Marvel’s Midnight Suns takes beloved characters fans know from the vast world of comics and movies and lets players live and fight among them as the Hunter. However, while the game has garnered many comparisons to XCOM and Fire Emblem, Midnight Suns‘ approach to turn-based tactics is something completely different. The game blends the strategic gameplay of the genre with card battles reminiscent of Hearthstone or Slay the Spire, resulting in a unique system that’s simple to pick up, but gets far more challenging as the game goes on.
Like any good strategy game, Midnight Suns is about more than just using attacks to damage enemies; it requires players to think about their actions (especially on higher difficulty levels) to make the most of each turn and avoid getting overwhelmed by enemies. Here are some tips for players who are starting out.
Understand Each Hero’s Specialty to Build Effective Teams
Midnight Suns features a roster of 13 heroes, each with a variety of cards to choose from that recreate their iconic abilities. Players will need to build a deck of eight cards for each hero, with cards falling into one of three categories: Attack, Skill, or Heroic. Attack cards deal damage directly, via Knockback, or both, with some having additional effects. Skills generally provide support, such as ally buffs, enemy debuffs, or healing. Finally, Heroics are powerful moves that consume Heroism, which is accumulated by playing Attack and Skill cards.
Different heroes have different specialties to keep in mind when deciding who to bring on missions. For example, Captain Marvel has powerful Heroics, so it’s important to pair her with a solid support character like Doctor Strange or Nico Minoru who can generate lots of Heroism for her to use. Because players can completely customize their abilities and gain new ones by embracing (or balancing) their Light or Dark sides, the Hunter can fill any gaps. They are required for all main story missions, usually with at least one other set team member, so adjusting their deck based on who else is involved in the fight
Know Your Enemy and Plan Accordingly
All of Midnight Suns‘ foes fall into one of three categories: Minions, Elites, and Bosses. Minions have no health and can be taken out with any damage, while Elites have health bars to wear down. Bosses have even more health and will be Downed once before being defeated, forcing players to essentially beat them twice. While Minions are weak, they often come in large numbers, making them a threat, especially when you lack good area-of-effect attacks to take several out at once.
It’s also important to pay attention to how different types of enemies function. Soulbound enemies, for instance, will revive at the end of each turn provided any other Soulbound units still have health. To take them out, players will need to weaken them as much as possible, then take them all out in one turn. There are also enemies with Split who will divide themselves in half after taking any damage, direct or indirect. While they evenly divide their health, the copies will also have Split, resulting in a lot more enemies on the map unless players deal with them efficiently. Paying attention to the enemy’s Passives and adjusting accordingly can make all the difference between victory and defeat.
How to Make the Most Out of Each Turn
Each round, players start out with three card plays, two redraws, and one move. These numbers can be increased using certain abilities, and players can unlock single-use items cards that don’t cost a card play as the game goes on, but this limit can feel incredibly restrictive at first. However, players can accomplish a lot each turn so long as they take full advantage of each action.
First, most heroes start out with at least one Attack with the Quick keyword, which refunds a card play when used to KO an enemy. Such cards are perfect for getting rid of minions, especially when they also have Knockback, which allows you to send them flying into another enemy. Some cards are Free, meaning they don’t require a card play, such as Blade’s “The Hunger” and Magik’s “Limbo Portal.” These don’t deal damage or generate Heroism, but they are perfect for setting up the next attack. Other cards and abilities can add additional card plays, redraws, and moves, so be sure to take a good look at what each card does and plan accordingly.
Whenever possible, take every action possible each turn rather than ending the turn with, say, an unused card play. Even if the card doesn’t seem necessary at the time, there’s usually no risk in using it (unless it has Exhaust, in which case you can only use it once per combat) to add more Block or generate some more Heroism, as Heroism, unused Block, and unplayed cards will stay with you between turns. Redraws are also worth using, particularly if you have cards with additional effects that bestow Block or Counter when redrawn. Iron Man in particular benefits from redraws, as many of his cards gain more power or bonuses this way.
Moves are also easy to forget about, but incredibly helpful when used effectively. Unlike other tactics games, players don’t get to place their heroes before each attack. Heroes can target enemies regardless of where they are on the map, but they will position themselves for attacks. Moves allow players to adjust a hero’s position to maximum Knockback attacks, avoid AoE attacks, and more. If a player doesn’t need to move for any of these reasons, they can have a hero run into an enemy to inflict Knockback, potentially sending them flying into another enemy or an explosive.
Speaking of which, each map has a variety of environmental elements players should take advantage of. Interacting with things like boulders, crates, and explosives (which can also be triggered with Knockback) costs Heroism, but since they don’t use card plays, there’s no strict limit on how many you can use in a turn. Some abilities, like Spider-Man’s “Opportunist,” can reduce or eliminate the Heroic cost of environmental attacks, and skills like the Hunter’s “Deadly Ground” can create new hazards to use to your advantage.
Befriending Your Favorite Marvel Heroes Comes With Gameplay Benefits
One of the most exciting parts of Midnight Suns is getting the chance to get to know beloved Marvel heroes like Spider-Man and Wolverine. Befriending the other residents of the Abbey does more than just enhance the story, though; reaching higher relationship levels also makes a difference in combat. Each hero has a Friendship Level, which maxes out at five (though players can still earn friendship XP to earn cosmetic rewards after this point). Increasing the Hunter’s Friendship with each hero unlocks Combo Abilities and useful Passives that trigger during combat.
Additionally, as the Hunter befriends more heroes, they’ll increase their Team Friendship Level. This allows players to use Hero Combos in battle (and lets players take more Combo cards into battle as the level increases) and provides other benefits that make it easier to befriend other heroes.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment With New Cards
As players progress through Midnight Suns, they’ll obtain more cards to build each hero’s deck. Rare cards come with more powerful abilities, and having two copies of a card (with at least one unequipped) lets players upgrade abilities to gain more damage or other effects. Sometimes, players will also find modded abilities in Gamma Coils with powerful, random modifiers. After completing certain research projects and upgrading the Yard with the Crucible, players can add or swap Mods themselves to make cards even more effective.
While it may be tempting to use the easy-to-understand basic cards that each hero starts with, trying out new ones is absolutely worthwhile, as they tend to deal more damage and unlock new ways to play. Unlocking the Yard’s T.H.R.E.A.T. Room gives players the perfect place to try out new strategies. Each hero can enter the Room once per day to try out skills and gain experiences as they do, providing a perfect opportunity to get to know how each hero operates and experiment with any new cards before taking them into a real battle.