Australian MCP Tournament Review

2022 is here, and already competitive MCP has started strongly. Across the globe, people are doing more in person MCP events whilst navigating the challenges of a looming pandemic. Here in Australia, we were able to put together a small tournament in the nation’s capital to start of the competitive season. This tournament was the first opportunity to play face-to-face for some players after months of compulsory lockdowns, which resulted in some interesting considerations leading into another year of competitive play. Whilst COVID affected the numbers of players (COVID-19 protocols and affects led to a small pool of 14 participants) the data and discussion stemming from the event are still noteworthy.

In this article, we will go over some lists that appeared at the top of the ladder, as well as some Meta predictions for the start of 2022. Hopefully, some of this information might be useful for those players still deciding what to play in the upcoming 7th season of the online league, or even some knowledge of what is being considered by players at the start of 2022.

The tournament was held in Canberra and had players attend from across the East Coast of Australia. It consisted of five rounds of swiss over two days. Games were timed at 105mins, which included 15 minutes allocated to roster selection and set up, resulting in roughly 90 minutes of game time. From a timing perspective, this felt like a sweet spot, with very few games resulting in ties or the result being favoured by fast scoring rosters. Whilst compulsory 90 minute games slightly affected some lists that looked to leverage the long-game, this shorter timing allowed for less fatigue leading into the later part of the days. At the end of the tournament, Matthew Kent (MonsterMash69 on discord) came out on top at 5-0 with a very punchy Guardians of the Galaxy roster. The rest of the ladder, along with everyone’s lists, are here if you are interested in having a closer look.

Top 3 Rosters

  1. Matthew Kent (5-0) – Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Nick Gentile (4-1) – Avengers
  3. Adam Murgatroyd (4-1) – Guardians of the Galaxy/Black Order

I spoke to Matthew and Nick about their rosters and asked them to break down their rosters to discuss their core, strengths, weaknesses, and what they would change after the weekend of competitive play:

Matthew Kent—Guardians of the Galaxy:
Characters:
1. Angela
2. Rocket Raccoon
3. Star-Lord
4. Groot
5. Nebula
6. Gamora
7. Doctor Voodoo
8. Scarlet Witch
9. Hulk
10. Baron Zemo

Tactics:
1. Brace for Impact (R)
2. Medpack (R)
3. Crew of the Milano
4. Sacrifice
5. No More Mutants
6. Deadly Duo
7. Disarm
8. The Whims of Chaos
9. Blind Obsession
10. Lovable Misfits

Secure Crises:
1. Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
2. Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City
3. Intrusions Open Across City as Seals Collapse
Extract Crises:
1. Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities
2. Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!
3. Skrulls Infiltrate World Leadership (Threat: 17

“The core of the list essentially started with Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, and Angela for the majority of my games. I like to play a more narrow Guardians team, so the choice from there just depends on the shape of the crisis and what threat we are playing at. My opponent could usually expect to see a Hulk or a Scarlet Witch being added to that team if the threat level allowed, and with such a cheap core it isn’t hard to do. I only ever went a maximum of 5 wide once I added the big toys.”

“The list’s biggest strength is its simplicity to play. The Guardian’s roster has very little control, so I could just focus on the attrition game and choose the right targets at the right time. I brought Hulk along because he is a great attrition piece and brings some decent control with him to plug that hole. We can say the same about Wanda handing out conditions like it’s going out of fashion – she was my anti-Hulk plan. Overall, the Guardians play a game that isn’t overly strenuous on the brain, so if you can focus on not making silly mistakes, it usually works out well.” 

“If I was to change any characters in this roster, I would sub out Zemo for Lizard (or Drax if I wanted to be more thematic). I never needed that extra attrition piece that Zemo brings, but I would’ve liked another good pusher/thrower on the team for a crisis like Gamma or Research Station. If you have a series of bad luck in your attack dice, the game can go pear-shaped without some form of displacement to stop your opponent from running away with the game on points.” 

“As for crisis selection and tactics cards, I’m fairly happy with my current selections. I may decide to drop Hammers, as Guardians are already punching above their weight class, so I’d rather not give my opponent extra dice. A good swap could be Senators. I really enjoy double tapping those single extracts on turn 1 with Angela, though this may be a trap. Senators also brings a 14 threat crisis which Guardians don’t have an issue with. There’s also an argument for Research Station, but the possible CS matchup is putting me off for the moment.”

Nick Gentile—Avengers:

Characters:
1. Black Widow
2. Captain America (Sam Wilson)
3. Captain America (Steve Rogers)
4. Doctor Voodoo
5. Hulk
6. Iron Man
7. Quicksilver
8. Scarlet Witch
9. She-Hulk
10. Vision

Tactics:
1. Advanced R&D
2. Avengers Assemble
3. Blind Obsession
4. Face Me
5. Field Dressing
6. Gamma Launch
7. Medpack
8. Ricochet Blast
9. Tactical Analysis
10. The Whims of Chaos

Secure Crises:
1. Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
2. Intrusions Open Across City As Seals Collapse
3. Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City
Extract Crises:
1. Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities
2. Mystic Wakandan Herbs: Fact or Fiction?
3. Research Station Attacked!

“So I ran with an all affiliated roster, and I didn’t have a core, so to speak. I intended it to run as Steve’s leadership everywhere I could except at 14 threat where I ran 5 wide with Sam as the leader. Hulk and She Hulk were there for 15 and 16 threat to overload in the lower point matchups. Scarlet Witch was my ranged damage dealer, and as anti-Hulk tech. Voodoo was there for single extracts and various other mission shenanigans. Vision is a great 4 under Steve, with control and attrition options. Sam is just a great 3 threat in general, and I had Quicksilver there for extract plays and wide secures to run around and be a menace. With the updates to Ironman, he is just a solid damage and control piece in Avengers, and Widow is a great fast and affiliated 2 threat piece.”

“The list’s main strength is that, it was a very good all round roster. It has no bad matchups and can compete with all crises. Scaling the squad up and down meeting the threat provided me with good options, regardless of the crises. However, its only weakness was that it doesn’t have any particular advantage on any crises. There wasn’t a particular crisis combination that I was aiming for, it’s just solid on all of them. Changes going forward I think Hulkbuster is a better 6 threat than She-Hulk, and Iron First can do most of the same role as Quicksilver, while helping in other aspects such as attrition and dealing out conditions.”

Adam Murgatroyd—Guardians of the Galaxy/Black Order:

Characters:
1. Thanos with Mind and Space Gem
2. Corvus Glaive with Reality Gem
3. Proxima Midnight
4. Star-Lord
5. Gamora
6. Groot
7. Rocket Raccoon
8. Nebula
9. Drax
10. Angela

Tactics:
1. Advanced R&D
2. Brace for Impact
3. Crew of the Milano
4. Follow Me
5. Deadly Duo
6. Execute
7. Lovable Misfits
8. Medpack 
9. Mothership
10. We are Groot

Secure Crises:
1. Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
2. Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0
3. Infinity Formula Goes Missing
Extract Crises:
1. Alien Ship Crashes in Downtown!
2. Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan
3. Fear Grips World As “Worthy” Terrorize Cities

For my list, I looked at the 8 threat core of Star-lord, Rocket, and Groot wherever I could. If required, I would drop Groot for Nebula to accommodate the higher threat characters on lower threat crises. Alternatively, if I wanted to run Black Order, I had a 16 point core of the Black Order characters and I would then flavour from there to meet the threat.

The list was very flexible, in that I could include Corvus and Proxima if I wanted to focus on attrition at 5 wide, or I could go hard on Guardians affiliated characters if I needed more bodies at around 6-7 wide. Whilst Corvus’ absolutely adored having re-rolls, I found he didn’t need them for offence (his dice are already incredible), but they were a very welcome boost to defend against incoming damage.

The biggest weakness for the roster is a lack of control, with little to no ability to displace enemy characters (other than KO) and no body guard, making glass canons like Gamora vulnerable. Perhaps in the future, swapping someone like Okoye for Drax could be viable to get that body guard gap filled, or bringing in Luke Cage to get a good mix of both needs. Overall, it remains a very fun list that I will work with in the future. As a side note, I found that the “nerfs” to Corvus and Proxima were not substantial enough to make them anything less than an S-tier pairing. Whilst the reduced range for Husband and Wife is slightly annoying, I found that I just always activated Proxima first to spend her 1 power and activate Corvus, keeping the power with him for a devastating Death Blow.

Noteworthy Characters and Cards

The weekend of uninterrupted MCP brought players to the attention of a few noteworthy characters. Whilst some of these are not surprising, we foresee that a few of these characters will cause havoc in the upcoming online league:

Doctor Voodoo

What a pain in the neck! Not only can this character punch hard from Range 3, with a decent Mystic builder, but he can also displace characters up to size 3. The real savagery of this piece comes from his Possession ability, where he can make characters drop their tokens and have no ability to contest or interact with an objective token. On extracts with multiple tokens, such as the popular Hammers option, this can be clutch. Activating Voodoo last in a wide Avengers roster can allow his controlling player to really swing the Victory Points in their favour, with no ability to prevent it on Secures and a very limited ability to mitigate on Extracts. When played well, he can feel quite oppressive to play against. Expect to see him appear in a lot of rosters, as he plays just as well in affiliation as he does out of it.

Black Cat

Along the same lines as Voodoo, Black Cat’s presence can be a real nuisance. Her ability to steal tokens for just 3 power can really shift the tempo of a game, or set up some real gotcha moments to swing the VPs in her users’ favour. Not only that, but for just 2 power being able to guarantee a stagger on an opponent’s key piece can really negate some devastating attacks in the late game. At just 3 threat, she slots in well to most rosters, and can usually find a place to make herself useful regardless of affiliation. Players should get to know her tech and be prepared to face her in the upcoming season.

Double Hulks!!

Most people say two is better than one! And when these two are both on the table at the same time, they are usually not wrong…The double Hulk combination is a frightening prospect and is a difficult pair to deal with at the lower threats. Under Steve’s leadership, their value only increases, allowing them to use their devastating superpowers more often. This affiliation leads to some excellent control and top-tier attrition. With a Steve core they can see table time at just 16 threat, or even 15 under Sam Wilson! With great tactics cards at their disposal, such as Gamma Launch and Agents of SMASH, expect to see this duo more often this year.

Wakandan Herbs

Whilst this comment is only anecdotal, there were a lot of competitive players discussing potential shenanigans around the turn 1 or turn 2 Wakandan Herb play. Scoring the Herb early in this crisis is a great way to dumpster an opponent quickly, but it can feel terrible for a player who wasn’t aware of the play, or worse, was not expecting it. Our advice is to have a plan for Wakandan Herb when constructing your roster, as many people are considering playing it as a competitive option. Even if your plan is to just beat down anyone who tries to score it, do not construct your roster without answering the question of what do I do if this crisis appears? If you find a significant weakness when you look at your roster and this crisis together, it might be worth considering some amendments.

Finally, a huge shout-out to Abby Pitout for travelling down to Canberra and hosting a fantastic event. Everyone there had a great time playing with their models on the table, and she ensured that all of the players felt welcome and included throughout the whole weekend. We are all looking forward to many more in-person events as our FLGS start opening up their doors again.

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