The Once and Future Set (or a top ten set review of the Heroclix JLU set)

JLU

Some notes about the set:

  • Most of you won’t get to see this set until well after it’s release date due to COVID-19. So, hopefully my descriptions will do it justice. Also, this set is already in the units section of HCRealms.com.
  • This is the sequel to the Batman the Animated series set in both flavor and substance. Even the Chases continue the Super Friends line-up along with some of the villains getting in on the fun.
  • This set introduces team up cards and I am torn on their effectiveness. I  like the mechanic for the most part, but the execution was a bit off. Let me explain. Because the cards cost 0 points, the figures were assigned point costs that are about right if you are using a team up card, but the figures that have team up cards as possibilities seem over-costed if you aren’t using any cards. And you aren’t always going to have the team up cards you need or even any team up card choices at all. I opened a brick and only got 4 cards. So a lot of pieces like Superman 001 in this set I didn’t have any card options for, not even bad options. Superman 001’s dial costs 100 points, but on it’s own I’d guess it’s probably worth closer to about 80 points. What I think the designers should have done is assign point costs to the team up cards so that the characters in question are still reasonably costed even if you don’t have any team up card options. This isn’t true for all the figures that can use team up cards in the set, but it is for a lot of them.
  • Between this set and X-men animated late last year, it’s a good time to be a fan of animated super heroes. I was a huge fan of this show.
  • This set doesn’t have a lot of good attackers, but it has tons of great support characters.
  • This is the last set to come out before ID cards are retired from modern. Good Riddance!

And now on to the honorable mentions:

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5. JLU045 Hawkgirl AND JLU045.03 Team Up: Batman (60 points) – Unlike what I talked about in the notes about the set, Hawkgirl does have team up options and is worth her point cost even without using a team up card. Charge, flurry, 12 attack, and 12 movement make for a great secondary attacker. Because her starting defense is combat reflexes, she is vulnerable to being attacked at range. That’s why I’ve picked the Batman card to use her with. The stealth and extra movement it brings are very good bonuses for her. She would do well with the Green Lantern Team up card, but I really don’t like any of the Green Lantern dials made since the soon to be retired Elseworlds set. She also has the option of using a powerful Episode team up card that grants the Mystics TA to her Superman, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Aquaman, Amazo, and Vixen. Unfortunately, most of those characters don’t have great dials.

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4. JLU046E Martian Manhunter AND Episode Team Up JLU046.11 (50 points) – He has average attack and damage stats, but defensively he’s a powerhouse. He features Impervious, Super Senses, and Shape Change on his first click. However, his best feature is his powerful Episode Team Up card. It reads, “EPISODE TEAM UP: SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN, BATMAN, THE FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, HAWKGIRL: If 1+ listed friendly characters are on the map, Martian Manhunter and the listed characters take a maximum of 1 damage when on their starting click. If all listed characters are on the map, they and Martian Manhunter have [Teen Titans team ability].” Unlike Hawkgirl’s episode team up card, most of the characters listed on this team up have great dials and the ability to add essentially a stop click at the front of those dials is huge.

Superman Robot

3. JLU018E Superman (10 points) – Wizkids did something unique here and created a generic character dial inside of the dial of a named character. At 10 points this dial isn’t really Justice Lords Superman, it’s actually the dial for one of his many Superman Robots. I love the idea of a single figure that can represent both a unique person and a generic character based on what point level you use. I hope Wizkids does more of this in the future. 

As for the dial itself, it’s not ground breaking but for 10 points it’s very good. It’s single click features indomitable, Close Combat Expert, sidestep, toughness, the Justice Lords trait, and the Superman TA. I can see myself running several of these on competitive robot teams to carry figures like I.S.S.A.C. and danger room sinister, or just to fill points after ID Cards leave modern.

Solomon Grundy

2. JLU050 Solomon Grundy (75 points) – This is a great showing for Solomon Grundy that’s very reminiscent of the Hawkman/Hawkgirl figure from the BTAS set. It features a 10 click long dial that essentially has a stop click in the middle. His trait reads, “THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SOLOMON GRUNDY: FREE: Turn Solomon Grundy’s dial to the same click # of a different color. // The first time Solomon Grundy would be KO’d, instead turn him to either click #1 and he can’t use this trait for the rest of the game. Protected: Pulse Wave.” Looking at his dial unless you need the extra movement from sidestep on the red dial, you’re just going to want to leave it on the blue side and then choose blue again when he resurrects. With his damage reducers, long dial, steal energy, and high attack value it’s hard to believe this guy is only 75 points.

ultra humanite

1. JLU062 Ultra-Humanite (25 points) – For 25 points you get a solid TK piece with sidestep and willpower. It also has my favorite trait of the set that reads, “INJUSTICE LEAGUE: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6. 6: Give an action token to an opposing character that’s 100 points or less.” So there is a 1 in 6 chance every turn that this 25 point piece can give an action token to an opposing figure anywhere on the map. What I’ve mentioned so far should already be enough to justify his point cost, but he also comes with a special mind control that reads “FAR EASIER TO USE MY SUPERIOR INTELLECT AND MENTAL POWERS: Mind Control, Sidestep. When Ultra-Humanite uses Mind Control, his range value becomes 8 and he has [Improved Targeting: Hindering, Elevated, Blocking, Characters].” He can target through any type of terrain. Walls, a mountain, and the jungles of Wakanda won’t stop his mind control. If he had any defense or other support figures in the injustice league to pair him with, he would have definitely made the top ten.

Here’s the Top Ten:

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10. JLU035 Superman (175 points) – Potentially the toughest Superman the game has ever seen. Defensively he features 7 clicks that all have reducers, protection from outwit, limited self healing, and 3 stop clicks. But what really makes him so impressive is his long range and huge offensive stats located around those stop clicks. Click 4 has 12 attack and 5 damage. click 5 (his first stop click) has 13 attack and 4 damage. Click 6 has 12 attack and 4 damage.

He’s a one man army. He’ll have to be, because unfortunately at 175 points he takes up most of a 300 point build. Still this is a very powerful character with all the bells and whistles, so don’t underestimate him.

Superman

9. JLU105 Superman (125 points) – Now we get to what I believe is the best Justice League Primary attacker in the set (although he’s actually from the fast forces). The reasons why I like him better than the 175 point superman is that he has a lower cost, starting hypersonic, high attack his whole dial, and the ability to make a second attack if he hit with the first. He’s not as tough as the 175 point version, but he still has two stop clicks at the end of his dial. The large amount perplex available to Justice League team will come in really handy here because his second attack isn’t just limited to printed values, so you’ll get twice the bang for your buck when you increase his damage with perplex. Also, this character greatly benefits from WKMP19-S001 Exospex because he has no range and sidestep as his movement power on every click except his first.

Booster Gold

8. JLU053 Booster Gold (80 points) – This is the best Booster Gold ever made. His 10 Attack and 3 damage are underwhelming, but they are bolstered by his special damage power that reads “SKEETS, BOOSTER GOLD’S BIGGEST FAN: Perplex, Probability Control. When Booster Gold uses Perplex to target himself, he may instead modify a combat value other than damage +2.“He’s got running shot and invulnerability on his first click. He also has a trait that lets him protect himself  and his team from ranged attacks. It reads, “CROWD CONTROL: Barrier. Barrier as FREE, but only to generate 2 markers.” He makes a perfect secondary attacker on a Justice League team.

Amanda Waller

7. JLU040 Amanda Waller (35 points) – An Incredible support figure for Justice League teams with leadership, outwit, and perplex all at the same time. Defensively she has both Stealth and Mastermind. In addition, she brings an awesome trait to the table the reads, “BECAUSE THE WORLD NEEDS A BATMAN: During force construction, choose a friendly character of 125 points or less with the Batman Family keyword. That character has the Future keyword. // At the beginning of the game, choose a combat value. This game, that chosen character modifies that combat value +1.” But that trait is only as powerful as the best Batman Family figure you can use with her, which means the next character on this list must be…

batman

6. JLU005B Batman (40 points) – No figure has been getting more buzz than this one since being previewed. He has the ability to target everyone in range at the same time with his trait “SOMETHING WHEN GONE, YOU CAN NEVER REGAIN: FREE: For the rest of the game, Batman can’t use the Batman Ally team ability and whenever he occupies a clear square and is given a RANGE action to use Incapacitate, Mind Control, or Penetrating/Psychic Blast, he can use [Improved Targeting: Hindering, This character can make range attacks while adjacent to opposing characters. (May target adjacent or non-adjacent opposing characters.)] and may instead target all opposing characters within line of fire.” Combine his targeting with his 12 attack and his uses of incapacitate or mind control can easily hit a whole team at once. At the back half of his dial is psychic blast that has been in debate online about whether his damage is divided among all hit targets or not. Regardless of the outcome of that ruling, opponents are going to target him first on your team so you won’t get to use those last few clicks very often.

He’s very good if you want to center your team around using him effectively, but he’s not someone you throw on a team without a plan.

Ace GIF

5. JLU058 Ace (60 points) – An incredible support figure with tons of powers. On offense she got a special mind control that reads, “DRIVE YOU INSANE: Mind Control. When Ace uses it, after resolutions give a hit character an Insanity token. // When a character with an Insanity token attacks, modify their attack -2 and then remove one of their Insanity tokens. If they missed all targets with that attack, after resolutions deal them 1 unavoidable damage.” She’s only a 6 range, 10 attack, and no way to move and attack, but if she hits with that it will probably stop the next attack that character makes. But, the real reason to play her is her game breaking trait, “WARP PERCEPTIONS AND REALITY: Shape Change, ProbabilityControl. Other characters (friendly and opposing) can’t use Probability Control except for Themed Team Probability Control.” Of course your opponent could try to take her out, but her last trait will punish them for it. It reads “BATMAN MUST TALK HER OUT OF HER FINAL PSYCHIC BACKLASH: When Ace is KO’d by an opponent’s close attack, deal 1 unavoidable damage to that character. When Ace is KO’d by an opponent’s range attack, deal 1 unavoidable damage to each opposing character. Protected: Pulse Wave.” Her biggest downfall is a Lack of good keywords. Project Cadmus is probably her best team choice.

the atom

4. JLU059A The Atom (40 points) – With Perplex, Outwit, and the ability to make other characters tiny it’s easy to see why he makes a good support character. But he’s more than your average support character. Making other characters tiny is great to allow you to carry a figure that you wouldn’t normally able to carry. ABPI011 Ant-Man has a similar power and I learned to use to great effect when I won a WKO sealed tournament last year using Ant-Man. Atom can also use shrink an adjacent opposing figures to deny them the ability to use their equipment until you next turn, or make it easier for another character to break away from that character, or to open up a line of fire. He also has a special movement power that reads, “RIDING ALONG UNDETECTED: Leap/Climb, Stealth. When an adjacent character is given a MOVE or POWER action, after resolutions you may place The Atom adjacent to that character.” He can use this to tie up opponents and take advantage of of his 19 starting defense. He can also use this to be move along with friendly units that couldn’t carry him because they were using hyper sonic speed or carrying someone else. And because he isn’t actually being carried he can still take a non-free action after being moved. Someone would have to do something absolutely crazy to be a better Justice League Support character.

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3. JLU031B Crimson Avenger (30 points) – So this is a Justice League support character that does something crazy. Just like ABPI069 Kobik he can give an action token to an opposing character as free action. So no having to roll dice, or worrying about defense powers, and he can do it after moving or being carried. Unlike Kobik he doesn’t need to be adjacent, he just needs to be within 5 squares of the character he’s giving the token to. His trait reads, “KNOCKOUT GAS:Smoke Cloud as FREE, but only to generate 4 markers. When Crimson Avenger uses it, after resolutions choose an opposing character occupying or adjacent to one of his Smoke Cloud markers and give that character an action token.He can also use his smoke cloud to hide friendly characters when he’s not in range of an opposing character. Aside from his trait he also has perplex, stealth, poison, and combat reflexes. This guy is low-key powerful and not many people have caught on to him yet.

amazo

2. JLU012 Amazo AND JLU012.05 Team Up: The Flash (125 points) – Amazo is the best primary attacker in this set and he has 5 different team up cards as options. The Flash team up is by far the best. It grants Hyper Sonic Speed and Super senses. He can also use his power adaption trait to get more powers. It states, “POWER ADAPTATION: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose a character within 4 squares and line of fire and up to 2 standard powers that character can use. If Amazo is 100 or 125 points, you may choose 3 standard powers instead. Amazo can use the chosen powers and has the printed range value of that character until he chooses again.” And all of these powers he acquires work with his defensive trait that reads, “INVINCIBLE ANDROID BODY: Amazo takes a maximum of 1 damage when attacked by a character that can use a power other than Willpower that Amazo can use. He can’t be healed, equipped, or chosen for Mastermind.” I should note that his team up card also has an additional disadvantage built in. You can’t have characters on your sideline except those for the Amazo Team Up Cards. (You need to declare what effect your Sideline game elements are for during game force construction.) So that means no ID or trouble alert characters. Obviously he’ll hit his stride after ID cards are retired in a few months.

When I first saw this guy I thought he’d make a perfect primary attacker for the danger room pieces from the last X-men set. Or, he’d at least head up a really nice team of robot pieces from various sets (Ultron, I.S.S.A.C, Cyclops Sentinel, etc…) He could also be part of a very good Cadmus Labs teams with JLU058 Ace, JLU040 Amanda Waller, and JLU051E Batman Beyond. But honestly, any team could use a piece that is a great attacker and only takes one damage from opposing attacks. So lots of opportunity for this guy.

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1. JLU069E Brainiac (10 or 0 points) – This set introduces a new form of sideline active characters with a new trait called “LET’S CAUSE TROUBLE!: SIDELINE ACTIVE – Friendly characters have “FREE: If this character critical hit this turn or made the third attack this turn to hit all opposing targets, place a character from your Sideline that can use a Let’s Cause Trouble! trait adjacent on its blue starting line.” // At the beginning of your turn, if Brainiac started the game due to the Let’s Cause Trouble! trait, roll a d6. 4-6: Return Brainiac to your Sideline.” Brainiac is clearly the best of those 4 characters, but they are all worth having. He starts with 11 attack, triple target incapacitate, outwit, and a special phasing power that works like running shot. He also has a trait that says “THE EARTH…IT’S DISAPPEARED!: Once per turn for all characters with this effect, roll a d6. 3-4: Give each opposing character within 4 squares of Brainiac that occupies elevated terrain an action token. 5-6: Deal each opposing character within 4 squares of Brainiac that occupies elevated terrain 1 penetrating damage.” So imagine you roll a critical hit on your turn and you put this guy out for free, you can then incapacitate up to three opposing figures, use his trait against elevated figures, and use outwit on someone’s defense power. That’s a really good deal for 0 points and and could be a huge change in momentum in a game.

Because this character lives on your sideline and doesn’t cost points or affect your theme team bonuses, there is absolutely no reason to not put him on every sideline of every team (not featuring Amazo) for the next two years until he’s retired. And that’s why he’s the best character in this set.

 

 

That’s it for this set review. Leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of my picks.

 

 

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