[EDITOR’S NOTE: Roberto Ty is back with a preview of the next set! Roberto’s already on to some other column ideas, so if you like what you see here, let him know in the Comments below!]
Pre-release events for Captain American and the Avengers began Wednesday, January 22nd. The set has been largely spoiled through various unboxing videos and retail store online previews. As with any new set, the anticipation is high for new figures that will impact the Metagame. Before looking at Meta construction, most players will have the chance to test run the new figures in Sealed Pre-release events. The Sealed format offers a more level playing field for casual and competitive players alike…if the set design is balanced. While I’m sure there will be primers written in the next few days that will do a deep dive, figure by figure analysis, I prepare by taking a broader view at the numbers.
|Common||17 plus 1 Prime|
|Uncommon||17 plus 1 Prime|
|Rare||17 plus 1 Prime|
|Super Rare||17 plus 1 Prime|
|Chase||6 with ClixFX base|
The following numbers are based on what has been spoiled so far. We’re still missing a handful of figures, but this small number shouldn’t impact greatly our general analysis.
Point Value Distribution
|Point Value||# Figures|
The bulk point values for figures fall in these two values, 50 and 75 points, providing most builds the potential to field at least 3 figures on average. At the high-end is 150-point Captain Marvel and on the low-end a 15-point S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. As most experienced players know, a tentpole figure doesn’t always translate to success. Low-point support pieces are just as critical and this set has many low-point characters to fill out your teams. There are 16 figures under 50 points.
Keywords and Team Abilities
|Masters of Evil||17|
No surprise here, the dominant keyword for an Avengers set is Avengers, followed by Soldier, Scientist, S.H.I.E.L.D., Thunderbolts, Spy, Masters of Evil, and A.I.M. Since Probability Control is typically in short supply, making a Named Themed Team is another way for you to manipulate the dice in your favor. Look to build an Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Thunderbolts, Masters of Evil, or A.I.M. named theme team.
|Team Ability||# Figures|
|Masters of Evil||10|
While the Avengers keyword dominated, the team ability doesn’t top the list. Instead, S.H.I.E.L.D. is prevalent, thanks to all the low-cost support agents and officers. Let’s review these team abilities. Knowing what they do will help you build your sealed team quicker.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Adjacent friendly characters modify range +1. POWER: Choose an adjacent friendly character. Once this turn, the chosen character modifies its damage +1 when making a ranged attack.
Masters of Evil. Colossal Stamina.
Avengers. When this character is given a MOVE action, modify speed +1.
Team Player. Wild Card. Uncopyable.
Of these team abilities, S.H.I.E.L.D can really have a great impact on your build, especially if your team has range. So let’s look at the range breakdown next.
Range and Improved Abilities
Expect the bulk of your team to have limited range. This means that if you do pull a figure with a range of 6+, set it in the pile for consideration to make your team. Characters with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability can aid your team if your range is limited.
Thanks to the Espionage trait, many characters have Stealth, Improved Movement: Hindering, and Improved Targeting: Hindering. Let’s look at the dominant traits next.
|☆ Trait||# Figures|
|☆ Assembled Bolts and Masters||19|
|☆ Assembled Avengers||14|
☆ Assembled Bolts and Masters. Once per turn when (name of character) hits, after resolutions you may roll a d6. 5-6: If your force has 3+ friendly characters with the Masters of Evil or Thunderbolts keywords, remove an action token from Ghost -or- give an action token to a hit target. If your force has 6+, do both.
☆ Espionage. Stealth, Improved Movement: Hindering, and Improved Targeting: Hindering.
☆ Assembled Avengers. Once per turn when (name of character) hits, after resolutions you may roll a d6. 5-6: If your force has 3+ friendly characters with the Avengers keyword, remove an action token from Iron Man -or- give an action token to a hit target. If your force has 6+, do both.
I think the most impactful Trait is Espionage, primarily as a Stealth-busting option. There is a large number of characters with Stealth, but thanks to this Trait I wouldn’t build around it.
Team Mobility: Flight and Telekinesis
|Team Mobility||# Figures|
|*051 Moonstone has flight, but Passenger: 0.|
The ability to move your team can often be the difference in a victory or a loss. In this set, there are 19 characters with flight, with only 18 being able to carry. I would, therefore, value flight characters and automatically put them in the pile for consideration when building my sealed team.
The other method for moving your teammates is Telekinesis. Unfortunately this power is in short supply with only 3 characters possessing the power.
Indomitable and Willpower
The ability to perform an action in consecutive turns without taking pushing damage can be a difference maker. Indomitable is more prevalent in the Super Rare rarity while Willpower isn’t too common a special power at all. If you pull a Super Rare or higher, chances are you’re playing it. Therefore if you do find a lower rarity character with either Indomitable or Willpower, you just might put the figure in your consideration pile.
A little programming note before we breakdown the powers for movement, attack, defense, and damage. If a power is included in a special power, then I listed it as that power and not under the special power breakdown. For example, if a special damage power provided Shape Change then I listed it under Shape Change and not under the special. In evaluating the powers, I considered the starting clicks and not later clicks. While later-dial powers are a consideration when building your force, most of the time these are tiebreakers evaluations.
|Phasing / Teleport||5|
|Leap / Climb||1|
|Earthbound / Neutralized||1|
As discussed earlier, the Espionage trait provides many characters with Stealth, but they also neutralize that power through their Improved Targeting: Hindering. I wouldn’t build round Stealth in sealed.
Next is Running Shot. With the bulk of characters having 5 or less range, look for Running Shot characters that have 6+ range to include on your build.
Both Charge and Sidestep see a good representation in this set, coming in at 18 and 15 figures respectively.
Looking at the higher quantities is one way to evaluate the figures to include on your team. Another is to look at the small numbers on powerful abilities like Hypersonic Speed. With only 2 figures, pulling a Hypersonic Speed character for your team gives you a mobility advantage other players might not have.
|Attack Value||# Figures|
|Attack Power||# Figures|
|Penetrating / Psychic Blast||11|
|Blades, Claws, and Fangs||7|
The majority of figures have an 11 or 10 attack, which is common in modern. Some of the attack powers like, Precision Strike, will be better evaluated when we look at the defensive powers. Certainly both Precision Strike and Penetrating/Psychic Blast will be strong against higher rarity tent poles that are more likely to have better defenses.
|Defense Value||# Figures|
|Defense Power||# Figures|
|Energy Shield Deflection||9|
18 and 17 defenses are the most common. With 11 being the most common attack value, there is a 58.3% chance of hitting. See the probability chart below.
|* Probability chart courtesy of Ninwashui|
|Damage Value||# Figures|
|Damage Power||# Figures|
|Close Combat Expert||4|
|Ranged Combat Expert||1|
Because of the low-cost of many figures in this set, many teams will have 4 or more characters on their team. Leadership will be critical and thankfully there’s plenty of it. With few characters having PROTECTED: Outwit (either from a special trait/power or the Power Cosmic team ability), Outwit is a must include on your team. Other common support powers, like Perplex and Probability Control, will also be an auto-includes, but look for other less common powers that enhance damage, like Empower, Enhancement, or the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability to help your team to victory.
When Captain America Throws His Mighty Shield
Breaking the set down to numbers is allows you to look at the set broadly without studying every figure for your pre-release. We get a sense of what to expect and can quickly evaluate figures for our team builds. Some key takeaways are:
- Leadership. Chances are you’ll have more than 3 characters on your team, you’ll need leadership to increase your action total by 1 in a standard 300-point build. Good chance you’ll pull a character with Leadership.
- Mobility. You’ll want to have flyers. You’ll need to taxi your team, right?
- Range. Ranges of 1-5 is common. Look for 6+ to gain an edge.
- Move and Attack. Running Shot, Charge, and Sidestep dominate. Hypersonic Speed would give you the edge, but highly unlikely you’ll land 1 of the 2 characters with it.
- Outwit. You’d better include it on your build. There’s a lot of it so you know your opponent will be doing the same.
- Perplex. Not prevalent enough to guarantee that you’ll pull a character with it. Look for other means to modify your stats with powers like Empower, Enhancement, or the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability. But if you do manage to get a character with it, you better include it on your team. Just a look at the probability chart and you’ll easily see how modifying values will greatly increase your victory chances.
- Probability Control. Always useful to have, just hard to come by. Look to build a named theme team to get access to it. Plenty of Avengers keyword in this set.
- Precision Strike and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. These two powers are always good to have. So when you pull them, put these figures in the strong consideration pile for your team.
While I would love to do a detailed breakdown of figures before the release in a few weeks, it’s unlikely I’ll have the time. However, look for more game recap articles that will hopefully give you insight into what’s really working in this set. After all, what’s good on paper isn’t always good in practice.
Good luck and have fun at your Pre-release and Release events!