Last issue I shared my first steps into the world of Marvel Crisis Protocol. This time we take a trip through the big decision of how to expand the stable of characters and start building some more competitive rosters.
Since picking up Marvel Crisis Protocol, I’ve learnt enough to know that having a coherent and well-designed Roster is a big deal if you want to get the best out of your characters and have any success on the table. What does that mean? It means you want your roster to have Crisis cards, Tactics cards, and Character cards that all have some kind of synergy, and probably lean into one or two particular gameplans, while having enough flexibility to meet various threats.
That is really difficult when you just have the core set, as you simply don’t have enough cards and characters to achieve that goal, so by necessity we need to expand, and to do that we need a (cunning) plan!
Super Villain Team-Up
I started with only one real principle: play villains! Frankly the world is short on destructive megalomaniacs and I am happy to step up. At the same time I was keen to leverage what the Core Set had given me, and that meant strengthening the Cabal options I had out of the box, as well as potentially finding another affiliation to grow as an alternative. With Doc Ock also in the core set, the Spider-Foes definitely caught my eye. Spidey has always had one of the more fun and diverse rogues’ galleries, and MCP has a great selection of them. Moreover I had already seen Venom and Green Goblin do their thing on the table and thought they seemed very fun.
Another option that was calling me was the Black Order. They had the advantage of having a good value box set containing four characters, but on the flip side, the leader, Thanos, was only available in his more pricey scenario box set.
Then we have the Brotherhood (of (Evil) Mutants). One attraction of this group is that many also share the Cabal affiliation, meaning they can do double duty in my Roster building. I’m also a long-time X-Men fan and everyone knows Magneto is cool as hell. But as I considered this I became aware that AMG will be releasing a dedicated Brotherhood value box in the near future (actually in a couple of weeks) so I decided to file them away for another time. They’ll be a must-purchase for me at some point.
Finally for my consideration we have the newest kids on the block, Hydra and the Sentinels. Both of these affiliations have had a number of releases in the last few weeks. Hydra was definitely very attractive to me, not least because many of the Cabal characters from the Core Set also have the affiliation, and vice versa.
Will You Help Me Kill Worlds?
With four different Cabal characters in the core set, and a huge range of other characters with this affiliation, there were a lot of ways I could expand my Cabal choices and potential squads.
Loki and the Enchantress were high on the list, both because of their interesting control-type play style and because they are exactly the kind of devious and arrogant characters I love in the comics.
Malekith is currently one of the boogeymen of MCP, with many people having strong opinions on how strong and enjoyable the character is to play with and against. He is also another Cabal leader option. And though ordinarily an evil Dark Elf Sorceror on a giant winged Tiger is not the kind of concept you would struggle to sell me on, something about big M doesn’t speak to me.
I considered some of the cheaper Threat characters like Bullseye (sadly only available with Daredevil), Viper, and Sin (who come in the same box, and with Sin having the added benefit of being another Cabal Leader). The latter two were very tempting, especially as Sin’s Leadership ability enables Cabal to play a wide list with more of a focus on playing the Crises, and both can also play in Hydra.
But ultimately I decided to make my first purchase a higher Threat character in MODOK. Not only is he an extremely unique character with a really fun and distinctive model, but his powerful mental attacks, stamina distribution, and some very interesting powers and tactics cards add up to a really intriguing addition.
For the sake of variety (and because I am extremely indecisive) I decided to expand into a second affiliation: Spider-Foes. Venom was a must-have, and Green Goblin is their only leader, so that was a no-brainer too. Sadly both of these are only available in single boxes. Trying to recover some value from my spending spree I decided to go with the Lizard and Kraven box set to pad out my Spider-Foes options. Both of these two have great minis and seemed well-regarded on the tabletop too. So between these new additions, MODOK, and my Core Set Cabal characters, I now had something resembling a Rogues Gallery to play with.
Masters of Evil
So how do we turn our motley crew into a lean roster? The first thing is to pick our Crisis Cards, our Secures and Extracts. These will largely determine how we play each game and what our tactics need to be with the squad we send out. My gut feeling looking over my Roster was that my characters were not especially fast, quite tanky, have good damage output (and Leadership abilities that lean into that), tended toward higher threat values, and didn’t really have any shenanigans to help with mission objectives; so I decided that my best Crisis cards would be slower ones, with higher threat, fewer objectives and fewer points available to score. My hope was that any game in which I could stick around in and keep the score close would start to go my way as my characters got going in battle. To that end I settled on the following:
- Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians
- Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
- Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses
- Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!
- Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership
- The Montesi Formula Found
For Tactics Cards, one thing I learnt quickly is that there are some very solid neutral cards that are highly prevalent in the meta, and some of these are Restricted too, meaning you may only take two in your Roster. Brace For Impact is one, and with MODOK and a few other larger size characters on my team, stopping my opponents simply slinging them into the rest of my team for huge damage is a no-brainer. Patch Up is another and its ability to keep my characters in the fight gets it in my list.
Spider-Foes have a couple of very fun and nasty Tactics Cards in Well-Laid Plans and Sinister Traps. These cards have ways of messing with my opponent’s ability to claim Secures and Extracts that very much synergises with my plan to stop them racking up lots of Victory Points.
Lethal Protector is a great card that gets Venom doing what he wants to do and lets me bodyguard my other characters. Sacrifice is a generic option here with a similar effect and it’ll probably take some playtesting to work out which is better.
I don’t have any other obvious must-takes, so will be exploring other options as I play games.
For the future
Mysterio is a well-regarded 3-Threat Character who has both Cabal and Spider-Foes affiliation, so he would make a natural further addition.
Another possibility is to pick up Kingpin, and build towards a third potential affiliation: the Criminal Syndicate. Four of my current roster already have this affiliation, so this is another easy way to expand my options.
I’m really excited to get my villains on the tabletop, and you can be sure that you’ll hear about their evil exploits in a future issue here on Goonhammer!
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