The Bovine Overlord – Inhumans tournament report: May-be Time For MCP 12May2024

A bumper crop of 6 Edinburgh folks piled onto a packed train to play another Marvel Crisis Protocol event at Common Ground Games in Stirling. We seem to have been playing quite a few alternate formats lately and this time (I think probably the last for a while) we were going to all be playing the same pair of randomly drawn Crisis Cards rather than having sets as part of the rosters.

I think that this format theoretically encourages teams that are in the middle of the scenario vs attrition spectrum, so I wasn’t expecting a slew of highly specialised teams like Web Warriors or Black Order. I’ve mentally committed to keeping going with Inhumans for ranked games just to see what my Longshanks score looks like at the end so I stuck with them again. The roster has been playing really nicely for me and, while plan A is definitely to fight everyone, I think that the splashes allow me to compete in a wider scenario game.

Characters (10)
Black Bolt (5)
Beast (3)
Crystal (3)
Medusa (4)
Ms. Marvel (3)
Quicksilver (3)
Captain America (Sam Wilson) (3)
Crimson Dynamo (4)
Rhino (4)
Toad (2)

Team Tactics (10)
Brace for Impact (R)
Can I Borrow That?
Eyes on the Prize
Fall Back
Inhuman Royal Family
Mission Objective
Sacrifice (R)
This is a Robbery

Game 1: Gordon playing Hydra

Round one I’m up against Gordon, which is always a nice smiley way to begin any event. He wins priority so I pick the slightly higher threat level so I can fit in both Medusa and Rhino. Most of Gordon’s likely teams are heavy on size 2 characters so I put Beast in to leverage his throw, though I do slightly worry about the number of energy attacks that he might face. The basic plan is to bounce around with Beast, Medusa and Rhino to flip SWORD points as needed while Black Bolt stands somewhere and vaporises people.

Extraction: Paranoia Pummels Populace!
Secure: S.W.O.R.D. Establishes Base On Moon’s Blue Area
Threat: 16
My team: Black Bolt, Beast, Medusa, Rhino
My cards: Brace For Impact, Fall Back, Mission Objective, Sacrifice, This Is A Robbery
Gordon’s team: Baron Strucker, Arnim Zola, Baron Zemo, Task Master, Winter Soldier Operative
Gordon’s cards: Brace For Impact, I Am A Baron After All, Inevitable Betrayal, Scientific Method, Soldat Activated

Round 1: Pay-to-flip Secures are a bit annoying for Inhumans as the need for extra power to deal with them reduces the amount spare for round 1 jank. So I don’t really expect to do a great deal of clever stuff here but it’ll be key to get at least 2 of the SWORD bases to stop Black Bolt getting pushed away into irrelevance. Winter Soldier plays Soldat Activated. Zemo goes to the left, flipping the back left point and standing next to the Extract on that side. Rhino takes a power from Black Bolt, flips the near left point and attacks Zemo for no damage but uses the place to get the Extract over on that side. Taskmaster comes forward but doesn’t do anything at all with the scenario; I guess he’s just making sure that none of the rest of Gordon’s team will be hurt for picking up an Extract over on that side. Black Bolt saunters forward and zaps Zemo for minimal effect and Winter Soldier flips the back right Secure and picks up the far right Extract. Beast flips the last SWORD base to make sure we’re all equal there and Strucker comes into the middle and picks up an Extract. Medusa tickles him and throws him toward Black Bolt to set up for next turn (not to mention being far enough away from Winter Soldier that Soldat Activated won’t do anything), and finally Zola trundles slowly up to the middle. The score is 5 – 3 to Gordon.

Round 2: Time to start the fighting; I want to start dazing Gordon’s team and relieving them of their Extracts. Black Bolt dazes Baron Strucker and takes his Extract. This also handily wins me the spot prize for this game, which is to daze a leader with your leader; it turns out to be Clea so I give her away to another gamer as I already own her. Now if I’m a bit careful about my target priority here I can probably keep priority for next round too. Zemo comes over and flips my near right Secure then Charges into Black Bolt for a bit of nice damage. Rhino attacks Zemo, flips that point back, attacks him again and places near the further away Secure and flips that too and finally throws some terrain at him which draws out Brace For Impact. Winter Soldier puts Stun on Beast and gets dazed in return; Beast is also able to take the last SWORD base and pick up Winter Soldier’s token although this leaves him on one wound. Zola improbably fails to finish Beast and then Medusa dazes both him and Zemo and collects the final Extract. Finally Taskmaster goes into Beast and somehow Gordon’s awful run of dice continues and my blue furred scientist stays standing, albeit with just about every condition in the game on him. The score goes to 12 – 5 to me as I score every possible point and push Zola away into irrelevance.

Round 3: Gordon’s going to have to have a pretty epic round to stop me finishing this from here. I’m not at all worried about retaining priority for next round since there almost certainly won’t be one; instead I’m just going to KO as many of Gordon’s team as possible to reduce his options for scoring. Black Bolt repeats his trick from last round by KOing Baron Strucker – infighting amongst the nobility going very much in favour the king over the baron! Winter Soldier finally dazes Beast and then unloads his spender into Black Bolt. Medusa KOs Zemo and pushes Taskmaster away from the fray. Zola leaves Rhino on a single wound which pretty much sums up Gordon’s game; I could continue to fight with him but instead just walk Rhino away to (relative) safety. Taskmaster can’t finish a spite kill on Medusa and we wrap this up at 20 – 6.

That was fun game with Gordon and we had a lot of laughs as we played through. The narrative became around infighting in the nobility as Gordon’s barons took on the Inhuman royalty and it was quite entertaining to see that story play out. I flatter myself that I had a plan to win this game here but Gordon’s dice were just awful and that meant that I didn’t really have to work too hard to get over the line.

Game 2: Ryan playing X-Men

I’m really pleased to be able to play into Ryan’s X-Men again as the last time I diced him off the table so hard that there wasn’t even a game in it. I’m also kind of pleased to be playing X-Men on this particular combination of Crisis Cards as it negates a certain amount of their nonsense. I win priority this time and Ryan chooses that we play at 18 threat. I want to go quite wide here so I forgo my preferred 4-threat characters entirely in favour of Black Bolt, who I intend to use a goalie for the Researcher and a bunch of mobile 3-threats to worry about the Infinity Formula. Beast gets the nod again as his throw is going to be amazing in this match-up, even though there are entirely too many energy attackers for him to feel comfortable. Ryan clearly has the same thoughts and brings his own Beast.

Extraction: Research Station Attacked!
Secure: Infinity Formula Goes Missing!
Threat: 17
My team: Black Bolt, Beast, Crystal, Ms Marvel, Captain America (Sam Wilson)
My cards: Brace For Impact, Fall Back, Inhuman Royal Family, Sacrifice, Smash
Ryan’s team: Storm (leader), Beast, Cyclops, Magik, Rogue
Ryan’s cards: Indomitable, Journey Through Limbo, Pardon Me Sugah, Patch Up, To Me My X-Men

Round 1: The basic plan is to sit a couple of people quietly on the two nearest Infinity Formulas, send Beast and Black Bolt to stop Ryan running off with the Researcher and then get a cheeky charge from Captain America to push someone off the back left point and score it instead. Crystal, Storm and Ms Marvel make exactly the moves you would expect onto their respective Secures; Ms Marvel is careful to stay outside of range 4 from Storm (because that way I can Embiggen into range to hit her but she has to move to hit me). Rogue goes to stand on the Researcher and Black Bolt comes forward and fails to hurt her at all. Magik takes the final Secure and also deals no damage to Crystal, then Beast takes a power from Black Bolt and double moves onto the researcher and throws Rogue off it. Cyclops shoots Beast, and Captain America takes a power from him and charges into Magik, failing to push her but at least contesting the point. Finally Ryan’s Beast comes forward, can’t quite get in range to hop off Rogue (because Cyclops is standing in the way) and goes for a risky attack onto my Beast hoping for the Wild to get Ambush. I take it on Black Bolt with A King Serves His People just to keep him off the Researcher but Ryan doesn’t roll the Ambush anyway. The score is 4 – 1 to me and I move the Researcher over toward Black Bolt.

Round 2: It’s on Ryan now to do something clever to take me off the Researcher because if the status quo remains then I’ll just score this out in 4 turns. My plan to stop him doing that is to daze all his characters ; I’m not too worried about losing priority as none of his individual activations are likely to be catastrophic for me and anyway going last means that I can try to displace his team off points. Black Bolt starts us off by dazing Beast in a single action. There isn’t anyone else in range so he just shrugs his shoulders and shuffles over to back stop himself on a bin in case Cyclops wants to push him away. Now that his own Beast is dazed, Cyclops decides to let rip with a beam into my Beast and Black Bolt, the king takes both shots and ultimately no damage. This exchange turns out to be a sign of how it’s going to go for the rest of the game. Ms Marvel Embiggens and dazes Storm, then Rogue charges into Crystal, achieves very little and uses Mutant Absorption to remove all her power. In return Crystal Incinerates her and pushes Magik off the back point. Magik gently tickles Sam and Limbo Steps back onto the point, Beast hurts Rogue and throws her back into the centre and Captain America pushes Magik back off the point and throws a ricochet into Rogue – with 4 critical hits (of 4) in the initial roll to demonstrate how my dice have been on fire this game. We go to 9 – 1.

Round 3: The dice have been just embarrassingly good for me so it would be rude to change plan now. I want to prioritise KOing characters who are already dazed just to start reducing Ryan’s options for a comeback. Rogue charges into Beast and dazes him, then Black Bolt KOs Ryan’s Beast (again with a single shot!) and hurts Rogue. Storm gets her own back on Ms Marvel, one-shotting her to even the score between the two. Crystal finishes off Rogue and then Cyclops hurts her and Captain America, pushing them both off Secures. Captain America charges back onto the far left Infinity Formula and pushes Magik around; I choose not to Ricochet into Cyclops as a bad rolls could drop him to Quick Draw. Magik Limbo Steps back onto the point, puts some ineffective attacks into Captain America and then plays Journey Through Limbo to send him back toward Crystal. The score is now 11 – 2 to me.

Round 4: I think that I can probably get enough points to finish up this round considering that Ryan is down by two characters already, but honestly the way the dice have fallen it would take a miracle for him to come back into this turn. The plan is to daze or KO anyone else who I can manage, especially anyone who hasn’t activated so I can deny Ryan any further opportunity to claw this back. Ms Marvel starts us off by throwing something at Storm, then playing Smash to break a car and KOing Storm. Cyclops puts some decent damage into Beast but can’t quite finish him, and he also doesn’t end up on the Infinity Formula. Captain America Charges back toward Magik and dazes her, and everyone else jogs to score. We finish the game at 17 – 2.

That was perhaps the most ridiculously one-sided game of dice I’ve played… at least since last time I did this to Ryan! If you’re reading this Ryan, I’m so sorry. Full credit to him for taking it all in his stride; I suspect that I would have been a bit less serene. There probably isn’t much to be said about the game itself – I think I had a decent plan but with dice like that I would have beaten even the very best players.

Game 3: Alasdair playing Wakanda

After all this time I finally get to play against fellow blogger Alasdair, who writes excellent articles here on Across The Bifrost. He wins priority and I choose the slightly higher threat as I think that I can get some work down by just going wider than the Wakandans and focusing on flipping points. On the other hand, I’m a bit worried that I end up with Black Bolt stuck on one side of the board with his atrocious mobility and the important stuff happening far away from him.

Extraction: Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership
Secure: Mutant Madman Turns City Into Lethal Amusement Park
Threat: 20
My team: Black Bolt, Beast, Crystal, Ms Marvel, Rhino, Toad
My cards: Brace For Impact, Eyes On The Prize, Mission Objective, Terrigenesis, This Is A Robbery
Alasdair’s team: Black Panther (leader), M’Baku, Shuri, Amazing Spider-Man, Beta Ray Bill
Alasdair’s cards: Advanced R&D, Brace For Impact, Eyes On The Prize, Spirit Of Wakanda, Wakanda Forever

Round 1: I’m not really sure how best to approach this; the Spirit of Wakanda play turns on all of the cool powers for Alasdair’s team right out of the gate. I think I’m unlikely to make huge headway into attrition so the plan is to drop Shuri as soon as possible to limit Alasdair’s activation count, play the Secure game as much as possible and hope to hold onto Skrulls for as long as I can manage. Bill plays Eyes on the Prize, Advanced R&D to power up Shuri who then plays Spirit of Wakanda to get the engine running. Luckily he was positioned a touch too far left to collect the right Skrull in one go but he still gets it and flips the Trap. Toad takes the central Skrull and then heads over to my left, flipping the trap with a power taken from Ms Marvel. Spider-Man comes over to collect the far left Skrull and gently tickles Toad, then Crystal goes to the back left Trap and flips it. Black Panther picks up the final Skrull and heads over toward Crystal, then Alasdair uses his pass so Black Bolt rolls abysmally in an attack on Bill. Shuri moves onto the Trap, Beast takes a power from Black Bolt, then moves up and throws Bill toward me. M’Baku makes a pretty rubbish swing at Beast and finally Rhino fails to do any damage to Bill. This leaves him able to play Robbery but he wouldn’t have the power to pick up the fallen Skrull so I decide it isn’t worth it and instead he gets lucky and takes the final Trap. This gets me a second spot prize (score all four Secures at once) which turns out to be, rather fittingly, Black Panther. I have him too so I just pass him to another nearby gamer. The score is 5 – 3 to me.

Round 2: I need to keep Alasdair off some of these Traps and also somehow relieve his team of some Skrulls. Rhino is a lock for that but he’s also got to live through an activation from a heavy hitter first so that’s not a sure thing at all. M’Baku lets rip into Rhino, drawing out my Brace For Impact on the throw into Beast but he survives with a couple of wounds remaining. Beast is not so fortunate, and gets dazed by one of the free attacks. Rhino plays This Is A Robbery on Bill, throwing him into Shuri in the process, the dazes Shuri after also drawing out Alasdair’s Brace For Impact. I considered making my last attack into Bill instead and then using Stampede to get back to my lines but I was worried that Bill would just throw Rhino into my team over there so I prioritised Shuri. Bill predictably dazes Rhino and retakes his Skrull, then heads toward the left side of the board. Ms Marvel Embiggens and rolls nicely to daze Spider-Man – thinking back I think that her first attack left Spider-Man with one or two wounds left so I should have played Terrigenesis at this point which would have made my life a lot more comfortable. Up in the corner, Black Panther makes short work of Crystal and flips that Trap, taking us to 9 – 7 in my favour.

Round 3: I have a slight lead so I need to somehow eke that out for two more rounds. My left side is collapsing so I probably need to focus on getting the Skrulls over to the right where Black Bolt can do work to defend them. Alasdair starts with Wakanda Forever – Shuri pushes Black Bolt away so he can’t double tap, and M’Baku and Black Panther make fairly inconsequential attacks. M’Baku has no difficulty KOing Rhino which is not too surprising but definitely makes the rest of this much harder. Ms Marvel dazes Bill and puts some nice damage into Spider-Man and Black Panther KOs Crystal before Spider-Man gets his revenge on Ms Marvel. Beast annoyingly fails to hurt Shuri or get the Ambush trigger to get onto the point and throw her, but Black Bolt wakes up and KOs her. The score is an uncomfortably tight 12 -11, still with me slightly in the lead.

Round 4: This is going to be the last round so I need to make sure I score at least 4 points. I’m feeling good about 3 of them (Toad’s Skrull plus the points on the right) but I’ll need to get something done on the left. Alasdair spots this too, and Spider-Man KOs Ms Marvel. She actually rolled heroically to avoid damage entirely from a massive hit in his first activation so it was a bit annoying that the second attach was also huge and took her out in one go. Black Bolt dazes M’Baku and Bill picks up the final fallen Skrull. I move Beast out into the middle in case Alasdair gets tunnel vision and sends Black Panther out to fight him – I’m worried that he can position to block Toad off the top right Trap as the movement is going to be very close. Of course, Alasdair is too canny to fall for that and moves Black Panther to block landing spots for Toad. Luckily Toad has indeed got enough movement to make it to that Trap. He needs to roll two successes off three dice to flip it, which is roughly a 50% chance. If he makes it, I win, otherwise Alasdair wins. It’s quite fitting in some ways that such a tight game has come down to a coin flip – the dice land and it’s good for me so I take the win by 16 – 15.

Wow, thanks to Alasdair for an amazing, exciting, thought provoking and above all fun game. This is what I come to MCP for – back-and-forth swings in momentum, play and counter play, a continuous sequence of decision points that all impact the final result. I loved that the game was so close we effectively decided it on a 50-50 roll of the dice; if I’m being honest with myself I do love it slightly more that the fortune eventually favoured me! I made a few notable mistakes – the biggest miss was not playing Terrigenesis on Spider-Man in round 2 as 2VP would have made the last round a lot less stressful. I didn’t make good use of my tactics cards in general, and I should have spotted that I wouldn’t have the spare power available to use Eyes On The Prize; having Inhuman Royal Family for use later in the game would have been much more useful.

Game 4: Ross playing X-Men

The final game of the day is into Ross, who tells me that he’s pretty new to the game but is clearly also pretty good at it based on today’s performance so far. I win priority and Ross helpfully picks my preferred threat level of 19; my only swap out from my ‘normal’ team at this threat level for Demons Downtown is to bring in Quicksilver to steal a cheeky Hammer somewhere. Again, I’m lucky to be playing a very scenario-based team on a Crisis combination that will let me spend my time brutalising them all.

Extraction: Fear Grips World As ‘Worthy’ Terrorise Cities
Secure: Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Threat: 19
My team: Black Bolt, Crystal, Medusa, Quicksilver, Crimson Dynamo
My cards: Brace For Impact, Can I Borrow That, Eyes On The Prize, Fall Back, Sacrifice
Ross’s team: Cyclops, Domino, Rogue, X-23, Amazing Spider-Man
Ross’s cards: Brace For Impact, First Class, Patch Up, Xavier’s Dream, X-Ceptional Healing

Round 1: I’m not particularly intending to score any of the Portals here, instead I’m going to take three Hammers and then try to do as much damage as I can. Ross plays First Class. Crystal plays Eyes On The Prize, takes a power from Black Bolt then picks up the left Hammer and retreats back toward my lines. Rogue collects the rear Hammer and parks herself in the middle. I’m quite tempted to go get the right Hammer with Quicksilver but I don’t have the power to do it and get away safely so instead Black Bolt just flies onto the building and shoots Rogue. Cyclops picks up the Hammer on the right, then Quicksilver uses Speedster to close the gap and hits him, paying the two power to relieve him of the Hammer with Can I Borrow That. Domino goes to the rear point, Spider-Man comes in a bit too cautiously on the left side and X-23 comes toward the middle too but hides sensibly behind the bus shelter. Medusa moves Dynamo onto the rear point then advances and pokes Rogue. Finally Dynamo takes the last Hammer, walks forward (I didn’t have enough opportunities to get him power to let him have the three he would need to pick up the Hammer and use Propulsion Thrusters) and zaps Rogue. The score is even at 3 – 3.

Round 2: That went quite according to plan, so now it’s time for the second part of the plan which is to daze a lot of X-Men. Crimson Dynamo unleashes two beam attacks to daze both Rogue and Domino, ending up with a second Hammer. X-23 attacks Quicksilver who pays for Can’t Catch Me; she follows and hits him but can’t land any damage. Crystal lights up Spider-Man but clearly it just makes him mad – he attacks her twice and Black Bolt takes both of them and ends up getting dazed for his trouble! Quicksilver just bounces off X-23 but Medusa gets her. I end the round giving a power from Medusa to Crimson Dynamo so he’ll have 4 power next turn, i.e. enough to pay for Disruption Field twice. The score is now 7 – 4 to me.

Round 3: Dropping Rogue and X-23 is my first priority as that’ll get them out of my hair for the whole game. Rogue goes first and puts some nice damage into Dynamo, but he doesn’t go down. He beams Domino and Cyclops and teleports back into range for me to use Sacrifice. Spider-Man can’t finish Dynamo, leaving him on one (as is traditional) after I Sacrifice the second swing onto Black Bolt. Crystal dazes Spider-Man, pushes X-23 away and adds some tasty damage onto Rogue – good work Crystal! X-23 comes back into the fray but somehow fails to deliver the last wound to Dynamo. Quicksilver hurts X-23 a little, then Domino pays to Patch Up Cyclops and he walks forward and, yet again, in unable to put that last wound into Crimson Dynamo. Medusa KOs X-23, hurts Rogue and throws the bus shelter into Cyclops who sensibly plays Brace For Impact. Ross decides to keep Domino back to score her point (probably a mistake but that is just his inexperience showing) so Black Bolt walks up to line up a very nice Whisper. The beam KOs Rogue and Domino, leaving Cyclops on one wound and with Stagger. The score is 12 – 4.

Round 4: We’ve been playing pretty slowly so this is going to be the last round but I think that I can wrap this up anyway here. Spider-Man does finally end the embarrassment and daze Crimson Dynamo, collecting his Hammers. Black Bolt easily dazes Cyclops, Medusa throws Spider-Man off the scoring points and I shuffle my team around to score points. We finish at 17 – 6.

That was a very nice game to finish up on, but it was really favouring me right from the start. The Crisis combination was exactly what my roster is comfortable playing, it was just what Ross’s X-Men didn’t want to see, plus Ross was quite inexperienced and (I think) not sure of how to approach this match-up. I probably could have had a smoother use of the Inhumans leadership in round 1 as it felt like I spent a lot of time for rather simple decisions but I’ll put that down to ‘game 4 brain failures’. Of course, I definitely acknowledge my good defence dice on Crimson Dynamo in round 3 but by that point I was ahead considerably on both attrition and score and I think I probably could have held on for the win even if Dynamo ad gone down earlier. I look forward to meeting Ross across the table again when he’s got a few more games under his belt as he seems very good at the game for having played so few match-ups.

Once the scores are counted up I’m in second place, behind Stu on the first tiebreaker (which is Strength of Schedule, as all events should be) and I’m more than happy with that result; you can’t do more than win your own games so I did all I could here. I managed to play all of my characters at least once which makes me extra happy. Special mention to Frazer who was just two wounds away from dropping Stu’s Hulk in the final game which would have taken him to a win and first overall – not bad for a guy who started the day saying he would be happy to just get a single win! Likewise commiserations to Gareth who spent the entire day suffering the kind of dice that most of my opponents had been lumbered with. Thanks to Gordon, Ryan, Alasdair and Ross for four fun games of MCP, and as always huge thanks to Allan for running these events and generally making the whole scene possible. I’ll be back!

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