• Category Archives Marvel Crisis Protocol
  • MCP: The Man Without Fear

    Daredevil – the Man Without Fear – has been a Marvel mainstay for decades, with some great stories and a rogues gallery that includes big names like Kingpin and Bullseye, and less big names like Gladiator and Stilt-Man. The silver-tongued Matt Murdock has a thing for the ladies, including Black Widow, Elektra and Typhoid Mary, but let’s be honest: One of the smartest things he ever did was switch the yellow eyesore that was his original costume for the classic red. There’s been a few variants over the years since, including a predominantly black version and the awful suit with layered shoulders. but when Atomic Mass announced that he’d be joining rosters for Marvel Crisis Protocol, there was no question in my mind that he’d be monochromatically red once he left my paint table.

    There’ve been some excellent works appearing on social media that have changed the base to a grassy look to that the headstone looks more at home, and a few folk have removed the cable, but I secured the cable to the back of the leading hand for extra stability.

    Daredevil is the latest high-mobility hero to swing onto the table, his movement of L and Wall Crawlerhelping him get around the  board as needed. HIs defensive stats are 3 across the board, but Radar Sense means he treats blanks on defense rolls as successes, so he’s more resilient than he might first seem.

    His basic strike stuns targets if he rolls a wild, and as a reaction he can pay 2 power after being attacked to fire off a Strike thanks to Man Without Fear. This does mean that he can potentially score that Stun before the attacker swings at him with their first action, making them pay more power for their second action. It should be noted, though, that he can only use Man Without Fearuntil his card flips, when the power changes.

    Baton Hook is a nice ranged attack that ignores LOS and cover, but more importantly it pulls the target S toward Daredevil, making it an excellent tool for pulling a target away from an objective, or into into range for a teammate’s swing.

    Devil’s Deliverance is a dark reflection of Baton Hook,pushing targets away from Daredevil. This is an area attack that starts with a low strength of 2, but the dice pool grows for each enemy in range. If you can place Daredevil in the right spot, this could result in a thorough drubbing for a mob of foes.

    I mentioned earlier that Man Without Fear goes away when the card flips; it’s replaced with Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, which allows Daredevil to use his Strike or Baton Hookattacks against a target within 2, though if he rolls any skulls he takes a point of damage in the process. Note that while it’s an active power, it doesn’t take one of his two actions to use, so you can keep firing off extra attacks as long as you have the health and power to fuel it. Flurry of blows indeed…

    Daredevil leaps from the rooftops in a pack with Bullseye, available through your FLGS or preferred online retailer. Strap on the spandex and grab your billy club, someone needs to keep the streets safe…

  • MCP: Nebula – Daughter of Betrayal

    Who else remembers when Nebula had long, black hair? Just me? Ah well, that’s what I get for being old. The re-envisioning of Nebula for the MCU took one of my favor Dr Who Companions, shaved her head, and turned her into a angry cyborg. In the comics, Nebula had claimed to be Thanos’ granddaughter, but we’ll forgive the writers for tweaking the backstory since it gives us the whole MCU Nabula/Gamora sisterhood redemption arc.

    The model was very simple to assemble, though there is some small flexibility once she’s fully assembled based on the small contact point between her left foot and the grounded turbine she’s leaping around. A more static pose would have allowed for more security, a second contact point, but I’m still confident that the model is secure and in the end it’s a great looking, dynamic pose.

    She was a fun to paint, experimenting to find the purple tones I was happy with. The purple down the center of her face is a thinned version of the same purple used on the knees and thighs. The grey straps are easy to pick out for contrast, and the only point of the model that was finicky to paint was the cybernetics framing her left eye.

    In terms of play, Nebula’s low threat value of 2 means she’ll be easy to pop into a slot to fill those last couple of available points. A low threat value also means she’s rarely going to be a win condition, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a valuable asset to your roster. Her immunity to Bleed, Poison and Stun could take some of the wind out of your opponent’s sails, as could her Cybernetic Enhancements, allowing her a defense reroll and healing her a point of damage every activation.

    Assassinmeans that she’s very one-track-minded. Nebula can’t interact with objectives, but she gets to reroll attack dice against targets that are holding or contesting objectives, making her a precision tool for scenario play. Both her basic melee and ranged attacks – Strikeand Blaster Pistol– generate power, and her Shock Sword Assault can give you some sneaky repositioning by placing her to within R1 of her target after you’re already shooting them from up to R3 away. This means you pew pew from R3, and can then place yourself on the other side of the target an additional R1, to interfere with charge lanes or to get herself out of trouble.

    I wouldn’t want too rely on her holding off a heavy hitter like the Hulk, but when it comes to ping-ponging around the table like a razor-edged squirrel, for a mere 2 Threat, Nebula’s a fine supplement to your roster.

    Nebula, along with her sister Gamora, is available through your preferred online retailer or FLGS. There’s stabbery to be done, and she’d like to get on with it. Who are you to say no?


  • MCP: Gamora – The Deadliest Woman in the Universe

    We’re on a bit of a Marvel Crisis Protocol tear right now, and Gamora’s next up. When I think of the Universe’s most dangerous beings, I confess that a green-skinned, sword-wielding alien wouldn’t have been my initial thought when we’ve got Death Stars and the Borg and the like, but when it comes to daughters of the mad titan who’ve been raised as superlative combatants and assassins, only one can hold the title.

    Gamora has been a member of the Infinity Watch, long time guardians of the Infinity Gems, and in more recent years has carved her way into the limelight as a core member of Peter Quill’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Swinging in at Threat 4, Gamora is fast and lethal. Her basic attack is God Slayer, rolling 6 dice and inflicting Bleed. That in itself isn’t bad at all, but when you stack it with Deadliest Woman In The Galaxy ability means every Wild you roll lets you convert a dice that otherwise missed into a hit. This significantly ups the hit averages on God Slayer and her even deadlier Cosmic Assassin.

    Cosmic Assassin isn’t cheap – costs 4 -but it has a longer range than God Slayer, strips a defensive success away from your target, and grants you a free second attack at another target within 2 of the original target. Note that this means you can make your fist swing at a target 3 away from Gamora, and then the second at a target 2 further beyond them, making it one of the longest threat range attacks in the game.

    Her melee attacks are supported by Assassin Leap for bonus distance as the throws herself S distance ignoring any collision damage, and Martial Prowesslets her roll 5 dice in defense against any attack launched from a nearby source rather than her natural 3. Odds are you’re going to reduce any incoming damage, but if you manage to negate it entirely, the attacker takes 2 damage themselves. On offense or defense, Gamora is stabby.

    Living up to her title, Gamora is something of a cruise missile. She can run L, Assassin Leap S, Cosmic Assassina target at 3 range, triggering the second rapid strike attack at a target 2 further, tolling 6 dice for each of the attacks with Wild results letting you switch misses to additional hits. While she may not be inclined to succumb to pelvic sorcery, she’s certainly equipped to conduct emergency surgery as long as you’re willing to consider disembowelment as a successful result.

    One of the heaviest hitters on the Guardians roster (at least until I get my hands on Angela), Gamora is the precision scalpel to balance out the hand grenade that is Ronan. Packed with her sister Nebula, you can find Gamora at your FLGS or preferred online retailer.

  • MCP: The Kingpin of Crime

    While he’s often referred to as the fat man by those who would oppose him, Wilson Fisk packs a prodigious amount of muscle beneath those crisp Armani shoulders. The Kingpin is not to be mistaken for his Californian counterpart, the Slug, and is not to be underestimated as a very personal, physical threat. While he may generally prefer to have his underlings do the dirty work for him, the Kingpin has personally delivered termination orders to those who’ve disappointed him.

    A mainstay of Marvel’s New York criminal underworld, Kingpin has long been Daredevil’s nemesis, but Spider-Man’s also found himself in the cross-hairs, as have many of New York’s street-level crimefighters. Black Cat and Elektra have both been on his payroll, and and he’s colluded with some of the most dangerous denizens of the global criminal underbelly in the furtherance of his own agenda. He also put a hit out on Aunt May at one point, resulting in Spider-Man delivering a very sound thrashing in a prison yard.

    For Crisis Protocol, Kingpin is the mastermind of the Criminal Syndicate, supported by his number one hitman – Bullseye – and an array of ne’er-do-wells ranging from Killmonger and MODOK to Green Goblin and Mysterio. A master of manipulation and certainly someone who knows how to get what he wants, his Illicit Networklets his agents move resources… and hostages… keeping them one step ahead of those meddling  heroes.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20420

  • MCP: Unboxing Punisher and Taskmaster

    The Punisher holds an interesting place in my personal comic history. On the one hand I’ve generally opted for the more fantastic or comically absurd characters, so “guy with a gun” has never been huge on my radar. On the other hand, the Netflix series was excellent, I’ve enjoyed a number of story arcs, he was the centerpiece of one of my favorite VS System decks, and he was responsible for the death of one of my very favourite D-listers, having shot a bazooka at the crotch of Wilbur Day, the fabulous Stilt-Man. The Punisher is positively mundane when compared to most of Marvel’s character stable, but his place in it is nevertheless cemented.

    Taskmaster, on the other hand, has spent much of his career featuring in my headcanon as the Skeletor of the Marvel Universe. A nefarious bad guy who can counter all your tricks while cackling behind a skull mask. More recent iterations have turned him into something more sinister than comical, but let’s face it, there’s something kind of glorious about the  melodromatic hooded cape, and I’m looking forward to seeing his portrayal in Black Widow whenever it finally releases.

    It’s time to do a little unboxing.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20420

  • MCP: Unboxing Daredevil and Bullseye

    Every comic studio has its mainstays, and popularity swings with pop culture. The Marvel movies have thrust the Avengers lineup into the spotlight, making A-listers out of even the lovable losers of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who spend a significant part of the last few decades wallowing in near obscurity. Then there’s characters that have enjoyed some of the best writing in the industry, some of the most iconic moments, who haven’t captured the general public’s attention in quite the same way. Daredevil is one such character. (I will note that the Daredevil series on Netflix was very good and is worthy of your attention. The 2003 move somewhat less so, but I still enjoyed the snot out of Colin Farrell’s Bullseye).

    Pairing Daredevil and Bullseye is practically a must. Kingpin is coming out separately, and the only other character I would possibly consider would be Typhoid Mary, but Bullseye trumps her too. A hero with perfect situational awareness, near peerless acrobatic skill and superlative combat training vs a sociopathic maniac with an adamantium spine who can kill you with a paperclip. What’s not to love?

    We’ll delve more into their tabletop potential once the models have cleared the painting table, but for now let’s take a look at the models themselves.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20420

  • MCP: Shuri

    With Okoye finished, Shuri couldn’t be far behind. The painting table is that much closer to being cleared for Ghost Rider and Dr Strange. I didn’t find Shuri as challenging a model to build as the interwebs would have you believe, but she was a challenge to paint, and when her leg snapped off at the ankle, getting a pin in there was tough, but that’s a reflection of my own shakiness with a pin vice more than a comment on the quality of the model.

    Shuri’s model has fine detail that my old man eyes had trouble following, and like many Crisis Protocol models the detail is more truescale than exaggerated, so my old man hands had some difficulty painting in the lines too, as it were, but with her completed the Wakanda faction of my collection is done.

    As a character, much like the other Wakandans, my experience with Shuri is pretty limited, and relies heavily on the movies. In all fairness, Letitia Wright’s portrayal of Shuri as intelligent, feisty, fun and capable when it came time to throw down was endearing – almost making her a Wakandan Spider-Man in terms of brilliant-wit-meets-heroism – and should she assume the mantle of the Black Panther in the MCU I’d be thrilled.

    In game she swings in as a Threat 3 Middleweight, but her damage capacity is reduced in exchange for excellent board control. Her basic attack – Panther Gauntlets – caps out at 1 damage, but every blast pushes the attacker away. Her secondary attack – Sonic Crush – packs some punch, but its real value is in the automatic Stun and potential Stagger effects it delivers.

    Super Geniuslets her count shields instead of strikes as successes when attacking, allowing her to maximize her rolls, and Upgradeslets her grant rerolls to teammates. Granted, it can cost her a lot of power to use, but considering she generates additional power off when she rolls skulls, chances are she’s going to have some to hand those rerolls around.

    Shuri is a quintessential support character, with Panther Gauntlets and Upgrades primed to see a lot of use to shove opponents around and to help your entire team maximize their dice rolling potential. She’s paired with Okoye in a pack together, making Wakanda the easiest affiliation to collect in the game, and if you’re looking for a team player to make your other heroes shine, she’s locked and loaded.

    Find Shuri at your FLGS or preferred online retailer, yell “Pew! Pew!” as she punches opponents from half a board away and sends them flying away.

  • MCP: Okoye

    There are some models that just become something of a mental roadblock on the painting table. Sometimes it’s a case of being intimidated by a model, not being confident your skill level is sufficient to do it justice. Sometimes it’s the opposite, and a model just doesn’t enthuse. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting past the voice in your head saying “You need to paint Danai Gurira”.

    My past comic experiences usually serve me well when it comes to MCP characters, but my exposure to Okoye is pretty much limited to the movies. She cemented her badassness in Civil War with one line, and her roles in Black PantherInfinity War and Endgame have made her a well-deserved fan favorite… but my main time with Okoye as a character has been through Marvel: Puzzle Quest on my phone. While I’m well familiar with her Vibranium Spear, a match-3 phone app did not prepare me for a braided tabard and my experience with painting darker skin tones is similarly limited.

    Once I got over the mental hurdle and put brush to model though, she painted up beautifully. The lines of the model are easy to follow with a brush, and a simple wash picked out the braiding on the tabard beautifully.

    In terms of play, Okoye is cheap. Threat 2 means she can be squeezed into almost any list that could use a bodyguard to protect a glass cannon.

    Her basic strike -and- her basic ranged attack are both free to use, and both generate power. Her Vibranium Spear Thrust punctures opposing armour by negating one of their defense results, and gets backed up by a followup Strike for free.

    She’s harder to kill than it would immediately seem with General of the Dora Milaje and Martial Artist stacking to let her reroll a defense dice while also adding blanks as successful defense rolls. Bodyguard is the main reason to take her though, as she can redirect an opponent’s alpha strike onto herself. Granted, as a Threat 2 character you should expect her to be able to do it all day long, but if if keeps one of your power hitters from being sucker-punched, then it’ll have been a decent investment.

    Okoye is available in a two-pack with Shuri, from your FLGS or preferred online retailer. Pick up your spear, it’s time to get stabby. Yibambe!

  • MCP: Alternative Schemes

    I remember walking into GenCon’s dealer hall and seeing Marvel Crisis Protocol directly through the doors. Atomic Mass Games had secured prime booth space and couldn’t be ignored: They were here to make a splash. For the record, they absolutely freaking did. While I was able to chat with the guys on and off over the course of the weekend, it wasn’t until Sunday that I was able to squeeze up to one of the demo tables and actually get to try the game. For the record, I played Red Skull. No foreshadowing.

    Getting to chat with Dallas and Will, knowing their strengths with the paintbrush, it wasn’t long before discussion of paint schemes came up. We talked a little about how fun the models would be to paint, but the thing that was on my mind was that everyone would be basically inclined to paint the models with the traditional schemes we all know and love from the comics.

    We’re all used to seeing Cap in red, white and blue. Tony’s red and gold armor. Widow in a black suit. Would the Green Goblin be the Green Goblin if he wasn’t green? Part of it is, I think, the fact that a lot of the game’s appeal is in putting characters on the table that many of us have known and loved for decades. We want to be able to write those stories and adventures in our heads as we play, and well, Hulk is iconically green and wears purple pants. Never mind that he’s been grey, that there’s been red and blue variants, our iconic Hulk is a green skinned behemoth and the idea of his not looking “right” takes us out of that experience. Hence, we paint him green (well, I did).

    Dallas and Will were clear that they were excited to see people paint the models in alternate colour schemes, but an additional hurdle is that the sculpts themselves – fantastic reproductions – lend themselves to one particular scheme. Captain America’s sculpt, for example, does not immediately lend itself to the USAgent scheme, because the chest detail is different. Another example is Ghost Rider, who is clearly based on Johnny Blaze’s image, rather than Danny Ketch.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I -love- the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, and if we get Hercules, Iceman and Angel, you can bet I’ll be adding Black Widow to round out the 1975 Champions roster (damn, I’m old), but Ghost Rider’s history is long and storied, from the utterly amazing Trail of Tearsseries telling the story of how Zarathos came to the West, to the Cosmic Ghost Rider where Frank Castle is the Herald of Galactus. Everyone has their own favourite incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance, so being able to translate the model into a personal vision through paint alone can be a challenge when the sculpt is very clear in its vision.

    And then Will Shick posted this earlier in the week.

    You can click the picture to watch the Twitch Stream.

    The simple action of changing the colour of the flame has made a huge difference to the way the model presents. Even ignoring the skill level of the artist, it’s a great example of how you can make a model your own just by thinking a little outside of the comic panel.

    I mean, I’ll still be painting my Ghost Rider in the traditional scheme when I get one, but I can definitely appreciate the value of Atomic Mass Games’ Twitch streams. Now, if only they aired when I wasn’t at work… 😉


  • MCP: Unboxing Hawkeye and Black Widow

    The Avengers roster contains some of the heaviest hitters the Marvel Universe has to bear. It also contains  some characters who are devoid of any super powers whatsoever (barring retcons). When you have heroes who can support the weight of an entire container ship, can survive unassisted at the crushing depths of the ocean, and can bend the laws of reality itself, being a well trained combatant or a really good shot may not seem to carry a lot of weight, but both Black Widow and Hawkeye have actively led the Avengers for extended periods in their long and storied history.

    Hawkeye and Black Widow’s histories are intrinsically intertwined, all the way back to the mid 1960s when both were bad guys and Clint was besotted with the lethal Russian spy Natasha. Thankfully they signed up to fight for the betterment of all humanity, eschewing their nefarious pasts.

    Both have been favorite characters of mine for some time. Clint leading the West Coast Avengers, causing team tension in Force Works, and his own amazing Matt Fraction run from 2012 to 2015, which even included a full issue where all communication is done through sign language (our archer is hearing impaired, donchaknow). Natasha being Avengers Chairwoman and fighting on a cosmic scale, while also having amazing espionage-based arcs. From street level to the stars – much as in the movies – Natasha’s skillset and tactical mind have earned her a spot Marvel’s premiere team. Will it earn her a spot in your Crisis Protocol roster? We’ll look more into her Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. incarnation once we’ve got her painted, but for now let’s look into the box.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20420