[Editor’s Note: We’re back! Illness and other factors meant we had to go dark for a week, but we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. The Build is (hopefully) gonna be a semi-regular column wherein I discuss an upcoming tourney at my local venue and explain what I’m playing and why, and then I’ll write a follow-up entry detailing the results.]
Normally, my venue only allows Modern Age figs, ATA’s and Relics, and generally between 300 and 400 points. But for the next tourney, they’re cooking up something a little special…
So let’s get to it!
600 Points. Modern Age. Anything Goes (Resources, Relics, Colossals, ATA’s, Team Bases & Vehicles all allowed).
I want to build a team that’s both competitive AND fun to play. Basically, that means I’m not going to go with 5 Mole Men, The Power Plant and Shuma–I’m trying to beat my opponents, not make them hate me. And that type of army–cheap, broken, stupid–is not what I want to play. I want a team that will be pretty good UNDER the current rules and not one that will be good because it EXPLOITS the current rules.
Going in, I know I have a few fixed points for this build. I already know I want to play a Colossal (because it is so rare for my venue to allow them and, well, dammit, they’re fun to play!), and I know I want to play a resource (for the same reasons).
So I already know a little bit about what I’m going to play. Let’s start with the resource.
I own four resource dials in total. The Infinity Gauntlet (for which I own 4 of the 6 gems); The Utility Belt (with only three pouches); The Penguin (for only a slight 10 point investment, he’s sneaky good); and the Book of the Skull (7 of 8 Hammers, which is all I really need–plus Splitlip, who basically takes almost all of the drawbacks away from the book and just makes it stupid broken). AvX hasn’t happened at my venue, and may not ever happen [Editor’s Note: Bleeccch. This sucks! Stupid distributors…], so the Phoenix dial is not available to me.
–The Infinity Gauntlet is great, but without all the gems, I’m going to cross it off my list (although it would be awesome to play with the team I have in mind–more on that later).
–The Utility Belt is also a non-starter, for mostly the same reason (I don’t own enough attachments), and I never liked it as much as the Gauntlet anyway. It’s still ridiculously powerful (what resource isn’t?), but the nerfing of Prep Time really puts it at the bottom of my list.
–The Penguin is a nifty resource that can be thrown in to an army at that last minute when you find out you’ve miscalculated and you need 10 more points. Unlike the other resources in the game, the Penguin probably isn’t sticking around for the whole match, but he’s a great boon for the first four to six turns. After that, he’s probably run his course and is out of the game.
–The Book of the Skull is damn near broken. I could make a very compelling argument that two of its eight Relic components (Angrir’s Hammer and Nul’s Hammer) ARE broken. And even though I don’t have Skadi’s Hammer (only available in the Blitzkrieg USA Pack), I still have the other seven Hammers and Splitlip, which means that all four slots on the dial will be active AND I can give two Hammers to three different characters should I choose to.
I don’t have the Batcave or the Power Plant. This decision is really pretty easy–I’m going to go with the Book of the Skull and Splitlip.
The Book of the Skull–27 Points.
Okay! So far, the Build stands at 47 Points. We’re off and running! Next, let’s talk about Colossals. Cuz I really want to play one, and I don’t have a ton of choices. The three Modern Age Colossals I currently own are:
Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet); Oatu the Watcher (Galactic Guardians); Master Mold (Galactic Guardians)
And that’s about it. This decision is going to be a little harder than choosing a resource because even though I only have 3 figures to choose from, they each can be played at multiple point levels that would fit this build.
Let’s start with The Watcher; he can be played at three different point levels: 400, 200 and 50.
–The 400 point level features 16 clicks and builds slowly (oh my stars and garters, does it ever build SLOOOOOWLY) in damage output (he starts with a stinkin’ 2 and keeps it for his FIRST FOUR CLICKS!), but he’s got a really cool defensive power (POWER NEGATING FORCE-FIELD: Uatu The Watcher can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Toughness. When an opposing character misses Uatu The Watcher with an attack, counter all powers that character possesses until that character’s next turn.) that looks even better when you remember that he has a 12 (TWELVE!!) range. So your opponent is basically going to be dealing with at least a 19 defense until he gets in close. However, with the 2 damage Uatu starts with, even with starting Outwit (and there’s no guarantee in a 600 point game that your opponent’s main striker won’t also have Power Cosmic or Quintessence, which would render the Outwit useless unless you’re also running GG Adam Warlock), you’re just not going to be doing enough damage to justify his 400 point cost.Towards the end of his dial, his damage does ramp up and he starts getting things like Pen/Psy and Mind Control, but chances are the entire rest of your team could be KO’d by then. Now, if this was, like, a 1200 point game? Well yeah, then he’d be a great supporting piece. But for this game, he’s just not the best option. As much as I like Uatu, his 400 point dial is simply a nonstarter for this build.
–200 point Uatu is just the opposite. He’s practically a DPS machine, with a little bit of range support via Enhancement thrown in. He’s only got six clicks, but there’s not a bad click in the bunch. Solid 18 Defense with either Invuln or Impervious the entire dial, and he starts out doing 4 damage with Pen/Psy on an 11 Attack (or 13, if you want to give him one of the Serpent’s Hammers!). This is a strong contender for a secondary attacker; it will just depend on which figure I go with for my main piece.
–50 point Uatu changes everything up again. He will deal no damage; in fact, he’s forbidden from attacking. But he is hard to kill with starting 18 Super Senses on Defense, and he will, depending on click number, provide you with either Outwit, Probability Control, or Perplex. The downside is, every time you use one of those powers, he’s got a 66% chance to take one unavoidable damage. Still, for 50 points, you have to view him almost like a second resource. When viewed that way, his dial goes from seeming a little overcosted to almost being undercosted, since there’s no other way in the game (that I’m aware of) to assign a second resource to your force. In a game like this, your opponent is almost doing you a favor if he bothers to actually attack Uatu–every attack directed at him is an attack directed away from your actual force, and with the Defense slot I mentioned above, there’s every chance that your opponent will miss! In a “Hammer Raining From the Sky” environment (as Ninwashui puts it) such as this, there’s also one last thing to consider: The Watcher can fling Hammers! His “unavoidable damage” Trait only kicks in when he uses Prob, Perplex or Outwit. And while he can’t use the free Quake attack that Hammer landings provide, you CAN use him to get Hammers off of the Book faster and fling them at friendly characters to let THEM Quake up a storm, if you wish! 50 Point Uatu is also a strong contender to make my team!
Now let’s look at Master Mold. He can be played at two different point levels that would fit this game: 600 and 200.
–600 Point Master Mold is pretty sick. He can churn out mini-sentinels to tie up your opponent–oh hell, who am I kidding? I’m playing Thanos.
THANOS!! He’s the masthead of this site. Of course I’m playing Thanos. Is Master Mold more efficient? Possibly. I don’t care. Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet is right up there with Warlock wearing the Infinity Gauntlet as my favorite piece ever made (as you might be guessing, Infinity Gauntlet is my favorite story of all time).
So really, I have three choices then for my main piece in this build. Thanos has a 500, 400 and 300 Point dial, and each are appealing, but for different reasons.
–500 Point Thanos has 20 clicks and 1 weakness Trait (MAKING THE GRAB FOR THE GAUNTLET: If the result of a successful close combat attack roll made by an opposing character against Thanos is a critical hit, after actions resolve that character may make another close combat attack that deals penetrating damage targeting Thanos as a free action.) that gives me pause, even though it won’t go off very often. His other Trait (SHRINKING THE HULK: After Thanos takes damage from an opposing character’s attack, either give that character a shrink token or, if there is already a shrink token assigned, move the shrink token to that character. A character with a shrink token modifies its combat values by -1.) can be awesome in a game like this depending on how many characters your opponent is fielding. The more you whittle your opponent’s force down, the closer he gets to essentially having a permanent -1 to all his combat values on his best fig. Later in the dial, he also gets an attack power that lets him place two squares of blocking terrain after he KO’s someone, and a damage power that gives him Exploit Weakness and doesn’t allow lines of fire to be drawn to him from more than 6 squares away.
His attack never goes above a 12, but his defense stays consistently high, especially early on. Opening click Prob is nice, but at 500 Points, there’s just not much space left to build an army around him. So this Thanos gonna be a pass.
–400 Point Thanos has similar stats but only 11 clicks of life. His Trait (DISSENSION IN YOUR RANKS: Opposing characters lose all keywords. Opposing characters adjacent to Thanos can’t use team abilities.) is beyond awesome, especially in a game like this, and you get Terraxia as a free addition to your force. She’s a 100 Point character with Charge and Super Strength and, as long as you’re playing her with Thanos, Perplex. Finally, on five of his 11 clicks he gets: TORTURE MY “GRANDDAUGHTER”: Thanos can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When he does, if he targets a single opposing character and hits, counter all speed and attack powers the hit character possesses until your next turn. Pen/Psy is one of the best attack powers out there; Pen/Psy that Outwits Hypersonic Speed, Running Shot, Charge, Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy, Steal Energy or whatever the hell else your enemy may have in his speed or attack slots? That’s ridiculous. Btw, here’s a picture of me imagining 400 Point Thanos with Angrir’s Hammer and Mokk’s Hammer:
Also on the plus side, I’d have 153 Points left over for support pieces (after the 47 I’m using for Booklip). That should be just enough to round out my army. This Thanos is the leader in the clubhouse, but let’s look at 300 Point Thanos.
–300 Point Thanos has one less click and about the same raw stats. His Trait (IMPRISON MY BROTHER: At the beginning of the first turn using this dial, you may choose an opposing character. Place that character in its own starting area and give it two action tokens.) is great when playing all five issues of the Infinity Gauntlet in a row; for this game, it’s merely very good. For most of his dial, his attack slot alternates between a souped-up Pulse Wave (if lines of fire are drawn to more than one opposing character, it does 2 damage instead of one) and Pen/Psy, which is pretty damn good. But he doesn’t mess with opposing keywords or Team Abilities, and he doesn’t give you Terraxia. His last damage power (UNNATURAL DISASTERS: Give Thanos a power action and roll a d6. Use the effect described by that roll below. 1-2 Earthquake; Deal each character that can’t use the Flight ability 1 damage. 3-4 Tidal Wave; Choose an edge of the map. Knock back each opposing character 2 squares, in a straight line away from the chosen edge of the map. 5-6 Tornado; Choose any 2 adjacent squares on the map not occupied by a character. Thanos can use Quake as a free action as if he occupied both the chosen squares.) is probably the most convoluted and unreliable power Thanos gets on any of his dials. If you could just choose which option you want, it would be “meh” at best. The fact that it’s random means that it’s possibly one of the worst uses of Thanos’s time that I can think of.
I’m leaning toward 400 Point Thanos. Is there a more efficient use of 100 Points than Terraxia? Almost certainly, but she works well with Thanos and fits thematically, even if I’m not fielding a Theme Team.
Alright! I have my Colossal! And it only took, like, 1200 words of prattling to make my decision! Yay!
So, to review:
The Book of the Skull–27 Points
That’s 447 Points. 153 Points left to round out my army. I have a few Primes I’m considering: Hannibal King, Brother Voodoo and Cerise. GG LE Iron Man would be perfect, except he’s 150 and would use up everything I have left. Still, his Colossal Mind Control power is awesome. Another problem–I don’t own him. The other main support piece I’m considering is Experienced AvX Scarlet Witch. Her 8 range is huge. I’m not as concerned about Team Abilities killing me with Thanos’s Trait, but she can definitely shut them down even more. The fact that she gets Prob, Support AND Perplex means she’s winner. Which leaves me with 53 Points!!
Aldrich Killian is most known for shutting down ATA’s (good lord, if nothing else, I will shut down TA’s in this tourney!), but he also has the Hydra TA and Support. And when he heals someone, their combat values are +1 for the next turn. If he heals Thanos even once, that could be game changing.
And finally, to support Killian, I’m throwing in a stupid Flock of Bats for 15 Points. Since Killian can use Stealth on his top clicks, the Bats will give him +1 on those Support rolls. Not to mention that they can be an annoying tie-up piece at some point too. [Editor’s Note: Whoops! Totally forgot that Support doesn’t allow modifiers! Thanks to several folks for pointing this out. Begone, Bats! I’m gonna replace them with a Warbot of some kind, methinks!]
So, my final choices look like this:
The Book of the Skull–27 Points
Scarlet Witch–100 Points
Aldrich Killian–35 Points
Flock of Bats–15 Points
Random Warbot–10 Points
Secret Avengers ATA-5 Points (for the Scarlet Witch)
That’s 597!! Alright! So, that’s my army. Later in February, I’ll post my results with this motley crew, and we’ll see if any of my theories about this environment held water. What would you change if this was your army? Post your choices below! Given the same restrictions, let me know how you would create…