Goongala Goongala! And Hello Again!!
Sorry we’ve been radio silent for awhile–both Ninwashui and I have been sick puppies for most of the last 30-odd days. Ninwashui had strep throat, pinkeye, and God knows what else. I think he might’ve even turned into a werewolf at some point… I dunno. I lost track.
As for myself, I’ve had at least one sinus infection (possibly two), a terrible cough (possibly bronchitis) and I’ve produced enough mucus to sculpt a scale replica of Doop. And neither of us has fully recovered yet! Ahhhh, Spring… you can go #@$% yourself.
Annnnnyyyway, life–and Heroclix news–marches on. Wizkids released a bunch of news about some upcoming set themes, then they lost their minds for just a bit and decided to retire almost every set that didn’t come out, like, last week, and then they started previewing a bunch of cool new figures from both Uncanny X-Men (many of you probably have some of these in your hot little hands via the Pre-release tournament program or the release events going on this weekend!) AND TMNT.
The set rotation announcement really deserves its own article, so we’ll table that discussion for a moment. But since we’ve just celebrated the release of TMNT, the first non-Marvel, non-DC Modern Age set in ages (I think Street Fighter was the last such offering), we’re gonna talk about that today.
In fact, let’s talk about…
TEN ELEVEN BEST FIGURES IN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!!
Yup! Think of this as a stealthy, “mini” Top Ten article (yes, it’s still 2500+ words, but I mean, really, anything under 5000 for me still qualifies as “mini.”). The set only really has like 40 figures or so, so we’re going to skip the Honorable Mentions, and we’re only extending the Top Ten out to a Top Eleven (for me, that’s progress!). That’s right–if you want to make it into this review, you have to be Top Ten-worthy! But first, as usual…
SOME BRIEF NOTES ABOUT THE SET:
–Do you like dials under 100 Points? Do you hate Improved Targeting of any kind, especially when it’s passed out like candy at Halloween? Then this is the set for you. It plays remarkably well in Sealed formats. Outside of Krang (and oh, will we get to Krang–don’t you worry), there’s really not anything in the set that towers above everything else the way that the World’s Finest duo ran roughshod over everything in those World’s Finest release tournies. So it’s actually a pretty balanced set for Sealed.
Did you get a few Common Turtles and, like, a Foot Soldier? Don’t worry–you’re not out of it before you’ve even begun. Everything is relatively close to everything else in the set in terms of power level, with very few exceptions (again: KRANG!).
–Which leads us to our customary Power Level check. This set is nowhere near the Power Level of the stuff we just got in World’s Finest (forget the SR’s and Chases; even someone like Zatara or Mary Marvel would have their way with just about any one or even two pieces in this set at the same point level).
However… that doesn’t mean that there’s not Meta potential here. Especially since WizKids seems to be in the midst of scaling back Power Creep to, like, 2008 levels. You won’t notice it as much now, but it’ll become a little bit clearer after Guardians rotates out in, what, July? Then fast forward a year to 2017 when even more good stuff rotates out (like NFAOS, which will only be 2 years old at that point, but after the way WizKids just dumped Deadpool and GotG after the same amount of time–or even less, really–I would not be surprised to see Balls of Fury and all the rest of his rowdy, powerful friends given the heave ho), and suddenly you’ll be left with a lot of little pieces that are very efficient (and probably need to attack from up close).
Uncanny X-Men seems to be following suit with a lot of little 50-80 cost figures that are, point-for-point, the best pieces in the set. So if this is the new normal going forward, if small and efficient is the new, uh, big and efficient, well, you’re gonna want a lot of these TMNT pieces.
(And yes, I realize that World’s Finest and the big, powerful KC Chases are probably always gonna be in Modern at the same time as this Turtles set, so really, as always, forget everything I just said.)
–I really like the consistency of all the new ninja weapon Special Powers. Basically, whether it’s a Chase Turtle or a lowly Foot Clan robot, any character that uses a certain type of weapon has the same Special Power. It really adds a lot of ninja flavor to the figures.
And for the record, those five weapon Specials are:
KATANA: __X__ can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. If __X__ missed a close attack this turn, __X__ can use Sidestep.
SAI: __X__ can use Flurry. __X__ deals penetrating damage when making a close attack.
NUNCHAKUS: __X__ can use Flurry. Each time __X__ hits an opposing character, after actions resolve you may give that character an action token.
BO STAFF: All damage dealt by __X__ causes knockback. Giant Reach: 2.
CHAIN KAMA: When __X__ hits an opposing character with a range attack, after actions resolve you may place the hit character adjacent to __X__ and it can’t be moved or placed during its next turn.
I would love to see these show up even in a Marvel or DC set. Give me an Elektra with the Sai Special or a Katana from Suicide Squad with a, uh, Katana Special! I think these powers represent the effects of the weapons very well. Kudos to the Wizkids design team.
Anyway, without further ado…
11. TMNT019 April O’Neil — 30 Points — Rare: Okay, this is “scientist” April as opposed to the cartoon “reporter” April, which explains the tricksy, support-y dial. Yes, her base defense stinks, even with her Special Defense Power (THEY PROTECT ME, I GIVE THEM A HOME: UNIQUE MODIFIER – As long as one or more friendly characters with the TMNT keyword or named Casey Jones are adjacent, April O’Neil and those adjacent friendly characters modify their defense values by +1.).
But the reason to spend 30 Points on April is because she’s a mobile Outwit unit who can do her job from the BACK of the pack. Her Damage Special (SKILLED PROGRAMMER: April O’Neil can use Outwit and Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters when she does.) combined with her top dial Sidestep means it will be easy to both keep her out of harm’s way AND keep her in the right position to Outwit opposing pieces, which is a very rare combination.
10. TMNT011 Splinter — 40 Points — Uncommon: Think of Splinter as the Toymaster of this set, only with slightly less trickery but slightly more offense. His Precision Strike is nice, but his Sidestep is actually the key to his dial.
His Trait (I HAVE TAUGHT YOU ALL I LEARNED: Splinter can use Empower. UNIQUE MODIFIER-Adjacent Friendly characters with the TMNT Keyword modify their attack values by +1.) means he needs to be adjacent to his sons to help them out, but that top dial Sidestep could allow you to boost two different Turtles in one turn even if they themselves are two to three squares away from each other (although many of the Turtles benefit from being adjacent to each other, so why are you separating them in my theoretical example?).
If you play him with some of the Turtle Chases, all of the sudden their Attack Values zoom up into the 12-13 area and they start doing 4 Damage top dial even though they’re all just 75 Points!
At that point, the trick becomes finding a way to move everyone efficiently…
9. TMNT014 Nobody — 45 Points — Uncommon: Not to be confused with DC’s Mr. Nobody, clearly. He (or she, as there have been several “Nobody”‘s throughout Turtles history, although I believe this is the OG Nobody) sports a 5-Click Tertiary Attacker dial that’s just loaded with mobility and survivability–if you can get him on the right map (the “Jean Grey School for Higher Learning” Map that we just got in the Uncanny X-Men OP Kit has a plethora of walls and would be a perfect battlefield for, well, Nobody).
He ignores Elevated Terrain on movement and his Trait is just bonkers for a piece with such a low cost (SHADOWY AVENGER: Nobody can use Stealth. Nobody can’t be targeted by opposing characters if he’s adjacent to a wall.).
But that Trait just makes him hard to kill. Can your opponent just ignore him? Surprisingly, no. He has top dial Close Combat Expert, so he can pump his damage all the way to 4 if he so wishes. But even worse than that (well, worse for your opponents), Nobody has a top dial Attack Special (CAPE IN YOUR EYES: Give Nobody a power action and choose an adjacent opposing character. That character can’t make an attack during its next turn.) that can all but shutdown ANY opposing character to whom Nobody is adjacent! And since he starts with Sidestep, all you have to do is TK him to within two squares of your opponent’s Primary Attacker and all of the sudden you can attack with no fear of retaliation!
CATWS013 Agent 13 is the last piece I can think of who’s sole mission was to get adjacent to your opponent’s most important piece and stay there, but Nobody does that trick even better–and for 10 less points!!
8. TMNT030 Baxter Stockman — 60 Points —Super Rare: Potentially one of the best taxis ever created–but only if you’ve constructed an army of insect-sized figures.
His Trait (FOUR ARMZZZZ: Baxter Stockman may carry up to 4 “tiny damage symbol” characters.) makes him extremely useful in a Modern Age filled with Ant-Men and Elast-Girls. Honestly, I can’t think of a time when we had more useful, viable “Tiny Size” pieces then right now.
This Baxter’s only five clicks long, and his dial alternates between Tertiary Attacker and Support piece, but his mobility and his ability to potentially transport an entire Tiny-Sized army up to 12 Squares at a time is the best reason to play him.
7. Baxter Stockman — 30 Points — Uncommon: Potentially one of the best taxis ever cre–wait a minute, I just did a Baxter Stockman write-up! Oooooohhh, this is the “evil robotics genius” Baxter, as opposed to the freaky half-man, half-fly version.
So why is this version even better? Well, in addition to Stealth and Outwit, his Trait (I DON’T NEED ANYONE EXCEPT MY MOUSERS!: When a friendly character named Mouser is KO’ed by an opponent’s attack, roll a d6. 4-6: You may place adjacent a TMNT #005 Mouser from outside the game if no other friendly character did.) will let you flood the board with ever-reincarnating Mousers, but the real reason you’ll want to play him is his Special Attack Power (ROBOTICS GENIUS: Give Baxter Stockman a free action to heal an adjacent friendly character with the Robot keyword 1 click. If it can’t be healed, modify its speed and attack values by +1 this turn instead.).
In a world where Juston Seyfert exists [EDITOR’S NOTE: Uh, like ours? Ohhh, I see what you did there. Nice.)], Baxter here is the perfect complementary role player!
6. TMNT012 Casey Jones — 30 Points — Uncommon: Yes, he tops out with a Damage Value of 2. His Defense Value isn’t great either (it’s a 17). But his with a little help from someone’s Outwit, or if you just send him after support figures with little or no damage absorption, Casey Jones can actually get by as a Secondary Attacker… for just 30 Points!! How? His top dial Attack Special (GOONGALA GOONGALA: Give Casey Jones a close action and make a close attack. If he hits, after actions resolve move him up to two squares automatically breaking away, then make another close attack with his attack and damage values modified by +1.), that’s how.
This is probably the most dangerous 30 Point melee piece we’ve seen since Fear Itself Loki!
(Oh, and if you want to go the Outwit route to cancel opposing defenses, might we suggest Ms. O’Neil from slot number 10? She combos nicely with Casey.)
Click here for more info on this awesome Jason Flowers TMNT print.
5. TMNT034 Donatello — 75 Points — Chase:
4. TMNT035 Leonardo — 75 Points — Chase:
3. TMNT033 Michaelangelo — 75 Points — Chase:
2. TMNT032 Raphael — 75 Points — Chase:
Okay, we’re gonna talk about these four Chase pieces all together since they’re all really similar pieces. Each Turtle again has their signature Weapon Special, and they all share the same two Traits (we’ll use Mikey’s card as an example, since he was always my favorite Turtle): (SHELL TO SHELL DEFENSE: Michelangelo can use Stealth. If Michelangelo is adjacent to a character named Raphael, Donatello, or Leonardo, he can use Impervious.) and (ADVANCED TURTLE TECHNIQUE: When Michelangelo hits one or more opposing characters, after actions resolve Michelangelo can move up to 2 squares automatically breaking away, and then may make a close attack targeting a character he has not attacked this turn.).
So each Chase Turtle gives you six highly efficient Clicks for 75 Points that get even BETTER when played with each other.
Getting melee pieces to their targets in one piece has always and will always be a problem in Heroclix, but giving Stealth and Impervious to these Turtles when they advance in pairs is a huge advantage!
1. TMNT031 Krang — 170 Points — Super Rare: Wow. For everyone who looked at Super Rare Prime Ragnarok from Avengers Assemble and said, “Sure he can unleash unholy destruction when paired with Juston Seyfert, but I wish he was, like, 30 Points cheaper… ,” well, now you have your wish.
Yup, Krang has the “Robot” keyword. He has other keywords as well, I’m sure, but who cares? “Robot” is all Juston needs to go crazy with him.
Krang’s Trait (MOLECULAR AMPLIFICATION CHIP: Give Krang a free action and he has (Giant Damage Symbol) and modifies his combat values by +1 until your next turn. At the end of your turn, deal him 1 unavoidable damage. Give Krang a free action and he has Colossal and modifies his combat values by +2 until your next turn. At the end of your turn, deal him 2 unavoidable damage. You may only activate one of these powers each turn.) is really what all the fuss is about. By making him Colossal, you end up with even better stats than what Ragnarok starts with, and Krang also has top dial Charge, Impervious and Prob Control.
Not a bad little package… but it gets much better! His Attack Special (SHAPESHIFTING HANDS: Give Krang a free action to choose a standard attack power or (Wing Movement Symbol). Krang can use the chosen power or symbol until you choose again.) also gives him a TON of flexibility over how he’s going to kill you.
And if you do manage to knock him off of his first Click, he simply gains a Damage Special Power (IQ OF 968 – UNTIL HE GETS MAD: Krang can use Outwit and Probability Control. His powers can’t be countered by a character on an equal or higher click number.) that makes it REALLY hard to damage him again!
Oh, and speaking of damage, how about we just pair him with “Scientist” Baxter Stockman (number 7 on our list) and let him heal damage every freaking turn… for free!
I will be shocked if Krang doesn’t make a significant impact on the Meta!
Okay, that’s all for today. In the coming days and weeks we will be gearing up for our dual Top Ten Set Reviews for Uncanny X-Men, and Ninwashui has a special Meta Build article he’s working on wherein he brainstorms a way to counter everyone’s favorite gun-toting uncle, Nick Fury!!
Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!