Ain’t No Sunshine in This Post (Cuz It’s Still #@$%-ing Snowing Buckets in Michigan!!) (Or, The Weekly Roundup!! 02/23/2014)

Roundup

Has another week come and gone already?! What’s that? Wait, it’s been another TWO WEEKS?! Yikes. Wow. That got away from me quickly. Nevertheless… This was your (LAST 2!!) week(s!) in Heroclix:

Podcasts:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has been new the past two weeks. The guys released Episode 31 (“I’m the Map… I’m the Map… I’m the Map… I’m the Map,” wherein the importance of map selection–along with a review of the best maps in the game for various army builds– was discussed) AND Episode 32 (“AvX Constructed Figs,” wherein the guys discussed, uh, AvX constructed figs. I’m mean, it’s right there in the title. Actually, this was a really thorough discussion of the best X-Men and Avengers keyworded figs for putting together builds for the monthly AvX OP events).

The Dial H guys also run a fun Dial Design Contest over on HCRealms.com. Basically they hand out three weekly dial design assignments each month, and then score each dial on a 1-30 scale. The highest total point getter each month receives some spiffy custom poker chip action tokens. Right now, February Week Two’s assignment (design a figure with the “Tiny” symbol) is just finishing up…

Clixcast

ClixCast is up to Episode 140! Hosts Steve and Jeremiah talk about their 3 favorite maps (lots of map info these last couple weeks!) and also discuss the latest X-Men: DoFP previews.

Closed for business?

Closed for business?

–Has anyone seen Duo Attack? Cuz if so, you’d have more information about it than I do. Again, great podcast, but for whatever reason, it may be no more…

Push to Regen

Push to Regen is still on its two-month hiatus. If you’re missing them, their most recent show (Episode 30) is still available for download. Their main topic was a “2013 Year in Review,” and their special guest for that discussion was none other than Brian Roll, the Creative Director of Heroclix.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches.

The Quarry has no official logo that I’m aware of, so I came up with my own. You’re welcome, Dark Logos. Episode 8 & 9 both featured plenty of ROC results reporting, along with some pretty entertaining ESPN-Style roundtable discussions about the teams that made the Top 16 at the most recent ROC’s. This podcast has gotten slightly better every week; the roundtable discussion usually yields plenty of insight in the current ROC-Age Meta. If you’re a high-level tourney player or a Meta addict, this and Dial H are the podcasts for you.

ROC:

–The ROC is going to Dragon Con!! They even have a tentative schedule of events that’s already up!

Previews:

–Outside of some Yu-Gi-Oh! previews, there wasn’t too much of note happening in terms of WizKids-approved sneak peeks. There were a couple of cool Toy Fair photos, however, showing off some of the sculpts from SLOSH, Deadpool and X-Men: DoFP. Validus, in particular, looks GIGANTIC. Which he’s supposed to be, I guess, but DAAAANNNG! This is like a return to the days of Bat Sentry or Ultimate Giant Man. Very cool. Oh, speaking of…

Validus

–Validus DID get a preview, actually, and he’s massive–in every way. A Super Rare, he can be played at two different point levels: 249 and 175. Both dials are pretty good, but at 175 he starts with a 12 Attack, 8 Range Special Psychic Blast power that gives an action token if his target already has an action token. Plus he’s immune to Pen/Psy at both point levels. Given that he’s also Indomitable, that special can go a long way towards keeping Validus from getting out-actioned too severely (since even at 175 he’s a pretty significant point sink). He’s not Silver Centurion (who is?!), but he’s pretty good. I’d be psyched if I opened him in sealed, that’s for sure!

Entertainment News:

What a bunch of A-holes!

What a bunch of A-holes!

–GUARDIANS. OF. THE. FREAKING. GALAXY!

Yep! Tons of news here. We already know we’re getting a regular 5-figure booster set based on the comics ALONG with an awesome Gravity Feed movie set. Well, we learned a ton more about the actual movie this week.

–The official trailer has dropped! That’s the new poster leading into this line item! New tagline? You’re Welcome! Heh. Love it! You can see it embedded here, along with more info about the poster.

–Go to Entertainment Weekly for a quick 30 second feature with director James Gunn and Bradley Cooper talking about Rocket Raccoon and you’ll get to hear and see 10 seconds of RR footage (if you’ve been curious as to what Cooper will sound like–here ya go! As much as you can make a judgement after one line of dialogue… I think Cooper will be great!).

–Vin Diesel’s got Groot fans covered as well via his Facebook page. Cool ass shot of Diesel (from the aforementioned Facebook page) on stilts playing the character (presumably for some mo-cap?!), plus a quick featurette, all available here.

–Over in DC news, Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman Versus Superman, and at least one site thinks his casting could have contributed to the year-long delay for that movie (which, again, is probably gonna get Clix’d). Still, I think this was a great choice for Lex. I’d assume at this point that he’d be the major villain in the film, but time will tell.

–FOX is prepping a major Batman prequel television series called “Gotham.” Several casting announcements have been made, including the OC’s Ben McKenzie as Det. Jim Gordon (this series appears like it’ll revolve around Gordon, rather than Bruce Wayne), Donal Logue as–well, click here to find out which famous GCPD member HE’S playing–and Sean Pertwee (whom Doctor Who fans may remember is the real-life son of Doctor #3 Jon Pertwee, as well as being the badass Sgt. Harry Wells in Dog Soldiers). Who’s Pertwee playing? Another very important character to the Batman mythos (and if you read the parenthetical I just wrote about him, you can probably already guess which character that is. But if not, click here for the answer).

Godzilla! We must flee! And no, this is just a nice custom someone made (presumably from some Pacific Rim figs), not what the actual figs will look like.

Godzilla! We must flee! And no, this is just a nice custom someone made (presumably from some Pacific Rim figs), not what the actual figs will look like.

–And finally, since I forgot to mention it last time, we’ve got pretty good evidence at this point that WizKids will be Clix’ing the upcoming Godzilla movie (out in May of this year) that stars Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, among others. You can see the fairly awesome preview right about… here.

 

Critical Missives:

So NinwaShui was left in charge of the site this past week, and he did a decent job, I must say. We’ll have 2-3 more articles this week, including another Build column. The last BUILD  didn’t go so well for me. Thanos was great, but a little slower than I anticipated because I had to wait a turn to Hammer him up. I also substituted Stealth Suit Iron Man for Scarlet Witch, which proved to be my undoing! I went 1-2, and I had some of the worst rolls I’ve ever had. While Stealth IM was a great figure in his own right, not having SW’s Prob and healing cost me big time. I was also outplayed the first game by my opponent (he was playing the Serpent). With his move and attack (Running Shot, I believe) I should’ve just Hammered up and then retaliated. Instead, I ended up screwing up my positioning and losing fairly handily. Oh well. The lesson? Stay with your original plan! And bringing at least one Prob fig is never a bad idea. Especially if she’s borderline broken like the Witch. I would play Thanos again in a heartbeat; hopefully, I’d play him better (and field a better supporting cast!).

 

That’s all for now! Until next time, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

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AVX – Who’s the best?

I tried having everyone vote for their favorite, but after having to recount Florida three times I gave up.

I tried having everyone vote for their favorite, but after having to recount Florida three times I gave up.

With the latest organized play event AVX players have been given a choice of picking the Avengers or X-men starter to base their army around. Which one should you chose? Here’s a detailed breakdown of which one’s better.

Compatible figures:

  • X-men figures available in modern – 109
  • Avengers figures available in modern – 189
  • Sets with more X-men then Avengers – WatX, M10
  • Sets with more Avengers than X-men – Every other Marvel set in modern

Winner – Avengers

Power Level of Available Teammates (outside of the AVX Set):

  • Coolest mechanic available only to X-men – Teambases (Which probably won’t be allowed at your local venue.)
  • Cool Mechanic available only to Avengers – Morph/Past life. (Iron Man got a neat replacement effect in his set. Spider-man got a neat replacement effect in his set. Chaos War gave us Hank Pym.)
  • Best Support Figures for the X-men  – WXM040 Hope Summers, M10A006 Marvel Girl, FFGSX001 Professor X
  • Support Figures for the Avengers – IM3006 Tony Stark, CW010 Donald Blake, FFCW006R Scarlet Witch
  • Available X-men Primes – WXM037B Magneto, WXM047B Jubilee
  • Available Avengers Primes – IIM001B Silver Centurion, IIM029B War Machine, IIM041B Hyperion

Winner – Vampire Jubilee. Just kidding. Avengers take this category too.

 Top 3 Figures in the AVX Set:

Avengers

  1. AVX004 Spider-Man – Essentially this character has hypersonic speed with a 10 attack and 5 damage (including super strength). That’s really good for 125 points! The real story here is his defense which is the best of any figure in any set in his point range.
  2. AVX006E Scarlet Witch – 8 range, precision strike, probability control, perplex, and support. Support on a capable ranged attacker seems really good. She brings a lot to the table for her 100 point cost
  3. AVX003 Thor – Thor has a chance at penetrating ranged damage and a 12 starting attack. I will play that at every opportunity.

X-men

  1. AVX014 Magneto – For 200 points this guy is a worthy tent pole. If someone is going to take on Thor’s ranged attack value of 12, it should be this guy with his 20 ranged defense. If your opponent wants to close in Magneto can use Pulse Wave for full damage that bypasses defense. He just needs a 100 point close combat character to throw into the melee with his TK while he stays at range with his huge defense.
  2. AVX010E Emma Frost – This is a 100 point close combat character just begging to be thrown into the melee with TK. When it comes to her, everything is awesome. Outwit/Charge/and Exploit Weakness on offense. Impervious and Shape Change on defense. Even better she can’t have any of her powers countered. If you are good at rolling 5s and 6s she is going to stick around quite a while.
  3. AVX009E Cyclops – For 100 points this guy’s shoot through walls trick is really good. It’s even funnier when you outwit someone through 3 walls. He has close to no defense, but with the offense he brings for his point cost he might not need it.

Winner – Xmen. This was really close, but I think the top 3 X-men edge out the top 3 Avengers in AVX organized play. I think all the figures in the set are great for their point cost. The worst of the bunch are Iron Man and Namor. Besides those two, anyone else would be a great addition to a team.

All the Categories not related to Heroclix:

  • Best movie line for X-men: “Ok, you’re a D***”. (Wolverine proving his identity to Cyclops)
  • Best Movie line for Avengers: “We have a Hulk.” (Iron Man intimidating Loki)
  • Worst Movie moment for X-men: “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?” (Or really any scene in X-men 3)
  • Worst Movie moment for Avengers: Loki can’t mind control Tony Stark because his staff can’t hit the exact center of Tony’s chest.
  • Best Cartoon Series: X-men (mid 90s, not that crappy one where everyone is in high school again.)
  • Coolest Transportation: BlackBird (X-men)
  • Best Team to fight Dracula: Avengers (As seen in the Avengers assemble cartoon this year and fear itself.)
  • Coolest Movie moment: For shear wow factor, watching Wolverine pop his claws on screen for the first time ever was the best. The Avengers movie was better then X-men, but X-men had the best moment.

Winner – Xmen

Overall Winner

The X-men took two categories and the Avengers took two categories. Which means a tie. So the winner is… Whomever wins the popular vote in Florida. After their recount… Unless there’s another recount…

Local Tournament Report – 2/08/14 Comics & More

You're going to need a bigger boat.

You’re going to need a bigger boat.

The Format: 600 point modern. Anything Goes. (Colossals. Team Bases. Resources. Human sacrifice. Dogs and Cats living together. Mass Hysteria.)

What I played:

WXMT004 New Mutants (full) 200pts.

WXM061 (Phoenix 5) Magik 295pts.

FFGSX001 Professor X 75pts.

FIR100C The Book of the Skull (complete) 30pts.

Total = 600 Points

Yes I realize this is different than what I posted I was going to play in my earlier article, but I felt two team bases as my “team” might be a bit too cheesy for my venue.

Round 1: Played against WXMT005 Shi’ar Imperial Guard and WXM052 Lilandra. Turn 1 I pop off Cannonball from my Team base and move Magik and Professor X 5 squares from the starting area into hammer dropping range. I roll the Team base Asset Dial and I have Magik showing (my team base gets prob). I have never played against the Shi’ar Team base before. Turn 1 my opponent uses “INTERPLANTARY JUMPto beam himself across the board and base my team base. He then flurries for two six damage shots and does a close combat attack for 5 damage that misses. My team base takes 11 clicks of damage and is just about KOed. I used 3 probability controls and he only missed once. Immediately following that attack Lilandra recalls the team base back to her side of the board. It’s now essentially my 400 points vs. his 600 points and I haven’t even gotten to roll the dice to make an attack yet. Thankfully he can only interplanetary jump once, but the game continues to be lopsided. Phoenix 5 Magik does get in a nice opening hit with her high movement (12), running shot, and range (9). Eventually with the Imperial Guard’s 3 actions a turn she is knocked off her best clicks. At that point the Shi’ar are on click 7 and I have to figure out how to get through impervious with severely wounded (P5) Magik, Cannonball, a severely wounded Wolfsbane, and Professor X. My bright idea was to have Professor X mind control the team base and use it to attack Lilandra. I actually hit the team base, but I roll a 4 and miss Lilandra. The only person taking damage there was Professor X. (see my previous article “Power Placement” for why that’s funny.)

The Shi’ar team base is just ridiculous. I think we could have played this match 10 times and I would have lost at least 9 of those matches. In all his matches that day that player didn’t bother to use solo adventure, roll the asset dial, or even use Lilandra more than one time a match. On top of that, his dice were hot too. The only time he missed during our whole match was once in the first round onslaught. Ouch.

Round 2: Played against TTG001 Trigon and BM001R Batman. So this player snuck Batman around the side and sent Trigon right up the center. With Trigon’s 20 defense, Impervious, and Shape Change I knew it was going to take a lot to crack that first click. We each covered our approaches with free action barriers and Magik’s superior range and movement meant she got the first shot in. He rolled a 1 on shape change. I rolled an 11 to hit. He got a two on  impervious. And before he even got an attack off, he was on click 4. Then he got an attack and missed. Then Magik pushed and hit again. That’s pretty much how the entire match went. My dice never missed and his scored only one hit the entire match. Batman even whiffed twice with flurry.

He ended up getting two crit misses that match and I got two crit hits. I felt bad for him. I’ve been there. You can plan for a month and get the best figures available, but extremely bad dice versus very good dice is a loss every time. If we played again I feel my team would a slight edge in a matchup.

Round 3: Played against IG008C Thanos (Issue #3), (summoned) IG009 Terraxia, IIM038 Iron Man, IM3008 Aldrich Killian, FI301 Splitlip, FIR100C The Book of the Skull (complete). This was HypeFox’s team. In the beginning Splitlip gave him a hammer advantage. I think I equipped 3 by the time he had equipped 7. The real problem here is that he had one primary attacker (Thanos) and one real secondary attacker (Iron Man). I gained an advantage by using my free action barrier to wall off Iron Man so he couldn’t take a meaningful action most turns. Terraxia was eventually a problem, but her lack of improved movement or flight meant that by the time she got in position to attack me on my side of the board, Thanos was already KOed. Thanos was very good, but he was basically taking on my whole 600 team by his self. He had two probability controls targeted at him and that was just a lot to roll through. He did injure both a good amount, but the team base and (P5) Magik were too much to overcome. In the end it was a single target incapacitate from professor X that KOed him. (Again see “Power Placement” for why that’s funny.)

The turn Thanos was KOed Terraxia arrived on the scene. She missed an attack on Wolfsbane and then my assembled team focus fired on her. Dead Terrexia. Because of Iron Mans power I had to approach him if I wanted to hurt him. Once I could no longer barrier him into a closet it looked like he was go to KO CannonBall and Professor X. And then the Judge called time. Stealth Suit Iron Man is a pretty mean piece. If we played it out I would have KOed him, but I would have lost a few figures first.

What I learned:

  • How did wiz-kids think team bases were costed correctly before they were nerfed? Did they not test them? Even if you consider my lowly 200 point New Mutants team base, you’d be hard pressed to find a 200 point single-base figure that approached that power level. Team bases are just stupidly overpowered and he who plays the biggest one wins.
  • IIM038 Iron Man’s Stealth power is pretty cool. Combine that with flight and 7 range and you’ve got a very effective character for the points.
  • WXM071 Cannonball had a cool defensive power, but he didn’t really do anything offensively at all. Maybe he would have made a better impression in a less overpowered game, but I won’t be fielding him again any time soon.
  • WXMT004 New Mutants team base has a power called “Self Sacrifice for my friends”. There isn’t another power like it on any piece I can think of. Twice in game three Cannonball should have been KOed. Both times I used that power to not only save him, but heal him as well. That’s a lot of fun for 200 points.

What team would I play if I could go back and do it all over again?

A non Team-Base based team. Those things are still under-costed and just not that much fun to play. I’m a peanut base (or less) no resource kind of player. This anything goes format is interesting every once in a while, but for the most part anything you can pull out of a standard booster is useless in this format. That just doesn’t sit well with me.

Back in the Saddle Again!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup!! 02/09/2014)

Roundup

Well well well, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?! The bitter January cold weather brought with it some bitter January flu bugs, but I’m live, in person and back in the saddle again! This installment of The Weekly Round-Up also has a new category–Entertainment News. We’ll get into the hows and whys of that when we get there. So, with no further ado… here we go!

Podcasts:

Dial H for Heroclix continues to pump out new episodes each week. The industry’s most consistent ‘casters just released episode 31, wherein they discussed the latest figure spoilers and the 10 Best Maps to Have in Your Competitive Clix Pack.

ClixCast was back with episode 139, wherein they discussed the Top Five Worst Heroclix of 2013, along with their thoughts on the recently spoiled Legion of Doom Fast Forces.

Duo Attack, as entertaining as it is, has not updated in quite some time. I fear it may be dead…

Push to Regen is finally back with Episode 30!! Their main topic this week is “2013 Year in Review,” and their special guest for this chat is none other than Brian Roll, the Creative Director of Heroclix. The only problem? They’ll be off the next two months while they retool the show…

The Quarry has reopened! Episode 7 has more intrepid ROC reporting, interviews and discussions…

ROC:

–NEW ROC tournament announcements for Huntsville, Alabama; Sunnyvale, California; and even Edmonton, Alberta!

Victor Lloyd, Jr. powered a New Mutants Team Base and Brother Voodoo (along with a 13 Point Utility Belt and the Heroes for Hire ATA) to a 1st-Place finish at the Coastal Assault ROC Super Qualifier in the Florida panhandle town of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Incidentally, the results show that this was possibly the most varied field yet! The Top 16 featured quite an eclectic cast of Main Pieces and Support Figs. Follow me with the results real quick:

1st Place–Main Piece: New Mutants Team Base (200 Point Level). Best Support Piece: Brother Voodoo. Resource: 13 Point Utility Belt.

2nd Place–Main Piece: Shuma-Gorath. Best Support Piece: Mole Man. Resource: 28 Point Power Plant.

3rd Place–Main Piece: Warstar. Best Support Piece: WXM Magneto (#037a). Resource: 50 Point Booklip (Complete Book of the Skull plus Splitlip).

4th Place–Main Piece: Hellfire Club Team Base (300 Point Level). Best Support Piece: None. Resource: None.

5th Place–Main Piece: Absorbing Man LE. Best Support Piece: Enchantress. Resource: 40 Point Infinity Gauntlet.

6th Place–Main Piece: M10 Iron Man. Best Support Piece: Tanarus. Resource: 50 Point Booklip.

7th Place–Main Piece: Silver Centurion. Best Support Piece: New Mutants Team Base (95 point Level). Resource: 40 Point Infinity Gauntlet.

8th Place–Main Piece: Batman (115 Point GCSG Version). Best Support Piece: The Insider. Resource: 18 Point Power Plant.

9th Place–Main Piece: Ghost Rider. Best Support Piece: 2x CW Scarlet Witch. Resource: 14 Point Utility Belt.

10 Place–Main Piece: M10 Iron Man. Best Support Piece: Cerise. Resource: 110 Point Batcave.

Okay! Look at that–you had to go 10 deep in the Top 16 finishers before you saw the same Main Piece repeated. It was M10 Iron Man, who was used by both Jacob Schopf (6th Place) and Christopher Athaway (10 Place). And the builds only get more eclectic after 10th Place, with armies revolving around GG Morg and CW Sentry and Void!! Say what you want about the Watchlist (and I’ll have a column coming sometime in the near future that will discuss the impact of the Watchlist and where we’re headed), but it’s working. It–along with ROC’s specific rules–has opened up all sorts of viable builds.

Previews:

Pyro from DoFP was spoiled. I like the creativity of his dial, and the Flame Construct token is really cool; I don’t like that he cost 90 Points. That seems steep for a fig with no defensive powers (yes, you can give him Toughness with a Hammer, but 17 Defense with Toughness doesn’t scream “staying power” in the current Meta). When I first saw his dial, in my head I thought he’d be somewhere between 70-75 Points. So I think he’s overcosted; time will tell, though.

–SLoSH got some beef with Mr. Majestic, an uncommon beatstick. Any figure with Move and Attack (especially one that only modifies his attack by -1 instead of -2) is going to be decent; unfortunately, that’s about what you have here: a decent, 220 Main Piece. In larger games, he should be fun, but I don’t know that I’d want to build my whole team around him.

Entertainment News:

A lot of TV and movie news is generated every week that has the potential to be very relevant to the Heroclix community. Remember, a good portion of the Gravity Feed sets released each year come from movies and TV shows! Also… it’s fun to write and talk about comic book movies! That said… here we go!

–Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back, and it came back with a bombshell–Mike Peterson is Deathlok! This is awesome news, and it comes just as the show is finding its voice. If you’ve already given up on this show, it may be time to give it another look. If we ever get a S.H.I.E.L.D. set, there’s a good chance Deathlok will be a big part of it.

–As soon as DC pulled out of a July release date for “Batman Versus Superman,” Disney swooped in and took that date for its Paul Rudd & Michael Douglas franchise-starter “Ant-Man.” Also, Evangeline Lilly may have just scored the role of Wasp!

The Vision has been confirmed for Avengers 2, and its Paul Bettany! Does this mean that Jarvis will somehow be corrupted by Ultron, or is the Vision’s origin going to be completely separate (thus meaning that Paul Bettany is playing two distinct characters in the Marvel Universe)?!

Okay, so that’s the first edition of entertainment news. I’m planning on slowly expanding the scope of what I’ll cover as we go forward, but I think that’s a nice, bite-sized chunk. 2015 is going to have some kickass Gravity Feed sets, if everything holds true to what WizKids has given us in the past.

It’s good to be back with the Weekly Roundup. Stay tuned–this week we’ll have The Build results, we may take a look at AvX (Black Panther… yes, me like), and we’ll see you right back here next Sunday for another edition of the Weekly Roundup.

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

You’re Simply the Best!! (Or, The Best Everything of 2013!! )

Tina Turner

With apologies to Tina Turner, now that we’ve wrapped up January and are preparing for the REAL start of the Heroclix year in February (with the exception of many venues across the country who are FINALLY catching up on Month One of AvX–although, God help me, not mine–January has been a Dead Zone for Heroclix), it’s time for our final list of, well, lists, to wrap up the year that was.

2013 saw more figures released than any year previous. No, I don’t have mountains of data to back that up, but holy Lord, look at everything we got this year:

Amazing Spider-Man (February)

Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game (March)

TabApp Elites for Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel (Various)

No Man’s Land (Various)

Iron Man 3 (April, although I don’t think the Target stuff hit ’til May)

Teen Titans (May)

Man of Steel (June)

Wolverine and the X-Men (August)

Batman Classic TV (September)

Superman Quick Start Kit (September)

Thor: The Dark World (October)

Fear Itself (All Summer, wrapped in November for most venues)

Batman: Arkham Origins (November)

Invincible Iron Man (November)

That’s quite a bit, eh? Oh, but wait–we’re not done yet. Not even close!!

Star Trek: Tactics 2 (January)

Star Trek: Mini-Game (April)

Iron Maiden (May)

The Fellowship of the Ring (June)

Pacific Rim (July)

Bioshock Infinite (July)

Kick Ass 2 (July–man, they love July releases, don’t they?)

The Lone Ranger (August)

Star Trek: Tactics III (October)

The Hobbit: Journey to the Lonely Mountain Strategy Game (October)

The Two Towers (November)

Mage Knight: Resurrection (November)

DOTA 2 (November)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (November)

WizKids's projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

An internal company diagram of WizKids’s projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

I mean, are you kidding me?! 28 releases in 2013 alone?! No one has time to sort through all those figures, much less collect them! Well, that’s where we come in. Pull up a chair, find something fruity to drink, and let’s get to it. These… were the best Heroclix of 2013!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bolded entries were the winner in their respective category; any other entries were the runners up. Which is why they weren’t bolded. Cuz I only break out the Bolding Stick… for Simply the Best!! Ahem.]

BEST 5-FIGURE SET (Marvel or DC):

And this still isn't every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

And this still isn’t every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man

Wolverine and the X-Men

Fear Itself

This was very close. Fear Itself broke ground as the first 5-Figure Set that could only be obtained through tourney play, and it was the hottest thing going the first two months it was played; Teen Titans gave us the first Team Bases (some would argue that this was a huge debacle, but whatever) and some really underrated figures (Omen, Psimon, 81-Point Wonder Girl); Wolverine and the X-Men gave us Phoenix 5 Chases, some cool Primes and some even cooler Team Bases (Side Note–C’mon, the Shi’ar?! How cool is that? Never thought I’d see WizKids make a full-0n Shi’ar Team Base! And Lilandra doesn’t even go on it! I mean, she makes it totally broken, but she doesn’t actually go on it! Outside of Gladiator, I knew, like, zero of these figures, and I LOVE the cosmic Marvel stuff. Props to WizKids for having the guts to not only make a Team Base full of figures that many players probably didn’t know about, but to then also make that piece overpowered as–well, it’s overpowered.); and Invincible Iron Man kind of snuck up on everyone and ended up being waaaaaay more powerful than folks expected:

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

But Amazing Spider-Man was the first set we got in 2013, and it was the best by just about every measure. I don’t know if WizKids has every produced such a well-rounded group of figures. You want power pieces for the Meta? Brother Voodoo and Ghost Rider ate up the Meta to the point that, outside of Spiral and the JLA Team Base–who, let’s remember, might have been a couple of the most broken pieces not just in Heroclix history but in the last 25 years of gaming– they were singled out in the Watchlist as needing immediate change lest they ruin all of Heroclix with their unstoppable nature. (Side Note 2–How did Brother Voodoo escape the Watch List? He was one of the most broken things on there!! All they did that even SLIGHTLY affected Brother Voodoo was alter the HfH ATA, and that was only so Ghost Rider couldn’t kill entire armies by himself whenever he felt the need for vengeance! Brother Voodoo don’t care about that! His Spirit Brother is still going to possess the shit out of you! For free. Go read those Watch List changes again. It spits on a dozen different figures and strategies until it comes to Brother Voodoo, but then it almost apologizes for having him on the list in the first place. So the question must be asked… Just what does Brother Voodoo have on WizKids?) And fast forward 3 months after the Watchlist, and Alyosha Kraven (the rare Prime) is now powering Animal teams in the Meta with Lizard. It gave Spidey book fans plenty of supporting characters they’ve been waiting for (Kaine! Madame Web!) along with a ton of fantastic options for Sinister Syndicate teams.

Alas... still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

Alas… still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

And we finally got some damn Monsters!! Dracula, Living Mummy (ridiculous for his points), Werewolves, Vampires and Morbius, oh my! We even got some Maximum Carnage pieces! Thematically, this set just hit it out of the park. And just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be any more new versions of Spider-Man to make, WizKids goes and gives us EIGHT freaking Chases, all with the Morph ability! And top to bottom, there are almost no duds in the set. Good gosh, I’m two paragraphs deep talking about the great figures of this set and I still haven’t mentioned Hannibal King, Doctor Druid, Shocker, Carrion, Terrax, Nightmare, Spider-Man 2099–all these figs would be the highlights of most releases, and they’re practically an afterthought here. And Franken-Castle! We have a freaking Franken-Castle! How is the world–and how are we as a species–not better for having a Franken-Castle?!

No matter what format you play, there was something cool for you in ASM. And that’s why it wins this category.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Marvel or DC):

The real Man of Steel.

The real Man of Steel.

Iron Man 3 (Target Exclusive)

Batman: Arkham Origins

Thor: The Dark World (Target Exclusive)

This was also pretty close. The movie sets tend to be a little bit larger, with a variant Target-exclusive version, so they have a distinct advantage over the regular set Gravity Feeds. ASM’s Gravity Feed is filled with above-average pieces, but nothing that I would call truly great; Teen Titans had Rose Wilson and nothing else worth writing home about; WXM had a few great pieces like Jean Grey and Shi’ar Guard, but not much else, and the IIM Gravity Feed actually featured an entire run of crappier versions of the some of the main set staples (I’m not gonna go on a rant again about Gravity Feed Rescue, but, man, she sucked so hard!). Batman: Arkham Origins was pretty awesome, except good luck pulling a rare. Distribution definitely seemed off. Still, Deadshot, Shiva, Deathstroke, Joker… there were some great figs here. Deadshot and Shiva especially are great for their points.

Among the three movie sets (well, six if you want to split each one into the Target Exclusive/Non-Target Exclusive versions) we got, the Target Exclusive Iron Man 3 set was the best top to bottom. The rares were all good–actually, War Machine is great, and the Chase (Iron Man and War Machine duo fig on single base) is severely underrated. Especially now that 125 Point War Machine exists as a thing for Splitting and Merging (and is pretty great in its own right). Moreover, the Commons were spectacular; Tony Stark & Aldrich Killian have factored into the Meta at various points through their run. Hell, even 75 Point Rookie Iron Man is beastly for his points! Simply put, this is the Gravity Feed set with the most figs that I’ll still be playing 12 months from now.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Non-Marvel or DC):

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

Pacific Rim

The Fellowship of the Ring

Iron Maiden

If you’re gonna release a Gravity Feed set where there’s only, like, 11 0r 12 different figures, you could do far worse than to release an all-Colossal set where GIANT FREAKING ROBOTS BATTLE GIANT FREAKING MONSTERS! We’ve talked about Slattern before; but the other figs in this set are just plain cool. Great sculpts, and this set opens up so many Epic Game options. You can fill out a 400, 500 or 600 Point Build in no time. And while, outside of 600 Point Slattern, I wouldn’t say that any of these figs are ridiculously good, they’re all fun to play.

The Fellowship of the Ring is a good set with one broken fig–Saruman. His Mind Control special rivals Omen’s for its reach and scope; it can’t really be defended against. He’s already made some impact in ROC, I believe. As has Iron Maiden, which, despite being another short set, is filled with interesting power sets. ROC has really shown a spotlight on a lot of these crazier sets–you really need to be prepared for almost anything when you play one of those.

BEST INNOVATION:

The Worthy

OP Exclusive Sets (Fear Itself)

Team Bases

The Mandarin’s Rings

The excitement generated by the first few months of Fear Itself trumps the dominance of the Team Bases, which I’m not sure WizKids has perfected yet. Fear Itself got a ton of players who normally wouldn’t participate in Organized Play into their local venues, since they’d be missing out on an entire set otherwise. That means a lot. Team Bases are a cool concept that were so initially overpowered that there was no point in playing a Modern Age tournament without one (specifically the JLA). They’re in a better place now, with several worth playing but none that are head and shoulders above the others (although Shi’ar and Hellfire Club are close).

Plus, that excitement you got when opening that month’s allotment of FI boosters was second to none. Once everyone had most of the set (by Month 4 or 5, usually), yeah, it became a bit tedious, but Fear Itself was the hottest thing going for a while.

The Mandarin’s Rings are the first Resource components distributed through regular boosters (at least that I’m aware of). They’re fun to collect, and are great Relics in their own right, but you still need a Power Plant to get them to their full potential.

BEST TEAM BASE:

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Trinity of Sin

Shi’ar

Hellfire Club/New Mutants (tie)

This was a close one, and my final selections are taking the Watchlist nerfs into account (otherwise, this would have been the JLA all day. That base is still powerful–Edward Shelton recently piloted it to a second-place finish at a ROC event–but these other bases didn’t lose as much as JLA did to the Watchlist changes.). But the Trinity of Sin is just all kinds of wrong. Plus, each one of its pop-offs can shut down a specific staple–Prob, Outwit or Perplex (although with Quintessence, you’re probably only worried about Prob or Perp). And, if you have the Trinity of Sin, that means you also have access to The Question and Pandora for any Modern Age Mystical builds you want to compete with–those are two of the strongest pieces with that keyword right now (particularly the Question–he’s already shown up on some major tournament Top 16 teams).

The Shi’ar Team Base is almost as disgusting, with great stats, one of the best pop-offs in the game in Warstar and the fact that it possesses a plethora of ways to decimate your opponent’s strategy. Does your opponent have really efficient taxis to ferry his big hitters around? Manta turns all fliers into non-carrying walkers. Did they stack their team with a ton of cheap figs in an attempt to overwhelm you? Just get the Assest Dial to Starbolt and his three target Energy Explosion. And so on. There just aren’t a lot of great ways to go at this piece, because it has so many options available to defend itself.

Hellfire Club and New Mutants also feature a bunch of trickeration backed up by some sneaky damage potential (and the Black King may actually be a BETTER pop-off than Warstar, if that’s possible).

BEST VEHICLE:

Unsafe at any speed.

Hey Warlock, maybe next time we morph some seat belts, eh? You just killed all of Self’s Friends.

Warlock

Batmobile (Batman Classic TV)

I’m mainly doing this category to highlight the fact that WE GOT NO FREAKING VEHICLES this year! After introducing a promising new mechanic, WizKids just rolled right on into Team Bases. Will we ever get Marvel vehicles? Who knows, but I want a damn S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, dammit! And the Winter Soldier movie set coming in late March would be perfect. Everyone keeps asking for a Colossal Helicarrier, which makes sense, but if they can fit an entire castle on a single base, I don’t see why we can’t get some sort of single base Chase Helicarrier or something to tie in with the movie. End of rant.

BEST NEW BUILD ENABLER:

This static photo is actually more screen time than Duhg got in the actual film.

Two-toned pants are all the rage on Duhg’s world.

Duhg (Thor: The Dark World)

Absorbing Man LE (Invincible Iron Man)

Shuma-Gorath (Convention LE)

Shuma and Absorbing Man have affected the Meta way more, but y’know what? Duhg teams are just more fun to build. They just are. When you’re bored at work, just pick a Build Total, pull out your smart phone and start building a Duhg team. You’ll look up and it’ll be at least ten minutes later. It’s like time traveling, I swear.

BEST MAIN ATTACKER PIECE (for the 300 Point Meta):

The difference is... I make this look gooooood.

The difference is… I make this look gooooood.

Silver Centurion (IIM Prime)

War Machine (IIM Prime)

Fantomex (WXM)

Silver Centurion is among the best main attack pieces WizKids has ever made, especially considering that you have your choice of augmenting him with the Power Plant or The Book of the Skull. He’s basically immune to Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy and Poison–basically everything you would realistically use to take him down. He brings his own secondary attacker. His Keywords are awesome. And you have 139 points left over for support figs. Or 89 Points after paying for Booklip.

War Machine Prime is only worse in that he costs more points. But he has the possibility of doing insane amounts of damage every three turns or so (depending on how many times he’s attacked and such). Fantomex is just rude. Coldly efficient, especially when teamed with some Barrier pieces.

BEST SUPPORT PIECE:

70's fashion... for the win!

70’s fashion… for the win!

Brother Voodoo (ASM Prime)

E Scarlet Witch (AvX)

Cerise (WXM Prime)

Whew. This was the closest call of the night, but Brother Voodoo is simply the best. Free Mind Control & Smoke Cloud PLUS Prob that rotates into Perplex… and oh, you say you think you can hit an 18 Defense with Super Senses while maneuvering around Smoke Cloud and Prob? Incidentally, this was a great year for support figs. I didn’t even mention Raven or Omen, two of my favorites from Teen Titans, or that little turd Bat-Mite. And that AvX Scarlet Witch is gonna have to pull some Brother Voodoo type intimidation tactics to avoid Watch List 2: Electric Boogaloo.

 

Well, that about covers it. Or maybe not, but we’ve already cruised right past the 2500 word barrier, which usually means I’ve outstayed my welcome. But let me know what you think in the Comments section. Did I get it right? Were there any categories I should have considered but didn’t? Post your picks below!!