• Category Archives Marvel Crisis Protocol
  • MCP: The Avenging Archer – Hawkeye

    My history with Hawkeye has been somewhat tumultuous. At one point he was the best thing ever. Next, he was so sucky it sucked. Next, loved him. Next, man, he irritated me on so many levels. Of course, such is potentially a concern with any fictional character, depending on who’s doing the writing.

    In the comics, Hawkeye has always been something of a cocky hothead, but he’s swiveled from being a leader, someone who can see the potential in someone and who wants to push you to be the best you can be, to being little more than an arrogant asshat who seems to be making it his mission in life to be th ebiggest jerk he can be. I’m looking at you, Force Works era Hawkeye.

    Despite starting his career as a villain (an evil carnie, nonetheless), Clint Barton has grown and evolved over the years, but I think my favorite iteration was from the Matt Fraction run from 2012-2015, which above all else humanized Hawkeye. There’s an arc in there where all he’s trying to do is help out the tenants in his building as a slumlord tries to evict them. Like, it’s a multiple issue story, and it’s just excellent reading. We get to see Clint as more than just a dink with a bow, and they do a wonderful job of portraying Clint’s hearing difficulties.

    I think this arc went a long way toward informing the character we got in the MCU, where Clint may strictly speaking be the most underpowered Avenger in the movies, but his humanity is also somehow part of what binds the team together.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that Hawkeye may lack super strength, flight, and all that jazz, but he’s more than just an exceptionally accurate bowman. He’s often been depicted in the comics training with Captain America himself, and is exceptionally fit, a world class gymnast/acrobat and hand-to-hand combatant.

    Given that he doesn’t have a lot of the powers that most of the other Avengers have, I’d posit there’s an argument to be made for Clint being one of top five most capable members on the Avengers roster, simply because he doesn’t have any abilities to rely on. He’s not invulnerable, so he has to know how to take a punch, how to dodge. He’s not super fast or strong, so he has to be an expert in an array of martial techniques just to be able to stand his own.

    On the tabletop, Clint comes in at Threat 3, and  has one the more sparse cards in the game, but htis is largely due to it being all about the bow.

    His basic attack is a range 5, 5 dice Arrow Shot. The usual free basic strike. It’s not a huge amount of power, -but- with Hawkeye switching out arrows from his quiver  you get to choose if it’s a physical or energy attack, tailoring your assault to your target’s weakess. On top of that, any Wild results let you incflict Bleeck, Shock, Slow or Poison on the target as well.

    For 2 power you can use Hawkeye’s Hook Shot, allowing you to reposition Clint anywhere within range 3 of his current location. To be extra tricky, move him behind a building and then use Trick Shot for 1 more power, to ignore LOS and any cover your opponent may be lurking behind. Note that Trick Shot isn’t an attack in itself, but rather it enhances the next basic Arrow Shot you take, so you still get to choos physical or energy, and potentially inflict a special condition on the target.

    Clint’s final ability is Fast Draw. If someone targets Clint from more than range 3 distance, he can spend two power to make an Arrow Shot as a reaction. Note that the trigger is being targeted, so if you have the power to feed the Fast Draw you can potentially mess up the attacker before they even get to roll the attack.

    While Clint and Natasha may remember Budapest very differently, there’s no saying you can’t put them through their paces together – especially since they come in a two-pack of models. Swing by  your preferred FLGS or online retailer and load your quiver.

     


  • MCP: Take cover! (thanks to Play Bosco)

    I’ve been playing tabletop miniature games for a long time. I’ve played a lot of different games, and as I advance in years I’ll freely admit that my addlepated noggin is at risk of sometimes confusing rules from different games, or even from different editions of the same game. The Warhammer of right now is very different to the Warhammer of the late 1990’s, when my clown-hat Nagash ran roughshod over the armies fighting for supremacy in a small rural city in New South Wales.

    In a world where different games can all have different rules for movement, determining line of sight, even exactly when you can declare an action in the middle of what’s ostensibly your opponent’s turn (I’m looking at you, Infinity), having clear, simple visual aids can be a real boon.

    This week, while trawling through the social media feeds, we spotted some super helpful diagrams by Play Bosco to help players come to terms with Cover rules for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I was so charmed by the simplicity of the diagrams that today we’re taking you to school to the simplicity of checking to see if you get a bonus block dice or not in Marvel Crisis Protocol, by looking at four simple parameters.

    Continue reading  Post ID 20750


  • MCP: Judge, Jury, Executioner – Ronan

    It’s not easy being a comic hipster. Sure, I loved Spider-Man and the X-Men and all that jazz, but I found a bizarre measure of joy in cruising Artist Alley at comic convention and collecting sketches of lesser known characters. Beta Ray Bill and Stilt-Man were the top of my list, but I had a battery of alternatives, including Black Bolt and Ronan the Accuser. Then Jae Lee wrote the astounding Inhumans arc, and the royal family of Attilan gained prominence with the Illuminati and the War of Kings. Then the Annihilation Wave shone the spotlight on Ronan the Accuser, he married into the Inhuman royal family, and of course, he was the bad guy in the immensely popular Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

    Long story short. Ronan the Accuser went from being an occasional Avengers/Fantastic Four villain to suddenly having a much more fleshed out backstory beyond “He’s like, an arrogant alien Judge Dredd without the charm”. Heck, I even saw a cosplayer at GenCon (as the MCU version). Still, when it all leads to my favorite Agent-of-the-Supreme-Intelligence turned Outcast-Pariah turned Ruler-of-the-Kree-Empire making his way onto the tabletop, I’m not going to complain too loudly 😉

    Ronan swings in heavy at 4 Threat. Hardly surprising with his being one of the select few that can wield the Power Gem. His basic melee Strike deals out a healthy 5 damage dice, and will also Throwanyone of size 4 or less. Our boy has oomph. He has a free ranged attack with Universal Weapon, which adds insult to injury with a Push and the Shock condition.

    If he feels like firing off something special, Kree Justice is shorter range but causes both Stun and Stagger effects, as well as potentially damaging other nearby enemy models if the dice are in your favor.

    Judgement is a reactive power, and lets any enemies who dare damage Ronan or one of his pals that they have been found wanting. While the Judgementcondition is on a model, that model cannot gain power when damaged by enemy attacks. This can dramatically hamper your opponent’s ability to respond to your assault.

    The Accuser is also reactive, and more than a little spiteful, allowing you to get the last word in before Ronan is KO’d or Dazed. Whoever dares deal sufficient damage to bring the Accuser low will find themselves the recipient of a retributive attack before Ronan goes down.

    One of the heavier hitters on the Guardians roster (Gamora being the other Threat 4 and Angela being Threat 5), Ronan is also the only Guardian other than Groot over Size 2, protecting him from a number of opposing movement effects (pushes, throws). Even if I wasn’t a big fan of the character himself, his potential for board control shenanigans combined with his size and damage output make him one of my first choices for a Guardians roster. Then we can consider adding the Power Gem, just for giggles.

    Ronan the Accuser is available in a two-pack with Drax the Destroyer (because it really doesn’t count unless your name is followed by “the Something”) from your FLGS and preferred online retailer. Between the two of them you’ll also have more opportunity to use more green paint in one painting project than you have since you painted The Hulk.


  • MCP: Dead Center – Bullseye

    What do you get the man who never misses for Christmas? No, seriously, I’m asking. I drew Bullseye in the Secret Santa draw, and I’m terrified that if I give him something he doesn’t like, he’ll kill me with it. I’m thinking I should probably stick with something with no edges at all, and super soft… Do we know if he knits? Maybe a ball of cashmere wool or something? Is that even a thing?

    Bullseye is one of the most remorseless killers in the Marvel Universe. Even ignoring that he has preternatural accuracy and can kill you with a paperclip, ignoring that he has an adamantium spine, ignoring that he managed to successfully masquerade as Hawkeye in the Dark Avengers, the guy is just messed up in the head. He’ll kill you, even if he hasn’t been hired to do so, for the simple satisfaction of proving that he can, using whatever insignificant detritus he found on your kitchen floor. Death by frozen pea isn’t high on my list.

    Bullseye’s basic Throwing Knifeattack rolls a decent 4 dice, ignores cover, and characteristically inflicts the Bleed condition. His Pin Cushionhits a little harder with 5 dice, but it also  ignores cover, inflicts Bleed, and actually gives you two attacks for the cost of 4 Power, as long as they both target the same model. 5 dice may not be the most we see but rolling two attacks means you’re averaging a cost of 2 power each. There’s definite stabby value there, and at a very respectable 4 range.

    Hit and Runlets you keep Bullseye at range, allowing you to pay 2 power to use either of your attacks and then move M away. Any heavy hitters that get their hands on our little marksman here will mess him up solidly, so having him stab and then skip away is a good thing.

    I Never Miss is a rude little neener-neener when your dice crap out or your opponent’s just too well armored, letting you pay 1 power if you failed to damage your target, and inflicting one wound regardless of any defensive tech they may have.

    Parting Shotis similarly themed, allowing you to inflict one wound on an attacker and then letting you skip Bullseye further away, ideally out of range of their attack. Remember, staying away from opposing bruisers means more throwing knives fired off without repercussion!

    Bullseye and Daredevil were both a lot of fun to paint, and may be one of my favorite two-packs to date from Marvel Crisis Protocol. You can snaffle your own from your preferred online retailer or FLGS>


  • MCP: Unboxing Angela and Enchantress

    In the one corner, a mistress of manipulation who’s been a thorn in the side of the Avengers for decades, her obsession with a certain blonde hammer wielder driving her to more and more fanciful schemes – Amora the Enchantress! In the other corner, a refugee from the Spawn universe, retconned into Asgardian lore faster than Hermes himself, who isn’t part of Asgardian lore anyway – Angela the… um… Angela!

    Yes, much like out European friends, the distribution error in some parts of Canada resulted in an early release for these two femme fatales, and I was lucky enough to be able to complete my Guardians of the Galaxy roster by picking up the set.

    I’ll freely admit, my comic reading background is letting me down with this box. I haven’t read a comic arc with Angela, and those tales of the Enchantress I’ve read were much older stories where Amora’s characterization was little more than “Oh, why doesn’t Thor love me? I must bewitch him!”. Such stories are a product of their time, when female characters were often portrayed as little more than eye candy, damsels in distress. Even the supposedly more powerful/capable antagonists lacked in development or agency in the early days of Marvel. As one of the more powerful spellcasters in the Marvel Universe, Amora deserves more than that.

    Bah, you caught me ranting. On with unboxing!

    Continue reading  Post ID 20750


  • 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 20750


  • 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 20750