The Marvel’s Avengers pre-order beta went live ahead of its scheduled time today, and you can bet we dove right in. The latest from Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics is a fascinating game that appears to be trying a lot of different gameplay styles, but so far we’re having a good time. Most players will be encountering the game’s introduction today, which sets up the framework for the story. Part of that prologue is introducing you to the main characters, and the other part is a boss fight. Taskmaster can really rough you up if you let him, which is surprising for a tutorial-adjacent battle. So if you’re having trouble with Taskmaster, or want to go in knowing what to expect, we’re here to help.

How to Beat Taskmaster in Marvel’s Avengers

By the time you swap over to Black Widow and take on Taskmaster, Marvel’s Avengers is still in tutorial mode. But unless you died from fall damage while the game was teaching Hulk how to wall jump, this is the first part of the intro you’ll be in mortal danger, especially on normal or higher difficulty. The fight has similar vibes to the famous tussle with Deathstroke towards the beginning of Batman: Arkham Origins, albeit with a few more tutorial-fueled gimmicks. The first of which is a QTE section in which Black Widow accosts Taskmaster in mid-air while he zooms around with a jetpack-like device.

The first important part of the fight is a little silly visually, but it communicates some important aspects of Marvel Avenger’s combat. During this section Black Widow lands on a small platform, and Taskmaster tries to divebomb her with his sword. This part teaches you how to dodge and what the tells for that are, but more importantly it teaches you the utility and limitations of ranged abilities.

The first time you dodge Taskmaster the game tells you how to shoot, but if you dawdle you won’t land a single hit through his shield. But if you get the timing down and squeeze off a shot the moment after you dodge, you’ll deal just a little bit of damage - you’re actually trying to hit his flying device. Taskmaster will continue charging you until you’ve done enough damage to ground him, which starts the next part of the fight.

Related: Marvel's Avengers: Combat Basics

Fighting Taskmaster on the ground is a test of your reflexes and ability to respond quickly to on-screen signals. Taskmaster will swipe at you with his sword, teaching you timing windows for dodges. He’ll also do a larger, unblockable sword swing (dodge roll, again) and use explosives showing you an area of impact before they explode. When you create an opening to fight back, you’ll learn that you can’t just mash buttons in a one-on-one fight.

As you lay into Taskmaster he’ll eventually gather himself and try to counter. If you get the maximum damage he’ll simply try to hit you out of your combo, which you’ll have to react to and get back to defense. But if you don’t mix up your attacks between light and heavies, Taskmaster will actually parry you and punish you for your laziness.You’ll get a notice from the game at this point telling you as much, teaching you that despite the simple combat controls you’ll need to mix up your attacks.

For most of the fight, you’ll be dancing through that loop of dodging, countering, and backing off to defend. If you find yourself taking hits, pay attention to what happens when you dodge Taskmaster’s light attacks. If the action slows down for a second, you’ve earned a counterattack window. If not, Taskmaster is using his combo sequence that you’ll need to be ready to chain dodge before he’s open.

Finally, when Taskmaster is on the ropes, the final tutorial comes into play. Taskmaster will start using a new attack that fills the area with explosives. You can dodge out of the way, but you also get an option to use Black Widow’s unique counter move. Pressing R2 when you see the yellow icon will let you use the grappling hook as a counter instead of an approach, which transitions into a nice takedown maneuver and gets you out of the explosive danger immediately. 

A little more persistence, and you’ll be able to use the universal takedown command to put Taskmaster down. Unfortunately, it’s a fleeting victory as the prologue comes to an end and the events of “A-Day” continue to play out. Then, the story really gets going and you’ll be in the beta proper.

How do you feel about the boss fights in Marvel’s Avengers? Do you like the mano-y-mano style of the Taskmaster fight, or are you more excited for the more outlandish encounters with the likes of M.O.D.O.K.? Hit us up on the social media over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels, and let us know what you think!