By Phillip Melvin
“Arcadia is only strong as long as we are united, and A-Force is her defender. It’s our honor and duty to protect our island and her people. And that’s exactly what I mean to do.“
Battleworld was a patchwork world made from the remnants of destroyed realities following the Multiverse’s collapse due to the incursions. Arcadia, a domain located in the south of Battleworld, is governed by the Baroness known as She-Hulk. Helping her protect this idyllic island nation is a group of heroines known as the A-Force.
At 16 characters, A-Force is one of the bigger Affiliated rosters in Marvel Crisis Protocol. However, unlike some of the newer groups introduced to this game, the members of A-Force all exist in other Affiliations. While most every MCP player owns a few members of this crew, it requires buying 12 separate boxes to own all of these superheroines.
While that all sounded a bit negative, it should be noted that getting started with this Affiliation can be done with minimal purchases. For starters, She-Hulk (the only option for Affiliation Leader) comes with all 3 Affiliated Tactics Cards so you don’t need to buy multiple packs to acquire these key items. Next is the Core Box, which practically everyone owns, which comes with Captain Marvel and the 2-Threat Black Widow and are both great roster inclusions. Lastly you can pick up the Okoye/Shuri box, both of which are Affiliated and potentially work better in A-Force than their 1st home of Wakanda.
From this initial buy in, the rest of the boxes do sadly come packaged with a non A-Force character. Unless you are the type to buy the entire line of a miniatures game, its better to pick and choose which boxes to acquire as to avoid over spending. Three boxes that contain a character I’ve used in all of my A-Force rosters are Medusa/Black Bolt, Crystal/Lockjaw, and Black Cat/Amazing Spider-Man.
The 6 Threat Leader of the Affiliation, She-Hulk combines offensive ouput with the ability to Bodyguard her allies. Aggressive means she can hang back early game to avoid getting focused fire and Advance forward when its time to strike. Of course her most common mobility trick is the Tactics Card Special Delivery where an A-Force model with Flight drops her off in front of the enemy, or extracts her from a dangerous situation.
Offensively she will more often than not just use her 7 dice Physical Builder, inflict Slow, and use her Size 4 Throw to toss them away. When something truly needs to die, Superior Weight Training adding dice equal to target size often enables at least a 10 dice attack for only 3 Power. Her spender is often not worth the cost, but if they have Slow and can be Staggered then its sometimes a better option than Throwing them away.
Her Defenders of Arcadia is the true star of the card, giving an allied character Power whenever someone else gets injured. As i’ll discuss multiple times in this article, it unlocks the full toolkit of basically any character your run with her. She-Hulk herself can also gain Power when she takes Bodyguard hits, but be careful because here 3/4/3 Def is easy to chew through despite the 20 Health. Patch Up, like most Hulks, will be a common inclusion in your 5.
A medium base Long mover is a good choice if you want to grab a center extract and move back to safety. Besides that, the 5 Threat Angela is a murder blender if she can Daze/KO targets and is ideal against wide squads with lots of lower Health characters and/or Grunts. Her plus She-Hulk is 11 Threat so if you drop her into the wrong matchup she may underperform and really doesnt see consideration outside 19/20 Threat matches. Flight means she can Deliver She-Hulk and the two of them can tear up a location on the board quite effevtively. 4s for Def and shutting off opponemts dice modification can be crippling against certain matchups.
The only thing better than having Black Cat Affiliated, is having the ability to let her use her toolkit more often. Stealing objectives, using her Place ability, or even throwing out a Stagger Spender is pretty trivial as long as somebody is getting attacked to power her up. She is also a pretty good recipient of She-Hulks bodyguard as opponents are likely to want her off the table as soon as possible.
Core Black Widow
The first of the 2 Threat options available in Affiliation. Core Widow is taken when you want a Long mover to help with spread out Crises or a cheap Stealth character to camp a back point. Typically though, you’ll reach for Okoye if you only take a single 2 Threat in your Roster.
Black Widow, Agent of SHIELD
The 3 threat version of Widow trades her Long move for proper offensive ouput and a way to generate Victory Points outside the Crisis. A Rapid Fire Gainer on top of the Leadership will make her flush with Power, but her options for spending it are limited to Tactics Cards and situational Superpowers. Interrogate is the reason to take her (and She-Hulk will certainly let you Daze targets), but the question is whether she is worth inclusion compared to all of the other Affiliated 3 Threats.
A solid 4 threat from the Core Box who is pretty reliable once she can chain Binary Form. Historically she could only do so with Steve Roger’s cost reduction Leadership, but then She Hulk came around and gave her a new lease on life. Despite being a Medium mover, she wants to be up in the fray and therefore is a great Special Delivery vehicle. Wild Stagger is pretty nice on her Spender as is her size 4 character/Terrain Throw. Immunity to Poison/Incinerate us icing on the cake and makes her a solid inclusion on Terrigen Clouds or Demons Downtown.
The 3 Threat Crystal is from my experience the number 1 inclusion for all of my rosters. All of her attacks are Gainers, and with one being a Beam she easily generates enough Power per Turn for the extra attack from elemental onslaught. Each attack also has a useful Wild Trigger between Incinerate, Slow, and Push and the only downside is the unreliability to land what you want. Long move and Flight makes her a common Special Delivery enabeler but she also can just reposition around the board for Crisis scoring. Her only downside is the average Def of 3s across the board, but the Inhuman re-roll makes even that a little bit better.
Primarily a ranged attacker, this 3 Threat is your reliable source of Incinerate in Affiliation. Already a solid Power generator thanks to having a Rapid Fire Gainer, the leadership makes her into a battery. Typically she’ll want to hold onto a few for turning Skulls into Crits, but should have plenty left for either of her Spenders. Her 2nd Spender, while not as flashy as grenade bounce, shouldn’t be slept on as denying Power gain is pretty clutch if you want to avoid a juiced up retaliation after attacking.
A 4 Threat assassin that moves Long, has extra movement powers, and packs a Range 3 deadly Spender. Under She-Hulk she can afford to use Martial Prowess to stay alive while still having the Power needed to be fully offensive. Only having physical attacks is a bit of a knock against her, since you are also running She-Hulk, so if you want to run her make sure to include more diverse attacks to fill out your squad. Also if the opposing team can easily attack her outside of Martial Prowess range, she can see herself going down quickly.
A 4 threat inclusion to your squad that unlocks a fair amount of control for your matches. She can either use her Range 3 Builder to Push Size 3 or less characters (though you have to rely on a Wild) or use her Range 3 Character Throw that is reliable but costs Power. Her other big claim to fame is Royal Decree, which lets Medusa slingshot herself or another model into a more advantageous position (Like say a She-Hulk). Finally she combines the Inhuman re-roll plus her ability to shut off dice manipulation to make her quite durable for a model with 3s for all Def.
When this character got erratated, she lost her ability to easily generate Power. This turned her from the premiere Bodyguard character to one who struggles to perform in Wakanda lists. With access to Power under She-Hulk, she regains her title and can easily perform multiple Bodyguards a round. Take her with Jen as an 8 pt Core against lists that can nuke your Leader down and you won’t be disappointed in her performance.
5 threat is a high cost, but Wanda is the best damage turret in Affiliation. She brings mystic attacks that arent common in Affiliation, and is another source of size 4 terrain Throws. Of course you can bring cheaper turrets in your squad, but she has the added benefit of enabling the Superpower counter Tactics Card No More Mutants which is great to turn off Hulk’s Gamma Leap or Malekith’s Ferocity. She’s a Medium move Flyer so can be a good option for late game Special Delivery and the ability to put out Hex can really hamper the opponents ability to kill She-Hulk.
A 3 threat re-roll battery that is an efficient place to put Leadership Power. Shuri makes for a great backline secure camper that helps make sure She-hulk is less likely to miss her big uppercuts. While the Affiliation has quite a few character throws, her ability to efficiently Push Size 3 or less opponents off points can not be discounted.
Common as the 3 Threat Leader in X-Men but not often seen outside her core Affiliation. In A-Force she naturally doesnt have her own Leadership but gains improved Power generation. This means she can be a Stealth backline turret that can afford to use Eye of Storm more often to boost attacks. A 4 Energy Def is quite good on certain Crises, Shock is a great Condition to throw out to better protect She-Hulk, and never forget that she has a clutch throw when needed. As a Flyer she can trigger Special Delivery, but is a better late game option due to wanting to stay back out of harms way.
This 3 Threat brawler is the definition of jack of all trades. She brings Charge, a Size 2 character/terrain throw, and dice manipulation that pairs well with a Flurry Spender. Naturally she is a bit of a Power hog, despite the Asgardian extra Power, so really appreciates the Leadership (though who doesnt). While her strengths are Action economy, she is pretty poor on the defensive side. Triple 3s will see her fall quick while fighting up front, and she can’t rely on the Heals that are available to her under Thor’s Leadership.
The other 3 Threat Flyer alongside Crystal that is often compared to her. While less overtly offensive than Crystal, she does bring things like a Size 3 terrain Throw and Tiny Form attack that denies Power Gain. Wasp is also faster when you factor in Transformation Placement and a cheap Spender that provides a Medium Advance. The biggest reason Crystal sees more play is likely due to Wasp auto dropping objectives when Transforming. Any restrictions on playing a Crisis are a pretty big mark against including a character in most squads. She also has pretty poor Def stats, with Stealth plus re-rolls in Tiny form often not enough to save her from getting one shot.
Affiliation Tactics Cards
A-Force Assemble is a good defensive card with the caveat of requiring your characters to stay clumped up. The 3 Power isnt much a problem due to the Leadership, but depending on positioning you may only give +1 Def to your characters. A situational card that should be in your 10 but is likely left out unless you are playing a scrum in the middle Crisis like Gamma Shelters.
Special Delivery, while not the most powerful, is easily one of the most well known aspects of this Affiliation. A character with Flight is all you need to get She-Hulk to basically anywhere she needs to make the biggest board impact. The free attack is especially helpful in that it’ll often give She-Hulk enough Power to Bodyguard whoever dropped her off during the opponent’s next Activation. You can use this card early for an alpha strike or as a late game reposition for She-Hulk. There are times when you wont take the required Flyer due to Threat level or opponent matchup, but expect this to be a common inclusion in your 5.
Stalwart Determination is probably the best card in the Affiliation and the closest to an auto include for your 5. Indomitable was such an easy inclusion for most players that it got slapped with the Restricted tag to limit it’s use. This card costs 1 Power less, can be used by all of your A-Force characters (sorry splash inclusions), and lasts for the entire round. I guess it can be a waste if your opponent doesnt try to Push or Throw you for an entire Round, bit that alone is worth the low Power cost.
Out of Affiliation Options
While the roster of Affiliated characters is already quite strong, a Power generating Leadership like She-Hulk’s lets you dial certain un-Affiliated characters to 11. Naturally anyone can be splashed, but here are a few categories of characters that especially like to call A-Force home
Other Super Heroines – Two of the most popular females that didn’t get added to the Affiliation list (despite being part of the team in the Comics) are Ms. Marvel and Ghost Spider. Ms. Marvel is a 3 Threat that brings mobility, a high Energy defense, and the flexible use Fan Club Tactics Card to play alongside Captain Marvel. Ghost Spider, another 3 Threat, loves the extra Leadership Power in order to Life Saver She-Hulk and Web Line opposing characters off points. Honerable mention to Darkstar, who isn’t part of the Comic-book team, but also loves extra Power for her defensive aura or allied Place Superpower
Grunts – Playing a 6 Threat Leader naturally means you can only afford a handful of other choices for your squad. Spending 4 Threat for Shadowlands Daredevil, Ekektra, or Nick Fury Jr. balances your team and can even give you a leg up on spread out extracts. Elektra especially shines here better than her home Affiliation with access to Power generation and brings mystic attacks that A-Force isnt swimming in. Red Skull 2 can help you with the Secure game, but 5 Threat starts going towards the overly pricey side.
Power Hungry Men – Once you break through the mental red tape and allow men into your all female team, you’ll find a long list of power hungry applicants. Support wise you could include Heimdall or Hood, who with extra power will provide tons more re-rolls, Places, and Heals. Or you can go offensive and pick anyone with big toolkits that can’t normally afford to use all their toys. The upcoming Weapon X Wolverine and Sabertooth fit this mold nicely and may be worth checking out.
Hulk – Lastly their’s Jen’s 6 Threat cousin The Hulk himself. Taking two 6 threats seems risky, and it may be a doomed plan on certain Crises, but it’s also a gear check an opponent may not be able to handle. Hulk already gets flush with power, but add a little extra from the leadership and cards like Follow Me become trivial to play. Speaking of Tactics, taking both Hulks means Agents of Smash is eligible to use and gives you the infamous Size 5 Throw.
A-Force Overall Thoughts
- Power generating Leadership
- Due to Leadership, Power starved characters from any Affiliation can thrive in A-Force
- Strong Affiliated Tactics Cards
- Many good 3 Threat characters as well as a pair of Affiliated 2s
- Characters spread over 12 boxes, expensive to collect whole Affiliation
- Affiliation doesn’t have a strong roster theme outside of “all female team”
- Only Leader option is 6 Threat
A-Force has been my Affiliation of choice for the last few months and it’s been a blast to play. The Leadership is amazing for unlocking the true potential for characters, and every game I experiment with different splash options. She-Hulk can be a liability some matchups, and I wish they had a cheaper secondary Leader, but learning to play her properly has been a rewarding experience. Give this Affiliation a try if you want a nice change of pace from your normal rosters.
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