Most Marvel Comics characters have numerous versions, some of which come from different universes or different sources (comics, MCU, video games, etc.). One of the coolest forms of Groot – the beloved Guardian of the Galaxy – we’ve ever seen is, in my humble opinion, the menacing King Groot. But who is King Groot, and is he even canon?
King Groot first appeared in the Marvel Contest of Champions video game. He comes from an alternate universe where he never met Rocket or the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, he became a galactic warlord that used humans for experiments and became the King of Planet X.
You get a bit of his backstory through the game, but the thing that sparked general interest about the character is the post-credit scene from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.’ In it, we see a new, huge, buffed-up version of Groot that looks as if King Groot inspired it. Does that make King Groot a canon character now? Let’s find out.
Who is King Groot?
King Groot is a playable character in the ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ video game. The game can be played on both Android and iOS phones, and the gameplay resembles old-school fighter games such as ‘Street Fighter,’ ‘Tekken,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ or ‘Marvel Vs. CAPCOM.’
King Groot appears to be much larger than our regular Groot from the comics or the MCU, and it appears that he might be even more powerful.
As you learn from the character’s bio, King Groot rose out of a mysterious alien forest on Planet X, where he became a King and ruled for a long time. He comes from a different universe where Groot never met Rocket and the Guardians but instead turned into a ruthless warlord and conqueror who savagely rules a part of the galaxy.
King Groot captured humans to experiment on them, and his mission was to conquer the entire galaxy. However, the Collector messed up his plans when he took him into ‘The Contest,’ so King Groot decided to make the best of it – he hoards all the obtainable treasures he can get from ‘The Contest,’ which he plans to put in good (or, evil?) use after he continues his old cause.
Where did King Groot first appear?
As I’ve mentioned, King Groot first appeared in the ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ video game. He never appeared in the comics or the MCU – not in that same ‘galactic warlord’ form, at least.
Some fans that watched ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ and its post-credit scenes suggested that the newest version of Groot we saw in one of those scenes looks a lot like King Groot. The resemblance is uncanny, but I reckon the creators simply took inspiration from King Groot’s appearance, hopefully leaving out all the nasty bad-guy stuff.
Therefore, you might say we also saw King Groot in the MCU, but only appearance-wise, not personality-wise.
Is King Groot considered canon?
To answer that question, one must first determine what one considers Marvel canon. Is it only the Earth-616 universe, aka the man Marvel Comics universe, or do you consider every universe in Marvel comics canon? Do you consider MCU to be Marvel canon or a canon completely separate from the comic book canon?
Well, in any case, King Groot would not be considered canon – sorry to pull your leg there a bit. King Groot belongs to the ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ lore, as he never appeared in the comics or the MCU. The story of ‘Marvel COC’ is considered non-canon to both comics and the MCU; hence, King Groot is also a non-canon character.
However, if you consider ‘Marvel COC,’ aka Earth-TRN517, to be just another Marvel universe (just like the MCU is considered to be Earth-199999), then you could say every character that ever appeared is canon.
You might complicate things even further, saying that King Groot became canon after that post-credit scene in ‘GotG 3,’ as he appeared in the MCU, but that was a totally different version from the one in ‘Marvel COC.’
Therefore, the answer remains rather simple – Marvel Contest of Champions is a non-canon story, so King Groot is not a canon character as well.
Is King Groot Good?
Most versions of Groot that we’ve seen so far – in the comics and the MCU – are good, benevolent characters. However, that’s not the case with King Groot. He’s one of the rare – if not the only – Groot versions that’s not a good guy but rather evil.
You see, in his universe, Groot wasn’t a kind soul in a world where his species were not kind. Instead, he was pretty much the same as the other Flora colossi, if not worse. In fact, he became their King and started conducting scientific experiments on humans while creating a galactic empire through tyranny and conquest.
He never met the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ or his good buddy Rocket, so perhaps that played a crucial role in him becoming a villain. That being said, the Earth-616 version of Groot was kind and good even before he met Rocket and the Guardians, which was eventually the reason why he was banished from Planet X. Different universe, different Groot, I guess.
The answer to if King Groot was good or bad personality-wise is obvious. However, if you’re asking if King Groot is a good character to own and play as in the ‘Marvel Contest of Champions’ – that’s a totally different question.
Is King Groot immune to poison?
While King Groot can poison his enemies in the game and make them lose their health over time, he is unfortunately not immune to poisoning himself. However, his moves can nullify poisoning, make it stop, or override it with his uniquely potent regenerative abilities.
It makes King Groot an awesome character to have, especially while fighting against Tech Champions like Ultron or Iron Man. King Groot is a Cosmic champion, giving him a Class Bonus over Tech Champions but making him more vulnerable against Mystic Champions.
King Groot has powerful armor-breaking skills that can even be permanent (provided that King Groot has a Fury Buff) and has a skill that has a 100% chance to poison the opponent. On top of that, he has Regenerative abilities that make him uniquely dangerous on both defense and offense.
Therefore, while he’s not immune to poison, King Groot has plenty of skills to override his shortcomings.
Does King Groot need awakening?
For those who don’t play or are new to ‘Marvel Contest of Champions,’ you can unlock a character’s Signature Ability by using an ‘Awakening Gem’ on them. It unlocks that particular character’s most powerful character ability, making them much more powerful than their ‘unawakened’ version.
For King Groot, that Signature Ability is ‘Unyielding Might.’ It allows King Groot to immediately gain a Regeneration Buff and recover a certain amount of health for as long as he’s in cooldown. It’s an awesome effect that perfectly counters King Groot’s flaws while unawakened.
Some characters are quite weak if you don’t unlock their Signature Ability, but they become incredibly valuable once it’s unlocked. And, if I’m being honest, King Groot isn’t one of those characters – he’s great even if you don’t awaken his Signature Ability.
Don’t get me wrong, it helps out a lot and is certainly a massive upgrade if you can awaken King Groot, but even without the awakening, he is a valuable, usable character for a long time.
His skills include a combination of direct damage, armor piercing, and damage over time, while at the same time, King Groot has decent healing abilities and good health. He’s still a good piece to have – but if you can awaken King Groot, do it, as he can be a huge asset for a long time in the game.
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