MSF: Unlocking & Upgrading Apocalypse

Apocalypse Unlock - MSF

Apocalypse is Marvel Strike Force’s latest big deal and is unlocked after a year of releases. A variety of characters are needed to unlock this Mutant villain, including the Darkhold, Unlimited X-Men, Gamma and Death Seed factions. In addition, the three characters unique to Marvel Strike Force, Kestrel, Deathpool and Spider-Weaver, are also needed for this unlock to add Apocalypse to your MSF roster. After reaching the Heroic Mode to fight to unlock Apocalypse, each board requires one of these specific factions at Tier 2, Level 4 Iso-8 to enter and fight, and those battles are chronicled below.

For details on upgrading Apocalypse to 7-stars and 4-red stars, scroll to the bottom of the page for details.


Unlocking Apocalypse – Heroic Mode

First Battle
Darkhold all at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.139m power

Facing off against 20 enemies, I target Emma Frost with the initial special from MLF to ability block her. I am able to kill Hela in three turns which then allows me to eliminate the Undead Asgardian, then I start chopping away at the enemies, killing Emma and Lady Deathstrike next. A ultimate from Doctor Strange (Heartless) comes with Offense Up which helps wipe out the first wave of enemies, and when Stryfe appears I am able to drop a Buff Immunity on him to allow me to focus on the attackers. With each kill it seems two enemies take their place, but I keep chopping down the weakest or biggest offensive threat to allow my team to continue to advance. Taking out Adam Warlock helps nicely leaving 11 enemies left. I work through this group and when 8 enemies are left they all appear, ready to attack. I again ability block Emma Frost, then kill Mister Sinister and leave Zombie Iron Man and Adam Warlock for the end. They put up a good battle, but the 3-star win is, like Thanos, inevitable.


Second Battle
Unlimited X-Men at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.118m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 16 or 17 and all at Levels 90-93. 16 enemies and 8 are on-screen to start and they get a jump on me getting several attacks before I can do anything. The enemies load up debuffs on my team, and after a couple of turns they take a full run through of all enemies attacking again as this battle is stacked against my characters. With Spider-Weaver getting charged up and dodging attacks as a result, the battle is proving to be a total waste of time. I lose Dazzler first, and Rogue gets her first turn about 30 attacks into the battle. After a few attacks show me making slight progress, I lose both Fantomex and Gunfire, leaving just Rogue and Gambit in this waste of time battle as 10 enemies remain. Gambit’s counters prove to be the only reason I have any chance at all as the whittle Rogue down on health. At 6 enemies left I start to think I have a shot at winning, but after killing Squirrel Girl the enemies kill Rogue. Kestrel proves to be the biggest problem in this final group. I get it down to 2 enemies left and finally get killed, thus proving this to be a waster of my time.

I come back with the same gear but all of my characters at Level 91-93, adding a little more strength in hopes of a better outcome. Now at 1.133k power, I get Dazzler to take her turn before Spider-Weaver this time, and I land an Ability Block using her 3rd ability, then have Rogue hit her with the 2nd ability to remove her from the battle. This allows the battle to start off MUCH better, and 5 enemies are dead before I even notice. When just 4 enemies remain I am at nearly full health and this battle is like a night and day difference. I cruise to victory and move on.


Third Battle
Gamma at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.155m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 16 or 17 and all at Levels 90-94. 13 total enemies are our task here with 7 on-screen to start. I have Red Hulk focus on Thor and a group of 3 on the left, and a AoE from Abomination to follow kills Thor and Heimdall, prompting Valkyrie to buff the other Hero Asgardians. Brawn then targets Mighty Thor to steal buffs and I take some hits. When the time comes I kill Psylocke to get to 10 enemies left and Phoenix, Ikaris and more come join the party. The battle gets tougher here with a lot more offense against me, and at 8 enemies left Red Hulk uses his ultimate to help out significantly. At this point, with th 3-star win hanging in the balance and both Brawn and She-Hulk in trouble, I just do my best to survive. When I get to 3 enemies left I and fortunate to have Red Hulk’s special available and he comes through in the clutch to preserve the win.


Fourth Battle
Death Seed at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.129m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 16 and all at Levels 90-93. 18 total enemies are in the way of reaching our goal, and Gambit and Black Panther 1MM are the two that cause me the most trouble early one. With my Dark Beast as my weakest member, I continue battling with keeping his Health from getting too low and end up losing Psylocke. As I get to the final wave of 6 enemies left I lose Dark Beast just after Psylocke is revived and just before finishing I lose Psylocke again for a 1-star victory.

Fighting this again to get the 3-star victory, I now check in at 1.262m power as Dark Beast is now 6-stars/6 red stars and Archangel is 7-stars. Going after Gambit is key here as his constant attacks countering my moves is annoying and bothersome, so I weaken him with direct hits and kill him with AoE attacks. I look to pile on the debuffs and use Psylocke to remove enemy buffs, and this new, stronger Archangel is awesome in this battle. Near the end, when Nakia and Shuri appear, Psylocke removes their Speed Up buffs and Archangel takes out Spider-Weaver to ensure a smoother ending as these characters can be a pain. Magneto Blinds the group, DB blocks Deathpool and I finish them off with ease for the 3-star win.


Fifth Battle
Kestrel, Deathpool & Spider-Weaver at t2, level 4 Iso-8
879k power

My threesome here includes Deathpool at Gear 16 and both Kestrel and Spider-Weaver at Gear 17. Kestrel is a Iso-8 class Raider while the other two are Strikers. Nick Fury joins the team and grants Defense Up, then I go all-in on taking out the right side enemies, eliminating Ghost Rider and Abomination first, then move over to kill Dark Beast with Kestrel’s ultimate. From here it is just playing the bully role and dominating these enemies as they are strong enough to be annoying, but do not put up enough of a fight to worry me at all.


Sixth Battle
Kestrel, Gambit, Agatha Harkness, Morgan Le Fay & Spider-Weaver at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.353k power

My team looks strong as I start off and dominate the early going with a team at this level. Keeping Magneto, Dark Beast and Jubilee under control are how I make this battle work easily in my favor as I cruise to an easy 3-star victory.


Seventh Battle
Rogue, Deathpool, Hulk, Archangel & Doctor Strange (Heartless) at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.268m power

Facing 13 enemies, they get a jump on me and attack a couple of times and debuff my team before I take my first turn. I use Archangel’s middle ability to cleanse himself and do damage, but the enemies take the next several turns and kill DSH. Wong taunts and is a tough one to get through, and Rogue’s taunt is the only reason I have a shot in this battle in the early going. I kill off Wong and Sharon Carter to turn the tide of this battle and go all-in on MLF when she appears. Hulk’s taunt is a critical piece here in this wave as I finish off MLF and then take out Red Hulk. A strong Deathpool here is quite helpful as her assists prove quite beneficial and I get to the final four enemies with my four still alive. I survive and get the 2-star victory, but looking back, it was the early part of this battle that determined my fate.

Fighting this a second time to get the 3-star win. I have since upgraded Archangel to 7-stars and Doc Strange (Heartless) to 7-red stars and at 1.427m power, I find this battle to be rather easy thanks to the added punch of offense from these two upgrades.


Eighth (Final) Battle
Horsemen Characters – Rogue, Red Hulk, Morgan Le Fay & Archangel at t2, level 4 Iso-8
1.090m power

Facing 19 enemies with Apocalypse fighting with my Horsemen, I go all-in on the left side to eliminate the two Eternals and Kestrel as quickly as possible. Apocalypse uses his ultimate to flip Defense Up which is quite impactful, and after killing Ikaris a new wave of tough enemies appears. I Ability Block Doom and weaken the group then Ability Block Spider-Weaver before killing Doom and have Captain Sam and Emma Frost left as the final tow here. Once I dispose of them, at 9 enemies left, the next group arrives with Dormammu. Red Hulk uses his ultimate to weaken this group and make them easy, taking Dormammu out first then I use basics to finish them off. At 4 enemies left Gambit, Silver Surfer, Sharon Carter and Abomination appear and another Red Hulk ultimate sets the table for my team as I take out Gambit first then cruise from here for the win and unlock Apocalypse in Marvel Strike Force.

Upgrading Apocalypse to 7-stars

Apocalypse - Upgrade to 7-stars in MSFSo now you have beaten all of these boards and you are ready to power up Apocalypse to 7-stars, right? Think again! Next you have to go back to the four individual Apocalypse Saga rooms and ensure that the Apocalyptic levels of the Pestilence, Famine, War and Death areas are defeated, and this requires that all characters from each faction are at Gear 17. See the graphic in the article for reference and you will find the open check boxes to show your progress as in this graphic the Pestilence and Famine sections are 100% complete and the War and Death sections are not. I found that after getting each character to Gear 17, the four specific paths of 5 battles each were quite straightforward and getting 3-stars on each was little challenge.

Once you finally get all four Horsemen costumes unlocked, you can move on the the Apocalyptic Mode where you can unlock a 7-star, 4-red star Apocalypse. Here the requirements are once again a bit more steep – now you need all characters at Gear 17 and Tier 2, Level 5 Iso-8.

Unlocking Apocalypse – Apocalyptic Mode

First Battle
Darkhold all at Gear 17, t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.631m power

Facing off against 20 enemies and a summoned Undead Asgardian, my team is all level 90-95 with Wong, DSH and MLF at 95 and Aggie and Scarlet Witch at level 90. I weaken the right side and kill Mr. Sinister first, then Hela and proceed from there. A well-times ultimate from Dr. Strange (Heartless) has me happy that he is 7-red stars, and I try to continue to knock out the tougher enemies. For the most part this battle is not terribly tough as long as you keep an eye on your health and are smart about who you attack and the kill order. The prize for finishing this battle is 3-red star Apocalypse, Armory 17 orbs and a bunch of Tier 2 Iso-8 ions.


Second Battle
Unlimited X-Men at Gear 17, t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.492m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 17 and all at Levels 91-95. This battle has that pain in the butt Spider-Weaver in it and starts off poorly with a bunch of Slow debuffs on my team and Charged on SW. Using the attacks that are Unavoidable are key here as you want to Ability Block or at least Slow Spider-Weaver down to get her contained or killed and deal with the others, including the cleanse from Squirrel Girl. Once it starts to go your way and you survive the opening barrage of attacks and debuffs, it is just a matter of picking enemies off one-by-one to get the win.


Third Battle
Gamma at Gear 17, t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.590m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 17 and all at Levels 91-95. My Level 5 ions are low so I have to wait to get Abomination completed, so after several days I get things in order and fight. With 13 enemies to face, I take out Thor first and land Offense Down on all enemies ASAP and while killing him cleanses the Asgardians, I next Stun Psylocke to keep her cleanse away. I use the enemy buffs against them with Brawn’s ability to copy and this turns the battle in my favor, event with Ikaris and Phoenix on-screen. This gets me to Red Hulk’s ultimate ability and there is little more to write about from here. The reward for the win is 200 Apocalypse shards and a bunch of blue ions that are much-needed to proceed.


Fourth Battle
Death Seed at Gear 17, t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.437m power

I start with all 5 on my team at Gear 17 and all at Levels 91-95. This battle takes place on October 9, 2023, nearly 30 days after the last battle on 9/14/23 thanks to the Iso-8 upgrade materials. 18 enemies are in the way of my goal as I Blind them with Magneto and get started. Keeping Gambit controlled to start is key, and I am able to kill him off fast. I focus on spreading debuffs and getting kills, and mow the enemies down with ease until 8 of 18 remain and reinforcements arrive. When Spider-Weaver arrives I kill her off fast, then take out Deathpool as well and the victory is in my sights. In the end it was not very difficult and the prize at the end is a 4-red star Apocalypse plus Ions and more.


Fifth Battle
Kestrel, Deathpool & Spider-Weaver at t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.137k power

My threesome here includes Deathpool and Spider-Weaver at Gear 17 and Kestrel at Gear 18. Deadpool is Level 93 while the other two are Level 95. Facing 15 total enemies, Nick Fury once again joins this battle, as he did in the lower tier version. Fury calls minions and Kestrel’s middle ability is so strong she takes out the three enemies on the right side. A good start… At this point there is not much strategy as I bully my way through the enemy forces, going after Ghost Rider enemies early because of their retaliatory nature. I get the easy win and earn a bunch of Teal gear and orbs.


Sixth Battle
Kestrel, Gambit, Agatha Harkness, Morgan Le Fay & Spider-Weaver at t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.891k power

Using this pre-determined combination of characters, I go all-in on killing Archangel after getting past the taunt. Like before, keeping Magneto, Dark Beast and Jubilee under control and an early stun of Deathpool are how I make this battle work in my favor early, but when Rogue arrives the momentum changes and I wish I had saved MLF’s ultimate for Rogue’s arrival to block her. After surviving Rogue the final four enemies are easy, so the challenge in this mission is setting up for, handling, and defeating Rogue. I earn a 1-star victory my first time through and will go back and work toward 3-stars if needed.


Seventh Battle
Rogue, Deathpool, Hulk, Archangel & Doctor Strange (Heartless) at t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.602m power

Again facing 13 enemies, they get a jump on me and attack a couple of times and debuff my team before I take my first turn. Seeing this team I am immediately drawn to MLF hiding in the corner, waiting to be a pain in the butt. I kill off Spider-Woman and try to contain MLF but Wong taunts and I get stuck hitting him and when I finally get around Wong I go all-in on MLF. While killing her did not turn out to be as bad as I thought, she is still a pain to deal with. When the final 6 arrive they have Red Hulk with them, but I have Doc Strange (Heartless) up with his ultimate, and that kids them all. Strategically you will want to contain RH as much as possible to get through this group. A 3-star win for me as I once again get a lot of Team gear.


Eighth Battle
Horsemen Characters – Rogue, Red Hulk, Morgan Le Fay & Archangel at t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.441m power

Again facing 19 enemies with Apocalypse fighting with my Horsemen, I again go all-in on the left side to eliminate the two Eternals and Kestrel as quickly as possible. Having now used Apocalypse extensively in the Dark Dimension 6 battles, I have a more knowledge of what he does than when I fought these battles at lower tiers, which is helpful. Knocking out as many from the first wave quickly is important here as Spider-Weaver and Doctor Doom are in the second wave of enemies and you do not want them keeping weak enemies on the board or healing them. I save some special and ultimate attacks and prepare for the final 9 enemies as Dormammu, Gambit and Sersi are in the next wave of enemies. I use Apocalypse’s ultimate here as a result of the high-level of enemies and it helps me kill Gambit and Dormammu, then I save attacks again to kill the others. The final four are Kestrel, Gambit, Abomination and Black Widow, and with specials and ultimates available they make for an easy finish. More Teal gear and 300 shards of Apocalypse plus Iso-8 mats are the reward.


Ninth Battle (Final Battle)
Horsemen Characters – Rogue, Red Hulk, Morgan Le Fay & Archangel at t2, level 5 Iso-8
1.441m power

For the final time in the Apocalypse Saga, I face 16 enemies including an enemy Apocalypse and MLF with Spider-Weaver, Dormammu and Agatha with an Apocalypse joining me. Initially I go after MLF and get to use an Apocalypse ultimate early, then using this bonus turn to remove SW’s first life, which means both lives thanks to it coming from Apocalypse. A retaliatory attack from Archangel finishes off MLF as well so I already have two down now. Rogue kills Dormammu leaving Aggie and Apocalypse, so I get the big guy out of there and use basics on Aggie to ensure I am ready for the final 11 enemies.

The second wave of enemies is 7 strong with Red Hulk, Rogue and Kang leading the way. Hitting Kang first I am able to weaken the middle of their lineup and my RH kills Gambit and Kang, but Rogue taunts and I have that sick feeling that I should have Ability Blocked the enemy Red Hulk to start… I keep hitting Rogue until my Red Hulk’s ultimate is up, so I drop a meteor on the enemies, killing Rogue and others as 7 enemies and a Undead Asgardian remain. Rogue’s ultimate is up and I target Abomination due to the Iso-8 class of Rogue as a Striker, and this allows me to kill RH, Abomination and more with Abomination dying on the Iso-8 bonus attack.

Now just 5 enemies remain with Nemesis, Spider-Weaver, Archangel, Kestrel and Zombie Iron Man, and MLF uses her ultimate to contain Spider-Weaver. This also kills Archangel and Nemesis and it is clear that I am going to go home with an easy win. Apocalypse brings the team home and I earn his added Awakened abilities as I have now completed the entire Apocalypse saga.



Originally Published May 24th, 2023. Multiple updates through 2023.

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