Last Saturday was the first MCP Nations Event, a 16 team Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament pitting teams of five against each other for four rounds. I had the pleasure to be part of a team led by Ewan and along with Gareth, Allan and Sean we travelled down to Element Games in Stockport to have some fun. The roster building rules meant that all characters and tactics cards had to be unique across the team which I think led to some nice diversity; I heard that out of 107 characters released for the game, 106 of them were represented at least once. For those closely following the game, the recent change to card rotation was not used for this event as the roster submission cut-off was slightly before that change came into effect. There was a match-making process between the captains at the beginning of each round to decide who got to play who, but I didn’t get involved in that, preferring to let Ewan make the decisions and just enjoy whoever I was picked to face.
I opted to play Convocation, an affiliation that I find very fun and rewarding although I don’t tend to get great results with them overall. The core of the team are, of course, all wizards and I ended up with most of the affiliated characters. Lizard is there as he enables some cool plays with Spider Infected or Cubes crises due to his speed, survivability and the Convocation leadership ability to bump after taking damage. Juggernaut was there for some funny jank to score the Wakandan Herb in round one. And finally Ebony Maw was added because I find him really fun to play; he also loves to see the Iron-Bound Books tactics card on the table. My basic game plan was to pick Extracts if I won priority and try to score the game out quickly as I find Convocation tend to fold quite badly in the later stages of the game.
– Ancient One: 4
– Baron Mordo: 3
– Clea: 3
– Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme: 5
– Doctor Voodoo: 4
– Ebony Maw: 5
– Juggernaut: 5
– Lizard: 3
– Magik: 3
– Wong: 2
– Advanced R&D
– Brace for Impact
– Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath
– Journey Through Limbo
– Plane of Pohldahk
– Tactical Analysis
– The Bar With No Doors
– Wand of Watoomb
– Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction? [A]: 15
– Research Station Attacked! [E]: 16
– Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan [F]: 17
– Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? [E]: 19
– Intrusions Open Across City As Seals Collapse [C]: 19
– Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park [B]: 18
Game 1: Ged playing Defenders
For round one we get drawn against the beautifully names Mancunians of the Multiverse team and I end up playing to Ged with a Defenders roster. He wins Priority and picks Extracts so we get Alien Ship and Demons Downtown; I think I’ve probably got a decent option at 20 threat. Note that the central garden is marked as non-interactive so it can’t be thrown.
Extraction: Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!
Secure: Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
My team: Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Voodoo, Ancient One, Wong, Ebony Maw
My cards: Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, Plane of Pohldahk, Shhh…
Ged’s team: Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Vision, Hawkeye, Luke Cage
Ged’s cards: Brace For Impact, Deal With The Devil, Field Dressing, Heroes For Hire, Seven Suns of Cinnibus
Round 1: Luke Cage gets us started by finding the Kree Power Core in the centre on the first attempt. Ebony Maw moves up to attack him but doesn’t get the Wild result needed to move him into my range; the Ancient One also attacks him. Ged’s Doctor Strange eventually heals most of the damage off Cage. Ghost Rider moves up with Hell On Wheels and hexes my Doctor Strange. Doctor Voodoo moves forward and attacks Cage but for some reason I elect to throw him into Ged’s Doctor Strange rather than Possessing him so he dropped the Core. That’s a really silly mistake to make now that I look back at it. The score is 3 – 1 in Ged’s favour.
Round 2: Wong pays to put Iron-Bound books into play. Ged’s Doctor Strange zaps the Ancient One a bit and heals Cage again. Ancient One pays to put Plane of Pohldahk on Luke Cage then my Doctor Strange moves right into the middle of the big ball and unleashes his area attack. I do good damage over all but frustratingly leave both Strange and Cage on one wound, while also taking quite a bit of chip damage from Ghost Rider using Wicked Judgment. Ghost Rider then zaps Ebony Maw and one shots him, putting ten damage into him despite the Maw having six defense dice and cover. That was quite rude. The Ancient One finally drops Cage and Doctor Strange then picks up the Core. Vision throws my Doctor Strange so I play Indomitable, then zaps the rest of his wounds off anyway. Wong stands at the back feeling glad not be involved in that mess while he heals the Ancient One. Hawkeye shoots Doctor Voodoo a couple of time and applies Field Dressing to Doctor Strange, while Voodoo fails to do anything to Vision. The score is 5 – 4 to me.
Round 3: Ged’s Doctor Strange plays the Seven Suns card and gets a very tasty beam across most of my team, Ebony Maw uses Shhh… on his heal. My Doctor Strange unleashes his area attack, dazing Strange, KOing Luke Cage (which was rather fortunate as he’d played Heroes For Hire) however the healing I got from the attacks was not enough to counteract the huge damage that Ghost Rider was doing with Wicked Judgment and so my Strange was KOed. Doctor Voodoo throws Vision who uses Brace For Impact and then dazes him. Hawkeye dazes Ancient One and Wong removes Hex from Ebony Maw after Ghost Rider had applied it. Maw uses Black Tongue and gets the Wild to move Hawkeye off the point. The score goes to 7 – 4 to me.
Round 4: Ancient One pays to put Iron-Bound Books back into play. Doctor Strange KOs Ebony Maw then Ancient One finally dazes Ghost Rider. Vision dazes Doctor Voodoo and Hawkeye uses Hook Arrow to get back in the game before shooting up Ancient One again. The score creeps up to 9 – 7 in my favour, but I’m rapidly running out of heroes.
Round 5: Doctor Voodoo finally KOs Doctor Strange with a heroic roll but it sadly included four Criticals so Ghost Rider just chunks four wounds right off him. He briefly collects the Core before the rest of Ged’s team KO both Ancient One and Doctor Voodoo. We call it there at 11 – 9 to Ged.
I had a really fun time there and Ged was a great opponent. He played a very solid game, but I think that I could have done things better. In retrospect, it was a poor move taking Ebony Maw as the uninteractive terrain piece in the centre meant that I couldn’t really use his cool terrain throw. I wonder if I would have been better to drop Ebony Maw and Wong in favour of Baron Mordo and Lizard while making the game 19 threat rather than 20. I have no idea what I was thinking in round 1 by throwing Luke Cage instead of Possessing him; that would have been a very nice points swing. And I failed to learn from previous encounters with Ghost Rider that he has to be dealt with early. I left him hanging around on a couple of wounds for far too long and he chipped so many wounds off me characters with Wicked Judgment. Our team went down by 2 games to 3 and we moved onto the next round.
Game 2: Borja playing S.H.I.E.L.D.
This time we’re drawn again a Spanish team called 5 Trocolocos 1 Cup and I get matched up with a gentleman named Borja playing S.H.I.E.L.D. I win priority and choose Extracts so we end up playing Wakandan Herb and Infinity Formula; Borja selects 17 threat. I have a very specific plan on Wakandan Herbs that involves Clea, Juggernaut, Doctor Strange and anyone who can generate extra power in turn 1; the idea is to use various superpowers and tactics cards to get Juggernaut to score the Herb on round one.
Extraction: Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction?
Secure: Infinity Formula Goes Missing!
My team: Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Clea, Ancient One, Juggernaut
My cards: Advanced R&D, Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, Tactical Analysis
Borja’s team: Nick Fury Jr, Black Widow Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Doctor Voodoo, Hawkeye, Winter Soldier
Borja’s cards: Battlefield Medicine, Eye in the Sky, Professionals, The Shieldmobile, Sitrep
Round 1: The Ancient One plays Advanced R&D, giving one power each to Juggernaut and Clea (this was a mistake, I should have given it to Doctor Strange instead of Clea) and strolls onto the near left secure. Juggernaut moves twice to the Herb, picks it up and then uses Nothing Stops The Juggernaut to start heading over to the scoring part of the board with it. Winter Soldier takes a pot shot and Ancient One but rather surprisingly does no damage. Clea uses Descendent of the Faltine to gain power (and helpfully doesn’t take damage) then moves Juggernaut further across the board with Vapours of Dormammu before joining Ancient One. The Agents collect Borja’s Herb so Doctor Strange drops them, mainly to get them out of my hair, before using Tactical Analysis to move Juggernaut closer to the objective. He’s still a bit short at this point which is because I gave the power from Ancient One to Clea instead of Doctor Strange; this prevented me from using the much bigger move of Scalpel of Strange. Helpfully Borja decides to take a shot at Juggernaut with Hawkeye after he collects his own herb; if I take a damage he can bump onto the objective with the Convocation leadership. What I hadn’t bargained for was Hawkeye piling 5 wounds on from his 6 dice attack – ouch! The score is 6 – 2 to me.
Round 2: Ancient One pays for Iron-Bound Books. Juggernaut dazes Black Widow (allowing Borja to score with the leadership) before sliding back to the objective. Winter Soldier leaves Ancient One on one wound with Bleed. She hurts him back and I’m left to decide if I prefer to daze Winter Soldier and daze myself with the bleed or play it safe. I decide that it’s too easy for Voodoo to deal with a 1 wound Ancient One so just drop Winter Soldier instead. Clea throws Voodoo away, he walks back and Possesses her. Strange moves up to attack Hawkeye who shoots him first with Fast Draw then moves clear with Eye in the Sky which feels like quite a cheeky interaction; he does at least zap Fury and then Scalpel him off to the other side of the truck. Hawkeye drops Juggernaut in one go and moves to score that point which is a bit annoying. The score is now 7 – 5 to me.
Round 3: Clea leaves Winter Soldier on one wound; he uses Eye in the Sky to move clear of her follow-up attack. Fury puts some attacks into Strange, then the Ancient One rolls like a hero for KO Winter Soldier and daze Doctor Voodoo. Black Widow uses Battlefield Medicine to help Fury and leaves Doctor Strange on one health, so he attacks Hawkeye and Black Widow right back before using Scalpel to move the latter away. Hawkeye starts heading for the objective and takes a random pot shot at Ancient One, then Fury pays for Sitrep and Shieldmobile to move Hawkeye a hilarious distance across the board an into scoring position. Juggernaut just collects the herb and moves back onto the objective. The score is now 12 – 11 in my favour.
Round 4: Ancient One again rolls like a champion attacking Doctor Voodoo, doing 5 damage (plus Stagger, of course) on the first attack. In retrospect I think that the right move was probably still to finish off Hawkeye at that point but I got greedy and KOed Voodoo instead. Hawkeye can’t repeat his earlier heroics and fails to drop Clea. Doctor Strange completely fails to hurt Fury, between Widow and the return fire he gets dazed (and Widow will eventually use Interrogate at the end). Clea throws Hawkeye into a building to daze him which is enough to end the game at 19 – 14 to me.
Many thanks to Borja for a fun game. It was quite nice to have my plan actually work, but since S.H.I.E.L.D. have tech of their own on Wakandan Herbs it didn’t feel too dirty. Anyway, that is the last hurrah for this particular game plan as Wakandan Herbs is now on the banned list and half the cards I used are restricted! I made a bit of an error with Advanced R&D in round one which could have affected things badly, but on the other hand I guess I wasn’t expecting Hawkeye to do so much damage to Juggernaut in a random potshot. The rest of the team do less well and we go down 2 wins to 3 for the second time, but this is a very close one – Ewan had could have won his own game with a flip of a SWORD point on the last activation of his game.
Game 3: Will playing Avengers
Round 3 saw us come up against a team based somewhat near us, out of the Pro Tech store in the North East. I get paired up against Will who is listed with Avengers and Defenders in his Roster, though I think that he could theoretically play A-Force too. I win priority and pick Extracts so we end up playing Research Station and Spider Portals at 18 threat. The board here is chock-full of size 3 containers so I decide to take Ebony Maw even though I don’t particularly think he likes this combination of crises. I’m not sure if Will was rather ‘thrown under the bus’ for this round as both Captain America and Black Panther hate facing a lot of mystic attacks, and of course that’s pretty much all I have.
Extraction: Research Station Attacked!
Secure: Portals Overrun City With Spider-People!
My team: Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Voodoo, Ancient One, Ebony Maw
My cards: Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, Plane of Pohldahk, Shhh…
Will’s team: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Vision, Wong
Will’s cards: Avengers Assemble, Heavy Firepower, Second Wind, Tactical Analysis – and then he realised that all his other cards were tied to characters he didn’t want to use, so effectively played down by one card
Round 1: Ebony Maw takes the left Portal, Vision takes the right and the Ancient One takes my near one but gets moved back by the Portal. Black Panther shoots forward and flips the left Portal back. Wong helpfully fails to get his own Portal before moving up so Captain America has to do it, and as he gets placed backwards by the Portal he can’t make it to the centre. Captain Marvel and Doctor Voodoo both move into the central scrum and Doctor Strange dazes Wong. The score is 3 – 1 to Will.
Round 2: Doctor Strange pays for Iron-Bound books and Ancient One plays Plane of Pohldahk on Black Panther. I should have waited to do this as Ebony Maw’s first move is throw a container into Black Panther which does four damage since he doesn’t dodge any of it. One attack is enough to daze him, but annoyingly the Maw can’t take that Portal for me. Wong Meditates and gives some power to Captain Marvel, who applies Stagger to Doctor Voodoo and he pays for Indomitable to stop the throw. In return, he KOs Wong. Captain America fails to do much of anything to Doctor Voodoo, mainly because of my Iron-Bound Books. Vision moves to my near Portal but rather fortuitously fails to flip it. Doctor Strange dazes Captain Marvel somewhere in here. The score is now 6 – 4 to Will.
Round 3: Ebony Maw bounces embarrassingly off Black Panther this time, though he does at least take back the Portal on that side. Captain Marvel puts Stagger back on Voodoo, throws him away and leaves Doctor Strange on a single wound. I have to go with Doctor Strange if I’m going to get any use out of him, so he does his nice area attack to heal a little, though it doesn’t help as Captain America immediately dazes him. The Ancient One fails to daze Captain America. Black Panther flips the left Portal yet again then gets onto the Researcher with Avengers Assemble, which Captain Marvel joins in with. Doctor Voodoo throws the former off the objective and puts Brother Daniel on Captain America, but Vision is able to throw the Ancient One off too. The score moves to 11 – 5 in Will’s favour. I feel like I’m doing OK on attrition but am increasingly worried that Will’s momentum might get him the win before I can catch up.
Round 4: Doctor Strange gets a good start by dazing Captain America and KOing Captain Marvel, then using Scalpel to send Vision as far away as I can manage. Black Panther uses Second Wind to heal a random wound and dazes Doctor Voodoo. The Ancient One flips the far Portal and moved onto the Researcher before Vision throws her off it again. Ebony Maw finally flips the left point again and moves to the Researcher again to keep it tied this round, we go to 12 – 8.
Round 5: Black Panther KOs Doctor Strange and in return Doctor Voodoo KOs Captain America. Ouch, two leaders KOed in back-to-back activations! Vision can’t quite finish off Doctor Voodoo so the Ancient One dazes him and Ebony Maw KOs Black Panther. The score is now 13 – 13.
Round 6: Vision needs a big turn here. He’s able to KO Doctor Voodoo but that’s all he can manage. We don’t bother rolling out the rest of it; the final score is 18 – 14 in my favour.
Wow, that was a tight game and Will was fun opponent throughout. I thought that we had interestingly different approaches in that I was clearly aiming to whittle Will’s team down and score late where as he was playing to score points first even at the cost of attrition. On the whole the game went more or less according to my plan, though I could definitely have been a bit cleverer about the way I played my tactics cards here. Our team finally managed to pull off a win, taking the round by 4 games to 1. By this point we were all pleased with achieving our objective of winning at least one round and winning at least one game each.
Game 4: Javier playing Brotherhood of Mutants
Our final round of the event was against another Spanish team with the great name ‘Team Is Pain’. Once again Ewan sorted out the match-ups and I get paired with Javier running Avengers and Brotherhood of Mutants. I once again win priority and choose Extracts, pleasingly getting the third and final card of that set, so we play a very thematic game of Spider-Infected and Spider Portals. Javier picks the higher threat of 18. I have Lizard in my roster for this specific crisis so he’s definitely in, as is Voodoo as he’s great for engineering swings by making someone drop their Spider-Infected. I figured that since it was the last game of the event and we weren’t in any kind of Serious Business position that it would be cool to use all the characters in my roster, so I added Magik and Baron Mordo. At this high threat I was really expecting to see Magneto but Javier explained later that he felt that Mystique was better on such a wide scenario.
Extraction: Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan
Secure: Portals Overrun City With Spider-People!
My team: Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Voodoo, Magik, Baron Mordo, Lizard
My cards: Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath, Journey Through Limbo, Plane of Pohldahk
Javier’s team: Mystique, Juggernaut, Rogue, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Iron Man
Javier’s cards: Asteroid M, Deception, Do You Know Who I Am?, Helios Laser Bombardment, Medpack
Round 1: Lizard does his party trick, rushing over to the far side of the board to collect a Spider-Infected. Juggernaut flips his home Portal and takes the central Spider-Infected. Doctor Strange gets the other right Spider-Infected and the Portal on that side. Baron Mordo makes a cheeky move to pick up the far left Spider-Infected – I had thought that Mystique might be far enough away from my near left one that she might not make it, but she does. It doesn’t help Javier as Voodoo hurts her and possesses her and collects that Spider-Infected. Captain America pushes Lizard and Doctor Strange around a bit and Rogue later fails to flip that Portal back. Mystique and Juggernaut play Asteroid M to get the former out of range to be ended by Magik, which was a surprise but I was certainly glad to have that card played in such a defensive manner. Magik flips the left Portal. The score is 6 – 2 to me.
Round 2: Frustratingly, all four of my Spider-Infected carriers get moved while Juggernaut gets to stay still. Doctor Strange pays for Iron-Bound Books. Mordo dazes Mystique and flips the far Portal. Captain America uses Redwing Assault on Lizard by Javier’s dice desert him and nothing happens, though he does manage to flip the Portal over there. Lizard hits him back, throws Rogue away and reflips the Portal. Continuing on this side, Rogue slaps Lizard around a bit but can’t manage to re-reflip the Portal. I’m already losing priority so I figure I might as well get started on attrition; Doctor Strange dazes Captain America. Iron Man takes the left Portal and Voodoo tickles him a bit. Juggernaut casually one-shots Baron Mordo and reflips the far Portal; luckily he’s already carrying a Spider-Infected so he can’t take the one dropped by Mordo. Magik completely fails to hurt Iron Man, then also fails to flip the left Portal back – good work Magik. The score goes to 10 – 5 to me.
Round 3: Once again all my team get pushed around by Spider-Infected. Iron Man and team pump 20 dice into the Helios laser and, not surprisingly, daze Doctor Voodoo; he also picks up the Spider-Infected. I hate that card. Mordo pays for Plane of Pohdahk on Mystique and applies his spender attack but even with the rerolls she stays up. I consider continuing to attack her but figure the dice aren’t really in favour of him finishing the job so he flips back the nearby Portal (which places him away) then walks to collect the Spider-Infected he dropped last round. Mystique plays Deception, then one-shots him, which is pretty rude on a 4 dice attack. Lizard double moves to take my home Portal which has somehow not been touched yet; he gets it but is placed back towards Captain America and Rogue. Captain America charges in but can’t do much damage to Lizard, Doctor Strange moves across to use his area attack and I roll like a champion, KOing Captain America and dazing Rogue. Clearly Captain America and Baron Mordo went to the same school of ‘do nothing, then die easily’. Juggernaut hurts Doctor Strange and uses Do You Know Who I Am? which I block with Indomitable; to add insult to injury he also fails to flip that right Portal. Magik hurts Iron Man and flips the left Portal. The score is now 15 – 9 to me. On a high scoring crisis combination like this one, I’m not home and dry yet but I think that Javier will have to have an extraordinary round to take this game from here.
Round 4: Annoyingly, I forget that I could play Iron-Bound Books again. Iron Man strolls across and takes my home Portal. I don’t know if Javier spotted it at the time but not dropping Doctor Voodoo pretty much guaranteed my victory as no-one else could get to him and Voodoo could easily Possess him and collect the Spider-Infected. Lizard throws a building at Mystique and leaves her on one health, then fails to take the back Portal. Rogue dazes Doctor Strange and takes his Spider-Infected. Magik races across to the back Portal but fails to flip it. Juggernaut power slides into Lizard but the bump from the Convocation leadership is enough to get Lizard to safety. As predicted, Doctor Voodoo gives Iron Man the Brother Daniel token, picks up the Spider-Infected and flips my near Portal back to me. The game ends at 19 – 14 in my favour.
It was great to play Javier and we had a good laugh and banter at the crazy dice; he was a gentleman to play even when I was rolling really high damage into Captain America and Rogue. I suspect that the swings of the dice make it a bit hard to learn much from this game so instead I’ll just say that I enjoyed having a chilled out finish to the event. As a team we pulled through with 3 wins to 2, comfortably ending the day in mid-table mediocrity at 2 – 2.
The event was an absolute blast, getting to play against players from far beyond my local area with very cool ideas about how to use their teams. Almost everyone went out directly from the shop for an excellent curry and then Gareth and I rounded out the evening with a cheeky beer in the hotel bar. Many thanks to Ewan for doing all the leg work for our team and all the hard captaining duties, to Ged, Borja, Will and Javier for four fun games of Crisis Protocol, and of course the biggest thanks to Tony and his small army of helpers for running the whole event and making this such a success.