All According To Plan
Welcome Marvel Crisis Protocol fans to another TURN ZER0 GAMING article! We are going to talk about the recently spoiled Tactic card, All According To Plan.
For those who haven't seen the Criminal Syndicate affiliation, these bad boys have a two-fold bonus.
First, they may spend two power to move any Asset or Civilian token to another allied character within range three of the currently activated character.
Second, each allied Healthy character contesting an objective counts as two Healthy characters when determining who is securing objective tokens.
The Criminal Syndicate is a very exciting affiliation because they have some very powerful characters and some new incoming models we have yet to see.
- Black Cat
- Green Goblin
Now that we have begun to unpack the tools in the Criminal Syndicate's toolbox, let's take a look at how this Tactic card makes games interesting.
Hail To The King
First of all, I want to address the common response to this card "Ten power is too expensive". I understand the card is asking a lot of power for a single game effect. But I believe this card can change the pace of a game if played correctly. Is ten power a big ask of one Tactic card? Absolutely. However, the return on your power investment can have a lot of potential outcomes.
The main reason to play the card is to get back to back activations. We have already seen how powerful this ability can be. Our own Todd at TZG worked hard on refining the BDT list at 15 threat because it could take back-to-back Thor activations round 2 that led to a lot of damage and throws over and over again. KennyG21 posted in our discord that this is a great tool to spike priority characters to pressure big plays. Lanza added that this card works well in combination with Doomed Prophecy for game-changing turns where you need priority.
If you have yet to experience Thor charging and then attacking your team four times in a row with throws built into his attacks and throwing characters/terrain again using superpowers, you should take a look into how oppressive that can become.
All According To Plan can indeed give you the ability to activate a threat character like Thor, Killmonger, or MODOK for a significant swing in the pace of the game. You have to respect your opponent and watch your board state for how clumped up your models get so they cannot get a back to back activation and delete your team.
If you take a look at the Criminal Syndicate characters, you begin to notice a few of them have strong potential to be power batteries and output a lot of disruption to any opponent's board. Kingpin, MODOK, and Killmonger are excellent threats to either bully the opponent away from objectives or pressure daze/KO status. Add in other out of affiliation beaters like Thor, Valkyrie, Baron Zemo, or Corvus Glaive and you have the potential to throw out a massive batch of damage with back-to-back activations.
I believe the presence of this Tactic card and what implications it can have is a massive flex on your opponent if they refuse to respect that you're running it. There are critical moments when you should and should not play the Tactic. But just having the card on the table creates some interesting environments that you can capitalize on if your opponent makes a mistake.
The Criminal Syndicate has some of the more unique affiliation abilities I have seen in the game. The second half of the affiliation ability allows for Healthy characters to count as two models when determining who is contesting an objective. By itself, this is a bullying ability against any affiliation. But let's think about how this puts pressure on the opponent to either commit extra bodies to contest points or try to daze your Criminal Syndicate models.
I can already hear the comments now, "What about control models or Web Warriors?" And you are on the right track. As a control player, I am not super afraid of the Illicit Network ability as printed on Kingpin's card. However, after seeing All According To Plan, I am a little worried about how Web Warriors or control models will fare.
If you think about the standard Web Warriors list, they are usually running Gwen, Miles, and either Peter or Venom as their baseline ten points. From that point, they can add in other control models like Shuri, MODOK, or Valkyrie to fit into fifteen through twenty point Crisis cards. The baseline Web Warriors list usually has a minimum of four and upwards of six or seven activations. This means on average that the Web Warriors are not going to be holding priority.
Now imagine a turn where the Crime Syndicate player gets close enough to daze one or two of the Web Warrior models. The priority will likely pass over to the Web Warriors who can use all that power they gained from damage to return fire. Well, if the Criminal Syndicate player plays All According To Plan, they can potentially activate immediately and threaten to KO models before the Web Warrior player can do anything. No Tactic cards, no attacks, no opportunity to do anything. The Criminal Syndicate player can on-demand remove the ability for their opponents to respond to what happened. Add into the mix Tactic cards like All You've Got, Doomed Prophecy and you have a little Syndicate bomb waiting to explode.
"But what if the Web Warriors don't get close enough to be attacked?" Ah! Another very good question. I believe that competitive Criminal Syndicate players are going to bring a strong, out of faction assassin to deal with this problem. The aforementioned Thor, Corvus with a gem, even affiliation models like Killmonger and MODOK. A strong Criminal Syndicate player, in my opinion, will have a few assassin characters to hunt down control models or Spiders so they have to either deal with the assassin or control the board at the threat of being attacked. Is this the perfect response? No. But tabletop games are fun because of the variance and player choices that lead to ripple effects throughout six rounds.
Happy Feet! Wombo Combo!
Coming from Trading Card Games like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon, I enjoy control decks and combo decks. The premise in a card game is correctly sequencing cards for these big impactful plays to win games or swing the tide of play in my favor.
Criminal Syndicate and All According To Plan open up some combo plays we have been discussing among the TURN ZER0 GAMING team. First off is the "Widow Bomb" as Todd likes to call it. We have talked about the Widow Bomb rolling 64 dice using a combination of Doomed Prophecy and All You've Got on the podcast recently, but it required a lot of setup and was not guaranteed. Now with enough power and adding All According To Plan, you can practically guarantee a Widow Bomb as long as you meet all the parameters. On top of that, Black Widow has a massive threat bubble to pressure the bomb play.
Black Widow 2 moves M (5 inches) on an S (1 3/8 inch) base with a Range 3 (6 inches) attack. Add in the Range 3 (6 inches) deployment zone and BW2 has a max threat range of 32 1/8 inches.
But let's show our homework:
- A 36-inch battlefield or 914 millimeters
- The deployment zone is 6 in or 152 mm
- Black Widow 2 base is 1 3/8 in or 35 mm
- A Medium move is 5 in or 127
- Range 3 attack is 6 in or 152 mm
In this example, I want to use millimeters since there are no fractions to manage. We start with the battlefield at a max distance of approximately 914mm from end to end. For the maximum threat bubble, the BW2 player places the model the maximum starting distance of 152 mm plus her base size of 35mm for a total of 187 out of 914 mm.
Next, BW2 moves Medium + Medium for 127 mm (per M movement) plus her base size of 35 mm two times for a total of 324 mm ( M + M + model base + model base). Now we are 511 mm out of 914mm. From where she is standing currently, we add in her Range 3 attack and add 152 mm for a total threat bubble of 663 mm out of 914.
If the opponent deploys models at their max range of 152 mm, BW2 can affect targets up to 815 mm of the board.
Note, this does not include the opponent's base sizes during deployment. Regardless of how the opponent deploys characters, BW2 has a threat bubble of 663-815mm. This translates to approximately 89% map coverage if the opponent deploys models at range three and down to 72% map coverage if the opponent deploys at the very closest edge of the map away from Widow. Once again, not taking into account the base size of models the opponent deploys or the fact this is what Widow 2 can threaten turn one.
I do want to be very clear; this example is purely paper math and doesn't include the terrain setup and other variables like power, cover, blocking LOS, and board state.
These math equations are only taking into account her maximum range running down the middle of the field. Math is important when determining threat bubbles and the odds of successfully landing attacks. But in real-world games, you have to take the math and use it as a tool, not a law to find success in competitive games.
I also want to address that the Widow Bomb combo asks the Criminal Syndicate player to have ten power among the Syndicate characters, three or more power on Widow 2, and three out of five tactic cards to make this work. If she gets in range of two enemy models she should be able to naturally generate power with Automatic Pistol to pay for All You've Got (4 power).
The next big combo play we have been discussing internally is using characters before they get KO'd. MODOK is a great example of a character that can get deleted if he ever hits his dazed size. Using All According To Plan allows you to get one last activation out of him before the opponent can finish him off. If you add All You've Got into the mix, MODOK could deal some significant damage and even daze or KO enemy models in his threat bubble. Imagine doing the same thing with Corvus + Reality Gem before he dies. The possibilities are quite fascinating.
Is this ever going to happen? Maybe. I have no clue if it will, but we know in the right environments it can. There are a lot of variables to consider and it might not work most of the time. But you can play Doomed Prophecy on Kingpin to add four attack dice with a base attack of five dice for a nine dice, range two attack. All You've Got works well with many of the characters in Criminal Syndicate and combos very well with All According To Plan. Also, bringing these specific Tactic cards no not pigeonhole you into linear play. These cards set you up for combo plays depending on the game state and pressure the opponent to avoid a lot of deadly setups. They also give the Criminal Syndicate player the opportunity to set up traps using throws and pushes to group enemy models together for an explosive combo.
The main point I want to make is that Criminal Syndicate can bring Tactic cards with a list to threaten massive combo plays if things go perfect. And they can also threaten smaller combo plays to either remove opposing models or reduce activations via dazing before the opponent can do anything. Without All According To Plan, other affiliations cannot threaten the same combos that the Criminal Syndicate can.
Street Level Negotiations
All According To Plan is a fun card that opens up a lot of interesting options for the Criminal Syndicate and Marvel Crisis Protocol. Threat bubbles become a very important factor to consider when moving around the board. Power management and power battery characters become even more impactful. And we can begin to see some combo plays out of the Criminal Syndicate if their opponent makes positioning errors.
Will this become a competitive card? Will the Criminal Syndicate become a competitive affiliation? I have no idea. Our team needs time to test out their options, cards, and what lists they work well against and their bad matchups. But we surely will let you know when we have got games in and seen what they can do.
Until then keep on rollin!