The Build 2, Part 2!! (Or, The Results Are In!!)

Let's... GET IT ON!

Let’s… GET IT ON! For REALS this time!

 

Okay! So… that happened!

Click here if you need to be refreshed on the game type and stipulations! Once you’re caught up, head right back here, cuz the results… are in!

 

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil' older version of ol' Shellhead...

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil’ older version of ol’ Shellhead…

ROUND 1! FIGHT!

My first match was against Ninwashui. He was using AVX009e Cyclops, AVX010e Emma Frost & AVX014 Magneto. Oh, Magneto… I’d forgotten about you and your 20 Defense against ranged attacks. Eeeshh. When rolling for map, we actually tied. On the second roll, I beat him with my superior Theme bonus and took the battle to Wundagore, which ended up being a sizable advantage for me, since his characters had to walk around the long way. Cyclops was, frankly, toast, although in fairness, this was a terrible matchup for that figure. With no taxi, he was tokened by the time he got into the fight, and the Golden Falcon Special Terrain marker was right there to meet him. With the bonuses the Pharaoh gets because Cyke is a “Ruler,” the X-Men’s Fearless Leader went down like a sack of hot, moist and delicious potatoes.

I was able to get one Mind Control through with Brother Voodoo on Magneto, but it ended up being an odd play. I blasted Emma Frost for a healthy amount of damage, but to do so, I had to move Magneto on a Running Shot to the place where Ninwashui probably would have wanted him anyway, so he could start going crazy with Pulse Wave. Luckily for me, my defenses were still pretty high, and even though Mags eventually whittled down Voodoo, Scarlet Witch and Astral Doc Strange, I still had a full Shaman and half an Iron Pharaoh left while Mags was double chipped with no other friendlies to TK anywhere (I think Mags was a couple clicks in, but I could be wrong). Time was called at that point, but it would have been interesting if the match had continued. I believe I still would have won based on where Magneto was at on his dial and the fact that I would have gotten in another Pharaoh attack or two before Magneto could go again (Magneto also buffs the Pharaoh since he too is a “Ruler”).

What I Learned From This Round:

–My strategy for why I built the team I built seems sound at this point. The movement advantage I enjoyed this round certainly paid off in delaying any confrontations until the Golden Falcon soared into the enemy.

–Full dial AvX Magneto is redonkulous. His defense against ranged attacks borders on insane, especially when its combined with Invincible. No matter what angle of attack you take… he’s gonna be around for awhile. The fact that he can run a limited TK for free when he has two action tokens means that even when Mags couldn’t fly or carry, Ninwashui still had a half-decent taxi on his force. He’s got all that PLUS 11 Attack with Pulse Wave and an 8 Range on his first click. He’s a figure I should have been more prepared to face, given that he’s from the freaking AvX Starters. Still, I was taken a bit by surprise by just how powerful he was, particularly in a game that was designed to limit the usefulness of any figure that flies.

–Oh yeah–Iron Pharaoh is really good. You probably know that, but I just thought I’d repeat it in case you’d forgotten.

–Shaman’s “No Flights” spell is a FREE ACTION! Wow. Completely changes the game and it’s not even a power action. Unbelievable! While his no flying shenanigans were the inspiration for this team, his 7 range Perp along with his high defense against ranged attacks were just as important this round.

–Brother Voodoo is Brother Voodoo. He’s sick and wrong. He’s also the first figure that Ninwashui tried to kill. Eventually, he succeeded, but not until the rest of my army had basically taken out the rest of his army. Using Brother Voodoo as bait would be a recurring theme on the night…

 

What's that Wanda? No, not--it's no more "flights!" Wait, which spell did YOU cast?

Wanda, what was that? No, not–it’s “no more FLIGHTS!” Wait, which “no more” spell did you cast?

ROUND 2! FIGHT!!

For the second round, I played R, a player who’s just gotten back into the game after a long hiatus. Even though he’s still gaining familiarity with the new rules and pieces, he’s extremely adept at positioning his pieces and he learns very quickly. Last month, at the venue’s first AvX event, R defeated me soundly in the championship match. I missed some rolls (doesn’t everyone when they lose?), but, to be frank, R outmaneuvered me at every turn that game. His tactics were simply better.

This time, he was playing AVX003E Thor, WXM040 Hope Summers, AVX008 Professor X & AVX005R Wolverine. So how’d it go?

As good a player as R is, this was an absolute nightmare matchup for him. We ended up marching on Wundagore Mountain again, and after another quick spellcasting by Shaman, R’s entire force was stuck on foot. To make matters worse, my two main attack pieces–Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo–could either attack Professor X from more than 8 squares away or could use a billion different FREE actions so that the good Professor’s fantastically good Movement Special Power (I CAN’T LET YOU DO THIS: Professor X can use Mind Control and is not dealt unavoidable damage from it. Opposing characters within range must be given double power actions instead of power actions.) never went off. He killed Astral Dr. Strange and got Brother Voodoo down to his last click, but by that point the Pharaoh had run amok and Shaman had gotten into the fight (he can sling 3 damage with a range of 7 plus a Perplex he can float around to whoever needs it).

What I Learned From This Round:

–Once again, the strategy behind my build paid off. R’s team was solidly constructed; on most other maps, he would have been competitive and Professor X would have caused his opponent a LOT of problems. But the fact that a flier (Thor) was his main taxi and my team was stacked with a lot of Free Actions ultimately lead to his downfall in this match.

–Shaman can do some damage! He’s great to set up your positioning, but he’s not afraid to mix it up himself.

–Iron Pharaoh? Still good. FYI.

This win put me straight into the finals and…

Wait, you're not Cyclops!

Wait, you’re not Cyclops!

ROUND 3!! FIGHT!!

This time I played B., another local regular. He’s a very skilled player who knows about the current Meta but actively prefers to come up with his own creative twists on what he plays. Today was no different. As we sat down to play, B revealed his force:  AVX009 Cyclops, Tab-M004 Wolverine, WXM023A Deathbird and ASM022 Cloak. Can you guess which one of those four blew up my strategy?

It was Cloak! Hadn’t even considered the possibility of facing him (even though he’s got the X-Men keyword!). But his Phasing Movement PLUS Traited Stealth and Carry were a giant headache to deal with for me. He’s only 55 points, but he has 6 (SIX!!) clicks and useful powers all the way down his dial.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our match started with me finally LOSING map roll and B. choosing to take us right to the Savage Land side of the map. This side of the map had plenty of Hindering Terrain and Water but not much Elevated Terrain, which was really what slows people down after “No Flights” goes off. The other crappy part (for me, I mean) about losing Map Roll is that my opponent got to go first after choosing which side of the map we’d play on, which meant he’d get a taxi turn out of Deathbird before I could hit the NF button.

That ended up being exactly what happened, as he used Cloak and Deathbird to ferry Cyke and Wolverine over to a four-square patch of hindering terrain to keep them safe. This wasn’t a very far advance at all, and it took them over to the other side of the map.

On my first turn, I moved out my Falcon 3 squares, perplexed up Brother Voodoo Attack value with Scarlet Witch and Shaman and sent him out to take Cyke with his Traited Free Action Mind Control (I wanted Cloak, so I could separate him from the group, but his Stealth made him untargetable). With ES/D, Cyclops had a 20 Defense, but Brother Voodoo had a 12 or 13 Attack at this point with all the modifiers plus his own Prob Control, and I ended up hitting with the MC. In turn, Cyclops blasted Cloak for four (which, at the time, I thought would either kill Cloak or at least get him out of Phasing. WRONG!). So I got the Alpha Strike, but boy, would I pay for it in the next couple turns. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering. Astral Dr. Strange was also sent into the fray, although it’d take a couple turns to get to his grouping. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering.

On his turn, he mostly de-chipped and/or got his forces out of Hindering (so that when he was ready to Run Shot or Charge, he wouldn’t also have to pay the Hindering Movement bonus). On turn 2, I moved the Falcon out a little more (although he had been careful with his positioning, so Pharaoh still couldn’t touch any of his figs) and tried to Incapacitate Cloak so that B. would have to push him if he wanted to Carry anyone. Even with Strange’s 8 attack I hit–and Cloak promptly hit his Super Senses roll. Tried to use free action MC again with Voodoo but missed.

My opponent retaliated the next turn by blasting Voodoo with Cyke for four. He then offed Strange’s Astral Projection with a Charge/Blades from Wolverine.

My turn. I pushed Voodoo back to Scarlet Witch for a quick heal. The push sent Voodoo to his last click. I moved Wanda into position for a heal next turn. On B.’s turn, he looked at the map 10 different ways before he had to concede that he wasn’t going to be able to base Voodoo and Witch or Outwit Witch’s Support in such a manner that the Falcon couldn’t just swoop over and Outwit his Outwit.

Back to my turn, and I make my Support roll. I need a 6, but I rolled a 3. No problem. Prob it–and I Prob myself right into a Critical Miss–the Nightmare Scenario. The Crit Miss means Voodoo takes 1 damage… and he’s done. So now my opponent has a Cloak who’s down dial quite a bit, but I’m down 2 whole figs–Voodoo and Astral Dr. Strange. My reckless opening gambit that appeared to have paid off actually didn’t, and my opponent presses his advantage on his next turn. I believe he needed a 9 or 10 to hit Scarlet Witch with Cyke–he nails the first roll, and after her defensive Prob ability, he nails a 10 on the second roll. Wanda hits him back for 1 Mystics damage, but she’s toast. Things are looking bad.

My only advantage was that Cyke was now in range of the Golden Falcon. With his “Ruler” keyword (as we’ve discussed before) and the Pharaoh’s Outwit, this is definitely not a fair fight, and within 2 turns, the Pharaoh wipes Cyclops off of the board AND pushes to his superior second click (Iron Pharaoh loses Invuln on his second click for Toughness, but his Attack goes from 10 to 11 and he gains PHARAOH’S SLAVE: Iron Pharaoh can use Mind Control, but only to target characters of fewer points that himself. When he does, after actions resolve, deal 1 unavoidable damage to the character he hit with his Mind Control.) This was huge, because with Cyclops off the board, all of my opponent’s figs were could be targeted by this ability.

The next couple turns were mostly about dechipping and positioning the Falcon (for me) and positioning and advancing with Cloak carrying Deathbird (for him). Yep! B. was using my own spell against me by having his remaining taxi carry his other taxi since I had given her the “Boot” symbol instead of her normal “Flight” icon.

Eventually he was ready (I believe it was right after I dechipped the Pharaoh) and he had Cloak carry Deathbird right up to my Elevated Terrain perch and set Cloak right between Iron Pharaoh and Shaman, my two remaining figs, and he walked Wolvie right up to the staircase, a point from which the Canucklehead could Charage next turn.

On my turn, I attacked Cloak with the Pharaoh and took him out, albeit a turn too late. As my opponent noted, “He did his job.” I’ll say! I debated attacking Deathbird with Shaman, but I decided to Barrier instead to cut off Wolverine from the fray. This was a mistake that ended up being a blessing.

My opponent’s turn. He Outwits the Barrier with Deathbird (Whoops!! Totally forgot about that!) AND marches Wolvie up to hit Shaman for 3. He dechips Deathbird and it’s my turn. Pharaoh has survived (relatively) intact.

This was the break I needed.  I hit Wolvie (who was now on Click 3 I believe) with Pharaoh’s Slave and use him to Flurry/Exploit Deathbird and do a Slave damage to Wolverine. Within 2 turns, Deathbird is dead and both my characters have evacuated the high ground. I miss a Support roll from Shaman on Iron Pharaoh, but it doesn’t matter. Wolverine is essentially immobile, I can start shooting at him from a safe distance with the Golden Falcon, and time is soon called.

This was a grueling game, and there were several moments where I think I was really outplayed. I’m proud of myself for refocusing and getting myself out of said holes, but B. designed a great team and played a great game. He actually ended up with more overall points than me for this particular tournament. But, because of my win here, I went 3-0 and won the whole thing.

What I Learned From This Round:

–Well well well, my map exploitation strategy had one glaring hole–I wasn’t always going win the Map Roll and get Map Choice! Seems like a pretty big oversight, but the Savage Land map wasn’t entirely incompatible with my strategy anyway. Still, worth noting.

–That Cloak is a monster for his points. I’m definitely going to work him into a team of my own at some point. He was useful the whole game; even when surrounded by Wolverine and Deathbird, I still had to attack him because his down dial Poison would have wrecked Shaman. Just a great piece.

–Both Shaman and Iron Pharaoh took a licking and kept on ticking. These are both 5-star pieces in my book. The versatility of this team saw me through in the end. Four of the five pieces I fielded had a way to modify either their own attack values (Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo) or anyone’s values (Shaman and Scarlet Witch with their Top Dial Perplex).

–As proud of this team as I was, I think I learned as much or more about them by watching the way my opponents chose to attack them. 3 different opponents used 3 different strategies. A fun night.

The SPOILS!!

photo (14)

 

AVX101 Cable!!

 

Well, all’s well that ends well! For Ninwashui’s take on the night’s events, click here.

To see what Ninwashui wishes he would have played (and how he would attack the Pharaoh, Tellus and other Modern Age Meta figures), click here!

See you tomorrow for the Weekly Roundup!

 

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Revenge of the Nerfed…

X-Force's teams haven't quite been as cool since the Watch List nerfs.

X-Force teams haven’t been quite as cool since the Watch List nerfs.

Everyone remembers WXM010 Shatterstar. No one uses him now because he had an awesome trait that was nerfed to heck. It was the exact same way with his teammate WXM041 Spiral. What if I told you there was a way to use them that would let you beat the well-nigh unstoppable IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC) at his own game? If only I had thought of this team before my last game versus the Pharaoh.

The combo pieces are Shatterstar and WXM042 Fantomex. Just teleport Fantomex to the other side of the map and shoot Iron Pharaoh on like turn 3. There you win… Opps! I’m being told that won’t work at all. Fantomex is too many points for Shatterstar to teleport with and the watch list made it so anyone teleported can’t take a non-free action that same turn. Obviously none of this works and I should stop writing now… But wait, I’m still writing so I must know something.

Here’s the deal. It’s true you can’t teleport Fantomex, but nothing says you can’t teleport WXM042BT E.V.A.! So start on turn three with your characters un-tokened and together (because it takes Fantomex a turn to make an E.V.A). Have Shatterstar teleport and base Iron Pharaoh. Put E.V.A. in line of fire one square away. Try to position so you aren’t in the line of fire of the rest of the opposing team. E.V.A. can’t use a non free action that turn, but she can use her outwit to counter the Pharaoh’s defensive ability. Fantomex can now shoot through E.V.A using ranged combat expert to attack the Pharaoh with a 12 attack and hit for 4 damage (which is the sweet spot on the Pharaoh). But what if you miss your Alpha strike? That’s why I mentioned using Spiral earlier. Stand her next to Fantomex and use her probability control to get a second shot. The best part is that an opponent’s probability control is useless, because Fantomex will be well out of range. Include AVX005R Wolverine on your team to round it out to 396 points that can be used in the AvX event.

We’ve gone over what Fantomex and Shatterstar will be doing, but what about your other two characters? Well the same turn that Shatterstar teleports to the other side of the board Spiral should make a portal with one side under Wolverine so that he can use a free action to cross through it on his next turn and come out swinging. You’ll need to put the opposite end of the portal some place where your opponent either can’t move a character over the top of it (like deep in hindering), or where they won’t want to put a character (like adjacent to Shatterstar).

The turn following your Alpha Strike Wolverine and Shatterstar get their chance to chop your opponents to bits in close quarters. The turn after that Fantomex and Spiral will have cleared and can move into the fray via the spiral portal or by just using their advanced movement abilities. Hopefully by then your opponent won’t have much fight left in him.

This team can obviously be adapted to alpha strike any piece that’s necessary to your opponent’s game plan. SLOSH005B Mon-El and SLOSH048 Tellus come to mind as pieces to target, but just about any piece is vulnerable. Don’t try this on SLOSH039 Bizarro

WizKids top executives initial reaction to the reveal of Toyman's dial...

This is what it looked like the last time someone used this plan on Bizarro…

You can change the team to 300 points by dropping Spiral and adding the X-Force ATA. You can also make it close to 500 by adding WXM011A Deathlok. Just like the  Iron Pharaoh combo team I posted here, to the best of my knowledge no one has thought of this combo at the time I published it. If you take this to your local venue it’s likely no one will see this coming. In fact, you might be underestimated by other players for using “nerfed” pieces. Good luck. If you use this team, leave a comment to let me know how you did.

Local Tournament Report – 3/27/14 Comics & More

Magxorn

“I will bring you hope, old friend, and I ask only one thing in return – don’t get in my way.”

 

The Format: AvX Month 1. Must use at least 1 figure from the starter. Other figures must share a keyword with the starter figure. 400 point modern. No resources, relics, Colossals.

What I played:

AVX009E Cyclops

AVX010E Emma Frost

AVX014 Magneto

Total = 400 Points

Round 1: Facing AVX006E Scarlet Witch(with Secret Avengers ATA), IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC), IIM040 Shaman, ASM017B Brother Voodoo, GG014A Astral Dr. Strange. This was HypeFox’s team. I had some foreknowledge of the team because we hade played together earlier in the week and I helped him make a decision on which characters to use. (Really I just felt bad for stomping him last week with my sealed team.) So I knew my chances weren’t great going in, but I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. I knew my only chance was to get to the Iron Pharaoh in the first few turns. Otherwise he was going to get perplexed up and his stupid Falcon was going to just eat up my whole team. Hmm… I wonder where he got that idea? Was it here? My last minute decision to base my team around Magneto worked out better than I had planned. Even with no flight, Magneto’s TK helped me position my pieces fairly well and his pulse wave had the best chance of getting through well defended pieces like Scarlet Witch and Brother Voodoo. His traited Energy Shield made him one of the few pieces that could stand up well to a Falcon attack.

So the match starts with me walking around the mountain. I am halfway across the board when the real battle begins. Iron pharaoh is in his starting area. Scarlet Witch and Shaman are positioned apart about halfway to me. Astral Strange and Brother Voodoo come right up to my team and say hi (and block my way to getting to the other pieces.) All of my Characters have one token from walking to half map. First attack was Brother Voodoo missing Magneto. My response? I have Cyclops run up to him with a ranged attack that misses and then use a free action force blast that knocks voodoo into a wall for one. First blood goes to me. The bad news is that voodoo is on the other side of hindering terrain and now has stealth. No attack is possible for Magneto and I didn’t want to push Emma this early into the match.

Then the Golden Falcon catches up with me. Two perlexes to damage, an outwit from the Pharaoh and that’s a 1 hit KO to Cyclops. On the plus side that frees up some space for me to running shot pulse wave with Magneto next turn. I get a 5 and do 1 damage to Astral Strange and no one else is hit. In the following turns I slowly work Emma towards the Pharaoh through Her sidestep and finally Magneto’s free Action TK. Magneto continues to distract the rest of Hype’s team by dodging ranged attacks and in turn whiffing with a Pulse wave every turn. Emma gets to the Pharaoh and knocks him to Click 5, but the next turn Scarlet Witch gets through Emma’s defense and Emma is knocked to her last click. The following turn Magneto does another pulse wave damage to astral strange and finally KOs him. Everyone else was missed. Emma mind control’s the Pharaoh and uses him to do 3 to Scarlet Witch and then take one mystic back. Pharaoh then KOs Emma. Magneto finally hits on a Pulse wave and KOs Scarlet Witch. The round ends at that point. A win for Hypefox (200 to 113), but not the slaughter I thought it was going to be. Magneto had survived and was only on click 3 at the end of that game.

Round 2: Facing AVX015 Danger, WXM101 Colossus and Kitty Pryde, WXM203 Havok. (Starters sold out at my venue so my opponent wasn’t restricted to using a starter piece.) I’m not going to into the details of this match too much. My opponent was new to the game and didn’t have much experience on a map with elevation. So Wundagore mountain was very confusing. I ended up helping him with the rules and strategy regarding elevation. It’s not something I minded. We were all new to this game once. His strategy wasn’t the best that game, but in the end it didn’t really matter because his dice betrayed him until the match was all but decided. Emma and Scott each took a hit, but I didn’t lose any pieces. On the plus side, each time I play this opponent he has shown improvement.  He should take pride in that.

Round 3: Facing FFCW006 Scarlet Witch, CW049 Morgan Le Fay, AVX003E Thor, CW039 Hawkeye (with Great Lakes Avengers ATA). As the game starts I move to the high elevation on the center of the map carrying Emma. Cyclops starts up the mountain the long way. My opponent opens by TKing Thor to the edge of the mountain and having Thor do a running shot pulse wave targeting only Magneto.  He misses by one. I respond by outwitting Thor’s defense and having Magneto hit for 4 damage. Thor is on his last click. I choose not to push Emma. That might have been my big mistake. After that Morgan LeFey joins Thor my dice just go south. Thor stays alive on his last click for 30 minutes. Thor, Magneto, and Morgan LeFay just keep missing each other. On the other side of the map Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye are having no problem making Cyclops look foolish. I end up having him run away towards Magneto. I send in Emma. She gets a hit on Hawkeye and takes a Mystics damage. Then he uses incapacitate and pushes her. Now she is on an 8 attack value and can’t hit anything. It takes a while because of her defenses, but Hawkeye finally takes her out. On the other side of the map Thor is finally taken out and Cyclops is also KOed. Magneto and Morgan Lefay are left Heavily damaged. She flies next to Scarlet Witch and I go the rest of the game without being able to hit anyone. Because of Defend, Perplex, and Probability control I needed to roll two nines in a row just to do damage. After about 5 more turns Magneto is KOed.

What I learned

  • I hate Iron Pharaoh…
  • Magneto did really well for me tonight. I will field him again soon.
  • Emma Frost did decently, but she has a weakness to mystics damage and needs a taxi due to her lack of willpower.
  • Cyclops was always the first to be KOed. I won’t be looking to play him at the 100 point level again very soon. If I did a similar team again soon I would sub in 100 point Jean Grey or Tab app Wolverine.
  • I hate Iron Pharaoh…
  • I hate not flying…
  • Morgan LeFay is still cool.
  • I hate when my dice go cold… Thor’s 17 defense seemed like a million. Magneto’s Pulse wave couldn’t hit more that a 15 defense.
  • I hate Iron Pharaoh… (I really hate that guy. Where is a watch list when you need one?)

Something Happening Here!! (Or, The Build 2!!!)

Let's... GET IT ON!

Let’s… GET IT ON!

The Game: AvX Month 1 (Finally!!)

The Stipulations: 400 Points, Modern Age. Must use at least one figure from an AvX starter; the rest of your army must share a keyword with that figure (I have the Avengers starter). No relics, no resources (that’ll come next month!).

The Build: Finally, AvX Month 1 is here!! About bloody time (our venue’s been awesome through this, but he had distributor issues I wouldn’t wish on anyone)!! We actually played for Month 2’s prizes under the Month 1 rules (since we got Month 2 before Month 1 and–oy, my head hurts!).

This game goes tonight, so y’all should have an update tonight or tomorrow about how things went, but for tonight, after much deliberation, I have chosen:

-AVX006e Scarlet Witch w/Secret Avengers ATA
-IIM040 Shaman
-IIM051 Iron Pharaoh
-ASM017b Brother Voodoo
-GG014a Astral Dr. Strange

Why: One big advantage I (and, I guess, everyone else at my venue who wanted to peek online, as the info’s been out awhile now) have in building this team is knowing what maps we’ll be playing on, since we’re running AvX so much later than most other shops. As soon as I saw one side of this month’s map, I fell in love! Why? Well…

Essentially, as you may have already guessed, this team is trying to take advantage of Wundagore Mountain! Hideous, dirty, nigh-broken advantage. You know that Anna Kendrick song “Cups” from “Pitch Perfect?” “I’ve got my ticket for the long way round/The one with the prettiest view.” Well, my strategy is to make my opponents sing that song all night.

Wait, what does a movie about a college a cappella group have to do with this map?

“Wait, what does a movie about a college a cappella group have to do with this map?”

Shaman is the key. Once per game, he can be given a free action to turn off flying for everyone but himself. Take another look at that map and tell me that looks fun with no fliers. Beyond that, everyone phases on this team except for Shaman, but I’m not concerned about that since he’ll be the only hero left in the sky his “No Flights” spell.

To take even more advantage of this, I’ve included Iron Pharaoh. One of his biggest drawbacks is that his “I See Everything” Golden Falcon can only move three spaces a turn, so it takes a hot minute to get into position. Well, now I have that hot minute. And while I don’t have much move and attack (Brother Voodoo has it in a roundabout way with his Mind Control SP), after, like, turn 3, I should have a major positioning advantage over my opponent. I have two top dial Probs as well as 2 Perplexes and two characters who either start with Support (Scarlet Witch) or get it mid-dial (Shaman). My attack values hold mostly steady at ten with some figs going up to eleven (before Perplex), but Pharaoh’s Fight the Future Trait should go off a decent amount given how ubiquitous I’m expecting AvX Cyclops and AvX Magneto to be (they all share the Ruler keyword).

Shaman himself does three damage and he’s a great secondary/tertiary attacker in this format. And Astral Dr. Strange is another plus 1 to Map Roll in addition to being a general nuisance, and AvX Scarlet Witch is nearly broken just on her own.

So with all this “brokenness, what are my weaknesses? Who DON’T I want to see tonight?

-Ghost Rider: He’s a strong piece already, but I don’t need someone with Move and Attack and Improved Movement: Hindering Terrain, Elevated Terrain. coming after me.

-AvX Spider-Man: For the same reason. He can Move and Attack with ease; my dirty Shaman trick doesn’t matter to him.

-Fear Itself #007 Iron Fist: Again, he can move and attack (Charge) while ignoring both Hindering and Elevated Terrain.

-Swarm team (particularly, like, S.H.I.E.L.D. with Agent Sitwell, or something); basically, while there’s a decent amount of hindering terrain and a tiny amount of elevated terrain on the Savage Land side of the map, my whole strategy is built around winning the map roll and taking my foes to Wundagore. So any swarming THEME TEAM is really what would scare me, because they’d probably get a bigger map roll bonus than me.

-Any piece that can carry and phase or carry with Improved Movement of some kind. That would be completely unacceptable!

 

Okay!  More analysis versus actual performance after tonight! Here goes nothing!!

.

But It’s a Dry Heat!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 03/23/2014!!)

Roundup

 

For some reason, we were (by our standards) fairly productive in producing content this week, so that knocked back the Weekly Roundup to today. We’ve also moved up in average temperature from 10 Degrees Fahrenheit to, like, 19, so, yeah, it’s practically summer here now. But enough moping about the weather…

IT’S TIME FOR THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

Podcasts:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix was new again this week with Episode 37! The guys discuss the new 2014 rules changes that should be taking effect very soon at a local venue near you (I know our LV is adopting them this week).

Clixcast

ClixCast was dark again this week, according to their iTunes feed.

Closed for business?

–Still still still dead. In fact, until something changes, this’ll probably be the last update we’ll run in this space. For now…

Push to Regen

Push to Regen is still on its two-month hiatus.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

The Quarry is back in the kitchen cooking up some new content!

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–New Tourney announcement!

–Up to date upcoming listings, which you can find right here (minus the new announcement I just listed)!

Preview

Previews:

–No dials, but virtually every figure in War of the Light has been spoiled (in terms of their name, number in the set and point cost)!! Check ’em out here!

Entertainment News:

–Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes back to end it’s first season with a run of 7 straight episodes starting on April 7th. Which is just a few days after Captain America: The Winter Soldier premieres in a theater near you! Given the heavy presence of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the film, it would not surprise me if what happens in Cap 2 has ramifications on a certain ABC show…

–No renewal yet for MAoS, but at least one site in the business of making such predictions thinks it’s a foregone conclusion…

–Fox’s Gotham pilot has a Bruce Wayne and a Selina Kyle!

–And I still have not yet decided on an Entertainment News segment logo…

Critical Missives:

–I finally wrote my rebuttal to Ninwashui’s Top Ten SLoSH figures column! (Btw, if you’re looking for Bizarro in the Top Ten, well, he’s not there. He gets his own column… hopefully this week.)

–Ninwashui wrote what might be his best Tournament report yet. We played some SLoSH sealed, and you can read about it right here!

–Look for another The Build article and Tournament report this week as we finally get to AvX Month 1 (we’ve already played Month 2–don’t ask!) this week!!

 

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Your Lines of Fire!

Local Tournament Report – 3/19/14 Comics & More

That's why there's no Superman in this set.

That’s why there is no Superman in this set.

The Format: 400 SLoSH sealed. No outside anything.

What I played:

SLOSH003 Lightning Lad

SLOSH011 Sensor Girl

SLOSH024 Lex Luthor

SLOSH041 Universo

Total = 400 Points

Round 1: Facing SLOSH039 Bizarro (at 150 points) and SLOSH055 Validus.

The map we played on featured a large patch of elevated on the left side of the center of the map. My opponent was able to take up a position on the elevated terrain that wouldn’t let me get off a running shot with Luthor or Lightning Lad. I could try moving further towards his starting area, but he could also move closer to his starting area and nothing would change.

I knew my team was defensive minded. I put myself in a position near my starting area where Validus could charge my characters next turn and Bizarro might be 1 square out of range depending on what he randomly rolled at the start of his turn. It worked. Bizarro ended up on a charge click with low speed and couldn’t move and attack me in the same turn. Validus charged the front of my group which was Universo and Sensor girl. He asked what the defensive powers were on each and made the decision to attack Universo. I missed shape change. He attacked and rolled an 8. I used prob from Sensor Girl. He rolled a 7. Prob from Luthor (who could see Validus because he was a giant). He rolled a 4 which was a miss.

On my turn and based by both Valiudus and Bizarro, things weren’t looking great. Even less so when I realized he was going to Pulse wave my whole team for 2 damage as a free action the beginning of my next turn. Used Luther’s TA to outwit defense on Validus and Lightning Lad to RCE him from the back row for 4 damage (RCE for +1 damage and +1 attack). That softened him up, but I was still going to get pulse waved. At that point I remember my opponent telling me a story before the game that he played Validus once before and someone mind controlled him to just run away. He disliked Validus for that reason. I used Universo to pull exactly that trick again. Suddenly my 400 point team was just facing a 150 point Bizarro. Things were definitely looking up. Luthor did a running shot on Bizzaro and hit for 1 token worth of damage.

On my opponents turn he swung with Bizzaro. Facing two probs, he missed. Validus moved to charge range and stopped. On my turn I had my available guys take two more tokens off of Bizzarro. Bizarro and Validus cleared. Another outwit from Luthor and a attack from him and Lightning Lad finished Validus. Bizarro fell a few turns later after hitting Luthor with an RCE attack and knocking him to click 4.

Luck was on my side this match and Luthor was the only one hit with an attack.

Round 2: Facing Hypefox withSLOSH054 Persuader and SLOSH040 Emerald Empress.

This time I took the elevated patch in the middle, but HypeFox got off the first attacks. Emerald Empress flew in and hit everyone on my team with a 1 damage Pulse Wave that I can’t use prob on. Persuader charged Sensor Girl and rolled a 5, just missing. Luthor gets a Successful Psyblast off on Emerald Empress knocking her to click 3. Due to his traited combat reflexes I’m having a hard time hitting Persauder. That is until I roll a 2 which I prob and get a 4. I prob again and get a 12. Turning a crit miss into a crit hit really turns things around. Persuader does manage to quake my entire team off a building, but only Universo takes damage. Eventually Universo is KOed, but I take out Hypefox’s team with time to spare in the round. My defensive abilities and prob control really shine this battle.

Round 3: Facing SLOSH002 Saturn Girl, SLOSH012 Tyroc, SLOSH026 Mister Miracle, and SLOSH036 Glorith

My opponent and I met on the elevated terrain in the center of the map. I got off the first shots this time with Lightning lad and Luthor both targeting Saturn girl. Only Luthor ends up hitting. On my opponents turn he attacked with everyone available, but with my probs and defensive abilities he couldn’t touch me. Sensor girl even probed a stealthy Mister Miracle into missing. The next round I took out Saturn girl and damage Tyroc. The round after that Tyroc is KOed and the round after that Glorith goes down. He doesn’t touch me with a single attack.

With At least 30 minutes left in the round my opponent decides to forgo attacking for the rest of the game and starts what shall forever be referred to as the Mr. Miracle dance. I fire all out at the stealthy Mr. Miracle after having Universo and Sensor Girl combine to outwit his stealth with the Superman Enemy TA. If I hit he adds an action token. If I haven’t hit him last round and he has no tokens he runs to a different position. Over the next 30 minutes with my whole team firing, I manage to make Mr Miracle push only twice. At that point he picks up side step and can just start dancing over some blocking terrain and make it real hard for me to keep up. I finally get the bright idea to push lightning lad to get precision strike when the judge calls time.

I actually liked the Mr. Miracle dance on my opponent’s part. It turned what was otherwise a one sided match into something fun and challenging that I’m going to remember a lot longer than any of my other matches that night. Kudos to my opponent.

What I learned

  • The team I chose was possibly the best one I have ever fielded in a sealed event. I knew I wanted to use Universo and Luthor since I had named them some of the best characters in the set. Lightning Lad I liked for adding damage. Sensor Girl I threw in because the points fit. They worked together better than I ever dreamed. They were a defensive powerhouse with just enough damage to win.
  • Sensor Girl didn’t look like much when I added her to my team but she turned out to be my MVP. The ability to use prob on just about anyone near her regardless of how pieces were placed was just huge. She would target someone in stealth from behind two other pieces. Just ridiculous. She was a little short on offense, but exceptional in every other way. I will definitely look for a reason to play her again.
  • Luthor was the Glue holding the team together. His TA was incredibly useful since everyone else on the team was a wildcard. His 18 defend was just dominating when combined with his prob and Sensor Girl’s prob. Also at the time I didn’t realize his powers were uncounterable. He was great without even noticing that. I will definitely look for a reason to play him again.
  • Universo was everything I said he was in my set review article. Standing at the front of my team he was almost completely unhittable.
  • Lightning Lad was Lightning Lad. Exactly what you think he is. Decent for the points but there really is nothing new to learn about him.
  • Bizarro’s  only taking one damage at a time is really great. It took my whole 400 point team 3 rounds of focus fire to KO the 150 version of him. I would love a chance to use that character if I happen to get one. I see why he did well at a recent ROC.
  • Validus almost ate my team in match one. If not for Universo he would have done it. My opponent wasn’t thrilled with Validus and actually traded him to me at the end of the night. I would love to try him out myself except I traded him to Hypefox for FI029 Colossus that same night. If I happen across another one, I’m totally going to play him.
  • Mister Miracle won’t win you many matches with offense. But if you can get your opponent fixated with him, he makes a hell a distraction. If you aren’t adding tokens to him with useless actions like attacking, your opponent won’t be able to KO him before time is called.

99 Figures But A Superman Ain’t One!! (Or, A Second Opinion on SLoSH!!)

That's high praise!!

That’s high praise!!

The title of this entry notwithstanding, I’ve decided NOT to open with some lame, jokey observation about how–unless you pull an exceedingly rare Chase–Superman is completely missing from a set that has his name in the title. But only because, at this point, everyone has beaten me to it.

Having said that, my initial impressions were similar to those of Ninwashui. Not a ton of filler crap, and most of the really weak figs aren’t commons for once. At the same time, I feel there are several comments I need to make about the set as a whole before I highlight certain figures.

1. Even more so than IIM, Improved Targeting is going to be a THING going forward (don’t get Hunter Smith and the guys at Dial H For Heroclix started–they’re all but convinced this mechanic will destroy the game), and figures that see through blocking or (Lord forbid) elevated terrain without some sort of MAJOR restriction are going to be extremely tough to deal with. Let’s take a quick look back at IIM–remember we told you that Iron Pharaoh’s day was going to come (Ninwashui even wrote up a few army builds that have since popped up in one way or another in some recent ROCS), since his Golden Falcon, Soaring let you see through just about ANYTHING? Well, the Pharaoh is VERY good, but he does have one major restriction–his falcon can only “soar” three spaces, and he can only draw a line of fire three spaces from the falcon, so his range with that Improved Targeting: Everything, You Bastard! is fairly short.

I am a thing, going forward. Ever forward...

I am a thing, going forward. Ever forward…

So we fast forward to SLoSH, and the designers have decided that they suddenly don’t need to be as careful with range any more. I’m not going to give away the store here (just keep reading for my TOP TEN!), but when rating these figs, I’m starting from this premise:  If a character sees through ANY type of Terrain, that’s a huge bonus. If they have a Range greater than 8, that’s also really good. But if a character can see through at least one type of Terrain AND has a Range greater than 8? These are the characters most likely to break the game–and if/until they end up on Watchlist 2: The Reckoning, they are going to be the characters you will want to be fielding when you really want to build a cutthroat army!

Shawties.

Shawties.

2. The sculpts are very cool in this set! They’ve finally found a way to scale size so that the Giant figures actually ARE gigantic compared to normal-sized figs and yet are just a bit shorter than Colossals WHILE STILL FITTING IN A 5-FIGURE BOOSTER. Yes! Well done, WizKids!

3. Remember early Clix, when seeing a Wildcard team ability on a character not named Spider-Man or Doctor Doom was so rare you could count them on one hand? Well, this ENTIRE FREAKING SET has either the Legion of Super Heroes TA or the Calculator TA. Even characters who have other team abilities (like Mon-El or Emerald Empress) STILL HAVE ONE OF THE WILDCARD ABILITIES! That means two things:  First, in sealed, any non-wildcard TA has even more value than usual because, chances are, EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF YOUR ARMY CAN COPY IT! Second, when constructing an army for an event with SLoSH pieces, many of the tentpoles in this set get much better depending on what TA’s they can copy, so you’re going to have to be really careful in who you surround them with. This is a change from IIM, when you were much more focused on what keywords your supporting figs had.

Alright! Let’s go right in to five…. HONORABLE MENTIONS!!

5. Slosh046 Superboy (Super Rare): Yuck. I hate when I let Ninwashui do his set reviews first, cuz sometimes we end up with the same conclusions. This is a very solid figure; Mon-El is simply better in every way for the points. It’s the same argument I made back in the IIM set review we did a few months ago, and I’ll continue to harp on it here:  don’t pay retail value for figures that you can get on a moderate to steep discount! Case in point:  between Mon-el and Superboy, they both have the same TA’s, they both offer Leadership and move and attack powers, but Mon-El’s stats and power distribution are simply better (Hypersonic Speed where Superboy has Running Shot and–eventually–a limited form of HS, etc.). Superboy is a better supporting piece with his top dial Enhancement and Trait that offers Willpower to those less fortunate souls on your team who didn’t come equipped with it, but honestly, in a three hundred point game, who’s running a 175 point piece to support smaller priced figs? And yet, Superboy can still hold his own as a main attacker; he’s just not Mon-El. In higher point games, where you want to swarm your opponent with a legion of, well, Legionnaires, Superboy starts to gain ground on Mon-El for the extra few damage-free actions he’ll give his teammates. And of course, if you’re already using a Prime elsewhere in your build, Superboy would become your selection by default. But there’s just not many build situations where Superboy and another Prime are going to be better than Mon-El any whatever you want to team him with. Superboy is good, but everything he offers is just not quite enough to crack the actual Top Ten…

4. Slosh004 Science Police Officer (Common): Now this is a cool lil’ supporting piece. His Damage SP (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) is nifty and annoying to your opponent, but I’m actually more impressed with his 6 Range and Police TA for 45 points. 

3. Slosh011 Sensor Girl (Common): The definition of a pest. She sees through Hindering Terrain (i.e. Stealth) and other characters, she has Shape Change and a Traited Perplex-lite ability that does juuuuuust enough to be annoying (ILLUSIONS SEEM REAL: Sensor Girl can use Perplex, but only to modify an opposing character’s attack or defense value.). Combine that with a Wildcard TA, 10 Attack and Probability Control, and you have a 75 point nuisance that can really grind some of your best characters down in really subtle ways, as I found out firsthand at my venue’s SLoSH sealed event (Stupid Sensor Girl. Grrrrrrrr…).

2. Slosh024 Lex Luthor (Uncommon): The usual sort of Luthor piece that we get, except someone Frankensteined all of the best Luthor powers and abilities from past figs together into a 150 point piece of aggravation. He gives the Superman Enemy TA to any adjacent lower-costing figure, he also gives them 18 Defense through his 18 Defend, he starts out with Flying and Invulnerability AND 3 damage with Probability Control. Just a bucket of yuck if you’re sitting across the table from this piece. And if you’re actually playing him… where are you in your life? How did it come to this? Harvey Dent once said that “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Well, brotha’, by playing this piece… you’ve finally lived long enough to see yourself become the villain (What? Bitter? Me? Why would I–well, yeah, I did get beat with a Luthor/Sensor Girl team at the SLoSH sealed, but that has no bearing on my impartiality as a set rater, I assure you…).

My opponent from the SLoSH sealed event.

A portrait of my opponent from the SLoSH sealed event this past week.

1. Slosh008 Phantom Girl (Common): Wow! Where did she come from? A lil’ 72-point package of usefulness, Phantom Girl sports some good keywords (Future, LoSH), good Defense values (17 w/Super Senses that eventually turns into an 18 w/Energy Shield/Deflection!), a top dial Move and Attack Special Power (PHASING ATTACK: Phantom Girl can use Incapacitate. When she is given a move action, after actions resolve, she may be given a close combat action as a free action, targeting any one opposing character occupying a square she moved through.) that lets her suppress figures that your opponent intentionally leaves behind his main attack force (medics, barrier technique guys, Iron Pharaoh or Fantomex, just to name a few) and another ridiculously awesome top dial Flying/Phasing Special Power that can nerf your opponent’s heaviest hitters (INTANGIBILITY AND DISRUPTION: Phantom Girl can use Phasing/Teleport. When she uses Phasing/Teleport and passes through any squares occupied by characters holding an object, she may remove any of those objects from the game. When she uses Phasing/Teleport and passes through characters assigned any relics or resources, those characters can’t use those relics or resources until your next turn.).

So let’s break this down. I give her a Move action with Phasing/Teleport. She moves through, say, an opposing Batman who’s been assigned the Utility Belt and that I couldn’t otherwise see because of Stealth. Suddenly, Batman can’t use the Belt next turn and–after I’ve safely hidden Phantom Girl around a corner, or on Elevated, or wherever, I get a free close combat attack that will at worst feature a 10 Attack with 2 damage. Again, for emphasis: She COMPLETELY NERFS opposing resources and relics just by Phasing through the figures using them. In yet even MORE words, Phantom Girl uses move actions to turn your opponent’s precious Infinity Gauntlet into a soft, spongy orange children’s toy. And they snuck her in as a Common. Okay WizKids. Good game. You got me with this piece. I did not see Phantom Girl coming (which, I guess, was the point, right? I mean, she IS called Phantom Girl, after all).

Whew!! Okay, we’re just getting started here, so now that we’re done with the preliminaries, I give to you… the Top Ten Figures in SLoSH!!

Darkseid saw your meme, destroyed it, and replaced it with his own.

Darkseid saw your meme, destroyed it, and replaced it with his own.

10. Slosh044r Darkseid (Rare): I keep hearing oh, he’s too many points to build around. Oh, he’s too many points for what he does. To which I say, uh, no, y’know, uh, I kinda, y’know, I’m gonna go ahead, and with all due respect, y’know, I’m just–I’m gonna disagree, kinda, and stuff, if that’s cool? Y’know, with you? Oh, wait, that’s not what I say at all. That’s actually my opponent talking after I’ve made him COWER BEFORE DARKSEID.

I’m going to go back to my premise from above:  Does he see through at least one type of Terrain (Oh yeah–3 different types, actually!)? Is his range greater than 8 (Yup again–it’s 10–with 2 bolts!)? As Ninwashui likes to say, when a figure does something that no other figure or very few other figures can do, someone, somewhere out there, is gonna figure out how to break that figure. He can Outwit figures that can’t even see him. He can shoot through blocking with no fear of a forced reroll because your Prob specialist can’t see him either until it’s too late (or unless her name is AvX Scarlet Witch, but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion).

He’s got too many powers to list here, but one (BOOM TUBE TECHNOLOGY: If Darkseid has no action tokens, he can use Running Shot and Improved Movement: Ignores Characters. If he has one action token, he can use Phasing/Teleport, and when he does, he may be given a ranged combat attack as a free action after actions resolve.) bears special mentioning. When you combine Boom Tube Technology with all of his Improved Targeting powers and vast range, there’s not really anywhere to hide from Darkseid. If you’re on the map, he’s gonna come find you. He’s certainly not unbeatable, but you have to be SO damn careful with your positioning (while knowing full well that it just may not matter!) that’s it’s mentally exhausting. That’s not a part of the game we cover too much, but it is a factor. You’re going to make mistakes playing against Darkseid; you just have to hope that your opponent doesn’t capitalize on all of them.

9. Slosh201 Cosmic Boy (Common): Another duplicate from Ninwa’s list, although I have him a shade higher. I love figures that allow armies to exist where otherwise there would be nothing; he’s not quite Duhg, but he’s close. His Trait (WELCOME TO THE LEGION: When you build your force, choose one character of 50 points or less. That character gains the Legion of Super Heroes keyword and “wing symbol” this game. If your force includes other characters with this trait, you may increase the point value of your chosen character by 50 points if this character doesn’t use this trait.) is actually shared by some other Legionnaires, so it’s not exactly proprietary, but he is the best fig with which to Welcome folks to the Legion for two reasons:  firstly, he takes up the least amount of points in your build. Seems straightforward enough, but this is not the last time a figure will make it on this list simply because it’s the most cost-effective use of a broken or near-broken Trait. Second… Cosmic Boy is actually MORE than just the trait. He’s got top dial TK, Willpower and Perplex–all for 70 points. That makes Rokk Krinn one of the more efficient dials in the whole set, even before you throw in his Trait!

8. Slosh 17b Cheetah (Uncommon PRIME): Another good dial that starts getting silly when you add in some Wildcard potential with the Calculator TA. She’s got a Movement SP (POUNCE MY PREY: Cheetah can use Leap/Climb. When Cheetah resolves a move action, you may give her a close combat action as a free action.) that gets her into the fray quickly AND lets her make an attack right away, and her 19 Defense against close combat attacks means she probably isn’t going anywhere, unfortunately for your opponent. But the best part? She’s only 90 points. It’s like they took all the best aspects of the most efficient Charge/Blades pieces from the last couple years and distilled them into this Cheetah.

Good luck.

Good luck with all of that.

7. Slosh Solomon Grundy (Super Rare): Grrrr! More agreement with Ninwashui. Well, that’s only going to increase as we get closer to the top. Grundy here is as ridiculous as Ninwashui made him out to be. Solid to slightly above average Attack values, solid to above average Damage values, a fairly easy way to auto heal a click of damage every turn or two, some move and attack… and, oh yeah–he’s almost impossible to KO. Strike that–you can KO him; he just ain’t gonna stay dead for any length of time. Your best hope is to Outwit Impervious and knock him straight through those Invincible clicks. Good luck.

6. Slosh055E Validus (Super Rare): Awesome sculpt. An even better figure. His Trait is (stop me if you’ve heard this before) COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS (MONSTROUS BODY: Validus can use Super Strength and can’t be targeted by Penetrating/Psychic Blast. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6, and on a result of 4-6, Validus can immediately use Pulse Wave as a free action with a locked damage value of 2, ignoring friendly characters.). Improved Pulse Wave for free. Every turn, there’s a chance that happens. Whaaa… ? I know what you’re thinking, and yes, he’s a freaking WILDCARD as well. They really did give everyone a Wildcard TA. Here, now and for the first time, I present the minutes from one of the development meetings at WizKids from the time SLoSH was being created:

Designer 1: “Uh, hey guys, we gave him 12 Attack, Psychic Blast and you already said he’s immune to opposing Psychic Blasts…. and now you want to give him a chance to bust off an improved version of one of the best attack powers in the game every turn. Are we sure we want to release him like this? No one’s gonna want to play against a figure like that.”

Designer 2: “You’re right. No one will play him. Let’s make him a Wildcard too.”

Designer 1: “That’s not remotely what I was suggesting.”

Designer 2: “No, that’s good work. Great suggestion.”

Designer 1: “[Heavy sigh.] I’m going to lunch.”

Behind the scenes at the WizKids figure development lab...

Behind the scenes at the WizKids figure development lab during Validus playtesting…

5. Slosh048 Tellus (Super Rare): Another “army enabler,” Tellus possesses some of the best top dial skills (Probability Control, Telekinesis) and this Trait (LINK TELEPATHICALLY: Friendly characters within 4 squares can draw lines of fire and count range and squares from the square of any one friendly character within 4 squares of Tellus.). You will want to build armies around this guy. He is extremely “breakable.” It may take a month or two, it may take six months, but you will see Tellus become a top performer at ROC.

4. Slosh040 Emerald Empress (Rare): She comes packing her own relic (EMERALD EYE OF EKRON: At the beginning of the game, place an Emerald Eye of Ekron relic token in Emerald Empress’s square. This object doesn’t count towards your force and is described on the back of this card. Emerald Empress automatically succeeds when rolling for the Emerald Eye of Ekron. When Emerald Empress is assigned the Emerald Eye of Ekron and has two action tokens, she can use her speed powers as a free action.) and she knows how to use it:

(EMERALD EYE OF EKRON (SPECIAL OBJECT):
Immobile
Relic Roll: 6
This character can use Mind Control, Incapacitate, Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters, and isn’t dealt unavoidable damage from Mind Control. When this character takes damage from an attack, Emerald Eye of Ekron is placed in an adjacent square. Characters may attempt to be assigned Emerald Eye of Ekron more than once per game.).

Four damage top dial with Outwit? Sure! Free Mind Control or Running Shot after her second action token? Okay!! Even at 190 points, she’s highly efficient and will help you out-action your opponents with her relic.

3. Slosh059 Guardian (Chase): Comes equipped with the best Chase Trait I’ve ever seen (THE GROWING DARKNESS: At the beginning of the game for all friendly characters with this trait, you may remove one attached game element from an opponent’s resource and, if it is a relic, assign it to a character with this trait. At the beginning of your turn, roll 2d6 for all friendly characters with this trait. If the result is lower than the sum total of all of these characters’ click numbers, then modify all opposing characters’ combat values by -1 until your next turn.), 9 Range (with 2 bolts for the Energy Explosion he gets mid-dial), 11 Attack with Penetrating/Psychic blast, Running Shot top dial and an 18 Defense. And all that is assuming that your opponent isn’t playing the Utility Belt, Infinity Gauntlet, Book of the Skull or Power Plant. Cuz if he is, Guardian gets even better! Also, he’s the only Chase fig with 2 stop clicks (PACE WARP: When this click is revealed, stop turning the dial. Guardian can use Phasing/Teleport. When he does, after actions resolve, he may immediately use Regeneration as a free action.)! Definitely worth his 207 points… cuz you can still play him with our #2 fig…

2. Slosh057 Lydea Mallor (Chase): Okay, imagine that same “The Growing Darkness” game-changing Trait that Guardian had; now put it on a figure who’s less than 80 points. She’s also a close combat nuisance who can zip around Hindering Terrain, but her Trait is the reason she’s so highly sought after. That Trait shouldn’t appear on any figures less than 150 points; Lydea Mallor is 79. Where I come from, that’s a bargain!!

"I'm a bargain no matter where you come from, genius!"

“I’m a bargain no matter where you come from, genius!”

1. Slosh005b Mon-El (Common PRIME): Well, it might be anti-climactic, especially since I broke Mon-El down in Superboy’s Honorable Mention blurb, but the facts are the facts… Mon-El is a beast. If you want to compare him to IIM’s number one figure, I’d still rather build around Silver Centurion (who was also a Common PRIME), but it’s close. The Torpedo secondary attacker that SC brings with him (along with the fact that he’s immune to Psychic Blast and Pulse Wave, the two best attack powers in the game) give him the advantage. But Mon-El is still destined to power some really NASTY teams in the future.

Well, there you have it. I’d do a 5 Worst Figs section as well, but Ninwashui pretty much nailed it (Toyman is an admirable attempt to inject fun builds into the game… and a complete failure at the same time. So useless…).

WizKids top executives initial reaction to the reveal of Toyman's dial...

The initial reaction of top WizKids executives to the reveal of Toyman’s dial in a preview on Heroclix.com…

And you know how much I hate agreeing with him…

And that brings an end to our coverage of the SLoSH launch! Hope you enjoyed it! See you Sunday night for the Weekly Roundup!!

Snow News Is Good News? (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 03/16/2014!!)

Roundup

Snowmageddon hit southeastern Michigan for what seems like the thirtieth time in the last twenty-nine days, followed by a localized internet blackout for yours truly. But we’re back up and running! SLoSH sealed was cancelled and rescheduled for this week, and the weather made it impossible to get anywhere on time from late Tuesday night to midday Thursday. I used to love Winter, but come the #$@& on already! This is ridiculous.

All of which is to say–to quote the BareNaked Ladies–it’s been one week!! (Yeah, that was a pretty long way to go for that.)

IT’S TIME FOR THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

Podcasts:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix was brand new again–when isn’t it? That’s consistency, people!!–this week with Episode 36! The guys engage in a roundtable review of the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier dials that should finally be in a hobby store near you as you are reading this! [SPOILER ALERT–Agent 13 is freaking GOOD!! And so is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who–oh, heck, just listen to the podcast–or simply check out the last feature in this column for more info!)

Clixcast

ClixCast was dark again this week, according to their iTunes feed.

Closed for business?

–Still dead, Jim.

Push to Regen

Push to Regen is, of course, still on its two-month hiatus.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

ROC’n the Clix.

The Quarry was back new again this week as DarkLogos and the gang continue their MARCH MASS HYSTERIA with a breakdown of the Canadian 1k Open!

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–The ROC is changing their Map! No more Wrestling Ring. Instead, say hello to the… MAYAN TEMPLE!

–Some more new Tourney announcements, which you can find right here!

Hi! I'll be your Meta for today. What can I getcha started with?

Hi! I’ll be your Meta for today. What can I getcha started with?

–A Kentucky-set ROC Super Qualifier went down, and a Brother Voodoo/GCPD Cruiser team came out on top. But there was PLENTY of Lydea Mallor–she is definitely the figure that’s most wanted from SL0SH–at least, for now…

–Speaking of results, plenty of results to peruse from the Western Canadian $1K Open Realms Open Championship Super Qualifier.

Preview

Previews:

–Another X-Men: DoFP preview, and it’s an Uncommon bomb: Nightcrawler. Really, really like this piece. Very strong, especially for his points. Outside of the Outsiders TA, you’re gonna have to deal with his 19 Defense.

Entertainment News:

–Lady Sif kicked some butt on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last week, and now the show is dark for a bit. Instead, we get a Marvel Movie Special on ABC tonight, which will preview Cap II, GotG & future eps of S.H.I.E.L.D. .

–And I have not yet decided on an Entertainment News segment logo…

Critical Missives:

–Ninwashui released his Top Ten SLoSH figures, which also contained a general overview of the whole set along with his five WORST figures, which I think will surprise a lot of people…

–Captain America: The Winter Soldier has released in both Hobby shops AND Targets nationwide, which means it’s time to revisit my DEFYING GRAVITY column!

This is how you defy gravity... LIKE A BOSS!

This is how you defy gravity… LIKE A BOSS!

To recap, my prediction for the main set (both Hobby and Mass Market) was:                                                   The actual setlist was:

CATWS#001: Captain America                                                                                                                                                  CATWS#001: Captain America (Yay! 1 for 1! I cannot be stopped!)

CATWS#002: S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Agent                                                                                                                               CATWS#002: S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier (Bah. Close, but no cigar! This is like 1 and 1/2 for 2.)

CATWS#003: Alexander Pierce                                                                                                                                                CATWS#003: Black Widow (Right character, in that she’s definitely in the set, but wrong #. 1 and 1/2 for 3.)

CATWS#004: The Winter Soldier                                                                                                                                            CATWS#004: Batroc (For some reason, I thought he’d be a rare. Freaking Batroc. 1 and 1/2 for 4.)

CATWS#005: Black Widow                                                                                                                                                         CATWS#005: S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent (Bah. There were 3 freaking S.H.I.E.L.D. generics? 1 and 1/2 for 5.)

CATWS#006: Nick Fury                                                                                                                                                                CATWS#006: Falcon (1 and 1/2 for 6.)

CATWS#007: Crossbones                                                                                                                                                             CATWS#007: S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander  (Turned out Crossbones’s only version was the rare Brock Rumlow. 1 and 1/2 for 7.)

CATWS#008: Sharon Carter                                                                                                                                                        CATWS#008: Winter Soldier (1 and 1/2 for 8. Bleeecccchhh.)

CATWS#009: Howard Stark                                                                                                                                                        CATWS#009: Steve Rogers (Howard Stark? Not even in the set. 1 and 1/2 for 9.)

CATWS#010: Batroc the Leaper                                                                                                                                                 CATWS#010: Brock Rumlow (1 and 1/2 for 10.)

CATWS#011: Maria Hill                                                                                                                                                                  CATWS#011: Maria Hill (Boom!! Nailed it! 2 and 1/2 for 11.)

CATWS#012: Falcon                                                                                                                                                                         CATWS#012: Captain America (Annnnnddd… more failure. 2 and 1/2 for 12.)

CATWS#013: The Winter Soldier                                                                                                                                               CATWS#013: Agent 13 (Oh, I’m stupid. I’m really, really stupid. Of course she was #013. Btw, for her 55 points, and   with her defensive shutdown SP, she is the best fig in the set, imo. Check her out. They put a better  version of Malekith’s defensive shutdown SP on a figure that costs almost 200 points less. Crazy! 2 and 1/2 for 13.)

CATWS#014 Peggy Carter                                                                                                                                                              CATWS#014: Agent Sitwell (Talked myself out of this one. He is awesome too, btw. S.H.I.E.L.D. swarm teams got some HUGE additions with this set. 2 and 1/2 out of 14.)

CATWS#015 Machete                                                                                                                                                                        CATWS#015: Nick Fury (This is possibly the BEST Nick Fury they’ve ever made. This Target set is AWESOME! 2 and 1/2 out of 15.)

CATWS#016 Captain America                                                                                                                                                       CATWS#016: Winter Soldier (2 and 1/2 out of 16.)

CATWS#017: Captain America and Winter Soldier                                                                                                             CATWS#017: Captain America and Black Widow (This is the Hobby Chase. I thought Falcon would be on one of these. I was wrong. It’s fun, but not really Meta. Still cool. 2 and 1/2 out of 17.)

CATWS#018: Captain America and Falcon                                                                                                                               CATWS#018: Captain America and Bucky (Well, I ALMOST had it. This one has the Howling Commandos keyword, which–along with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers–got a HUGE boost with this mini-set. FINAL TALLY: 2 and 1/2 out of 18. Yeeeesssh. Back to the minors for me!)

Okay! So there’s the update! Look for a second opinion on SLoSH late Wednesday or some time on Thursday.

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Your Lines of Fire!

Superman and His Amazing Friends? I don’t remember that cartoon… (Or a set review for SLoSH)

I'm not even in this set, but I'm still in this article. Why? Because... I'm Batman!!!

I’m not even in this set, but I’m still in this article. Because… I’m Batman!!!

About the set:

I liked this set in terms of playability, but as far as big name characters it’s doesn’t have a lot. No Batman, no Wonder Woman, no Green Lantern, no Flash, and barely a Superman. A true title for this set would be Legions of Heroes, Villians, and Doom.

As for playability most of these figures aren’t going to completely change the meta, but they are all at least average. There aren’t many real stinkers. Even the generics (blight, daxamites, science police) are all pretty good. It should be fun for sealed play.

The chases are pretty cool and just like previous sets their all share the same trait. It’s an awesome trait designed to literally end the “Hammers raining from the sky” meta all by itself. You’ll want at least one in your collection for that cheesy guy that still plays the Book of the Skulls at your local venue.

The current meta:

In my listings below I judge the current meta based on what I’ve seen from recent tournament reports. (Mostly from the ROC) Unlike the last time I looked at the Meta, today’s Meta is wide open. There has been a movement away from resources, team bases, and colossal figures at tournament venues by player demand. That combined with the watch list changes has caused the field to be wide open. Brother Voodoo seems to be the consensus for the most powerful figure available, but beyond that there seem to be no other patterns in winning tournament teams. Almost anything has a shot now.

My 5 honorable mentions for best figures in the set:

5. SLOSH046 Superboy – This is a great figure that in another set would likely have made the top ten. What’s the problem? SLOSH005B Mon-El is in this set with the exact same point cost, almost the same keywords, and purpose on the battlefield. There just aren’t many times you’re going to reach for Superboy when you have Mon-El available. That’s also why you aren’t going to see another mention of SLOSH018 Ultra-Boy in this review.

4. SLOSH038 Black Manta – He’s probably not going to win the next ROC, but his trait is fun and it seems like a really good representation of the character. On the right map he’s literally invisible. On the wrong map he’ll look like a fish out of water.

3. SLOSH021 Wildfire – I loves me some stop clicks. Stop clicks with Regeneration are even better. Add Impervious to that same click and it’s just awesome. This is a tentpole that won’t be KOed without a fight. The only thing keeping him from making the top ten is that his combat values are low for his point cost.

2. SLOSH022 Gates – If you’re going to play the Legion of Super Heroes on your team then this answers the age old question of how to carry a bunch of flying characters. Even outside of this set he can carry any flyers you have. Green Lanterns – check. Kryptonians –check. Once his taxi usefulness is at an end he can be an effective tie up piece thanks to his high movement and defensive ability.

1. SLOSH041 Universo – He has an incredible array of defensive powers for his point cost. Unfortunately, his offense is only mind control. If you’re opponent is playing lots of small characters then this guy is great. If your opponent is playing 1 300 point character, then Universo’s usefulness will be limited.

The top ten figures from the SloSH set:

10. SLOSH201 Cosmic Boy – At 70 points Cosmic Boy can be a great support piece, but the real reason he made it to the top ten is his “welcome to the legion” trait. Suddenly all your wildcard pieces can gain almost any TA and not lose theme team. Try this: SLOSH201 Cosmic Boy + SLOSH005B Mon-El + TT001R Robin = 295 points of win. Batman, Superman, and Titans TA all together on a theme team!

9.  SLOSH037A The Riddler – You can leave this guy in your starting area if you wanted and he could irritate your opponent all game. He has stealth to keep him safe and smoke cloud to frustrate opponents. For 55 points his perplex anywhere power seems really good.

8. SLOSH049 Solomon Grundy – For 200 points you get one of the Hardest to KO figures we’ve ever seen. He’s essentially 11 click long (or more) with a stop click after click 8. He’s got super strength and outwit for his entire dial and invulnerability is his worst defensive power. If you give him a team that supports him well (aka a tker) then he can do quite well.

7. SLOSH027 Kalibak – Step 1 grab object. Step 2 clear tokens. Step 3 three teleport and hit opposing tent pole for 6 damage on the other side of the board! You’ll want to wait for good positioning so he doesn’t get piled on by the opposing team after teleporting, but this guy in the right circumstances can end a match very quickly.

6. SLOSH024 Lex Luthor – Back in 2002 CT043 Invisible Girl showed us that 18 defense with defend is a great thing to have. It’s still true today. Lex here is a capable attacker and makes a wonderful leader for just about any team of smaller characters. Probably the best Lex ever made.

5. SLOSH055E Validus – 12 Attack with 8 range, running shot, and psychic blast makes for a great ranged attacker. His defense isn’t great, but trait granted super strength and his crazy pulse-wave-every-turn trait make him just as deadly up close as he is at range.

4. SLOSH048 Tellus – This figure has good defenses, but the only reason to play him is his “LINK TELEPATHICALLYtrait. I’m not sure of the exact way to break it yet, but it seems like this is the best candidate in the set for a new watch list. Someone is going to figure out a way to make this trait unfair.

3. SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor – All of the chases are at least good. This one is the best. She’s a close combat attacker that resembles JL001 Batman, but she also flies and has that crazy trait that nerfs resources to uselessness. Oh and a fun stop click power at the end. I loves me some stop clicks (with regeneration and a built in escape mode).

2. SLOSH042E Helspont – This piece does everything well. 7 range and outwit for offense. Impervious, shape change, and self healing for defense. TK, leadership, and perplex for support. Just a really solid character.

1. SLOSH005B Mon-El – 12 attack, 10 range, hypersonic speed, super strength, 18 impervious/defend, Superman TA, Wildcard, 175 points. This is the best 175 point character I have ever seen. This is likely the best tent pole character under 200 that I have ever seen. 10 Range rarely show ups on modern figures under 200 points. The same thing with 12 attack (unless you’re batman, wolverine, or hawkeye). To have them both on the same figure is just awesome. Add in the defend that provides 19d to team mates and you’ve got a winner.

The five worst figures from the SloSH set:

5. SLOSH047A White Witch – 87 points for a character with that hardest promotion power power ever printed. I’ve rarely pulled off regular promotions, good luck with this. Her MYSTICAL ENERGY power is situational and in general your opponent can mostly ignore her and focus on your figures that actually do something.

4. SLOSH051 Takion – This character wields ultimate power… for 3 clicks. Then his dial turns into incompatible powers. Steal Energy and Energy Shield Deflection? That’s not a great combo.

3. SLOSH052 Highfather – His trait stopping the opponent’s highest cost character from attacking had better come in handy because he doesn’t offer much else. If an opponent’s best character is 100 points and you’re spending 130 points to stop it, then your opponent has the advantage. Plus you’ll have to leave him in the back, because one successful attack on him cancels his whole trait.

2. SLOSH037B Edward Nigma – A character’s normal version should not outshine its prime in usefulness. This one has that problem. His mind control is good, but he has to be within 6 to use it and with only shape change for defense he’s likely going to get shot up setting up his attack.

1. SLOSH050 Toyman – Attaching toys mostly provide defensive abilities, but that’s pointless because he has no offensive capabilities. Outwit is the limit of his support capabilities on click one. He’s 87 points for him and 1 attached toy, but his dial without a toy would be worth 40 points at best. He has mastermind, but you wouldn’t want to use it because any other figure you could put damage on is probably better. He’s completely ignorable in any real battle.

Delayed Gratification!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 03/09/2014!!)

Roundup

Well hullo there!!

Another week goes out, another weather system moves in… and it’s time for another Weekly Roundup!!

Podcasts:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix was new again this week with Episode 35! The guys discuss, among other topics, how SLoSH will affect the current Meta, but first they discuss What They Played! This segment was extremely interesting to me this week as I designed a team that Drew selected to play for this month’s Best Build! You’ll have to listen to the show to see how Drew did with my team, but I had a lot of fun building that force.

Also, a new Dial H Dial Design Contest for March over on HCRealms.com should be up by the time you read this. This first week has a St. Patrick’s Day theme, I believe.

Clixcast

ClixCast was dark again this week, according to their iTunes feed.

Closed for business?

–No news is, well, NO news, I guess, on the Duo Attack front. Looks like it’s still dead, Jim. In fact, none of the Awesome PodCast Network shows have an update on the APN Facebook page more recent than February 14th.

Push to Regen

Push to Regen is, of course, still on its two-month hiatus.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

Oh, it’s called the Quarry cuz it covers the ROC. I get it!

The Quarry was back new again this week as DarkLogos and the gang prepare themselves for MARCH MASS HYSTERIA!! There should be shows coming every week now dissecting the recent Top 16 results of major ROC tourneys. The ESPN-like roundtable segments are my favorite thing on this podcast (it’s awesome to hear top-level players talking about why teams should–or in some cases, shouldn’t–work), but often host Edward Shelton will interview winners, judges and top finishers from many of these events as well. Check it out.

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–The ROC is updating its prize structure! Basically, they’re getting rid of the $100 TCGPlayer.com gift certificates and instead awarding Convention Exclusive LE’s. Read all about it here.

–New ROC Super Qualifier announced for Hanford, California!

–Plenty of results to peruse from the Western Canadian $1K Open Realms Open Championship Super Qualifier.

Preview

Previews:

–Really just another X-Men: DoFP preview. Avalanche isn’t going to get anyone too excited, but he’s not bad for his point level.

Entertainment News:

–Movie Lady Sif is guest-starring on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week. Which means that, should we ever get a MAOS TV set, we could see another Marvel Studios Lady Sif! Jaimie Alexander is fun to watch in that role, so count me in for this week’s episode!

–After a flurry of casting announcements the last few weeks, no real movement to report on Batman Versus Superman or Gotham.

Critical Missives:

–Well, SLoSH being slightly delayed means our SLoSH Top Ten columns probably won’t drop until late this week or early next week, as we haven’t had the chance to play with too many of these figs (our venue’s SLoSH sealed event is this Wednesday). More to come on this front soon…

–WizKids released a statement saying that Captain America: The Winter Soldier was delayed a week due to inclement weather related shipping issues and NOT because–as many Heroclix enthusiasts have speculated–a brilliant blogger managed to piece together the entire setlist on the eve of its release. Sooooo… yeah.  Heh.

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print this week. See ya later this week for more articles.

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Your Lines of Fire!!