Indianapolis Bound!! (Or, Gen Con, Here We Come!!)

  
As you can plainly see, Ninwashui and I are trekking from our normal southeastern Michigan stomping grounds to the hallowed halls of Gen Con! 

We’ll try and post photos and sporadic updates on our Twitter feed (@Criticalmissive) and then we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

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

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Comics & More Local Tournament Report for 07/08/2015: Age of Ultron SLOP: Month Two: The Quickening!!

Local Tournament Report

Age of Ultron Month Two went down at Comics & More in Madison Heights, Michigan on July 8th, and we’ve got the results!

Just as everyone was competing for Grandmaster in Month One, in addition to playing for Quest for the Quinjet Points, players were also going for the monthly prize:

Graviton!

We again had 10 competitors (including myself, although, as the Judge, I was, as always, not allowed to accumulate points).

The Build:

For the most part, we followed the WizKids Instruction Sheet and played 300 Point Builds while allowing players to use the Round Table Resource and any Avengers ID card the had accumulated the previous month (by paying its Point cost) or the Hank Pym ID Card if they had bought the Classic Avengers Fast Forces pack. Having said that, players could only play figures that they pulled this month. This basically means that you could play any Avengers ID card you pulled in either month on the Round Table Resource, but to Call-In a figure, you had to actually pull an eligible figure.

(For example, I played a Round Table with four cards: Iron Man, Hank Pym, Jocasta and Protector. If I rolled any of those slots, I could use that card’s Inspiration power for a turn. However, the only corresponding figure I pulled this month was Iron Man, so he was the only piece I could actually call in with the Resource.)

We also decided to allow the use of the Pym Particles Light Object from the Avengers Assemble LE kit (again, by paying its Point cost), as we deemed it as a group to be thematically appropriate.

Some Observations About Age of Ultron, Month 2:

–I played a team that revolved around She-Hulk and Yellowjacket. Having actually got to play She-Hulk this time, I saw nothing to dampen my enthusiasm from Month One. She’s fun to play, and she came through for me in 2 out of the 3 games I played (a little more on that later). I think her Rookie dial has a lot to offer in Constructed, so I’m glad I pulled her.

–Phalanx Ultron went 1-2. I was surprised, but the consensus seemed to be that it’s too easy for certain Builds to out-action him, even in a Sealed Event. I don’t know if I completely agree, but it’s hard to argue when the results were so one-sided this month…

–This whole set seems to be a bit schizophrenic. All of the pieces are either ONLY viable in Sealed or kinda suck in Sealed but good be game-changers in Constructed. We’ll see if Wave 2 brings a bit more balance…

–It’s still tough to make an all-Drone army. Again, the mechanic just isn’t as much fun as it seems like it should be to play…

The only known photo of Carl, the Month Two winner...

Artist’s rendering of Month Two winner “Carl,” based on descriptions provided by other Comics & More competitors…

The Winner:

This month ALSO came down to a pitched battle of unbeatens (mathematically, that wasn’t a huge surprise), and this time, Carl and his Hank Pym/Yellowjacket/Black Knight trio beat Tim’s double Iron Man plus Protector delight! I actually played against Carl’s Build and lost. I went all in with She-Hulk and it didn’t work out too well for me–Hank Pym was able to keep her Movement Power Outwitted after that first miss, which made things a lot tougher, although calling in Iron Man almost completely flipped the script.

I really love Tim’s Build; I think it was smart to double up on ol’ Shellhead, but he just ran up against a team that had a decent counter to that strategy with Carl’s Build. If Carl was able to get Black Knight going, those Iron Men weren’t going to last long…

Actual footage from the final match.

Actual footage from the final match.

Okay! Let’s take a look at the standings. After two months, we’ve now got enough data to break the standings down into tiers.

But first, a scoring system refresher:

For the first three events, you score:

1 Point for Attending;

1 Point for a Loss;

2 Points for a Win;

3 Points for Winning the Event!!

If there is a need to break ties, I will use total Victory Points accumulated during matches. If that somehow ends in a tie, I will use Fellowship votes. If things are still tied, we’ll have a roll-off after I write 4000 words for this site about the improbability of ties in Storyline OP Events.

I still don’t have any information yet on what–if anything–will change in terms of scoring for the fourth month. Nevertheless, here are the…

Quinjet

Quest for the Quinjet Standings:

(Through Month 2)

In the Pilot’s Seat:

Darren: 15 Points!!! (1122 Victory Points Accumulated)

In the Co-Pilot’s Seat:

Andrew: 12 Points (1105)

Sitting in 1st Class:

Roberto: 11 Points (810)

Tim: 11 Points (770)

Carl: 11 Points (605)

Comfortably Seated in Business Class:

Nicholas: 10 Points (870)

Tyler: 10 Points (655)

George: 9 Points (695)

Now Boarding… :

Matt: 6 Points (740)

Brian: 5 Points (525)

Shant: 5 Points (295)

Okay! So that’s where things stand after two months!

The fact that Carl attended Month One, immediately dropped and THEN went on to win Month Two means that things are actually WIDE OPEN at the moment. Darren is still King of the Mountain thanks to his spectacular showing in Month One, but Andrew, Roberto and Tim’s consistent play over the first two months has them right in the thick of things.

Even Matt, who was great in Month One but wasn’t able to attend Month Two, still has a shot–but he’s probably gonna have to win Months Three AND Four! It’s even trickier for Brian and Shant, but again, if someone pulls off two event victories in a row, anything is possible.

And if you expect to find yourself somewhere near southeastern Michigan next month and want to join in on the action (even if you didn’t play in the first two contests), Month Three is currently scheduled to go down at 6:15pm on August 5th, right back at Comics & More in Madison Heights!!

And for Month Three, in addition to the Quest for the Quinjet points, competitors will also be playing for this guy:

High Evolutionary

Also, all participants will receive Captain America’s Avengers ID Card!! Hope to see you there! And keep an eye on this space to read about the results next month!

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

Team Ideas–Special Gen Con Edition!!

Idea

Okay! Annnnnd, we’re back with a very special Team Ideas column!

Gen Con is coming up, and we’re going to be publishing a series of team-building teams for several of the Gen Con-exclusive WizKids events that were recently announced! While it wasn’t clear for a while if WizKids would even BE at Gen Con, their recent announcements not only confirmed their appearance but also delineated several new game types that players could prepare for.

Many of these games are great because their Build possibilities are nearly endless. Regardless, Ninwashui and I are going to posit several Builds and then choose the one we like best to take to Gen Con!

Today, I’m gonna focus on the Rumbles! We’ll start with the…

MARVEL HEROCLIX CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE RUMBLE:

Wizkids

WizKids Says: “All players bring 5 Marvel Comics HeroClix Modern Age figures with them; one for each of the following point values: 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, and 201-250. Players begin the game with only the lowest point value figure on their force. Every 5 minutes after the beginning of the game, players place the next highest point value figure on the map next to one of their figures or in their starting area. Players must play in the complete event in order to get their participation prizes.

What We Assume That Means: So, we’re going to take these Build rules at face value. We’re going to assume this means that you’re not building a FORCE per se, but rather taking 5 individual figures that will be played together with the 5-minute timing caveat. Which means no Themed Team rules (so no Themed Team probs, etc.), no Relics and no Resources. Also, only your 0-50 Point character will actually BEGIN THE GAME on the map, so characters with effects that go off at the beginning of the game (Chase Rick Jones and his supporting POG’s, for example) are going to be neutered some.

Also, while I see nothing in here disallowing Colossals (provided you play them at an eligible point level), I’m also going to assume that Team Bases are disallowed, since it seems that you add team members to the base during Force Construction and, again, you’re not constructing a Force here. And if you can’t add team members to your team base, then you have ZERO team members, and it’s pretty much automatically removed from the map (unless an effect specifies otherwise, team bases MUST have a minimum of three team members attached to it at all times). Further–and this is where the wording gets a little murky–team bases are (at least originally–I know there’s been some wording updates) defined thusly: “Characters with the new Team combat icon symbol are Teams.  A Team has locations on it where figures from corresponding SwitchClix bases can be placed.  Each such character is called a team member.” So, if we parse through WizKids’s wording there, even they seem to define Team Bases as “Teams” and individual team members as “figures.” And, going back to the original game posting, only “figures” are allowed, which means Team Bases should be ineligible. Right?

(Honestly, there are so many interpretations of Team Base rules out there, it’s hard to figure out what’s legit and what’s not–so we’re going to operate on the premise that they are not allowed for this game)

Okay! With all that legalese disseminated, let’s look at some Builds!!

Legalese

First up:

Lilandra

Team Name: So Long As My Lilandra Survives

Roster:
1-50: WXM005 Oracle49 Points

51-100: WXM052 Lilandra93 Points

101-150: WKM-013R Gladiator150 Points

151-200: WXM048 Warstar177 Points

201-250: GOTG065 Gladiator250 Points

Total Points Used: 719 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This is a pretty fun Build. You’re basically playing a “Best-of” Shi’ar team. But wait, you say, you just wrote a billion words on why Themed Teams don’t matter for this game. Yup. They don’t. You won’t get any Themed Team probs for fielding an all-Shi’ar squad. But what you will get is +1 to both Attack and Damage to every character on this team that stays within 8 squares of Lilandra, thanks to her Trait (DEFEND ME, SHI’AR WARRIORS!: Other friendly characters with the Shi’ar keyword and within 8 squares modify their attack values +1. Other friendly characters with the Imperial Guard keyword and within 8 squares modify their damage values +1.). That’s like 8 free Perplexes a turn.

Oracle, you’re starting character, offers Probability Control and Barrier, which you may need early on to keep Lilandra unharmed when she shows up after five minutes. You’re basically playing a keepaway game for the first ten minutes of the match, until Rookie Gladiator shows up. For those who haven’t seen this particular Gladiator, he heats up in a hurry. Provided that he hits the board within 8 squares of Lilandra (probable, since you can bring him in adjacent to her), you’re looking at a character who has Hypersonic Speed, a 13 Attack, 18 Defense with Invincible and 6 freaking Damage. He can start one-shotting your opponent’s characters IMMEDIATELY upon arrival.

Warstar and B’Nee are also capable of ruining your opponent’s day very quickly. Warstar can essentially Charge about 8 squares with his B’Nee shenanigans, and if he ends up attacking from within  8 squares of Lilandra, he’ll be rocking a 12 Attack and 5 Damage (and that’s if you DON’T use his Super Strength). He features an 18 Defense with Invincible, and if he still has B’Nee attached, his powers can’t be countered. All of which means he’ll be extremely tough to retaliate against. And, if your opponent does try to focus fire on Warstar, he gets Pulse Wave down dial, so he really only gets MORE dangerous.

Finally, Zombie Chase Gladiator from Guardians of the Galaxy is a great 250 Point option. Again, if you can keep Lilandra alive, you’re looking at a character that can come in with a Running Shot Pulse Wave that features a 12 Attack and 6 Damage!

Despite the fact that Themed Teams don’t matter in this sort of Build, it’s so synergistic that you’ll have a significant advantage over many of your opponents when it comes to buffs. Just remember to keep Lilandra as far back as possible while still allowing for her influence to reach the rest of your team. She is the key to your success.

 

When are we getting a Miguel Herrera Clix?

Actually, Miguel Herrera will not be appearing in this Build. But I think we’ve proved that we love this meme so much that we’ll run it for no reason whatsoever.

Team Name: Enormous Green Free Movement Monster!!

Roster:

1-50: FFOA006R Captain America50 Points

51-100: AVAS013B 3-D Man90 Points

101-150: FFOA003 Iron Man150 Points

151-200: AVX003 Thor200 Points

201-250: AAOU104 Hulk250 Points

Total Points Used: 740 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This one is pretty straight-forward. You’re using your first character, Cap, to give free movement to your other characters via his top dial Damage Special (AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE: Give Captain America a power action and choose another friendly character that shares a keyword with him and doesn’t have 2 action tokens. That character is immediately given a move action as a free action with their speed value halved for this action.). This should give you a leg up on board control, and given the firepower of your next four figures, you should be able to Alpha Strike your opponent’s pieces into oblivion.

 

Avengers Assemble Top Image

Team Name: Avengers Assemble!!

Roster:

1-50: AAOU015 Nick Fury45 Points

51-100: AAOU009 Hawkeye95 Points

101-150: AAOU005R Thor150 Points

151-200: AAOU008R Hulk200 Points

201-250: AAOU001 Iron Man250 Points

Total Points Used: 740 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Another Build where we’re using our starting piece–in this case, Nick Fury–to make all the pieces that come into play after him more efficient. The Avengers Assemble! Traits are all very good, but they have the possibility of completely ruining your opponent’s day if you’re allowed to pick the effect. That’s just what Fury’s Attack Special (I RECOGNIZE THE COUNCIL HAS MADE A DECISION…: When an opponent makes a choice from an Avengers Assemble! trait, you may roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, change the effect to the other option.) does 33% of the time.

Movie Hawkeye (from Age of Ultron) is an absolute beast for his points, and all the other members of the team, like Hawkeye, sport an easily exploitable Avengers Assemble! Trait. Oh, and if your opponent was counting on using any form of Stealth, he’s gonna be pretty pissed when he realizes that your entire team ignores it…

 

Zombie Villains

Team Name: Z-Virus Will See You Now

Roster:

1-50: FFDP006R Mercy50 Points

51-100: DP064 Electro90 Points

101-150: GOTG066 Red Skull120 Points

151-200: GOTG062 Super Skrull170 Points

201-250: GOTG065 Gladiator 250 Points

Total Points Used: 680 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Zombies, zombies everywhere! We’re running four Zombies with a rookie Mercy for support. She brings Flying, Phasing/Teleport, Telekinesis AND Probability Control, which are all things the Zombie pieces usually need.

Electro is, well, lightning in a bottle. He is straight offense and great at dishing out damage to multiple parties at once.

Red Skull is actually a slightly overcosted support-y type piece who also offers a decent amount of Penetrating close combat damage. But his Special Leadership Power (THE UBER-SCHEUSAL RACE: Red Skull can use Leadership as if he were 300 points. If he removes a token from a friendly character with the Hydra or Z-Virus keyword, modify that character’s combat values by +1 until your next turn.) is really useful for your final two hitters, and his third Trait (COLONEL AMERICA’S BRAINS WERE SO DELICIOUS…: When Red Skull uses Zombie Infection to add an opposing character to your force, Red Skull can use any standard powers that character possesses while it is on the map.) actually has the potential to make the Skull a very dangerous piece indeed.

Super Skrull is one of the most dominant tournament pieces in Modern right now, so he needs little explanation. And we just discussed Gladiator in the first entry.

Zombies as a group have decent values, but their true power lies in their ability to corrupt your opponent’s forces onto your side. Even if the early rolls don’t go your way, keep an open mind, because all it takes is one quick KO of any of your opponent’s pieces to turn the tide of the game to your favor in a hurry. Plus, their Zombie healing Trait means you don’t have to pack a dedicated healer. Having said that, Mercy might be able to help with that in a pinch, even though that’s not really her role on this team.

Incidentally, if you wanted to change the feel of this Build a little bit, you could substitute Zombie Magneto (13o Points) for Zombie Red Skull and/or Zombie Galactus for Super Skrull. Just keep in mind that Zombie Galactus doesn’t actually HAVE the Z-Virus keyword, so he doesn’t work with the other three Zombie characters in terms of building up Infection tokens and such.

So, personally, I would stick with Zombie Super Skrull since he’s, y’know, pretty good.

"Oh, so you're telling me Super Skrull is a good piece?"

Oh, so you’re telling me Super Skrull is a good piece?

So those are four possibilities for the Marvel Rumble (again, there are almost LIMITLESS combinations); now let’s take a look at the…

DC HEROCLIX CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE RUMBLE:

Wizkids

WizKids Says: “All players bring 5 DC Comics HeroClix Modern Age figures with them; one for each of the following point values: 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, and 201-250. Players begin the game with only the lowest point value figure on their force. Every 5 minutes after the beginning of the game, players place the next highest point value figure on the map next to one of their figures or in their starting area. Players must play in the complete event in order to get their participation prizes.

What We Assume That Means: Pretty much the same as we noted above, with the Marvel version. This game works exactly the same, only with DC characters.

Look, the easy way to go with the DC Rumble is to just field, like, three or four Bizarros and a Felix Faust. We’re not doing that here. We’re gonna try and be a little more creative. Having said that, don’t be surprised if you run into more than a few copies of those two characters.

With that said, here we go…

Secret Society of SUpervillains

Team Name: Mind Your Manners

Roster:

1-50: JLTW016 Signalman50 Points

51-100: JLTW032 Dr. Sivana83 Points

101-150: FL047 Zoom150 Points

151-200: FL056 Gorilla Grodd175 Points

201-250: JLTW059 Despero235 Points

Total Points Used: 693 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This team checks in closer to the “fun” side of the fun/competitive Heroclix Build Venn Diagram, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win with it. Signalman (yes, that Signalman) takes to the map first, and he’s there solely to help enable Mind Control shenanigans. His sole Trait (SYMBOLS AND SIGNS CONTROL OUR LIVES: At the beginning of the game, choose a combat symbol other than “boot symbol”, “fist symbol”, “shield symbol”, or “starburst symbol”. When an opposing character with the chosen symbol is targeted by Mind Control, modify that character’s defense value by -1 or, if Signalman is the attacker, by -2.) basically acts as a walking Perplex for any Mind Control attack you choose to launch at an opposing figure.

Your second piece to drop will be Dr. Sivana (yes, that Dr. Sivana), who offers an awesome Outwit Damage Special (EYE SEE YOUR MAGIC: Dr. Sivana can use Outwit. Dr. Sivana may activate Outwit with a power action and when he does, the countered power or ability is also countered on all opposing characters within 8 squares of Dr. Sivana that share a keyword with the target.) and protects everyone on the team from any possibility of Mystics damage with his only Trait (MAGIC AVOIDANCE: Friendly characters with the Secret Society of Super Villains keyword ignore the Mystics team ability.). He also offers down dial Mind Control, so he can eventually take advantage of Signalman’s Trait if Signalman is still around by that point.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, everyone and their mother will probably play Felix Faust in this slot; he is unquestionably a better choice, given that he’s the most broken character in the game–even more so when teamed with his Secret Society of Super Villains teammate Zoom and his multiple Probs. Well, we’re not going to be those people. Screw Felix Faust!!]

Zoom is, simply put, a pain in the backside to deal with. He gives you a great Hypersonic attacker who also offers some solid support.

Grodd is your first heavy hitter. Signalman’s Trait actually means that Grodd effectively has a 12 Attack for Mind Control, and if he hits with that, after actions resolve, he can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast as a Free Action AND takes no damage from Mind Control! He also has a 50% chance to be untargetable when he’s targeted with Mind Control, Outwit, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, or Perplex.

Finally, Despero’s Trait (PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Despero can’t be the target of Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, or Penetrating/Psychic Blast by characters of a lower point value.) also makes him hard to pin down with a plethora of attacks, and he packs a huge wallop on his own.

 

Sinestro Corps

Team Name: The Pieces You Have Come to Fear the Most

Roster:

1-50: WOL099 Despotellis30 Points

51-100: WOL021 Lyssa Drak91 Points

101-150: FLo53B Zoom (Black Lantern) — 120 Points

151-200: JLTW049 Sinestro200 Points

201-250: WOL041 Parallax (Hal Jordan) — 250 Points 

Total Points Used: 691 out of a possible 750

How It Works: When you choose Despotellis, you’re basically punting on first down with your first character, but in a way, so is your opponent. Look, it’s not impossible that your opponent will field someone at 50 Points who can hit Despotellis and his 20 Defense top dial (Bizarro at 50 Points with some dice luck would have a fighting chance), but it’s unlikely. Then Lyssa Drak comes in, and you suddenly have not just a Sidestepping Taxi for Despotellis but also a Barrier-laying supporting piece that can Prob opposing attacks from anywhere on the map (since she shares a keyword with everyone on this team!) thanks to her Trait (BOOK OF PARALLAX/BOOK OF THE BLACK: Lyssa Drak can use Probability Control regardless of range and line of fire, but can only target opposing characters with it, and only when they attack a character with a keyword she possesses.).

Black Lantern Zoom comes in with instant mobility, and given that your opponent will almost certainly have two lower costed figures still on the board, he’ll have plenty of fodder to pick off. Even if Zoom takes 3-4 Damage right from jumpstreet, he’s still amazing. His Damage Special (DEATH: WILL MAKE YOU BETTER: Zoom can use Steal Energy. When an opposing character is KO’d, heal Zoom of 1 damage and place a Speed token on this card.) makes it super easy to not only heal but to also build Speed Force tokens in a hurry. Heck, on click 3, it’s quite possible for him to nail your opponent’s 1-50 slot character for 3 damage and heal all the way to top dial (if the 3 damage KO’s that figure). Even though he’s under the points threshold for his slot, he works beautifully with the rest of this team (and Lyssa can Prob any attack aimed at him from anywhere on the board!!).

Trinity War Sinestro is a Quintessence-blessed behemoth with a wicked Attack Special (DEATH TO THE GUARDIANS: Sinestro can use Pulse Wave. Opposing characters that can use the Quintessence team ability instead can’t use it and modify their combat values by -1.) that can wreck pieces by itself if your opponents were also feeling frisky enough to field some Quintessence-wielders of their own. His Damage Special (FEAR THE SINESTRO CORP: Sinestro can use Perplex, but only to decrease combat values. Until your next turn, a character targeted by this Perplex can’t target Sinestro unless the targeted character or Sinestro are the only characters on their force on the map.) also means that you can essentially make Sinestro immune to an opposing figure of your choice.

Imagine that Black Lantern Zoom has done his job and eliminated one or even two of your opponents lower-point characters. Well, if Sinestro Perplexes down ANY combat value on their 151-200 slot big’gun, your opponent will be left with only one character who can even target Sinestro. And this scenario becomes even more dire for them if Despotellis is still around Poisoning his best guys.

Finally, Hal Jordan Parallax is just sick and wrong. Running Shot, Pulse Wave and Probability Control with a 12 Attack Value and 5 top dial damage? Again, he could start one-shotting folks as soon as he hits the board!

 

Justice League

Team Name: Justice… Like Lightning!! (Wait a minute, that’s a Marvel tagline!! Oh Hell No!)

Roster:

1-50: FL046E Harley Quinn50 Points

51-100: JLTW034 Element Woman88 Points

101-150: JLTW051 Batman150 Points

151-200: JLTW052 Wonder Woman200 Points

201-250: JLTW050 Superman250 Points

Total Points Used: 738 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Harley is really just there to start the game and see if she can stick around to really make dealing with the Trinity even that much harder. Element Woman is a little undercosted for her slot, but man, pick a supporting power, and she’s got it. No really, that’s her Trait–pick a supporting power: ELEMENTAL ARTISTE: At the beginning of your turn, choose one: Earth, Fire, or Ice. Element Woman can use the associated powers until your next turn.

Earth Barrier and Impervious
Fire Energy Explosion and Penetrating/Psychic Blast
Ice Incapacitate and Perplex

Batman is an absolute stud who will be public enemy number one as soon as he hits the board. Not only are his stats fantastic for his points, but his Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use the Batman Ally team ability. Friendly characters named Superman or Wonder Woman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) also makes dealing with what’s coming an absolute nightmare.

Wonder Woman’s Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use Support. Friendly characters named Batman or Superman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) gives Bats and Supes Support, and she can shut down opposing supporting pieces with one hit with her second Trait (LASSO OF TRUTH: Adjacent opposing characters that have been hit by Wonder Woman since the beginning of your last turn can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.). And that’s assuming that her 4 top dial damage didn’t straight up KO said figure.

Finally, Superman is everything you want in your 250 point-slot selection. 12 Attack, 19 Defense and 5 Damage top dial to go along with his starting Hypersonic Speed and Invincible. His Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use the Superman Ally team ability. Friendly characters named Batman or Wonder Woman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) gives Bats the ability to see through Stealth and move through Hindering (really the only thing that Batman is missing!). If your opponent hasn’t taken out at least one of your other two Trinity pieces by the time Supes hits the board, it’s probably goodnight Gracie.

 

Well, what do you think? Which Marvel and DC Builds are your favorites? Which ones should I take to Gen Con? Sound off in the comments below!

Check back soon for more Gen Con Builds, and until next time, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!

 

Patriotic Ant-Man!! (Or, Happy 4th of July 2015!!)

Patriotic Ant-Man

The Fourth is here once more! A Happy Holiday is wished by all of us here at Critical Missives to all of you out there celebrating! And, for our non-American readers, we’d like to once again wish you a Happy Saturday!

We’ll be back on Sunday or Monday with a look at some of the better Avengers ID Cards, and Ninwashui has been cooking up even more Team Ideas as well.

So we’ll see you soon! Until then, as always:

Stay Safe (especially when shooting off fireworks!), and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire (um, again, ESPECIALLY when shooting off fireworks!)!!

Call Me (In)… Maybe!! (Or, The Best Call-In Options for the Best Avengers ID Cards!!)

Not what we mean when we say we're going to call in the Avengers...

Not what we mean when we say we’re going to call in the Avengers…

After debuting in Avengers Assemble back in May, the Avengers ID Cards have quickly become ubiquitous in both casual and Meta play (if you’re new to the ID Cards, or just want an elaboration on how they work, see this video from WizKids for more details!). But the debate has already started about which figures should be paired with the more popular ID Cards as the corresponding Sideline figure in Modern Age games.

Now, this sort of choice isn’t a problem if you’re planning on using, say, Protector’s card–you’ve got all of one option.

"Consider yourself protected. See what I did there?"

Consider yourself protected! BooYah! #MarvelBoy! #LiveKreeorDie! #BrandAwareness! #PleaseLikeMe!

But for certain Avengers, you’re choices are much more varied, and will depend on a number of different factors, such as:

–Is it a Modern Age game, or a Golden Age game? Obviously Modern Age games will have a much narrower roster to choose from.

–Are you using the cards by themselves, with the Round Table Resource or are using the cards without the Round Table but with another Resource (with its own advantages and disadvantages that need to be enhanced/accounted for)?

–What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Build that your looking to enhance with ID Cards?

–What are the individual point totals of the figures in your Build? This matters a great deal when calling figures in, obviously, since it’s, y’know, part of the rules.

There’s probably a dozen more things you could ask yourself before making the proper Card choice, but that’s more relevant for Meta Builds. But even for more casual, fun Builds, you still need to put some thought into how your incorporate ID Cards. If you pick the wrong Cards for your Build, usually one of two things will happen:

–They’ll sit on your Sideline, completely unused (which is no fun–and, at best, a waste of Bystander/Horde points…). Or–

–They’ll slow you down, cost you actions, and ultimately get you no closer to winning.

With all of that on our minds, let’s look at the best Avengers ID Cards and see if we can find some unconventional options that might otherwise go overlooked!

Iron Man ID Card

IRON MAN:

InspirationCan use Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain. Modify attack value by +1 when making a ranged combat attack.

This is an awesome Inspiration power. If you can’t find another way to get some Stealth-busting on ranged Build, this is just what the doctor ordered. But there is a metric poop-ton of available Iron Men out there, even after the retirement of Iron Man 3, so which piece should you put on your sideline?

Do you want your Call-In Iron Man to… :

Stick around via the Avengers Assemble Trait?: Okay, this one’s easy. Your best Modern Age Iron Man piece is going to be either IIM001A Iron Man, a 300-point monster that features a 12 Attack, 4 Damage w/ Running Shot, Precision Strike, Perplex AND the ability to shoot through BOTH Hindering Terrain or Blocking Terrain; or AVAS050 Iron Man, a 242-point behemoth that sports an 11 Attack Value and 5 Damage with Running Shot, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Invincible (so he can’t be damaged off the board by something small like Poison), Probability Control, the ability to target through Hindering Terrain AND a Trait that lets him use Defend if you’re sporting some other Avengers (IT’S AN AVENGERS WORLD: Iron Man and adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Avengers keyword can use Defend. If they are named Captain America or Thor, they don’t have to be adjacent or lower point value.). Either way, if you can get the Round Table to this point and call-in either of these figures, you’re probably going to win the game. Handily.

Or do you want him to provide as much defense as he does offense?: So, take a look at the brand-spanking new Age of Ultron Iron Man–AOU017 Iron Man. I’ve already talked about how much I like this piece in Sealed. Well, I like him twice as much as a Call-In piece. I think he’s Meta when used this way. Why?

He may be a close combatant with no Range value, but he does come into play packing Charge, Super Strength and Outwit. And he’s damn easy to call in at only 90 Points–there are many Builds that can meet that threshold with a Secondary Attacker!

More importantly, he increases the efficiency of your Range attacks (or, if an opposing figure is Stealthed, allows you to make the damn attack in the first place!) while making it extremely difficult for your opponent to counter attack your pieces in a meaningful way because of his Trait (THE ORIGINAL INVINCIBLE IRON MAN!: If the first ranged combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Iron Man, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.). Moreover, since he’s a close combat piece, he’s probably going to Charge and base your opponent’s best pieces anyway. Yup! This piece gives adjacent figures a ranged attack bonus AND THEN gets to Charge in for an attack himself. So many other Call-In figures require all kinds of positioning gymnastics so that your other pieces can benefit from the Inspiration bonus while still letting the Call-In figure make their own attack. Not this Iron Man. You just make your ranged attack first, then send in ol’ Shellhead, cuz his bonus won’t be needed anymore!

For all the reasons we just discussed, I believe that this Iron Man is potentially another Time Walk piece for ranged-based teams when used as a Call-In!

Time Walk

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who don’t play Magic: The Gathering, “Time Walk” was an early, massively undercosted card from the game’s first few print runs that allowed you to talk another turn after your current turn. Within a few years, the card was essentially retired from modern tournament play. A new version called “Time Warp” eventually made it’s way into the game–and cost more than twice as much mana to cast. Oops. 

When used in a Heroclix context, a “Time Walk” piece is any figure that can potentially shut down your opponent’s pieces for a turn–or, more specifically, prevent your opponent’s pieces from attacking your own for at least a turn. To go back to a previous example, using Protector as a Call-In piece for a turn immediately gives all friendly pieces adjacent to him an 18 Defense and Probability Control (when they are attacked). Protector himself has Prob as well, so depending on the proximity of the attacker, unless that figure has access to Pulse Wave, he may have to hit an 18 Defense anywhere from two to four times in a row. Even with a 12 Attack, that’s far from a sure thing, which leads to your opponent having to decide whether he wants to risk missing with one or more of his best attackers, or just pass and try again next turn–a true Time Warp. Both of those choices are bad, and if your opponent opts to go ahead with the attack–and thus gain an action token–and still misses, it takes his bad decision and makes it a potential disaster. 

There are many ways to enact the “Time Walk” concept–Chase Rick Jones has a proprietary Trait (GALACTIC BURST OF IMMOBILIZING LIGHT: Once per game, when Rick Jones isn’t on his first click, give Rick Jones a double power action when he is adjacent to an opposing character. Give all opposing characters on the map an action token. For each opposing character you can’t give a token, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) that can definitely function as a “Time Walk” if used at the proper (read: most devastating) time.

Felix Faust is basically a “Time Walk” piece on Super Turbo Overdrive, which is a thing I just made up. But the main reason he’s broken is because he gives you the potential to “Time Walk” as a Free Action every turn. Come to think of it, even the original Magic card cost two mana–maybe we should start calling them “Faust” pieces.

Now, having expounded all that, the real fun (I believe–Ninwashui thinks the Meta will go in a different direction) in the current Modern Meta is going to be trying to duplicate Faust’s shutdown effect with pieces that aren’t banned (or gutted by the Watch List, which will almost certainly happen to Faust). I think this will occur with people “chaining” together shutdown pieces via the Call-In ability and other means. It becomes a viable option when you remember that ID Cards by themselves only cost 5 Points, and you probably only need to shut your opponent down for two or three turns in order to put the game out of reach. But more on this concept in a future article! Okay, end of longest EDITOR’S NOTE ever!]

For 5 points and one power action, you really CAN’T afford NOT to bring him along!

Hulk Avengers ID

HULK:

InspirationCan use Charge. Modify attack value by +1 when making a close combat attack.

So this is a little good. But isn’t this just like having half a Hammer? And for just one turn at that? Well, yes. Yes it is. But let me remind you, in Modern Age, Hammers are now bye-bye. And in Golden Age, this bonus would actually stack with the Hammer bonus, so it’s all good. Again, 5 Points is a cheap, cheap price to pay to give a character a move-and-attack ability [EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s not to be confused with the actual ability that’s called “Move and Attack,” natch.] for the turn when it’s most desperately needed and most completely unexpected.

Now, there are, of course, a ton of options out there, so let’s look at the best pieces to fill the different roles you might be looking for.

Do you want your Call-In Hulk to… :

Stick around via the Avengers Assemble Trait?: Once again, you have two reeeeeeeaaaaallly nasty choices. AVAS064 Hulk is an absolute nightmare. A Chase, he costs 325 Points, can Charge 11 squares through just about any terrain in the game (and also Ignores Characters) with a 12 Attack Value with Super Strength and 5 top dial Damage with Battle Fury, so Shape Change will not help your opponent in the least. He also has Giant Reach, so he really has a 13-Square Threat Range–pretty damn good for a close combatant. And if that Chase Hulk is a nightmare, then the main set Age of Ultron Movie Hulk (AAOU008 Hulk) at least a very bad dream, if not an actual night terror [EDITOR’S NOTE: Of 1927?]. At 300 Points, he gives you top dial stats that you would normally only see on a Colossal: 13 Attack, 6 Damage, 19 Defense with Impervious, 9 Movement with Charge,  Super Strength and Traited Battle Fury. That 9 Movement is the only low stat, really, but as a Call-In he has to stay within 5 squares of the figure who called him in, so getting him to the target is something you should have worked out before you called him in.

Smash someone on the head?: Well, pretty much all Hulks do this, but where it gets tricky is the Point Cost Threshold. Right now in Modern Age, you have two Hulk options that cost 100 Points or less (Yup! Just two–I was as surprised as you were!). This matters if you have any inclination to summon him with a Secondary Attacker (which would presumably then let your Primary Attacker Charge into the fray, giving you two big close combat attacks in one turn).

Your first option is, once again, a brand new figure. AOU019 Hulk costs just 80 Points and brings Charge, an 11 Attack with Super Strength and a native 4 Damage into the game for you to smack someone around with. That’s a pretty potent attack to pull out of thin air. His first Trait (THE ORIGINAL INCREDIBLE HULK: If the first close combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Hulk, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) also can protect you from close combat retaliations in the same way that Age of Ultron Iron Man we just discussed protects your pieces from ranged reciprocity. Best of all, one of this Hulk’s major weaknesses–his lack of Willpower or Indomitable–doesn’t matter one bit when used as a Call-In figure.

But there is a catch (sort of *): Hulk’s second Trait (WITH EACH NEW DAWN, THE WEAKLING BANNER COMES BACK: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 1 – 2, until your next turn modify Hulk’s combat values by -2, he can use Outwit, Perplex and Shape Change and can’t use any other power he possesses. This ability can’t be ignored.) may mean that 1/3 of the time you call him in, Hulk will just stand there and look pretty. And maybe, y’know, Perplex or Outwit something. That’s not nothing, but it’s not a 4-Damage Charge attack, either. Also of note is the fact that this Hulk comes with neither Battle Fury (a calm, rational Hulk? Huh?!) nor Giant Reach, so these are things you’ll have to keep in mind a turn or two prior to actually calling him in so that you can position your pieces accordingly.

Because, as we all know:

IMG_2737

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: Man, it seems like we have more Editor’s Notes per paragraph in this article than any other piece we’ve ever done, doesn’t it? Anyway, Heroclix has some very nebulous “At the beginning of your turn” rules. While you can choose the order in which different effects happen on your turn, you can’t actually STOP any from happening or choose not to activate certain effects unless a game effect says otherwise. So, my interpretation would be that you would still have to roll Hulk’s Trait once he comes into play, since the whole “Call-in Help” ability by definition happens at the beginning of turn phase (when Hulk’s Trait would still be active). Sort of makes sense, right? Well, maybe. Having said all that, I have indeed submitted an inquiry to the WizKids Rules Forum to verify the timing of all this, and I’ll update this space as more information becomes available.]

Your lone 100 Point option is FFOA004R Hulk from the recent Original Avengers Fast Forces. While he doesn’t have any useful Traits (unless you’re playing an army composed of Original Avengers Fast Forces pieces–in which case, great! Go with God.), he does still offer Charge with an 11 Attack and 4 Damage–this time with Battle Fury. That’s not a huge addition for the extra 20 Points, but it’s worth noting that you’ll get what you pay for 100% of the time–this Hulk never reverts to Banner.

So now, you might be saying to yourself, or to me, I guess, through the computer screen, or whatever: “Hey, what if I don’t mind using actions from my Primary Attacker to bring Avengers in to help me! What kind of Hulk can I get for 150 Points?” Unfortunately, the answer is, pretty much nothing that you couldn’t get for 100. That Original Avengers Hulk? Top dial at 150 Points, he adds Flurry and Sidestep. And a lower Attack Value (10) than his cheaper version. And Close Combat Expert, which is useless for Charge and Flurry. Chase Hulk has a 150 Point level that gets you Charge, Quake, Super Strength and 4 Damage with Battle Fury. And another 10 Attack. Finally, Age of Ultron Movie Starter Hulk has a 150 Point dial that nets you… literally everything that 100 Point Original Avenger dial does. Like, almost a carbon copy.

Which is why your better off just using one of the other two I just mentioned.

Cap ID

CAPTAIN AMERICA:

Inspiration: Can use Energy Shield/Deflection. Whenever this character hits an opposing character, add an action to your action total.

This is one of my favorite Inspiration abilities in the game. For some reason, when I’m creating Builds I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to give my pieces Energy Shield/Deflection, so Cap’s card is going to be a welcome addition to my tool kit. The second part of his Inspiration will be an extraordinary boon to Swarm teams, or it might just enable a balanced squad to get that one extra attack off that it needs to take control the game.

Like his Avengers brethren, there are a poop-ton of Caps out there, and he offers a variety of services. Of all the Avengers you can Call-in, Cap is easily the most versatile, so let’s take a look at some of the best Call-In options!

Do you want your Call-In Captain America to… :

Stick around via the Avengers Assemble Trait?: Admittedly Cap isn’t the best Avenger to choose for this Trait; having said that, your best choice is going to be AVAS061 Steve Rogers, or “Nova Cap.” For 250 Points, he Flies, has Sharpshooter, Running Shot and Pulse Wave and he sports a 20 Defense against most ranged attacks, which should help keep him around awhile. Don’t sleep on AVAS049 Captain America, though. For 150 Points, he also has a 20 Defense from most ranged attacks but adds Sidestep, Precision Strike (with a 12 Attack), Close Combat Expert and Empower. Plus, he pretty much turns every other Avenger adjacent to him into an instant leader–and remember, with all of this happening at the beginning of turn, you get to roll all those Leaderships right away! Depending on how many you hit, it’s conceivable that this Cap can be called in and actually save you a clearing turn somewhere down the line.

Pull a mini-Juston Seyfert?: Yup. There’s a Cap that can do that now. Well, at least the free move part. If you have someone free who costs 50 Points or more, you can give them a power action and Call-in FFOA006R Captain America. While he offers a 6 Range, 10 Attack and Precision Strike, the best reason to call this version in is to use his Damage Special (AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE: Give Captain America a power action and choose another friendly character that shares a keyword with him and doesn’t have 2 action tokens. That character is immediately given a move action as a free action with their speed value halved for this action.) to get your heaviest hitter in a better position on the board.

Imagine this scenario:

I should probably mention that in this scenario, the part of you will be played by Purple Man and resident Time Lord himself, David Tennant.

I should probably mention that in this scenario, the part of YOU will be played by our future Purple Man and resident Time Lord himself, David Tennant.

You: “So, you thought you were two squares out of Thor’s Range, eh? Well, this Captain America I’m calling in doesn’t think so. Alright, so I’m going to go ahead and move Thor 5 squares as a free action, and then double Energy Explode for the Alpha Strike on your candy ass.”

Oh, and playing the part of YOUR OPPONENT in the scenario will be this annoyed baby.

Oh, and playing the part of YOUR OPPONENT in the scenario will be this annoyed baby.

Your Opponent: “What? It’s only turn 2! These stupid ID cards are completely broken.”

Tenth Doctor Eyeglasses

You: “Oooo, look, I crit hit! By the way, pretty much the rest of my force has Energy Shield/Deflection now.”

Bored Baby

Your Opponent: “You knowI really hate playing with you.”

Hit two birds with one stone shield?: So, there are two characters you need to hit, but your down to your last character. Just call Steve Rogers. The experienced version of Juston Seyfert Cap (aka FFOA006 Captain America) has an awesome Attack Special (SHIELD RICOCHET: Give Captain America a ranged combat action and his damage value is locked at his printed value until actions resolve. After the ranged combat attack resolves, he may make a second ranged combat attack as a free action.) that will even the playing field real quick as long as you can call someone in for 100 Points. For 125 Points, you can call in CATWS001 Captain America to do the same trick a little better with his Attack Special (I’M PRETTY GOOD WITH THE SHIELD: When Captain America makes a ranged combat attack and hits, after actions resolve, he may make a second ranged attack with a locked damage value of 2 as a free action. When he does, he draws lines of fire and counts range from the hit character’s square.).

Deal some penetrating close combat damage?: In addition to the Traited Leadership tricks (IT’S AN AVENGERS WORLD: Captain America and adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Avengers keyword can use Leadership. If they are named Iron Man or Thor, they don’t have to be adjacent or lower point value.) of the Veteran piece, AVAS049E Captain America can still Charge 4 squares and deal 3 Damage with Exploit Weakness. He only has a 10 Attack, but the Threshold to call him in is just 75 Points.

Try and fling action tokens all over your opponent’s force?: Yup. This is actually a thing, too. 80 Point AAOU003R Captain America has Charge, a 4 Range with the ability to Ignore Hindering Terrain on Movement as well as Targeting, an 11 Attack Value and 3 Damage, but probably what’s most interesting about him is his Damage Special (HIS ENEMIES FEAR HIM: Captain America can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, he may also either place an action token on a higher point opposing character within range or he may place an action token on each lower point opposing character within range. Placing this action token doesn’t deal pushing damage.).

So, in addition to attacking, he also has a 33% chance to steal an action from one of your opponent’s best pieces (or a bunch of his ‘eep ‘eeps). His Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Captain America hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Captain America may modify the damage value of a friendly character by +1 this turn or, all opposing characters modify their attack value by -1 until your next turn.) can also either set your team up for a big turn, or really rain on your opponent’s parade the following turn as well.

Clearly, whether you’re using the Round Table, or just playing Cap’s card by itself, he offers a ton of trickeration options in addition to some close combat damage and tie-up potential. You just have to decide which tool you want in your toolbox!

 

That’s all for today. We’ll be back soon with a look at Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow Call-In options, as well as a Preview of the second wave of Age of Ultron!

Until Then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!