Welcome back! In this article, we’re going to revisit our “Fixer Upper” gimmick to see if we can’t help some 4 and even 5-star figures become truly Meta-Worthy!
So, some figures are Meta-bait as soon as they show up in a preview on Heroclix.com. You know the ones. You just know it the first time you see them. But other pieces come oh-so-close to that Meta-tier, but they fall just short because they’re missing… something. That last game element that’s keeping them on the wrong side of greatness divide.
Well, today, we’re gonna help two of those lucky pieces become forces to be reckoned with and foes for your foes to fear (try saying THAT five times fast! Oh, you can? Yeah, it’s actually not much of a tongue-twister. Unless you’ve bitten your tongue while chewing gum recently like I have. Sigh… let’s just move on…)!
1. DP032 Punisher — 100 Points — Uncommon:
The Only Way to Fix a Fixer Upper: We’re gonna give Frank Castle the Thunderbolts ATA!!
Why It’s the Best Fix: For 8 Points, you’ve just effectively given Frank the Avengers Initiative Team Ability (via the Thunderbolts ATA). It allows him to Ignore Hindering Terrain on both movement AND targeting. Just what this 5-star figure needs to take it to the next level!
(Yes, you could instead choose Mystics or a host of other Team Abilities, but 90% of the time, Avengers Initiative will be your best choice, for reasons we’re about to get into!)
So, if you’ve been to the movies in the last two weeks, this first scenario is a lot like the Heroclix version of the plot of Jurassic World:
The Executives at Ingen:
Your Opponent: “Wait a minute. He’s already called “The Punisher.” He’s already an unstoppable killing machine who can’t be controlled and who can’t be reasoned with… and you want to make him MORE dangerous? …
Because now there’s no hiding from Frank’s wrath anymore. Combined with Punisher’s other powers, particularly his Trait (THE GUILTY MUST BE PUNISHED: Once for all characters with this ability, each time an opposing character hits a friendly character, put a Guilty token on the attacker’s card. When Punisher attacks a character, modify Punisher’s attack value by +1 for each Guilty token on its card, and modify his damage value by +1 for every 2 tokens on its card.) and Attack Special (FRAG GRENADE: Punisher can use Energy Explosion. When he does and targets only one character, damage dealt is penetrating damage.), not to mention his Damage Special (CONCENTRATED FIRE: Punisher can use Ranged Combat Expert as a ranged combat action.), the Punisher instantly becomes the most feared piece on your side.
His one offensive weakness and his main mobility issue (it’s hard to take advantage of his down dial Stealth if skulking in Hindering completely neuters his ability to move) are both solved in one 8-point-costing swoop. Best of all, we can still assign a Resource and/or Entity to him, since we didn’t have to use either to fix his flaws! Check this out:
Theme: Star Sapphires
DP032 Punisher — 100 Points
(w/ ATA004 Thunderbolts) — 8
(Possessed by WOL068P Predator) — 25
WOL032 Miri Riam — 85
WOL006 Star Sapphire Recruit — 45
WOLR106 Power Battery (Star Sapphires) — 2
WOLR306 Star Sapphire Ring —8
WOLR206.04 Wall (Violet) — 10
WOLR206.06 Decoy (Violet) — 6
WOLR206.14 Sniper Rifle (Violet) — 6
AVASAVID-002 Hawkeye — 5
AVAS002 Hawkeye — 85
This Build takes that 100 Point Punisher and turns him up to 11!! Punisher was already a damage fountain; now he’s more like a damage volcano–and there’s nowhere for opposing pieces to hide!
Punisher has so many options here it’s scary. Before any of your figures are hit (which would activate his “The Guilty Must Be Punished” Trait), once you put either the Decoy or the Sniper Rifle on Frank, the Punisher gets +1 to all of his combat values except Damage. So his Attack becomes 11 and his Defense is now 18. On top of that, you can choose to modify ANY ONE of his combat values an additional +1, since Predator has higher values in every slot (I’d choose Defense at the beginning of the game). Then, you can choose to give Frank Sidestep, Energy Shield/Deflection or Shape Change. I’d recommend putting the Decoy on Frank, which should free you up to choose ES/D most turns.
So again, before ANY of your figures has taken a hit, you’ve created a Punisher that (we’ll just use my suggested choices for this example) has: 9 Movement (that Ignores Hindering Terrain) with Running Shot; 11 Attack (that Ignores Hindering Terrain on targeting) with Sharpshooter and an improved version of Energy Explosion that deals Penetrating Damage in most circumstances; 20 Defense against ranged attacks (18 Defense against close combat attacks) with Toughness; and 2 native Damage with an improved version of Ranged Combat Expert that allows Frank to use it in tandem with Running Shot (so you can boost your Damage to 3 or 4 quite easily) and Shape Change!
Oh, I forgot to mention his Range. It’s subpar at 6, but remember the Star Sapphires Emotional Spectrum power (EMOTIONAL SPECTRUM: LOVE: If the Power Battery, attached Power Ring, and Constructs are all the same color, friendly Corps Members modify their range values by +1 for each opposing character within line of fire.). That 6 can become an 8 or 9 very quickly (especially with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability–any Stealthed opposing figures suddenly add to your range value, since they’re now within your line of fire). And if you need to reach out even more, give Mr. Castle the Sniper Rifle instead of the Decoy and watch his Range soar to a 12 or even 13 (the Golden Rule of “Replace, then Modify” should result in you replacing Punisher’s Range Value of 6 with a 10, which you then modify per the Emotional Spectrum Power).
As the game goes on and some of your characters take Damage, Frank’s effectiveness goes up even more. Remember, if any opposing character connects with attacks against any of your characters twice, Frank’s Attack Value modifiers will be maxed out when attacking that piece, so you can start throwing your Predator and RCE modifiers on his Damage Value. What this means is, as long as you can limit Frank to taking 1 Damage or less, at this point Frank turns into a 13 Attack, 5 Penetrating Damage, 20 Defense (from ranged attacks) Monster when Punishing the Guilty. Oh, and he sees through Stealth. And he can hit you from across the map if he wants.
And God help you if you actually have characters adjacent to each other, cuz Frank and his Frag Grenades deal Penetrating EE Damage… basically, you end up with this:
And if your opponent decides they want a piece of that:
2. AVAS044 Arcade — 70 Points — Rare:
The Only Way to Fix a Fixer Upper: All this “Murderworld” shadiness has opened Arcade up to just an insane amount of civil liability, so we’re going to find Arcade a good lawyer! And when someone in the Marvel Universe needs a good lawyer, they Better Call Wal! Jennifer Walters, that is. AAOU023E She-Hulk is gonna take the case!
Why It’s the Best Fix: Arcade sports a split dial; the first part (his “default” dial) is very support-y, featuring Mind Control with a 7 Range, Poison with just a 9 Attack, Mastermind with just a 16 Defense and Perplex with 2 native Damage. All in all, it’s a pretty average dial for the points. Not bad, but nothing to write home over. However, the second part of his split dial features 4 “God Clicks,” especially when you consider his point cost. How do you access those clicks? Via Arcade’s Trait (WELCOME TO MURDERWORLD!: When rolling to determine first player, no player receives a modifier to their roll. When on a map whose name includes “Arcade’s Arena,” at the beginning of the game you may start Arcade on click 7. If you do, Arcade has Power Cosmic team ability, can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering, and other friendly characters have the Robot keyword for the rest of the game.).
The problem is, you really don’t know which Arcade you’re going to get–because Arcade’s Trait disallows modifiers, the Map Choice roll is a straight coin flip. And a 50% chance to field a “God Mode” Arcade is, frankly, not good enough. But, if we could hire some to improve those odds…
That’s where Arcade’s representation comes in. She-Hulk’s Trait (FILE FOR CHANGE OF VENUE: If She-Hulk isn’t part of a themed team, the first time this game you wouldn’t win the roll for first player, you may roll again and add +1 to the result.) allows you a second chance at the Map Choice roll (yes, I know it’s technically “the roll to determine first player.” But that’s a mouthful, and much less fun to type than “Map Choice.” So there, verbiage lawyers!).
I’ll spare you the math (mostly because I haven’t been any good at statistics or probability since high school), but if one assumes that both parties are using non-biased dice with no modifiers (again, Arcade’s Trait nullifies that–even, alas, Jennifer’s +1 on the “if necessary” roll), then you ramp your odds up to 75%!! Now that’s a legal strategy I can get behind!
(Okay, if you want to see the math, here’s is the technical jargon on a similar problem where there are only 2 outcomes: flipping coins.)
Assuming you win one of those rolls, Arcade’s Attack Value shoots up to the 11-12 range and he gains Prob, a Special Attack Power (I CONTROL MURDERWORLD. SUCKS TO BE YOU.: Arcade can use Energy Explosion and Precision Strike. If Arcade occupies a player’s starting area, he can draw lines of fire and count range for his attack and damage powers from the square of any friendly character.) and a Special Defense Power (THIS IS MY WORLD, YOU’RE JUST LIVING IN IT. FOR NOW.: Arcade ignores Poison and all but 1 damage dealt to him from an attack. After Arcade is dealt damage from an opposing character, you may place him in any square within any player’s starting area. This power can’t be ignored.) that take him near the border of Primary Attacker territory.
Let’s see what we can Build:
Team Name: Welcome to Murderworld. Sucks to Be You!
Theme: None, but you won’t need one.
AVAS044 Arcade — 70
AAOU023E She-Hulk — 75
WKM-015 Doop — 95
FI301 Splitlip — 20
FIR100C The Book of the Skull — 30
AVASAVID-002 Hawkeye — 5
AVASAVID-015 Triathlon — 5
AVAS013B 3-D Man — 90
AAOU106 Hawkeye — 75
So, adding Doop gives Arcade a great, durable friendly fig (he’s got a pretty good Defense Value at 18, but no matter what, he can’t take more than 1 Damage from an opposing attack!) to count range and draw lines of fire from. Also, he can reassign your opponent’s best Relic or Resource, and since he has the X-Men TA, Doop and Arcade can heal each other a click if the need arises.
Splitlip, makes it easier to dish out Hammers, but he can also pop a squat next to Arcade in a Starting Zone and pump Arcade’s Damage up to 3 or 4 (depending on what click Arcade is on). The Hammers themselves take Doop and She-Hulk up to a 12 Attack, and Arcade will start raining fire from across the map with a 14 Attack Value!
Finally, if She-Hulk just isn’t cutting it because your opponent is more vulnerable from range, she can call in Hawkeye for assistance. Conversely, if you need another close combatant, you can have Doop bring in 3-D Man for a massive 13 Attack, 4 Damage smackdown.
So there we are! Two great figures that work even better with just a little tweaking. Of course, these Builds are only the tip of iceberg. How would you improve these two pieces? Or better yet, which other Modern Age pieces should we “Fix Up” next?
Sound off in the Comments below, and maybe one of your suggestions will inspire “The Only Way to Fix a Fixer Upper 3!!”
Until next time,
Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!