Priority is an important idea in Marvel: Crisis protocol. It helps determine the crisis combination and threat level, but it also plays an important role during the game. We are going to look at why you might want it or not want it, and how you can control priority during a game.
This is an Xavier Institute article, designed for newer players to the game.
Why you might want priority
The first activation of the round – after round one – is potentially incredibly important. You get the first opportunity to try and daze or KO another character before they act, denying them activations and reducing their impact on your team or the crisis: if they are dazed, they aren’t attacking you, they drop extracts for you to pick up and can’t contest a secure. Teams whose game plan centres on dazing and KOing opponents often want to have priority so they can choose which characters they try to remove first. These teams often focus on extracts over secures for scoring VP as they are built to do damage, so they can take extracts off opponents. They may also score secure VPs by virtue of dazing or KOing the opposing characters around the secure.
There are also some team tactics cards that are more impactful if you have priority. Doom Prophecy gets played at the start of the round, so if you don’t get the first activation, you opponent gets some free swings at their physical defence.
Vibranium Shielding is another one that benefits from being played early, but as an active card it need to be played on your turn. If you opponent’s biggest hitter has activated before you play it, it loses a lot of its impact.
Why you might not want priority
Having the last activation of a round is also very powerful in the right hands. Any character that can push, throw or place multiple charcaters loves going last. Pushing opponents off secures without an ability to respond – either by activating and moving or playing a card like Avengers Assemble – allows you to score points. Shuri is the best at this, but characters like Black Panther, Spider-Man, Venom, Thor, Drax and Thanos (with the mind or space gems – or both!) can score significant VPs off secures by acting late in the round.
Control teams – those focusing on pushing off secures – often actively don’t want priority.
It’s important to realise how priority swaps from one player to another. The player that acts lasts doesn’t have it in to the the next round. That means if you have the same number of characters, priority will only pass once the person without it gets a character dazed that didn’t activate.
Team building is impacted by this. Teams with a KO focus tend to run fewer characters to help them retain priority, and control teams tend to run more characters so they don’t get it.
If you want to retain priority against an equal numbered opponent, but also want to daze and KO characters, it might be worth waiting until they activate before dazing them – that way they will still have the same number of activations as you and you keep it. The cost there is not removing those activations, meaning the character has a bigger impact. It’s often a tough call when it is worth sacrificing priority to negate activations. A good question is how impactful do you think that activation will be: How many attacks will they make? How powerful are those attacks? How much power do they have to spend? It’s something that becomes easier to judge with more experience.
Characters that impact priority
There aren’t many yet, but one pair that is really important is Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight:
Their ability to chain-activate means you are much more likely to retain priority. When you use it, you essentially count as if you had one less character on your team. This can be especially powerful if it’s the first activation of the round, as you are much more likely to daze/KO with more attacks, denying activations. If you daze or KO only one character with these two, the fact they have both activated cancels out the one less activation for your opponent: they allow you to KO without the ‘disadvantage’ of potentially losing priority.
Cards that impact priority
Follow Me: this card essentially mirrors the ability of Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight to chain-activate. This helps retain priority even when Dazing or KOing a character.
Field Dressing: if you play this card to ‘undaze’ a character, be aware you might change yourself from having priority next round to not if that character hasn’t activated yet.
Cosmic Invigoration: You get an extra activation, so you are increasing the chance you will be acting last and so giving away priority. You might want to save this for a turn when you have already dazed or KOed a character that hasn’t activated, and so you were likely to be losing priority anyway.
Price of failure: you could choose to KO a character before they have activated specifically to regain priority. It does cost you the activation of that character, but there aren’t many ways to KO you own characters on demand.
Opportunities for further study:
Omnus Protocol on controlling priority.