One of the most deceptively important stages of any wargame is the deployment of your initial pieces. Marvel Crisis Protocol is no different, and does gamify it a little bit by alternating the deployment of every single model. In this article, I will go over some strategies I use when deploying models.
Arguably the most important part of deployment is completely unaffected by where your opponent places models – making sure that you can get every character onto relevant scenario pieces on the first round. It is especially important to be able to reach all of the centerline extracts (C, D, E and F) with at least one character so that if your opponent doesn’t go for one of them, you can get it and hopefully get ahead on points. I also make sure to have a way to safely get extracts on the center point, whether that’s a medium base long mover (like Angela) who can pick up the extract in a single action, or the S.H.I.E.L.D. grunts who can choose where an extract they drop goes, or Storm’s leadership place to simulate long movement. Being able to place grab that heavily contested extract on the first activation and hold it safely can be a huge advantage for the entire game. Similarly, being able to pick up both centerline extracts on a D with a character with grunts that interact with extracts can be very powerful, just make sure that they won’t get pulled in and killed too easily. Deploying for secures is less important, but you still want to make sure you have a character who isn’t on extract duty for each secure on your side, and maybe a backup in case you miss a flip secure. Don’t forget that some characters (basically, the non-grunt ones who can get center extracts) can also get to the secures nearer to your deployment zone on the first turn, so don’t get surprised by that and lose out on a free point.
All of those previous deployments can be practiced without an opponent, but the next set is much more reactive. I try to focus on the character weaknesses I described in an earlier article, and if I see a weakness on my side to try to deploy them last so that I can line them up in a good matchup. This is doubly important for characters that don’t have a ton of mobility like Modok and Venom because it’s very difficult to get them away from a character they’re weak to, since every movement action is critical to them. I also try to set up bodyguards like Luke Cage against my opponent’s heavy hitters, and on a side with a lot of my opponent’s models – because all those bodyguard rules don’t help you if they’re forced to stand on a secure by themselves all game. Finally, I often prefer to place long range characters like Winter Soldier more central to the table, especially if the secure is split, so that they have a better chance of being to outrange their targets and force the opponent to spend an action or two moving up to my long range attackers before they’re even in danger.
Deploying affects much more than the first turn – wasting movement actions to fix a poor deployment or an over commitment is a huge loss in a game where each character may only take 10 actions in an entire game. While it’s important to not make any unforced errors on the first turn by giving up scenario points simply due to deployment, it’s even more important to think ahead to how the game is going to play out and make sure that your characters are in the right place to make it go your way.