all-around useful in any situation.
94. Ares (Dark Avengers): Now this is a guy to watch out for. His yellow is a hefty hit, his red smacks the enemy team, and the power of his green is multiplied by how many green matches he makes. After saving up enough green, he can take the kneecaps out from under anyone.