We’re abuzz with Marvel fever here – we ARE a comic page after all – so we’re taking a look at some of the recent releases for Marvel Crisis Protocol and Marvel Dice Throne.
Not only that, but we’ve decided to give you the chance to win the new, repackaged Black Order box set featuring Ebony Maw, Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, complete with revised cards.
Not enough? Ok, how about we throw in the new repackaged Asgardians set with Thor, Hela, Loki and Enchantress? Can’t say we aren’t good to you.
So, let’s start with some new releases for MCP, shall we?
Marvel Crisis Protocol – Heimdall & Skurge
Asgardians get some serious support in their most recent releases. With his ability to teleport any member of your team around the battlefield via the Bifrost, or using his All-seeing Eyes to grant rerolls, he is an auto-include that’s going to be popping up all over the place. Mind you, Skurge is a defensive killing machine, jumping right into battle with Aggressive, reacting to being attacked with movement, and Right Hand Man letting you jump in to protect your lynchpin characters. He’s a bit of a bargain at 3 points – weak mystic defence is the kicker, tough in the current Magic heavy environment. Still, dishing out 6 damage plus Bleed on a basic attack is not to be sniffed at; there’s shenanigans to be had there with Baron Mordo. 3 pts is a very competitive spot but I think he’s definitely a contender.
Marvel Crisis Protocol – Malekith
I am so, so conflicted about this guy. First up, the model is stonking, I love it. The bog tiger is suitably bonkers and the whole thing just screams off the page – it’s almost a Heavy Metal, Frank Franzetta vibe to the sculpt. It’s genuinely a fair price for the massive figure: with its dynamic pose and dioramic base it feels as much a statuette as a miniature… BUT. Whilst I understand making him a Cabal leader, that simply underlines the lack of variety and forethought that went into Cabal originally – it’s a vast and amorphous “bad guy” catch-all. Given that Hela is in with the Asgardians, why isn’t he there too (yes, I know, he’s not an asgardian per se) – they’ve teamed up in the past, after all. Plus he’s a 7 Threat leader – so, is he really that much better than Red Skull and ANY 3 pt of your choice?
Sure, he’s always going to charge and hit like a brick, but his defences aren’t great (4s all round)… I feel like it’s the She-Hulk problem all over again (and she’s only 6). He can Tactics portal, Defender style, which is very neat, but I can’t help thinking he’s just not… quite… there. He’s not going to run with your classic Cabal big hitters, so whilst he is an absolutely beast it’s a lot of eggs in one basket.
Marvel Crisis Protocol – Darkstar & Crimson Dynamo
On the subject of questionable roster decisions, let me just get my rant out the way for the Winter Guard: Omega Red isn’t on the roster?! Borge moi.
So let’s look at their leader, Crimson Dynamo, first. It’s a big, blocky sculpt which is very comic accurate (right down to that somewhat Darth Vader style helmet. 4 pts is relatively cheap, with a useful leader ability (limiting your team’s ability to be Pushed off Secure objectives), native power generation, rerolls and toughness. He is a big red wall, basically, but I like the fact that he emphasises a very tactical style of play rather than one that’s overtly combative.
Darkstar, despite being relatively obscure, is a character I have quite a lot of affection for, and I’m really sold on the sculpt even if it was a bit of a PITA to assemble (as these wobbly magic types often are). In game, high damage output with Bleed is great (again, I’m always looking for characters to combo with Baron Mordo) and portaling with a pal is always excellent. She is clearly designed to be a team-up and I can see her working in a lot of lists out of faction (did I complain about Winter Guard in their own right yet?), although she is undoubtedly very strong as the support for any of her comrades.
Marvel Crisis Protocol – Red Guardian & Ursa Major
Red Guardian rightly feels like a Captain America reskin, right down to the simple but effective sculpt. He’s a bit more in your face, a bit more punchy, though still with a shield throw that doesn’t require LOS. He’s not a subtle figure, but a solid addition to the team; doubt he’ll see play out of faction, but suitably necessary in the Winter Guard and good enough to hold his own (though pairing up with Darkstar certainly increases his durability).
Ursa Major, on the other hand, is 4 points of grizzly murder. As well as being a fantastic, dynamic sculpt, we get more Bleed (woo! favourite condition!) and short moves when you attack him. On that 40mm base he can really charge (and indeed, Charge) up the table and really do some damage – but he’s not just a reactive piece, and this versatility means he can be used as such whilst still being used independently as mid-table support or objective hunter (especially in Winter Guard, with that leader ability) – a real contender for the 4 pt slot in a lot lists.
Marvel Dice Throne
(RRP: Core Box – £49.99 / Expansions – £29.99)
There are two things you need to know about Marvel Dice Throne: I love it, and I’m RUBBISH at it. Whilst that might be a strange thing to open with, it’s important: my relative lack of ability doesn’t in any way stop me from enjoying playing it over and over again. The core box comes with 4 characters: Thor, Loki, Miles and Wanda, whilst the expansions – which are both fully standalone, with no need for the core box – are Captain Marvel/Black Panther and Dr Strange/Black Widow (it’s worth noting also that the game is fully compatible with the original, fantasy-themed Dice Throne game).
Dice Throne is a push your luck dice game with a deck of cards that allow you to modify your results and innate abilities. In the game, the results of your dice rolls determine which of your abilities trigger, mostly in an attempt to lower your opponent’s health but also to stack up various status effects. It’s a very simple and easy to learn premise, though has some fairly devious tactics also. Your initial hand of 4 cards doesn’t necessarily refresh (well, typically only 1 per turn) so the modified dice rolls provided are a precious commodity (bought with your limited supply of Combat points).
Typically, you have the chance to play a card, roll your 5 dice in attack (with up to two rerolls), play a card to modify, and then your opponent responds with a number of dice in defence (modifying their own, or even your, rolls accordingly with cards of their own). I suppose part of the reason that I struggle with the game at times is that cards are such a key resource that I expect to be able use them more regularly than the basic draw mechanic allows – hence, I gravitate naturally to card-draw characters, though there’s enough in-game variety that you’ll no doubt find your own preference.
Core Box – Thor/Scarlet Witch/Spider-Man/Loki
Each character has a unique set of abilities and (largely) plays as you would expect. In the core box, Thor is VERY hitty and throws Mjolnir at your opponent, damaging them and then retrieving it to generate lightning (which can be turned into card draw, so an absolute win in my playbook). Wanda is about probability manipulation, tipping the dice in her favour which is mechanically very interesting indeed – she’s regularly touted as the best character in Dice Throne (Marvel or otherwise).
Miles is about subverting Undefendable damage: turning Invisible allows him to defend it, Webbing up your opponent means they CAN’T defend – no Venom Blast though, which is a bit of a shame, and he feels a little underpowered. Loki, finally, is an absolute HOOT to play, and you are actively encouraged to tease, torment and provoke – I mean, advise – your opponent, as he creates illusions and generally messes with their board, disabling their abilities; he’s got a bit of extra card draw too, so definitely my favourite from the core box.
Expansion – Captain Marvel/Black Panther
These two are the most straightforward characters in game, and the set is designed well to play against one another… though not necessarily that brilliant against other heroes. Captain Marvel is all about blasting over and over and over: she’s quite fun, very lethal, but doesn’t have much in the way of defence. Black Panther is a little more complex, with the ability to turn damage taken into damage bonuses and card draw; in theory, this should be right up my street, but he’s a little slow to get going. Nevertheless, they are a brilliant intro to the game, and the fact that they come with all of the rules makes for a really superb entry level product.
Expansion – Dr Strange/Black Widow
This, on the other hand, is a set of more advance and complex characters – and they are both, in their way, rather nasty. I freely admit that Dr Strange is my go-to: lots of card draw and deck shenanigans along with dice manipulation, decent defensive abilities… what’s not to love? Well, he’s rated as the most complex to play, as he doesn’t quite conform to the standard style of push your dice luck – perhaps that’s why he’s my favourite! Though, equally, Black Widow is a different again, running off her ability cards but pulling them directly from her deck rather than depending on card draw; she is a suitably sneaky, defensive deck with a steady stream of damage – perhaps a little fragile, though. Nevertheless, if you’re a more experienced gamer generally, this is an outstanding way into the game.
So once again, thanks to the gang at Asmodee UK, we’re giving you the chance to win a pile of Marvelous miniatures! That’s the Revised Black Order Box Set AND the Revised Asgardians set! Just let us know in the comments what you are most excited for – either from these or this month’s reviews!
UK only unless you’re willing to fork out the postage, alas.
And finally, the winner of our Back To School Giveaway is… Sozan Saraj!
Congratulations! Remember to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days to claim your prize!