AdeptiCon Part 1 or: How I Ended Up In Way Over My Head

Norman Osborn holding a piece of paper

First of all, hi. I’m Quinn, and I’m your Oscorp HR representative. The OscorpHR Files is a new blog (and hopefully more) series dedicated to this game that we all love so much.

This blog post was supposed to go up a week ago, but things happened, and here we are. AdeptiCon is now in the past, so I’m posting this already knowing how everything ended up (spoiler: better than I expected).

Regardless, I hope you enjoy…

The Crisis Begins

My journey into Marvel Crisis Protocol wasn’t born from positive circumstances.

It was March 2020. I’d been living abroad in Myanmar for three beautiful years, but the arrival of Covid (and, soon after, a military coup) meant that I had to pack up my life and move back to the United States with about 72 hours’ notice. I didn’t get to say my goodbyes or visit my favorite places one last time; everything was just gone. Without a home or jobs in the U.S. to come back to, my then-fiancée and I spent half a year bouncing between our parents’ houses until we found jobs, got an apartment, and settled down.

Others certainly had it a lot worse than we did, but it was still a challenging time, and one of the things that I found joy in was painting and board games. I started with Marvel Legendary, but I wasn’t thrilled with how it played solo. Next, I tried the incredible Marvel Champions (which I still love), but it didn’t scratch my painting itch. Eventually, I picked up the core set for Crisis Protocol when a friend recommended it. For several weeks before I ever played a game, painting became my quiet place, my peaceful respite from the stresses and uncertainties of work and adult life.

It was late 2021 by this point, and I found a small group of people playing at my local game shop. After an introductory game, I picked up a few Spider-Foes characters to appease my childhood (and because the models are straight fire). Unfortunately, after only two months of my playing, the local group fell apart; everyone sold off their collection or stopped playing at the shop. I found TTS, which was and still is a great resource and community, but I also started looking for other local groups and events.

Finding a Way to Play

A quick Google search led me to something called AdeptiCon. I had no idea what it was, but their website said they had MCP events, and it’s less than an hour and a half away from where I’m at in Southern Wisconsin. I noted the time when registration was opening, and I successfully registered for the standard and mono-affiliation events. Having played only about eight times total, I still knew relatively little about the game, absolutely nothing about the meta, and just assumed it was a fun little event where I could roll some dice and quote some Rami movies.

As I became more involved following various Facebook pages, Discord servers, and websites, I found out about more and more of the “big guys” (many of which you can find content from on this site) that would be making the trip, some even coming from far parts of the country. I saw the dizzying number of tables and terrain being prepared, and I heard people talking about the event like they do many of the other big, nationally known ones. All of this is really just to say that when I signed up for AdeptiCon, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into.

Formulating a Plan

The immediate question became, “What the heck am I going to play?” I knew that I’d run Spider Foes for the main event because they’re both the affiliation I’m most comfortable with and the models I had fully painted. The mono-affiliation event (which, if you don’t know, doesn’t allow any splashes except Rogue Agents) was another story. When I signed up, I assumed, without thinking, that I’d run my foes for that too, but the lack of an affiliated 5+ or 2 threat made that seem like a pretty bad move. Furthermore, while I love the Symbiotes, having both my fours with an energy weakness seemed like a recipe for disaster. I looked at the other models I’d picked up since starting (mostly because I thought they looked cool) and noted that I had a decent start to a full Avengers or Defenders list.

My questionably-painted 10-character Spider-Foes roster for the main event tournament.

Avengers seems like the obvious choice for a mono-affiliation event. Most people don’t seem to splash many models in Avengers lists anyway as they have so many options to choose from and want to use cards like Avengers Assemble. They also have some of the best characters in the game with names like Iron Fist, Dr. Voodoo, Vision, Hulk, Hulk Buster, and more. They also have tremendous flexibility with the option to bounce between Steve and Sam’s leadership. Despite all this, I decided against them.

Trying to be Different

A popular expression says, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” but that expression seemed woefully off the mark for this event. I obviously don’t know for sure, but my guess is that over half of the 16 players in this mono tournament will be running Avengers; if they aren’t, they’ll at least have a lot of experience playing against them. [Post-con edit: Avengers weren’t as popular as I expected!]. My thought was that if I play the meta and use the same characters as everyone else, we’re starting on even footing, and their knowledge and experience would mean they can do everything I can do, but better. Instead, I decided to play what I’m hoping people don’t understand quite as well.

From what I gather, the Defenders were a popular affiliation before Pentagrams were nerfed back in my early days of playing. The Defender’s main strength seems to be that they have fantastic characters, but this is partially undone because all of them can just be splashed elsewhere. With that not being the case in a mono-affiliation event, I’m hoping their strong roster and general lack of play compared to other large affiliations like Avengers, A-Force, Cabal, and Criminal Syndicate will perhaps help. I also may be completely wrong, and I’ll end up playing four mirror matches. Only time will tell.

Getting Into the Community

Regardless, my attempt to practice both lists on TTS and get myself to a level where I can at least give my opponents fun matches has shown me how amazing this community is. I’ve played several people that had played less than five games total. I’ve played with quite a few people like me and are beginning their journey from casual to competitive. I’ve also played with ultra-competitive players that have made the podium at the biggest tournaments in the world. With very few exceptions, every single player has been a delight, and I’m blown away by the willingness of the top players to chill after a game and talk me through their thought processes and opinions on some of my more questionable moves. I’ve been part of other tabletop communities, and this one has been by far the least toxic and most welcoming to players of all skill levels.

However things go this weekend, pumpkin bombs will be thrown, Hulk will smash, and hopefully, I’ll come out of the whole thing with some lessons learned and stories to tell.

You can find me on the AcrossTheBifrost, Marvel: Crisis Protocol for TTS, and Marvel: Crisis Protocol Fanserver Discord servers @Oscorp HR. Let’s talk about the game and complain about how many people are running Voodoo.

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