Last week we introduced guest author PlasticCraic (of the Plastic Craic Blog) who joined Head58 to talk about how to get started with the wonderful game Marvel Crisis Protocol. This week he’s back talking about the top 5 releases to pick up for the game after you’ve gotten started and are looking to expand your collection.
OOGA OOGA OOGA Chakka!
Did your heart just beat a little faster? Did you start to throb or tingle, in your parts that throb or tingle?
The answer to that question will go a long way to determining whether you need to invest in Guardians of the Galaxy. The models are sensational, and the rules represent the happy-go-lucky renegades to a tee – Star-Lord has an actual superpower called “Plucky Attitude” – but their characters don’t generally offer too much to other affiliations, and their own affiliation isn’t quite at the pinnacle of competitive play.
A good player can do really well with them, for sure – but you don’t need these models, unless you plan on playing Guardians. And if you do play Guardians, you’ll be doing it because you want to play Guardians.
So that should help to establish a couple of important principles in buying into this game. The power tiers are relatively flat, so you absolutely can play what you like and make it work; but at the same time, when you are looking to expand your collection, some expansions are only relevant to their own specific niche, where others are important parts of every collection.
It’s the second type that we’ll be focusing on today. These are the top priorities for every player to add to their portfolio: expansions that will broaden your options, unlock multiple interesting affiliations quickly, and give you a solid core of characters that you will use time after time, in roster after roster.
A quick note: if you’re not familiar with the character cards, I would point you towards the excellent MCP Database as a reading companion to this article.
Ready? Let’s go.
1) Spiderman and Ghost Spider
Ironman is holding a Secure with 1 health left, and I need to daze him to ice the game. Easy! Let’s get stuck in.
BADOING! Captain America is nearby, and intercepts the attacks to take the hit with his Vibranium Shield. There’s no way I’m getting to Ironman while Cap is there – as he loves to remind us, he can do this all day.
OK OK OK we need a Plan B…and that’s where Peter Parker steps up. He throws out a Webline to pull Cap towards him, yanking Cap out of range from Ironman and leaving the latter wide open to the beatdown he has coming. See ya later!
This moment in one of my very first games encapsulates what I love about MCP: it was cinematic, it was strategic, it was thematic, and it was about winning games with movement manipulation as much as bashing people on the head.
So you know what I did next? I ordered Spiderman (Miles Morales) and Ghost Spider. Obviously.
Welcome to Shenanigans: The Affiliation. Kiting key characters with Peter Parker is just getting started: Ghost Spider’s Life Saver superpower allows her to pull team mates away from enemy attacks, and Miles’s Venom Blast makes your opponents drop objectives. Should have been more careful, butterfingers! Gwen’s Freestyle Beatdown attack delivers the vision of parkour as martial art, and once you add in all the defensive rerolls from your Spider Senses you’ve got an incredibly slippery new army ready to go, with just this one purchase.
The miniatures are fantastic too, which doesn’t hurt, and even the much-maligned Peter Parker has found his place to thrive: great sculpt, great affiliation, great first name.
2) Shuri and Okoye
Okoye is arguably the best 2-Threat character in the whole game: The Vibranium Spear Thrust has a bit of kick, but what you’re really taking her for is the cheap access to Bodyguard, effectively allowing you to decide on your opponent’s behalf how they will use their activations, thank you very much. By bringing rerolls and Martial Artist, Okoye is harder to deal with than she might look, and that Threat Level of 2 makes her a true asset in team construction by allowing you to flex to different Threat levels.
Shuri is similarly useful, with her Panther Gauntlets putting out a guaranteed Push, and her Upgrades superpower gives so much to her teammates. Both of these girls should be staples of your rosters for years to come.
3) Black Panther and Killmonger
Well if we’re investing in Shuri and Okoye – and we should – how about we round out the affiliation with the boys? Both characters are great in their own right: Black Panther’s Pounce is clutch, and Killmonger is still one of the scariest bangers around. Beyond that, it unlocks the excellent Wakanda allegiance – who doesn’t love rerolls, or the Wakanda Forever tactics card, or the movie for that matter? T’Challa slots into Avengers (which you have from the Core Set), Killmonger slots into Cabal (ditto) and Criminal Syndicate, and perhaps best of all, this set comes with the modern classic Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction? Crisis Card.
Unlock a new allegiance, unlock a new mission, and have two great characters ready to use in loads of rosters: this is the total package.
4) Dr. Strange and Wong
By The Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! There is a lot going on here. First up, Stephen Strange comes at you with his own affiliation, Defenders. The ability to switch gears and target your opponent’s weak spot is immensely powerful, and the team brings together a grab-bag of cool characters including Ghost Rider; it can even make Hulk feel like Hulk.
Strange himself is a true powerhouse – the 5-Threat bracket is stacked with great characters (MODOK, Thor, and Angela all spring to mind), but the good doctor has earned his spot at the top table. He offers healing to his whole team, tosses out rerolls left and right and if he successfully casts Crimson Bands, you’ll hear the howls of nerd rage all the way from Agamotto’s Dimension.
Wong is so on point as a support character: meditate to build up power, hand it out to your teammates. Rinse and repeat. Plug in Spiderman from the core set and you’re good to go; or invest in Thor and Valkyrie, which brings a hugely popular 3-threat character that plugs right into Defenders…
5) Thor and Valkyrie
You know what Thor does? He throws stuff. And then he throws more stuff, and then he throws it again.
This one-man homage to Action Comics #1 will be tossing cars (and more) around like toys with his Strongest Avenger superpower, and more importantly, his basic Strike comes with a Throw too. In a game where any Throws are incredibly powerful, to have access to Size 4 Throws that can be spammed is a meta-defining ability. Sun’s out, guns out!
Valkyrie doesn’t mess around either. She’s fast, thanks to her Charge, and hits like a bolt of lightning. Dragon Fang is essentially (and hopefully!) a 12-dice attack for 3 power, with Warrior of Legend adding both consistency and burst potential. Where’s all that Power coming from, I hear you ask? Both of these characters get 1 extra Power in every Power Phase, just because.
Thor fits right into your Avengers allegiance, or comes with his own (fantastic) Asgardians affiliation; Valkyrie is the 3-Threat banger of choice for just about any roster, but also slots straight into Defenders with Strange and Wong. And if you want to expand into Asgardians, Loki is exactly the sneaky little bastard you are looking for.
Honorable mentions go to MODOK (just so damn good), Punisher & Taskmaster (rule of cool, plus a great Rogue Agent), and Corvus Glaive & Proxima Midnight (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
So at this point, you’ve picked up five expansions. You can run Avengers, Cabal, Web Warriors, Wakanda and Defenders; you have a solid core of useful characters that would grace any roster; and you are just one more expansion away from running each of Criminal Syndicate, A-Force and Asgardians. That should put you in great shape to kick on with Marvel Crisis Protocol and write your own legends. Excelsior!