X-Men 101: Gold and Blue

Welcome to this introductory article about playing the X-Men affiliation in Marvel Crisis Protocol. My name is Vodkablitz and today, I’ll be going over some of the core concepts of the team and what each of the leaderships can do. First, let’s go over both and see what we have to work with.

X-Men Gold serves as Storm’s leadership. In order to better understand how it works we will split it into two distinct abilities. The first one, colloquially refered to as the X-Men Jump or Hop, gives an active model, that is not holding an objective, the ability to choose another friendly model within R2 of them and place themselves within R1 of them.

Here we have a demonstration of what it looks like on a table. On the left, we have Wolverine, within R2 of Cyclops, then in front of him at R1. In contrast to the movement tool next to them, it shows that if you use the leadership from the maximum distance possible, on two models with 35mm bases, it will give you at least the equivalent of a medium tool worth of movement on the character using the jump (which is why it’s limited to once per round). On the right we have Storm doing something similar but jumping over Beast, which has a 50mm base. As you can see, the bigger the bases of the models you’re using, the further they can go. It’s true for both the model using the jump and the one being jumped over, meaning you’ll get further with models that have a 50mm (medium) or 65mm (large) base than a 35mm (small) base.

The X-Men jump, in my opinion, is one of the defining tools in the Uncanny X-Men’s arsenal and is not to be underestimated. If leveraged well, it can give significantly more reach to the character using it, be it to move to an otherwise unreachable objective, to get within attack range or move away from danger. For exemples of play sequences enabled by X-Men Gold you can check two other articles on this blog, one for extracts and one for secures.

The second part of the leadership is one that is often underestimated. Storm’s leadership also grants Cover to every one of your characters as long as they are attacked from outside R2. But what is Cover? Let’s take a direct quote from the rulebook:  «During the Modify Defense Dice step of an attack, a defending character benefitting from cover (from terrain or otherwise) may change the result of one defense die to a block.»

Let’s take a quick moment to examine how it translates on the table. As an example, we’re going to use a 5 dice attack, with no modifications, into 3 defense dice. We get an average expected damage of 1.70 with about a 26% chace of taking no damage but, when we factor in Cover, it drops down to 1.00 with roughly 47% chance of taking no damage which is pretty substantial and helps some models that might be a little more on the fragile side stay relevant longer. 

To give an idea of just how effective cover is, we can take a look at how it changes the odds for blocs when compared to larger dice pools. For a more indepth coverage of just how good Cover is, you can read Xavier’s Protocol’s article on the subject here.

That covers the basics of Storm’s leadership, X-Men Gold. Now to see what X-Men Blue, Cyclops’s Leadership can do.

X-Men Blue let’s a character, once per turn, have any number of friendly characters within R3 of them spend 1 power each to reduce the cost of an attack action by 1 to a minimum of 1. Being an action forces it to be during your character’s activation, limiting characters that can attack outside of their activations by not being able use the leadership to discount an attack out of turn.

X-Men Blue is a lot more straightforward than X-Men Gold as its primary function is to make a character’s spender (attacks costing power) more accessible by having other models help pay for it. This Leadership wants you to have characters with relatively cheap spenders and good ability to generate power, since it’s not as much a discount as shuffling power around.

As we can see, both leaderships offer drastically different options of how you can build an X-Men team. X-Men Gold, Storm’s Leadership, offers a very dynamic option as it makes you think about characters under a new lens and might change how you would sequence your moves on the table whilst Cyclops’s X-Men Blue offers a more static advantage. Unfortunately for X-Men Blue, I think it compares very poorly to X-Men Gold and to most leadership, as it only offers a way to move power and not save it or discount it whilst Storm’s leadership offers a proactive and and very dynamic option. I still encourage anyone to try both to see for themselves and get a better idea of what both of them can do and the different teams they can build.

Hopefull this will helpful to those looking for a starting point with the Uncanny X-Men in Marvel Crisis Protocol, so I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this piece and as always, don’t forget to have fun!

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