To be specific, this is my top 10 favourite Marvel: Crisis Protocol characters, chosen from the ones I own and have experience with. I don’t buy characters because they’re the best in the game, or that they work well with another character I may have, but because I like them. Okay, I didn’t have much choice over what came in the core box, but nearly everything I’ve added since has been because either I, or my daughter (my ever-willing opponent), likes something about them. This may be as simple as liking the sculpt, but a lot of it for me are the memories of reading about them in comics too many years ago.
My roster is very Guardians of the Galaxy heavy, why? Well, they may not be the best films, but they have the best characters and I enjoy the camaraderie they have together, bouncing off each other and making it fun to watch. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that the Guardians feature heavily in my list, and they are just as fun to play as they are to watch.
Yasmin’s roster, on the other hand, is very villainous, as she always sides with the bad guys whatever we play, though she has been putting together a Web-Warriors roster too, because the Spider-man films are her favourites, especially ‘Into the Spider Verse’ and I’ve been on the end of some of their tricks in the games we’ve played.
Anyway, enough rambling for now; from the 26 total characters in my collection, I finally narrowed it down to this lot…
Ghost-Spider – I’ve mostly played against this webbed wonder and there’s been the odd occasion when she’s won the game for Yasmin. You can do a lot with her, but you have to think about it to get the best from her skills. She has powers that work in unison with one another and that’s what makes her fun to play.
As far as stats go, she’s pretty average for a 3-threat character, maybe a little light on health at 5, but her long move is nothing to sneeze at. In play, her base strike attack (often referred to as the builder as it gains the character power), Spider Technique, is great, as it offers a lot of flexibility. If you’ve attacked the target already this activation, then you can add another 3-attack dice to the pool. If you’ve already moved, then after this attack you can make another long move – awesome!
She’s a very controlling character being able to push and throw opponents around with her webs, all very thematic, she can even pull allied characters out of harm’s way, though remembering she has this power is the difficulty here, as it’s easy to forget when you’re busy concentrating on someone else.
What I like most, though, is her ability to be a right pain in the buttocks! She zooms around, pushing and pulling my characters all over the place, it makes it hard to plan if you don’t know where everyone will be from one turn to another. She’ll often grab an objective and then leg it and catching her can be a nightmare – it can often be those few extra points she earns from carrying an objective that win the game.
Crossbones – A lot of people have a downer on Crossbones. He’s slow, doesn’t have a lot of variety, and often gets mashed before he’s unable to unleash what he has got… But I love him.
In the right situation he can be a thorn in the side, constantly advancing towards those who damage him, and when he finally gets in range, he’s usually built up enough power to unleash his Haymaker, guaranteeing him 8-dice on his next attack.
He’s a real tactical character to use and I really enjoy that aspect of him. It starts with initial set-up and where you place him respective to the opposition. It’s no good facing him off against characters with energy of mystic attacks, as his defence is weak in those areas; put him up against the likes of Groot, Cap America, or Bullseye, characters that only have physical attacks, that way he’s likely to survive long enough to whack ’em.
Speed isn’t as much of an issue if he keeps getting attacked, as he’ll get a free move towards them, albeit a short one. I Like to use him to attack enemies on objectives, especially if they don’t have energy attacks. If they try to defend against him as he slowly advances on them then he’ll arrive a lot earlier than expected, and when he does, they’d better watch out.
Most of all though, I enjoy playing against Crossbones. Sometimes, ignoring him altogether is fun, and thematically, you can almost feel the frustration radiating from him as he plods across the battlefield, trying to catch someone, anyone, and when he does, he finds he lacks the power to wallop them because nobodies dealt him any damage. Another way to foil him, is with controlling characters. Push him away just when he thinks he’s in range and watch him sag at the knees, as he begins his slow advance once again.
When I’ve played Crossbones and this has happened to me, I don’t get down on him for not being as great as some of the others, I applaud him for playing so thematically and creating some great, cinematic moments on the battlefield. For me, Crossbones is a joy, whether he achieves or not!
Star Lord – Another character who gets a lot of bad flak, and rightly so, he doesn’t have a lot going for him. He probably had the worst leadership ability, ‘Winging It,’ in the game and other than that he only has two attacks and two superpowers.
You’ll notice I use the word ‘had,’ when talking about his leadership, that’s because Atomic Mass Games recognised it was pants and did something about it, but so far, I haven’t played with the updated version of him and so can’t comment. AMG also updated many of the characters, but again, I’ve yet to gather all the info in order to play the new rules.
Anyway, back to Star Lord and if he’s so bad why is he here at number 8? Well, for starters, I generally play a GotG roster, which means Star Lord really has to be on the table to lead them, so he gets a lot of play. Secondly, the way I use him is a lot of fun and somewhat reminiscent of his character in the films.
I always use him with the Power Gem attached, which means he gains an extra 2-power at the start of every round. Now, that might not mean a lot to you, but it gives him the use of Full Auto every turn – awesome! Full Auto is a 7-dice attack, range-4, and for every wild rolled it puts one of several conditions on the target. It’s a lot of fun if you’re lucky with the dice (I’m not!) and keep hitting the opposition with lots of conditions.
He’s often one of only two fliers in my team, which can be a drawback when there’s lots of large terrain to circumnavigate, and so I’ll use him to dash in and grab an extract objective, usually with my very first move. Then, he tends to run away, but run away with a purpose. I use him to dart here and there, wherever he can hit but not be hit, which is where being able to use Full Auto every turn really shines. I’ll keep him out of any real trouble and use him as a reserve, all the time earning points from that extract he’s carrying, he can prove frustrating to play against in this way and its fun to watch as he jumps out of one scrape and into another. Overall, a blast to play… He’s also one of my favourite paint jobs, even though I still think I could have done better with that base!
Captain Marvel – I surprised myself when I reviewed my list and found I’d slotted Captain Marvel in so high. Every time I play her, she often does very little, usually just sitting a little way off an objective, protecting others, and waiting to pounce. Sometimes, though, I’ll use her to chase away a powerful character, who I think is up to no good, or, and this is where the fun really begins, she might just have accumulated enough power for her to turn Binary and then it’s hammer time!
Yasmin has a habit of ignoring her, and I can’t say I blame her, but it often plays to my advantage. If I can get her on an objective nice and early, and Yasmin ignores her, then the points will slowly roll in. If she chooses to attack her though, then that’s fine by me too, as she generates power far too slowly otherwise and taking damage is the only way she’ll become powerful enough to excel.
When she has power, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Turning Binary gives her 2 extra dice to attack and defence rolls until the start of her next activation, which means she could be hitting you with a 7-dice, no cost attack, or, if she has still more power to spare, then she could smash you with a Rocket Punch for 9-dice. On top of this she can throw characters and terrain around, which is gonna hurt. Ah! she’s a joy to play when she’s got bags of power!
Unfortunately, I can count those times on one hand, and yet that doesn’t diminish her entertainment value. I find it highly amusing that she can stride across the battlefield, and nobody will face her… They flee before the might that is Captain Marvel, lol!
Ghost Rider – Like Captain Marvel, it might be wise to ignore Ghost Rider, as when he has power he hits hard, very, very, hard! Unlike Cap though, his basic builder attack has a decent range of 3, and hits with 6-dice, meaning he’s plenty capable of building up his own power-pool pretty quickly, and so you’re going to have to deal with him whether you like it or not. On top of that, he’s spritely, being on a large base and taking a medium move, and he can use ‘Hell on Wheels’ to make an extra, long move, so he’s hard to avoid – it is quite comical seeing him blaze across the rooftops on his bike; never fails to make me smile!
All the characters in the game play thematically, and Ghost Rider is no exception, with his Penance Stare being a favourite of mine – It sees him chase down the most powerful of foes, punishing them for their sins. Game wise, it’s a 5-dice attack that adds extra dice equal to the amount of power his target has, to a maximum of 5. Twice in his last appearance he used it, and both times gained the max of 5-extra dice, each time he downed his opponent with some exceptional die rolling by me, which makes a change!
I have only used him a few times so far because he costs a lot at 5-threat, and I can’t always fit him in. Each time, though, I’ve put him in the middle of the action, wherever Yasmin has concentrated her forces or placed her most powerful characters. I like him to be the centre of her attention, knowing that he can take a lot of punishment and dish out even more. Meanwhile, as he’s distracting her from the aim of the game, I’ll be using the rest of my team to slowly bring in the bacon… Mwahahahaha!
Loki, God of Mischief – I’ve played against Loki a few times now and when I see him on the battlefield, I know he’s going to be a pain. Yasmin likes to stick him in the centre of where all the action is going to be, usually smack bang in the middle of the battlefield, and then leaves him there for me to deal with.
As you’d expect, he’s as thematic as the others and his ‘God of Mischief’ power really lives up to its name: ‘Enemy characters within range 4, must spend 1-power before using an active or reactive superpower’ – you can see why she puts him in the middle of all the action. That’s not all, though. He can avoid attacks with ‘Trickster,’ he’s Asgardian so gains extra power each turn, and he has the choice of Mystic, energy, and physical attacks, which means he’s always capable of hitting you in the weak spot… and, of course, ‘I am a God!’ Well, not me, obviously, but Loki, that’s just the name of the power and it adds blanks to attack and defence rolls, which really makes things swing his way.
So, not having actually played him myself, why is he here? A character doesn’t have to be part of my squad to bring joy and big laughs to the table, and that’s what Loki does. Part of it is caused by the fact that I don’t really want to attack him because when dazed and his card is flipped over, he becomes even more powerful, with ‘God of Mischief’ now stopping my criticals from exploding too!
I’m constantly moving my characters around him, trying to keep out of range 4, and still come up with a plan to get at whatever it is he’s guarding. Yasmin, on the other hand, is placing her characters strategically, trying to lure me in so she can clobber me with his Mystic abilities.
Yes, we’ve both had a lot of with Loki and I’d say honours are even when it comes to how successful he’s been.
Iron Man – My rock!
My 10-character roster is light on characters who can fly, with Star Lord being the only Guardian I have who can, so I have to back the team up with a couple of additions, Captain Marvel and Iron Man, and the latter is an ever-present when it comes to the actual team that hits the battlefield. (For those not in the know. Each player has a pre-determined roster of 10-characters. Once the mission is setup and the threat level decided, a team, equal to or less than the threat level, is then selected form these 10. Each character has a threat level, Iron Man is 3 whilst Marvel is 4 and a typical mission threat level might be 17.)
I always use Iron Man in a defensive manner, a kind of reserve. He’ll sit in the centre, behind the rest of the team, and lend his assistance wherever needed, he’s mister reliable.
I’d like to say he’s rarely called on, but all too often he’s come to the rescue, pushing enemies of objectives, hitting out with his homing missiles at those hiding in cover, and taking a pounding on the chin with his ‘Invincible Iron Man’ power.
Like Loki, he becomes more powerful once he’s been dazed, adding an awesome Uni-Beam attack to his arsenal, and though I’ve rarely used it in anger, it makes opponents think twice about where they’re putting their heroes.
He’s only ever been KO’d once, and that made me sad, so much stock do I hold in him. He’s my cavalry, charging to the rescue, and I love firing off those homing missiles, especially if I get a wild and cause an explosion, damaging other nearby enemies.
He’s just one of those characters that you can rely on and when he advances forward you know he’ll make an impact. Sitting him on a rear objective can be fun too, as he has long range attacks that ensure nobody gets too close, too quickly, and if they do, well, he can take it!
Number 3… and Number 2!
Gamora and Nebula – I couldn’t separate these two, which is pretty much how I play them on the battlefield, they’re never far away from one-another. They’re both fast movers and I usually play them on a flank, opposite enemy fast movers or a concentration of force.
Gamora’s my hammer, she hits hard, and she hits a lot. Nebula is my troublemaker, chasing after characters who are carrying extracts or sitting on secures (neither of which she can actually do herself) because she rolls extra dice against those. Between them they make a force to be reckoned with and it can distract the opposition into trying to do just that instead of concentrating what actually counts, which is scoring points.
One of my favourite moves is to have Gamora ‘Assassin Leap’ at a group of enemies and then follow it up with ‘Cosmic Assassin,’ which has Rapid Strike, enabling her to make the same attack again at no cost but against a different target. If something’s still alive she’ll then chop them down with ‘God Slayer.’ If that hasn’t wholly finished everyone in nearby proximity off, then with a bit of luck Nebula is close enough for me to play the ‘Daughters of Thanos’ card and give her a free attack. Of course, this requires a lot of power – 8 total on Gamora and 2 on Nebula, but when it comes off it makes you feel AWESOME!
It’s the one-two’s between these characters that I really enjoy. Nebula will often cause enemies to drop extracts when she dazes/kos them, and Gamora will come along and hoover them up. This causes my opponent the dilemma of having to attack Gamora and probably give her more power, thus playing into my hands.
Nebula turns protector when her sister is in trouble and for a 2-Threat character she can pack a punch – she’s the best 2-Threat in my collection and from what I’ve read many would back her as the best in the game. With her ‘Blaster Pistol’ she gains power easily and only has ‘Shock Sword Assault’ to spend it on, which is a 6-dice attack, has a chance to Stun the target, and advances Nebula right into their face. She also regains health at the start of her activation, so she can be tricky to down.
Because they’re quick, once I’ve secured their flank, I’ll often sweep across the centre of the board, heading for wherever the biggest threat is. Even if Gamora is carrying an objective, I’ll do this, because I know she can handle herself, and Nebula won’t be far away. These two are the mainstay of my roster, the ever-presents and I can’t remember the last game I didn’t take them both – great fun!
And finally… Number 1
Rocket Racoon – Surely everyone’s favourite Guardian?
I said that Nebula’s the best 2-Threat character but Rocket’s the most fun to play. The little chap packs a mighty big wallop and has plenty of tricks up his sleeve to boot. Even his builder attack, ‘Plasma Rifle,’ is a better than average 5-dicer, but ‘Hadron Enforcer’ is where the fun really begins. Max range, 7-dice attack, and the cherry on top is the chance of Vortex, which damages other nearby enemies and pushes them together, towards the target, a great set up for Iron Man’s beam attack or Gamora’s ‘Cosmic Assassin’ Rapid Strike.
‘Booby Traps,’ a power I often forget about, can cause damage to any enemy approaching him within range 3, which makes my opponent wary of getting too close when he has power on him.
And of course, he has a Personal Bodyguard called Groot. If Groot’s in range 1 (I think this has been extended to 2 in the update), then he can become the target of an attack on Rocket instead.
Thematically, he’s a gem to play. One game, Groot got KO’d very quickly by Doc Oc, and Rocket was not happy about that at all. He unleashed the full force of his ‘Hadron Enforcer’ and dazed Oc with one blow. Next turn, with Doc Oc now on his injured side, he hit him again with a couple of Plasma Rifle shots, and the Doc was no more!
‘Deadly Duo’ is a card I enjoy playing when Groot makes my roster (not very often at the moment). For 2-power each, Rocket can make three, free, ‘Plasma Rifle’ attacks, each targeting a different enemy. THREE, yes THREE, free attacks. That means he could make these attacks, and then have enough power to do two ‘Hadron Enforcer’ attacks – that’s insane! But you can just imagine him bouncing around doing such a thing, especially when he’s mad.
He does come with a downside, though, and that’s his lowly 3-health. Despite always benefiting from cover, he can, and often is, wiped out with one shot. This vulnerability makes him even more fun to play though, and I send him on suicide missions, aiming to pick off a high threat character even at the expense of losing him. It’s a good trade, a 3 or 4-threat for his 2. Mostly, though, he’ll play a similar role to Iron Man, sitting at the rear, possibly on my closest secure objective, and picking off anything that come into range.
He may not always make my roster these days, as some of the other 2-threat characters are a better fit for my team, and I’ve had him taken out to easily, before he’s able to build power and make an impact, but I have a fondness for him that ensures he does make an appearance every now and again.
Maybe, when I sort out the updates for the characters, I’ll pair him up again with his good buddy Groot, as the restrictiveness to their team play has been lifted a bit, and Groot’s attack range has been increased too, making it a more viable option to field the pair.