An incredible seventh(!) season of the online MCP league has just wrapped up, and the first series of top cut games are being played this week. The online league continues to show healthy growth across the regional brackets, not just in player count, but also in talent! It has been great to see some new names in the top 32 this time around, which is a sign that MCP is in a good state. These new top-tier players bring different perspectives on the game of MCP, not just from a competitive sense, but also what makes this tabletop game so great!
I was lucky enough to chat to the top player from the Oceania bracket this season – Mitchell (Pooley on Discord). In what is objectively seen by many as an absolute shark tank of a bracket, (I’m not biased at all😊) Pooley managed to achieve and impressive 6-0 in the Swiss. And this was by no means an easy run, as Pooley managed to take down the reigning champion Morgan Reid in what has been a dream run to the top cut. I sat down and asked Pooley about his experiences in the game of MCP in general, as well as some questions about his roster that got him to the top spot.
Why do you play MCP over other miniatures games?
Well, I play a lot of other miniatures games. I am a fan of other games from Fantasy Flight like X-Wing and Imperial Assault. I really enjoyed the competitive scene from Imperial Assault and was looking for something similar. With MCP, it was the first game that all my friends that I played games with really enjoyed. The IP is amazing, the models look sick, and the rules are great. I also play Warhammer 40K so for me, seeing these well written rules were a fantastic thing that drew me into the game. MCP is so easy to learn and easy to play. The game is very well balanced, making it so simple to pick up and play!
Who is your favourite character and why?
I have always loved the bad guys, because when I first bought the core game, I split it with my friend who wanted to play Avengers, so I was stuck with Cabal. I really enjoyed playing characters like Ultron, and MODOK in the early days, and King Pin once he was released as I loved him from the comics. But now with everything released, I really love Magneto. Magneto is great in the comics, the shows, and in the game. I find Magneto to be a very threatening and powerful character, but he is also someone who feels well balanced.
Who is your least favourite character to play against?
I feel that the easy answer for this question is Doctor Voodoo. I find him annoying, and boring, and his token remaining in the game until he is removed feels irritating. But apart from him, I really don’t feel there is a character that I don’t like to play against. Personally, I feel excited to play against challenging characters to see what they can do.
What is your favourite game mechanic in MCP?
I think the way that AMG have designed power in this game is excellent. Power management for me is the most interesting mechanic in MCP. I also enjoy everything related to power, such as leaderships and superpowers that influence this mechanic. I enjoy the push and pull that comes with the decisions behind generating power for characters. For example, “do I strike this character to give them power for their next turn, or do I wait and deny them that power so they can’t use their superpowers?” I also think this mechanic stops things like front running. Front running is a very common problem in other tabletop games where people can get ahead early and it is difficult to reign them back. I feel that the way power is handled in the game keeps it balanced and makes it so much more enjoyable compared to other games.
What do you look for when making a roster? Is it value, theme, or characters?
For me, regardless of the environment, I always start with the character and the leadership that I want to play. For this latest season, I really wanted to play Magneto and Brotherhood, so I will focus my list on this decision first. From there, if this is for a competitive environment, I will look for value and build a strong core of characters around that leadership, and then add characters who I know are good in that affiliation, but most importantly, characters I know that I am good at playing. However, in a casual environment, it is all about theme. I love to just play my favourite characters and try combinations that might be good and just see if I can make some fun little additions work.
How would you describe your play style?
I usually play aggressively. I feel that I am good at the attrition game. I started playing with Cabal when I first bought MCP, so I have always played with the type of characters that suit this play style. I think for that reason I feel most comfortable playing an aggressive and attacking style of game.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you in MCP?
This is a difficult question. I don’t feel there has been any specific advice, rather, I have learnt from some of my more competitive opponents during the online leagues who have helped me understand the game, and the way I play, a little better. For example, I have learnt to not overextend your characters when you have the advantage. Many players would often place their models in vulnerable positions when they had the advantage, but I have learnt to keep my positing in such a way where my opponent needs to come and attack me, even when I’m playing an attrition style game. Also, I’ve learnt that that you don’t need to rush when looking to play your big moves. For example, one of my league matches saw me waiting until one of the last rounds of the game to use Asteroid M, which ultimately won me the game. This is a tactic that isn’t done much and keeping these big tactic cards or powerful moves for when you can maximise your advantage can leave your opponent constantly concerned about when your big play is coming. There is no need to rush these things.
Do you have some advice for people looking to become more competitive?
I know this is something that is repeated a lot, but I really believe in playing the models that you know well. This is something that I always try and do when I am building a competitive roster, and I will always default to a model I can play really well over something that might be better in the Meta. For example, I don’t play Doctor Voodoo even though he might be one of the best characters in the game, instead I will play characters that I have a lot of reps with.
Now, let’s move onto Pooley’s roster for Season 7:
8. Scarlet Witch
1. Asteroid M
2. Bitter Rivals
3. Can I Borrow That?
4. Difficult to Please
5. Last-Minute Save
6. Magnetic Refraction
7. Makin’ A Ruckus
9. Mind If I Cut In?
10. The Whims of Chaos
1. Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities [D]
2. Research Station Attacked! [E]
3. The Montesi Formula Found [E]
1. Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due? [E]
2. Gamma Wave Sweeps Across Midwest [E]
3. Terrigen Clouds Sweep Over City [C]
For your roster, what is the core characters in your squads that you field?
I played Magneto and his Leadership every game! I didn’t bring Mystique, so I was limited to Magento’s leadership for all my games. For almost every single game I played a core of Magento, Juggernaut, and Toad. I always tried to bring Juggernaut alongside Magneto whenever I could. This is an expensive core of characters, so the points don’t always work out for you with this roster. I was lucky, as I couldn’t play my usual core in only one of my games due to the points. For this game, I played Magneto, Quicksilver, Lockjaw, and Toad.
What are the roster’s strengths?
If you don’t need to spread out, and you can play on the tight Secures, then this roster is strong. Crises such as Gamma, Research Station, and Demons Downtown work out really well for this list. Keep these models contained to maximise the heavy hitting nature of the core characters and mitigate Magneto’s slow movement. I tried to use this strength through my crisis selection having mostly E shapes where I could. Whilst Terrigen Clouds is a spread out crisis, there is only two places to contest, not three like most other Secures.
Where do you think the roster is weak?
I was lucky that most of my opponents didn’t play crises like SWORD and pay to flips. My roster relies on a low model count, so a pay to flip means I have less chances to score these RNG Secures, compared to some of the wide Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy rosters that were in the League. When I have only four chances to flip a secure, compared to my opponent who might have five or six, they are more likely to score it. Characters that can move my characters around can mean I don’t leverage on my attrition. That is why I had Lockjaw in my roster to help keep Magneto and Juggernaut in the fight. This list really doesn’t want to be chasing Web Warriors around on a wide crisis selection!
What would you change during the season (apart from the mid change) if you could do it again?
Well because of my busy schedule, I didn’t actually change the roster in the middle of the league…However, if I could have made the changes, I would have started with removing Nebula. I don’t hate the idea to play a lot of two threat characters in my list, especially alongside my high threat models, but a two threat with no ability to score objectives is not a good move in this list. I really wanted to bring in a three threat, in-faction character, to help with list building that could deal damage. I thought about characters such as Mystique (especially to leverage her additional leadership and Deception tactics card) and Gambit (who I’m not really a fan of but I like some of his tech), as well as Bucky and Taskmaster to fill that gap. All these characters could give me another three threat to assist with meeting certain threat counts, as the only option I had was Quicksilver. Quicksilver is a great objective runner but can’t really pack much of a punch.
For tactics cards I would still look to keep Bitter Rivals as one of my restricted cards. I know that this tactics card might not be as popular anymore, however, it is a strong card for the way that I play the game. On the tight Secures where I like to play my attrition style game, I get a lot of value out of it. It is great in these crisis situations both offensively and defensively. I think that people should still consider Bitter Rivals, and not just take two healing cards in their restricted selections.
Thanks Pooley for taking the time to answer some questions. Do you have any shout outs you would like to make?
I would love to make a shout out to my little gaming group Headjam Gaming. Secondly, my buddy and I are hosting a Marvel Day at Goodgames Maitland (our local store in NSW) on April 17th.
If you are interested in getting more information on Pooley’s event please get in touch with us on the Strike Better Facebook page!