Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament report: The Bearded Card Trader Monthly 11Dec2021

For the first time in a long time I was able to take a road trip out of my local area to attend a tournament, this one for Marvel Crisis Protocol at the Bearded Card Trader near Durham. Allan kindly drove Gareth and me down the A1 and it was a pleasure to be able to do the pre- and post-game chats on the road… just like in the times before COVID made all this travel harder and more fraught than the past. The shop itself was bright and spacious, though it’s not easy to find, and the locals were very welcoming. It was particularly nice to meet Nate and Scott again, both of whom I’ve played Malifaux with in the past.

For this event I’ve decided to play X-Men. If I’m honest about it, part of this is because I really enjoyed the X-Men comics and cartoons of my youth, and the Bryan Singer films were (along with Blade, Batman and the Tobey Maguire Spiderman films) the beginnings of the modern superhero franchises on the big screen. Mechanically they seem to be regarded as rather middle-of-the road but they’re a lot of fun, especially Beast who feels very dynamic and is never short of cool things to do. Storm’s leadership allows a friendly characters to ‘jump’ across each other once per round so I picked the three biggest based characters I own – Black Dwarf, Hulk and MODOK. Hulk recently got a notable power-boost with the balance pass in November while all three benefit a lot from the addition of size caps (usually at size 3) to many of the control elements in the game like Shuri’s Panther Gauntlets. Finally, I took Okoye in case anyone forced a 14 threat SWORD on me so that I had the option to go 5 wide.

– Beast: 3
– Black Dwarf: 4
– Cable: 5
– Cyclops: 4
– Domino: 3
– Hulk: 6
– M.O.D.O.K.: 5
– Mystique: 3
– Okoye: 2
– Storm: 3

[Team Tactics]
– Advanced R&D
– Brace for Impact
– Children of the Atom
– Deception
– Disarm
– Field Dressing
– First Class
– Follow Me
– Gamma Launch
– To Me, My X-men!

[Extract Crises]
– Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities [D]: 18
– Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan [F]: 17
– Struggle for the Cube Continues [F]: 17

[Secure Crises]
– Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends on Earth [D]: 16
– Infinity Formula Goes Missing [B]: 17
– Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park [B]: 18

Game 1 – Liam playing Inhumans

I got paired up with Liam playing an Inhumans roster. I’ve never played against any of the Inhumans apart from Medusa before so this was sure to be interesting; I figured I’d aim to play my game and worry about how Liam could disrupt me reactively. I win priority and choose Secures as I want to force ‘pay to flip’ objectives and get value out of my First Class card.

Extraction: Research Station Attacked!
Secure: Portals Overrun City With Spider-People
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Liam’s team: Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, Lockjaw, Deadpool
Liam’s cards: Attilan Rising, Elemental Infusion, Bitter Rivals, Last Minute Save, Grievous Wounds

I’ve enjoyed Hulk lately so I just picked the 3-threat core of X-Men (Storm, Beast and Domino), then Mystique as another fun 3 threat option and finally Hulk to bully the centre. I sent Storm to go for the left Portal as she can fly and I thought that might be handy with that huge building but in retrospect I might have been better served sending Mystique that way and made use of Storm’s range in the centre.

Round 1: I play First Class, though with Research Station being more of a ‘secure in disguise’ I’m not sure it made too much difference. Storm flies up on the left and flips the Portal and Crystal immediately zooms over to take it back. Domino flips the right Portal and Deadpool moves forward to contest the Researcher in the middle. Mystique takes a couple of potshots at him for no damage, then flips my home Portal and gets teleported backwards for her trouble. Over on the right, Lockjaw teleports Medusa forward and she pushes Domino off the Portal and flips it herself. Hulk flips over Beast (what a cinematic image!), Gamma Leaps forward and smashes Deadpool into the turf; Beast follows to the centre to make sure that I control it. Black Bolt zaps Beast a bit but hasn’t positioned close enough to the back Portal to flip it. X-Men lead by 3 – 2 and I move the Researcher closer to Liam’s board edge.

Round 2: Hulk smashes Black Bolt, giving him the Stagger token and throwing him away. He then throws Deadpool away from the Researcher to waste one his actions coming back into range. Deadpool shoots Hulk to minimal effect. Storm zaps Crystal a couple of times, giving her Shock but not actually damaging her; she does manage to take back that left Portal for me. Mystique gently tickles Lockjaw, Black Bolt takes the Portal on Liam’s side of the board but Crystal is as effective into Storm as the other way round (i.e. not at all) and fails to flip the Portal back. Beast flips over Hulk to daze Lockjaw, then throws Deadpool further away from the action. Over on the right, Domino shoots Medusa a couple of times and takes that Portal again for me, so Medusa dazes her and takes it right back again. The score moves to 7 – 4 in my favour and I move the Researcher onto the Evac Point.

Round 3: Domino starts us out by dazing Medusa and taking the right Portal back to me yet again; she gets teleported backwards in the process. Crystal Dazes Storm but rolls terribly to retake that Portal and I get to move her right so she’s in range for Mystique to attack. Hulk dazes Black Bolt and throws poor Deadpool even further from the action; the latter continues to fire back without much effect. Beast pushes Lockjaw away from the Researcher so the Good Boy takes the right Portal back from Domino. Mystique puts a couple of ineffective shots into Crystal then moves to flip Liam’s home Portal. Now that the Researcher is safely on my Evac Point, the score moves to 14 – 5 to me.

Round 4: The game seems pretty comfortably in my favour now but there is still plenty of fun to be had. Black Bolt lines up his cool Whisper attack on Beast and Mystique but some fairly uninspiring dice from Liam means that neither of them get dazed. He does flip back his home Portal though, so that’s helpful. Domino KOs Lockjaw and drops Medusa to a single hit point with some fairly spicy rolls and good use of her superpowers; Medusa is having none of this and KOs her right back. Storm finally gets her act together and dazes Crystal. Deadpool comes into the scrum and spreads some damage around with Maximum Effort but it’s too late. As the game is done I don’t bother using Hulk, Beast or Mystique to try to pick off Black Bolt, Deadpool or both as it seems rather needless. The final score is 20 – 7 to me.

That was a very fun game. Of course, it’s always nice to start with a win but more importantly Liam was a lovely opponent and we were keeping up the cinematic commentary as the game went along. It turned out that Liam is quite new to MCP so hopefully he learned from that game and will carry on his good attitude. From my side of the board Storm’s actual output continued to disappoint; that four dice builder just seems to roll low so often. On the other hand she’s only 3 threat and her leadership ability is really good so it’s not like I’m not going to play her.

Game 2 – Scott playing Midnight Sons

This time I got to play Scott; a real pleasure as I’ve known him and (I’m pretty sure) played a few games with him back when we were both regulars at Malifaux tournaments. He had a combined Midnight Sons and Convocation list but opted to play the former based on the Secure that was flipped. Scott won priority and picked Extracts.

Extraction: The Montesi Formula Found
Secure: Mutant Madman Turns City Into Lethal Amusement Park
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Scott’s team: Blade, Moon Knight, Black Cat, Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Winter Soldier
Scott’s cards: Siege of Darkness, Trip Up, Mission Objective, Advanced R&D, Patch Up

That team from the previous round seemed quite effective so I decided to just use it again. The time Storm was assigned to the right to deal with that massive building by just flying over it; Domino and Mystique got the left together as the building there was going to make positioning a bit tricky for anyone who wasn’t a Wall Crawler or could Fly. My hope was that Scott would send a hero to the centre to collect that book and I could then use Hulk to beat them senseless.

Round 1: I play First Class, of course. Moon Knight and Storm claim the back left and near right Traps; the former also moves toward the centre. Domino takes the opportunity to put a few bullets into Moon Knight but fails to claim the near left Trap marker so Mystique has to do that. Blade takes the back Book and positions cautiously and Black Cat moves to pick up the central one. Hulk flips off Beast and Gamma Leaps to be close to both Black Cat and Moon Knight, then exceeds my wildest expectations by dazing both (and collecting Black Cat’s Book in the process). Over on the right Winter Soldier takes the final Trap and Beast picks up the last Book. The score is 4 – 3 to me.

Round 2: Moon Knight pokes Hulk and moves toward Storm but does little to her. Hulk KOs Black Cat and Staggers Doctor Strange, also throwing the latter into Blade. Doctor Strange clears the Stagger and pays to Scalpel himself next to Hulk and uses Shining Circle of Seraphim to heal a bit (though due to the way that Stagger works, this wasn’t also able to clear Stagger as Scott had planned). Beast hurts Winter Soldier and Doctor Strange again, flipping the back right Trap, so Winter Soldier pushes him off and flips it right back. Storm continues her run of poor attacks, failing to damage Winter Soldier at all (though she does at least stick Shock on him). Mystique takes the back left Trap but doesn’t manage to hurt Blade who then dazes her and takes it back. We continue to score the same; 8 – 6 to me now.

Round 3: Scott plays Siege of Darkness; Blade stabs Mystique and Mon Knight hits Storm. Doctor Strange then dazes Beast, picks up his Book and retreats behind the big building at the back left. I’m honestly a bit perplexed here as it would be a great way to eke out the last couple of points and claim a win but the game is nowhere near ending and anyway I’m in the lead. Perhaps Scott just didn’t want Hulk to hit Strange again. Instead, Hulk dazes Winter Soldier, KOs Moon Knight and flips the back right Trap to my side. Blade KOs Mystique and takes the near left Trap; Domino leaves him on a single health. Storm uses Field Dressing on Beast who flips the back left Trap and then immediately dazes again due to Bleed. The score is now 12 – 9 in favour of the X-Men.

Round 4: Blade dazes Domino and flips the back left Trap again. Hulk KOs Winter Soldier then Doctor Strange comes back into the fray and zaps Storm a little. Beast throws Blade into the building to get rid of his last hit point and then flips both Traps on that side. The final score in 18 – 10 to the X-Men.

I enjoyed that game, and it was especially lovely to play against Scott after all this time. Scott’s dice weren’t great in the first couple of rounds (especially defending against Hulk’s attacks on Black Cat and Moon Knight in round 1) and I think that frustrated him a bit. The game ended up being very dynamic as heroes, particularly Blade, scurried back and forth trying to claim the Traps. From my side, I was aiming to use Hulk to get an attrition advantage and it paid off when Black Cat went down early in round 2.

Game 3 – Stu playing Defenders

One of the other games was a draw so this ends up very neatly with only Stu and my on 2 – 0 so we’re playing for the tournament here. Unfortunately Stu has another engagement that means he’ll have to leave partway into the round. He offers to play as much of the game as we can, then we agree that we can try to assess the likely winner at that point based on the board situation; he also very kindly offers to favour me if it’s looking even as it’s his appointment that will cut the game short. I don’t want to win based on a biased judgment call so hopefully we can end up with one side clearly ahead when we have to stop playing. Stu was an absolute gentleman about all this; there was no drama and we (and the TO) were both fully in agreement about how to proceed. Stu wins priority and chooses Extracts.

Extraction: The Montesi Formula Found
Secure: Mutant Madman Turns City Into Lethal Amusement Park
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Stu’s team: Doctor Strange with the Soul Gem, Valkyrie, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Shuri
Stu’s cards: Brace For Impact, Heroes For Hire, Patch Up, Pentagram of Farallah, Seven Suns of Cinnibus

We somehow end up with the exact same combination of Extraction and Secure cards as my last game. Since it worked out fine last time, I decide to stick with 18 threat and use the same team. There isn’t so much terrain for Storm to worry about so I put her on the left; that turns out to be a bit hairy as Stu stacks that side; on the other hand I guess it means that Domino and Mystique can try to deal with Luke Cage on the right before swinging toward the centre.

Round 1: As always, I start out by playing First Class. Shuri takes her home Book and moves toward the middle. Storm, Cage and Domino all take their Traps but I get a bit too aggressive with Storm’s placement and she ends up in walk + Charge range of Valkyrie. I’m a bit lucky on defence and she takes little damage but that was a definite unforced error. Mystique takes the central Book and uses Deception to lure Shuri into Hulk range. Doctor Strange flips the final (back left) Trap. Hulk flips off Beast’s base and Gamma Leaps up to daze Shuri and take her Book while Beast picks up the last one. The score is 5 – 2 to the X-Men.

Round 2: Doctor Strange zaps Beast then plays Seven Suns of Cinnibus to unleash a tasty beam attack which dazes Beast and hurts Hulk; he also picks up the Book dropped by Beast. Hulk knocks Shuri down to a single hit point and Staggers Valkyrie leaving her also on a single hit point and a throw also leave Iron Fist on a single hit point which is a little awkward. Iron Fist kicks the absolute hell out of Hulk, leaving the big green chap on just four health remaining. Storm throws Valkyrie at Iron Fist and Stu uses Brace For Impact, after two attacks she does at least manage to push through the remaining single point of damage to daze Valkyrie. Luke Cage marches up and punch Domino, paying the power to also apply Hex. Mystique guns down Shuri to finish her off and then flips the back right Trap. Finally, Domino clears Hex and shoots half of Cage’s wounds off him. The score moves to 9 – 4 in my favour.

At this point, Stu has to pack up and leave. We briefly discuss the probable outcome of the game. On the right, Cage may daze Domino if he gets to go before her but will probably eventually fall to her and Mystique; I’ve also got both Traps on that side nicely under control. Over on the left, I’ll probably lose either Hulk or Beast to whoever activates first but it’s not likely that they both go down; whichever is left can then throw Iron Fist around to daze him and probably drop Valkyrie. In the end, Stu decides that it’s likely that I hold on to my substantial points lead for the eventual win and so that gets recorded.

Despite the very speedy turns we took and having to cut the actual game short, I really enjoyed that. Stu was an absolutely terrific chap to play with and I hope to get the chance to do so again. He’s clearly very talented at the game and apparently has only recently started playing so he’ll clearly be a force to be reckoned with. My plan was going quite nicely, taking Shuri out early for an attrition advantage but Iron Fist’s dice absolutely exploded on Hulk and that made everything a bit more worrying! Stu is the only person so far just to focus fire on Hulk and perhaps that is the best approach to dealing with him.

So when the scores are added up, I’m the only player left on three wins so I get first place and a very nifty little trophy to take home with me. Allan finished in second place with two wins and a draw but Gareth has a bit more of a tough time including losing his last game to Allan; fortunately the only match drawn between those of us who travelled down together. Many thanks to Liam, Scott and Stu for three very fun games of MCP and of course thanks to JP for organising the whole thing. We’ll definitely be back for another event when schedules allow.

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Tournaments | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament report: The Bearded Card Trader Monthly 11Dec2021

  1. Looks like you had fun mate and must have been nice to get out.

  2. Sounds like good fun mate – where’s the trophy!!

  3. Veni, vedi, vici, mate! Excellent job showing up to an interestingly named gaming store and winning the whole thing. I really enjoyed reading the report and seeing the pictures, even with me knowing next to nothing about MCP! Somewhere Professor X is smiling at your achievement 🙂

    • Thanks Kuribo 🙂 I’m sure that Professor X would be very proud of his team today! In retrospect it would have been cooler to have played different teams from my roster but it just seemed to work out nicely using the same 5 characters each time.

  4. Sounbds like some fun games – they certainly look great on those tables!

    • Cheers Azazel. The terrain is key for games of Crisis Protocol as it’s most interactive. So it was a pleasure to find that the game store had enough bits for 6 fully-painted tables.

  5. Congrats on the win. Again a nice write up that makes it easy to follow.

    • Thanks! I’m glad that the writing makes it comprehensible – hopefully if I can write clearly enough then people might be encouraged to try the game.

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