First it was Wolverine, then Deadpool & Cable, and now Foxnext has added the weather witch herself, Storm, to Marvel Strike Force. X-Men are my favorite Marvel characters, so it’s been frustrating to say the least to see Marvel hold them back from appearing in various games and other media over the years. This makes it all the more exciting to see a mutant character appear in a modern Marvel title, even if it is on mobile.
Storm dropped with yesterday’s update, which wasn’t hugely substantial aside from the addition of the new character, but we did get a new 7-lane layout for the Ultimus Raid V, which will be a huge relief for MSF’s Alliances. The 7-lane layout allows for more flexibility in completing the raid in case a member can’t show up.
Like many recent character releases, Storm will be unlocked through a campaign event designed to pretty much guarantee anyone (including F2P players) a two-star Storm. I was glad to hear Storm was to be unlocked this way, since the cynic in me fully expected such a hotly anticipated character to be unlocked through some terribly grindy event à la Nick Fury. The Storm campaign event isn’t actually live yet (it goes live on Friday), so I can’t offer my take on its overall implementation, but Foxnext is allowing players to purchase Storm Orbs ahead of the event to unlock her early. Which I did. The shame will settle in later, but I just gotta have my X-Men. I couldn’t wait.
Storm’s kit is a bit of an oddity. Her abilities are powerful, but they take a long time to scale up, as she requires stacking levels of Charge to exploit her full potential. This makes her all but useless in anything but raids, which to me is an extremely weird way to design one of Marvel’s most popular mutant characters. The idea with Storm is to carry her Charge levels from fight to fight until you’ve built up a sufficient amount to unleash massive AoEs.
Her first AoE, Ice Storm, can both slow and stun the entire enemy team, which is impressive at face value, but even more impressive when you consider the fact that the slow debuff actually extends the duration of stun. Stun wears off when your next turn fires, but if it takes you longer for your speed bar to fill up, you end up stunned for longer. Spider-Man can apply slow and stun simultaneously to a single target, but as far as I know, Storm is the only character in the game who can potentially pull this off against the entire enemy team. Your chance to apply these effects scales with Charge, with the stun portion in particular being much more reliant on Charge to apply at 10% per stack.
Storm of the Century, Storm’s ultimate ability, is raw AoE damage, which, again, scales with Storm’s charge. It starts at 110% damage, with an additional +100% for each stack of Charge.
Storm builds charge with her basic attack, so it can take a while to build up enough to optimally cast her AoEs. Based on the scaling, I would say it takes her about two to four stacks of Charge to make either ability worth casting. At two stacks, you can guarantee the slow on Ice Storm will apply to all targets (it cannot be dodged and Storm gets +100% Focus for the attack), but you’ll only have a 30% chance to Stun. Ideally, you’d probably want to wait to four stacks to give yourself a 50% chance to Stun, but you do have the flexibility to go earlier if you really need the slow.
I’d say 300% is a solid amount of AoE damage to pull off on an ultimate ability and two stacks will get you to 310% damage, so it’s not too hard to get some respectable performance out of the ability. That said, Charge can stack up to 20 so in a raid environment you may want to hold onto Storm’s Charge a bit longer to drop a massive nuke at the right time. Three or four stacks of Charge will get SotC to some great damage levels, but I’d likely hold out for longer in a raid scenario.
Storm’s basic attack attacks adjacent targets when she has Charge, but I wish it had a % chance to build a stack on hit. This would improve her viability in PvP as it would allow her the potential to scale up faster.
Ride the Wind, Storm’s passive, gives her excellent synergy with X-Men and X-Force characters. At max rank, she gains a 50% chance to apply Speed Up to X-Men/X-Force characters on turn. She also has a 50% chance to grant Assist Now to X-Men/X-Force allies on their turns. In short, everything about Storm scales with Speed. The faster she can go, the more opportunities she has to apply her buffs and generate additional stacks of Charge. Speeding up her allies also affords her additional opportunities to grant assists.
Unfortunately, due to Charge stacking, I don’t see Storm doing so well in PvP, though it is nice to have the flexibility to cast her abilities at reduced potency and not have to worry about Energy requirements, so you could get lucky when it comes to Ice Storm, but you’d definitely want to wait at least two turns for Storm of the Century. PvP matches tend to resolve in two to three turns, so she may be able to hang, but probably just barely.
Storm’s passive also highly depends on having X-Men/X-Force allies on her team, which limits her composition flexibility right now. You’re basically looking at Cable, Deadpool and Wolverine as your only options at the moment, which means you’d need to fill the final spot with a character who gains zero benefit from her passive. I feel she can work out in a raid environment as part of an X-Men/X-Force B team right now, but we’ll need to see what other mutants Foxnext add to MSF to get a better idea for her full potential.