A Superior Review of the Top Ten Figures in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man!!

Hey everyone! It’s me, Ninwashui! I’m back!

Where have I been? Well, my family life (a.k.a. my kids) occupies a large chunk of my time now, but this set was simply so hot that I just… haaaaad to neglect them all for a few hours and put together my Top Ten list!

With Great Power

That’s me, Mr. Responsibility!

And look, just to be clear, I would never ACTUALLY neglect my family… unless there was a great set that had just come out. I mean, you didn’t see me wasting any father daughter time on Uncanny X-Men, did you?

(Oh, you still want an Uncanny X-Men Second Opinion? Here is what my Top Ten would have been: Iceman, Iceman, Iceman, Proteus, Common Storm, Mystique, Pixie, Quicksilver, Prime Kitty annnnd Iceman! Bleeeeccch. There were, like, three really good pieces in the whole set. Next!)

Anyway, I was very impressed with the dial designs this time around and the Sealed event at our local shop was great–lots of really close games. So let’s get right to it with…

Some Thoughts About the Set:

  • The Super Rares and Chases in this set are awesome. With the exceptions of Ares, Morlun, and Spider-Man 2211, there could be an argument made that all of them deserve to be on this list. Ares is just alright. Morlun and Spider-Man 2211 don’t have a place on any constructed team that I can think of.
  • The Primes kinda suck. There aren’t many bad pieces in this set and even the Serpent Society has their uses (I can envision a Rattler constructed team.).
Rattler

“Hmmm… should I revolve my team around Rattler this evening?

However the Primes in this set just aren’t good. A Prime is supposed to be (theoretically) extra-powerful for the points that’s why you can only ever have one on a team at a time. Even if I ignored that restriction I don’t see myself ever playing any of these guys. If they are going to keep making Primes like this they should just stop making them.

  • The Call in Help From the Spider-Verse Trait is really powerful and fun. I used it to great effect at the Pre-Release and it allows you to chain together attacks from across the map like never before.
  • They are continuing the trend from UXM: point costs are lower (with only a few 200 pointers in the SR slot), almost no one gets Indomitable, almost no Improved Targeting, and a lot less Improved Movement then they should have had in a set full of spider people. I love this new direction the game is heading. It’s nice that Willpower, Phasing, Leap/Climb, Leadership and Stealth are much more useful now.
  • The sketch variants are super cool. I will always buy or trade for a sketch piece over a standard painted one. Not sure why some people don’t like it; doesn’t hurt the game in any way. But hey, that just means more for me.

But enough thinking! Let’s get to…

My Top Five Honorable Mentions:

Miles

5. SFSM031 Spider-Man – 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes and Shape Change makes this guy a top choice for engaging the opposing team’s best figure in close combat. His special white power PARALYZING VENOM STRIKE lets him deal damage AND gives any opposing character hit and action token. That action token doesn’t deal pushing damage, but it still keeps the opposing figure from taking actions. So it’s great in my book.

When you want to tie someone up, this guy is the one you want to call in from the Spider Verse.

Scarlet

4. SFSM017 Scarlet Spider – Another character whose attack deals damage AND gives any characters hit by a ranged attack an action token. The difference is that this character has Running Shot and two targets. He also has a lot of improved movement options. A Defense of 18 with Super Senses which is just fine for his point cost. His real weakness is getting tied up in close combat. Thankfully he has the Spider-man Family keyword so any other character that you have with the CALL IN HELP FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE trait can transport him out of adjacency and safely back to ranged combat.

Cloak 2

3. SFSM036 Cloak – Sure he’s at his best when played with Dagger, but for 35 points Cloak brings enough to the table that he is worth using without her.  He has Stealth, Improved Movement of every kind, the Spider-Man TA, and the Carry ability. What really puts him over the top is his 18 Defense with Defend. Use him to carry a character into battle and then move him around as needed to keep your teams defense consistently high.

Doc Ock

2. SFSM055 Doctor Octopus – Half Superior Scientist, half Weed Whacker.  This guy is delicate in close combat and is fairly vulnerable to Outwit, but he’s still well worth his points. He has a special power up front that allows him to make far more attacks than any 80 point character should ever be able to make in one turn. It reads, “MENTALLY CONTROLLED TENTACLES: When he makes a close combat attack Doctor Octopus can use Giant Reach: 3 and Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters. Give him a power action to make 4 close combat attacks that deal 2 damage. After actions resolve modify the defense value of any character hit more than 2 times by these attacks by -2 until your next turn.” Your opponent is going to see this coming a mile away and target him first, but if you somehow get Doc Ock to make an attack in the middle of the opposing team then it will all be worth it.

SPidey 001

1. SFSM001 Spider-Man – This is a well rounded Spider-Man. 18 Defense, Charge, Super Strength, Close Combat Expert, and a better form of Super Senses are a good value for 70 points. Where he really shines is when he’s Called in from the Spider Verse. If you can call this guy in and have him appear adjacent to an opposing character, then he can combine his Close Combat Expert with a heavy object and make an attack with 12 attack value and 5 damage! It’s got to be the right circumstances, but that’s exceptional for 70 points.

Which brings us right to…

The Top Ten Figures in the set:

Speedy Demony

10. SFSM040 Speed Demon – He’s not as good as his previous version from the Deadpool set that essentially let you move opposing characters around at will, but he is still very good. He has a lower point cost, much better Defense, and Willpower. If you are playing Sinister Syndicate or Thunderbolts he is almost a lock for those teams. Try this team:

Team Name: Need for Speed

Keyword: Sinister Syndicate

  • SFSM040 Speed Demon
  • SFSM029 Overdrive
  • SFSM056 Chameleon
  • WKM16-001 Doctor Octopus
  • 35 points for ATAs, Resources, Thugs, Etc…
  • Total = 300
  • Strategy Tips: Have Chameleon disguise himself as Jester. Start an Alpha strike up to 11 squares away by having Speed Demon run in, attack, and end up one space back from the target after actions resolve. Give Doc Ock the Power Action to double Flurry. Have Overdrive carry Doc Ock and Jester next to Speed Demon. Share attack value. Give Doc Ock 4 attacks. After those resolve have Jester make Jester Bots to tie up the opposing team. Hopefully do it all again next turn.

Betty Brant

9. SFSM007 Betty Brant – It took thirteen damn years, but they have finally made a worthy replacement to the Rookie Con Artist from the X-plosion set in 2003. Anyone who played HeroClix at that time will know this piece. Betty is admittedly 4 more points than the Con Artist, but those extra points give a second useful click where she can heal your team if needed. She also gets a Trait, “I’LL PROVE MY HUSBAND WAS NOT THE HOBGOBLIN IF I HAVE TO RETRIEVE EVERY GLIDER!: UNIQUE MODIFIER. Opposing characters with “Wing Symbol” modify their speed values by -1. If that character is named Hobgoblin, instead modify all of that character’s combat values by -1.” That might not seem like much, but moving one less space can be the difference between making an attack or not.

Moon Knight.jpg

8. SFSM037 Moon Knight – This is a Secondary Attacker that continues to get more dangerous the longer he is ignored. Moon Knight has a great Special Power that helps him land hits and a Trait that essentially gives him a Stop Click at the end of his dial for every two hits that he lands. And SPOILER ALERT: the last Click on his dial is his best click with 11 attack 18 defense and 4 damage. He should have no problem finding a place with Marvel Knights, Mystical, or Soldier teams. 

 

The Battle of New York. We've seen it, and we covered it.

“The Battle of New York. We’ve seen it, and we covered it.”

7. SFSM006 J. Jonah Jameson – I wanted to come up with something witty here, but user MarcSpectre from hcrealms said it best: “He’s the Spider-man Family insurance policy. He knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two.” If you are going to play with any Spider-Man Family pieces you’re going to want him on your team even if he is going to break your Theme. +2 to Defense on the already high defenses of the spider family is just too high to hit for a lot of teams.

Spider-Man_noir

6. SFSM061 Spider-Man Noir – This is actually one the better ranged attackers in the Spider-Man Family. That and his low 75 point cost makes him one of the best for setting off the CALL IN HELP FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE Trait.

His combination of 6 Range, 11 Attack and Sidestep combine with his Stealth and Outwit to make him a well-rounded figure. He alternates between Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert so you can easily switch his function depending on your need. His 18 defense with Super Senses is perfectly acceptable for his point cost. 

Chameleon

5. SFSM056 Chameleon – HypeFox and I both love this guy. I’ll be very surprised if Chameleon is not high on his list. His flexibility is hard to beat.

Some of our favorite characters so far to use as disguises: CWSOP022 Jester, WKD15-010 Miss Arrowette, SMWW003 Batman, WF034 Batman, UXM047 Mystique, AVAS013A Triathlon, and WKD16-007 Captain Cold. That could actually probably be an article on its own.

Anyway, once he’s hit, if Chameleon’s on click 3 or 4  you could choose to be SMWW026 Clark Kent and start throwing out Hypersonic Superman tokens. Or if you are on exactly click 4, going to JLTW055 Tim Hunter can be a game breaking play. It’s going to be tough limiting this guy to just three options a game…

Spider-Gwen

4. SFSM052 Spider-Gwen – She’s got 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes, just like SFSM031 Spider-Man. But unlike him, she also gets Indomitable. Add that to her Super Strength, Improved Movement, a Traited Super Senses that is impossible to bypass with Precision Strike and her last click that may well send you back to her top dial.

There’s no secret combo with her, she’s just that good.

Thug

3. SFSM005 Thug – This guy is the best ten points you can spend on a Themed Team right now. You will be seeing him abused in multiples and en masse in tournaments very soon. Sure he doesn’t get a Themed Team Prob, but he does get to use ATAs. Pick any good ATA and build a team around that. For example, the Wonders of the World ATA which states, “Give a character using this team ability a power action to heal an adjacent friendly character 1 click. Heal 2 clicks instead if the adjacent character has the Wonders of the World keyword. Deal the character given the action 1 unavoidable damage.” Suddenly any thug you play is a heal battery for your real characters. The Sinister 12 ATA is also a good choice, “When you have more characters on the map than each opponent, modify the attack value of each character using this team ability by +1.

They are also really great to fill out keywords that don’t have enough pieces, or enough good pieces, or enough low cost pieces. Want to make an Amazon army? Here are your soldiers. The same can be said for Asgardians, Atlantians, and White Lanterns. The list is endless.

They are also great in situations where a special power on a figure affects your whole army. JLTW050E Superman’s leadership, UXM005A Emma Frost‘s perplex, and SMWW064 Green Light‘s Empower a Brigade Trait are all good examples. And certainly they are some of the best Mastermind fodder out there. You could even take someone with the Green Lantern Team Ability and fly 8 of them up to tie up the opposing team for several turns.

Try this example team:

Team Name: Thunder Thugs

Keyword: Thunderbolts

  • SFSM040 Speed Demon (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • SFSM051 Baron Zemo (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • 4* SFSM005 Thug (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • Full Pandora’s Box
  • Total = 298
  • Strategy Tips: Set The Thunderbolts ATA to Mystics. The Thugs and Speed Demon also get +1 attack and Sidestep from Zemo. Add to that the Relics from Pandora’s Box and you’ll end up with a gaggle of Thugs with some pumped-up kicks. With 6 people on the team it should be fairly easy to distribute all of the sin relics by turn 7. Use Sidestep to edge ever closer to battle when you are low on actions.

Spider-Punk

2. SFSM062 Spider-Punk – This is the best of the Spider Chases and a pretty straight forward pick. His Improved Movement, Charge and Flurry with 3 starting Damage makes him a great choice to teleport in with the Spider-Verse Trait. In addition, his Super Senses and Shape Change along with his 18 Defense makes it hard for opponents to strike back. And if an opponent DOES manage to damage him, then he gives you your choice of Pulse Wave or Close Combat Expert to go along with his Sidestep. He’s a real steal at 75 points.

Spidey 048.jpg

1. SFSM049 Spider-Man – This guy fills a completely different role, but he is Nick Fury-level good. With the Perplex on his dial and his Super Strength, he can pick up an ultra-heavy object, pump up his Attack to 12, Hypersonic 9 spaces and hit someone for 6 Damage. This isn’t Spider-Man, it’s Superman in disguise.

He has Willpower (unlike most of the rest of the set) and the same hard to bypass Super Senses that Spider-Gwen has, but even better. The web Tokens he puts out by hitting people are even more effective here than on other figures because of his Hypersonic Speed. He has Improved Movement and the best keywords of any of the Spider-Man Family (Avengers and Reporter keywords!)

He only has Hypersonic Speed on his first 3 clicks, but on his last three clicks he has a Special Power that states, “LAST DITCH EFFORT: Spider-Man can use Precision Strike. Give Spider-Man a free action to make a close attack.” So he can still move his full movement and use Outwit! And then he can free action close attack. And then call in someone from the Spider-Verse.  And give the hit character a Web Token.  And then Side step away without having to break away (because of the Web Token).  So even his three “weaker” clicks aren’t actually that weak.

 

Okay! That’s it for me today, but keep it tuned to this space. We’ve got a lot of content in the pipeline!

See ya real soon!

 

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Fast Five: The Five Worst Figures in Uncanny X-Men!!

FAST FIVE

So, we just talked about the 10 best pieces in Uncanny X-Men. But who are the worst?

Yep, we’re giving the cream of the dreck their own article today! Let’s count them down from worst to even worst-ier to most worst-est!

Wolverine Star Trek

Oh wow! So this happened once…

5. UXM006 Wolverine — 50 Points — Common: Uncanny X-Men actually doesn’t have a ton of crap. The Common slots are much better comparatively than, say, World’s Finest.

Having said that, this is not a great Wolverine. The designers tried to shove everything the character can do in the comics into a tiny, 50 Point blended drink of a dial, but it doesn’t quite taste right.

With no Willpower, no top dial reducers and a survival Trait (HEALING FACTOR: When Wolverine clears action tokens, you may heal him 1 click.) that definitely ISN’T the best there is at what it does (at most, it MIGHT go off once or twice in a game for one Click of healing at a time), this version of Logan is entirely dependent on basing someone and praying that the opposition has no way of dealing with his Combat Reflexes (such as Outwit, or, y’know, just sniping him). His 10 Attack Value is fine for his point level, but it’s still nothing to write home about.

Now, I’ve seen some chatter about his last Click, and it is a monster: Flurry with B/C/F, Battle Fury to ignore Shape Change and a 13 Attack Value! Yay!! Except you’ll rarely if ever get to it. And even if you do, that Flurry means that he better already be basing someone, otherwise he’s probably not going to survive long enough to ever use his last Click abilities.

(*Finding a way to give him JLTWS106 Wrath for 8 Points would go a long way towards fixing much of what ails this iteration of Wolverine. But his native dial on its own is not very good.)

Blockbuster

That awkward moment when you think you just made a dramatic entrance by punching through a wall but you suddenly realize that the exertion involved in doing so actually made you crap your pants.

4. UXM010 Blockbuster — 65 Points — Common: 65 Points of slow-moving molasses. He can Charge up to a (measly) three squares on his top dial (only); after that, he’s entirely dependent on the grace of friendly taxis or a TK’er.

By the time he finally gets to someone, the game could be half over. And even if you do drop everything and focus the rest of your team on getting Blockbuster where he needs to go, his 10 Attack Value still has a great chance of missing.

Honestly, I didn’t love that Wolverine we just talked about at 50 Points, but that dial was still clearly better than Blockbuster’s–for 15 LESS points.

Super_Sabre_2

3. UXM032 Super Sabre70 PointsUncommon: At 70 Points, you’re paying Secondary Attacker money for a character who’s more like a Tertiary Attacker. And that first click is just brutal: 10 Attack with Hypersonic Speed, Force Blast, a native 2 Damage and a Defense Value of just 17 with ES/D.

If you can get him down dial (not easy to do without getting him KO’d), he finally picks up some Precision Strike, but that’s about the only power on his dial that will allow you to cut though dampeners.

Basically, if you are choosing to use Super Sabre, you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Cameron_Hodge_(Earth-616)

2. UXM058 Cameron Hodge200 PointsSuper Rare: He’s got a long(-ish) dial… a couple of survivability Traits (MYSTICAL TELEPATHIC IMMUNITY: Cameron Hodge can’t be targeted by Mind Control or Penetrating/Psychic Blast.)(PHENOMENAL REPAIR RATE AND PHASING MODULE: When Cameron Hodge has two action tokens, he can use Super Senses. At the beginning of your turn, if Cameron Hodge has two action tokens, he can use Regeneration as a free action. ) that actually work… and that’s about it.

Do you want your 200 Point tentpole to start with Stealth top dial? I really don’t, unless the piece also has some sort of Traited Sidestep or something. The middle of his dial is actually somewhat useful, with a limited Charge of up to four squares and an Attack Special Power (IMPALE: Give Cameron Hodge a close action to make a close attack targeting a character within 3 squares and line of fire. Damage dealt from this attack is penetrating and the hit character may be placed in a square within 3 squares and line of fire of Cameron Hodge.) that augments his Threat Range another three squares.

But his limited mobility (his starting Movement Value is 7 and it NEVER goes higher, and since he’s a peanut base he can’t be TK’d) is a real issue, and with only 100 points left to support him, there’s very little you can do about it. The fact that he starts out as a ranged attacker with no move and attack, no Improved Targeting and only a 6 Range isn’t helping his case as a Primary Attacker, either.

If you pull a Cameron and decide to play him at some point, you really have to get comfortable living in the middle of his dial, where his mobility and damage are at their highest. But if I’m paying 200 Points for a piece, I really expect more bang for my theoretical buck.

Phoenix

Okay… gonna use Ranged Combat Expert and, uh, I’ll put everything into Attack. Again.

1. UXM053B Phoenix250 Points — Super Rare PRIME: Yup. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, I hate, hate HATED this version of Phoenix… at least in 300 Point games. In UXM Sealed, she would probably wreck face, just because most of the rest of that set is filled with little 50 Point facehuggers that she can one-shot… if she can see them, that is.

And that’s one of her main problems, especially in 300 Point Constructed. She has no Improved Targeting, so even with a native 9 Range she can be completely defeated by something as simple as basic Stealth on an opposing figure. Even Energy Shield/Deflection poses a big problem for her when she’s on her top dial, since she’s rocking just a 10 Attack.

She does have a Stop Click at the end of her dial, and she has Pulse Wave on her last two clicks along with a 19 Defense. But if you’re playing an opponent with access to Prob and/or Perplex at that point, she’s really quite beatable. Honestly, 60 Point Peggy Carter would actually be a nightmare for this piece to face.

(Yes, I know, every piece has bad matchups, but still…)

The other thing I really dislike about this piece is that her non-Prime version (UXM053A Phoenix) is 140-150 Points of bonkers fun with a dial that’s constantly changing… but you need the Prime version on your sideboard to get the most out of her. So even if you just want to play the better, funner version of this piece, you still need to get really lucky OR shell out about $50 or so just to play the A-side the way you want to. Lame.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was originally $75-$80 right after the set came out. Most Heroclix figures depreciate a healthy amount after a month or so post-release, but Phoenix Prime has lost almost half of her value on the open market. Looks like the word is out about her dial… ]

But hey–at least her sculpt is pretty cool.