META Diary: December ROC Win-A-Map!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Roberto Ty is back with another META Diary including a breakdown of the team he used and the detailed planning he put into the role of every piece on his team! Roberto’s already on some other column ideas, so if you like what you see, let him know in the Comments below!]

By Roberto Ty

December 1, 2019

RoC November 2019.jpg

Garden City, MI — What qualifies as a great attendance for a Heroclix event? Looking at the numbers from the various ROC States Championship, a great turnout is 12 players (Michigan had 26). It’s reasonable to expect a smaller crowd for a less prestigious event like a ROC Win-A-Map. Today’s competition drew a great crowd of 13 players.

Restricted Win-A-Map

The local shop hosting the Win-A-Map prefers to run major events with restrictions. Usually they  ban Colossal Retaliators (cannot start on their lower-point retaliation-click) and ID cards along with one-man-army Uni-mind and the annoying Q Prime.

WIN-A-MAP FORMAT

  • 500-point Modern
  • Highlander Rule (Primes are primes, all other characters are considered to be silver ring)
  • Ban List: ID cards, Special Terrain, Colossal Retaliators starting on their lower-point retaliation-click, Uni-mind, and Q Prime.

After brainstorming some builds, I gravitated toward a monster team with Onslaught. There was little time to practice with Thanksgiving, but I managed to put in four hours of testing on Black Friday. I tried a couple Onslaught-based teams and a Cosmic team nested around Dark Phoenix. Woefully under-practiced and feeling my usual stress before a competitive meta event, I rolled the dice and stuck with Onslaught.

Breaking Down My Monster Mash Team

MY MONSTER TEAM
200 RE068 Barbatos
125 XDPSG006R Onslaught
50 EAX062E Captain Venom
– 5 WKMP19-S105 Nightbringer (Mandarin Ring)
75 XDPSG022R Mojo
35 RE014 Prez Rickard
– 5 WKMP19-s103 Spin (Mandarin Ring)
5 EAXLB-ST Iron Avengers, Assemble
500

Suffering the Onslaught

Onslaught images

By now most meta players (which I’m not) have experienced just how annoyingly good Onslaught is (I have), but in case you’re not as lucky, I will highlight his abilities:

  1. (☆TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Onslaught can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆TRAIT) PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Onslaught has PROTECTED: Mind Control, Outwit, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. Once per turn, Onslaught can use Incapacitate as FREE -or- Mind Control as FREE -or- Telekinesis as FREE.
  3. (SPECIAL ATTACK) “KILL YOU, CAIN MARKO? WHAT A SPLENDID IDEA!”: Onslaught can knock back characters that can use Charge or Combat Reflexes. // When Onslaught hits with a close attack, a hit character unequips all equipment and drops any held objects and after resolutions, Onslaught knocks back a hit character 9 squares.
  4. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) RESHAPING REALITY: Probability Control, Shape Change. When Onslaught uses Probability Control to reroll an opposing character’s attack roll and the final result is a miss, after resolutions you may place that opposing character up to 3 squares away from their current square.
  5. Improved Targeting: Hindering and Characters with nine range and three targets.
  6. Brotherhood of Mutants and X-Men Team Ability

Having seen enough of this guy in the X-Men Animated Series pre-release and release day events and in the ROC States Championship, I wanted to build around his strengths. With the format being 500-modern, I would have plenty of room to include more formidable attackers and complementary support.

The Bad Mofo

Barbatos.jpg

Barbatos is exactly that: one bad Mofo. He is the must-have of the Rebirth chases. At 100-points he is more of a secondary attacker with some unique abilities that can be useful on the right build. However, the correct move was to use him at the full 200-points as the primary attacker on my monster team. What makes him such a bad-ass:

  1. (☆TRAIT) ASSEMBLE AN ARMY OF NIGHTMARES: Friendly characters with the Monster keyword can use the Batman Enemy team ability. Friendly characters with the Dark Knights keyword can use the Batman Ally team ability.
  2. (☆TRAIT) DRAG YOU INTO THE DARK MULTIVERSE: Phasing/Teleport. Phasing/Teleport as FREE, but only to move up to 4 squares and when he does, after resolutions adjacent opposing characters have Immobile until your next turn.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) SO FALLS THE REALM OF LIGHT: Opposing characters within 6 squares that can use Outwit, Perplex or Support can use Battle Fury.
  4. Improved Targeting: Hindering
  5. Quintessence Team Ability
  6. Giant

On top click he has a 12 movement, 8 range, 12 Penetrating Psychic Blast, 19 Invincible, and 4 Damage. The idea was to free phase 4 squares, immobilize adjacent opposing characters and/or attack with Penetrating Psychic Blast. Then I could use Onslaught’s FREE Telekinesis to place him in hindering terrain for his Stealth via the Batman Ally team ability. Additionally, Barbatos gave monster keyword friendlies, the Batman Enemy team ability. With his top attack of 12, my entire team got a bump to their attack when they were adjacent to Barbatos.

The Director

aug180908__82487.1538762497

Now that I had my bad Mofo, it was time for a behind-the-scenes maestro and what better director than the Electrifyin’ Mojo? What he brings to the team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Mojo can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) MORE ACTION!…RATINGS ARE DROPPING!: Whenever a character misses all targets of their attack, give Mojo a Bored token. FREE: Remove 2 Bored tokens to either place Mojo anywhere on the map -or- make an attack.
  3. (SPECIAL MOVEMENT) KEEP THE CAMERAS ON THEM!: Sidestep. When an opposing characters uses Sidestep, after resolutions Mojo may move up to 2 squares.

You can begin to see that my team doesn’t have the traditional move and attack capability (i.e. Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, or Charge), but there’s a lot of mobility inherent to each monster’s special trait. With the prevalence of Sidestep in the game, Mojo takes incredible advantage of this fact by being able to move after the resolution of my opponent’s Sidestep. A subtle, but very effective special damage power that could help control positioning. Additionally, Mojo would help place Barbatos through his own Telekinesis. Like a good director, Mojo sets the battle scene.

Oh Captain, My Captain

Venom Cap

The minute Captain Venom was introduced, the monster keyword got a huge bump. Let’s breakdown why:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) ALIEN SYMBIOTE: Plasticity, Shape Change. Captain Venom automatically breaks away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) EDDIE, YOU’RE JUST THE MAN WE NEED: During game setup when establishing themed teams, you may treat the Monster keyword as a named keyword.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) READY TO SERVE MY SPECIES: Leadership. When another friendly character with the Monster keyword attacks, modify its attack +1 if Captain Venom attacked this turn.

Captain Venom is the natural leader for my monster band. He makes the generic monster keyword into a named one. This would provide me with additional sources of Probability Control through Theme Team Probability Control. It also gave me a fighting chance to win the map and gain control of the environment my team would battle on. As I mentioned in the previous Meta Diary, a good map can neutralize an advantage your opponent’s team possesses (i.e. XDPSG007 Juggernaut is incredibly weak on a map like Galador Promenade that has no blocking terrain). Captain Venom’s role wouldn’t be on the front lines, but as a commander providing the support for a victory. I decided to play him at his 50-point level, where he’s only four clicks long. My foot soldiers would have to rally around him to keep him alive. Despite his short dial, most of my opponents never thought to target him for a quick kill. This often was to my advantage because Captain Venom just needed to attack in a turn and all monster keyword friendlies would get a +1 to their attack.

The Human

Prez Rickard.jpg

In monster movies, there’s always one human that sympathizes with the monster’s plight. By playing Captain Venom at his lower point value, I was able to include my version of the human monster sympathizer: Prez Rickard. Kudos to Jose Rodrigo Rosales Guerrero, the 2016 Mexican Heroclix Champion,  for designing such a capable figure. At 35-points Prez Rickard has the best Leadership in the game. His two traits and low point cost make him an easy addition to any team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) EVERYONE’S FAVORITE TEENAGE PRESIDENT: Prez Rickard doesn’t count for or against themed teams.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICA: Leadership, but succeeds on [4-6]. When Prez Rickard uses it and succeeds, instead you may remove one action token each from any number of opposing characters. For each one removed, remove an action token from a friendly character within 6 squares. In all my games, he was well-worth his points.

Final Team Building Thoughts

The strategy would be to attack my opponent from range while not being able to be targeted at distances greater than four squares away. To further help control the battlefield, I added the following game elements:

  1. IRON AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE MAP LOCATION BONUS FROM EARTH X STAR TOWER INDOOR MAP. With only a +4 to map roll, there was a good chance I wouldn’t win map since all the teams had to be themed. Including this map location bonus meant that at the very least I could generate a Crimson Sage bystander for her Probability Control if I didn’t win the map roll. If I won map, then I would use Captain Venom’s Indomitable to POWER action in consecutive turns to roll a d6 to potentially generate a bystander (d6 result: 1-Tank, 3-Crimson Sage, or 5-Bolt).
  2. NIGHTBRINGER (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Captain Venom to give him Stealth and the ability to generate 2 Smoke Cloud markers for FREE.
  3. ZERO (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Prez Rickard to give him Barrier. He could generate 1 Barrier marker for FREE.

Swiss Rounds

Phoenix Mags.jpg

GAME 1 — My first round opponent was a regular at the venue. He thought that we were required to bring a named theme team and therefore had built an X-Men team that consisted of the Convention Exclusive WKMP19-002 Phoenix Force Magneto, which he would equip with the Red Skull’s s007 Cosmic Cube, OP WKM19-013 Wakanda Queen Storm, XDPS003 Beast, XXS053E Wolverine at the 50-point starting line, XXS007A Moira MacTaggart, ABPIS001 Reality Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKMP19-S101 Remaker (Mandarin Ring). He won map and chose X-Men Regenesis Lombard Street Outdoor Map. I generated a Crimson Sage bystander for my consolation. I chose the side with the higher elevation 3. In all my games, my first turn is usually spent using Onslaught’s and Mojo’s Telekinesis to equip the Mandarin Rings to Captain Venom and Prez Rickard. His team was pretty scary with a lot of Perplex abilities to boot. Magento would present the greatest challenge with his Running Shot 11 Movement and 8 Range with 2 Targets. He could easily get into the radius necessary to target Onslaught with a few Perplex modifications to his movement. The Storm is also a nice addition to his team because she gives Stealth to characters within three squares that share a keyword with her. Unfortunately for him, both Onslaught and Barabatos has Improved Targeting: Hindering. We both positioned conservatively at first, but once he moved his team midway I went after his Wolverine with Barbatos hitting him to his STOP click. I tried to follow that up with Onslaught’s Mind Control, but Wolverine had Battle Fury. I had to choose a different target, Storm, but failed to hit due to her defense being Perplexed up. He would try to retaliate using his Magneto, but I successfully rolled for Shape Change with Onslaught. I then would KO his Wolverine with Barbatos and move my team away from the Magneto threat. I won 50-0. Record: 1-0.

Loki.jpg

GAME 2 — Game 1 was a low-scoring affair and was proof that I hadn’t practiced enough with my team. Despite this I learned a few things that I hoped to correct in my Game 2 matchup with a well-known Clix player. He has an incredible track record locally, winning several major events and usually placing in the Top 4. Most recently he placed 2nd in the Michigan ROC States Championship. He brought a mystical swarm team in the form of TMT002 Loki with TMT002T God of Trickery that allowed him to generate two faux Lokis, TMT053A Hela, EW040 Al Jhor Dan, SWB031 Alex Wilder, RE026E Billy Batson, TMNT4024 Shredder with TMNT4024A ILLUSIONARY DOUBLE, RE014 Prez Rickard, and WKMP19-S107 Incandescence (Mandarin Ring). He was a +8 to map roll, a net of +4. I rolled a 12! Quickly looking at his team I knew that he would definitely force the action by basing me with his Lokis. They are really annoying tie-up pieces that generate more Lokis if they successfully hit their Shape Change rolls. Then if I managed to KO them, Hela would bring out a Warrior Soul in their place. After first turn positioning and equipping, the action started with his Loki basing my Onslaught. This was definitely a faux Loki and I spent a couple actions killing it, not realizing that I didn’t score the points for them. Once that was explained to me, I decided to simply avoid them. He managed to land some damage on Captain Venom and I knew I would have to carry him away with Onslaught. I really used the map to my advantage to isolate his swarming ability and placed Captain Venom in a safe location protected by a wall and Onslaught. At this point, he had moved Al Jhor Dan into position where he could choose Telekinesis through his pick-a-power ability to place Hela within 4 of Onslaught. Unfortunately, his rolls were terrible. When he needed a 5, he would roll a 4. This allowed me to come in with Barbatos and immobilize his Hela. Because of her Mystics Team Ability I didn’t necessarily feel a need to attack and instead one-shot his Alex Wilder, killing him, and because he’s a traitor figure, he was now friendly to my force. This gave me two of the following powers: Perplex, Probability Control, or Outwit, depending on the power my opponent chose that I couldn’t use. He gave me Perplex and Probability Control. This allowed me to modify Onslaught with all my Perplexes and kill Al Jhor Dan in a single shot. Win 115-0. Record: 2-0.

Thanos UC

GAME 3 — Another matchup with a well-known and highly-skilled player. Because of my low point total, I knew I had to win this game to make Top 4. His Cosmic team consisted of full-point Ultra Chase ABPI074 Thanos equipped with the Ego Gem (Infinity Gem) and ABPIS002 Time Gem (Infinity Gem), Chase CMM021 Captain Marvel with the TMTS005 Enchanted Crowbar, ABPI048 Astronomer with ABPIT006 Bearer of the Power Gem, ABPI064 Collector with ABPIT003 Bearer of the Reality Gem and ABPIS003 Power Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKD17-B003 Ape Green Lantern bystander. I win map roll. Much of the game was positioning and I knew he had excellent sources of Telekinesis in Astronomer and Collector with the Reality Gem. I would have to use the walls to prevent line of sight and use Prez Rickard’s Barrier through the Zero ring to prevent him taking a running shot with Captain Marvel. Ultimately I made a couple errors that cost me the game. The first error was not anticipating that Captain Marvel’s ability to Charge at no cost after using Running Shot was not dependent on hitting. He used Telekinesis to position Captain Marvel to Running Shot and destroy my Barrier. She then Charged on Barbatos landing a huge hit. This forced me to retreat to keep him alive. I decided to retaliate and Mind Control his Thanos to attack his own team, which I did successfully, but not enough to KO anyone. He then placed Thanos into position with Telekinesis where he could Sidestep within Onslaught’s radius. Having used Thanos only once myself, I forgot about his awesome Perplex, which essentially neutralizes PROTECTED: Outwit when he uses it on an opponent. He Perplexed Onslaught’s defense down then proceeded to Outwit my Shape Change and defense. He then modified Thanos’ damage and hit Onslaught, killing him  in one shot as last action was called. Loss 0-125. Record: 2-1. Final placement was 6 of 13 players.

Twilight of the Monsters

Progenitus.jpg

I really enjoyed my team and felt it mostly performed as I had anticipated. My strategy was sound. I do believe that if I had practiced more I could have possibly placed even higher. I forgot a few other items that could have helped my team. Particularly Mojo’s bored tokens that he accrues when any characters miss an attack, including my own team. Mojo then can remove two bored tokens to either be placed anywhere on the map or to make a close attack. I had utilized this in practice, but forgot it on my own missed attacks on game day. Overall, I’m not sure I would change much to my team since each element served a purpose and all my pieces worked well together. About the only adjustment I could make was to the equipment, but even then I thought they did well. I did forget to use normal Barrier from the Zero Ring and not just the free 1 Barrier marker. This definitely could have helped in my third game, where I could have put up a Barrier that was 2 squares deep. I would like to possibly consider adding the Pym Pocket Tank, but that would force me to either drop both Mandarin rings or the map location bonus and a ring. Overall, it wasn’t the day for Monsters, but then again you never know when they might return to rule the day.

Thanks for reading another Meta Diary installment.

META Diary: Michigan ROC State Championship!!

Danger Room Dice Masters

Right concept, wrong game. Hmmm…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We have a guest columnist today! This is a firsthand account of Southeastern Michigan Meta player Roberto Ty and his run last week at the Michigan ROC State Championship! We’re hoping to feature Roberto semi-regularly on this site, so if you like what you see, let him know in the Comments below!]

Michigan ROC State Championship

November 9, 2019

By Roberto Ty

Warren, MI – Twenty-six players brought a wide range of teams for the ROC Michigan State Championship at Eternal Games. There was a lot of mystery in the days leading up to this event in part due to the new Pauper format where players are restricted to using game elements of a common or uncommon rarity level. Convention exclusives and OP figures are excluded and a Highlander rule is in effect. The most impactful rule, however, was not a restriction, but rather the inclusion of the WWE Universe figures. Released only two weeks earlier, the WWE characters brought their own multiverse abilities (such as Grand Entrance) and an even greater X-Factor–the WWE Ring–to the event that rivaled the latest Pauper meta contenders from the X-Men The Animated Series: Dark Phoenix Saga set like Juggernaut, Danger Room Constructs, Nimrod, and Onslaught.

 

Brotherhood Pauper

It’s A Team Decision

A month before the event, I practiced several teams to gain insight both for my final build and to become familiar with character dials. The latter became moot as WizKids made a controversial decision: players were allowed to look at the back of an opponent’s card. This would go into effect on November 6, just three days before the event.

Juggernaut Pauper

Juggernaut, The… Quite Stoppable One-Man Army

What looks good on paper (for Pauper)… maybe should just stay on paper. Nothing exemplified this more than XDPS-G007 Juggernaut. He dominated many pre-release and release events and was the one-man army that seemed likely to dominate the Pauper format…until you practiced with him. At 300-points, he may be unstoppable, but he certainly wasn’t unbeatable. And just like the comics, he is easily overwhelmed by a team… and that team didn’t even have to be the X-Men. I lost to a Star Trek team that won map roll and placed us on a map without blocking terrain. Juggernaut needs blocking terrain to win because of his two synchronous Traits:

CITY-WIDE RAMPAGE: If Juggernaut destroyed 3 or more pieces of blocking terrain during one of his actions, after resolutions remove an action token from him.

MY MUTANT BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Once per turn when an effect other than clearing removes an action token from Juggernaut, after resolutions heal him 1 click.

Juggernaut can’t win map–certainly not consistently. So I shelved him and formed a new plan.

Nimrod Animated

Nimrod and My Dice

While map matters, so does a plan. The Juggernaut practice emphasized the importance of winning map and to win map I needed a Themed Team. I gravitated toward 175-point XDPS-G003 Nimrod and supported him with XDPS011b Magneto and XDPS-G002 Sentinel Squad One or XDPS011b Magneto,  XDPS023b Sabretooth, and XDPS-G001 Sentinel. While Magneto and Sabretooth were hard to kill due to their Danger Room Construct Traits, they also didn’t have the offensive output I typically like on my builds. 

DANGER ROOM CONSTRUCT TRAIT: When Magneto makes an attack, after resolutions give him an Error token for each [1] in the attack roll (maximum 3). // If Magneto has 2 or less Error tokens, characters take a maximum of 1 damage from Magneto’s attacks, Magneto takes a maximum of 1 damage from opponent’s attacks, and he can’t be healed or chosen for Mastermind. Protected: Pulse Wave.

Using Magneto as the pilot circumvented the damage restriction and allowed Sentinel Squad One to use the pilot’s offensive values (8 range, 12 attack, and 4 damage). Despite this, I didn’t feel the team was very strong: Nimrod didn’t have a move and attack, the team was only a +3 or a +4 (depending on the build) map roll, and there was no Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control. Without these support powers, a lot was left to my dice rolls. Nimrod’s Running Comparative Evaluation Of Reference Data trait offered him additional protection when being attacked…but only if I could roll higher than my opponent. The trait reads:

RUNNING COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF REFERENCE DATA: When Nimrod is attacked and would be hit, you may roll 2d6. If your roll is equal or higher than the attacker’s attack roll, Nimrod evades that attack and after resolutions deal the attacker damage equal to their printed damage value.

I didn’t roll higher than my opponent’s attack roll in my practice games. I couldn’t even roll a 1 to get Error Tokens on my Constructs either. Leaving it to chance was risky and I needed to come up with another plan.

Phoenix Rise and Fall

Rachel Summers Phoenix

More lessons on paper. On paper, I didn’t like XDPS-G010 Phoenix because she had a short dial for 175 points, only had a move and attack on her top click, and a very hittable 17 defense up close (she has Energy Shield Deflection). Even with a STOP click, I wasn’t that impressed…until I played against my friend, who used her to great effect on a non-theme team. His team had a lot of options that centered on supporting her effectiveness and her incredible 10 range. Another practice friend use the XDPS Fast Forces X-Men, which also opened my eyes on their usefulness as main force characters and not just as Call-In options. I decided to go with Phoenix, XDPS03 Beast, FFXDPS005 Gambit, and XXS007 Moira McTaggert. This build offered the ability to Perplex by +4 (+2 from Beast, +1 Moira McTaggert, +1 Phoenix), +4 Named Theme Team Probability Control, X-Men Team Ability for healing, Leadership, and decent secondary attackers. Additionally, Gambit’s trait gave the entire team Probability Control against attacks from Great Size characters. His trait:

HUNTED AND ON THE RUN: Friendly characters that are adjacent or have the X-Men keyword can use Probability Control when attacked by characters with [Giant symbol] or [Colossal symbol].

The team proved quite effective and won a lot of the practice matches, but despite this I was hesitant after playing a 300-point modern game that was restricted to non-Marvel and non-DC characters. My build was: TREKRF028r Q, TREKOS044 Trelane, TREKBG016 Miles O’Brien, WWE012 Asuka, and WWE017 Eddie Guerrero. This team exposed me to the effectiveness of the WWE characters and it gnawed on me up to the week of the event.

Brotherhood TWO

The Return of Juggernaut in The Brotherhood of Mutants

I had a competitive Pauper event prior to the ROC that was essentially a practice run. My friend, who couldn’t attend the ROC, offered me his team, which was 100-point Juggernaut, Danger Room Constructs Magneto and Sabretooth, Blob, and Amelia Vought for a Brotherhood of Mutants named theme team.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yup! This friend was indeed our own Ninwashui.]

This team build was a hard-to -kill and point-denial team. I went 1-1, losing the first game 0-0 in a roll off and winning the second game 13-0. These results didn’t offer me the certainty I needed. In fact, going into Saturday, I found myself returning back to the Phoenix team.

Juggernaut Bitch

“I’m the Juggernaut, B****”

Game Time Decision

Be prepared. I brought my Phoenix and Brotherhood teams and it wasn’t until I filled out my build sheet that I decided to go with Juggernaut. I was seeing enough WWE characters that I was concerned that Phoenix wouldn’t be able to target them because of the WWE rules:

WWE Rules: This character can’t be the target of range attacks or Outwit if: they’re on click #1, they’re on a click with a blue click #, -or- they’ve already been targeted by a ranged attack this turn. Protected: Pulse Wave.

So, then this was my…

FINAL TEAM:

100 XDPSG007R Juggernaut
50 XDPS011B Magneto
45 XDPS023B Sabretooth
60 XDPS021 Blob
45 XDPS019 Amelia Voght
300 (Brotherhood of Mutants, +5 map initiative roll, +5 Theme Team Probability Control)

Maps: Star Trek Original Series Away Team Underground Caverns, Earth X Stark Tower Indoor Map, The Mighty Thor Jotunheim Lake

Having a plan. Based on the two games I played on Thursday, I would engage my opponent primarily with Magneto and Sabretooth, forcing the action. Blob would be a tie-up piece and a tertiary attacker. Juggernaut would break grouped formations with Quake and Amelia Vought would provide him support through her Mutant Messiah trait and her special defense power, Transmute Out of Danger.

MUTANT MESSIAH: At the beginning of the game, for all characters with this trait, choose a friendly character with the Acolytes or Brotherhood of Mutants or X-Men keyword. That character can use Mastermind, but only to choose characters with this trait.

TRANSMUTE OUT OF DANGER: Super Senses. Once per turn, when Amelia Voghtor an adjacent friendly character would take 3 or more damage, you may give that character two action tokens to take 1 unavoidable damage instead. If you do, after resolutions you may place that character in a square adjacent to her current square.

Swiss Rounds

Giant-Girl images.jpg

GAME 1—The matchup was with a friend and judge at a local venue I play at. I actually played him at the Thursday Pauper event and beat him 13-0. This was a nice first-round pairing since it would be a fun, low-stress, and friendly match that would allow me to ease into a potentially intense, strategic-thinking kind of day. He won map roll with his Avengers team—Voyager, Hulk, Medusa, Crystal, AIM White and Red, 2 Giant-Girls, several IDs, WWE Ring, and Iron Avenger Assemble (Stark Tower Location Bonus). We did a lot of positioning for the first few turns. I initially was going to engage him with one of my Constructs, but he left his Giant-Girl partly exposed and I took advantage with Magneto’s incredible range. Knocking her out. He then called in Kitty to generate Lockheed for an Energy Explosion, which missed. The game ended 13-0. Record:1-0.

Deathstroke images.png

GAME 2—Because of my low points, I was placed at one of the lower tables and was matched up against my brother-in-law, who ran a non-theme team that consisted of ABPI010 S.H.I.E.L.D. Diplomat, RE001 Deathstroke, EAX030 The Skull, AI004 Hawkeye, AIG001-20 Giant-Girl, and HQ029 Batman. It was an atypical build and I wasn’t sure initially what the main threat was, outside of Deathstroke. I didn’t worry about The Skull’s across the map Mind Control because I knew I would win map and put us on Underground Caverns. I positioned conservatively and managed to siphon his team in the middle of the map. The blocking terrain really hindered his team and I took advantage by targeting his Giant-Girl with Magneto. I then set to work on Deathstroke and took him out in a couple turns. His team really got locked down and he wasn’t able to really make a dent in my hard-to-damage team. Record: 2-0

Onslaught images.jpg

GAME 3—My next opponent was someone I played before at the major events. He ran one of the teams that I didn’t want to see, an Onslaught team that included Danger Room Constructs Magneto and Sabretooth, TREKRF014 Ensign Crusher, HQ004 Big Tony, BTAS007 Leslie Thompkins, and XDPSG004p Proteus. What I feared about Onslaught was his trait:

PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Onslaught has PROTECTED: Mind Control, Outwit, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. // Once per turn, Onslaught can use Incapacitate as FREE -or- Mind Control as FREE -or- Telekinesis as FREE.

While Juggernaut could potentially charge right in on Onslaught, it was risky if he hit his Shape Change roll. If Onslaught failed his Shape Change roll, then Ensign Crusher’s special attack power allowed Onslaught the ability to reroll it once per turn. Crusher’s power:

I GOT IT, CAPTAIN!: Once per turn, when a friendly character that’s adjacent or has the Starfleet keyword rolls for Leadership, Shape Change, Super Senses, or Impervious they may re-roll that roll.

Onslaught could then attack and get Juggernaut off his top click and his special defense power:

SHIELDED BY MY HELMET: Colossal Stamina, Invincible. Juggernaut has PROTECTED: Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, Pulse Wave.

This would have made Juggernaut susceptible to Onslaught’s Mind Control. With all this in mind, we both used the first few turns to position, until I made what could have been a fatal error. He blew out a piece of blocking terrain with Magneto that allowed him to hit Juggernaut with Onslaught. I forgot to Mastermind the damage to Amelia Voght. This forced me to retreat so I could heal by destroying blocking terrain and removing an action token from Juggernaut.

My Magneto then struck back on Onslaught, getting him off his top click, which was important so that he no longer had Shape Change. He was still formidable since he now had Super Senses, which Ensign Crusher allowed him to also reroll once per turn. I knew I had to take out his support out and I largely used Juggernaut to do this with:

MASS DESTRUCTION:  Super Strength. When Juggernaut is given a MOVE action, after resolutions destroy all adjacent pieces of blocking terrain, then he can use Quake at no cost.

I won, killing Ensign Crusher, Big Tony, Leslie Thompkins, and Proteus. Record: 3-0.

Mirror Match

GAME 4—The Mirror Match. I faced the brother of my friend who had built our Brotherhood teams.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yup! This was our own HypeFox!]

He initially was playing a very good Onslaught team during the week and like me, decided to go Brotherhood. I won map roll and decided to change the map to Stark Tower because I wanted to limit the amount of healing either of us could do. I took out his Amelia Voght early and thought I had gained the advantage, but he quickly turned the game around thanks to me missing the first attack with Juggernaut. This was par for the course all day unfortunately. In each of my matches, Juggernaut missed his very first attack when it would have done the most damage. I battled, but he was able to make several Impervious rolls in a row and that cost me the win. Record: 3-1.

Top 16

Wakanda images.jpg

GAME 5—This was the 8-9 matchup. I was 8th due to my low point total and my opponent was 2-2 with a lot of points. He rocked a very cool Wakanda team: FFABPI003 Shuri, ABPI027 Everett K. Ross, ABPI007 Wakandan Scientist, ABPI029A Black Panther, 75 FFABPI006 Okoye, and 30 ABPI021 Ayo. He won map and chose Rebirth Metal Arena with no blocking terrain! Juggernaut would be severely handicapped and I would need to use him judiciously.

This type of team is built to take you by surprise and I was really surprised. First, Shuri’s trait:

SCIENTIST OF WAKANDA: UNIQUE MODIFIER-Friendly characters with the Wakanda keyword modify defense +1 if they are closer to your starting area than any other starting area.

We of course battled closer to his starting area. I positioned midway on the map while he placed Okoye next to the Dune Buggy for added protection. I had to be wary not to get within her full charge special power:

THE DORA MILAJE ARE FIRST TO FIGHT: Charge, but do not halve speed.

Magneto would use Ranged Combat Expert to modify his attack to a 14 so he could hit Okoye’s high defense, dealing his 1 maximum damage. He knew this would be a problem because I wasn’t going to move my team in to be swarmed. His team had a ton of Perplex on his team that could do serious damage to Juggernaut. With the ability to look at the back of the cards, I knew that Black Panther and Okoye had middle-dial Outwit, which would be dangerous if Juggernaut was knocked off his special defense power that gave him PROTECTED: Outwit.

I knew I would have to move my team around to force him to come chase me. He approached my team with Black Panther and Okoye—his main attackers—but they didn’t have the reach to get there in one turn. Next turn I moved my team away and tried to hit his support and KO them with Juggernaut, but I missed badly. Again.

He then came back with Black Panther, but made a positioning error that allowed me to pummel him with Juggernaut rolling a critical hit with a heavy object. I followed up with a range attack from Magneto. I was up 95-0 and won. Record: 4-1.

Top 8

Wesley-Crusher-3.jpg

GAME 6—My opponent was another player I knew from a local venue. I was impressed by his performance. He was a new player and it was his first major event. Despite being new, he had gone undefeated for the day. His practice and diligence was paying off. 

I knew this was going to be a difficult matchup. It was another Onslaught build, but this time it consisted of TREKRF014 Ensign Crusher, XDPS023A Sabretooth, RE024 Veronica Cale, ABPI027 Everett K. Ross, AIG005 Dune Buggy Special Terrain, and EAXLB-SC I Keep The Trains Running (Location Bonus).

I won map and chose Star Trek Original Series Away Team Underground Caverns Indoor Map. A good portion of this game was positioning, with neither of us willing to overextend our teams to get swarmed.

I had left my Blob exposed to Onslaught’s Mind Control, which he made. He used Blob to attack Sabretooth, but missed. Since Blob wasn’t friendly to my force, he was not Immobile from his trait and rolled for a breakaway that he was successful on.

NOTHING MOVES THE BLOB: Immobile, but only if it’s not your turn. // At the end of your turn, if the Blob was not moved or placed this turn, give him a Stability token. Blob modifies defense +1 for each Stability token. When he moves or is placed, remove his Stability tokens.

He was able to kill my Amelia Voght, which put me down on points. I had to get more aggressive and kill his support with Juggernaut’s move and quake. I moved and last action was called. I made my free Quake and was able to kill off a couple of support pieces for the win. It was a low-scoring affair that I won. Record: 5-1.

Top 4

Crystal

GAME 7—This matchup was against a well-known player and former World Champion. His team was Avengers: AIG001-10 Giant-Girl, FFAIG001P Giant-Girl, ABPI012 Crystal, ABPI017 Voyager, TMT106E Hulk, ABPI030 Medusa, TMT023 Eric Masterson, FFAI001E Iron Man, TMTS001 Bloodaxe, and 5 EAXLB-ST Iron Avengers, Assemble  (Location Bonus).

My opponent won map and placed us on Earth X Stark Tower Indoor Map. As I mentioned earlier, I was worried about this match up because the build has so many options for dealing with different teams. It also has multiple ways to hurt you with free attacks either from Crystal’s free Quakes or through multiple attacks from Medusa’s Living Hair. If that weren’t enough then Hulk comes in with a 12 attack and 4 damage.

I tried to position strategically again, but in hindsight should have been more aggressive from the opening bell. I took out his Giant-Girls early, but failed to make critical attacks with Juggernaut when I needed to in order to change the outcome of the game. Once he was able to get Juggernaut off his top defense power, he quickly pressed his advantage and Outwitted his defense. Once he took out Juggernaut, it was pretty much an uphill battle for my Danger Room Constructs and Blob. I got 1 Error Token the entire game and was never ever able to deal enough damage to his team while in contrast he was whittling me down with all his free attacks. Final Record: 5-2, 4th Place Finish.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ninwashui’s design finished the day at 10-3. Not a bad record for a Meta-rich environment!]

Final Thoughts

My 4th Place was not my highest finish in a major event, but it was my highest in constructed. While the Pauper format, did introduce a variety of interesting builds, there were still clear archetypes that were followed (Avengers, Nimrod, and Onslaught). It will be interesting to see what other winning builds will show up in other states. I wouldn’t be surprised if a WWE team winds up winning. They are that good, especially in this format.

Will Pauper catch on? I hope so, it can offer a more affordable game to newer players. I still think it could use more tweaking so that we see more creative and unique builds, but overall the format reinvigorated the game from my perspective. It really was fun to sit down across a team that wasn’t Cosmic with Colossal Retaliators and equipment.

More Avengers, Less Punctuation!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati!!)

Hello Again! Annnnnd, we’re back! Better late than never, right?

And we couldn’t have asked for a funner set with which to return to feature writing! Now we can continue our run as the most enjoyable Heroclix-focused gaming blog out there!

And our new reign is all thanks to this new expansion featuring our friend T’Challa and his Illuminati buddies!

Your Reign is Over.jpg

Okay, maybe “friend” was a strong term. Alright T’Challa, how about we just, like, surrender and go right into the article?

Then Lets Get This Started

Then it’s agreed!! So without further ado, let’s start with…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

Thor Lightning

–I really think this is the most powerful set we’ve gotten since The Mighty Thor, which came out way back in, like, August of 2017.

Just like that set, this expansion has extremely powerful Chases, Equipment and Cosmic entities.

Personally, I love this stuff. I mean, who saw an Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme coming? Moreover, who thought these pieces would be so good. Which reminds me…

Elders of the Universe Banner

–The Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme is REALLY freaking good!!

Collector, Astronomer, Champion, Gardener, Trader, Voyager, Runner, Grandmaster, Challenger, Possessor… and I’m still probably forgetting a few. But they are ALL playable and several are downright META!!

The Finder

–The packs seem to be somewhat searchable! So far I’m 11 for 13 in picking packs with Equipment (including an Ultra-Chase Thanos!!)

But this isn’t a total neckbeard disaster like Trinity War was, because 2 of the Chases and the Super Rare Prime all come sans additional elements, so if you only go looking for packs with Equipment, you’ll never pull something like the Black Panther Chase. Speaking of…

Infinity Gauntlet

–The Chases aren’t tied together by any one Theme, really, except that they’re all pretty damn good (okay, Starbrand only shines in Limited, but still). Secret Wars: Battleworld was the same way. Still, I miss Themed Chases!

Why wouldn’t they have just shifted Starbrand and Black Panther to Battleworld and put Infinity Gauntlet Black Panther Chase in this set?

Anywhozl… let’s get on to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS!!

Okay, I can go all day with Honorable Mentions (this set is REALLY deep), but, with apologies to figures like Challenger, Rune, Eitri and Prime Black Panther, I’m only going to talk about two pieces:

Voyager

2. ABPI017 Voyager — 50 Points — Common:

Okay, she should actually be higher on this list, because she is a Meta-level Taxi. But there’s so many great pieces in this set, so she’s going here!

But she starts with either Outwit or Perplex, the best Telekinesis Special (STRAINING MY POWERS OF TELEPORTATION: Telekinesis, but only to place characters. When Voyager uses it, neither she nor the target character’s square need line of fire to the destination square.) I’ve seen in a long time, Phasing/Teleport and the Power Cosmic TA.

Did I mention she only costs 50 Points?

Medusa

1. ABPI030 Medusa — 50 Points — Uncommon:

Here comes another solid Medusa dial!!

Her Trait (AN EXTENSION OF MYSELF: Living Hair has the printed combat values, and can use the standard powers, displayed on the dial of the character that generated it. Protected: Pulse Wave.) is her main reason for being here; if you play multiples of her, she can get scary in a heartbeat.

And if you have enough Empower on the board, watch out!!

 

AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…

Here are…

THE BEST TEN PIECES IN THE SET!!

 

Trader

10. ABPI05 Trader — 50 Points — Rare:

He’s cheap! He’s got Power Cosmic! He’s got Perplex!

I know, I know, 50 Points would be a bit much for JUST a Perplexer, but with Sidestep and Power Cosmic, it’s easier to move Trader where you need him each turn than some other supporting characters.

But he made the main list for one reason: his Attack Power (LET’S MAKE A TRADE: FREE: Choose an equipped character (friendly or opposing) within 3 squares and line of fire. If Trader is equipped, and both equipments have Equip: Any, those equipments are now equipped to the other character.), which can allow for all sorts of shenanigans!

Choose Pen/Psy and Outwit with a character equipped with the Infinity Gauntlet, then switch in, say, the Power Gem for even more damage! And guess what? You can then use the Infinity Gauntlet with the character who previously had the Power Gem!

And that’s just what you can do with friendly swaps! You can also use it defensively to take better stuff from your opponents! The possibilities are endless!

Yelena Belova

9. ABPI013B Black Widow — 30 Points — Common Prime:

Wow! I like her 60 Point line a lot too, but man, for 30 Points, you get an absolute toolbox of abilities at your disposal!

To wit:

She has Sidestep, she ignores Characters on movement, she has Traited Shape Change and Stealth, 10 Attack, 2 Damage and a Special Defensive Power (LETTING YOUR GUARD DOWN: Combat Reflexes. FREE: Choose an adjacent character and a standard defense power. Until your next turn, the chosen character can’t use the chosen defense power.).

That’s a lot of usability! Plus she’s a Wildcard!

Her only downside is a lack of decent keywords (Martial Artist is probably her best).

Doc Strange AbPI.jpg

8. ABPI053A Dr. Strange — 120 Points — Super Rare:

The bearer of the Soul Gem has a ton going for him.

Running Shot and Pen/Psy top dial. Mystics TA. A sweet Damage Special (WE MUST WORK TOGETHER: Perplex. When Dr. Strange uses it to target another friendly character, you may choose a standard damage power that character can use. Dr. Strange can use that power until your next turn.) that encourages thought in who you pair him with.

All in all, a really efficient supporting/Secondary Attacker piece!

Gary Frank Hulk

7. ABPI014 Hulk125 Points — Common:

This is the definitive “Peter David/Gary Frank-era” Hulk dials, and they just casually throw it on a Common Hulk?

We’ve got Charge (with Improved Movement: Blocking, so Barrier and Printed Walls mean nothing to him), 12 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Indomitable and Impervious and 5 (FIVE!) Damage top dial with Outwit!

He has one “drawback” Trait (WEAKENED BY RAGE: When Hulk takes damage from an attack, after resolutions give him a Rage token. Modify Hulk’s combat values by -X, where X is the number of Rage tokens. At the end of your turn, remove all Rage tokens and heal Hulk that many clicks.) that actually HELPS his survivability!

Yes, he doesn’t have any Outwit protection himself, and yes, he is a Close Combat piece, but man, there’s not much else you’d want. Pair him with a TK’er or a Vehicle and you’ve got a boatload of trouble for your opponent.

Black Panther incarnation

6. ABPI072 Black Panther — 85 Points– Chase:

The original Panther offers a TON of usefulness for his points. His only problem is that is top heavy and kind of a glass cannon; if you’re opponent can lay hands on him, he’s in trouble.

Luckily, that’s hard to do. If you win map, his main Trait (THE PANTHER GOD: Stealth. Opposing lines of fire can’t be drawn to Black Panther if he occupies printed hindering terrain. Protected: Pulse Wave.) should make even touching him darn near impossible (and of course he has Improved Movement: Hindering and Elevated)!

He starts with Hypersonic Speed, Precision Strike with a 12 Attack, 19 Defense with Super Senses and 3 Damage with Traited B/C/F (BEFORE HUMANS TOPPED THE FOOD CHAIN: Blades/Claws/Fangs. Opposing characters within 3 squares can’t use Blades/Claws/Fangs.) and Battle Fury to burn through Shape Change.

Yes, he’s only a close attacker, but he’s got some great potential damage output combined with some wonderful mobility and survivability!

As a special bonus, that B/C/F Trait kind of shuts down those SR Wolverine Call-Ins, too!

 

Chase Cap

5. ABPI071 Captain America — 150 Points — Chase:

This is a little bit of a cheat as well since I’m again counting the Chase Equipment that comes with him–The Infinity Gauntlet. But with his Infinity Gauntlet, Cap here has six Clicks that have to be gone through one by one since he has Power Cosmic, Invincible and a sweet defensive Trait (THE GEMS… THEY WANT TO BE TOGETHER: Barrier. Barrier as FREE, but only to generate 1 marker. Captain America can’t be healed and takes a maximum of 1 damage from an attack. Protected: Pulse Wave.) that makes it hard to target Steve, much less KO him.

His damage output isn’t huge, but if he hits, he can change the board with his Attack Special (PUSHING PLANETS AWAY: KNOCKBACK. When Captain America knocks a character back, add 10 to the amount of knock back.) that features a Knockback power like we’ve never seen (and props for being comic accurate!).

If you want an unkillable Call-In generator, call on Cap.

 

Taskmaster.jpg

4. ABPI061 Taskmaster — 100 Points — Super Rare:

100 Points for the most versatile piece in the set.

Taskmaster has the Wildcard TA, Indomitable, Sidestep, Toughness and Leadership top dial, plus his first Trait (JUST BECAUSE YOU HIRED ME, DOESN’T MAKE US FRIENDS: Taskmaster doesn’t count against themed teams.) ensures he’ll always fit on your team.

His second Trait (I MEMORIZED MOVES FROM DOZENS OF CHUMPS, TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!: FREE: Choose two: Charge, Flurry, Running Shot, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Incapacitate, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Precision Strike, Combat Reflexes, Energy Shield/Deflection, Close Combat Expert, Exploit Weakness, Ranged Combat Expert. Taskmaster can use the chosen powers until your next turn. This turn, characters targeted by Taskmaster with an attack can’t use the chosen powers until your next turn.) gives him access to almost any other power in the game that you might want. Hell, give him Iron Man’s Infinity Gauntlet and he literally WILL have access to any four powers in the game that you might want at any one time!

Someone is going to figure out how to exploit him because he’s basically designed to be exploited. He’s essentially a one-man Shifting Focus piece that plugs in to any Themed Team.

 

Kobik_(Earth-616)_from_Thunderbolts_Vol_3_1_001

3. ABPI069 Kobik — 115 Points — Chase:

If you like unkillable moving castles that let you Call-In almost any X-Men piece you want, meet your new best friend.

Outside of being hard to even hit, Kobik has a fun Trait that has the potential to wreck your opponent’s strategy so long as you construct the rest of your team correctly (REWRITE AFFILIATIONS: FREE: Choose both a friendly character and an opposing character with printed team abilities. Those characters can use the team abilities printed on the other character instead of their own printed team abilities until your next turn.).

She also has Power Cosmic, Perplex, Prob and an 8 Range, Shape Change, Super Senses and a 19 Defense on her first two Clicks. That is a LOT to get through!

On top of that, at 115 Points, she gets the best Cosmic Cube (FREE: Choose one: Place this character up to 3 squares away from its current square; -or- Until your next turn, [Improved Targeting: Elevated, Hindering] and modify range +2; –orGive an action token to an adjacent opposing character. If you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage. Light Object.) and a once-per-game Sideline shenanigans Trait [REWRITE HISTORY: POWER: Once per game, choose an adjacent friendly character on their starting line and a characters on your sideline with the same name as the chosen character. If the first character is equal or more points than the second, replace the first character with the second on their starting line. (That character can’t have the same set symbol and collector number.)].

She has already started showing up as a Supporting Character/Call-In generator, and I don’t think she’s going away any time soon!

 

Collector.jpg

2. ABPI064 Collector — 55 Points — Super Rare:

55 Points gets you the Power Cosmic TA now?! Holy crap!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Hell, 50 Points gets you PC now. Look at Voyager!]

Oh, and it also gets you (usually) six clicks of life, 11 Attack with pretty much the best version of Incapacitate the game has ever seen (I FIND YOUR HAMMER VERY… UNIQUE: Incapacitate. When Collector uses it, instead of giving action tokens, after resolutions you may choose one Equipment-Object equipped to a hit character and unequip it. // FREE: Equip an unheld and unequipped opposing Equipment-Object within range and line of fire.) and a Trait that lets him take full advantage of it (MY COLLECTION GROWS: Collector can be equipped with any number of Equipment-Objects at the same time. Protected: Pulse Wave.)!

Get used to seeing this guy on Meta teams for the next two years…

 

Thanos Annihilation

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra Chase:

Where to start with a figure that does virtually everything? First of all, he comes packing Skreet, who might be the best POG we’ve ever gotten.

Skreet

Skreet has Flying, Phasing/Teleport with 8 Movement, Pen/Psy with a 10 Attack and 4 Range, a 19 Defense (19!!) with Tiny Size and Impervious and a native 2 Damage with her lone Special Power (CHAOS MITE: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Skreet uses it, she modifies a value +2 or -2 instead, then rolls a d6. [1-2]: The modifier becomes 0 instead.).

Yep! That’s right! Thanos comes with his own Tertiary Attacker WHO ALSO HAS THE BEST PERPLEX SPECIAL IN MODERN!!

And you know what? THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ONLY GAME ELEMENT HE COMES WITH!! Whaaa… ?!

Yup!

Thanos also comes with the little-known SEVENTH Infinity Gem—The Ego Gem–for free!! This Gem allows it’s bearer to collect other gems (thus getting around the “one Equipment at a time” rule) AND let’s it’s bearer increase any Combat Value by +1. So, basically, you have a Perplex even if someone somehow Outwits your Perplex.

Okay! Now that we’re like 5 paragraphs in, we can finally talk about what is actually on Thanos’s dial!

First of all, he’s rocking both the Power Cosmic and Mystics TA. Yeah–probably the two best TA’s in the game, and Thanos has both of them.

He starts with a 12 Attack and 4 Damage top dial, along with Sidestep and an 18 Defense with Invincible. His Damage Special (THE BIOLOGICAL APPLICATION OF COSMIC POWER: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Thanos uses it to target a friendly character, that character can use [Power Cosmic] until your next turn. When Thanos uses it to target an opposing character, that character can’t use Willpower or PROTECTED: Outwit or Protected: Outwit until your next turn.) is flat-out amazing, and is one of the best Damage Specials in the game!

Starting on Click 2, Thanos’s Attack Special (GENOCIDE IS NOT WHAT MISTRESS DEATH DESIRES, BUT IT’S WHAT THE MAKER’S FOLLOWERS DESERVE: Precision Strike. FREE: Make an attack targeting an opposing character, but only if there’s another opposing character with the same name on the map. // When Thanos KO’s a character, after resolutions KO all bystanders generated by that character, then heal him 1 click for each bystander KO’d this way.) allows him to literally clear house if your opponent was careless enough to double stack characters on their team.

(And yes, if he’s your Primary Attacker, he can also bring in some heavy-hitting X-Men for Call-Ins!)

In Epic (400+) games, Thanos is an absolutely street sweeper!

But even in 300 Point games, he is an absolute force to be reckoned with.

And that’s why he’s number one on this list!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! (Or, The Twelfth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Marvel Christmas

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement! Night 7 was a brief celebration of our 5th Anniversary! Night 8 was a celebration of the X-Men 2099, and finally, Night 9 was a guide to a house game Ninwashui and I enjoyed playing called “Raid Night!.” Night 10 was a look at upcoming Monthly OP kits! Finally, we listed some of our other favorite Clix content creators on Night 11!]

Welcome to the final night of Clix-Mas 2018!!

Like we do every year, we just want to close out the last post of the season with a hearty “Thank You” to all of our readers and commenters.

There will be some great Clix and movies and games coming our way in 2019, and we plan to continue to do what we’re doing–just hopefully more often!!

We hope that you and yours have a great holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, even.

Thank you all so much for sticking with us! We’ll see you in the new year!

–The Staff at Critical Missives

The Ghost of Christmas Present Presents: My Favorite Current Clix Content Creators!! (Or, The Eleventh Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Dial_H_Logo_2

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement! Night 7 was a brief celebration of our 5th Anniversary! Night 8 was a celebration of the X-Men 2099, and finally, Night 9 was a guide to a house game Ninwashui and I enjoyed playing called “Raid Night!.” And finally, Night 10 was a look at upcoming Monthly OP kits!]

Hello again, and welcome to Night 11 of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Today will be short and sweet, but I wanted to call out a few of the many Clix creators whose content I really enjoy!

PODCASTS:

Dial H For Heroclix: One of the longest running Clix casts out there (Episode 237 just dropped two days ago!), the current hosts have fantastic chemistry and seamlessly cater to both casual and Meta players in every outing!

Two Clix From KO: Another fun podcast that trends a little more towards the serious players. Lots of cutting edge info here! Episode 157 just released a couple weeks ago and introduced Aaron’s new cohost!

(I also enjoy Edward Shelton’s commentary wherever he pops up too!)

YOUTUBE: 

Mr. Clixfix: You will not find a more consistent content creator when it comes to Heroclix.

Married With Clix: These two are my go-to for box openings not done by Scott Porter! They also make great contributions to the Meta Lab project!

Speaking of…

Scott Porter: He is the premier Clix video host, whether he’s unboxing new sets or appearing on “Indomitable.” I honestly don’t really start getting excited for new sets until I see Scott popping unreleased packs on my computer screen.

BLOGS: 

APEX PREDATORS: Again, there’s a lot of great content out there, but if you want to walk along the cutting edge, this is the blog for you. There’s a ton of articles written by some of the most successful modern Clixers of all-time!

 

Okay, that’s really it for today. We’re closing down the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas with a brief message tomorrow. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

 

 

The Ghost of Clix-Mas Future Presents: A Look At Some Upcoming OP Kits!! (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement! Night 7 was a brief celebration of our 5th Anniversary! Night 8 was a celebration of the X-Men 2099, and finally, Night 9 was a guide to a house game Ninwashui and I enjoyed playing called “Raid Night!”]

Welcome to Night 10 of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Today we’re going to take a look at what Wizkids has planned on the OP kit front… especially because “Best There Is Games” on YouTube has just gotten their hands on some Deadpool OP kit images!

This kit is coming to Local Game Stores in January, and it will feature Deadpool (natch), Wolverine and Negasonic Teenage Warhead!

Click the link above if you want to see the cards and dials for Deadpool and Wolverine. But suffice it to say that Negasonic Teenage Warhead is the winner of the bunch.

She’s 40 points and comes with 4 Clicks. She has 4 Range and top dial Sidestep, ES/D with a 17 Defense and a Special Attack Power ( Watch This!: Pulse Wave, Telekinesis. POWER: If Negasonic Teenage Warhead has no action tokens, she can use Pulse Wave and Telekinesis at no cost in either order.) on her first two Clicks (along with a 10 Attack).

With the Heroes for Hire keyword and the Mercs For Money Trait (Mercs For Money: When another friendly character with the Heroes For Hire keyword KO’s and opposing character, after resolutions heal Negasonic Teenage Warhead 1 click.), she will slide right in with your favorite characters from 2017’s Deadpool and X-Force!

If you place in a local event and get a chance at one of these pieces, Negasonic is probably your best choice!

Now the fact that hard news about these pieces is already filtering through definitely inspires confidence that we’ll see the other already announced kits actually drop when they’re scheduled for release.

For the record, that means we’ll be getting:

–Heroes For Hire Monthly OP kit (February)

–Too Many Spider-Man OP kit (March)

–Public Enemy: Bullseye OP kit (April)

–X-Men: Empowered OP kit (May)

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print for the moment

Good luck with your January events, and we’ll see you here tomorrow night for some more Clix-Mas!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are sourcing this information from a video posted by “BEST THERE IS GAMES” on YouTube! We highly recommend clicking the link and checking out there content for pictures of the actual cards for these figures (and hints on what the sculpts will look like!).]

 

 

Scenario: Raid Night! (Or, Raid Boss Scenario #1: Living Tribunal!!)(Or, Or, The Ninth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

This Is Raid Night

Hello again!

Today we’re trying something completely different!

This is our new Raid Boss Scenario series, where we take existing Colossal/high point figures, alter a few things about them and then create Single and/or Multi-Player Raid scenarios based around that piece!

So first, a definition. If you’ve been playing Heroclix for awhile, you probably have a general understanding of most of these terms, as they’ve been around for a long time (although exact terminology may vary by LGS).

Lich King raid

We’re trying to do the Heroclix version of this, essentially.

–RAID BOSS SCENARIO: A game wherein a high-costed figure (generally–but not always–a Colossal) is piloted by one player (sometimes referred to as “The Boss”) while a second (and sometimes third) player assembles a team (sometimes referred to as “The Raiders”) of equal points designed to beat the Raid Boss.

By now, Heroclix has a long and storied tradition of making some great high-point figures. However, some of them aren’t quite Boss material unless you tweak a few things about the figure. Luckily, Heroclix is a versatile game! It’s very nature allows you to create almost any Scenario you can imagine for house games!

(Ninwashui and I have tried this a couple times, and we had a lot of fun. So as we try out a few more “Bosses,” we’ll report back any alterations we attempt that seem to work.)

Up first for the “Boss” treatment is…

Living Tribunal with Card

AIG024 Living Tribunal!!

Living Tribunal is 900 points and he is pretty much the master of all of the Marvel multiverses. His dial is great, and really does lend itself to a fun Boss fight. However, I can tell you from experience that if you’re going to Pilot him in a Boss fight, his Traits need a few upgrades.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Now is as good a time as any to mention that in running any Raid Scenario, any tweaks you make should never affect anything that’s actually PRINTED on the Boss’s dial–essentially, don’t try to give him new stats or standard/Special abilities. It just gets too confusing.]

Right! Any “edits” we’re making to a Boss are made by adding/removing Traits, which is what we’re going to do here.

(I usually just make a note on my phone or write down the revisions on a piece of paper.)

For example, on Living Tribunal, the “Cosmic Entity” Trait is, essentially, worthless for a Boss (he’s a solo piece in this Raid Scenario, so he would never be a target of a Multi-Attack).

Instead, we’re going to replace “Cosmic Entity” with a new Trait of our own design:

Judge of All Realities: FREE: Choose a Team Ability. Opposing Characters can’t use the chosen Team Ability until your next turn.

Also, for Raid encounters, we suggest setting the Action Total cap at 5. In this instance, that would actually reduce down to four for the raiders due to the Boss’s “You Can’t Kill the Abstract–Living Tribunal” Trait (but could be increased back up to a max of 5 with Leadership, etc.).

That was all Ninwashui and I did for our Living Tribunal Raid! We ended up going 1-1 against each other, but each game was a lot of fun!

I’ve heard of other folks running similar games deciding to put a minimum point threshold for each character (so you don’t end up with literally 30 pieces on the board); Ninwashui and I didn’t feel the need to do this (he was playing mostly 90-200 point pieces anyway while I played the Living Tribunal), but your mileage may vary.

living tribunal heroic mode

This is what “downing the Boss” looks like in this Scenario…

Finally, once the Raiders have “farmed” out the raid encounter, you can always spice it up with a “Heroic Mode.” In this case, “Living Tribunal–Heroic Mode” would consist of all of the above new rules, plus one more Trait:

Simultaneous Multi-versal Manifestion: Living Tribunal can use the Multi-Attack ability.

So far, Raid Night has been a fun way for us to spice up our home games. We’ll run another one of these once we test out a different Boss.

Until then, come see us here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas shenanigans!

 

 

The Ghost of Christmas Present Presents: The One Sub-Theme I Want… (Or, The Eighth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

X-Men 2099

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement! Night 7 was a brief celebration of our 5th Anniversary!]

Welcome to the Eighth Night of Clix-Mas!

Tonight’s post is really more of a question:

With news dropping a few days ago that we’re getting the Elders of the Universe and the Infinity Gems back in Modern with next year’s Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati set, which past sub-theme (figures, mechanics or equipment) do you want to see return to Heroclix?

For me, it’s pretty easy (especially now that we’re getting a new Infinity Gauntlet, so that’s off the list):

X-Men 2099 spread.png

I want new X-Men 2099 pieces!

Yes, the 2099 corner of the Marvel Universe isn’t always remembered as fondly as other stories 0f the 90’s, but having grown up during that era I recall actually really liking this series as much or more than any other X-tales.

(For the record, Spider-Man 2099 and Doom 2099 were actually better than folks remember as well.)

Anyway, John Francis Moore and Ron Lim still stand in my mind as one of my favorite creative teams of all-time.

How big of a fan was I?

Well, when I got a little bit older, I started buying X-Men 2099 covers straight from the artists! I spent money I probably didn’t really have back then to have them custom-framed, and they still hang on my walls to this day!

So yeah, I like these characters a lot!

And Wizkids hasn’t completely ignored them. There was a special limited edition release in December of 2006 when they made seven characters from the 2099 universe–including two from X-Men 2099 (Junkpile and Mean Streak).

Since then, we’ve gotten a really good version of Miguel O’Hara (in ASM), but nothing 2099-related since then. That’s five X-focused sets (counting the two Deadpool sets but not counting wider sets like AvX) since GSX in 2011 with not even ONE X-Men 2099 sub-Theme!

I doubt that we’ll see them show up in X-Men Adventures either, but please Wizkids! Xi’an Chi Xan, Skullfire, Bloodhawk, Metalhead, Shakti… these characters and stories are too much fun too just leave unclix’d!!

So which sub-theme or equipment from the past would you like to see updated for Modern Clix? Sound of in the Comments below, and then come back here for Night Nine of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!!

The Ghost of Christmas Booker T Presents: Our Fifth Anniversary!! (Or, The Seventh Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Booker T 5 time

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Then Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets, and Night 6 saw the release of a brand new set announcement!]

Well, Night Seven of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas 2018 is going to be short and sweet.

I officially got the notification today: Critical Missives is five years old. Wow! Where did the time go?!

Personally, my life has undergone some major changes in that time. I had just started dating a wonderful girl when I started this blog five years ago; we’ve now been married for three years with our first bundle of joy on the way!!

My brother Ninwashui has been here the whole time as well; first as a reader, and then (when he couldn’t stand my Top Ten rankings and felt the need for a rebuttal) as a contributor. The site wouldn’t be what it is today without him.

We started small, and we’re still small, but we’ve picked up some wonderful fans along the way. As of this year the site has garnered more than 80,000 views among a dozen different countries (actually, there’s a dozen different countries with more than a thousand logged views. The actual list of countries where we have at least a single view is 143. Not bad for a southeast Michigan gaming blog!!).

So whether you’ve read one of our articles or a hundred, I’d like to end our little celebration with a simple Thank You! Hopefully we’ll see you again!

And join us right here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas mayhem!!

The Ghost of Christmas Future Presents: Breaking News! Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati!! (Or, The Sixth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Black Panther Infinity Gauntlet.jpg

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Finally, Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets!]

Ho ho ho!!

Welcome to Night Six of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!! Sorry we’re a little late tonight, but we got some hot off the presses news!

About a year after I called for Infinity Gem Equipment in my Irresponsible Speculation!! Preview of the Avengers: Infinity expansion… we’ll actually be getting just that!

That’s right–Wizkids announced another Avengers set for next year, and it’s gonna have some big hitters in it, with sub-themes including Wakanda itself, the Illuminati, The Cabal, The Elders of the Universe and possibly even the first Malibu character in Clix, Rune (who himself once went after the gems, which would make him a perfect inclusion here).

There will be 78 total figures in the set broken down thusly:

17 Commons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Uncommons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Rares (plus 1 Prime)
16 Super Rares (plus 1 Prime)
6 Chases
1 Ultra Chase
11 Equipment Objects (included with select figures in 5-Figure Boosters)

Never before Clix’d pieces include Astronomer, Challenger, Eitri, Enigma, Everett K. Ross, Kobik, Okoye, and as mentioned before, Rune.

Some of the equipment we’ll be getting includes the Cosmic Cube, The Infinity Gems and The Infinity Gauntlet.

Obviously we don’t know much more than that, but we can make some educated guesses based upon what we know from the comics! So let’s indulge in some quick…

IRRESPONSIBLE SPECULATION!!

New_Avengers_Vol_3_2

One of the best Marvel covers of the last 10 years…

Speculation #1: The name of the set will be Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati.

Why is this important? Well, first of all, “Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati” just sounds and looks like a weird run-on sentence. It’s kind of terrible, like someone just reciting stream-of-consciousness-style everything that they remembered from the set as a title. As a title, it means nothing because it COULD mean anything.

Now, Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati is a different story! That could have several distinct meanings!

Firstly, during Hickman’s run on New Avengers, the Illuminati took center stage. It basically could have been called Avengers: Illuminati. Currently, Black Panther is also maybe/kinda/sort of trying to reform the Illuminati as a more inclusive organization in his capacity as Avengers chairperson. This storyline may keep developing and even reach a crescendo just before or even during this set’s release in June.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Or by then Marvel may reboot everything for a tenth time in 5 years as no one is buying their books right now. Or any books really.]

Nice. Way to bring the mood down.

Annnnnnyhow… that colon may seem small, but it’s presence makes a huge difference in my opinion. Or maybe I’m just being anal about it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Can’t both be true?]

Ahem.

Cosmic Cube

Speculation #2: There’s 11 Equipment, and we may already know what 8 of them are…

Why is this important? They’ve already told us that the Cosmic Cube is being remade. That’s 1. The Infinity Gems are in this set (see next entry for what else this may tell us). That’s six more pieces right there, folks! They’re not going to make all the gems one collective piece of equipment, right? Especially since the other piece of equipment in the set they told us about is The Infinity Gauntlet!

So that means there’s just 3 unknown pieces of equipment out there! And we have six months to guess what they are!

Illuminati Gems.jpg

Speculation #3: The Illuminati members from Hickman’s New Avengers run will be the Gem-bearers in this set (ie they will be the figures that the gems come with).

Why is this important? Because if my guess is correct, it tells us a lot about the roster for this set. That would mean new versions of Iron Man (w/ the Reality Gem), either Professor X or Beast (w/ the Mind Gem–in between the distribution of the gems and the start of the incursions, Professor X was murdered by Cyclops or something in AvX–I honestly could be conflating stories, here, but it’s not really that important), Namor (w/ the Time Gem), Black Bolt (w/ the Space Gem), Doctor Strange (w/ the Soul Gem) and… someone(?) with the Power Gem?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Honestly, the color assignment for the gems has been all screwed up ever since the MCU started, so I don’t always remember which was which when I’m reading the comics now. I’m pretty sure about the Soul, Reality and Mind; after that, I can never remember.]

See, that’s where the theory falls apart. Because in the comics, Reed Richards has the Power Gem at that point. And even though Disney’s acquisition of Fox should be finished by that point, it’s unclear (at best) whether Marvel will let Wizkids make any FF pieces by then (my best guess is no). Sooooo…

The-Elders-Of-The-Universe

Okay, the Stranger is not an Elder of the Universe, but I don’t have time to look up other art for them.

Speculation #4: Speculation #3 is pure fanboy wish fulfillment horse dookie!

Why is this important? It’s really not. But in this Scenario, Wizkids will just make new versions of the Elders of the Universe (from whom Thanos stole the gems in the first place) and have THEM come with their respective gems. Plus we’re also getting… uh… Astromancer? No, Astronomer! That’s it!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, we’re HUGE Marvel Cosmic fans, and even we forgot this guy existed. But hey, in this Scenario, we’d get a new… Runner. Guy. Dude. Yaaay! Oh, $#!t, we might even get another Gardener! Actually… I’d potentially be excited for another Champion!]

Infinity Gems

Coloring. Fail.

Speculation #5: Wizkids wants this set to sell. Also, they’re not stupid.

Why is this important? Look, I’m not trying to worry anyone here who is huge fan of the Infinity Gems (like myself) and wants Wizkids to make them accessible, but whether it’s the Illuminati that comes with the Gems or the Elders of the Universe, I mean… there’s six Gems… and six Chase slots…

You do the math.

Rune Infinity gauntlet

Speculation #6: Who is the Ultra-Chase?

Why is this important? History says it probably isn’t, as the previous two Ultra-Chases–while very powerful for their points–didn’t make a huge Meta impact. But with Black Panther wielding the Gauntlet during Secret Wars having already been Clix’d, I can think of a few possibilities:

–Captain America wielding the Infinity Gauntlet given to him by the Illuminati in New Avengers #’s 2-3 (or thereabouts).

–God Emperor Doom (also from Secret Wars–but this would be contingent on FF characters being available, which again seems unlikely)

–The aforementioned Rune, who, even as a Malibu character (Malibu comics was the independent publisher behind the Ultraverse, a pretty cool superhero universe that eventually ran out of money and was bought by Marvel in or about the late 90’s/early 2000’s) once held the Gauntlet for a brief moment before the Silver Surfer used the Power Cosmic to literally dismember Rune’s hand (as I recall–I could be misremembering something).

Rune was basically an evil space vampire who already had cosmically powered gems around his neck (the Star Stones–hey, maybe those are another piece of equipment in the set!), so of course he had to try and get a whole new set.

Look, it makes sense (kind of). He’s probably going to be the only Ultraverse character in the set, since the Ultraverse isn’t a listed sub-theme. I know Rune isn’t a popular or well-known character, but neither was the White Rabbit.

Now Wizkids could either make Rune (as he is or with the Star Stones equipment) the Ultra-Chase, or they could be reeeeeeeeeal evil and make Rune the Ultra-Chase… and have him come with the Infinity Gauntlet!

$500 Ultra-Chases anyone?

Yikes.

 

Okay, that’s it for tonight! Sorry we were a little late, but we’ll see you again tomorrow for more 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!