Coming Up Next-i-er!! (Or, A Look at the Rest of Your Year!! Part 3: Marvel’s What If… !!)

What If One

I loved this issue when I read it back when I was ten. Now I look at the cover and think, “Wait a minute, Peter’s being punched by Hulk and Thor AT THE SAME TIME and he doesn’t even feel it?! When has the Symbiote suit EVER WORKED LIKE THAT?” Also, what was the heroes’ plan here? Mister Fantastic’s like, “Thor, you and the Hulk are two of the strongest beings on this planet! See if you can overpower Peter physically. If not, I’ve cooked up a special device that should destabilize the Symbiote at a molecular level. But if all that fails, Black Cat, we’ll need you to walk over and scratch him!”

Welcome back!

Today we’re continuing with our year-long Set Preview series by taking a look at Marvel’s What If… ? Heroclix 15th Anniversary expansion set (which actually just came out yesterday!).

Almost the entire setlist has been revealed, so we’ll list the every piece here and talk specifically about selected entries.

COMMONS:

SPidey

001 Spider-Man — 55 Points: Incidentally, the first five figures of the set all seem to be normal versions of popular 616 heroes. This particular version of Spidey is notable for only costing 55 Points while possessing a great Movement Special (Web Swing: Spider-Man can use Hypersonic Speed. When he does, modify his damage value by +1 if his target is on a lower elevation than the one Spider-Man occupied when he began moving.) and Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering and Elevated Terrain.

His lone drawback is really having no Willpower, but he is really solid and a sneaky good play in Sealed.

002 Iron Man

003 Punisher

004 Daredevil

Thor What If

005 Thor — 110 Points: This Thor is awesome. Six Clicks of life with a Range of 6 (with 3 Bolts), Traited Energy Explosion and a SWEET Attack Special Power (Lightning Strike: Damage dealt from attacks made by Thor cannot be reduced below his click number.) that basically works like Pen/Psy except it seems like they priced it at about half the cost of normal Pen/Psy (he has it on EVERY Click!).

Like Spidey 001, he lacks Willpower, but his other Trait (Founding Member: When Thor is given a non-free move action he isn’t given an action token for that action.) helps quite a bit with that, especially at the start of the game.

As we’ll talk about in a minute, much of the crazy-good that is coming in this set is coming in at the Super Rare level, but if you’re playing Sealed, there’s a decent chance that you won’t get one of those. But chances are that you might still find yourself with a great Primary Attacker if you open this guy in one of your Common slots.

006 Iron Lad

007 Oni Hulk

008 Punisher Squad

Doctor Stark Common

009 Doctor Stark — 45 Points: This is not really the Doctor Stark you’re looking for, but this is as good a time as any to talk about a Trait he possesses that recurs throughout the set (From an Alternate Earth: If this character is on your sideline you may give a free action to a friendly character named Doctor Strange or Iron Man that’s equal or more points. Replace that character with this character on the same click number.) that allows you to swap him into the action in the middle of the game. So, in essence, virtually any Doc Strange or Iron Man now has a one-time use Shifting Focus ability.

010 Iron Rick

011 Molly Hayes

012 Chase Stein

Jessica Jones Agent of Shield

013 Jessica Jones — 65 Points: Probably the best Jessica Jones we’ve ever gotten, although most of the previous Jessicas just kinda suck, so that’s not a huge compliment.

Still, this Jessica has both the Shield AND Avengers Team Abilities, 10 Movement with Flying AND Charge, Super Strength, Super Senses and Toughness and a cool Trait (Keeping My Last Name, Though: When building your force, if your force also includes one character named Captain America, Jessica Jones gains all the keywords of that character this game.) that lets her team with really AND Cap out there!

All in all, this piece is a lot of fun!

UNCOMMONS:

014 Spider-Man 

015 Iron Man

016 Punisher

017 Daredevil

018 Thor

019 Captain Britain Iron Man

020 Oni Leader

PunisherSHIELD

021 Punisher of S.H.I.E.L.D. — 90 Points: He’s only five Clicks long for 90 Points, but those clicks are packed! He’s got some form of Running Shot or Sidestep AND Precision Strike for most of his dial, he’s got a Balls of Fury-like Damage Special (A SHOT AT THE REAL BAD GUYS: When attacking only characters with a point value of 100 or more, modify Punisher Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attack and damage values by +1. When attacking only characters with a point value of 200 or more, modify both values by an additional +1.) and he can draw lines of fire and count range from friendly Punisher Squad figures (#008 in this set).

He also has a situational Trait (I’LL BRING THE BUILDINGS DOWN: When Punisher Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is KO’d, deal 3 damage to each character occupying an elevation other than 1.) that you may be able to exploit on certain Maps.

Dr. Stark Meme

022 Dr. Stark — 115 Points: Big investment for a Secondary Attacker, but Dr. Stark can completely screw with your opponent’s team.

He has the Mystics TA, Phasing/Teleport, a 10 Attack with Pen/Psy, a 7 Range, 17 Defense with Impervious and 3 Damage with Prob. That’s all decent, but probably not worth 115 Points. But he also has the aforementioned From Another World Trait along with one of the best-named Traits the game has ever seen (AUTOMATED COUNTERSPELL: Dr. Stark can use Energy Shield/Deflection. Opposing characters within 4 squares can’t use Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Precision Strike, or Pulse Wave.)!

Slap the SFSMS101 Symbiote suit on him and you essentially have a sticky bomb that is capable of hamstringing your opponent’s entire force.

Iron Punisher.jpg

023 Iron Punisher — 100 Points: There’s no trickeration here. This is Frank Castle in an Iron Man suit. You get Running Shot, Pen/Psy with a freaking 12 Attack Value and 3 Damage. Yes, he has the From An Alternate Earth Trait, but really, he’s so good for his points that you might just want to start him.

He’s also got a frontrunning Damage Special (DID WE FREE AMERICA?: When Iron Punisher KO’s an opposing character, modify a friendly character’s damage value by +1 until your next turn.) that will help keep the game’s momentum rolling in your favor.

Young Avengers Runaways

024 Karolina Dean — 75 Points: So, these are probably the best Runaways they’ve ever done. None are bad (Victor Mancha as Iron Lad is probably the worst for his points, but he’s still playable), and three are quite good. Karolina is one of the “quite good.”

At 75 points, she’s at the high end of the Taxi/Supporting Figure cost spectrum, but she’s also a more than capable Secondary Attacker. Here’s a list of everything she brings top dial:

7 Range; Flight; 10 Movement with Running Shot; 10 Attack with Pen/Psy; 18 Defense with a great, damage-absorbing Special Power (REACTIVE ENERGY BARRIER: Karolina Dean can use Barrier and Defend. When Karolina Dean or adjacent friendly characters are targeted by a range attack, modify the attacker’s damage value by -1.);  3 Damage with Enhancement.

She also has the Runaways Trait/Defacto Team Ability (RUNAWAYS: Once per turn, when Karolina Dean attacks, if she is adjacent to a friendly character with the Runaways or Young Avengers keyword, she can re-roll a 1 on a die of the attack roll.), which in itself is not bad at all.

Finally, it’s worth noting that if you want to play the “classic” lineup of Gert, Nico, Chase, Molly and Karolina… they all add up to 300 Points exactly! Yes! Great job Wizkids! Oh, and if you want to add in Victor Mancha as Iron Lad, then they’re… 400 Points exactly! Wonderful design! As much as I like complaining about some of the things Wizkids does, they deserve credit for a fantastic job here. These may not be the “real, 616”-Runaways, but if you’re a fan of the characters, you should seek these pieces out. It’s honestly one of the strongest Sub-Themes from top-to-bottom that Wizkids has given us in quite awhile.

025 T.V.’s Spider-Man

RARES: 

026 Spider-Man

027 Iron Man

What if Punisher

028 Punisher — 60 Points: Another Punisher piece with a 12 Attack! He doesn’t have a move-and-attack ability up top (he does have Stealth though), but he does have Willpower, Precision Strike and a sweet, sweet Trait (SET THE TRAP: Give Punisher a power action to place a Decoy bystander adjacent to an opposing character within range and line of fire, removing any existing Decoys from the game. When a Decoy is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, deal 3 penetrating damage to each character adjacent to the square it occupied unless the attack total was 2 or greater than Decoy’s defense value.) that makes him kind of Anarky-lite.

The Decoys themselves have Plasticity, a Special Pulse Wave (RIGGED TO BLOW: If Decoy was not placed on the map this turn, it can use Pulse Wave. When Decoy uses Pulse Wave and actions resolve, KO it.) with a 5 Range and 9 Attack along with Shape Change.

So even though they only have a 15 Defense, they have the potential to be quite annoying to your opponent.

029 Daredevil

What if Thor.jpg

030 Thor — 105 Points: Your usual Thor smorgasbord of Running Shot and Pulse Wave with Sidestep and Pen/Psy mixed in down dial. What makes this Thor interesting is the ability to grant him extra attacks via his Damage Special (UNDER SETH’S THRALL: Give an adjacent friendly character with the Mystical keyword and point value of 50 or more a double power action that deals no pushing damage. When you do, Thor may make a close or range attack.).

If WW009Raven was 50 Points instead of 40, he’d be sick. Still, someone is going to find a way to break this.

Young Avengers Runaways

031 Nico Minoru — 75 Points: Okay, yeah, I just used this art for Karolina. I’m probably gonna use it again for Gert, just because it’s a great shot of the whole team.

Nico here is notable for the fact that she’s another pick-a-power piece. Her Trait (SISTER GRIMM: Give Nico Minoru a free action and choose up to two standard powers, each of a different combat type. You may not choose a power from a type chosen during your last turn. Nico Minoru can use the chosen powers until your next turn.) lets you grab two powers, actually. On a 75-Point piece!

She also has Willpower naturally on her first three clicks as well as the Runaways Trait I mentioned with Karolina.

032 Victorious

033 Spider Ma’am

034 TV’s Daredevil

035 Daredevil, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

036 Captain America

SUPER RARES: 

Young Avengers Runaways

037 Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace — 50 Points: She has an 8 Attack and only does 1 Damage. Why is she on the notable list again?

Oh yeah… cuz she has an unkillable pet Raptor! Her second Trait (MY PARENTS ONLY LEFT ME ONE THING: At the beginning of the game place adjacent an Old Lace Bystander. When Old Lace would take damage, you may instead deal Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace 1 unavoidable damage.) allows Gert to hang back in her Starting Zone (preferably on Hindering to take advantage of her top dial Stealth) and simply absorb any damage done to Old Lace! Which basically gives her dino buddy 5 Stop Clicks–and that’s assuming you never find a way to heal Gert!

She also comes packing a fantastic Leadership Special–one of the best we’ve ever seen, frankly (YOUNG AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace can use Leadership. When they do and succeed, you may instead remove an action token from one friendly character with the Runaways or Young Avengers keyword, regardless of adjacency or point value.), which synergizes with leaving her in your Starting Zone.

You also have to remember that all these Runaways ALSO have the Young Avengers keyword. So while playing them as a 300 Point squad is fun, if you don’t think they’re quite Meta, you can, say, sub out Chase Stein and Molly Hayes and throw in, say, CWSOP031 Wiccan and STILL have a NAMED Themed Team!

Something like:

Team Name: Picture Me Young Avengin’!!

Theme: Young Avengers

Roster:

WI036 Gertrude Yorkes & Old Lace — 50 Points

WI024 Karolina Dean — 75 Points

WI031 Nico Minoru — 75 Points

CWSOP031 Wiccan — 90 Points

wkMVID-009 Spider-Man — 5 Points

NFAOSNFID-007 S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 7 — 5 Points

Total: 300 Points

Sideline: 

WI038R Cosmic Spider-Man — 75 Points

NFAOS Peggy Carter — 60 Points

Now that is a Themed Team that’s full of tricks! And Prob, Perp and other enhancers. And unkillable Raptors.

What If Cosmic Spidey.jpg

038 Cosmic Spider-Man — 275, 175 or 75 Points: This is the usual Cosmic mix of powers (Hypersonic Speed, Invincible, etc.), but what makes this a standout piece is his Uni-Vision-powered Improved Targeting that sees through Hindering, Elevated and Blocking Terrain (and destroys Blocking when he attacks through it).

The 275 Point dial is fun, but not necessarily competitive.

The 175 Point dial is closer to Meta, but his damage is frankly a little light. Still, with both the Power Cosmic TA and the Spidey TA, he’s worth a look.

His 75 Point dial is probably the best Call-In piece in the game right now. He’s got Sidestep and an 11 Attack with Pen/Psy that can do 4 Penetrating Damage. When you add that to his Uni-Vision, that becomes gamechanging.

What if Peter the Hunter.jpg

039 Peter the Hunter — 90 Points: This is an aggressive close combat Spidey dial (Charge, 11 Attack with B/C/F, Combat Reflexes and Exploit Weakness) that gets turned up to 11 because of all of his Traits.

With his first Trait, Peter the Hunter brings his own army (ENSLAVED KRAVEN FAMILY: At the beginning of the game, place the 4 bystanders listed on this card into your starting area. These bystanders can use the Carry ability this game, but only to carry each other. The first non-free action you give one of these bystanders each turn doesn’t count towards your action total.).

These are ridiculously good pogs that you get FOR FREE!! I won’t go over all of them here, but you get a mix of Stealth, Charge, RCE, B/C/F and even Outwit. The fact that they can Carry each other is also bonkers.

His Second Trait is the standard Sideline Trait that half of these pieces have (FROM AN ALTERNATE EARTH: If this character is on your sideline, you may give a free action to a friendly character named Spider-Man or Kraven the Hunter that’s equal or more points. Replace that character with this character on the same click number.), but when combined with Peter’s third Trait, it can suddenly be devastating to your opponent.

His Third Trait (KILLED MY GREATEST ENEMIES: When Peter the Hunter KO’s an opposing character of 50 or more points, after actions resolve heal him to click #1 and place a Trophy token on this card. When Peter the Hunter would be KO’d, you may instead remove a Trophy token and turn him to his last non-KO click.) is probably stupid. In fact, I know it is.

To recap: You can be on the last Click of a TOTALLY DIFFERENT SPIDER-MAN (up to Click #6), switch to Peter the Hunter, and if you can use him to KO any opposing character of 50 Points or more (Peter can deal up to 4 Range damage on his last Click), suddenly he is not only back to his top dial, but he essentially gains a STOP CLICK too!

Someone will figure out a way to break him right quick.

What If Goblin King

040 Goblin King — 275, 175 or 75 Points: Forget the Chases; this is the piece everyone is after. It’s possible he’s even better than Jakeem Thunder, and that’s before you realize he doesn’t take your Prime slot.

We will go into his dial in more detail in our Top Ten Set Review, but he is bonkers good (and already will cost you more than most of the Chases on eBay!).

And if you’re planning on going to Origins for the World Championship this year, you’re going to want to come up with a strategy to beat him.

Because you will see him.

041 The Advocate

042 Punisher of the Strange

043 Peace Machine

044 Thordis

045 In-Betweener

046 Scarlet Centurion

CHASES:

047 Poison

048 Venom Hulk

049 Venom Thor

050 Venom Punisher

Have fun during Release Week! We will be back soon with our Top Ten Set Review!!

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

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