Preparing For Launch!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 07/27/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Another day, another dollar, another week, another… Wait, is it Tuesday already? Good Lord, nevermind the intro, before I lose my train of thought with another Tigers rant, let’s just get straight into the…

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–As always, Dial H for Heroclix is back with another new episode! Episode 54 is an extended length podcast that delves into what the guys want/expect from Yu-Gi-Oh! Wave 2!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen’s newest episode is… still Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is still Episode 22!! It features some new Tryout Commentators analyzing the Oregon ROC!!… Hopefully we’ll get some more content soon, as no one covers the Meta like DarkLogos.

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-You can catch up with most of the recent ROC upcoming tourney announcements right here!

-Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

 

Preview

-Still no official Previews from WizKids, which, again, is weird since GotG releases IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS!! I mean, the title of this week’s Weekly Rounup is PREPARING FOR LAUNCH!! C’mon, WizKids!! For what it’s worth, the Gravity Feed dials are all up in the Units section of HCRealms.com, as are the dials from the Justice League Strategy Game that released earlier this month (Hint: They’re freaking good!!). And yes, all four of those Justice League dials are SwitchClix that can be put on the JLA Team Base.

 

Wizkids

-WizKids has finally responded to the popularity of the ROC, and it’s THIS!! If any of those seven locations was within three hours of Detroit (Chicago is like 4 and 1/2 on a GOOD traffic day), I’d be a little more excited about this…

-In case you missed it last week, there will be a 5-figure booster set next February, and it will be based on… DC’s Trinity War!! So we’ll be getting 2 DC sets in a row, and–in addition to normal Chases–there will be a new “Ultra-Chase” rarity (uh, yay?). With the set being based on Trinity War (and the Crime Syndicate), early bets on the identity of the Ultra-Chase all seem to be landing on either alt-Alfred Pennyworth or, more literally, Ultra-Man of the Crime Syndicate. There will also be TWO new Brick-Incentive Exclusive Resource Dials!! How will it all play?!

We shall see next February…

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Okay, for this week’s Army of the Week, we’re gonna take a look at… the Army of the Week from 2 weeks ago. Why? Well, sometimes there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and sometimes, there’s more than one way to build an army! We’ll keep the same basic engine (Yondu and Rocket), but we’ll take out Star-Lord and sub in some Entities to go with the Resource, and see which army we like better!

"We may be the 18th team named Ravagers, but at least we're not Zombies."

“Once more… with FEELING!”

Team Name: Blam! Murdered You! AGAIN!!

ThemeEntity

Roster:

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon100 Points

WOL067P Adara25

GOTGM012 Yondu82

WOL065P Parallax – 25

WOLH002 Black Lantern Risen13

WOLH002 Black Lantern Risen13

ATA098 Ravagers x2 – 8

The Phoenix Force – 12

All 5 Fragments – 15

Assigned Character x 2 – 6

=299 Points

What We Said Before: “So, in addition to their dials (which are all awesome!!), Rocket (Magik Frag) and Yondu (Cyke Frag) will get Running Shot, Energy Explosion, Defend and +1 to Damage from the Phoenix Force (and keep in mind that Rocket can be carried by either of his teammates WITH NO PENALTY TO MOVEMENT, since he’s got Tiny Size. I’d highly recommend Yondu though, for reasons I’m about to get into.). Now let’s look at the individual dials: Rocket has a native 19 Defense, which means whoever carries him also has a 19 Defense since Defend is granted by the Phoenix Force. Also, Rocket Raccoon’s Trait (HOW ABOUT “ROCKET RACCOON AND HIS HUMAN HANGERS-ON”?: Friendly characters adjacent to Rocket Raccoon with the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ravagers keyword modify their attack values by +1.) and Damage Special (SMARTEST MAMMAL IN THE D’AST GALAXY: Rocket Raccoon can use Enhancement and Outwit.) also boost Attack and Damage by +1 for whoever’s carrying the lil’ mammal. Now let’s look at Yondu. His Trait (HIGHER GROUND: Yondu can use Energy Shield/Deflection.) gives him a 21 FREAKING DEFENSE AGAINST RANGED ATTACKS (not counting any Hindering bonuses), and his Damage Special is great, too: ONE. LITTLE. WHISTLE.: When making a ranged combat attack against a single target, modify Yondu’s attack by +2.

So, to review: Just by having Yondu carry Rocket, Yondu’s top dial when attacking one opposing character at range becomes (in addition to the fact that he now flies and has Poison) 7 Movement (w/Running Shot), 13 Attack with Precision Strike AND Three Bolt Energy Explosion, 21 Defense (at least) against ranged retaliation and 5 Damage (3 Native Damage + Rocket’s Enhancement + 1 from the Phoenix Force). Annnnnnd you still have Star-Lord waiting in the wings (and if you push him just once, Star-Lord gets Empower, Enhancement and Perplex).

The only real flaw this team has is the lack of Willpower, but if you need to take that second or third action, you can (particularly if the Phoenix Force is still on its first click and the character that’s pushing is adjacent to Rocket, since his Defend would still be tough to overcome.). This team should be a lot of fun to play AND pretty competitive!!”

What the New Version Brings: All that and more! Star-Lord is great backup, but the fact is we now have 4 characters (6 if you include the Bystander Tokens, but they count towards Theme) instead of 3, so we have a slightly better chance to win Map Roll and choose where we fight.

With this team, you’ll be going around in a mini-Defense Ball with Yondu Carrying Rocket. Try to have the Black Lanterns stay close, so that they are just as hard to hit. There will be times when your opponent will need to hit a 22 to hit Yondu with a Ranged Attack (Remember, Rocket’s using Defend with a native 19, Yondu’s Trait gives him ES/D, and if he’s in Hindering and his assailant doesn’t see through that Terrain, they’ll need a 22).

As always, even Jerry Seinfeld thinks that’ll be unlikely:

Seinfeld Good Luck

Yondu can increase Damage or Range via Parallax every turn, and he’ll of course have Running Shot with both Precision Strike and 3 Bolt Energy Explosion (thanks to the Phoenix Force). If he’s targeting just one character (while he’s Carrying Rocket), when you add up all the buffs (and assuming he pumped up Damage with Parallax), Yondu would have a 13 Attack with 5 Damage, Precision Strike AND that 3 Bolt Energy Explosion. AND he can also choose every turn to gain a Yellow Lantern Perplex and the Quintessence Team Ability, which would solve his lack of Willpower dilemma.

Essentially, we’re taking 82 Point Yondu, who’s already pretty good, and giving him +3 to Attack and +2 to Damage at virtually all times. And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that the Phoenix Force can hook him up with the Magik Fragment, Poison, Flight, Invuln (since that’s what you’d choose every turn and much, much more if you can start turning that Resource Dial. With native Sharpshooter and the Ravagers TA which lets him automatically break away, basing him does almost no good at all. The only thing he fears even a little is Pulse Wave.

Rocket would get the Cyke Fragment and wreck face every other turn (if an opposing figure is within Rocket’s Range, he can nail them for 5 Damage!). Oh, and since–at least for the first few turns–Rocket gets Defend from the Phoenix Force, he’s free to choose Prob Control from Adara every turn. Y’know, just in case Yondu somehow misses with his 13 Attack.

There are two Meta figures who can mess this team up before it gets going.

The first, of course, is Copycat (God, this figure is going to wreck the game. Just ban it already!!). She can take either part of your engine; neither choice works out well for you. You would reeeeeeaaaaallly have to slow your roll and basically just send out Copycat as a solo attacker and hope she gets whacked quickly or that she can carve off some meaningful clicks from the other side (not likely, but not impossible either, since she’ll have access to both Adara and a Resource in this scenario).

And the second figure to look out for is Lydea Mallor, but only because she can take Colossus’s Fragment from the Phoenix Force. This wouldn’t be a game ender, but it would suddenly open up both of your engine parts to Poison.

Of the two, Copycat is FAR more lethal to your plans that Lydea Mallor, but both are annoying.

So go forth and try this army out; you’ll only need three expensive Chases, the Complete Phoenix Force Resource, and a hard to find Rare from a CTD set that’s all but sold out most places.

Good Luck!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Movie Wonder Woman is officially a thing!

–Guardians of the Galaxy opens on Friday (really Thursday night). As of Sunday night, over 25 reviews were in and it still had a 100% Fresh rating on Rottentomatoes.com. Color me “excited.” UPDATE: It is now at 97%, as something called Jeff Coyle (an AP critic) has decided the movie was not his cup of tea. And now, in keeping with tradition, I will now go on a brief but ill-informed rant against this Jeff Coyle guy, and how little he clearly knows about this film, even though he’s seen the movie and I haven’t. Screw you, random movie reviewer I’ve never met, let alone read, and your negative opinion about a movie I’ve yet to see but really want to! What do you know about anything, anyway, except that you will die alone, bitter and unloved? 

Okay! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest… oh, yeah, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already has a release date!

–Speaking of release dates, Gotham has a premiere date on FOX, and it is September 22nd!

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Okay, there were a couple of articles that dropped since the last Weekly Roundup! First, we finished our look at the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set by diving into a Starter Set Review! Secondly, Ninwashui recapped War of Light Month 2 at our local venue in his Local Tournament Report!

–As always, here’s another reminder that we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

–Finally, this site has actually been growing by leaps and bounds these past 2 months, so I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s stopped by to check us out!

 

And that’s it for this week!! I’ll be back next week with a deeper look at War of Light, and in a few weeks we’ll be back with a Top 10 Review of Guardians of the Galaxy once that set releases!

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Local Tournament Report – 7/23/14 Comics and More (War of the Light Month 2)

Local Tournament Report

The Format: 400 point Sealed with two boosters of War of the Light. No outside anything, except we can play any rings, batteries, and constructs from month 1. The judge also let us include the green ring and shield construct from the scenario pack. I didn’t have those.

What I pulled:

WOL003 Sinestro Corps Recruit

WOL005 Green Lantern Recruit

WOL005 Green Lantern Recruit

WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit

WOL009 Controller Construct

WOL027 Graf Toren

WOL027 Graf Toren

WOL029 Brother Hymn

WOL039 Kryb

WOL053 Swamp Thing

 

What I Played:

"Oh look, that 'Lost Lantern' is standing next to two other people. They found him!"

“Oh look, that ‘Lost Lantern’ is standing next to two other people. They found him!”

WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit

WOL027 Graf Toren

WOL053 Swamp Thing

WOLR100 Power Battery (Green Lantern Corps)

WOLR200.05 Crossbow

WOLR305 Sinestro Corps Ring

Total = 386 points

 

Round 1: Facing WOL021 Lyssa Drak, WOL037 Karu-Sil, and WOL035A Sayd (Orange Lantern) = 396 points

IMG_20140723_201520_931

This match went slow. We were both playing characters we were unfamiliar with. I had created my team hastily and it took a couple of times reading through Swamp Thing’s card to get the gist of his Sort-Of! Hypersonic Attack. Apparently, he’s essentially FULLY Hypersonic and leaves Hindering Terrain wherever he goes. Wow! Of course, the small print will tell you that if your opponent is already sitting in Hindering Terrain then Swamp Thing’s Hypersonic 2: Electric Bugaloo-ish attack can’t touch them. Which makes about as much sense as the Hal Jordan Parallax not being able to fly (talk about the ring being a crutch). But whatever.

My opponent was trying to think of useful things to do with Sayd and Lyssa Drak. He may still be wondering at the time of this writing. This ended up being a mostly one sided affair, although the score would likely have been higher had we moved a little faster.

The action started out with both of us moving our teams out 8 spaces and then clearing. I equipped the Crossbow onto Graf Toren. My opponent had the first turn and moved his Sayd within firing range (9 squares) of my Graf Toren. His Karu-Sil and Lyssa Drak stayed back a few spaces further. Karu-Sil popped out her Pack and the turn ended. On my turn I went all out. I used the Blue Latern Recruit to TK Graf Toren into firing position on Sayd (since his range was shorter). Not wanting to miss, I used the Blue Latern Recruit’s Perplex and the Crossbow’s Ranged Combat expert to pump my attack up to 14! I would have also Outwitted Sayd’s Defense with Graf Toren‘s Traited Outwit, but Sayd’s Team Ability prevented me. At the time I had hoped that this encounter would be the last time I saw that TA this tournament because a lot of Graf Toren’s usefulness is based upon that Outwit. Sayd had 18 defense and was sitting in hindering terrain. Graf Toren’s 14 attack value meant I had no problem hitting Sayd; unfortunately, I rolled too well,  knocking him back two squares. Sayd moved to click 3. It was then that White Lantern Swamp Thing entered the fray.

Sayd was still in hindering, and Karu-sil was too far away, but Lyssa Drak was within Swamp Thing’s Movement range and he slogged through the map until he was adjacent to both her and Karu-Sil. It was an easy 4 clicks of damage even after her traited Prob reroll.

On my opponent’s turn, he shot back with Sayd and missed Graf Toren who was in Hindering. The Pack used Sidestep to attack Swamp Thing, which moved to bog monster to Click 2 after all the dice rolls. Karu-Sil missed, but she did Perplex down one of Swamp Thing’s combat values, which also decreased his speed by three. Lyssa Drak then created a Barrier around herself that–unsurprisingly, given how useless her dial is–didn’t protect any of the other characters. I’m going to omit her from the rest of this battle report because, while she wasn’t KO’d, she never took a meaningful action for the rest of the game. Such is life for Lyssa Drak. Don’t blame me, I didn’t create her.

On my turn, Blue Lantern Recruit TK’ed Graf Toren, who then attacked Sayd again. This time he hit for 6 which caused 3 real damage. Swamp Thing attacked Karu-Sil and missed. Both teams cleared over the next two turns.

One my opponent’s turn The Pack and Karu-Sil both dug into Swamp Thing and knocked him down to his Regen/Stop click. Then it was my turn and the judge called time. I finished my turn by having Graf Toren knock Sayd to her last click and then Swamp finished her for the games only KO.

 

Round 2: Facing WOL025 The Weaponer of Qward, WOL025E The Weaponer of Qward, WOLR100 Power Battery (Green Lantern Corps), WOLR200 Shield, WOLR200.05 Crossbow, and WOLR300 Green Lantern Ring = 374 points

IMG_20140723_192817_883

Seriously? Two freaking Weaponers? Who gets that lucky? I mean, besides HypeFox last month. Actually, now that I’m remembering HypeFox’s pulls last month, two Weaponers seems reasonable. Regardless, on paper, I would have given this match to my opponent easily. Then again, this game isn’t played on paper. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, it kinda is.)

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Shut up. I’m on a roll. Oh, and your proctologist called–he can see you Monday at 3:00pm to get that MAGICAL HORSESHOE PHYSICALLY REMOVED FROM YOUR POSTERIOR!!)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re trying to imply that luck had anything to do with–)

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey, who’s telling this story? Me or you?)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: <sigh> Continue.)

Thank you. What I was trying to say was that anything can happen in HeroClix. And I knew that the more expensive Weaponer was an incredible threat. I had never faced one before, but I had read about him online. My opponent went first. We both moved up and cleared. He moved both his guys about 11 squares away and put the shield on the more expensive one. That was opening I needed. I used the same TK, Perplex, RCE trick that I had pulled on my opening shot in game one, but this time I could use Outwit. I hit his 20 ranged Defense and he took four clicks of damage. I got smart and had Swamp Thing throw up a Barrier between me and the Weaponers. Rather than use both of his characters just to try and get one attack through, my opponent just cleared.

On my turn Graf Toren hit again for 4 more clicks of damage. Then Swamp Thing gained Shape Change, moved in, hit for 4 damage and tied up both characters. My opponent got a couple of turns in a row and did manage to knock Swamp Thing down to click 5, but that was it. After that, Graf Toren knocked each Weaponer to their stop clicks and my other characters got the KOs. It’s a odd sight to see a Blue Lantern Recruit KO a Weaponer of Qward, but it happened. This game just happened to break my way, and I was lucky that I didn’t miss when I found that first opening.

 

Round 3: Facing WOL003 Sinestro Corps Recruit, WOL013A Romat-Ru, WOL041 Parallax (Hal Jordan), WOLR100 Power Battery (Green Lantern Corps), WOLR200.05 Crossbow, and WOLR303 Orange Lantern Ring = 395 points

IMG_20140723_201858_201

So this match really came down to two pieces and their (mostly) one on one duel. Oh, and this was me and Hypefox in the final.

My opponent moved Parallax close enough to my forces that I got in an alpha strike with the same plan I used in the first two games. I couldn’t use Outwit, but I hit easily. He made his Impervious roll, so I did no damage! Swamp Thing couldn’t base him because he was too far away and instead moved halfway to Parallax. Parallax of course easily hit Graf Toren on his turn. Parallax’s allies just moved closer and in fact wouldn’t do much for most of the game.

I got another turn with a weakened Graf Toren and took a shot. It was a hit! Then Parallax used his top dial Probability Control and it turned my beautiful hit into a #$^#($^ Critical Miss!! I thought about basing Parallax with Swamp Thing, but he would be double tokened then and Parallax’s Pulse Wave would make short work of him. I cleared the rest of my forces.

Parallax scored another hit and knocked Graf Torn down to his last click. On my turn I tried to get him back to the battery or hide him with TK, but there just wasn’t much I could do. Parallax had been in Hindering Terrain this whole time so Swamp Thing was having trouble attacking him. I put Graf Toren in a place where Parallax would have to move out of Hindering for the KO.

"Oh, baby, I am SO out of my MIND right now! I'm'a go $@#%-up a Swamp Thing! I saw him on my way into what's left of Coast City when I WASN'T FLYING, apparently!"

“Oh, baby, I am SO out of my MIND right now! I’m’a go $@#%-up a Swamp Thing! I saw him on my way into what’s left of Coast City when I WASN’T FLYING, apparently!”

Everyone cleared and then Parallax moved out of Hindering and shot Graf Toren for the KO. On my turn I struck with Swamp thing and… missed horribly. I ended Swamp Thing’s movement next to my Power Battery hoping to use its Support to stay in this game. And that’s the way the game stayed. Parallax KO’d the Blue Lantern Recruit next. Swamp Thing probably got in 5 Ranged attacks before the game ended, but he couldn’t beat Parallax’s Defense and Probability Control. The game ends about 10 turns later (Stop Click + Regen +Support) and I haven’t done a single point of damage to his team. I was, however, once again able to capture every one of my attempts to damage Parallax on video. Here, then, is a repeating loop of every time I attacked Parallax this game:

astros-butt-slide

This horrible defeat sent me from the penthouse to the outhouse as far as this tournament’s outcome was concerned. Because I was not just beaten, but beaten down to the point where I captured no points of my own, I found myself sliding from second place (and competing for a possible tournament win) to fifth (and, well, competing for nothing–which is exactly what fifth place awarded me!).

What I Learned:

  • WOL053 Swamp Thing is darn tough and had a few tricks opponents wouldn’t expect (Barrier, TK, etc.). However, once an opponent realizes the benefits of keeping figures on Hindering Terrain, Swamp Thing’s offensive punch drops a lot. I would play him again on a team that could really make use of the “forest” of Hindering Terrain markers he makes. Batman Allies, or Poison Ivy maybe?
  • WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit is well worth his points as a Scarlet Witch/Enchantress/Mercy type of support figure. I’ll be playing him again soon.
  • WOL027 Graf Toren was good but not great. If he can’t use his Outwit then he is a waste of points.
  • In a set full of ranged centered offense and defense, WOL037 Karu-Sil and her pack are well worth the points.
  • The full point WOL025 The Weaponer of Qward is scary. The lesser pointed one is only just “good”.
  • HypeFox beat me again with a high point high-powered character. (WOL041 Parallax (Hal Jordan)) Apparently I need to tell him the wrong day if I want to win the next WOL event. Or just pray that he gets, say, one month where he doesn’t pull a bomb that has all the specific TA’s and Powers that I’m trying to avoid.
  • The participation prize for this week (WOL104 Guy Gardner (Green Lantern)) is really quite good for the points. I think with all the high point characters in the set people are looking past him. I’m looking forward to using him in constructed. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I second that emotion. His dial is great, and he’s the best Turn One Taxi in the game!)
  • WOL021 Lyssa Drak is still useless. You could graft an Entity on her, and she’d still be useless. She’d suddenly be worth another $100, but she’d still be useless. Scientists in Luxembourg have just confirmed that Lyssa falls right before Kim on the K.U.S. (Kardashian Uselessness Scale). I may have made up the last 3 points, but I think you get my drift.
  • The WOL039 Kryb that I pulled and didn’t use doesn’t look much better. Honestly, I read the Blackest Night TPB and the War of the Green Lanterns TPB in preparation for this Storyline Event, and I don’t remember this dude/gal/thing/creepfestival from any of those stories. UPDATE: I just Wiki’d her. Apparently it’s a her. Also apparently, her body just happens to have a cage where her back should be, and she goes around stealing the children of Green Lanterns, which begs all SORTS of questions. First of all, for the other members of Kryb’s species that don’t have access to a cosmic-level powerful, wish-granting ring, what exactly do they keep in the cages in their backs? As in, what sort of biosphere exists on their planet of origin that necessitated (or, really, even allowed) for the adopted adaptation of built-in back cages? Secondly, exactly how powerful are Yellow Lanterns (sorry, “Sinestro Corps. members”) in comparison to Green Lanterns? Because if she’he’it has taken as many Green Lantern children as she’s constantly depicted to have taken (I mean, every picture of her has legions of floating limbs sprouting from her back), wouldn’t some of these pissed-off parents (who, remember, ALL WIELD RINGS THAT BRINGS THEIR WILDEST, MOST OUTLANDISHLY CREATIVE THOUGHTS TO LIFE IN THE FORM OF GREEN ENERGY) have banded together and straight up murdered THE ALIEN PSYCHOPATH THAT HAS BEEN STEALING THEIR CHILDREN?! I know most Lanterns aren’t the killing type, but doesn’t all that go out the window when your kids are being stolen? Yet when they finally catch up with her, they send her to Zamaron to be rehabilitated? Uh, no. All of which leads to my last question: Are there big Kryb fans out there? I’m just wondering who you are and what you’re doing with your life.

Guarding the Galaxy Part 2: The Starter Review!! (Or, Y’know, A Review of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set Starter Pack!!)

GotG Title

Annnnnnd we’re back! I swear, I haven’t been playing Hearthstone for three days straight! Honest!

(No, for reals–I mean, I would’ve spent the whole three days pulling my hair out trying to take on the Heroic versions of the Naxx Arachnid Quarter Bosses without Alexstrazsa–y’know what? Doesn’t matter right now.)

Okay! So, awhile ago, we published our take on the first 18 figures in the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set! But we promised we’d be back later with the back end of the review–namely, the six figures that come in the starter! Well, here we are!

As a whole, I highly recommend purchasing the Starter for the reasons we’re about to get into, but man, there’s not really a dud piece in the bunch! But before we get to the last six Clix in the set, I want to mention a few things.

First of all, the fact that you get an exclusive Map is just gravy on the cake (no, I’m not mixing metaphors–I just invented the greatest thing ever by combining the two FORMER greatest things ever. You’re Welcome. And yes, that was a reference to the film’s tagline. Ahem.). Yes, I know all Starters/Fast Forces come with a map, but it definitely adds to the value of the whole endeavor.

This particular map comes with two Indoor layouts–The Kyln (a space prison, I believe) and Nova Corps. headquarters. Let’s start with the last one first.

MAP: Nova Corps. Headquarters:

Yep--in all of InternetLand, this is the best image I could find for this map. For shame, cyberspace. For Shame!!

Yep–in all of InternetLand, this is the best image I could find for this map. For shame, cyberspace. For Shame!!

This map is a stay away for me. One side is fairly isolated, which can be gold if you’re playing an Iron Pharaoh or Fantomex (read: Stall Team) force, but you’ll never get to play there. If you win Map Roll, you get to choose what map you want, but then your opponent gets to pick what side he gets. And, since he’s seen what you’re playing at this point, if he has any idea how your team works, he’d never let you choose the isolated side. Plus, even if you were playing a Iron Pharaoh team, your Falcon would be neutered a tiny bit by not being able to see through Blocking Terrain (since you’re Indoors.). There’s a few teams that could work on a map like this, (The Hand, maybe, powered by Wolverine, Agent of Hydra?), but most of the teams that could work on this map could probably work even better on a different one.

Much more interesting, then, in my eyes at least, is:

MAP: The Kyln:

Ugh--this one's even worse, and I took it myself. Man, why doesn't HCRealms just catalog every map with a clean picture and document every last bit of Orange text and put it all into a nice, free and functional Search Engine? Man, it's like they're not even trying anymore...

Ugh–this one’s even worse, and I took it myself. Man, why doesn’t HCRealms just catalog every Clix map ever made with a clean picture AND document every last bit of Orange text and put it all into a nice, free and functional search engine on their site? Man, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore…

The Kyln has a ton of room to run and hide after striking for Hypersonic characters! Superboy Prime(s), Speed Demon, Whizzer–all would do well on this map! Very exploitable (reeeeeaaaalllly easy to sneak out, nail someone, then swing back around a corner and hide behind Walls!), and if you regularly play tourneys, at the very least, you’ll want this map for your toolbox.

And having said that, let’s move on to the Main Event! We’ll go right in order:

 

Star-Lord Movie Starter

GOTGM101 Star-Lord75 Points – Starter Set: Point for point, the best Star-Lord in the set. Chris Pratt’s alter ego starts out with the Improved Movement power that you probably scoured the other versions’ cards for (CAN’T KEEP THIS UP, BUT I DON’T NEED TO: Improved Movement: Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Hindering Terrain) only to find after much searching that it just wasn’t there. This dial is also interesting because it switches ROLES every other click! He alternates between being a pretty damn good Secondary Attacker in a 300 Point Modern Age game on his odd clicks to being the ultimate supporting figure (he gains Enhancement, Empower AND Perplex) on his even ones. Movie Peter Quill’s first three clicks all have a native 3 Damage, and he’s rocking a 6 Range with Running Shot and Penetrating/Psychic Blast top click (actually, he keeps that Pen/Psy for his first clicks!!). And while everything else is going on, his Trait (get used to seeing this–more than a few figures have it!) gives him a one-time, backstage pass to an improved version of Pulse Wave (HADRON ENFORCER: Once per game, give Star-Lord a free action and choose an unoccupied square of clear terrain within range and line of fire. When you do, Star-Lord can use Pulse Wave this turn as if he occupied that square.)!!

I can’t tell you off of the top of my head exactly how many figures for 75 Points or less have access to both Penetrating/Psychic Blast AND Pulse Wave of ANY kind–much less one that effectively DOUBLES your Range with it–without the benefit of a Resource, but I’m betting the number is EXTREMELY small. Like possibly just Starter Chris Pratt small. Remember, these are the two best Attack Slot powers IN THE GAME! His drawbacks are few. He only has five clicks of life (helped a tiny bit by Toughness on the first three clicks and Super Senses on the last two), and his Defense tops out at 17. Not terrible, but definitely hittable. Still, considering that he brings so many top tier standard powers to the table, he more than makes up for a questionable Defense. He even has decent keywords (GotG, Ravagers, Soldier, etc.). Good gosh, he’s only 75 Points!

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (he’s not a Chase Rocket Raccoon, but he ain’t far off!)

 

"It's real!!"

“It’s real!!”

GOTGM102 Rocket Raccoon75 Points – Starter Set: Again, a lot to love. This version ditches the Improved Movement for better targeting potential (INDISCRIMINATE? NO, INCOMPARABLE: Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters). He’s Tiny, so he can still be Carried, and his Attack Special (TWO BIG GUNS: Give Rocket Raccoon a power action and he may then make 2 ranged combat attacks as free actions.) is REALLY GOOD if you can Outwit your opponent’s Defense first! His other assets include a 7 Range with two Bolts, top dial Stealth and the fact that he’s one of the only actual Guardians of the Galaxy to have top dial Willpower–that’s actually a difference between a lot of these figures versus they’re starter counterparts. The Starter figs tend to have it where the main set pieces don’t. His keywords are limited–just Animal and GotG–but he can still be a solid Secondary Attacker on the right team. Having said all that, this is the rare case (with this set at least) where the Starter set version is actually worse than the main set versions (of course, that bar is pretty high!). Still, I’d give him this:

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"Eyes up, Star-Lord."

“Eyes up, Star-Lord.”

GOTGM103 Gamora100/75 Points – Starter Set: Whoa!! There we go! On her first click of life, Gamora can use Charge, Precision Strike, Super Senses and a Special version of Close Combat Mastery that hoses any piece she hits. As I stated above with Rocket Raccoon, not many actual Guardians have Willpower, but Gamora here is rocking Indomitable. Plus, her Trait (DEADLIEST WOMAN IN THE WHOLE GALAXY: Give Gamora a free action and choose an opposing character. When Gamora attacks the chosen character, modify her attack and damage values by +1. Gamora can’t choose again until the chosen character has been KO’d.) potentially bumps her Attack Value to 12 and here Damage value to 4 when she attacks the chosen character! Her 75 Point dial is almost as good; I just prefer the top dial Charge of the 100 Point version  to the Special Movement Power that grants Sidestep (among other things). She’s right up there with the rare Target exclusive Drax the Destroyer, although he was only like 94 Points. I gave that Drax 3 and 3/4 rating, which means I have to give this Gamora:

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Drax Movie Starter

GOTGM104 Drax the Destroyer 125 Points – Starter Set: Hmmm… this piece is an odd duck. For 31 more points, Starter Drax has a solid 6 Range (up from 3), that same improved-range Pulse Wave Trait that Star-Lord had (HADRON ENFORCER: Once per game, Give Drax the Destroyer a free action and choose an unoccupied square of clear terrain within range and line of fire. When you do, Drax the Destroyer can use Pulse Wave this turn as if he occupied that square.), Indomitable (there’s that again!) and Impervious followed by Invincible instead of just straight Toughness followed by weird pseudo-Stop Clicks. But this Drax also has 1 less click of life, lower Defense (starts with a 17 versus the Mass Market Rare’s 18), slightly lower attack and Super Strength where his counterpart had Precision Strike. The Target-exclusive Drax had a clear role–take out any enemy pieces with Shape Change and/or Super Senses, since he ignores both of those powers. This Drax instead has Exploit Weakness and Close Combat Expert, so his damage dealing potential (if it gets through Super Senses and Shape Change) is a little higher, but not much. I’d personally stick with the Mass Market Rare and spend that extra 31 Points elsewhere.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"I... am... West Siiiide!"

“I… am… West Siiiide!”

GOTGM105 Groot100/75 Points – Starter Set: Another support figure, but this version will only cost you up to 100 Points and comes in two great flavors! The first (100 Point version) is rocking an 18 Defense with Invulnerability and the always useful Defend. He’s got Indomitable, so you don’t have to worry about pushing, and he’s also a giant like the main set version. His Movement Special (PHOSPHORESCENT FLOWERS: Lines of fire drawn to opposing characters within 6 squares of Groot ignore hindering terrain.) alternates with Charge (which the Rookie version starts with) and is a great way to open up lines of fire for any snipers on your side who don’t come with Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain. Having Experienced Starter Groot Carry his lil’ Raccoon buddy (either the Chase or the Common from the main set) is both movie-accurate and useful, and you’d still have 100 Points left!

His keywords are very narrow (just Brute and Guardians of the Galaxy), but Brute actually opens up a lot of builds (and makes him eligible for Duhg’s Army). I wish he had access to Plasticity or Exploit Weakness at some point to go with his Close Combat Expert or Charge, respectively, but there’s still a lot to like here, and at MUCH more reasonable costs than the main set Rare. GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (100 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (75 Point Dial)

 

"I'm told this is my best side."

“I’m told this is my best side.”

GOTGM106 Ronan300/200/100 Points – Starter Set: Like the main set version, Starter Ronan is a high risk/high reward brick who is meant to take up all–or most–of your points. Each version has an Improved Targeting Trait (YOU CANNOT EVADE ME: Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters), and the Veteran also has 11 clicks of life and a Trait that makes Outwit useless (I WILL NOT BE DENIED: Ronan’s powers can’t be countered.). 10 Range with Running Shot/Pulse Wave top dial (and a 12 Attack Value) means that if you tried to field just Ronan here at, say, a ROC, you won’t be laughed off the table (I still wouldn’t recommend it, since you’ll be hideously out-actioned, but he’s by far NOT the worst figure you could try this with). I wish his damage stayed at 5 beyond top dial, but he comes with an Outwit of his own (again, with 10 Range!) and an 18 Defense with both Impervious AND Energy Shield/Deflection (which is, as mentioned, uncounterable, so the only major fear he has from range is–as always–Pulse Wave).

His Experienced version keeps the 18 Defense with Imperv and ES/D, but only top click, and he loses his move-and-attack power in favor of Flurry. Now, you’ll have an extra 100 Points to play with here, but as Ronan flies, he cannot be carried by most Taxis, which locks you into having to play a TK’er. His damage drops to 4 with Perplex (instead of Outwit), and his starting Attack Value is actually LOWER than the Rookie dial’s.

Rookie Ronan is five clicks of pain. He picks up Charge, an 11 Attack (that goes to 12 on Click 2), a 17 Defense with Invincible and 3 Damage with Close Combat Expert. His last two clicks have a Damage Special that lets him use Regeneration for free. At 100 points, he has a high damage output ceiling if you can get him in close.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (1oo Point Dial)

There ya go! I hope you enjoyed this look at the back end of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set. I know I’m pumped for this movie, and I’ll enjoy playing these figures for the next couple years.

I’ll see you guys next time; until then, if you need me, I’ll be here, opening Hearthstone packs… LIKE A BOSS!!

 

Guarding the Galaxy, For Starters!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 07/20/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Another week gone by, and another blown game by Tiger’s closer Joe Nathan! Bleh. At least my Tigers salvaged the last game of their four game series against the Indians at home. They’ve just been a much less effective team at home for whatever reason, even though they’re, like, +12 on the road. Weird.

Forget Mad Max--this is what real road warriors look like.

Forget Mad Max–this is what real road warriors look like.

Still, the Tigs are well in first place, and at this point I’m expecting a nice, peaceful cruise into the Playoffs (yeah, right). Until then, however, we should probably get you caught up on the week that was in the world of Heroclix. Here, then, is…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is back once again and podcasting into their second year with Episode 53! It’s a shorter length discussion that ranges from possible punishments for Austin for missing yet another podcast to replacement Modern Age maps for the best maps that have recently rotated out!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen’s newest episode is… still Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is still Episode 22!! It features some new Tryout Commentators analyzing the Oregon ROC!!…

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-You can catch up with most of the recent ROC upcoming tourney announcements right here!

-Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

-The recent HCRealms.com contest to create ROC standard objects has come to an end! Click here for the winning Objects!

Preview

Again, no official Previews this week (Strange, considering GotG is less than a month away, no?), but check out the HCRealms.com Rumors section for some of the Gravity Feed Dials. As a lifelong Jim Starlin/Warlock and the Infinity Watch fan, the fact that the first two Gravity Feed characters are Infinity Watch-era Gamora and Drax means that this guy will be buying some GF packs!

Wizkids

Yu-Gi-Oh! Millenium

-Yu-Gi-Oh! is getting a storyline event AND a resource dial!! Good lord. Will it be any good? Does this mean that I have to start playing Yu-Gi-Oh! ?

-In case you missed it last week, there will be a 5-figure booster set next February, and it will be based on… DC’s Trinity War!! So we’ll be getting 2 DC sets in a row, and–in addition to normal Chases–there will be a new “Ultra-Chase” rarity (uh, yay?). With the set being based on Trinity War (and the Crime Syndicate), early bets on the identity of the Ultra-Chase all seem to be landing on either alt-Alfred Pennyworth or, more literally, Ultra-Man of the Crime Syndicate. There will also be TWO new Brick-Incentive Exclusive Resource Dials!! How will it all play?!

We shall see next February…

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Team Name: You Have to Stay in the Sniper’s Nest

Theme: Spy

Roster:

DP018 Blind Al – 13 Points

WXM042 Fantomex142

CATWS008 Winter Soldier – 100

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

2x Assigned Character – 6

All 5 Phoenix Fragments – 15

ATA020 X-Force (assigned to Fantomex) – 3

=291 Points

This is a simple team built around being hard to engage. Fantomex can simply stay in his Starting Zone with Blind Al and wreck face through E.V.A. while Winter Soldier snipes away from his nests. It’s really that simple; the Phoenix Force of course helps, but your goal here is to nail your opponent’s tentpoles before they ever even get to you. And if they do, you can use Blind Al to forcibly evict them!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–No big Hollywood news this week, but in a couple weeks we will have a Roundup Report on the statuses of Gotham (TV), Superman/Batman: Dawn of Justice (Film) and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)!!

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Bunch of new articles in the last two weeks since we lasted ‘Rounded Up! We took a look at which pieces in the current Modern Age could replace the Meta staples that have recently gone Golden Age, we did a review of every figure (except those in the Starter) from the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set and, finally, Ninwashui took an in-depth look at Arnim Zola armies!!

–Once again… we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

 

And that’s it for this week!! In the next few days (read: Thursday), we should finally get to the GotG Movie Starter figs (hint: it contains the best Star-Lord in the set!!) review as well as another couple Tourney Reports from WAR of Light Month 2, as that rolls at our venue tomorrow!

 

The Three Wars!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 07/13/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Annnnnnd welcome to another week of Heroclix coverage!!

We’ve been busy these last couple weeks, and we actually had some Heroclix news break recently as well! That wait is partially why you’re getting another Mid-Weekly Roundup a couple days off from the normal release. So let’s just dive right in to…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has finally released Episode 52!! Check their Podbean for details, but you can finally see the guys on YouTube in addition to downloading the audio version like normal! Congratulations to them on their first year anniversary show!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen’s newest episode is… still Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is Episode 22!! It features some new Tryout Commentators analyzing the Oregon ROC!!…


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-You can catch up with most of the recent ROC upcoming tourney announcements right here!

-The recent HCRealms.com contest to create ROC standard objects has come to an end! Click here for the winning Objects!

Preview

Again, no official Previews this week, but check out the WizKids section for some upcoming set news…

Wizkids

-There will be a 5-figure booster set next February, and it will be based on… DC’s Trinity War!! So we’ll be getting 2 DC sets in a row, and–in addition to normal Chases–there will be a new “Ultra-Chase” rarity (uh, yay?). With the set being based on Trinity War (and the Crime Syndicate), early bets on the identity of the Ultra-Chase all seem to be landing on either alt-Alfred Pennyworth or, more literally, Ultra-Man of the Crime Syndicate. There will also be TWO new Brick-Incentive Exclusive Resource Dials!! How will it all play?!

We shall see next February…


Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week, in honor of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set, we’re going to build a Ravagers team!!

"We may be the 18th team named Ravagers, but at least we're not Zombies."

“At least we’re not Zombies.”

Team Name: Blam! Murdered You!

Theme: Ravagers

Roster:

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon100 Points

GOTGM012 Yondu82

GOTGM102 Star-Lord75

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

2x Assigned Character6

All 5 Phoenix Fragments15

ATA011 Guardians of the Galaxy ATA x28

=298 Points

So, in addition to their dials (which are all awesome!!), Rocket (Magik Frag) and Yondu (Cyke Frag) will get Running Shot, Energy Explosion, Defend and +1 to Damage from the Phoenix Force (and keep in mind that Rocket can be carried by either of his teammates WITH NO PENALTY TO MOVEMENT, since he’s got Tiny Size. I’d highly recommend Yondu though, for reasons I’m about to get into.). Now let’s look at the individual dials: Rocket has a native 19 Defense, which means whoever carries him also has a 19 Defense since Defend is granted by the Phoenix Force. Also, Rocket Raccoon’s Trait (HOW ABOUT “ROCKET RACCOON AND HIS HUMAN HANGERS-ON”?: Friendly characters adjacent to Rocket Raccoon with the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ravagers keyword modify their attack values by +1.) and Damage Special (SMARTEST MAMMAL IN THE D’AST GALAXY: Rocket Raccoon can use Enhancement and Outwit.) also boost Attack and Damage by +1 for whoever’s carrying the lil’ mammal. Now let’s look at Yondu. His Trait (HIGHER GROUND: Yondu can use Energy Shield/Deflection.) gives him a 21 FREAKING DEFENSE AGAINST RANGED ATTACKS (not counting any Hindering bonuses), and his Damage Special is great, too: ONE. LITTLE. WHISTLE.: When making a ranged combat attack against a single target, modify Yondu’s attack by +2.

So, to review: Just by having Yondu carry Rocket, Yondu’s top dial when attacking one opposing character at range becomes (in addition to the fact that he now flies and has Poison) 7 Movement (w/Running Shot), 13 Attack with Precision Strike AND Three Bolt Energy Explosion, 21 Defense (at least) against ranged retaliation and 5 Damage (3 Native Damage + Rocket’s Enhancement + 1 from the Phoenix Force). Annnnnnd you still have Star-Lord waiting in the wings (and if you push him just once, Star-Lord gets Empower, Enhancement and Perplex).

The only real flaw this team has is the lack of Willpower, but if you need to take that second or third action, you can (particularly if the Phoenix Force is still on its first click and the character that’s pushing is adjacent to Rocket, since his Defend would still be tough to overcome.). This team should be a lot of fun to play AND pretty competitive!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–No big Hollywood news this week, but next week will have a Roundup Report on the statuses of Gotham (TV), Superman/Batman: Dawn of Justice (Film) and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)!!

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Bunch of new articles in the last two weeks since we lasted ‘Rounded Up! We took a look at which pieces in the current Modern Age could replace the Meta staples that have recently gone Golden Age, we did a review of every figure (except those in the Starter) from the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set and, finally, Ninwashui took an in-depth look at Arnim Zola armies!!

–Once again… we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

 

And that’s it for this week!! Look for a review of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Starter Set later this week!!

 

 

 

Team Ideas – An Army of Gwen

Idea

DP054 Arnim Zola was one of the most interesting pieces to come out in the Deadpool set. He’s got a combo of Running Shot and Pulse Wave that AVX014 Magneto showed us was really good. Except Arnim doesn’t have Magneto’s defenses, or really his offensive firepower. Wait, why do I want to play this guy again? Oh yeah it’s his Trait:

YOU CLONED WHO?!?: Give Arnim Zola a free action to place a Gwen Stacy Clone bystander token as described on this card adjacent to him on the map. If there is already 1 friendly one on the map, this is a power action instead. If there are 2 or more friendly ones, this is a double power action instead.

I prefer to think of Gwen Stacy Clones as Fembots. Groovy baby. Yeah!

I prefer to think of Gwen Stacy Clones as Fembots. Groovy baby. Yeah!

Basically this trait can let him pop out a couple of XP001 Con Artists pretty effortlessly. Except, the Gwen tokens don’t need to be pushed to get to their Perplex and they don’t give the other team points when KOed. Pretty Cool. Unfortunately, the downside is that if you have two on the board, Arnim Zola needs a double power action to make another one. Because he lacks Willpower, a double action token means pushing damage. Can you imagine if the AVM016 Red Skull was still in modern? Between their two traits. you could set up a mad science lab in your starting zone.

That brings us my first (Silver Age) team:

Little known fact: this is how Michael Jackson would have looked in another 10 years.

Why is my doomsday device filled with all these young women?

Team Name: H.D.D.D. (Hydra Doomsday Device Division)

Theme: Hydra

Roster:

DP054 Arnim Zola

AVM016 Red Skull

AVM040 Hydra Technician

AVM040 Hydra Technician

FIB003 Damaged Warbot

FIB003 Damaged Warbot

Total300 Points

That’s a total of 4 Perplexes (two Gwens, two techs), two Enhancements, a Leadership, and Outwit. That’s a lot of support. The Warbots are there to hold off the other team while you are building. Backed up by that much support they can be dangerous. If The Red Skull can finish his doomsday weapon, then the other team is in for some real trouble.

Now that team was fun, but Arnim would take pushing damage if he tried to have more than two Gwen tokens on the board at once. If you could counteract the problem of Arnim taking damage from a double power action, you could flood the board with Gwen Stacy tokens. There would be no theoretical limit. 3? 6? 12? You can keep making them in your starting area until your opponent’s team shows up to make you stop. How many Gwen Stacy Perplexers would it take to give the mugger that murdered Uncle Ben a fighting chance against Spider-Man? With Arnim Zola you can find out.

There are two ways to offset the damage Arnim takes from his double power action:

  • Granting him Willpower (Nul’s hammer, Bat belt, AVX007 Black Panther, SLOSH046 Superboy, WOL065P Parallax)
  • Healing the damage he takes (WOL061P Entity, DOFP016 Moira MacTaggert, DOFP007 Franklin Richards, IM3008 Aldrich Killian, FFBM005 Alfred Pennyworth, BM031 Alfred Pennyworth)

Sadly, using Black Talon or Tony Stark to mind control him wouldn’t work because per the rules, “A double power action can’t be given as a free action.”

So when you put these pieces together with Arnim, you get a team like this:

Sometimes his chest TV shows his face, other times it shows Game of Thrones.

Gwen Stacy will be the model T of my clone Assembly line!

Maximum Gwen

DP054 Arnim Zola

DP054 Arnim Zola

FIB003 Damaged Warbot

FIB003 Damaged Warbot

DOFP016 Moira MacTaggert

Total = 298 points

With two Armin Zola’s you can pump out an average of one Gwen a turn.  Moira is there to offset pushing damage. Unfortunately when the other team finally does come to find you, your mobility isn’t great and your primary attackers have only on click of running shot and no willpower. If you have a lot of Gwen tokens out, you should have a shot at taking down anyone. Good luck.

For  a team I might consider taking to a tournament try this one:

For the glory of Wakanda we shall crush our foes with an army young women!

“Though I was loathe to employ someone as nefarious as Arnim Zola, I am proud to report that he has secured the future of Wakanda by creating an army of high school girls!”

Arnim Zola, friend of Wakanda

DP054 Arnim Zola

AVX007 Black Panther

M10A004 Green Goblin

Total = 300 Points

Green Goblin can carry Arnim Zola around and help you avoid the other team a little longer. The longer you avoid them the more Gwens you have. With enough Perplex Green Goblin makes an awesome primary attacker. Perplex his attack by +3 and there is nothing he can’t hit. Perplex his damage by +3 and there will be not much left of whatever he does hit.

Good luck with your Arnim team, and, as always, may the Gwen be with you

Good luck with your Arnim team, and, as always, may the Gwen be with you

 

You’re Welcome!! (Or, A Look at the Best Pieces from the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set!!)

GotG Title

Welcome back!

Today we’re taking a big look at the recent Guardians of the Galaxy Movie set that just released last week. Before we being, to get you in the right mood, let’s take a look at the poster for the movie:

This is how a movie poster is supposed to look if you want people to want to see the movie. Now, if you would rather have your stars look like they're on the cover of a Betamax Porky's rip-off from the 80's, then you could just throw them in front of your movie's logo set against a boring black background. I'm looking at you, Sex Tape.

This is how a movie poster is supposed to look if you want people to actually see the movie. Now, if you would rather have your stars look like they’re on the cover of a Betamax Porky’s rip-off from the mid-80’s, then by all means you should throw them in front of your movie’s crappy logo and set it all against a boring black background. I’m looking at you, Sex Tape.

Yup! These are our heroes! To see the just-dropped extended trailer, click right here!

Now that everyone’s caught up on where these pieces came from, let’s take a look at the figures themselves (EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re skipping the Starter Set for today–it’ll take us 4000+ words just to get through the Main Set! Look for a Starter Set review next week.)!!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As promised, you can find the Starter Review right HERE!!)

We’ll go right in order, and at the end of each figure review we’ll grade each piece on a scale of 1-5 Oxygen Filtration Masks!!

 

"I make this look good."

“I make this look good.”

GOTGM001 Star-Lord – 95 Points – Common: A tricksy dial that has move-and-attack powers throughout, depending on how you choose to move. Confusing? Sort of, but it kind of captures the character, I think. His Trait (OXYGEN FILTRATION MASK: Star-Lord ignores damage dealt by Poison.) becomes a bit more interesting in a world where Despotellis is a thing, but his top dial Leadership is almost wasted unless your playing a couple of Guardians from the Movie Starter (more on them later) at their Rookie point level. That he possesses the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ravagers AND Soldier keywords is a definite plus.

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this version of Peter Quill actually HAS a Trait called “Oxygen Filtration Mask,” his grade was bumped up by a 1/2 Filtration Mask.)

 

Movie Gamora

GOTGM002 Gamora73 Points – Common: Three Traits on a 73 Point figure! Yay! At least, “yay,” you know, until you actually read them. She starts with a great Improved Movement Trait (DEADLIEST WARRIOR IN THE GALAXY: Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain, May move through squares adjacent to opposing characters, but still needs to break away normally.) that’s immediately undone by the fact that her only native move-and-attack power is Sidestep, which alternates through her dial with Flurry. If you can get her hooked up with a Hammer or the Phoenix Force to provide her with Charge, then this dial starts to become very interesting. Her second Trait (SIBLING RIVALRY: When Gamora attacks an opposing character named Nebula, modify Gamora’s attack and damage values by +1. Opposing characters named Nebula can’t use Shape Change.) will never, ever come into play, because as colossally Meh as this Gamora is, Nebula is even worse. Her final Trait (WORKING BOTH SIDES: When a hindered line of fire is drawn to Gamora, she modifies her defense value by +2 instead of +1.) is moderately useful in keeping her alive against ranged attackers long enough to base them for an attack if you can find the right approach. Still, without any Charge, that’s gonna be a long hike. Now, if any of her Blades/Claws/Fangs slots matched up with her Flurry slots, I’d like her a lot more. Heh. Looking back on what I just wrote, I think I used the word “if” roughly 3021 times. Which probably means that as she stands, she needs A LOT of help to be effective.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Nova Corpsman

GOTGM003 Nova Corpsman45 Points – Common: A bit expensive for their base stats, but on a Nova Corps team(for Magic: The Gathering fans, Nova Corps teams basically work like Sliver decks) , what they add to the Worldmind (SHARE THROUGH THE WORLDMIND: Friendly characters with the Nova Corps keyword and occupying hindering terrain modify their attack and range values by +1 unless already modified by this effect.) make these guys well worth it. Let’s do a quick Flash Build with ’em!

Team Name: Ain’t Nova But a Thing

Theme: None

Roster:

WOL053 Swamp Thing – 150 Points

GOTGM003 Nova Corpsman – 45

GOTGM014 Rhomann Dey – 75

R100C Power Plant – 30

=300 Points

White Lantern Swamp Thing is an awesome new piece from War of Light. Alongside his great stats and specials, his Trait (RESTORE THE GREEN: Give Swamp Thing a move action, after actions resolve, you may place hindering terrain markers in any clear squares he moved through and he may make a close combat attack targeting one opposing character occupying a hindering terrain marker Swamp Thing just placed. These markers aren’t removed when Swamp Thing is KO’d.) provides just what Nova Corpsman and Rhomann Dey need to gain the Corpsman’s Worldmind benefit, and mid-dial, Swamp Thing can also use those Hindering Terrain markers to keep the others alive with his Damage Special (RESURRECT THE FALLEN: When a friendly character within range and occupying hindering terrain would be KO’d, roll a d6. On a result of 5, instead click them to their last non-KO click, heal them 1 click, and they are now assigned 1 action token. On a result of 6, instead click them to their last non-KO click, heal them 2 clicks, and remove all action tokens they are assigned.). And if Dey does fall, Swamp Thing gets to join the Nova Corps and gains access to the Worldmind! This team won’t win you any tournaments, but it should be pretty fun to play.

There usefulness is pretty narrow, but if you intend on playing Nova Corps teams, either Modern or Golden Age, your gonna want a few of these guys.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Officers

GOTGM004 Nova Corps Officer 55 – Common: For 10 more points, you get a Trait that’s not nearly as good as the Officer’s subordinate (SHARE THROUGH THE WORLDMIND: Friendly characters with the Nova Corps keyword can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Friendly Characters) and a mid-dial Movement Special (PULL BACK!: Nova Corps Officer and adjacent friendly characters not on their first click and of a lower point value can use Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain.) that kind of lets you move you cheap characters around the board a little easier IF THEY’RE ALREADY HURT! Uh… thanks?

On second thought, no thanks.

GRADE: 1 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Rocket with gun

GOTGM005 Rocket Raccoon90 Points – Common: The breakout character from the movie is also going to be the breakout character from this set. All three versions of Rocket are pretty damn good. This particular Rocket is a straight nuisance from range with his Tiny Size (even if your attacker can see through Hindering, you’re gonna have to hit a 19 at least to touch him–and that’s assuming he’s using his Tactical Genius granted Perplex on Attack values), and with a 17 Defense base stat plus his Evasive Special (EVASIVE: When Rocket Raccoon is targeted with an attack, roll a d6 and subtract 3 (minimum 1). Increase his defense value by the result.), he’s not much easier to deal with up close, either. His damage dealing is fair to above average, and he’s best engaged with a heavy hitter who can deal 5 damage in one shot (cuz chances are you’re not hitting him twice unless you have Precision Strike or can get him in range of a full damage Pulse Wave–especially if he gets to click 4, where even if you somehow hit a 17-18 from range, you still have to get through Shape Change AND Super Senses. As always, let’s check in with Jerry Seinfeld to see if he has any thoughts on trying to hit Rocket with all those defensive abilities we just talked about:

Seinfeld Good Luck

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (Highest grade so far! Silly Raccoon!)

 

Sakaaran Soldiers

GOTGM006 Sakaaran Soldier49 Points – Common: Let’s see… Dolphin Movement Symbol and Stealth. Um, okay. That’s solid I guess. 10 Attack with 3 damage top dial is not terrible for 49 Points, and they have the Minions of Thanos and Soldier keywords to go with the (so far at least) completely useless Sakaaran keyword. Their attack from the grave Trait sounds fun (UPON MY DEATH: DESTRUCTION: When Sakaaran Soldier is KO’d, before removing him from the map and even if he is adjacent to an opposing character, make a ranged combat attack with a locked attack value of 9 that can’t be rerolled. The area of effect for this attack is all opposing characters within 4 squares and each hit character is dealt 1 penetrating damage.), as it’s basically a free mini-Pulse Wave, but remember that you’re making that attack with a 9 Attack Value. Not the easiest thing in the world to do, but hey, if you roll a Critical Miss, you won’t have to worry about damaging your figure, since, y’know, they’ll be dead anyway.

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Wait, "Sakaaran Commander," or "Cobra Commander?" I'm confused...

Wait, “Sakaaran Commander,” or “Cobra Commander?” I’m confused…

GOTGM007 Sakaaran Commander74 Points – Common: This is a weird dial. He has Leadership (but only for adjacent characters that share a keyword with him like Minions of Thanos), his mere presence gives friendly Sakaaran Soldiers Running Shot, and he also comes with top dial Enhancement. Yes, WizKids finally designed a support figure that costs more than the attacker its meant to support! 74 Points is too much to pay for a guy you’re only using to prop up 49 point secondary attackers.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Ronan

GOTGM008 Ronan the Accuser275/200/150 Points – Common: The biggest beast in the set! That 275 Point dial is almost begging to be put together with an Entity (Parallax would probably work best, especially on Click 2), but keep in mind that Ronan inexplicably DOESN’T have the Cosmic keyword, so using an Entity with him would break Theme. I like his Veteran and Rookie dials the best; His 200 Point dial just doesn’t have enough “beef.” 3 damage? Pen/Psy or no, that’s not enough for a 200 Pointer. His Rookie dial gives you almost exactly what his 200 Point dial does, except it does it for 50 less points. His starting Defense goes down one, but to be honest, I’d rather have a 17 Invincible instead of an 18 Impervious any day of the week.

GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (275 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)

 

Groot 1

GOTGM009 Groot198/90 Points – Core Hobby Rare: A close combat/tie-up nightmare, Groot is a fun character who unfortunately is extremely over-costed for what he does. At 198 Points, Groot is almost certainly going to be your primary attacker, and with an Attack Value that never bests 10 (save for 1 Click), that’s going to be an uphill climb. His Defense Special (I… AM…: When turning the dial, if this click is revealed due to damage taken from an opponent’s attack, stop turning the dial. Groot has Tiny Symbol, can’t be targeted by ranged combat attacks, and is considered smaller than all other characters. If Groot occupies water terrain or your starting area, you may give him a double power action and heal him of 3 damage. This power can’t be ignored.) is one of the best Stop Clicks in the game (can’t even be targeted by ranged attacks? Good Lord!), but his Damage Special is merely good, not great (since he just has the default Outwit Range of 6).

His Rookie dial is much more reasonably costed, and he can still blow up Blocking Terrain (Barrier buster) and tie opposing figures up very well. Plus, he starts with Invincible! He has an even lower Attack Value, but that’s much more easily overcome at 90 Points versus 198.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (198 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (90)

 

Nebula Movie

GOTGM010 Nebula73 Points – Core Hobby Rare: Ugh. No move-and-attack and a Trait that’s useless (SIBLING RIVALRY: When Nebula attacks a character named Gamora, Nebula modifies her attack and damage values by +1. Opposing characters named Gamora can’t use Combat Reflexes.) unless your opponent is specifically playing Gamora. No reducers–just regular Mastermind, which means a character under 73 Points will have to tag along wherever she goes. Of course, chances are high that whatever fodder you choose to tag along with Nebula will be a better piece, so you probably won’t want to transfer damage off of Nebula anyway. Decent Attack Value, but when you consider how hard you’ll have to work just to get her based with someone (remember–outside of some down dial Sidesteop, no native move-and-attack!), it hardly seems worth it when she’s only doing 2-3 Damage before any reducers. No Blades/Claws/Fangs, which seems weird if you’ve seen her big moment in the trailer. Unless you are completely beholden to a Minions of Thanos movie Theme Team (and even then, you should still play GOTGM002 Gamora over Nebula, since Gamora has–SPOILER ALERT!–the Minions of Thanos keyword), stay away. Stay far, far away.

GRADE: 1 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (This hurts, since I’m a big Karen Gillan from her time on Doctor Who. But her agent clearly forgot to demand a decent Clix version of her character…)

 

"I'm not going to be ignored, Peter Quill."

“I’m not going to be ignored, Peter Quill.”

 GOTGM011 Irani Rael 60 Points – Core Hobby Rare: Glenn Close’s Alter Ego is the Maria Hill of Nova Corps teams. She’s very fragile and will just about never deal any damage. She basically stays in your starting area and offers an alternating Perplex or Outwit that she can use counting Range and Line of Fire from any friendly Nova Corps piece. That ability plus her dial is not worth 60 Points, but when you factor in what she brings to the Worldmind (SHARE THROUGH THE WORLDMIND: Friendly characters with the Nova Corps keyword ignore knock back and modify their defense values by +1.), she becomes a much better deal. I’d love her if she was 45 Points; 60 is a LOT to spend on a figure that will never deal any damage under any circumstances. Still, she is the best supporting figure option for Nova teams right now.

(On a side note, how great is this cast? John C. Reilly and Glenn Close as supporting Nova Corps characters? Lee Pace, Karen Gillan and Djimon Hounsou as the villains? Djimon Hounsou’s been nominated for an Oscar! Benecio Del Toro doing weird Benecio Del Toro things as the Collector? Michael Rooker as Blue Michael Rooker? And then you have your main cast, which includes Vin Diesel and 2-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper as supporting characters! Even Peter Serafinowicz (the “What a bunch of A-holes.” Nova Corps Officer from the first trailer) has been in a TON of stuff! I can’t wait for this movie!)

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Yondu Michael Rooker

GOTGM012 Yondu82 Points – Core Hobby Rare: The best Core Hobby Rare, Yondu is kind of like Chaos War Hawkeye-lite. His Keywords aren’t as good (although Ravagers is kind of a sneaky good one), and he’s got a 6 Range instead of 9, but top dial, he can Running Shot for 3 with a Damage Special (ONE. LITTLE. WHISTLE.: When making a ranged combat attack against a single target, modify Yondu’s attack by +2.) that can pump his Attack Value up to 12! Down dial, he has Energy Explosion to go with his 3 BOLTS! With the right support, he can become quite the death dealer.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Drax the Destroyer Dave Batista

GOTGM013 Drax the Destroyer94 Points – Mass Market Exclusive Rare: A close combat nightmare without the shortcomings that hobbled Groot. Top dial, Drax features Charge, Flurry, Precision Strike, 18 Defense with Toughness and 3 Damage with Battle Fury. He also gets to choose an opposing figure at the beginning of the game and gets +1 while attacking that figure up close (which pumps his Attack Value to 12!). He even has a small Range of 3, which isn’t much, but isn’t 0 either. In one of the weirder Defense Specials I’ve ever seen, Drax has a chance to have 3 Stop Clicks (THERE WAS NOBODY IN IT I WANTED TO SEE: When this click is revealed while taking damage from an attack, roll a d6 and on a result of 5-6, stop turning the dial. Drax the Destroyer can use Regeneration and, if he has one or more action tokens, he can use it as a free action.) that also allows him to use Regeneration for free in certain circumstances.

In a world where Brother Voodoo and other Mind Controllers still run rampant, Drax should be able to carve out a meaningful place. The only thing holding him back is the lack of Indomitable or any Improved Movement, but something like the latter can quickly be fixed with Hammers or Phoenix Force Shards. Well worth his points.

GRADE: 3 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"PRESTIGE WORLDWIDE!!"

“PRESTIGE WORLDWIDE!!”

GOTGM014 Rhomann Dey75 Points – Mass Market Exclusive Rare: A perfectly average Nova Corps member, there are two things that stand out on Rhomann Dey. First, his keywords. He’s rocking Nova Corps, Cosmic (which is always very interesting in an environment with Entities) and Soldier. Second is his Trait (PASSING THE TORCH: When Rhomann Dey is KO’d, choose a friendly character for the rest of the game, that character can use Toughness, has a minimum range value of 6, and has the Nova Corps keyword.). Basically, if he dies, he becomes a bridge to inducting another figure into the Nova Corps, which is really only meaningful if you’re playing enough Nova Corps pieces to make granting access to the Worldmind worth it. Since he’s a Soldier (as are most of his brethren), you can include any piece with the Soldier keyword and pump them up mid-game if that’s the mechanic you’ve constructed your team around.

Having said that, banking on a strategy that includes one of your major pieces dying is almost never reliable–or a good idea. So while Rhomann’s Trait is intriguing, he really stands or falls based on his dial, which is… perfectly average, as I mentioned above. Two Bolt Energy Explosion is almost always useful (even with just a 6 Range), he has top dial Stealth and 3 Damage. Again, no Improved Movement or Targeting (unless you’re running him with other Nova Corps members who can share those powers through the Worldmind), so Stealth may not always be useful. I just have a sinking suspicion that Rhomann is another one of those pieces who will always SEEM more useful than he really is.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"Who?!"

“Who?!”

GOTGM015 Korath the Pursuer100/50 Points – Mass Market Exclusive Rare: Finally, another Kree–although Korath isn’t blue like his brethren. Then again, their Supreme Intelligence is a giant green, blobby face, so it’s probably fictionally racist of me to assume that all Kree would be blue. Regardless, Korath here comes with a split dial that’ll either cost you 100 or 50 Points. His 50 Point dial is fine, but with only three clicks and a 16 Defense with Toughness, he’s not going to last long once the shooting starts. Most short dials like this are support pieces; Korath is still a secondary attacker at this point, so his dial doesn’t necessarily match his role. He’s really only useful here if you need a cheap(-ish) Outwitter for your Kree or Minions of Thanos team. Otherwise, stick to his 100 Point dial, which is much more worthwhile.

At 100 Points, Korath gets a really cool Trait (PURSUER TEMPLATES: During the beginning of the game, choose an opposing character. If that character moved and made an attack since your last turn, give Korath the Pursuer a free action and place him in a square adjacent to that character.), an Attack Special Power (AUGMENTED CYBERNETICS: Give Korath the Pursuer a power action and place an adjacent standard object on his card. Modify Korath the Pursuer’s attack and defense value by +1 for each of these objects on his card. When this power is lost, any objects on his card are removed from the game. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) and a Damage Special (SUBDUE THE TARGET: Korath the Pursuer can use Energy Explosion, Force Blast and Incapacitate.). All of which is to say, you can fairly easily get his Attack Value to 11 or 12 and his Defense to 18 or 19. Then, when you’re ready, you can unleash him on the target you chose for his Trait at the beginning of the game. Depending on the map you’re playing on, you’ll then have all sorts of options via that Damage Special. Is your quarry on Elevated Terrain? Force Blast him off! Is he a big’un with a lot of reducers? Incapacitate him! Does he have a Defense-ball going? Energy Explode it with your Augmented Attack Value! Korath is a versatile piece that requires patience and planning to play effectively, but he’s also a piece that can really punch above his weight class.

 GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (100 Point Dial); 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (50 Point Dial)

 

The Collector Del Toro

GOTGM016 The Collector150 Points – Mass Market Exclusive Rare: Finally, a figure with Power Cosmic! And a new Victory Condition Trait (I MUST POSSESS IT: During the beginning of the game, after characters have been placed, 1 Collectible token per 100 points of the game’s build total will be placed on the map. Each Collectible must be at least 3 squares away from each other and any starting area. An opponent places half of the Collectibles and you place the remainder. When a character occupies a square with a Collectible, give it a power action, roll a d6, and on a result of 4-6, place the Collectible on its card. If that character is KO’d, return each Collectible into a distinct adjacent square. When all friendly Collectibles are on friendly characters’ cards and those characters occupy your starting area, give the Collector a double power action and all opposing characters are KO’d.)!

That Trait is bonkers, but the Collector’s dial is pretty good for 150 Points. His un-Outwittable Phasing will help if you’re actually trying to collect the tokens, but he can also hold his own in a fight. 18 Invincible (which, again, can’t be countered because of his Power Cosmic TA) is a tough top dial nut to crack! His damage hovers between 3 and 4 for 2/3 of his dial, and the Collectible Token gimmick is just strange enough to distract an opponent from your real strategy, which should still be to wipe his characters off the board. Because the Collector is Cosmic, he’s also Theme Team-able with an Entity. And if all else fails, you can play him with characters who move freely like Despotellis or–in Silver/Golden Age games–Astral Dr. Strange and actually make a run for the Tokens. The point is, at a cost of only 150, you have plenty of options to fill out the rest of your team.

This is a cool addition to the game who scores highly just based on creativity alone!

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (We have a new leader, ladies and gentlemen!)

 

Star-Lord Gif

GOTGM017 Star-Lord 150 Points – Core Hobby Chase: The first Chase! Yay! I just wish… he was better. I like the sculpt (the only Star-Lord that really features Chris Pratt’s likeness), and Running Shot, 11 Attack with Sharpshooter and Energy Explosion (with 7 Range and Two Bolts) is all good. He’s one of the few figures in the set with Indomitable, he’s got an 18 Defense with Invulnerability top dial, and down dial, his Movement Special (ALL-OUT: Star-Lord can use Running Shot. Once per game when he does, modify his combat values by +2 until actions resolve and then deal him 1 unavoidable damage.) could help turn the tide late in the game if things aren’t going your way or provide that last killshot you need to finish off an opposing figure. And if you push him too far with that and leave him vulnerable, his Trait (SCREAM RIGHT BACK IN HIS FACE: When Star-Lord is KO’d due to an opposing character’s attack, deal that character 2 unavoidable damage.) might take his target with him. Finally, his Damage Special (BURST FIRE: When you make a ranged combat attack that deals damage, you may choose to deal Star-Lord’s printed damage value to hit targets instead of normal damage.) is GREAT… it’s just too bad he doesn’t get it ’til he’s down dial.

All in all though, this feels like a 130 Point dial; at 150, I don’t know if there’s enough room to surround him with what he needs to be effective. A decent Primary Attacker, but that’s about it. Might be more effective in higher point games.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Rocket Raccoon Gif

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon100 Points – Mass Market Exclusive Chase: 4 Clicks, all of which are awesome. Top dial, the little guy with the big gun gets: Improved Movement (Hindering and Elevated); 8 Movement with Running Shot; 11 Attack with Energy Explosion (with 7 Range and Two Bolts); 19 Defense (19!!) with Super Senses and Tiny Size (which means he’s a minimum 20 if you’re trying to snipe him!); and 3 native Damage with Outwit and Enhancement. His Trait (HOW ABOUT “ROCKET RACCOON AND HIS HUMAN HANGERS-ON”?: Friendly characters adjacent to Rocket Raccoon with the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ravagers keyword modify their attack values by +1.) also lets like-keyworded teammates pump up their Attack Values.

What we have here then is a support piece that makes a very effective secondary attacker. I mean, outside of Despotellis, Rocket doesn’t have a lot of natural predators. I’ve seen some chatter from peeps worrying about his short dial, but man, you still have to hit him first. Considering all that, I’d have to say that this… is the marquee piece in the set!

GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks (Yes!! We have our dramatically timed winner for Best Figure in the Set!!)

 

There ya go! Join us next week for a discussion of the Starter Set!

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

Modern Is the New Silver!! (Or, The Best Replacement Figures for Recently Retired Meta Staples!!)

For some pieces, it's just time to retire...

For some pieces, it’s just time to retire…

So, WizKids announced recently that they will be rotating (read: RETIRING) a whole chunk of recent sets from being Modern Age eligible. Why? For starters, they do it to promote the idea that we who play Heroclix need to keep buying new Clix products to compete in Modern Age games (although getting us to buy new Clix hasn’t been much of an issue so far, I’d wager…), and two, they need to keep new pieces away from unintended and possibly Meta-breaking interactions with older figures. Okay, there’s waaaay more reasons than that, but those are two big ones. Two other reasons, however, are a little bit more subtle.

Before we get into the meat of this article (the figure comparisons), we need some context, so we’re going to look at game design for just a few paragraphs here. Now, every time a game like Heroclix releases new products, it evolves just a little bit. And it does so in two interesting ways. First, collectible games of all types–if they stick around long enough–all go through phases where they deal with “Power Creep,” where each successive set release brings with it elements which, on average, are slightly more powerful than those released in the previous set or expansion, which in turn was just a little more powerful than its predecessor, and so on. For example, you can compare almost any Modern Age figure with a similar figure from Infinity Challenge, the first ever set, and see that things have changed drastically. Back then, an Attack Value of 8 was a fairly common top dial stat. Now, 8 AV’s are reserved for the deep end of cheap support figure dials. And so on and so on.

This should explain everything...

This should explain everything.

Power Creep is just a natural by-product of game designers trying new and different things with the intention of making their game better with each release. The very much missed WoW TCG from Cryptozoic was constantly dealing with Power Creep, and at one point they actively made it known that they were consciously lowering the power of Quests (a card type that’s kinda like Lands in Magic) in future sets because that particular card type had crept to absurdly powerful levels at that point in the game’s life cycle.

Sometimes, the opposite can also be true. Occasionally, the designers look back at some of the early cards/figures/whatever and realize that they drastically under costed certain tropes in the past. They may like a certain mechanic or effect of a particular piece, but there not about to reprint it as is, since they now know its effects to cost ratio is to high as is. To solve this, the designers basically create a new version of that element that contains almost the exact same effect yet costs slightly more to play. I call this “Cost Correction.” Magic: The Gathering is constantly doing this.

One of the famous early examples of Cost Correction in gaming was when Magic’s R&D department took a look at many of the staples from the early Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Revised era as they started preparing a rotating block of “Core” sets from which players could draw familiar cards to combine with the current expansion set inventory to create Type II (read “Modern Age”) decks. The folks in charge of balancing the game quickly decided that a card like Lightning Bolt, for example, was too powerful (3 Red Damage for 1 Red Mana) to stay in the Type II environment, so it was replaced with the Ice Age common Incinerate (3 Damage and the prevention of Regeneration for 1 Red Mana and 1 Colorless Mana) by the time Magic published its “Fifth Edition.”

Great...

This is great…

... but just about as good!

… but this is still pretty damn good!

This was awesome, because it allowed the folks in charge of Magic to fix an under costed staple (quick Red damage dealing) with something that would still effectively to the job for a little more cost. Incinerate was still a great card and was widely adopted. Problem solved (well, until it was deemed that Incinerate was too good, and it was replaced with a different staple, and so it goes).

The savvy tournament players in Magic weren’t just the players who came up with “killer combos” by exploiting certain card interactions; they were actually usually the ones who could spot both the Power Creep cards AND the Cost Correction cards that were still extremely efficient for their cost. See, a lot of times, players can smell Cost Correction pieces a mile away, and they don’t want any part of them. Incinerate wasn’t universally accepted when Fifth Edition rolled around.

Sometimes they’re right; but sometimes, the Cost Correction version of something is still really powerful and should still be used regardless of the cost.

"Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o' lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if'n ya had a Mana Flare, ya got change!!"

“Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o’ lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if’n ya had a Mana Flare out, ya got change!!”

Okay! Enough amateur game theory lecture! Let’s apply our discussion to Heroclix! We’re going to be looking at some of the retiring staples and theorize about which–if any–Modern Age piece can take the place of the retiring figure. Then after we review the replacement candidate, we’ll decide if the new figure is better than its forebear (Power Creep), worse (Cost Correction) or about the same (uh… Static?).

SUPERMAN:

"Fly away, Superman. Fly free."

“Fly away, Superman. Fly free.”

SM001R Superman150 PointsCommon: Supes was a Meta staple waaaay back in the Dark Ages of 2011, because his base stats and mix of powers were so great. Flight, 9 Movement with Hypersonic, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 17 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage with Outwit. One of the all-time great top clicks, especially for a Common 150 piece! Superman Team Ability means he can see through Stealth, too. Bonus! His keywords are quite pedestrian by today’s standards (no JLA?), but there was a time when Scientist teams were a thing!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM001AE Iron Man150 Points – Common: Hmmm, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Flight, 9 Movement, 11 Attack, 17 Defense and 4 Damage with Outwit! His move-and-attack ability is Running Shot where Supes had Hypersonic; I’ll actually take Iron Man’s Precision Strike over Supes’s Super Strength, but whatever. You’re mileage may vary. Finally, Iron Man has Invuln where Supes has Impervious. But Iron Man can see through Hindering Terrain AND Blocking Terrain; Supes’s X-Ray vision doesn’t work on walls like Tony’s Thermal Imaging Array does, so Mr. Stark can get up to all sorts of see-through shenanigans. Kind of a bummer for Superman. Iron Man also has much better keywords (Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Scientist, Armor and Stark Industries are all great) and he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, so he can help your support guys do damage in a pinch as well. With resources and Entities, Iron Man here gets pretty filthy pretty fast….

 The Verdict: A Static replacement that features just a tiny touch of Power Creep. The Meta has become much more sophisticated since Supes was a major player, but Iron Man 001 is just as good; maybe even a lil’ better!

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

SM035 Magog172 Points – Rare: A close combat beatstick who turns into a mid-dial mid-range sniper and a back dial healer (how’s that for a powers mix?), Magog left team builders enough points to still be an effective Primary Attacker; his lack of Willpower wasn’t great, but his Trait (EXCESSIVE FORCE: Once per turn, when Magog KO’s an opposing character, after actions resolve Magog may take one action as a free action.) meant that his teams were very tough to out-action, particularly if opposing teams ran several small support figures or Bystander tokens that Magog could snipe in one shot.

Replacement Candidate:

DP057 Tiamat 255 Points – Super Rare: Tiamat cannot be stopped. He cannot be reasoned with. He’s a double-based son of a gun whose extra-action Trait (CHAMPION AND STEED: Once per turn, when an opposing character has taken damage from his attack, give Tiamat any action as a free action. When you do, after action resolve, remove an action token from Tiamat.) is as good as any they’ve ever made. With Power Cosmic, he’s all but impossible to Outwit, too, so the opposition will have to chew through his 4 clicks of Invincible–if they’re able to hit his 18 Defense!

The Verdict: Even with the dramatic increase in cost, there’s still some Power Creep going on with Tiamat. His Trait is just sick. Like Magog though, this is still more of a fringe Meta piece. But he’s a lot of fun to field.

An old movie poster for the 70's exploitation flick "Black Adam... White Lighting!"

An old movie poster for the 70’s exploitation flick “Black Adam… White Lighting!”

SM054E Black Adam – 200 Points – Super Rare: An out and out beast, Black Adam was nigh unstoppable. He had no Range, but he made up for that with a ridiculous Charge Special that let him move up to 10 spaces for a close combat attack, and when he lost that, he gained Hypersonic Speed! Not a bad backup plan! 18 Defense with a Special that lets him reduce 3 damage with his Imperious instead of 2 and an end 0f dial Regeneration that does 1 Penetrating damage to adjacent opposing figures!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM041BE Hyperion – 200 Points – Prime Super Rare: Top dial Hypersonic, same Attack (11) as Black Adam only with Precision Strike, 18 Defense with merely Invuln and 4 Damage instead of Black Adam’s 5. Also his keywords are fine (Avengers is very useful, Squadron Supreme is useless, as the only other Modern Ager with that keyword is also Prime), but Black Adam’s are great. Having said all that, Hyperion has two things going for him that Black Adam doesn’t. Power Cosmic TA and 8 Range! Also, Hyperion picks up almost every good Improved Targeting ability in the game on his second click, which actually makes the Marvel man more versatile than the heavy duty dude who sometimes runs with Captain Marvel.

The Verdict: Again, a fairly Static replacement with a hint of Power Creep. What you lose in top end damage, you more than make up for with the 8 Range and Power Cosmic TA. The Improved Targeting shenanigans are where the Power Creep creeps in.

INCREDIBLE HULK:

Now that... is a creeper 'stache.

Now that… is a creeper ‘stache!

IH102 Major Glenn Talbot33 Points – LE: The good Major here powered up Soldier teams for the last couple of years. His top dial Enhancement for only 33 Points was a bigger deal pre-Fear Itself (Splitlip now gives you top dial Enhancement for a measly 20 #$#@ing points), but even post-FI, if you wanted to play a Soldier Theme Team and you wanted a top dial Enhancer, he was still your best option. The S.H.I.E.L.D. TA he carries also has proven to be quite useful in a pinch, and if you play him on the right team, his Mastermind top dial will keep him around for a while longer than he should.

Replacement Candidate:

DP204 Secret Empire Number 9 35 Points – Common (Gravity Feed): Stop laughing! This robed menace is the real deal, and one of the best figs in the Deadpool Gravity Feed assortment. Everyone so far has focused on the fact that he has the Secret Empire keyword, and how useless that is. Well, they’re right. You can’t do much with that. But look at his SECOND KEYWORD–that’s right, it’s “Soldier!” Which means you have your Soldier Theme Team support figure back–and he can even do some damage of him own if you get into trouble. A 9 Attack isn’t great, but Penetrating/Psychic Blast means that his two damage will get through. And while he has no S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, he does have the Hydra TA, which is almost as useful for ranged attacks.

The Verdict: Even at three more points, I’m still gonna classify SE#9 as a Power Creeper! He just gives you more bang for your buck, and you still have the one keyword you need to keep it Theme!

GALACTIC GUARDIANS:

Noted Detroit Pistons fan Mole Man watching the NBA Draft Lottery last month...

Noted Prince Oberyn Martell fan Mole Man immediately after watching the Trial By Combat scene on his DVR from the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

GG026 Mole Man47 Points – Uncommon: Now, you want to talk about a Meta staple? Here is a Meta STAPLE!! Hans Moleman here was the engine that powered the Shuma-Gorath monstrosities that ruled the ROC for awhile at the end of last year and early this year. How important was his souped-up, I-can-Mind-Control-a-friendly-Monster Special Power? So important that everyone’s predicting the end of Shuma as a viable Meta piece, simply because Mole Man’s going Golden Age, which would imply that Mole Man was doing the heavy lifting all along. The fact that he was a top dial Outwitter and had some close combat applications down dial was just icing on the cake.

Replacement Candidate:

DP043 Black Talon 60 Points – Rare: There really wasn’t a replacement candidate until Deadpool was released. Black Talon allows you to Mind Control a friendly character from up to 8 squares away, and he also lets you Mind Control opposing figures that have already been KO’d! Still… his keywords are incongruent with most of the teams with which you’d like to play him. I mean, Masters of Evil is okay, and Mystical has slipped a lil’ bit but is certainly still viable, but that’s it for useful keywords, unless you’re looking to dominate the Meta with a Lethal Legion team. And hey, if you are, good luck to you. Here’s the last guy to try that at a big tournament:

It takes a special kind of crazy to run Lethal Legion at a ROC...

It takes a special kind of crazy to run a Lethal Legion at a ROC…

The Verdict: This is a Cost Correction piece. But it’s a First Generation Cost Correction piece; you could argue that WizKids still is not valuing the ability to Mind Control your own characters highly enough (in one of the early episodes of The Quarry, one high level player who was an early Mole Man/Shuma adopter said that after playtesting those two together with his friends, they all came to the conclusion that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters–even with a keyword restriction–should not appear on pieces less than, like, 100 or 125 Points. Thus, Black Talon is still extremely good and he’s definitely Meta-worthy. He’s just not as balls to the wall insane as Mole Man. Jumping from 47 to 60 may not seem like much, but that 13 Point hike could possibly cost you the space you need for a resource or the exact right support piece. That’s another reason it was so key for Mole Man to be under 50 Points. He left you plenty of room to get creative–or to run a full Booklip, if you didn’t care about Theme. Black Talon, not so much…

 CHAOS WAR:

"Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you."

“Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you.”

CW039 Hawkeye98 Points – Rare: This is one of the most discussed pieces in the history of Critical Missives (NINWASHUI NOTE: Iron Pharaoh would beg to differ.), but we’re gonna have to talk about him at least one more time! His top dial 12 Attack with an INSANE 9 Range w/ 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Wildcard TA (and Thunderbolts keyword, which means that between the two you can give him almost any TA in the game), Stealth and Running Shot and 3 Damage with Leadership. If this dial cost 130 Points, it’d be worth it. He costs 98!! Insane. Great keywords (Thunderbolts, Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. with GLA just thrown in for fun). Just stupidly good.

Replacement Candidate:

DP036 Bullseye110 Points – Rare: Right down to rarity, Bullseye is almost a clone of that silly Hawkeye piece. Running Shot with 8 Range and 3 Bolts, 12 Attack with Precision Strike instead of Sharpshooter, 17 Defense with Combat Reflexes instead of Willpower, 3 Damage with Probability Control instead of Leadership (I’ll take that deal everyday!) and some okay keywords (Thunderbolts, Assassin) mean Bullseye is gonna show up in the Meta SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!! Oh, and his Improved Targeting: The Phone Book makes it really hard to hide from him…

The Verdict: Even with all the goodness on Bullseye’s dial, this is a Cost Correction dial. Just 12 Points more than Hawkeye, but you also lose the Avengers keyword, the Spidey (Wildcard) TA and 1 Range. I think WizKids knows that they undervalued that Hawkeye by a significant amount. Bullseye they only underestimated by a less significant amount. Which, as always, means you should play Bullseye as much as you can.

FAST FORCES: CHAOS WAR:

"Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you're happy."

“Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you’re happy.”

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): You know what she does; Mystics TA, Pen/Psy, Barrier, Perplex and Prob Control with an 8 Range. With Avengers and Mystical keywords (among others). One of the most used figures in ROC history, I’m sure.

Replacement Candidate:

FFDP006R Mercy50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): 7 Range, Wing Symbol (so she can Carry!) with Phasing, TK, Barrier and Prob top dial with Support on her second click. Her lone keyword (Thunderbolts) is also where she’ll see the most play–on a Thunderbolts team.

The Verdict: Another Cost Correction piece. We won’t see the like of FFCW Scarlet Witch again, methinks. Mercy is missing the Mystics TA AND the Mystical keyword, but she is still very playable. Thunderbolts is probably the keyword that gained the most from this set, so if you’re fielding such a squad, pick up a Mercy for some support in a bottle!

There were also several other figures you could use in this role, but none of them were as good as Mercy (Sister Sercy, I’m looking at you with your 66 Point Cost and your measly lone keyword: Blue Lantern Corps. But hey, at least her name RHYMES with Mercy’s!).

Before we finish, one final note about keywords in general. We’re coming out of an era where Avengers, GCPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. were some of the dominant named keywords, and Mystical, Armor and Monster fueled some of the best generic keyworded teams. Those keywords still offer a lot of options, but Chaos War (an EXTREMELY Avengers-heavy set) rotating out does hurt Avengers teams a little bit. New keywords that have recently become a lot stronger include Thunderbolts, Heroes for Hire and Sinestro Corps. (with Guardians of the Galaxy about to get a double boost from the movie set that just dropped and the upcoming 5-figure booster full set in due in August!). Mystical and Armor are still great generics, but Martial Artist has gotten a big boost between AvX, Days of Future Past and Deadpool, and Cosmic is set to explode with the 4 Entities that have been released in War of Light already (with 4 more to come) and, again, the Guardians of the Galaxy set that’s just around the corner (and the Collector from the GotG Target Exclusive set already offers some intriguing possibilities for Cosmic teams with his unique win condition–but more about that set later this week!)!

"I know it's hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I've collected my tokens--y'know what? We'll talk about this later."

“I know it’s hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I’ve collected my tokens–y’know what? We’ll talk about this later.”

 

So there ya go! What important retired figures do YOU think WizKids has already published replacements for? Sound of in the Comments section below!

 

Happy 4th of July!!

Once again, a big thank you to our service men and women for all you do to keep us safe!

Back Sunday or Monday night with a look at some of the important pieces that just got retired and which Modern Age figures you’ll want to use to replace them!

Until then, enjoy a shot of the new Rocket Raccoon Chase figure getting ready to launch some fireworks of his own from his really big gun!!

20140704-195829-71909952.jpg

The Week When Nothing Ever Happened! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 06/29/2014!!)

Roundup

Well hello again! Another week has passed in Clix land, and we’re here to catch you up on anything you may have missed!

 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix just released Episode 51! Not a ton happened this week (as they themselves discuss), but they do talk at length about Nekron’s newly spoiled dials!!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is back with Episode 2.5!! They discuss the recent Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is … still Episode 20.


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-You can catch up with most of the recent ROC upcoming tourney announcements right here!

-There will be some format changes coming to the ROC and also some upcoming prize opportunities! Read the announcement about the upcoming announcement right here!

Preview

No official previews this week, but Nekron’s dial has been spoiled on HCRealms.com (he’s the Black Entity; he seems to have 2 different 300 Point dials, and he is definitely going to be tough to take down at his higher point levels). More interestingly, the Core Hobby (read: Comic Shop Version) Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set got spoiled as well! The Nova Corps keyword is gonna get a lot of use…

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Gonna spotlight Ninwashui’s woulda-been ROC army ‘cuz I love it so much! Check it out right here!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–No big Hollywood news to speak of this past week.

Critical Missives:

–Three articles this past week. Two Local Tournament reports (Here and here), and the ROC Build article that we spotlighted in our Army of the Week section!

–Once again… we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Wait–it’s already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

We should have another couple articles this week, including a look at some replacement options for some newly retired Meta pieces!

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