Cyclops is one character you don’t want to turn on auto-play for!
While many other characters have more straightforward skill sets, particularly brawler and blaster-type characters, optimizing the use of this X-Men leader truly requires you to decide, turn by turn, which of his skills to use, against whom and in what scenarios.
Sure, you can still let auto-play run its course when you’re steamrolling opponents in Blitz, but if you’re doubling down on a precious War attack attempt, or punching up against opponents in Arena, you know you can’t afford to let the AI execute skills indiscriminately. And against random targets to boot!
But the biggest line of discussion here is how to best optimize the use of his high-utility skills. Why do we say they’re high in utility? Check out his skills below:
Cyclops is the America Chavez of blasters! Or mutants. Or the X-Men. The reason is simply because Scott applies Defense Down with every basic attack, giving his team mates a boost in damage output. For those of you who are familiar with using America Chavez with her hero brawler team or Young Avengers team, or basically in any team, you can guess where this is going!
This character has rather high speed, allowing him to take his turn before most enemies, but puts him in-between his X-Men mates. At a speed of 108, he is the fourth fastest X-Men among the seven of them (sans X-23 who was recently tagged as one of them, but doesn’t have any special synergy with them yet). Makes us a bit of a contradiction, yeah? Well, almost.
Who joins Cyclop’s team is thus important!
That is why we personally recommend the X-Men Team 2 set up as your choice of characters to compliment and supplement this one-eyed force. Storm’s passive skill, Ride the Wind, has a 50% chance to apply Assist Now on X-Men characters’ turns. So, every time Cyclops takes his turn, whoever assists him benefits from his debuff. Whenever Cyclops assists someone, the next person to attack benefits too!
It can get tricky to use him, considering how calculative you need to be in whose turn comes next — friend’s or foe’s or the target’s. That’s why we stated at the beginning of this guide — Cyclops is one character you don’t want to turn on auto-play for!
As much as possible, have Cyclops target your high-key target, rather than to be the one to take out critically injured targets. It’s true that as a blaster, he’s strong. But when you have Defense Down on that Nick Fury in Arena, Deadpool in Blitz, or Mordo in Raid, you’ll want to prioritize total team damage output!
And, of course, when you’ve safely neutralize the more dangerous enemies, go wild with Cyclops’ basic attack! Even if Cyclops gets inflicted with Block Action, his basic attack is more than useful in most situations. If anything, we highly recommend to rely mainly on this skill! Why waste his truly magnificent damaging Ultimate skill for a mere one or two S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic, right?
Here’s a little something that we learned during Cyclops’ basic and counterattacks: it’s not stated in the skill description, but Cyclops does not miss! That’s right! Just like Hawkeye, Cyclops’ basic attacks bypass Evade! Use it to your advantage against the Hand and Daredevil and any character that dares to sidestep your blasts of fury! Pity that his assist attacks will miss, and he doesn’t wipe off the Evade buff like Venom, but I guess we can’t get too greedy, now can we?
Sounds like a neat skill to use, isn’t it? To Me! is a like an improved version of Korath’s Special skill, applying taunt on the two most injured enemies. This is more obvious to use when you know an enemy Protector is about to taunt, or has already taunted, denying you access to a weakened or high-key enemy.
This is also a good reason why you should be manually controlling Cyclops!
Leaving on the auto-battle function makes Scott execute his Special skill whenever it’s available, regardless whether there’s an enemy taunting or not, or whether there’s even a need.
A simple rule for using Cyclops’ Special skill: use only when required.
Here’s a little something we discovered about this skill: taunt applies to the two enemies who are the most injured, and this bypasses stealth! In an Ultimus raid, we targeted a Deadpool about to launch his Special skill the next turn, and had squashed his health down to about 10%. The Hand Sentry had his turn next, and he sent everyone into stealth -insert censored mouth icon-
Fortunately, the Hand Sentry did not apply evade on Deadpool, and when we executed Cyclops’ Special skill, taunt was applied on Deadpool! And it was a save! The crowd goes wild!
Yes, Evade really helps a character to avoid everything, from damage to application of debuffs. No, stealth does not save the two most injured enemies from taunt -insert wide-mouth smiley face-
By the way, we still haven’t touch on the total damage output combined from assist attacks. That’s right! It’s not merely a technique to unveil a hidden or protected enemy, but to also dish out some additional attack if Wolverine is present or you’re lucky. Or both!
Later in this guide, under the suggested team setups, we’ll describe in X-Men Team 1 that it’s the set up specifically designed by the game devs because that’s where you’ll get to maximize the potential of Cyclops’ Special skill. As stated in the skill description, Wolverine will be commanded to attack the most injured of the taunted enemies, which means two characters (Cyclops and Wolverine) will be attacking, two for the price of one!
Bring this skill level up to 5 and you’ll have a chance to command a second character to attack the second most injured enemy. THREE for the price of one! This absolutely sounds cool, much like how Star-Lord’s Ultimate skill can get up to two allies to attack the same enemy, Cyclops can also get up to two allies to attack THREE targets, including two of the most injured! Huzzah!
Of course, at level 5, you only have a 50% chance to get a second ally to attack too, but if you believe strongly in this skill, consider investing it all the way up to level 7 for a 100% chance to have all three of your characters pounding the enemy team!
Would you like us to contradict ourselves again? We’re sure you’d like that 😉
We didn’t level this up to 7 despite how cool it sounds. Read on to X-Men team 2 to find out why we left it at level 6 (we would have left it at 5, but we wanted to boost Cyclops’ power even further).
And aaaaallll this talk about the taunt application feature of this skill, but nothing about calling your allies to attack yet? Why, this is partly the reason why you should include Wolverine into your main team! The most injured enemy targeted by Cyclops’ skill has been solely and exclusively reserved for Wolverine and only Wolverine. Not including him into your team effectively drops this skill’s efficiency by 33%, because instead only two of the three targeted enemies will be attacked. (In case you haven’t realized yet, this skill targets three enemies, and up to three of your characters will launch attacks simultaneously. Awesome, right?)
All the right reasons to include Wolverine! And that’s the optimal Cyclops team designed by the game developer!
Oh my gosh! This could very well rank way up there amongst the highest damaging skills, next to Iron Man’s Unibeam, Ultron’s Unibeam, and maybe Crossbone’s explosion (some data somewhere suggested that by calculations, Crossbones’ Ultimate has the highest damage stat).
Let’s calculate this a little: Optic Devastation does 200% damage, plus 25% per Charged. Cyclops’ Passive skill allows him to accumulate up to 10 Charges from level 1 to level 4. Assuming that’s where most of us will go, considering the scarcity of Orange Upgrade materials, we’ll likely wait for a maximum count of 10 Charges, amounting to 250% + 200% = 550%. This. Is. AOE!
To put this in perspective, Spider-Man (Symbiote)’s Ultimate attack is already considered very powerful in terms of damage output, not considering its effects, but even at level 7, he only does 340% damage. Spider-Man’s and Carnage’s Ultimate skills are even more powerful, dealing 500% damage at level 7. But those are only single-targets!
Now, let’s increase Cyclops’ Passive skill to the max, allowing him to accumulate up to 20 incredible Charges! 20! That’s 500% + 200% = 700% on all enemies on your screen!
Let’s put this in perspective again, using Ultron, who is heretofore the ultimate god-like character, perhaps locking horns with only Doctor Doom. Ultron’s Ultimate skill at level 7 deals an amazing 700% of damage, which is what Cyclops is dishing out, but to every enemy out there, compared to Ultron’s sole-targeting skill!
Here’s one last factor to consider: Ultron is a controller, and typically has lower attack power; SSM is a brawler, and has a much higher attack stat; Cyclops is a blaster, and in compensation for having lower health and armor, they are gifted with the highest stats among the five roles!
Now, let’s do a little more scenario imagining, because we’re talking purely about Cyclops’ skill alone. We’ve not taken into account what damage levels his Ultimate can do when he debuffs enemies with Defense Down and Beast buffs him with Offense Up!
Savor every moment you have with Cyclops’ Optic Devastation! Admittedly, such a powerful skill comes at great cost, and using it at the wrong time, or at the least optimal situations, will be a great waste of the large amounts of energy you would need to accumulate. Well, at the start of a fight, his Ultimate skill will be available rather quickly, within 3 turns, but after that, you’ll need to wait an agonizing 8 turns before you can use it again.
Therefore, use this skill very sparingly!
It’s a pity that none among the X-Men are able to provide energy to him in order to speed up the accumulation. By the time Cyclops gets his next turn, and imagining a scenario where he magically gains 8 energy by his next turn, he would have accumulated 5 or 10 Charges, allowing him to fire off at 375% or 550%. Both are of great damage output, but wouldn’t be as magical as when you execute it at MAXIMUM CHARGE! OH YEAH!
For those of you who are interested in exploring Cyclops’ animations a little more, try this: execute his Ultimate skill when he has less than half of his max Charges (that means 4 or 9, depending on your Passive skill level), then, compared the animation for when he has exactly half or more Charges (5 or more, 10 or more).
We’ll leave out screenshots of them, so that you can see the lovingly-drawn animations for yourself!
Wow, like, the name for Cyclops’ passive skill blatantly rubs in your face the fact that it’s a synergy skill! Well, team synergy is quite a strong factor when using Cyclops after all — “Synergy” in the game’s terminology, because lots of his skill benefits activate when there are X-Men allies; “synergy” in the dictionary sense of the word, because the skills of the X-Men characters truly work well with him, even if Scopely doesn’t assign them the “X-Men” tag.
Whenever it is his turn or an ally X-Men’s turn, he’ll gain +1 Charged, and in order to reach the greater goal of having 10 Charges, you’ll definitely need as many X-Men allies as possible. (For those of you unfamiliar with the “UNCANNY” tag here, it’s a new segregation to be used to define older and newer/other X-Men characters at a later date. This hints to having more X-Men characters in the future, but that’s another discussion for Marvel Guessation!?) What can help Cyclops accumulate his 20 Charges faster? Faster team mates and slower enemies! That’s why Storm is wonderful to have on the team, wherein her application of Speed Up on an X-Men’s turn truly is a boon of nature, plus, Beast dispells enemy buffs to hinder them from getting their turns.
Do the math, and you’ll see that you only need to wait for Cyclops’ 2nd turn before you can pull off his (second) highest damage output. Plus, refer back above to his Ultimate Skill – it starts with 6 energy and only requires 2 more to become usable! Perfect timing!
But, wait. Why did we say “second highest damage output”? No, it’s not because we’re displaying his stats for level 4 instead of 5. Just wait patiently for one more turn for Beast to execute his Ultimate Skill and apply Offense Up to Cyclops, and the only two ways to survive Cyclops’ Optic Devastation is to either dodge it or to ridiculously exceed his combat power!
And, again, while we’ve been prattling on about his Charges, we’ve not come to his second synergy with Wolverine. Yes, Cyclops synergies specifically with Wolverine in more ways than one! Talk about ‘best buds’!
Similar to the counterattack effect like S.H.I.E.L.D. Trooper’s and the Punisher’s Passive skills, an enemy attacking Phoenix will trigger a counterattack from Cyclops. And if Cyclops doesn’t counterattack (because it’s only a 50% chance), then Wolverine will do the counterattacking! This punishes whoever dares lay a finger on the legendary member of the team, so again, see the value of pumping up Wolverine (like the comic panel above!) and letting Cyclops’ skills be used to their very best!
Oh yeah, Wolverine’s speed bar is filled to full too, so your enemy better prepare for a beating!
As a Blaster, Cyclops is a high damage-dealing powerhouse who can wipe out enemies, or leave them ready to be wiped! This makes him valuable even in non-X-Men teams, but we’ll be honest, his place is still with the X-Men.
#1: X-Men Team 1
Beast, Cyclops, Wolverine, Phoenix, Colossus
This is the very team that Scopely designed for Cyclops! Every one of his skill is 100% utilized to its fullest in this team, and cross-reliance between the other specific members as well! (Maybe except for Beast, because his skills just rely on X-Men. Any X-Men.) If anything, this first team setup we have here on Cyclop’s character guide shall be the benchmark for the rest of the X-Men team variations that will follow below, and believe us, there are so many X-Men team variations out there!
Colossus takes the far right corner so that when he taunts, you can minimize collateral damage. Phoenix is next to him because she’ll gain taunt as well whenever Colossus gains it. This hastens her death, but with Phoenix, that’s the purpose! Wolverine is next to her due to his innate healing passive, so as to mitigate collateral damage when enemies target Phoenix. Beast is positioned furthest away from the two taunters because he’s the support of the team and has the lowest defensive stats.
If you consider what we discussed about Cyclops’ Special and Passive Skills above, you can clearly understand how they help Wolverine to shine, and when you have Colossus, Wolverine’s Ultimate is a mega-burst of power! We gotta say, though, that the animation without Colossus is more appealing, seeing all the dazzling special effects, and Wolverine howling in pure fury!
Just like Wolverine in other Marvel games!
In Marvel Strike Force, Wolverine wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to Dr. Doom though, but this is a different game after all!
Whoops! Looks like we strayed from the discussion – sorry, not sorry!
#2: X-Men Team 2
Beast, Cyclops, Storm, Phoenix, Colossus
Our personal favorite set up! While Wolverine is meant to be in the main X-Men team, Storm’s Special Skill benefits from having Beast as well, making her suitable to be part of Cyclop’s team. In fact, we strongly feel that Storm should replace Wolverine due to her two AOE skills, one of which is highly useful in stunning and/or slowing enemies, the other deals great damage just like Cyclops!
Storm will take a longer time to accumulate Charges, but when she does, she’ll whip up a storm in battle, even more powerful when Beast buffs her with Offense Up! True, it’ll take time for Storm to gather sufficient energy to fire off her skills again, while Wolverine’s Special and Ultimate Skills come around again sooner, but remember that the X-Men team is not meant for long, drawn-out battles.
Their main source of healing is Beast, but his healing frequency is extremely wanting, and the amount he heals each successful time is found even more so. If Scopely were to have Beast focus solely on buffing instead of healing, he would likely be more valuable to the team as an effective healer. Until then, consider Beast’s healing and Regen application to be side dishes.
That’s why, when using an X-Men team – any of these X-Men teams – don’t depend on them to survive very many consecutive battles. Perhaps for Arena, Blitz and War Offense, but do consider against using them for Raids.
#3: X-Men Team 3
Beast, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus
Not everyone is able to get Phoenix yet, not when the requirements are pretty steep and when half of the characters you need aren’t all that desirable! Good thing Hela is introduced to be a 6th option to attempt the Phoenix event with!
This team setup still has very high synergy between the five X-Men members, and though they don’t have the power of Phoenix, and Cyclops’ skills aren’t utilized to their maximum, there’s still a lot of combination attacks going on that will make this team all the more powerful!
Cyclops will still gain his maximum possible Charges with this full X-Men team, and gets the buffs from Beast to power up his powerful Ultimate skill. The Special skill still relies on Wolverine as the second attacker, and anyone else can be an effective third attacker. Plus, Cyclops’ basic skill will still apply Defense Down, paving the way for greater damage output for his team members!
Wolverine, on this part, will attack a lot more due to Cyclops’ skills above. Plus, having X-Men allies means that his Special skill will not longer be countered and have 100% crit chances, his Passive skill will give him an additional 5% chance to revive (it’s merely 5%, but, hey! We’ll take it!) along with an additional 5% boost in speed per X-Men ally. An overall top to bottom buff for the berserk attacker of the team! His Special skill wouldn’t have the increased damage from being next to Phoenix, but at least Colossus will be there to boost his Ultimate skill instead!
This guide is starting to become a Cyclops Plus Wolverine Character Guide! Oh my!
#4: X-Men Team 4
Psylocke, Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus
Maintaining the earlier X-Men Team 4 setup, we consider the possibility that not everyone would successfully obtain Beast, since the game developer seems to want to upsell him. So, instead, we rely on the the original team of X-Men characters that we used to rampage around the game with!
Replacing Beast is the glimmering and shimmering Psylocke! While a brawler, she has quite a few skills that act like a controller/supporter. For one, her Ultimate skill transfers all debuffs on your X-Men allies to the enemy, effectively turning the tables on them! It’ll be a great relief if you can quickly get rid of all of Scientist Supreme’s debuffs in one way. The only problem is that Pyslocke requires 6 energy to execute her Ultimate skill, so do consider carefully before using it! In fact, we do think this skill of Psylocke’s is more efficient than Phoenix’s Special skill that results in putting Phoenix in a very vulnerable position. Well, Phoenix is designed to get herself killed, while Psylocke is trying to keep everyone from getting killed.
This may also be a consideration for everyone when bringing X-Men into raids and the Dark Dimension. When Phoenix dies and summons Dark Phoenix, you are considered to have lost one character, regardless whether or not Dark Phoenix survives the battles. You’ll be short of one character in the next battle! Also, Psylocke’s Passive skill at level 4 applies one count of Evade to an X-Men ally that drops below 50%. With Colossus in your team, he’ll draw enemy attacks with his taunt, but if there is a Vulture or Rocket, you’ll thank the heavens for bringing Psylocke into the team too!
Just one last bit of similarly we want to highlight between Psylocke and Phoenix — Psylocke’s Special skill clears as many as 2 buffs from up to 3 enemies, which makes her pretty much a good replacement for Phoenix’s basic attack. True, it requires Psylocke to accumulate 4 energy, while Phoenix only needs to use her basic skill, but when you don’t have this omega level mutant, you can still rely on the other mutants!
#5: X-Men Team 5
Psylocke, Cyclops, Wolverine, Phoenix, Colossus
In consideration of the X-Men Team 4 setup, Psylocke does make a good member of the team so that you don’t need to sacrifice Phoenix just to save the team from mass debuffs. You’ll likely better save the team when you combine the forced taunt reaction from Colossus and the evade buff from Psylocke, allowing a more resilient team.
But, here’s a disclaimer again, this team is still unlikely to endure long battles, like in raids. If you have to rely on a forced taunt to divert enemy attacks and activate Psylocke’s evade buff application, you know your team is in trouble!
This setup is to create a team that can withstand a longer than usual battle, such as in the arena or War offense. You won’t have any healing without Beast’s presence, but at least you can prevent your team from being weakened and suffer an untimely defeat. Yes, Phoenix is designed to die quickly in battle in order to summon her dark version, but Dark Phoenix does not clear the team of debuffs. Her Special skill may allow her to steal all enemies’ HP and apply Regeneration to her X-Men allies, but it requires a ridiculous 5 energy just to pull it off! Plus, we don’t like to rely on Regeneration to do your heal. We prefer the healing to be done immediately and instantly. See our criticism of the Kree Oracle in our Comprehensive Marvel Strike Force Tier List to see why we think Regeneration isn’t reliable.
Thankfully, heal or no heal, Cyclops’ skills are still optimized (at least by up to 99%!) in this team, having both Phoenix and Wolverine and flanked by a full X-Men team!
Know the enemy and know yourself. Or in this case, Cyclops. When you use his skills at the most opportune moments, you can essentially turn the tide of battle and even outright win even if you’ve yet to acquire the legendary Phoenix in your team!
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