An Exhaustive Guide to Marvel Dice Manipulation – Guest Article by John Elson

This article gives an overview of the different dice manipulation effects in Marvel: Crisis Protocol and how they interact. I’ve been planning on writing some articles on MCP rules for a while – I’m weird like that – and the new ruling on Probability Manipulation/Cloak of Shadows made me think this was a good place to start. Malekith is the single most impactful model in the game right now; his signature rule, Cloak of Shadows is fairly confusing; and all of the rulings related to how it works were reversed on September 1, 2022 in a way that made him significantly weaker. Unfortunately, explaining these rules requires covering three different topics and contrasting them with each other and as a result, the article is quite long.

A quick note on terminology before we dive in: the skull icon on the dice is technically called a “failure,” not a skull. At first I wrote failure (skull) every single time, but that quickly felt more annoying than clarifying. I think “skull” is much more descriptive than “failure,” so I’ve decided to use that terminology even though it’s technically not correct. But keep that in mind when reading rules forum rulings.


  • There are three types of dice manipulation in MCP: Dice Modification, Counting Effects, and Treat As Effects. (Dice modification is a real rules term; I made the other two up.)
  • Dice modification is exactly two things: rerolls and changing die faces. All dice modification happens in step 9.
  • Counting Effects change how you count your total successes in step 10. You can recognize these rules because they either say “total successes” or talk about how a result “counts as” one or more successes.
  • Treat As Effects change how you read a die’s result. Whenever you look at that die, you pretend you rolled a different result than you did. These rules always use the phrase “Treat As.”
  • Treat As effects are consistent. Everything treats that result as the other one.
  • Treat As effects go away if the dice they’re being applied to are modified.
  • The Reality Gem is special, in that it’s constantly being applied. If it’s ever not successfully treating a skull as a critical, it will try to find a new skull to treat as a critical.

Clear? Yeah, I didn’t think so. These rules look complex, but are simple in practice. Let’s get into it.

Dice Modification

The simplest and most common way dice are manipulated is via dice modification. While dice modification is not explicitly defined in the rulebook, it is implicitly defined on page 19 which describes the Dice Modification step in the attack timing chart as the time when:

“Beginning with the attacker, each character may use any superpowers, cover, or other effects at their disposal to reroll or change their dice.”

From this we deduce: dice modification is exactly two things: rerolling dice or changing a die. [rules forum]

Rerolls are obvious; that’s when you pick up some dice and roll them again. But what do we mean by changing a die?

When you change a die, you’re changing what result it’s showing. The most common example is cover. On page 25 of the rulebook, it’s explained that cover allows you to modify your dice:

“During the Modify Defense Dice step of an attack, a defending character benefitting from cover (from terrain or otherwise) may change the result of one defense die to a block.”

Cover is a type of dice modification in which you physically change one defense die to a block. Some fun implications of this:

  • If you don’t have any dice you can modify (they’re all blocks, wilds, criticals, or skulls) you can’t take advantage of cover.
  • If you have a special rule that triggers off of a block (like Doctor Strange’s Shield of the Seraphim), cover will trigger those rules. [rules forum]
  • Rules which prevent dice modification, like Venom’s Symbiotic Instincts, prevent you from getting the block from cover. [rules forum]

All dice modification happens in step 9, which is after step 8, Resolve Criticals. Step 8 is when your crits “explode” (when you roll additional dice for each of your critical results). So even if dice modification gets you more critical results, you don’t get to roll more dice.

Key Points:

  • Dice modification is narrowly defined as rerolls or changing the die’s facing.
  • Unlike other effects, dice modification physically changes specific dice.
  • The Dice Modification step is step 9, after Resolve Criticals. It therefore can’t generate additional dice.

Checking Understanding:

  1. Thanos’ Death’s Decree superpower allows him to add 2 dice to an allied character’s attack roll. Black Cat has the Bad Luck superpower which prevents characters from modifying their dice when attacking her. Can Thanos use Death’s Decree on an attack against Black Cat?
  2. Venom attacks Mystique. Mystique’s Martial Artist says she adds blanks in her defense roll to her total successes, but Venom’s Symbiotic Instincts prevents her from modifying her defense dice. Does Martial Artist still work?
  3. Magneto attacks Malekith at range 2 using Reverse Polarity, which allows him to reroll any of his attack dice. Malekith’s Conqueror of the Ten Realms superpower says that characters cannot modify their attack dice when attacking Malekith. Can Magneto use his rerolls?


  1. Yes – Adding dice isn’t modifying dice. Building the dice pool and adding dice to it are handled in steps 4 and 5, long before dice modification in step 9. Dice modification is only rerolls or changing results.
  2. Yes – Mystique isn’t changing any of her dice, she’s just changing what counts as a success. If her rule said to change blanks to blocks, then Venom would shut it down.
  3. No – there are two types of modification, rerolls and changing dice. Magneto can’t reroll because that’s modifying his attack dice.

Counting Effects

After going through dice modification in step 9, in step 10 you Calculate Successes. This means you read your dice, and total up the results which are successes for your roll (typically hit, wild, and criticals for attackers vs block, wild, and criticals for defenders). Some rules change this calculation by allowing you to add different symbols to your total successes. We’ll call these Counting Effects.

Counting effects come in two forms. Some of them use the word “add” and the phrase “total successes.” For example, Corvus Glaive and Loki both have superpowers which say “this character adds blanks in its [roll] to its total successes.”  Scarlet Witch, Dormammu, and Magik all have similar rules that let them count their skulls as successes. A lot of characters have a defensive variation of this, with rules like Martial Artist that let them count their blanks as successes.

The second form of these effects uses the word “count.” Killmonger’s Special Forces superpower and Shuri’s Super Genius superpower allow them to choose to count blocks as successes instead of hits. Similarly, Doctor Octopus’ Flurry of Arms special rule and Ultron’s All Will Be Metal superpower are Counting Effects that have you count wilds as two successes instead of one.

What if there are both Dice Modification and Counting Effects?

The secret to understanding MCP is to look at the attack timing chart. Dice modification effects are step 9, while counting effects don’t do anything until step 10. So dice modification tends to override Counting Effects. To see how this works, consider the example below.

Suppose Ultron is attacked by Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme’s Baleful Bolts of Balthakk. Both characters roll, and both get 1 wild result. During step 9, Doctor Strange’s Pierce special rule will happen. This allows Doctor Strange to change Ultron’s wild to a blank. Then, in step 10, Ultron’s All Will Be Metal superpower allows him to count wilds as two successes. But he doesn’t have the wild anymore! So he doesn’t get the benefit of All Will Be Metal.

What if there are multiple Counting Effects?

If there are multiple Counting Effects in play, follow the rules for all of them. For example, if Vision uses a Synthezoid Avenger attack (that causes the defender not to count criticals) into Loki who uses I Am A GOD! so that he counts blanks as successes, you simply follow both rules as written. Loki won’t add extra dice to his dice pool for criticals and won’t count them as successes, but he will count his blanks and add those to his successes.

If in the future there are contradictory Counting Effects – maybe a future character will count their criticals as two successes, and be attacked by Vision’s Synthezoid Avenger – then we’d fall back to the rule on page 5 that “‘can’t’ overrides ‘can’”. Vision’s rule that the defending character “does not add critical results […] to its total successes” would trump a rule that has you count each critical as two successes.

Key Points:

  • Counting Effects change how you total up your successes.
  • You can spot a counting effect because it talks about adding to “total successes” or how many successes a result “counts as.”
  • You don’t count up results until the very end (step 10), so Counting Effects always go last.

Checking Understanding:

  1. Scarlet Witch attacks Lizard with Hex Bolt. She rolls two hits, a blank, and three skulls. The player controlling Lizard rolls all blanks. Because Scarlet Witch counts skulls as successes, this roll is way above average, and the player controlling Lizard is considering using Recalibration Matrix on it. Is this a good idea?
  2. In a battle of insufferable evil geniuses, Doctor Octopus is attacking MODOK. Doc Ock rolls his normal strike and gets one hit, two wilds, and a blank. Doc Ock’s Flurry of Arms rule lets him count wilds as two successes. However, MODOK’s Psionic Force Field changes all wilds to blanks. How many successes does Doc Ock score?
  3. Nick Fury Jr uses the Fury Special on Loki, who uses I am a GOD! before rolling his defense dice. Fury gets blank, blank, hit, hit, wild. Loki gets blank, block, wild. Fury’s attack has a wild Pierce on it, so he can change one of Loki’s results to a blank. Which result should he pick? How much damage does Loki take?


  1. Playing Recalibration Matrix is a bad idea. Scarlet Witch counts skulls as successes, but that doesn’t change anything else about them. She still can’t modify them, for example. So if you play Recalibration Matrix, she’ll keep her 3 skulls and then reroll the rest of the dice. Note that if she could modify skulls for some reason – maybe she’s in Web Warriors and has an objective, for example – then Recalibration Matrix could force her to reroll them.
  2. Doctor Octopus only ends with one success. In Step 9, MODOK changes all of Doc Ock’s wilds into blanks, so he doesn’t have any in step 10 when he calculates successes. In mad science, big heads beat many arms.
  3. It doesn’t matter which result Nick Fury Jr picks. He changes the die to a blank, which Loki counts as a success. In any case, Fury has 3 successes and so does Loki, so no damage is dealt.

Treat As Effects

There are currently three Treat As effects in the game: the Reality Gem, Domino’s Probability Manipulation, and Malekith’s Cloak of Shadows. Each of them allows you to treat some number of skulls as criticals. Let’s use Malekith’s Cloak of Shadows as an example:

Treat As Effects cause you to read your dice differently. Whenever you need to know what the result of your roll is, the Treat As effect causes you to read one or more of the results you rolled as a different symbol. This treatment is consistent: all rules and effects will treat the die as if it had the other symbol. [rules forum]

In addition, if a die’s result is being read differently due to a Treat As effect, that effect will end if that die is modified. So if something causes the skull you’re counting as a success to be rerolled or changed to a blank, that Treat As effect goes away. Even if the die is rerolled back into a skull, you don’t get to treat it as a critical. [forum] 

(Big asterisk on this if the Treat As effect is coming from the Reality Gem; we’ll talk about that in a minute.)

Note: there was recently a ruling which changed the way Treat As effects work. If something contradicts this article, check to see if it’s older than September 1, 2022 and this ruling. If so, it’s now outdated. If not, it’s just wrong 🙂

Practical Example

Consider the hypothetical of Malekith using his Blade of Midnight to attack Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s the initial roll:

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Skull, SkullHasn’t Rolled Yet

At this point, the Malekith player needs to declare how much they’re paying for Cloak of Shadows. When an ability says it happens “after” something, that means it happens immediately afterwards. While attacking, Malekith needs to decide how much to spend before seeing the defender’s dice. (While defending, he gets to see the attacker’s roll because it happens first.)

People will sometimes blow through this step; I think the sporting thing is to explain the timing window the first time it comes up, and to say out loud: “Hold on, I’m thinking about how much to pay” during each attack. Then if your opponent forgets and blows through it, you’ve still announced your intent to use the ability and it’s on them if they gave you extra information.

Let’s assume Malekith has 2 or more power, and decides to pay at least 2 power to treat both skulls as criticals. 

Now Amazing Spider-Man gets to roll:

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Skull, SkullBlank, Shield, Hit, Critical

Now we Resolve Criticals. Malekith goes first; he gets to roll an additional die for each critical in his pool. In this case, that’s 3 additional dice (one for the natural critical and two more for the skulls he’s treating as criticals). Spider-Man rolls an additional die for his critical as well. (The new results are in bold.)

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Skull->Critical, Skull->Critical, Blank, Critical, SkullBlank, Shield, Hit, Critical, Wild

Malekith has an additional skull in his pool. Unfortunately, it’s too late for him to use Cloak of Shadows again to treat it as a critical.

Now, we move to the Dice Modification step. Malekith doesn’t have any ways to modify his dice. Mr Parker, on the other hand, has a lot of options. He can reroll any, has a Miles’ leadership reroll, and can change a die for cover if applicable. He does a bunch of rerolls, and once the dust settles, he’s modified his Blank and Hit into two Blocks.

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Skull->Critical, Skull->Critical, Blank, Critical, SkullBlock, Shield, Block, Critical, Wild

Now that both characters are done modifying their own dice, we move on to changing our opponent’s dice. First, the attacker applies effects that modify the defense pool. In this case, Malekith will use his Wild to pierce one of Spider-Man’s results:

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Skull->Critical, Skull->Critical, Blank, Critical, SkullBlank, Shield, Block, Critical, Wild

After that, Spider-Man uses his Witty Banter superpower against Malekith to force him to reroll one of his successes. Let’s say Spider-Man chooses one of the dice that Malekith is treating as a Critical via Cloak of Shadows. Malekith rerolls it and gets a blank.

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man
Blank, Blank, Hit, Wild, Critical, Blank, Skull->Critical, Blank, Critical, SkullBlank, Shield, Block, Critical, Wild

The instant the Skull that’s being treated as a Critical is modified, the Treat As effect goes away. Even if the die had been rerolled into a Skull, that Skull wouldn’t be treated as a critical any more. Malekith also can’t transfer the effect to the other Skull to treat it as a Critical. Cloak of Shadows says to choose one die per power spent, and the Treat As effect is therefore bound to that die.

Final Successes:

MalekithAmazing Spider-Man

Treat As vs Dice Modification

Based on the above example, you can see that Treat As effects are similar to Dice Modification effects in practice. However, there are two differences:

  1. They’re called different things. This means that superpowers which prevent Dice Modification (Venom’s Symbiote Instincts, Medusa’s Living Strands, etc) don’t affect Treat As effects.
  1. Treat As Effects can happen at times other than Step 8. Currently, all Treat As Effects happen either immediately when you roll, or after rolling but before Resolving Criticals. In both cases, they happen before the Resolve Critical steps, so you get to roll additional dice for the results you’re treating as criticals.

For Dominio and Malekith, those are the only differences. For the Reality Gem, things are a little more complicated. Before we get to that, one last side note on Domino and Malekith.

Don’t Overpay

Both Probability Manipulation and Cloak of Shadows allow you to pay any amount of power. In theory, you can pay any amount of power, even if you don’t have that many skulls in your roll. While you can still do this if you’re just looking to get rid of power (Domino in Dark Dimension, maybe?), spending extra power doesn’t change the effect of Probability Dimension or Cloak of Shadows. When you use the superpower and pay, you have to choose a skull to treat as a critical, and the effect is specifically attached to that die. If you can’t choose a die, you don’t get the effect. [forum]

The Reality Gem

The Reality Gem is weird. Unlike Probability Manipulation or Cloak of Shadows, it’s not a one-off effect with a specific timing. Instead, it’s a constant effect:

This has been ruled to mean that the Reality Gem is constantly looking for a skull to treat as a critical. If you have a skull in your starting roll, it will treat it as a critical. If something happens to that die later (maybe it’s rerolled or changed) then the Treat As effect will end. However, the Reality Gem will then look for a new skull to treat as a critical. This means that if your dice are modified, the Reality Gem can switch from die to die depending on where you are in the process.

Bottom line: if at any point you have at least one skull in your roll and the Reality Gem isn’t currently allowing you to treat a different skull as a critical, the Reality Gem will come online and allow you to treat that skull as a critical. [forum]

Summing Up: a Side-by-Side Comparison

To illustrate how the Reality Gem works, let’s go through three hypothetical scenarios. In each case, Killmonger is making an attack with his Vibranium Weapons. In case 1, X-23 is defending with one reroll. In case 2, Domino is defending with 1 power to spend on Probability Manipulation. And in case 3, Corvus with the Reality Gem is defending. We’ll go through it step by step and show how each effect works differently.

First, Killmonger rolls his dice. 

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, Skull

A strong roll for Killmonger. Now the defenders roll:

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, SkullBlank, Skull, SkullBlank, Skull, Skull

We’ll use the same defensive roll for all three of the defenders.

The first difference: right after the roll, Corvus’s Reality Gem kicks in and treats one of his skulls as a critical. Domino also immediately has the option to pay X power to do the same to X of her dice. (Remember, if Killmonger had criticals to resolve, Domino would decide how much to pay before seeing them.) Let’s assume she only has 1 power and decides to use it on Probability Manipulation. Now the dice look like:

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, SkullBlank, Skull, Skull->CriticalBlank, Skull, Skull->Critical

This brings us to the Resolve Criticals step. Domino and Corvus both get to roll an additional die. Let’s give them each a block.

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, SkullBlank, Skull, Skull->Critical, BlockBlank, Skull, Skull->Critical,Block

After we Resolve Criticals, we get to Dice Manipulation in Step 9. Manipulating your own dice happens first; X-23 gets her Assassin Training reroll. We’ll give X-23 a critical to keep things as even as possible. Unfortunately for her, it’s now after the Resolve Criticals step, so she doesn’t get an additional die for it. If anyone had cover, we could apply that before or after rerolls during this step.

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, CriticalBlank, Skull, Skull->Critical, BlockBlank, Skull, Skull->Critical,Block

Now that both players are done modifying their own dice, they modify their opponent’s dice. This starts with the attacker: Killmonger rolled a wild which triggers his pierce ability. That means he gets to change a critical, wild, or block to a blank. He chooses to change the critical result to a blank. (Remember, Treat As effects are consistent, so Killmonger can choose a skull being treated as a critical, because it’s a critical for all intents and purposes.)

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, BlankBlank, Skull, Blank, BlockBlank, Skull, Blank,Block

Recall that the Reality Gem’s effect is being constantly applied. It now notices that there’s no longer a failure being treated as a critical, and jumps in to fix that:

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem
Hit, Hit, Wild, Blank, SkullBlank, Skull, BlankBlank, Skull, Blank, BlockBlank, Skull->Critical, Blank,Block

None of the defenders have ways to modify the attacker’s dice, so we’re done with step 9. Now we’d go to step 10 and calculate the final successes:

KillmongerX-23Domino (pay 1)Corvus + Gem

As you can see, the Reality Gem is tricky. If there are multiple skulls in the roll, modifying them can sometimes inadvertently make Corvus’ roll better.

One last aside: How long do Treat As Effects Last?

Treat As effects are consistent, meaning the die is treated the same way by both you and your opponent. It’s not a critical that’s secretly actually a skull; it’s just a critical. But how long is this true? The superpower states the duration as “for the remainder of the attack.”

This means it lasts through step 14, which covers everything that happens “after the attack is resolved.” For some characters, quite a lot happens here. Rapid Fire characters make an entire additional attack. Winter Soldier can make two additional attacks.

More relevant to our purposes, Ghost Rider’s Wicked’s Judgment superpower also happens in this step. It’s a reactive superpower that costs 2 power and does the following:

After an attack made by a character within range 3 of this character is resolved, if that attack targeted another allied character, this character may use this superpower. The attacking character suffers 1 damage for each critical in its attack roll.

After the attack resolves means during step 14c, so Probability Manipulation/Cloak of Shadows will still be active. That means if Malekith or Domino is treating a die as a critical, Ghost Rider gets to as well. [forum]

Key Points:

  • Treat As effects are attached to specific dice. They change what result that die is treated as having. If the die is modified in any way, they end.
  • Treat As effects are consistent. Both you and your opponent treat them as their new result.
  • Domino and Malekith both have a superpower that’s a one-off Treat As effect. That means it happens at a specific time, and can only affect skulls that exist at that time.
  • Treat As effects that happen before the Resolve Criticals step (all of them so far) can cause you to roll additional dice for criticals.
  • The Reality Gem isn’t a one-off effect. It’s always trying to treat one of your skulls as a critical, and it might switch dice in order to do so.
  • Treat As effects last through step 14 of the timing chart, which includes all effects that happen after an attack is resolved.

Check Understanding:

  1. Clash of the titans! Suppose Dormammu uses Hex Bolt on Malekith. Dormammu rolls one of each result: blank, block, skull, hit, wild, critical. Malekith rolls four skulls. Assume Malekith has 10 power, and that any additional dice he rolls come up blank.
    • Dormammu’s Master of the Realm of Darkness superpower allows him to add the number of skulls in both the attack and defense rolls to his total successes. Malekith’s Conqueror of the Ten Realms prevents attackers from modifying their dice while attacking Malekith. Does Malekith’s Conqueror ability shut down Realm of Darkness?
    • How much damage does Malekith take if he spends zero power on Cloak of Shadows? What if he spends two power? Four power? What if he spends ten?
  2. Mysterio plays his signature card, The Grand Illusion. The Grand Illusion says when an enemy character makes an attack, defense, or dodge roll within range 3 of Mysterio, it does not add dice to the roll for critical results and Mysterio changes all of the enemy character’s critical results to skulls.
    • Suppose Domino is attacking Mysterio from within range 3 with her Automatic Pistols. She starts with 2 power. She rolls blank, blank, skull, critical. For each additional die Domino rolls, assume she rolls a hit. What’s the highest number of successes she can achieve on the first attack?
    • Suppose Corvus Glaive with the Reality Gem is in the same position, including being within 3 of Mysterio and having 2 power. He attacks with his strike and rolls blank, blank, blank, skull, critical. For each additional die he rolls, assume he rolls a hit. What’s the highest number of successes he can achieve on his strike?
  3. Thanos has the Reality Gem and is in cover. Rocket Raccoon fires his Plasma Rifle at Thanos and rolls blank, hit, hit, hit, wild for 4 successes. Thanos rolls his defense dice and gets three skulls. Thanos has one stamina left. Assume each additional die Thanos rolls is a block. Is there a way for him to survive?


  1. Dormammu vs Malekith:
    1. No, Conqueror doesn’t shut down Realm of Darkness. Conqueror only affects dice modification, which is only rerolls or changing dice. It doesn’t affect Counting effects, such as Dormammu’s rule.
    2. Power vs Damage:
      1. If Malekith spends zero power, Dormammu has 4 successes in his pool plus 4 in Malekith’s pool, for 8 total damage.
      2. If Malekith spends 2 power, Dormammu does four damage. Malekith now has 2 successes, and Dormammu has 4 successes in his pool plus the two skulls left in Malekith’s pool.
      3. If Malekith spends 4 or more power, Dormammu does zero damage. Malekith will have 4 successes, and Dormammu will have only the 4 successes he rolled in his pool.
      4. Any amount of power from 4-10 will generate the same result, because spending extra power on Cloak of Shadows doesn’t cause it to operate differently.
  2. Mysterio’s The Grand Illusion: [forum]
    1. Domino can’t get any successes. She has the option to spend 1 power to treat her skull as a critical, but it doesn’t matter if she takes it or not. Mysterio stops her from rolling additional dice for her criticals, and then in Step 9 he changes all of her criticals into skulls. Changing a die causes any Treat As effects to expire immediately, so even if she pays to treat the skull as a critical, the effect won’t last.
    2. Corvus gets one success. Immediately after rolling, Corvus’ Reality Gem changes the skull into a critical. Mysterio stops him from rolling additional dice, and then in Step 9 Mysterio modifies both criticals into skulls. This causes the Treat As effect of the Reality Gem to expire. However, the Reality Gem is a constant effect. Immediately after Mysterio causes the Treat As effect to end, Corvus’ Reality Gem goes looking for a new skull to modify into a critical. It finds one, so he ends up with blank, blank, blank, skull, skull->critical.
  3. Thanos can survive the attack, but he needs to be clever about it. First, his Reality Gem will treat one skull as a critical. 
Rocket RaccoonThanos
Blank, Hit, Hit, Hit, WildSkull, Skull, Skull->Critical

This allows him to roll an additional die which comes up as a block. 

Rocket RaccoonThanos
Blank, Hit, Hit, Hit, WildSkull, Skull, Skull->Critical, Block

Thanos now has two successes. He’s in cover, so he can modify one of his defense dice and change it to a block. Thanos should change the skull being treated as a critical into a block. This is legal because it’s being treated as a critical when he changes it.

Rocket RaccoonThanos
Blank, Hit, Hit, Hit, WildSkull, Skull, Block, Block

This causes the Reality Gem’s Treat As effect to expire, and therefore the Reality Gem immediately goes looking for a new skull to treat as a critical:

Rocket RaccoonThanos
Blank, Hit, Hit, Hit, WildSkull, Skull->Critical, Block, Block

Final count:

Rocket RaccoonThanos

Rocket Raccoon now does 1 damage; or he would, but Being of Immeasurable Power reduces it to zero. All that and not even a drop of blood.


There are three types of dice manipulation in MCP:

  1. Dice modification –
    1. Only refers to rerolls and changing dice (physically changing dice)
    2. Uses the words “reroll,” “change,” or “modify.”
    3. Can’t generate additional dice from criticals
    4. Happens before Counting Effects.
    5. Causes Treat As effects to end.
  2. Counting Effects –
    1. Alters what symbols count as successes when you count them up at the end
    2. Uses the words “adds to total successes” or “count as.”
    3. Happens after everything else.
  3. Treat As Effects –
    1. Alters what result a die is considered to be showing.
    2. Consistent for all effects and players
    3. Can happen before the Resolve Criticals step and generate additional dice
    4. Ended by dice modification
    5. One-off effect for Domino and Malekith; constant effect for the Reality Gem.

Timing-wise, all dice modification happens in step 9, Dice Modification, and all counting effects happen in step 10, Calculate Successes. Treat As Effects start as soon as your dice are rolled/you pay for them, and as a result can cause you to roll additional dice from criticals. Treat As Effects last through step 14, which covers things that happen after an attack is resolved.

Domino and Malekith’s Treat As Effects require you to choose a particular die. If that die is later modified, the Treat As effect ends. The same is true of the Reality Gem, but the Reality Gem is a constant effect. When its effect on one die ends, it immediately tries to apply a new Treat As effect to any eligible die.

Further, Treat As Effects are consistent. Your dice aren’t simultaneously a critical and a skull; they’re criticals for all effects, yours and your opponent’s. When going against Dormammu, this is a blessing; when facing off against Ghost Rider, it’s a liability.

I hope this was, if not entertaining, at least informative. I have some ideas for future, much shorter, articles. But if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, I’d be happy to take requests. Say something in the comments or join our discord here!

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