[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome 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!]
Welcome to Night 5 of The Twelve Nights of Christmas!
Tonight I’m gonna talk about my favorite Sealed sets.
Sealed balance is mixed bag for Wizkids. It’s one of my favorite ways to play, but not every set is as much fun to play Sealed as some others are. The following sets I think are some of the best Wizkids has ever made, albeit for various reasons.
3. DEADPOOL (2014)
Reason: Great Roster of Characters; Creativity of Mechanics; Sealed Release Prizes
2016’s Deadpool and X-Force almost took this spot, but I give the edge to the original because the Deadpools worked better on their own if you only happened to pull one (and the best ones weren’t all at the Chase level).
Admittedly, you probably liked this set better if you were a Deadpool fan (I know some comic readers can’t stand the character, but I’ve been a fan since the Joe Kelly solo series days), but still, this set had everything!
The Word Balloon mechanic is still one of my favorite pieces of game design to this day! Outside of “Hammer Time,” which you only got if you lucked into the Super Rare Thor Deadpool, all of the Word Balloons were extremely situational, so pulling a Deadpool didn’t automatically mean you were going to steamroll someone. Still, they were occasionally useful, and even if you only pulled a couple ‘Pools from the Common slot (like Headpool and Dogpool), you could interchange their Word Balloons for maximum effectiveness.
But beyond that, this was a set with great, synergistic sub-themes (Sinister Syndicate, Thunderbolts, Z-Virus, Heroes For Hire) that yielded some high-demand figures. The Super Rare level was filled with hits, but even in the Rare slot you could pull a piece like Black Talon and–if you pulled the right supporting cast–steamroll the competition.
Chases were better when played together (although zombie Electro was pretty deadly on his own or paired with other Sinister Syndicate pieces), so again, if you were lucky enough to pull one, it didn’t mean you would auto-win.
The Uncommon, Rare and Super Rare Primes were all a ton of fun (Evil Deadpool!!), and this is also the set that gave us DP053A Speed Demon, probably the most unique speedster dial Wizkids has ever given us!
And you wanted to do well at the Sealed Release events, because Wizkids gave us four (FOUR!!) fantastic LE pieces that only came in the Deadpool OP kits.
–DP101 Ultimate Deadpool, who I think to this day has the most Named Keywords and who also came with an exclusive Word Balloon.
–Bill, Agent of A.I.M., a 30 point Taxi with an Attack Special (MY HIGH-ENERGY FINDER THING: Give Bill, Agent of A.I.M. a power action and choose the highest-point opposing character. Until your next turn, that character can be targeted with a ranged combat attack by one friendly character adjacent to Bill, Agent of A.I.M. and line of fire for that attack isn’t blocked.) that was so good he ended up as a Meta piece for the next year and a half.
Bill, like his counterpart Bob, Agent of Hydra, is one of Deadpool’s most popular supporting cast members and this was the only way to get him as he didn’t appear in the main set.
–Wolverine, Agent of Hydra, who was the “boss” character that both The Hand and Hydra teams were looking for at the time. I wouldn’t say he ended up being Meta, but he made a bunch of ninja teams viable at house games over the next year.
–Cosmic X-23. This was the first solo version of X-23 the game had seen in 4 years. She was borderline Meta, but never really got there. Still, she had two great dials and was also in high demand from players who collect the various Captain Universe pieces.
To this day, I don’t think we’ve seen better release day LE’s. In fact, I think shortly after this set Wizkids switched to including just one release OP LE figure for new standard sets.
2. War of Light (2014)
Reason: Titanic, High-Point Battles; $$$$!!
Man, 2014 was the year to be playing Sealed! War of Light was the 2014 Summer OP Limited Edition set, and it was crazy popular.
First of all, there are a LOT of Lantern fans out there, and the Clix community had been waiting for powerful, Modern interpretations of these characters (or, in some cases, their debut). Suddenly EVERY color on the spectrum had enough pieces to field viable teams for house games; some colors (Green, Yellow) even found themselves in the Meta.
Because you could only get these boosters by playing at your local game store (or by sniping a brick on eBay, where they were going for $210-$249 a BRICK during their heyday!), almost every SR was worth more than $25, with some going for $50-$80 the first month the set was released.
And the Chases… each color got a Chase Entity (except for Black, whose Entity piece was SR) that went for $100 plus (or $200 in the case of Parallax) because of both their scarcity and their power level in the Meta (from June 2014–January 2015, EVERY Meta team had at least one Entity on it).
All of which turned these Sealed OP events into lottery draws. So these events were PACKED, and competitors were hyped EVEN BEFORE FOLKS STARTED PLAYING!
Now, I talked a bit about balance with Deadpool (and I’ll talk a LOT more about balance with the #1 set), but WOL was NOT the most balanced set Wizkids has ever designed. Far from it, actually.
But that imbalance just fed into the whole lottery craze! A lot of folks sold their most expensive pulls on eBay after the event, so for some, the event itself was the only time they’d ever get to play with these figs.
And Battle Royales… wow! I’ve never seen so many folks queue up for Battle Royales than the fall of 2014 when the bigger venues in town would run a ROC or other big event! If WOL was on the menu, people would be there!
I can remember being ganged up on in one WOL BR by two different guys who knew each other and happened to be in the same pod as me. Unfortunately for them, I pulled the Weaponer of Qward, so it didn’t go so well for them (as opposed to when the same thing happened to me during an Uncanny X-Men BR, and I got my @$$ handed to me!).
But that was the boom or bust nature of the set. In month one at my LGS, I pulled Ophidian with Red Lantern Superboy Prime. In Round 2 I played Ninwashui, and the game lasted about 15 minutes, since his best pull was Brother Warth (to be fair, I think he actually got Supes down to, like, click 3 or 4).
But I will always remember the furor this set inspired, and that’s why it’s number two on this list!
1. BATMAN, THE ANIMATED SERIES (2018)
Reason: Insanely Well-Balanced!! Plus Some Nice Nostalgia…
And now for my favorite Sealed Set! Yup! It just came out in July!
This set is arguably the most well-balanced Sealed set Wizkids has ever designed. I’ve written before about how I lucked into possibly the BEST Sealed configuration a person can pull from this set at a WKO, and I still lost on a roll-off in the playoffs against stiff comepetition!
I’ll say it again–even the BEST PIECES IN THE SET were no guarantee of victory!
The point distribution between characters was very narrow for the most part, and outside of a few characters <cough–Hawkman & Hawkgirl–cough>, no piece had distinct offensive or mobility advantages over the others (okay, maybe Rare Batman with his Batarang, which was insanely good in Sealed!).
I’ve played this set Sealed probably four or five times now, and I’ve enjoyed every game!
That’s why it’s my favorite Sealed Set… so far!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: I would give an Honorable Mention to Avengers: Infinity, also from this year, solely because it’s the first time we saw Sealed Colossal vs. Colossal play! There were some other slight issues that caused the set to slip down my personal rankings a bit, but for the Colossal novelty alone, I thought it also deserved a mention here. More of this please, Wizkids!!]
What are yours? Sound off in the Comments below, then join us right here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas!!