When choosing what to play in MCP, one of the most important decisions is which leader to take for your team, since that decision greatly influences the models you can play and should buy. In this article, I will describe every affiliation’s style of play on the table to assist with that decision. I’ll also give the “core characters” – the three or four characters that most affiliated lists start with (including their threat cost), as well as some interesting tactics cards and preferred crises for them. I’ll be using the shorthand crisis names I set up in my first article, so pull up the reference chart at the end if you need a reminder.
Playing A-force is all about She-hulk, since she takes up over a third of your points in an average size game. Fortunately, her leadership is very powerful for distributing power (and most characters are happy to get a bunch of extra power). Plus, A-force has a relatively wide hiring pool to choose from – nearly every female hero is in the affiliation, which means making majority affiliated lists are very easy.
- Core Characters: She-Hulk (6), Angela(5), Black Widow (2)
- Tactics Cards: Special Delivery lets She-Hulk pair with a flying friend to get way up the table and make a free attack, which is extremely relevant for a character who isn’t particularly fast and wants to spend every action on attacks.
- Preferred Crises: She-Hulk very much wants to be placed in the center of the table, and then keep punching until everything is gone – so I’d tend towards Demons, Meteors and Intrusions.
Asgard have been a little bit left behind in the game. They only have 8 affiliated characters, and their leader is relatively high cost (both in terms of being overcosted and in terms of it being difficult to get everything you want when you’re forced to take a 5-threat). They tend to have a lot of character throws and really good passive power generation, so they end up being fairly consistent and with a lot of damage output. Their tactics cards are quite good though, and you should definitely try them with Hood (since they can easily remove the bleed downside from his healing).
- Core Characters: Thor, Prince of Asgard (5), Valkyrie (3), Skurge, the Executioner (3)
- Tactics Cards: Doomed Prophecy (an enormously powerful, if risky, boost to physical attacks), Rainbow Bridge (a decent, if expensive, placement effect), Odin’s Blessing (Extremely good damage reduction, especially for all your expensive characters)
- Preferred Crises: With the large passive generation, Asgard definitely prefers flip secures
Avengers (Captain America x2, Hulkbuster):
Avengers have the most leaders and widest hiring pool of any affiliation in the game. A ridiculous number of characters are affiliated with avengers, so they can use basically anyone and still be majority-affiliated. As such, they have multiple play styles. First of all, Hulkbuster is rarely used as a leader, but that’s mostly because the two other Avengers leaderships are among the best in the entire game. Steve Rogers prefers to play a very defensive game, using his bodyguard and 2 cost defensive superpowers (especially on Heimdall or Cable) to set up a specific formation and choose exactly where damage goes and heal whatever does get through. On the other hand, Sam Wilson prefers to simply load up on the excellent 2- and 3-threat Avengers and just push people off scenarios.
- Core Characters: Captain America (Steve Rogers, 4 or Sam Wilson, 3), Iron Man (3), Black Widow (2)
- Tactics Cards: Avenger’s Assemble – a nice payoff for taking mostly Avengers characters, allowing each of them to get an out-of-activation move once per game
- Preferred Crises: Steve prefers the classic attrition center secures and low scoring extracts (Demons, Meteors and Intrusions and Research Station, Alien Ships, Skrulls), while Sam has the advantage of being one of the only leaders who both likes flip secures and is happy to play at 14 threat, so is one of the only people who takes Sword base
Black Order (Thanos, Corvus Glaive)
This affiliation is extremely straightforward – you take Thanos, who pulls in characters for Corvus to destroy, giving you extra VPs. Keeping Thanos on his healthy side and keeping priority (by having so few characters, and chain activating the husband and wife) are the most important parts of playing this affiliation. In theory, you can also use the “First of the Black Order” tactics card to play without Thanos (which is important because you can’t do the Thanos+Corvus list cleanly 17 or 19 threat), but in my testing I found that to be a bit lacking (and caught in the crossfire of trying to nerf Thanos), so you’re probably better off just putting another affiliation in the rest of the list.
- Core Characters: Thanos (Mind Infinity Stone, Space Infinity Stone, 8), Corvus Glaive (Reality Infinity Stone, 5), Proxima Midnight (3)
- Tactics Cards: Mothership – a great way to get all your important attackers up the table
- Preferred Crises: Black Order definitely wants the classic attrition center secures and low scoring extracts (Demons, Meteors and Intrusions and Research Station, Alien Ships, Skrulls),
Brotherhood of Mutants (Magneto, Mystique):
This affiliation is much less straightforward than it may appear. Mystique is rarely taken as a leader (though I definitely like her at low threat games, especially if it’s demons), especially since Magneto is such a powerhouse (literally) – but is very common as a great support model with her high speed and rapid fire. Magneto-led brotherhood definitely plays an attrition style, since he does so much damage by himself, and the magnetic refraction card is an excellent defensive buff. I would be cautious of taking too many characters that can throw terrain (despite what the leadership may lead you to believe) because you really don’t want Magneto to run out of ammunition – which is also why I like Intrusions with him, it’s a central scenario that lets him reposition to where there are more things to throw.
- Core Characters: Magneto (6), Juggernaut(5), Toad (2)
- Tactics Cards: Asteroid M (almost a required card for Magneto, since he’s pretty slow and has incredibly valuable attacks), Magnetic Refraction (This reusable cost is excellent when you have priority, costing magneto a small amount of power but making him and nearby allies much more reliable on defense)
- Preferred Crises: This affiliation is where I started using the classic attrition setup, so definitely go for Demons, Meteors and Intrusions and Research Station, Alien Ships, Skrulls
Cabal (Malekith, Red skull, Sin)
This affiliation has a fairly diverse hiring pool and can also play a scenario game if led by Sin, or a powered up attrition game with the other two. Red skull is a little bit weak, but Sin’s ability to hold onto priority by chain activating with Crossbones plus her leadership is quite good. Malekith has only just come out, but is shaping up to be a powerful character and will likely revitalize this Affiliation. Stay tuned.
- Core Characters?: Malekith (7), Bullseye(2) or Red Skull(4), M.O.D.O.K. (5), Bullseye (2)
- Tactics Cards: Dark Reign is quite powerful, allowing your affiliated characters to easily target down a single target.
- Preferred Crises?: Probably attrition scenarios (Demons, Intrusions, Montesi, Hammers)
Convocation (Any affiliated character)
This affiliation is fairly unique – it has a card that lets any affiliated character be the leader, and nearly every affiliated character has many mystic attacks and weak physical defenses (which is not the norm for characters). This does leave them very weak to terrain being thrown at them, so I would highly recommend taking Ebony Maw (and maybe Supergiant to use their team tactics card) with them. They are another attrition focused faction, relying on long range mystic attacks, but with a lot of tricks and ways to move characters around.
- Core Characters: Doctor Strange (5), Doctor Voodoo (4), Baron Mordo (3)
- Tactics Cards: Bar With No Doors (This is free to take in a game, and gives you your leadership, definitely take this one), Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath (This is a faction-defining card, turning their enormous weakness to physical attacks into a strength for 1 or 2 rounds per game), Plane of Pohldahk (Just like Dark Reign, this can really mow down a single target, and has the bonus of requiring mystic attacks instead of being restricted to affiliated characters)
- Preferred Crises: B secures, and flip secures (Mutant Madman, Infinity Formula)
Criminal Syndicate (Kingpin, Shadowland Daredevil)
With the release of SDD, this affiliation boasts both one of the best attrition teams and one of the best scenario teams, although it is unfortunately very difficult to get both in the same Roster. Kingpin wants to play a strict scenario game, using his leadership to win high-scoring non-flip secures (especially Gamma Wave) and simply throwing enemies off points rather than trying to kill them. Daredevil, on the other hand, wants to let the opponent get all the scenario elements, then take three activations in a row (by activating last, stealing priority with the All According to Plan card, and then chain activating with the Follow Me card) with characters who can all make 3-4 attacks in a single activation to abuse the marvel dice math and daze every enemy character before they get a chance to go.
- Core Characters: Kingpin/Shadowland Daredevil (4), Hood (3), Bullseye (2)
- Tactics Cards: See the SDD gameplan, above
- Preferred Crises: Shadowland Daredevil wants scenarios with a ton of elements (Super-powered Scoundrels, Infinity Formula, Mutant Madman), they both want the high-scoring extracts (Infinity Cubes and Spider-infected), though SDD will probably round them out with Hammers when Kingpin definitely prefers Research Station as effectively another secure
Uhhh… This appears to have gotten out of hand, and I’ve quickly run out of space to talk about all 20 affiliations in the game, so I guess this is going to be a 2 parter. Stay tuned next week for when I get to talk about the affiliation that has hurt me, personally, the most – and the one I’m most excited about!
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