It has come to my attention that there are people who don’t know that Nick Fury Jr is one of the best characters in MCP. I will attempt to ameliorate that by showing just how good he is at scenario, attrition and by flat out ignoring the unwritten rules of the game.
No discussion of Fury should start without talking about his grunts, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. By far, their best ability is “Buy you time”, which allows their controller to choose where extracts drop rather than their opponent. This means that it almost always costs two actions to pick up an extract from the grunts, one to kill them and one to move and pick it up (and good luck if you don’t manage to KO them in one hit). This is particularly relevant in the first round, where the grunts can pick up a central extract and be relatively assured that your opponent will not be able to pick it up. This turn 1 extract play is the strongest scenario play Fury offers, but there are two notes: 1. Because Fury gets to activate during the same turn as the grunts, having priority can be devastating – allowing you to pick up both central extracts in a D extract before your opponent even gets to activate. 2. The S.H.I.E.L.D. player will save a character to pick up the extract if the grunts do get taken out, so the opposing player should try to KO them after all the S.H.I.E.L.D. characters have activated, so that it at least falls into the ground and nobody scores it. However, extract plays aren’t the only thing the grunts have to offer – with a medium base, medium move and range 3 attack, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are a credible attrition threat. While a 4 dice physical attack is nothing special, getting a reroll from being close to Fury puts it solidly into 3 threat attack values. Plus, if you are playing on Hammers that turns into 5 (or more) dice with a reroll, or Montesi formula allows them to make a beam attack with 6 dice, a reroll on every one – and Fury gets a power for every character that it damages.
Now, let’s move on to Fury himself. While his defenses are good, and his 0 cost attacks are pretty decent, the main event on his card is “Lead from the Front”. This 3 cost spender breaks all of my “only use builders” rules. A range 3, 7 die attack is certainly not worth paying power for (especially for a character with a range 3 5 die + pierce gainer) – but getting a free out attack from the grunts puts his damage output through the roof. Think of it as getting an automatic rapid fire result (with all the implications that has with marvel dice) that also gets a reroll and can refund ⅓ of the already small power cost for the attack. It is hard to overstate just how much damage a full fury activation can do – often making 6 attacks in a single turn. This is why I always say that killing the grunts is not optional – even though they come back for just 2 power (1 of which they probably gave to him by dying), you simply can’t afford to let them have 2 free attacks in addition to the four Fury makes during his activation.
Next, let’s talk about one of his many Tactics Cards, Eye in the Sky. Yes, this one card deserves its own section and is a large part of his power. On the surface it looks like a worse version of life saver, but there are some extremely important words missing from the card. First, it’s missing a range – meaning if Fury has 3 power it doesn’t matter if he’s standing next to the target or all the way in his deployment zone. Next, it doesn’t have a direction that you have to move the character, so they can always move in the best direction to avoid the attack or get back onto a secure. Finally, it’s a short movement, not a short push, so it can move through characters and smaller pieces of terrain with no issues.
The best times to use this are when the opponent uses a super power that buffs the next attack the character uses such as Corvus Glaive’s Glaive’s Edge – because even though the attack is canceled and they’re refunded an action, the attack still counts as being used, so they would have to spend the power again to get the bonus. It’s even worse if they’re using a tactics card that grants an attack, since both the power and card are lost. Bizarrely, this even applies to card attacks like Helios Laser Bombardment that ignore line of sight even if you can’t get out of range – since the clause that cancels the attack on Eye in the Sky has been ruled to not be affected by the fact that the attack ignores line of sight only for the purposes of targeting. And no, I cannot explain why anyone thought it was OK to be able to use this card every single round in the S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliation.
Finally, let’s talk about Fury’s Leadership for the S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliation. There are two halves to the leadership, the most striking of which is only available when the S.H.I.E.L.D. player is behind (not tied) on victory points. It gives a full Victory Point the first time each round a friendly character is dazed or KO’d by an enemy effect. Notably, this does apply to grunts being KO’d, and since I previously argued it is not optional to leave them alive, that’s a pretty consistent effect – and don’t forget to take the two different S.H.I.E.L.D.-affiliated characters with Got Your Back to get even more bonuses when a character is dazed. The other half of the leadership is only available when the S.H.I.E.L.D. player is ahead on victory points (or is tied) – whenever a friendly character is damaged by an enemy attack (not effect, only attacks), they can spend 1 power to advance short towards the character that made the attack. Note that this ability does NOT have a once per round or once per turn limit, you can use this as many times as you want per turn – and since you have to take damage to use it in the first place, unless you have the judgment condition you’ll always be able to afford it.
The main use case for this leadership is to have a character that was pushed off a secure crisis to move right back onto the point – but don’t forget to move closer if you get a reroll within range 1 of the attacker like Winter Soldier, or if you can move in such a way as to get out of line of sight of the attacker. It’s also important to call out Venom here specifically, since the main way to avoid his counterattack ability is to be outside of range 3 when you attack him – but this leadership means that even range 5 attacks can’t avoid the counterattack. One last note, if you’re only a single point behind your opponent at the start of the round, you absolutely can score a Victory Point from the first half of the leadership, and now that you’re tied you can start using the second half of the leadership in future attacks. This leadership is amazing, versatile, and thanks to the complexity of it, often forgotten – but I think it definitely makes the attrition plan of S.H.I.E.L.D. viable since they can afford to fall a point behind every round making as many attacks as possible, and the leadership allows you to keep parity.