Loki: God of Mischief
Whether it is The Dread Dormammu or The Dreaded Stark, there’s no character in the Marvel Crisis Protocol Universe which fails to send a shiver down the spine of their enemies… at least some of the time. Today let’s look at The Dreaded… Loki, God of Mischief!
Loki was one of the earlier characters released for Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and his popularity has remained steady. He remains one of the more technical pieces in the game, and one who can fit in many teams. As I prepare for Season 7 of the Tabletop Simulator League (the first one that I’ll be participating in!) he’s reclaimed his place as one of my absolute favourite 4 threat characters in the game. Since that is quite a bold statement, I thought it would be worth breaking down what it is that makes Loki such a consistent team player.
Before looking at his superpowers, Loki is average as a character – maybe even a little brittle compared to most other 4 threat characters. His 3/3/4 defensive statline with only 5 health on each side is certainly nothing special, and his attacks don’t look great either. A standard 5 die strike, a beam that doesn’t gain power and only has 4 dice, and a range 4 strength 6 spender with a trigger that rarely happens (though it is quite nice when it does).
Loki is one of the few characters in the game with access to all three attack types, but it isn’t until we get into his superpowers that this becomes more relevant. As an Asgardian he generates 2 power each turn, which is always useful and helps fuel his many other abilities. The first that is really eye-opening, though, is his I Am A God superpower which lets him count blanks before rolling attack or defense dice.
This timing it important to note – it means that he can choose to use this power after seeing the results of an opponent’s attack roll or use it each time he makes an attack in his beam (assuming he has the power to do so). This means that so long as Loki has power, he is surprisingly tough and he can hit deceptively hard. It makes it far more likely that he will get the 1 damage through he needs to inflict slow with his beam on a key target, but the main use I have found is to boost his strike so that he earns back the power he spent to use it – or to use it with his mystic attack and hit a martial artist or similar character with a mystic vulnerability hard. The only other character with the ability to count blanks on attacks is Corvus, and whilst Loki can’t take the Reality gem to become quite as hard-hitting as him, anyone who has gone up against Corvus knows how impactful this ability can be.
Loki’s Trickster superpower is expensive, but the ability to force enemies to waste power or tactics cards boosting an attack that he can then move away from is situationally very strong. He can also use this to force an opponent to move to attack him, completely avoid beam or area attacks, or just to gain some additional out of activation movement himself. An opponent trying to hit him before his activation and accidentally lining Loki up for a double I Am A God strike into a key target feels very strong!
The most unique power on Loki’s card, though, is God of Mischief. This increases the cost of opponent’s superpowers by 1 whilst within range 4 of Loki, and when he is injured it also prevents opponents from rolling additional dice for critical results.
This is what pushes Loki up from being a slightly below average 4 threat character to one of my absolute favourites to use in the game. Whilst it isn’t always highly relevant – there are some teams which just don’t use many superpowers or who generate so much power it doesn’t matter – there are other games where Loki’s mere presence on the table is enough to force the opponent to play very differently.
Those teams will often feel as though they must try and focus Loki down early to let their superpowers come online in the late game. This means that they must deal with the increased effect on his injured side, though, where suddenly everyone within range 4 of Loki is effectively hexed even if they are normally immune and can’t remove it without removing him.
Loki’s impact against power hungry characters is extremely high. Thanos having to pay a power to use his gems and an additional power for his cosmic portal and death’s decree is huge, as is Corvus and Proxima having to pay extra for their Husband or Wife superpowers. Any of the characters who have to choose to spend power to reduce damage (Hulkbuster, Kingpin, Juggernaut, Crossbones) all begin to suffer when they are doubling the cost of each point of damage they reduce. There are many teams who struggle with power generation, or who are balanced to spend their power very effectively. Increasing the cost of every active or reactive superpower by one has a far higher impact on the table than is necessarily obvious at first glance.
Loki is affiliated with both Asgard and Cabal, and both of these teams enhance him in different ways. In Asgard, the ability to heal damage through the leadership and negate a big hit through Odin’s Blessing helps to mitigate his lower health pool.
Red Skull’s leadership helps with Loki’s power generation. Even generating 2 power every turn, Loki will often be able to spend as much power as he can generate in a round and wish he had more. Sin also helps to double down on his disruption factor. Forcing the opponent to drop an extract means that they have to spend an extra power to pick it up (if they are even able to do so before you grab it) which in turn means their power generation is taxed a little bit further and impacted harder by Loki’s bubble. If they are pushed away from secures, that can also force them to move before they can attack – and then Loki can Trickster away and be safe from retaliation, depending obviously on the characters and attacks involved.
Convocation also makes a great home for him. The ability to place within one when taking damage makes it more likely that he can Trickster away from a second hit entirely. Iron Bound Books enables him to use his 4 mystic defence (potentially counting blanks too!) against physical attacks, and he also combos very nicely with the lesser played Bane of Damballah. If one of your other characters can spread Root out to the enemy team, Loki can double down on that to shut down superpowers very effectively across a wide area.
There’s also obvious synergy with Steve Rogers in Avengers. Here, Loki can use his many superpowers that little bit cheaper. Decreasing the cost of the first I Am A God or Trickster used on defence each turn can make it much harder to shift Loki, as if he needs to stay in one spot he only needs 3 power to count blanks on defence against two enemy attacks in a turn.
As a gem bearer, Loki is able to take either the Mind or Space gem. Each of these is an interesting choice, bringing Loki up to 3 power each turn with the ability to either move an enemy character or place himself or an ally a short distance for 2 power.
Loki with the Space gem is interesting as he can then safely take a central extract in the early game, and give himself a pseudo-charge later in the game or help repair your opponent’s displacements (which he has also made more expensive). The ability to advance opposing characters with the Mind gem can also not be underestimated, with this turning Loki into a very potent control piece – able to move someone and potentially slow them with his beam.
Personally, I rarely find that it is worth the extra threat to give Loki these abilities. As a 4 cost character he can sometimes feel fragile if the opponent is able to spike early before he has the power to defend himself well, and as a 5 threat character the extra power each turn is not enough for me to feel confident in keeping his 5/5 health pool around to make the kind of impact needed from a 5 threat in your roster. Your mileage may vary on this, however, as I know plenty of people swear by Loki with a gem – especially since the changes to the Space gem.
Sibling Rivalry is a tactics card that Loki can play with Thor for 1 power each. Loki is thrown M, does not suffer collision damage, and if a character is hit they roll 2 fewer defence dice and suffer an automatic Stagger. This card is great – not just because of the reference to Thor: Ragnarok but because a Stagger on a key enemy piece (and a nice bit of damage) for 1 power from each character is very useful into some matchups. This can also be used to get Loki some extra movement, letting him reposition without taking an action or get far away from opponent’s characters when he’s got a valuable extract.
It’s also worth drawing attention to Doomed Prophecy. Whilst this card is now only available to Asgard teams, Loki can make very efficient use of this if he has the power to combine it with I Am a God. This does require a minimum of 5 power, but if Loki can start a round with two 8 die attacks that count blanks he can be a real dangerous force to be reckoned with. It is unlikely that he’ll be around much longer after he’s done this as he won’t have any defence against physical attacks himself for the rest of the game, but the potential for him to become a top-tier damage dealer for 1 turn is situationally great.
Although Loki can certainly do work in most games, it is best to take him when you have a clear idea of what you want him to do. Often this means being a counter to certain enemy pieces, but it can also be that you want to use him as a scalpel against characters who have a particularly difficult time dealing with mystic attacks – saving his power early to use an I Am A God Illusions into Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers or Black Panther can be a very nasty surprise. Keeping him near key pieces on your team to prevent Web Warriors from having the power to push them can also be fantastic.
As with most characters in the game, positioning Loki properly and choosing his matchups helps him shine. The danger when using him is that if the opponent spikes early or focuses fire on him, and you have no other way of keeping him alive, his own powers will only do so much to keep him alive – and the more power he spends on that, the less he has to spend having a greater impact on his own turns later on. The ideal is that your opponent dazes him early but you then have the tools to keep him alive on his injured side for a long time to maximise the effect of God of Mischief, but this is a real tightrope to walk and if he goes down on turn 2 or 3, before he’s really had a chance to shine, he can feel a little underwhelming.
His own power economy is also not fantastic. Whilst he can gain plenty of power if he can use I Am A God and get a big strike into an opponent, if he is Rooted or in the bubble of an opposing Loki, the increase in cost to I Am A God and Trickster can make it difficult to keep him around – and of course, a dazed Loki can pull no tricks!
In conclusion, then, your opponent should dread seeing Loki if:
- The enemy team has a lot of superpowers they rely on.
- There are specific enemy characters with power issues that Loki can disrupt.
- The mission is likely to force most of the enemy team into range 4 of Loki.
- You have plenty of ways of redirecting attacks from Loki to keep him around longer.
- Loki’s access to mystic damage and counts blank attacks will cause trouble for otherwise tough characters.
But maybe the God of Mischief should dread going into situations where:
- It will be easy to stay away from him.
- He can be focused down early on and taken out of the game.
- His own power economy can be messed with.
- There is no clear target for him to hamper.
Do you have a character you’d like to understand why you should dread? Please feel free to send an email over to ADreadedGoose@gmail.com and perhaps I can help!