Set out to write a potentially endless series of focused articles on individual crisis cards in MCP, check. Lay out a detailed description of what articles I intend to write and how they’ll be classified, check. Derail into a completely overlooked option – meta macro. Scope creep much? Today we’re zooming out to see what the 18 finalists from season 5 have selected in a vacuum.
First, The Data – 18 Players
|Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest||11||61%|
|S.W.O.R.D Establishes Base on Moon’s Blue Area||10||56%|
|Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?||8||44%|
|Infinity Formula Goes Missing!||6||33%|
|Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0||6||33%|
|Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park||4||22%|
|Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnessess||3||17%|
|Portals Overrun City with Spider-People!||3||17%|
|Terrigen Cloud Sweeps Over City||2||11%|
|Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Sweeps Across Earth||1||6%|
|Deadly Meteors Mutate Civilians||0||0%|
|Research Station Attacked!||12||67%|
|Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan||11||61%|
|Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities||9||50%|
|Struggle for the Cube Continues||5||28%|
|The Montessi Formula Found||5||28%|
|Deadly Legacy Virus Cured||4||22%|
|Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!||2||11%|
|Mutant Extremists Target U.S. Senators!||2||11%|
|Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction||2||11%|
|Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership||2||11%|
Second, Points of Note
This is a somewhat skewed meta. Online MCP Leagues last a solid ten weeks and allow for rosters to be changed after the third week and again for finalists. Of the 18 finalists, Wakanda and Black Order were over-represented. Finalists opted for one of three approaches, (1) dance with the one that brung you and change as little as possible; (2) put your best foot forward; or (3) think of something that can counter the other guys’ best feet.
It does appear there should be more than a few games played on Gamma and the Research Station. SWORD shows up in time to be incredibly popular into the cut and Demons Downtown rounds out the top three most taken secures. The Research station is effectively a secure you can run as an extract.
All four of these crises tend to force the game into prolonged combat at the center of the map. These rosters are utilizing a combination of control and attrition in varying degrees and at various pivot points capable of playing wide-enough at every point value.
The next most popular extracts are Hammers and Spider-Infected. An extract deck of the Research Station, Hammers & Spider-Infected is an amazing all-comers spread. Spider-Infected is great with prio and as hedge against lower activation count squads. Hammers is amazing with and without priority, so long as you have a play on it. The research station is great for both attrition and control rosters for forcing a “fair” fight in the center of the map. Basically, one you want with prio and two you don’t care about.
There has been talk across the blogosphere and podcasts and everywhere MCP is discussed for that matter that Secures aren’t pulling their weight in the meta. This is primarily attributed to high extract scores without much of a draw back allowing teams to ignore extracts and play keep-away with an extract advantage. That said, this is extract spread seems to encourage conflict.
Three players are running this holy terror trinity of secures (SWORD/Gamma/Demons) along with the research station, and two of them are also running Hammers. One out of dual leadership Cabal and two others out of Wakanda. One of the Wakanda rosters is running all six of the most popular picks – finger on the pulse, trendsetter, or in for a fair fight every time? You decide!
The top five Secures in summary
The top three secures have a lot in common, but are equally diverse. Stacked as a Secure deck, there are a lot of options here to gameplan around (and for).
Gamma has the most victory points of any crisis up for grabs each round, but the narrow E shape means contested gamma shelters can quickly turn into a scrum or a slog that won’t bend until it breaks and the score stays close until it breaks lopsided on the double-quick.
SWORD has completely supplanted Deadly Meteors from the meta (which may also involve the disappearance of Asgard from the cut), but shares the same winner-take all scoring mechanic. Winning the 3vp is the same differential as taking a 4-1 extract advantage, and comes with a free stagger. Three points up for grabs, C shape. Fixed RNG.
Demons, on the other hand is effectively the slowest scoring secure that punishes you for what little it offers. Three points up for grabs, E shape.
All three of these encourage a central fight and often produce a very low model count endgame. These are aggressive secures for rosters that want to strike the right balance between attrition and control into an opponent’s roster for advantage.
Rounding out the top five are Infinity Formula and Extremis Consoles, which were tied at 6 instances each. Extremis creates a series of smaller skirmishes and often produces an endgame that leaves models stranded on their consoles or spending their final turn(s) double moving to a new perch, as the fight is too far away and the end too close. Infinity’s narrow columns often split the game in two as the distance between them feels like forever. A common endgame on these maps looks like 2-3 characters watching a fight over whatever points are still contested.
These crises are much more spread across the mat than the top three, and often lend themselves to parity scoring in the early game. I think these secures, and especially Extremis, have lent themselves to the extracts first / runaway / keep-away strategy beloved (when it’s Web Warriors running circles around you) and maligned (when it’s facilitated by a splashed Enchantress stealing your extract, siren’s calling you away and then flying off to the corner of the map) by MCP players everywhere. Extremis and Infinity spread out the characters and encourage rosters to gain an early advantage in extracts, by maintaining as light a touch as possible on the secure points.
This isn’t to say that the fights on the narrow columns of Infinity Formula aren’t the deciding factor in the game, or the 1v1s on Extremis aren’t important – just that when you hold the top two Secures against up to the tied for fourth, it is clear that there’s more than one way to play MCP.
The Extracts, a top five
Research Station isn’t an extract, but whatever, it’s fun. There’s nothing to steal and run away with and no terrible conditions applied for scoring the researcher – in fact, if you want to play it safe, you can pull it further away from their scoring minis so it’s easier for you, and if it starts to really go your way push it forward and it’ll score more, including, potentially, even if you aren’t contesting it! It really is fun. Another E shape though, so more central conflict.
Spider Infected. You can only hold one spider infected civilian, so Enchantress is less amazing on it. You can run away with it, but if you roll poorly, you’ll come walking back. This extract encourages wide play and rosters built to include a safe, centerline grab. For Black Order (or in theory, any roster that wants to run a low model count squad) their model count caps their scoring potential, and a lot more Black Order was expected in the cut rosters than actually showed up. This might be a fluke of this season’s cut, but Spider Infected is definitely a quality extract to run in an all comers roster.
Hammers slips to third. Again, I suspect this is a fluke of this season’s cut. Hammers makes sense as a pairing with the above two. If you’re built around running all three of the top extracts, you have a safe centerline play with and without priority, you will always have hammers or researcher, so you’re not locked into an disadvantage if given extracts without priority (like you can be running cubs & spider infected) and you have an extract that can’t be stolen. This trio is a brilliant spread for a lot of aggressive rosters.
Rounding out the top five is another tie, Montessi (Books) and Cubes at five instances each. The faster and the slower centerline grab options. These two are fine. There’s no new ground here. Angela is cool with a book. Wolverine can gobble up two cubes with Storm leadership.
I think an honorable mention is due to Deadly Legacy Virus Cured, coming in with 4 instances. This C shaped, triple extract is highly interactive, and with the 8pts on the line late, can lead to absolutely wild finishes.
Putting it all together
It is clear that a lot of the cut is built around C & E maps. Outside of this specific event, rosters built around a core of Gamma (and maybe Demons) & Sword for Secures, Research Station + Hammers and/or Spiders are a solid core for an all-comers, built around roster.
These are the Crises to plan for from here. Dig into your synergy banks and get to building. Spiderman is coming, someday, but until then the aggressive list has priority – how will you respond?
I think this is a great time to be an aggressive list and while I have tons more to say about all of this, I think I’ve said enough for now. Certainly expect some Due Dillegence forthcoming on the rest of these top fives over the coming weeks. Another big shout out to Jacob over at Xavier Protocols, who crunched all these numbers down to easy mode for the community.
Obligatory Thanos Pic: