Atomic Mass games opened their 2023 Ministravaganza online event with what is arguably their hottest property. Fans were treated to rules spoilers for upcoming models, as well as first looks at a number of models that are further down the road. It looks to be an exciting time for Marvel: Crisis Protocol players, especially if they’re also fans of the 90’s era / Jim Lee era X-Men! But more on those in a bit.
First up, we finally got more details about the upcoming Rival Panels: Battle for the Throne pack. We first learned about this pack and supporting terrain sets back at Adepticon, but now we got to see character stat cards that accompany the gorgeous models. We even got more information about the optional rules included with the new terrain.
As the developers explained, they wanted to tell a story with the models, terrain, and rules. Here they depicted a battle for the throne between Black Panther and Killmonger. Their stat cards each represent a version of the character that won that fight, hence the King and Usurper titles, respectively. Black Panther in this form is much more focused on being a vengeful combat monster. He retains his high mobility and gains even stronger defensive stats, so it’s no surprise he moved to 5 threat in this version. He also retains some of the characteristic Wakandan movement tricks with easy access to pushes and throws. Not surprisingly with his new combat focus, his leadership is less powerful than this previous version. But, it still reflects that Wakandan penchant for moving enemies around, making it even more punishing.
Killmonger stays a 4 threat model, but gains a point of Mystic defense and an additional health on his injured side. These changes plus the bevy of new rules place him squarely in the modern design space for 4 threat models, an area that the developers have improved on dramatically. This Killmonger is perhaps less laser focused on singling out and killing a particular model, but still excels at combat, particularly by denying opponents defensive methods such as modifying dice, or just straight Pierce on his attacks. Interestingly, the developers noted that his leadership started out as a leadership for Criminal Syndicate. Better players than me can explain if it would have been broken there, but CS already has a crazy amount of leadership. It’s nice to see them go this route instead.
Players may balk at the thought of two new versions of these popular characters locked in an expensive premium set, and that’s understandable. But it’s undeniable that these are gorgeous models and terrain in this set. We got to see a little more about additional Wakandan terrain coming out as well.
The terrain sets combined with the Rival Panels waterfall terrain should provide enough terrain for a beautiful looking Wakandan battlefield. The new terrain comes bundle with ‘One-Shot’ cards, optional rules that can add additional flavorful rules to a battle. These seem like a nice way to add more variety to the play experience, but expect them to be shunned by the hard core competitive types. (Ironically these are the players most likely to complain about wanting new scenarios or rule shakeups.)
Next, we got to see what to many was likely the most exciting portion of the preview. AMG knows what its middle aged, increasingly nostalgic nerd fans want, and that’s to recapture their childhood. So now we get a second dose of X-Men, rounding out some of the glaring holes in the lineup.
First up, we got to hear about Nightcrawler and Bishop. Nightcrawler in particular went through a number of iterations to get the sculpt just right, and also fine-tune his rules. Obviously the key for him is getting his teleportation abilities just right.
AMG definitely understood the assignment here. This guy can BAMF all over the battlefield, with a little power and some luck. (His Brimstone Blitz led to as many as 10 attacks on one character in play testing, apparently!) His solid defenses add to an already incredible package. We also learned that the model is Deadpool-like in its customizability. The generic cloud effect can be replaced with a big ridiculous (in the best way) BAMF, and he can be built holding two swords as well. Watch out for this guy on the battlefield, especially paired with anyone that can him offensive rerolls!
We did not get to see rules for Bishop, but did get to see an insanely good Team Tactic Card for Nightcrawler. It’s an auto take with him for sure:
Next up, we got to see two more fan favorites: Iceman and Kitty Pryde:
No stat card for Iceman, but we get another very powerful X-Men card that highlights their teamwork, and rules for Kitty Pryde. We were told these rules represent a younger Kitty Pryde, and that they had to work to differentiate her from Nightcrawler. As we see on her card, Shadowcat has a teleport superpower in Phase Rush, but not as many other ways of moving as Nightcrawler. Her Stealth and Can’t Touch This abilities represent her phasing ability, along with the Long move (presumably she goes right through obstacles). Standard 3/3/3 defenses and 5/5 health fit the standard for a solid 3 threat. This box looks like a winner with great fluffy rules and excellent model sculpts.
Moving on, we get to what were perhaps the most anticipated spoilers in this presentation. Unfortunately we didn’t get much for Professor X (gotta save something for the marketing folks, I suppose), but we did see for the first time fully painted models as well as spoilers for the Shadow King’s character stat card.
Again we see the classic animated style for the leader of the X-Men, no surprises there. On stream, developers mentioned that he could also be built wearing the Cerebro helmet. It looks like Cerebro will be represented in the rules via a TTC. The card suggests Xavier will have at least a 5 Mystic Defense (no surprise there) and is written in a way to allow other X-Men members to use (Spoilers: Jean Grey). It doesn’t read like an auto-take card, but if you really want to double down on what is almost certainly an already powerful Professor X, this card can help with that.
Shadow King looks an absolute ball-buster of a 5 threat model. (We can surmise that Professor X will be as well). On stream, the developers discussed how difficult he was to balance to make him annoying to face, but not overwhelmingly so. With multiple ways to move opposing models, a self heal, and probably additional tricks via tactics cards, Shadow King definitely seems to fit the bill. With a baller model to boot, Shadow King and this expansion box will be a very popular one for sure!
The remainder of the presentation brought us newly painted versions of models spoiled previously, as well as some new models and terrain. We also got a hint at one of possibly several new game modes: Mojo Ball.
We didn’t get too much information about this new game mode, other than it’s a American football or rugby adjacent game that heroes and villains are forced into by that wacky Mojo fellow. More information about this (and possibly other game modes) will be revealed in Saturday’s ‘Game Mode’s Galore’ presentation during the Ministravaganza.
Along with Mojo Ball, we saw a series of painted models coming in the future:
Scarlet Spider is coming for the Ben Reilly weirdos among us, along with Gwen Stacy in her symbiont phase. Both models look great, with the dynamism you hope for in Spider Pal models. The guitar bit on Gwenom’s base is optional, according to the devs. Web Warriors are quickly growing into one of the larger affiliations in the game, and your author is 100% here for it.
All those Spiders need some foes to fight, so luckily we saw painted models for a bunch of new ones! The Sandman in particular looks great here. Looks like he places at least one base of terrain or some other kind of interactive object, judging from that sandy bit hiding in the back there. Electro is giving some Storm vibes with his base, but looks a little more solid than her sculpt at least. No word on when these or any other models release, but painted models usually suggest sooner rather than later.
Next we saw the mercenary Silver Sable along with Shang-Chi. More knowledgeable Marvel fans can explain why these were paired, but the models are looking excellent. One thing I appreciate from AMG is that they don’t sexualize models for characters like Silver Sable, who in the past have been depicted in comic art as pretty over the top. Great to see that continued here. No hints at rules for her, but we learned that Shang-Chi has some of the best ability names in the game, according to the devs. They gave examples of ability names including “Dragon Chases his Tail“. If they’re all like that, your author is extremely here for it. Art Director Josh Colón also claimed that “you can’t guess what he does” as the greatest martial artist in the world. Really looking forward to seeing rules for this guy!
Lastly, we got a look at some upcoming releases for Asgard, one of the earliest expansion affiliations in the game. The terrain looks nice and Asgardy, though maybe it suffers a bit by being compared to the beautiful Wakanda terrain. Still, it should make for a nice table. It also might be a good way to integrate in some non-MCP terrain for your table.
The new Asgardian models are certainly looking improved over the original Asgard lineup. Thor is the least appealing in the bunch based on this photo, but its not uncommon for a model like this to look much better in person. I do remain wary of that lightning holding him up though. The classic Loki sculpt will be very love or hate, but they nailed the look right down to the smarmy grin on his face. Mighty Thor and Sif are the clear winners here, sculpt wise. Kudos to AMG for those in particular. Very few hints at rules here, though we learned the new version of dude Thor will be a 6 Threat model. Classic Loki was described as much more annoying and malicious compared to the current Loki model. Like Shadow King, they had to carefully balance him to avoid too much of a negative play experience for opponents. We can look forward to new Asgard models and terrain in Spring 2024 according to the stream.
Finally, we got one last screen of art to close out the stream.
It’s looking like another cooker of a year for Marvel: Crisis Protocol, with plenty of fan favorites and deep cuts on the way. There’s more to come from the Ministravaganza, so stay tuned for additional coverage.