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I am trying to figure out how damage is calculated in Marvel Puzzle Quest.

I know how an easy 3 tile matches work - basically 3 times the amount of the highest team member's damage value for a given tile, but either my math is fuzzy or it doesn't work that way for Combos and 4, 5 or 7 tile matches.

Assuming I would like to maximize damage dealt, (and not tiles cleared or AP generated) how does the game determine how much damage my team does?

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When you make a match, deals damage equal to the highest damage value in that color. You will see the hero with the attack power will leap to the front--that is the attacking character.

When you make a 4- or 5-match that destroys additional tiles in a row or column, the attacking character will use their values for the destroyed tiles, not the character with the highest.

E.g.: Storm has 65 blue damage and 12 red damage. Her teammate Ares has 65 red damage. Storm makes a 4-match, destroying a row containing 4 blue tiles and 4 red tiles. She deals 308 damage (12+12+65+65+65+65+12+12). Ares better Red attack is not counted--the match does not do 520.

Subsequent matches in a cascade--including the "second" match when you create two matches simultaneously--will be reduced by 25% each time. You will see the attacking hero (with the highest attack power in that color) will quickly leap to the front on each match, before your first attacking hero returns to the front when the cascade is over.

If your tile swap creates two matches, the first match evaluated is the one matching the color of the tile you moved to make the swap. When a simultaneous match is made during a cascade (or power activation), the board is evaluated row by row, left-to-right, and whichever match contains the topmost, leftmost tile will be dealt first.

You make a match dealing full damage. The tiles fall creating a cascade of 2 more matches. The topmost, leftmost match will do 75% damage and the next (third overall) will do 9/16 (56.25%) damage.

After cascade reduction is applied, strike tiles or enemy protect tiles are applied to the total damage. (That is to say, strike tiles do not get less effective as the cascades continue).

Critical tiles multiply the tile damage times the number of tiles in the match (including the critical tile), times the attacking character's critical value.

In a 4+ match that destroys other tiles, only the tiles that are part of the match are multiplied. Other tiles destroyed in the same row or column will do normal damage.

When multiple critical tiles are in the same match, things get crazy. 2 crit tiles turn a 4.5x modifier into x8; A 3.5x modifier turns into x6. (It's double the modifier minus one.)

This is why 2* Bullseye's expensive black power is well worth the cost. The ability to place 2 tiles next to each other makes it relatively easy to make 8x 5-tile matches, or 3 tile x8 + 3 tile x8 (* 0.75 cascade). Multiply that by an ally 5-star's damage... Or place them adjacent to an existing crit... The numbers get really, really high.

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The damage dealt from a match, as you said, takes into account the highest team member's damage value for a given tile. This is shown on the board by the icon of said member being shown on the tile. A simple match-3 is simply that character's damage for that color x3.

A match-4 (and above) complicates things. The column/row destruction doesn't only have an effect on the layout, it also adds the damage of the whole row to your match damage. So a match-4 isn't simply

tile damage x 4

it's

(tile damage x 4)+(damage of the remaining tiles in the row)

where the remaining tiles get the damage from the hero that has the highest power in that color, as indicated by the icon.

A T or L-shaped match-5 adds the damage of BOTH the row and the column.

A combo, or cascade as it's usually called, alternates between the heroes, as you can see in the animation, getting the damage from the character with the highest damage in the corresponding color. Cascades anyway are subject to diminishing returns, as you correctly guessed, so after 3 or 4 subsequent matches the damage becomes negligible.

Anyway, if your main goal is to maximize damage dealt, match damage can only help you up to a certain point. When you start developing your roster and get a good amount of 3-star heroes, you realize that matches are only a mean to unleash your powers. Especially in PvE you quickly realize that match damage becomes irrelevant very fast and the only way to end the game with a victory is to throw any special attack you have at the opposing team. In PvP too, where closing a game quickly can make the difference between a top-10 and a top-100 placement, you can't rely only on match damage to get through the game.

Combos though can still be a valuable asset, since getting one off means you'll gain a LOT of AP, allowing you to use you hero powers multiple times and to end the match quickly.

  • For the damage of the remaining tiles in the row, is it based on the same hero's attack power with those tiles, or the hero with the highest attack? What about combos? It seems like the hero with the highest damage comes to the front to make the attack, but the damage doesn't seem to indicate that, almost like it has some sort of diminishing returns. As far as using powers to deal the most damage, I am quickly realizing that, but I still would like to know how to maximize damage with matches when two moves look otherwise identical. – Bob2Chiv Sep 14 '15 at 14:59
  • @Bob2Chiv I've updated the answer trying to answer the remaining doubts. If there's still something missing, let me know. – Kappei Sep 15 '15 at 7:57
  • @Kappei. I've stumbeled across your answer and I don't see critical tiles explained. Recently I had fight where 30 dmg would make a difference between winning and losing. I wasn't sure if I should match a countdown tile that would dea 540 dmg or match crit tile with two blacks. The crit multiplier was 4.0 and black tile dmg was 49. It dealt over 600 dmg but I don't know how it was calculated (also I had boost for 100% match dmg, not sure if counts before or after). Any idea? – Zikato Jan 23 '16 at 12:19

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