Hello and welcome to a very special article for me here at atb.com, my first convention report!
Thanks to the game essentially starting in lockdown, I haven’t played at an IRL tournament since this website has started. And a SoCal tournament in particular was exciting because I used to live in LA for a short stint where I got INCREDIBLY deep into Warmachine and started my competitive wargaming career and I still have a lot of wargaming friends down here, so it was a good excuse to catch up with old friends. Thanks to some poor planning on my part I arrive at my hotel around midnight, and go to bed pretty much immediately. Sleep is fitful due to loud traffic and a rickety bed.
Shambling into the hotel’s breakfast suite I pass on eating anything as I rarely eat breakfast nowadays and nothing in particular looked appetizing. After my temporary room-mates had their fill we piled into a car and drove to the venue.
If you haven’t been to the SoCal open before its a pretty unique location. Set on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in a tent pavillion, it’s the closest I’ve come to playing a wargaming convention outside. 40+ foot tall ceilings with decent natural light coming in, it takes nearly twice as long for the tabletop BO to get to you! Joking aside I actually love playing at SoCal minus the sussy bathrooms. That and the weird ass 40k people that even 40k people didn’t like – I unironically saw someone wearing some weird pro Trump shirt with Biden molesting an anime girl on it that was so creepy I wanted to take a photo but was afraid of starting an altercation (the guy looked like he’d enjoy starting a fight). But, thankfully the crowd of ~12 assembled for MCP was all pretty cool and we started right away. My roster was as follows:
Or for those of you who are not proficient in reading my chicken scratch:
- Angela: 5
- Carnage: 4
- Doctor Octopus: 3
- Enchantress: 4
- Green Goblin: 4
- Jean Grey: 5
- Lizard: 3
- Okoye: 2
- Toad: 2
- Venom: 4
- Advanced R&D
- All You’ve Got
- Carnage Rules
- Doomed Prophesy
- Mental Domination
- Sinister Traps
- Well-Laid Plans
- Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities [D]: 18
- Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan [F]: 17
- Struggle for the Cube Continues [F]: 17
- Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? [E]: 19
- Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest [E]: 15
- Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park [B]: 18
For the most part this roster is very similar to what I ran in the league, but with one trolly addition – instead of Valkyrie and Hulkbuster, I took Toad and Jean. I noticed that the field was not that experienced, only IWargame and Mike DeLuca were TTS vets and everyone else was bringing more casual fare. That combined with only needing a 2-1 record to make the second day meant I wanted to get weird with it and honor fellow Foes player Dyzard who got trolled by a poll into taking Jean with his Foes this season. The alternative was to bring in another of Foes’ solid 3 threats and maybe their tactic card (Mysterio/Grand Illusion?) but I wasn’t feeling it. And without further ado lets hop in!
Round 1 – Keith (Avengers)
First round I roll Keith who is taking an Asgard/Avengers combination heavily focused on Asgard. I knew if I took him to low threat he’d either play 3 wide Asgard or some 4 wide Avengers team both of which I felt okay into. I won the priority roll off and picked secures. We ended up Gamma/Hammers with me having prio and with my initial assessment still feeling correct I chose to play at 15. Knowing I want to play both Angela and Enchantress I opt to play unaffiliated: Angela, Enchantress, Carnage, Okoye with Doomed Prophesy, All You’ve Got, Carnage Rules, Advanced R&D and Disarm. My opponent took Steve, Sam, Valkyrie, and Thor led by Steve. I do not remember his tactics beyond Avengers Assemble unfortunately.
TBH I think I needed to pull my punches more in this match. Keith was a super cool dude but he did not have any idea what was coming. Angela steals a hammer and hides behind a size 4 waiting to return to shelter range, Enchantress steals the other hammer from Valkyrie on the other flank, and thanks to an overly cautious unpacking from the deployment zone I hold center at end of round 1 as well, going 6-2. Round 2 is more of the same after Enchantress bows away Valkyrie and runs, I lose center (without him getting it) and it ends 10-2 but I still have prio going into round 3. With prio and power to Doomed Prophesy, I literally daze his whole team, hold all 4 hammers and shelters and end the game 20-2.
This whole game goes back to my old article about the game being a big tent game, I could have slowed my roll and played something more interactive while still feeling advantaged and given my opponent a better game. Afterwards I felt super bad about sucker punching him with all this crazy tech. Thankfully he was a good sport and we had a decent chat about the game before watching the other games play out.
Round 2 – Joey (Criminal Syndicate)
This was a wacky brew to be sure. Criminal Syndicate is not particularly popular online for one simple reason – Enchantress. But even when it is played I’ve never seen something like this. Basically all invulnerable characters PLUS Thanos and gems. This time the crisis combination is Gamma and Cubes with me getting priority again. He takes Kingpin, Omega Red, Thanos, and Taskmaster. Rebounding from the viciousness of last game I decide to pull my punches and not bring Enchantress and end up with Angela, Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Carnage, and Okoye.
Early on I secured a cube advantage thanks to Angela, and even engineered a hilarious chain of events where Lizard threw Omega Red away, then tail whipped him for the wild to push him onto the sinister trap which pushed him even further out into the Gamma Wasteland. And brawl we do for the remainder of the game. Due to a miscalculation/misrespect on my part I run away with Doc Ock holding cubes too early and Joey dumps thanos on my home shelter as the only healthy character (Ock was healthy but a coward). This leads to the game coming down to whether Omega Red can one shot Lizard and thanks to Deaths Decree he does.
This whole game was the inverse lesson of last game, instead of not pulling my punches and giving a NPE here I pulled my punches because I saw jank and didn’t enough respect my opponent’s tenacity. If I took Enchantress and held her to last playing 5 wide and just bowed his guys off the points there was 0 way I could lose. But without the insanely broken control of pre-nerf Enchantress, CS was able to grind it out. Big props to Joey for sticking to the table and playing it out after the brutal opener of losing the cube split and Omega Red being exiled into the Gamma Wasteland.
Round 3 – Pablo (Web Warriors)
The last round is win-and-in for me and I roll up against Pablo taking Web Warriors. I did not run into him back when I was playing Warmachine in SoCal but he drove in with Kevin AKA the server admin of the main Discord Fanserver who I knew from back then so I knew we were going to get along great.
That said, the game had a couple rocky starts. First, Pablo accidentally takes an unaffiliated team which we fix immediately by swapping out Lizard for Black Cat. Secondly we get ~halfway through the first round playing the wrong crises. I was just a BIT loopy at the end of the day and despite him selecting Skrulls I was convinced he picked Spider-Infected. And we deployed as such due to the extreme confidence I projected in the moment. It wasn’t until he tried to Skrull roll on a Demons Downtown portal that we realized what happened. After conferring with the TO as to the procedure to un-fuck my fuck-up, we restart from deploy and I get my first MCP warning. Whoops! Thankfully Pablo was more amused than annoyed and the convention isnt pressed for time thanks to us only playing 3 rounds the first day.
Back to the game, we play Demons and Skrulls at 19, my opponent goes 6 wide and I go 5 wide with Jean. And what proceeds to happen is one of the most painful ass-whoopings of my life. I’m going to go light on the play-by-play and just hit the big events.
- Bottom of round 1 Venom finds the Skrull. No one can attack him except Doc Ock thanks to terrain and positioning. Ock does nothing.
- Top of 2 Zemo takes out Ock and retreats thanks to steel rush. Still no one can chase Venom.
- Top of 3 Zemo KOs Ock turning off Well Laid Plans and my hope of coming back
- I KO Miles with jean in round 3 but literally no one else on the WW team has more than 1-2 damage on them because I just can’t push through anything.
- Jean does multiple spenders, doesn’t get Explosive either time and fails to do damage to venom once
- Carnage uses Doomed Prophesy round four to try and force him to spend a whole activation to deal with him and give me tempo. Zemo does a builder without Master Swordsman or any assistance, rolls 3 crits and one shots him. Zemo then charges onto Jean and leaves her on 1 bleeding.
But I don’t want to make it sound like I’m complaining about dice, because as any good tabletop gamer will tell you – you disproportionately remember more the random events that hurt you than the ones that benefitted you. There were a ton of learning lessons here that all together 100% had more of an impact than the dice I noticed.
For starters, I deployed weirdly spread when I should have just had a singular focus on the middle column. It doesn’t matter WHERE I find the Skrull I just want to be ready in case my opponent does. And if I hold the middle and home point I’m only bleeding 3 vp to 2 even if he finds the Skrull immediately. Holding the center also lets me push out and hunt his Skrull holder or even take all 3 portals to get a VP lead depending on how things go. I also needed to recognize Ock’s vulnerability on his injured side and not just expect him to be able to face tank an activation because losing Well Laid Plans was unacceptable. And while the crazy luck moments stick out in my head I’m sure I had lucky moments too that were just less impactful. The point is at the end of the day, Pablo made it so when his dice came in he cashed out big time and made me feel the impact of his good dice. He played the extract grab + run away style perfectly and forced me to burn everything trying to keep up. In the end I just didn’t get there unfortunately and he made the cut instead.
Overall I’m a little bit sad at my performance in the sense that I think if I had played a bit cleaner and smarter my roster was more teched for the current meta than any of my opponents. But at the end of the day I just played too loose when it mattered and it cost me both times.
After bombing out I went out for some Pho Saturday night then watched the top cut the final day following Socal’s favored son Inyoung all the way to first place. Which was a bit bittersweet as Inyoung is an old friend who taught me how to be a competitive wargamer in the first place, but his final opponent was Mike who I’ve been dojoing a lot for TTS events with recently so no matter who won a friend was going to be sad at falling short. From there we pack up, Mike drops me off at the airport and I get home just in time to experience the worst rainstorm NorCal has had in years it feels like (My parents almost got out of their car on the freeway because they were afraid winds were going to flip it!).
Big shout-out to everyone I played, everyone who attended, and most of all Tyson Koch who IMO is still the best Wargaming TO in the US full stop. Highest level of professionalism from table construction to managing bracketing to judging, no one even comes close. I am SO glad he made the jump from Warmachine/Hordes to MCP.
Now my eyes are focused on the next big event, LVO at the end of January (another Tyson run event). With 80+ sign-ups already and looking to break 100 day of, it’s time to return to the dojo and make sure I have a better showing there than I did down in San Diego. If you’re interested in attending what is sure to be the biggest and baddest MCP event in he history of the game so far get your tickets and lodging now because I don’t know when it’ll run out of space:
Until next time!
That will wrap us up for this convention report here on acrossthebifrost.com, make sure to check out the Roster Doctor on Facebook, Youtube and Twitch.tv!