These Turtles Go To Eleven!! (Or, The Top Eleven Figures in TMNT: Unplugged!!)

Mikey Injustice 2

A Heroclix set based on a TMNT video game appearance? Sign me up!

Michaelangelo 8-bit

OOOOOoooohhhh… THAT TMNT video game? Even better!

Hello again!!

We’ve been so busy lately talking about Avengers: Infinity Chases and Colossals and Batman: TAS spoilers and broken Superfriends Chases that we almost forgot… there’s a new Turtles set!

And here’s a secret nobody’s talking about… it’s kinda really good!

It’s also got almost 50 different new pieces (if you include the six new Bystander tokens from the Starter), so that means we’re gonna have to determine…

THE TOP TEN ELEVEN FIGURES IN TMNT: UNPLUGGED!!

But first, how about…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

TMNT ARCADE Poster.jpg

–In the lead-up to the release, I heard a lot of varying opinions on the “pixelated” sculpts that grace many (but oddly, not all–more on that in a minute) of the new pieces in the set. I actually fall on the “I Like It” side of the ledger, but I see why some wouldn’t like it. The sculpts look better from further away, but I think the video game sculpts are a creative new way to introduce cool new mechanics while still giving us familiar characters (more on that later too).

Krang Unplugged.jpg

–Unfortunately, some of the most interesting dials (Krang; Baxter Stockman; etc.) are essentially just repaints, even though they’re representing the video game version of the character. A ”pixelated” Krang especially would have been great!

–With Wizkids busy pumping out product for their Marvel, DC, TMNT and Star Trek licenses, this might be as close as we get to another video game set for quite awhile! For those who remember releases like the Street Fighter set or Halo-Clix, it’s kind of sad. But who knows what the future will hold? If these 8-bit clix are well-received, is it so far-fetched to think that Wizkids might hop on the nostalgia train again and give us a set of Nintendo characters (Mario! Link! Samus Aran!) or Capcom favorites?

So, without further ado…

THE TOP ELEVEN CLIX IN TMNT: UNPLUGGED!!

 

Rocksteady.jpg

11. TMNT4018 Rocksteady — 50 Points — Uncommon: We’ve got our first “Indie-set” Shifting Focus piece!

Yes, he only has, like, two versions to shift between (at least for now), but the ability to snap your fingers and turn a decent close combat piece into a decent ranged attacker is nice.

 

Blue Foot Elite

10. TMNT4015 Foot Elite (Boomerang) — 25 Points — Uncommon: For 25 Points this guy is an absolute STEAL! His top dial includes Sidestep, a 4 Range, 10 Attack with poor man’s Prob (BOOMERANG: When Foot Elite would miss a range attack by 1 or 2, once per turn you may reroll that attack roll.), a 17 Defense with ES/D AND a natural 3 Damage with Enhancement!!

Play 3 or 4 together and you have a slightly mobile (via Sidestep) Boomerang Turret that can spit out up to 6 Damage an attack! That ES/D makes them tough to hit before they get into range, too, so you have a decent chance of getting a devastating attack or two off before your opponent can pick them apart.

 

Muddy Mud Man

9. TMNT4B006 Mud Man — 20 Points — Fast Forces Bystander Token: Yeah, he costs 10 more points than the other tokens, but he’s probably worth 20 or 30 more points in actuality. For those 20 valuable points, you get Plasticity, Sidestep, Quake with a 10 Attack and Super Senses with Shape Change (always a crowd-pleaser!), 3 natural Damage… that’s a solid POG!

But wait… unlike other Pogs, Mud Man here essentially has 2 more clicks, with the possibility to gain even more if he KO’s opposing pieces (again, look at those stats–it’s certainly possible to KO opposing figures with this piece! Especially if he KO’s multiple characters with a well-timed Sidestep/Quake!).

But wait again! That actually undersells that Engulfing Boss Trait (ENGULFING BOSS: Plasticity. Mud Man starts the game with 2 Life tokens, and gains a Life token each time he KO’s an opposing character. When Mud Man would be KO’d, if he has any Life tokens, instead remove one. Protected: Pulse Wave.). It’s actually better than having two more physical clicks. Instead of clicking, Mud Man can take any amount of damage (even if Chase EW050 Superman hits Mud Man with an object and deals, like, 8 Damage…) and it still just costs him 1 “Life” token.

Then factor in the amount of wasted attacks from Mud Man’s SS/SC combo, and you have twenty points of mud that can cause all kinds of issues for your opponent. Even his main liability (mobility; ie his ability to get into attack range) is somewhat offset by his Sidestep and the fact that he’s a Standard character (and thus able to be carried by normal Taxis or TK’d by supporting pieces).

This is arguably the most solid Pog we’ve seen since Skadi’s Warbot (at least in terms of Pogs you can field by themselves).

 

Raph Auto Scroll.png

8. TMNT4037 Raphael — 100 Points — Chase:

7. TMNT4036 Michaelangelo — 100 Points — Chase:

All of the Chases have ridiculously good mobility via there shared video game level Trait (AUTO-SCROLLING SKATE LEVEL: At the beginning of your turn, you may move Raphael 1 square. FREE: Move up to 3 squares in a direct path.) and the fact that they all Ignore Characters on Movement.

What sets this Raphael apart from, say, the Leo Chase is Raph’s weapon Special (SAIS: Flurry. When making a close attack, Raphael deals penetrating damage.) and the fact that he’s sporting Battle Fury, so he chews right through opposing Shape Change.

Mikey gets slotted one spot higher because he’s got top dial Perp, bottom dial Support and his personal weapon Special (NUNCHAKUS: Flurry. Each time Michelangelo hits an opposing character, after resolutions you may give that character an action token.) that throws action tokens on opposing pieces as long as he simply hits them.

Penetrating Damage is fantastic. But I would personally value the board control offered by Mikey’s ability to give action tokens to pieces he hits.

 

Karai

6. TMNT4026 Karai — 75 Points — Rare:

Finally, a TMNT-Universe Recruiter! Her Trait (REBUILD THE FOOT CLAN IN THE OLD WAYS: Leadership. When building your force, friendly characters 75 points or less with the Martial Artist keyword also have the Foot Clan keyword.) opens up all kinds of Themed Team builds between disparate Martial Artist or Foot characters.

Then you get to her dial:

–She Ignores Hindering and Elevated Terrain on Movement.

–Her top dial Special Movement power (TEACHINGS OF THE ASHI NO HIMITSU: Sidestep, Stealth. When Karai uses Sidestep, if no opposing character has line of fire to her when giving the action, she can move up to 4 squares instead of 2.) will have her hopping all over the board, and she’s rocking an 11 Attack top dial with B/C/F AND a 6 Range with RCE, so Karai is deadly from up close or afar.

The only thing she’s really missing is some form of Willpower. In this era of Equipment, giving her a Symbiote (Shape Change, Plasticity and the possibility of taking her already solid stats to the next level) or Mjolnir (she can hop around with her giant Sidestep Special and strike for boatloads of B/C/F damage from a Stealthy position).

(Incidentally, there’s a pretty good case to be made for Karai as the best TMNT 4 Sealed piece. Usually only matters for release events, but there it is!)

 

Shredder and Clone

5. TMNT4005 Shredder Illusion — 20 Points — Common:

4. TMNT4024 Shredder — 80 + 20 Points — Rare:

Another pair of figures that are really meant to go together.

The Shredder Illusion is a solid little sort of Damage-dealing lottery ticket. He has a micro-Charge (Charge with a Movement Value of 6) and only 1 Damage top dial, but his (its?) B/C/F makes that 1 Damage almost meaningless.

The Illusions also have the ability to be nice little tie-up pieces, with Shape Change and Combat Reflexes making them particularly hard to deal with once they’ve latched on.

They’ve also got one solitary Trait (TEMPORARY SHREDDER ILLUSION: For all characters that can use this trait, whenever a friendly character within 6 squares named Shredder would take damage, you may reduce that damage by 1 in addition to any other effects that reduce damage. If you do, after resolutions, deal 1 unavoidable damage to a friendly character named Shredder Illusion.) that works exceedingly well with any character named Shredder in general and the Rare Main Set Shredder in particular.

Shredder proper is a Close Combat monster, with Charge, 12 Attack with Blades/Claws/Fangs, Mastermind and a native 4 Damage (if you literally don’t want to roll the dice for B/C/F).

The +20 Kicker is certainly worth it, as it activates a Trait ((+20) ILLUSIONARY DOUBLE: FREE: If no friendly character named Shredder Illusion is on your force, generate a TMNTUP #005 Shredder Illusion. Your opponents don’t score that character.) that gives you CONSTANT Mastermind fodder and, again, access to that Temporary Shredder Illusion Trait.

While most pieces have trouble with Outwit, this Shredder in particular is really vulnerable to a well-timed Outwit on his Mastermind or Charge, so that is something to keep in mind when using this guy.

 

Alopex

3. TMNT4033 Alopex — 90 Points — Super Rare: 90 Points gets you Hypersonic Speed with Precision Strike and 3 Damage top dial. She Ignores Hindering and Elevated Terrain on Movement, and she sports the crowd-pleasing Super Senses/Shape Change combo on Defense.

Two Traits also bump her effectiveness and allow her to manipulate probabilities on the Map.

The first (CURSED BLADES OF VENGEANCE: When Alopex hits an opposing character, give them a Curse token. // Characters with one or more Curse tokens modify attack -1, and any attack made by those characters that misses all targets becomes a critical miss.) can have a big effect on your whole team’s survivability.

The second (CATCH A TIGER BY THE TAIL: At the beginning of the game, choose an opposing character. Alopex modifies attack +1 when attacking the chosen character and modifies defense +1 when attacked by the chosen character.) enhances her own survivability, and can pump her Defense up to nigh unhittable levels if she gets a pop in first (which is likely given that Hypersonic Speed she’s sporting).

 

Donnie 2012

2. TMNT4029 Donatello — 80 Points — Super Rare: The whole set of Super Rares in this set is pretty universally solid; having said that, I like the SR Donnie better than his brothers in this series.

While they all share some version of the “Tales… ” Trait (TALES OF THE TMNT: At the beginning of the game, for all characters that can use this trait, choose a “Tale:” trait that a friendly character can use. This game, all friendly characters with a “Tale:” trait can use the chosen trait instead of any other “Tale:” trait.), Donatello’s is perhaps the most gamechanging (TALE: MAZES AND MUTANTS: This character has PROTECTED: opposing Perplex, opposing Probability Control.).

When you factor in his own top dial Prob, you suddenly can field a team of Turtles that pretty much has total control of Prob and Perplex–two of the strongest support abilities in the game–for the whole game!

This is more environmental control than the typical Turtles team allows.

 

Krang Unplugged number one

1. TMNT4034 Krang — 130 Points — Super Rare: Basically the ranged version of the Shredder piece I was just raving about.

Krang’s issue is that he sports Phasing/Teleport top dial instead of a move-and-attack ability, so he needs a good Taxi or a TK’er. Other than that, he’s a straight killer, with an Attack dial that alternates between Pen/Psy and Pulse Wave, Defense that alternates between Invincible, Invulnerable and Impervious.

He also has top dial Outwit and a Damage Special Power (RECOVERED THE TURNSTONE!: Shape Change, but succeeds on a 4-6. Perplex, but modifies the combat value +2 or -2. Opposing characters can’t use Perplex or Shape Change.) on the bottom of his dial that is one of the best Special Powers ever given out.

His Boss Trait, like Shredder’s, also resurrects him TWICE (GAME BOSS: FLASHING RED: The first two times Krang would be KO’d, instead turn him to click #6, then heal him 1 click if an opposing force has 1 or 2 characters on it; otherwise, heal him 2 clicks. Protected: Pulse Wave.), and has a decent chance of landing him on his Turnstone clicks.

Finally, his last Trait (RUTHLESS ALIEN CONQUEROR: When Krang KO’s an opposing character, put a Conquest marker in a square they occupied. Opposing characters modify their attack and defense values -1 for each Conquest marker within 3 squares of them.) can really pin down an opponent who didn’t bring a team with good mobility and/or range.

It is possible for your opponent to just ignore Krang, or try and get him to his less effective middle clicks (Clicks 3 & 4) and keep him there, but it’s not clear that allowing a piece with 8 Range and Pen/Psy essentially unfettered access to attack your team is a really very good idea.

 

Okay!! That’s my list! What’s yours? Let us know in the Comments below!

 

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Why IndyClix Matter!! (Or, The Ghost of Christmas Future Is Back With an Editorial!!) (Or OR The Eighth Night of Clix-Mas 2017!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2017, 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 2017 can be found right here! And we announced a new Holiday Scenario for our local venue on Night Two! And the Ghost of Christmas Past named a few of his favorite things from the past Clix year right here! On Night Four, the Ghost of Christmas Present left us his Top Ten Figures from Star Trek: Away Team!! Then, the Ghost of Christmas Future gifted us some Irresponsible Speculation about IndyClix!! Later, the Ghost of Christmas Future came back and talked about licensed properties that would make great Clix sets! And finally, the Ghost of Christmas Present gave us a presentation of the Top Eleven most valuable Heroclix released this year!]

Indy Clix

And so we’ve made it to Night Eight, which means we’re two-thirds of the way through The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas, 2017!!

So tonight at my local venue we were playing the Holiday Havoc Scenario (from Night Two) and in between rounds I was talking to one of our regular players about Marvel comics. It turns out that neither of us had read much from Marvel in the last two years (for me, nothing really since Secret Wars, which was, what, like 2015?). And the more people I asked, the more I got the same(ish) answer.

Now, I don’t want to get into any of the corporate politics at Marvel or why their books have pretty much gone off the rails in terms of sales–there are plenty of other outlets that have been covering Marvel’s ongoing publishing death spiral (and whether the recent ascendance of new Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski will turn things around) for the better part of a year.

Marvel Sales

Actual internal sales document from Marvel…

What I’m more interested in is the effect this fallow period might have on Heroclix. It’s tough to make a game based on a comic book license if the comics themselves have no following. And when you consider that Marvel sets make up the bulk of the Heroclix product line, this has the potential to become a huge issue.

Hell, Wizkids almost went out of their way this past year to create Marvel sets that had nothing to do with current or even rectent storylines in the comics. Let’s look at the Marvel set releases (minus the MCU sets which, obviously, were based on movies and not comics):

DXF

Deadpool and X-Force: Okay, this took from both old and somewhat recent Deadpool comics. Fair enough.

AVD War Banner.jpg

Avengers/Defenders War: Uhhhh… what? This story was decades old. And the main Sub-Theme, Marvel Knights, primarily–yet unofficially–revolved around all of the Marvel Netflix heroes.

What IF.jpg

What If… ?: Again, an older series about alternate versions of superheroes that I don’t think has been published by Marvel in years. There were a few newer figs (like the Young Avenger versions of the Runaways), but not many.

TMT

The Mighty Thor: Among all the classic Thor stuff, I think there were maybe five or six pieces pulled from the last three years worth of stories, like Jane Foster Thor, Angela Prime and Colossal Ms. Marvel, among others. Out of more than seventy pieces!

So what does all this have to do with Indy Clix? Well… I think this is part of the reason why Wizkids has been pursuing other licenses like TMNT and Star Trek. Furthermore, I think it’s at least part of the reason why those sets are all Modern Legal, where previous Indy sets like Kick-Ass 2 or Pacific Rim or Iron Maiden were not.

Could we ever get to a point where Wizkids is releasing mostly MCU, DC and Indy sets in a calendar year?

Heck, the fact that Star Trek: Away Team was a 5-figure booster set instead of a Gravity Feed was almost shocking! Could this have been a stealthy “proof of concept” for Wizkids to show that the game could survive without the need for strong Marvel-publishing-based sets?

Well… no. I think that’s all just conjecture that I made up literally while I was typing the last couple paragraphs.

But! I think Marvel’s sales numbers HAVE to be concerning to Wizkids. I think they welcome the fact that Infinity War is coming out next year and that they have a chance to again revisit some old cosmic Marvel stories from the 90’s as a result!

So that’s all I have for today. But I don’t want to be all doom and gloom–tomorrow we’ll look at a few Marvel and DC stories from the last 5 years that could be adapted into great Heroclix sets!

 

The Ghost of Christmas Future is Back With Some Irresponsible Indy Speculation!! (Or, The Fifth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2017, 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 2017 can be found right here! And we announced a new Holiday Scenario for our local venue on Night Two! And the Ghost of Christmas Past named a few of his favorite things from the past Clix year right here! And yesterday, the Ghost of Christmas Present left us his Top Ten Figures from Star Trek: Away Team!!]

Christmas Future 2

So we’re always talking about what we’d like to see Wizkids do with their Marvel or DC licenses, but we never talk about the independent stuff they put out, and where we’d like to see them take those properties.

Well, not anymore! Today is all about what we want to see coming down the pike from Wizkids and their non-Marvel, non-DC releases!

 

Ninja Rap

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES:

What We Want: 

TMNT: The Movies Clix!!

This one is easy. They’ve almost done everything they can with the animated Turtles Clix, and I’m honestly not sure there’s a ton more to be mined from the comics, either.

But they could, like, TOTALLY squeeze two or three sets from the live-action Turtles movies! Who doesn’t want a vintage Vanilla Ice piece with some sort of “Ninja Rap” Damage Special, or a Megan Fox as April O’Neil figure (it would at least have to be better than her Megan Fox as Lilah from Jonah Hex piece, right?)?

Chances We’ll Actually Get It:

Honestly? Probably not good. From what I understand, this might be a bit of a licensing nightmare. It would be a license of several 20-25 year old properties that were themselves licensed products that were capitalizing on the success of an animated series that was itself licensed from an independent comicandnowmybrainhurts!!

Still, stranger things have happened…

 

DS9 mirror mirror.jpg

STAR TREK:

What We Want: 

Everyone wants original cast movie Clix or TNG clix. That would be fine with me. But I’d love a set that’s focused on all of the “Mirror Universe” characters that have floated in and out of Trek’s continuity!

Whether that means a whole set of Alternate Reality pieces (sort of a Star Trek version of the What If… ? or Elseworlds sets we just got) from throughout Trek’s history, or just a DS9 set with a “Mirror” Sub-Theme, those are the pieces that would have me reserving a Brick at my FLGS.

Chances We’ll Actually Get It:

It’s not impossible, but it’s probably years away. If Star Trek: Away Team sells well, we’ll probably see two or three more sets focused on the Original Cast and the TNG folks before they’d really consider making any DS9 characters (and with them, the DS9 “Mirror” characters).

Still, the fact that the Mirror folks have their own Team Ability is a good sign…

 

Horrorclix.jpg

Heroclix UNDEAD (aka HORRORCLIX):

What We Want: 

Undead was fun, but I want to see the full return of the Horrorclix brand!! I actually think they had the right idea when they started of mixing original properties with specially curated licensed releases, all under the Horroclix name.

Imagine a Horrorclix Buffy set, all designed with modern rules in mind, all Modern Age tournament legal. Or a re-release of a Colossal Cthulu, followed by Gravity Feed set of more Dead Presidents (like Zombie Lincoln).

This would be a great way for Wizkids to hit up popular licensed properties without having to commit to more than one or two sets at a time!

The possibilities are endless!

Chances We’ll Actually Get It:

Pretty dubious. I think Wizkids has become much more cautious when it comes to licensing other properties for Heroclix (which, by the way, isn’t necessarily a bad thing). That said, the idea of, say, going to Target to buy an Alien Queen sort of Raid Scenario for two or more players sounds like a lot of fun to me. But first we need to see if we’ll even be getting more Undead pieces!

 

Okay, that’s all for now folks! Come back and see us tomorrow, when we’ll talk about what properties Wizkids has never Clix’d but should seriously consider. Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Ghost of Christmas Present Is Going on a Star Trek!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Star Trek: Away Team!!)(Or OR The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas!!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2017, 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 2017 can be found right here! And we announced a new Holiday Scenario for our local venue on Night Two! And the Ghost of Christmas Past named a few of his favorite things from the past Clix year right here!]

Welcome to Night 4 of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Today we’re diving right in to a Top Ten Set Review of Star Trek: Away Team!

So, without further ado, here are…

THE TOP TEN FIGURES IN STAR TREK: AWAY TEAM!!

Nurse Chapel

10. STAT009 Nurse Chapel15 PointsCommon: Does what it says on the box. She has sneaky good mobility (notably from having Sidestep on each click) and a special Support that heals Starfleet personnel a click more than everyone else. Willpower means that she can attempt a heal two out of every three turns–which she may need to given that her Attack tops out at 9. Still, this is a pretty useful package for just 15 Points.

Yeoman Rand.jpg

9. STAT022 Yeoman Rand25 PointsCommon: Very similar to Nurse Chapel, except her Special Power (Can I Help You Captain?: POWER: Remove an action token from an adjacent friendly character of 50 points or less. If that character has the Starfleet keyword, it may be a character of 100 points or less instead.) allows her to take away action tokens.

This can be very useful if you’re building around it. Her top dial Willpower means its a trick you can keep running, too.

Captain Kirk.jpg

8. STAT026 Captain Kirk100 PointsRare: One of the three (THREE?!?) Title Characters in this set, Captain Kirk has a long dial (8 clicks), Running Shot/Pen/Psy, Indomitable, Super Senses and Leadership… and that’s before you even get to his Title Character abilities.

His master ability actually lets him “Beam In” Starfleet characters from outside of the game! It takes awhile to build up, but it’s not impossible to beam in extra 40 or 50 point piece in a regular game. Pretty impressive.

Lt Uhura

7. STAT029 Lt. Uhura 40 PointsRare: One of the best supporting pieces in the set, Uhura costs 5 more points than KC Green Lantern on Tower Mode, but also offers a bit more.

First, her Trait (Communications Officer: At the beginning of the game, you may choose a copyable team ability that an opposing character can use. As long as Lt Uhura is on the map, adjacent friendly characters and friendly characters with the Starfleet keyword can use that Team Ability.) is reeeeeallly good on a Starfleet Themed Team.

(Incidentally, more than a few of the pieces in Star Trek: Away Team seem like they’ll get even better as more faction options become available upon the release of future sets.)

Second, her Perplex Special (Monitoring All Channels, Captain: Perplex. When Lt Uhura uses it, she has a range value of 10 and can use Targeting: Ignores Hindering, Elevated, Blocking.) is, for my money, one of the best in the game. It’s even better than KC Green Lantern’s when you consider the fact that she can actually move via Sidestep or normal movement, whereas Green Lantern is stuck in one place the whole game.

Mirror Universe Uhura.jpg

6. STAT038 Uhura (Mirror Universe Version) — 75 PointsSuper Rare: And then there’s the more lethal version of Uhura from the “Mirror, Mirror” universe.

She has two things that make her stand out.

First, her awesomely-named Trait (Assassination Of Superiors Is A Common Means Of Advancing In Rank: FREE: Choose an adjacent opposing character of 100 points or less. That character can’t use defense powers until the beginning of your next turn.) makes her the new Winter Soldier Agent 13.

Second, her second and third clicks are absolutely LETHAL when combined with her Trait. She has both Flurry and B/C/F on both clicks, which she can use to absolutely end figures that cost three times as much as her.

Finally, her Mirror Universe Team Ability is basically Mystics, so she’ll even do penetrating damage on her way out.

Mirror Universe Spock.jpg

5. STAT036 Mr. Spock100 PointsRare: While his dial is not bad, the main reason Mirror Mirror Spock is this far up the list is his awesome Barrier Special (Agony Booth: Barrier. When Mr. Spock uses it, after resolutions if an opposing character is adjacent to 4 of his Barrier markers, roll a d6 and deal that character penetrating damage equal to half the result.).

So, wait, for 100 Points I can completely shut down my opponents best character by surrounding that piece with four Barrier tokens AND squeeze in up to 3 penetrating damage at the same time?! Sign me up!!

Khan.jpg

4. STAT048 Khan — 100 Points — Chase: Some of the guys I play with were slightly disappointed with his dial, but I like it. Primarily because of his sweet Damage Special (Although Your Abilities Intrigue Me, You Are Quite Honestly Inferior.: FREE: Choose a standard damage power that an opposing character within range can use. Khan can use that power until your next turn. If you choose Outwit, Perplex or Probability Control, also modify his combat values +1 until your next turn. Khan has PROTECTED:Outwit.).

He’s slightly dependent on the pieces that your opponent is playing, but he can punch above his weight in the right matchups.

Gorn

3. STAT043 Gorn100 PointsSuper Rare: A relentless close combat monster, Gorn is ten clicks long for just 100 Points. He only has one Special (it’s on Defense) that doesn’t show up until halfway through his dial (Bare-Handed Against The Gorn, I Have No Chance.: Toughness. At the beginning of your turn, heal Gorn 1 click. Protected: Outwit.).

But his dial becomes reeeaaaallly interesting when you equip him with Proteus. If ever there was a piece that didn’t care about that possible one damage a turn from Proteus, it’s Gorn. And with +1 to all stats, Gorn becomes even that much harder to deal with.

Charlie X.jpg

2. STAT037 Charlie X40 PointsSuper Rare: At first, he just seems like a typical Prob-equipped supporting piece with really good mobility for his Points (Sidestep, Willpower).

But what really makes him dangerous is his Trait (Don’t Laugh At Me!: When Charlie X is the only target of an attack that misses, after resolutions deal the attacker damage equal to its printed damage value.).

So you can let Charlie flit about the board controlling rolls, or you can try and take him out–and risk taking massive damage!

Trelane

1. STAT044 Trelane50 PointsSuper Rare: So yeah, the Super Rares in this set are pretty good.

His Traits ( It’s My Game And My Rules: At the beginning of the game, roll a d6 and place it on this card. POWER: If there is no d6 on this card, roll a d6 and place it on this card. Trelane has PROTECTED: Outwit.) and (I Can Do Anything I Want. I Should Think You Would Have Realized That By Now.: Whenever a character rolls an attack roll, you may remove the d6 from this card and replace a die in the roll with it.) essentially make him the new Mr. Myxzptlk.

He only deals two damage (with a 10 Attack top dial), but he also has Super Senses and a STOP click to keep him annoying your opponent for most of the game.

 

And there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below. And be sure to head back here tomorrow for more Clix-Mas!!

The Most-Wanted Ghosts of Clix-Mas Future Return!! (Or,What We Want to See in 2017!!) (Or Or, We Call an Audible on the Seventh Night of Clix-Mas!!)(Whew!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… And Night 6 saw HypeFox Theory-craft his own Marvel Heroclix Core Set!]

peyton-manning

That sound you here is Ninwashui yelling ‘Omaha!!’

Okay, here’s the deal!

Some nights, when it’s the middle of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas and you’re blogging by the seat of your pants and you’ve probably had juuuust a bit too much caffeine, you just have to call an audible.

Tonight is one of those nights!

So, this is the Seventh Night of Clix-Mas 2016, which means we have six Clix-Mas blogs in the books, which also means we have six to go (Yikes!) to make our goal of 12 blog entries in 12 days during what is generally the busiest, most stressful time of the year.

In otherwords, we’ve reached the halfway point. Which also ALSO means we’ve started to get some feedback. In this case, that feedback comes from none other than the co-author of this very blog, Mr. Ninwashui himself!

He read yesterday’s article on Theory Crafting a Marvel Core Set and, well, he had some thoughts!

The long and short of the conversation that followed resulted in one main revision to our plans: he is going to write the DC Core Set Theory Crafting article (also known as “Everything Old Is New Again Part 3!!”)!!

Which is great and all, but that also means we’re gonna have to call an audible for today’s column. So don’t worry–you’ll still get Part 3 this Clix-Mas (probably around Night 10 or Night 11, methinks).

So instead, we’re going to revisit one of last year’s most popular Clix-Mas entries: The Most-Wanted Ghosts of Clix-Mas Future!

Christmas Future

No, sorry, you’re definitely getting an MCU Capwolf movie, but don’t worry, the Russo Brothers figure it out. I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I mean, they even make Doctor FREAKING Druid work. And he was played by Miley Cyrus.

If you’ve forgotten how this gimmick works, I’m basically going to go month-by-month for the first six months of 2017 and discuss the sets we know we’re getting and what I hope we get from them!

Let’s get started!

FEBRUARY 2017: 

deadpool-and-x-force

DEADPOOL & X-FORCE:

Or is it X-Force and Deadpool? Unclear at the moment. But we do know this is our next set!

–I would love to see Word Bubbles return. Alas, I think we would have already heard about these if they were appearing in this set, as last time around (Deadpool in 2014) their existence was part of the marketing.

–I didn’t love the Cable we got in AVX or Deadpool (although the New Mutants Monthly LE kit Cable from last year was great on his own and bonkers-good on the Team Base!), so I wouldn’t mind seeing a new version or two in this set as he’s always been one of my favorite Marvel characters.

–The Ultra-Chase rarity returns?! Well then. Not sure who this could be, but if they hadn’t already given us Thorpool in the Deadpool set, that probably would have been my bet. We’ll see.

–Actually, if the Ultra-Chase turns out to be Squirrel Girl (who we know is in the set in one form or another), I’d actually be cool with that.

Deadpool & X-Force releases (for now) sometime in mid-to-late February.

 

MARCH 2017: 

return-of-the-shredder

SHREDDER’S RETURN: 

–Honestly, there’s not a ton more I need from TMNT right now, unless they’re going to dig into the live action movies, which I’m pretty sure are not included in the license.

–This is going to be a very dial-dependent set for me; meaning, the more good figures I see Previewed, the more likely I’ll be to buy more of the set. Otherwise, this is probably the least interesting of the three Turtle Sets they’ve released/announced so far.

 

JUNE 2017: 

jane-foster-what-if

I’ll be honest–I think we know at this point what would happen if Jane Foster had found the Hammer of Thor…

MARVEL HEROCLIX 15TH ANNIVERSARY: WHAT IF?

–Ooooooo, am I excited for this one!

–The thing about a set where literally any figure could fit is that literally any figure could show up in this set. I can’t wait, but I have no idea what’s coming with this one.

–I know a lot of folks want more Exiles; I’d be fine with that, but I really want random characters from random What If? one-shot stories. Pieces like Iron Doom from Invincible Iron Man come to mind. That guy was awesome!

 

JULY 2017: 

elseworlds-multiversity

DC HEROCLIX 15TH ANNIVERSARY: ELSEWORLDS

–Even though this is the same concept as Marvel’s What If, I feel like we’ve seen a lot more of DC’s Elseworlds already. Kingdom Come? We just got a bunch of them (although I’d never object to more). Red Son? Ditto.

–If, however, this set ends up chock full of Multiversity pieces (Captain Carrot PLEASE!!), I will be a happy camper! I even want members of the Gentry. I’d love them as Colossals, but I understand that if I get any at all, they’ll probably just be normal bases, which is okay.

–2017 is going to be an interesting year in Clix

Alright! That’s all for today. We’ve still got a lot in the hopper, such as Ninwashui’s DC Core Set AND his Joker’s Wild Top Ten, both coming before the end of Clix-Mas 2016!!

So get ready, buckle up, and strap in!! And don’t forget to come find us right here in this space in the next 24 hours for more Clix-Mas 2015 goodness!

A Look Back in Horror!! (Or, What the Heck Were HorrorClix?!) (Or, The Third Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 3! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish!]

Welcome back to Critical Missives’ 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!

Today we’re going to look back at one of the ghosts of Clix-Mas Past (Horrorclix!) before we take a tiny little peak at one of the newly announced Ghosts of Clix-Mas Future (aka next year’s Heroclix: Undead set!)!

The Origin of Horroclix:

spidey-zombie-card

Back in 2006, Heroclix had been humming along for quite successfully for more than four years. In November of that year, Wizkids released their 24th offering, Supernova, which added a new rarity (sort-of).

Until Supernova, Heroclix didn’t have “Chase” figures. They would generally publish Rookie, Experienced and Veteran versions of the same character in the same set. Then there would be much rarer single versions of figures called “Uniques” which always ended up being the most valuable and hardest to pull pieces.

Well, when Supernova hit, Wizkids had added four special figures that were classified as “Ultra-rare” and were only pulled at a rate of about 1 in a 100 boxes. These figures were based on the hugely successful “Marvel Zombies” limited series and came packed in small poly-bags with another new addition the game had never seen before–a card!

Another New Addiction:

Yup! These were the gateway pieces that introduced the world to Horrorclix, a sort-of Heroclix spin-off. It had it’s own rules, but it was basically Heroclix if Heroclix pulled it’s figures from horror movies and novels (and the twisted imaginations of Wizkids employees themselves).

As you can see from Zombie Spidey’s card above, it didn’t take much to convert a Heroclix piece into a Horrorclix piece… or vice versa. Indeed, we probably wouldn’t have cards and keywords had Horrorclix not innovated those ideas.

The four Marvel Zombie Chase pieces (Spider-Man, Wolverine, Colonel America and Hulk) were the only Marvel or DC Horrorclix they ever made, although Wizkids would continue to explore the Marvel Zombie universe in Heroclix almost exactly a year later with representations of Zombie Iron Man, another Zombie Spidey, Zombie Giant-Man eating Black Panther and Zombie Wolverine in Galactus’s costume  (since he had chowed down on the Eater of Worlds).

Instead, Wizkids focused on licenses that had deeper ties to the realm horror, including Aliens, Predator, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. as well as both Freddy Krueger and Jason from Friday the 13th.

the-great-cthulhu

And just as they had started making Colossal Heroclix like Galactus, Wizkids also started giving the same treatment to such genre staples as The Great Cthulhu (still so rare that he regularly sells for between $125-$225 on eBay) and the Alien Queen (with detachable Egg Sac! Yum!!).

And then, at the height of all things Clix, came the news in 2008 that Topps had bought the Clix license and was shutting EVERYTHING down. While Heroclix would be resurrected within the next year, sadly, Horroclix was no more.

Two years ago, Wizkids revisited the Marvel Zombies universe and created 16 different Chase pieces over the course of two Heroclix sets (Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy), but Horrorclix itself remained dead…

Carving a New Future (?):

scarecrow-horrorclix

Which leads us to the announcement just this very month! Wizkids has decided to a new Gravity Feed Set filled with 19 brand new horror characters, from generic Werewolves, Zombies and ghosts to specific public domain characters like Dr. Jekyll. In all, there will be 9 new Commons, 8 Rares and 2 Chases.

But… these will be Heroclix pieces that use Heroclix dials!

That’s right! Horrorclix is still dead, but its influence–and now, some of its characters–will live on in Heroclix!

At this point, any non-Marvel, non-DC set Wizkids puts out is certainly a risk (although the Turtles releases seem to be selling just fine), but I actually think this set will be a refreshing change of pace (assuming it’s Modern Age legal, of course!). And it just might bring back some fond memories for those of us who remember what it was like to pit Batman against Jason or have the Avengers and JLA team up against the Great Cthulhu!

 

Okay! What do you guys think? Do you remember Horrorclix? Are you excited for the new set? Let us know in the Comments section. And join us right back here tomorrow for more Clix-Mas!!

 

 

 

Ninja, Ninja (W)rap… -Up!! (Or, Let’s Review the Ten Best Figures in TMNT 2: Heroes in a Half-Shell!!)

tmnt-team-base

Perfect template for a TMNT Team Base sculpt?

Alright! The Joker’s Wild (uh, revised) release date has finally arrived, so before we focus on that, I think we need to discuss a really underrated set that just dropped not too long ago!

I’ve already heard reviews from some folks saying that this second Turtles set, while fun, isn’t on the same level as the first set. I disagree; this set is a bit more subtle, and it’s best figures are support pieces, but there is a lot of gold here if you dig a little. Unfortunately, most of it is Super Rare or scarcer.

Still, there’s enough good pieces to put together a list of…

 

THE TOP TEN FIGURES IN TMNT: HEROES IN A HALF SHELL!!

 

foot-ninja-twin-katanas

10. TMNT2009 Foot Ninja (Twin Katanas) — 30 PointsCommon:

This is a dangerous little package. Sidestep, Stealth, Willpower and an Attack Special (TWIN KATANAS: Foot Ninja can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. When he does, he may instead roll 2d6 and choose one as the result.) that gives you two bites at the B/C/F roll!

Basically, everything you want from TMNT2004 Leonardo, except 30 Points cheaper.

donnie-2011

9. TMNT2025 Donatello100 PointsRare:

Just a solid dial from top to bottom with an AWESOME Damage Special (TEEN TURTLE INTELLECT: At the beginning of your turn, choose one: Outwit, Perplex, or Support. Donatello can use the chosen power until your next turn.).

He also has Traited Stealth and Toughness and doesn’t care about Hindering or Elevation on Movement.

His top-dial Sidestep (instead of Charge) is the only thing that’s really holding him back from being further up this list…

armaggon

8. TMNT2030 Armaggon170 PointsSuper Rare:

A shark from the future who’s armed to the teeth! What’s not to love?

He has decent stats, the increasingly useful Future and Animal keywords, Indom, a Damage Special (FUTURE SHARK: Armaggon can use Probability Control. He can use it normally, or he can use it twice on your turn, but only to target himself.) that lets him Prob his own attack roll TWICE along with a Trait that gives him free attacks on turns when he’d normally just be clearing (BEWARE HIS TAIL!: Give Armaggon a free action when he has two action tokens to make a close attack.)!

That Trait is important because he actually just starts with Phasing/Teleport top dial instead of a move and attack power. And that’s what keeps him here at the end of the list and not the top–the fact that your paying a hefty Primary Attacker fee and yet he doesn’t have a way to move and attack in the same turn unless said move gives him his second action token.

The last ability of his that I want to briefly touch on is his Improved Movement: Ignores Characters Trait. If you’ve seen some of the madness that is to come in the form of the Bizarro Chases and the 50-Point wall of HAHAHAHAHAHA SR Joker, you know that tie-up figures are coming back with a vengeance. So while the ability to ignore characters while moving might not seem too important now, it might become vital in the near future!

rat-king

7. TMNT2024 Rat King 100 PointsSuper Rare:

Another great SR with the Animal keyword, this version of the Rat King can be devastating… on the right Map! In his case, the more Hindering Terrain, the better.

He ignores Hindering Terrain on movement, but even if he didn’t, his Trait (RATS EVERYWHERE… I AM EVERYWHERE: Give Rat King a free action if he occupies hindering terrain. Place him in another square of hindering terrain within 6 squares.) would have him zipping around the Map regardless.

His top dial Movement Special (PAWNS IN MY GAME: Rat King can use Stealth. He can use Mind Control as if he had a range value of 6 and when he does, he can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Elevated Terrain; Ignores Hindering Terrain; Ignores Blocking Terrain; Ignores Characters.) has great synergy with his other powers; even though he only deals 2 Damage on his own, his Mind Control will potentially let you make your enemy’s pieces work for you. And his Damage Special power bestows both Prob and Perplex, which only makes him more valuable.

While Rat King seems at first glance like a supporting piece that you have to pay Secondary Attacker points for, if you can hit even just a couple of those Mind Controls a game, you should have no problem getting your points worth out of him.

fugitoid

6. TMNT2013 Fugitoid50 PointsUncommon:

A highly mobile Taxi, Fugitoid can use his Movement Special (INVENTOR OF THE TRANSMAT: Fugitoid can use Phasing/Teleport with a speed value of 12. When he does, he can use the Carry ability to carry up to 4 characters, but only those that share a keyword with him.) to mobilize your entire force if you’ve built it correctly. His three keywords–Robot, Scientist and TMNT Ally–should leave you with plenty of army options.

His Trait (RUNNING FROM THE FEDERATION AND TRICERATONS FOR YEARS: Fugitoid can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Stealth. When an attack misses Fugitoid, after actions resolve you may place him up to 3 squares away from his current square.) is fine, and with the resulting 19 Defense from Range, you should be able to keep him hopping around the Map in advantageous ways.

Since the Willpower provided by Fugitoid’s Indomitable is a “may” decision, you should almost always neglect to use it the first time it comes up so that Fugitoid shifts to its second Click, which has virtually identical stats to Fugi’s top dial, except he then picks up Outwit!

Until then, though, you’re maneuvering a piece that has just a 9 Attack Value, no Range and deals only 2 Damage in the unlikely event that it hits someone. In other words, it will often not be worth taking an offensive action with this piece unless you have no other options.

april-oneil-2

5. FFTMNT2005 April25 PointsFast Forces:

So, if you want to field a TMNT Ally team, you’re gonna need some supporting pieces that enhance your attackers and do so within Theme. Well, if you’re looking for such a piece, April is here to help!

She only has two clicks, and really only one useful ability, her Damage Special (I’VE GOT PIZZA GUYS!: Once per turn, you may choose one of the following: Give April a free action to heal one adjacent character with the TMNT keyword 1 click. -or- Give April a power action to heal all adjacent friendly characters with the TMNT keyword 1 click each.).

She also sports Plasticity and Super Senses, so she has some use as a tie-up piece in a pinch; but her Trait (WE GOTTA SAVE APRIL: When April would be KO’d by an opposing character’s attack, place her on that character’s card instead and place a Rescue token on April’s card. Friendly characters with the TMNT Ally keyword modify their attack value by +1 when targeting a character that has April on its card. If a character with April on its card due to this effect is KO’d, place April into a square it last occupied on click #1. At the end of the game, the opponent scores 25 points for each Rescue Token on April’s card. This ability can’t be ignored.) makes it so that almost anything your opponent does to get rid of April actually plays right into your hands!

Again–your opponent KO’ing April actually makes it easier for you to KO their pieces! And the alternative to that is for your opponent to ignore April, if possible (again, that Plasticity may throw a wrench into those plans), and watch as she constantly heals your ENTIRE TEAM EVERY TURN WITHOUT EVEN ROLLING ANY DICE!!

This is how you make Turtle teams viable!

griddex

4. TMNT2032 Griddex 125 PointsChase:

This is just a good ol’fashioned BEATSTICK who also comes with juuuuust enough trickeration to make executing an 11-Damage Alpha Strike feasible!

His low Movement (with Charge) is made up for by the fact that he has Improved Movement: Ignores Elevation and his Trait (SHRINK TO SAVE YOURSELF!: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose one to last until your next turn. Griddex has Giant Damage Symbol; -or- Griddex has Tiny Damage Symbol but can’t make attacks.), which can be used either offensively or defensively.

Worried Griddex will get sniped on approach? Choose Tiny Size and watch as your opponent tries to hit a 20 Defense Value (or more with Hindering).

Want to pick up an Ultra-Heavy object and Charge your opponent for 11 Damage, but find you’re just one square short? Choose Giant Size and add +1 to your reach!

Remember, the Trait is a “may” power, so if you want to keep him regular size for TK’ing (or whatever), just decline to use the power that turn.

But wait–4 native Damage plus 3 from an Ultra-Heavy is only 7 Damage? How is he dealing 11? His Attack Special (POUND, CRUSH, SMASH: Griddex can use Super Strength. When he makes a close object attack and hits, after actions resolve he may make a close attack targeting the hit character.) is just as ridiculous as Armaggon’s… except Griddex costs 45 Points less!

 

shellectro

3. TMNT2034E Shellectro50 PointsChase:

Shellectro is a really efficient Secondary Attacker who somehow only costs 50 Points. Wing Symbol plus 9 Movement also makes him a pretty good Taxi, too!

Running Shot with a 7 Range, 10 Attack with Pen/Psy, 17 Defense with ES/D AND 3 native Damage with an awesome Captain Marvel-esque Special (COUNTER FORCE BOLT: When Shellectro hits with a range attack, choose one hit opposing character. That character can’t make range attacks until your next turn.)… this is the sort of starting click you only used to see on 70 or 80 Point figures.

TMNT got a huuuuuuge boost this set as a viable keyword (and Shellectro has “Scientist” as well!).

 

Shreds.jpg

2. TMNT2018 Shredder50 Points Uncommon:

So… is 50 Points is all we have to pay for an above average Secondary Attacker nowadays? First Shellectro and now this?

Shredder is a close combat machine with Charge and B/C/F, but what takes him over the top is Defense Special (YOU CANNOT BEAT ME, EVEN FOUR TO ONE: Shredder modifies his defense value by +1 for each opposing character within 3 squares.), which can shoot his Defense Value up to 20 in the right circumstance!

A rabid wombat who you can’t quite hit but has the potential to stab you for 6 damage every turn is a nightmare to deal with. But Shredder has one more (Traited) trick up his sleeve-less armor (THERMITE GRENADE: When Shredder is KO’d from an attack, deal 3 penetrating damage to all characters within 3 squares, and on the same elevation, of the square that he last occupied.).

So, even if you manage to KO him, chances are you had to fatally injure your own characters to do it.

renet-t-2

1.TMNT2029 Renet Tilley55 PointsSuper Rare:

So, when this set was still being revealed, Ninwashui and I had a conversation that went something like this:

HypeFox: Hey, Ninwashui, who’s the best Taxi in Modern right now?

Ninwashui: Uh, Fugitoid? He can Carry four different characters if they know the password (i.e. share a keyword), and he eventually gains Outwit, and–

HypeFox: What if I told you there was someone better. In the same set.

Ninwashui: Well, Shellectro is ridiculous for his points, so an argument could be made–

HypeFox: Nope. Not him either.

So, in a set where the designers had already given us two of the best Taxis ever, the powers that be decided that we needed, arguably, the BEST Taxi ever made.

How did this happen, you might ask? Well, luckily Critical Missives has obtained a transcript of one the design conversations that lead to Renet’s dial:

Lead Designer: “Alright Steve, what do you have for the Turtles 2 super rare slots? We were gonna do another Renet, right?”

Steve: “Yeah. So I was thinking of a good existing template figure for her. How well do you remember that Fast Forces Scarlet Witch from Chaos War? Her Rookie dial, I mean?”

Lead Designer: “You mean the one that could do just about everything you ever need from a supporting piece, but only cost 50 Points? She had a 6 Range, Prob, Perplex, Mystics TA and Barrier. She was a nightmare. She even had Pen/Psy in case you ever wanted to attack with her, which was stupid because she could already control the flow of the game with all of her other powers and abilities. Way under-costed. Let’s not do that again.”

Steve: “Okay, yeah, but what if we took away Barrier, Perplex, the Mystics TA and reduced her Range to 5?”

Lead Designer: “Ehh… I dunno. You always do this. You say you’re gonna take some stuff off the dial, and then right after you do and get the figure approved, you add like five more things to the piece.”

Steve: “No, no, it’s cool. Not even gonna give her a Team Ability.”

Lead Designer: “No Mystics? Well… okay. And no Barrier, right? I guess that would keep her a little bit closer to that 50 Point cost. She’ll still be pretty good though.”

Steve: “Yeah, but not unbalanced.”

Lead Designer: “No, not unbalanced, I guess. Okay. Let’s do it!”

Steve: “… ”

[Types away on his keyboard.]

Lead Designer: “What? Why are you smiling?”

Steve: “Real quick, I just added two more clicks of life to her, so she’s got five clicks now instead of Scarlet Witch’s three.”

Lead Designer: “Wait, what? This is what we JUST talked about!”

Steve: “No, no, it’s fine. Just two bare clicks. Two… bare… ish… clicks.”

Lead Designer: “What did you put on those clicks, Steve?”

Steve: “Nothing! Just, y’know Phasing/Teleport. Like Scarlet Witch had.”

Lead Designer: “Uh-huh. And… ?”

Steve: “And… I bumped her Movement up to 12, added in Sidestep and a special portal-based Carry ability that lets her take four other characters with her wherever she goes.”

Lead Designer: “WhatwhatwhatwhatWHAT? She’s a Taxi now too?”

Steve: “Oh, and to make up for her reduced Range, I gave her a special Prob on her even clicks that lets her Prob rolls from anywhere on the map.”

Lead Designer: “To be clear: you’re saying that since her Range was reduced by 1 measly square, you thought a good balance to that was to let her Prob from anywhere on the board. Thus making her Range pretty much irrelevant.”

Steve: “Yeah. Well that, and, y’know, I gave her Charge and Blades in the middle of her dial for when folks move in close to her.”

Lead Designer: “Who even makes a ‘Prob from across the board power?’ Range and line of fire requirements are the only thing that keep Probability Control from getting out of hand! Do you know how much more she’s gonna have to cost now that you’ve added all these other powers in?”

Steve: “Waaaay ahead of you. Instead of fifty points, how about… fifty-five points?”

Lead Designer: “Get the hell out of my office.”

Steve: “Thanks for the lemonade.”

 

Alright! Agree? Disagree? Feel free to post your comments down below! And come back soon for Ninwashui’s Joker’s Wild Top Ten Review!!

 

 

Heroclix in a Half-Shell!! (Or, Let’s Review the Ten Best Figures in TMNT!!)

Black and White Turtles

Oh man, Black & White OG Turtles? They should do these as Chases! … What’s that now?!

Goongala Goongala! And Hello Again!!

Sorry we’ve been radio silent for awhile–both Ninwashui and I have been sick puppies for most of the last 30-odd days. Ninwashui had strep throat, pinkeye, and God knows what else. I think he might’ve even turned into a werewolf at some point… I dunno. I lost track.

As for myself, I’ve had at least one sinus infection (possibly two), a terrible cough (possibly bronchitis) and I’ve produced enough mucus to sculpt a scale replica of Doop. And neither of us has fully recovered yet! Ahhhh, Spring… you can go #@$% yourself.

Annnnnyyyway, life–and Heroclix news–marches on. Wizkids released a bunch of news about some upcoming set themes, then they lost their minds for just a bit and decided to retire almost every set that didn’t come out, like, last week, and then they started previewing a bunch of cool new figures from both Uncanny X-Men (many of you probably have some of these in your hot little hands via the Pre-release tournament program or the release events going on this weekend!) AND TMNT.

The set rotation announcement really deserves its own article, so we’ll table that discussion for a moment. But since we’ve just celebrated the release of TMNT, the first non-Marvel, non-DC Modern Age set in ages (I think Street Fighter was the last such offering), we’re gonna talk about that today.

In fact, let’s talk about…

THE TEN ELEVEN BEST FIGURES IN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!!

Yup! Think of this as a stealthy, “mini” Top Ten article (yes, it’s still 2500+ words, but I mean, really, anything under 5000 for me still qualifies as “mini.”). The set only really has like 40 figures or so, so we’re going to skip the Honorable Mentions, and we’re only extending the Top Ten out to a Top Eleven (for me, that’s progress!). That’s right–if you want to make it into this review, you have to be Top Ten-worthy! But first, as usual…

SOME BRIEF NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

–Do you like dials under 100 Points? Do you hate Improved Targeting of any kind, especially when it’s passed out like candy at Halloween? Then this is the set for you. It plays remarkably well in Sealed formats. Outside of Krang (and oh, will we get to Krang–don’t you worry), there’s really not anything in the set that towers above everything else the way that the World’s Finest duo ran roughshod over everything in those World’s Finest release tournies. So it’s actually a pretty balanced set for Sealed.

Did you get a few Common Turtles and, like, a Foot Soldier? Don’t worry–you’re not out of it before you’ve even begun. Everything is relatively close to everything else in the set in terms of power level, with very few exceptions (again: KRANG!).

–Which leads us to our customary Power Level check. This set is nowhere near the Power Level of the stuff we just got in World’s Finest (forget the SR’s and Chases; even someone like Zatara or Mary Marvel would have their way with just about any one or even two pieces in this set at the same point level).

However… that doesn’t mean that there’s not Meta potential here. Especially since WizKids seems to be in the midst of scaling back Power Creep to, like, 2008 levels. You won’t notice it as much now, but it’ll become a little bit clearer after Guardians rotates out in, what, July? Then fast forward a year to 2017 when even more good stuff rotates out (like NFAOS, which will only be 2 years old at that point, but after the way WizKids just dumped Deadpool and GotG after the same amount of time–or even less, really–I would not be surprised to see Balls of Fury and all the rest of his rowdy, powerful friends given the heave ho), and suddenly you’ll be left with a lot of little pieces that are very efficient (and probably need to attack from up close).

Uncanny X-Men seems to be following suit with a lot of little 50-80 cost figures that are, point-for-point, the best pieces in the set. So if this is the new normal going forward, if small and efficient is the new, uh, big and efficient, well, you’re gonna want a lot of these TMNT pieces.

(And yes, I realize that World’s Finest and the big, powerful KC Chases are probably always gonna be in Modern at the same time as this Turtles set, so really, as always, forget everything I just said.)

–I really like the consistency of all the new ninja weapon Special Powers. Basically, whether it’s a Chase Turtle or a lowly Foot Clan robot, any character that uses a certain type of weapon has the same Special Power. It really adds a lot of ninja flavor to the figures.

And for the record, those five weapon Specials are:

KATANA: __X__ can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. If __X__ missed a close attack this turn, __X__ can use Sidestep.

SAI: __X__ can use Flurry. __X__ deals penetrating damage when making a close attack.

NUNCHAKUS: __X__ can use Flurry. Each time __X__ hits an opposing character, after actions resolve you may give that character an action token.

BO STAFF: All damage dealt by __X__ causes knockback. Giant Reach: 2.

CHAIN KAMA: When __X__ hits an opposing character with a range attack, after actions resolve you may place the hit character adjacent to __X__ and it can’t be moved or placed during its next turn.

I would love to see these show up even in a Marvel or DC set. Give me an Elektra with the Sai Special or a Katana from Suicide Squad with a, uh, Katana Special! I think these powers represent the effects of the weapons very well. Kudos to the Wizkids design team.

Anyway, without further ado…

April O'neil

11. TMNT019 April O’Neil30 PointsRare: Okay, this is “scientist” April as opposed to the cartoon “reporter” April, which explains the tricksy, support-y dial. Yes, her base defense stinks, even with her Special Defense Power (THEY PROTECT ME, I GIVE THEM A HOME: UNIQUE MODIFIERAs long as one or more friendly characters with the TMNT keyword or named Casey Jones are adjacent, April O’Neil and those adjacent friendly characters modify their defense values by +1.).

But the reason to spend 30 Points on April is because she’s a mobile Outwit unit who can do her job from the BACK of the pack. Her Damage Special (SKILLED PROGRAMMER: April O’Neil can use Outwit and Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters when she does.) combined with her top dial Sidestep means it will be easy to both keep her out of harm’s way AND keep her in the right position to Outwit opposing pieces, which is a very rare combination.

Splinter

10. TMNT011 Splinter40 PointsUncommon: Think of Splinter as the Toymaster of this set, only with slightly less trickery but slightly more offense. His Precision Strike is nice, but his Sidestep is actually the key to his dial.

His Trait (I HAVE TAUGHT YOU ALL I LEARNED: Splinter can use Empower. UNIQUE MODIFIER-Adjacent Friendly characters with the TMNT Keyword modify their attack values by +1.) means he needs to be adjacent to his sons to help them out, but that top dial Sidestep could allow you to boost two different Turtles in one turn even if they themselves are two to three squares away from each other (although many of the Turtles benefit from being adjacent to each other, so why are you separating them in my theoretical example?).

If you play him with some of the Turtle Chases, all of the sudden their Attack Values zoom up into the 12-13 area and they start doing 4 Damage top dial even though they’re all just 75 Points!

At that point, the trick becomes finding a way to move everyone efficiently…

Nobody Hobody

9. TMNT014 Nobody45 Points — Uncommon: Not to be confused with DC’s Mr. Nobody, clearly. He (or she, as there have been several “Nobody”‘s throughout Turtles history, although I believe this is the OG Nobody) sports a 5-Click Tertiary Attacker dial that’s just loaded with mobility and survivability–if you can get him on the right map (the “Jean Grey School for Higher Learning” Map that we just got in the Uncanny X-Men OP Kit has a plethora of walls and would be a perfect battlefield for, well, Nobody).

He ignores Elevated Terrain on movement and his Trait is just bonkers for a piece with such a low cost (SHADOWY AVENGER: Nobody can use Stealth. Nobody can’t be targeted by opposing characters if he’s adjacent to a wall.).

But that Trait just makes him hard to kill. Can your opponent just ignore him? Surprisingly, no. He has top dial Close Combat Expert, so he can pump his damage all the way to 4 if he so wishes. But even worse than that (well, worse for your opponents), Nobody has a top dial Attack Special (CAPE IN YOUR EYES: Give Nobody a power action and choose an adjacent opposing character. That character can’t make an attack during its next turn.) that can all but shutdown ANY opposing character to whom Nobody is adjacent! And since he starts with Sidestep, all you have to do is TK him to within two squares of your opponent’s Primary Attacker and all of the sudden you can attack with no fear of retaliation!

CATWS013 Agent 13 is the last piece I can think of who’s sole mission was to get adjacent to your opponent’s most important piece and stay there, but Nobody does that trick even better–and for 10 less points!!

Baxter Stockman Fly

8. TMNT030 Baxter Stockman60 PointsSuper Rare: Potentially one of the best taxis ever created–but only if you’ve constructed an army of insect-sized figures.

His Trait (FOUR ARMZZZZ: Baxter Stockman may carry up to 4 “tiny damage symbol” characters.) makes him extremely useful in a Modern Age filled with Ant-Men and Elast-Girls. Honestly, I can’t think of a time when we had more useful, viable “Tiny Size” pieces then right now.

This Baxter’s only five clicks long, and his dial alternates between Tertiary Attacker and Support piece, but his mobility and his ability to potentially transport an entire Tiny-Sized army up to 12 Squares at a time is the best reason to play him.

Baxter Stockman No Fly

7. Baxter Stockman — 30 Points — Uncommon: Potentially one of the best taxis ever cre–wait a minute, I just did a Baxter Stockman write-up! Oooooohhh, this is the “evil robotics genius” Baxter, as opposed to the freaky half-man, half-fly version.

So why is this version even better? Well, in addition to Stealth and Outwit, his Trait (I DON’T NEED ANYONE EXCEPT MY MOUSERS!: When a friendly character named Mouser is KO’ed by an opponent’s attack, roll a d6. 4-6: You may place adjacent a TMNT #005 Mouser from outside the game if no other friendly character did.) will let you flood the board with ever-reincarnating Mousers, but the real reason you’ll want to play him is his Special Attack Power (ROBOTICS GENIUS: Give Baxter Stockman a free action to heal an adjacent friendly character with the Robot keyword 1 click. If it can’t be healed, modify its speed and attack values by +1 this turn instead.).

In a world where Juston Seyfert exists [EDITOR’S NOTE: Uh, like ours? Ohhh, I see what you did there. Nice.)], Baxter here is the perfect complementary role player!

Casey Jones

6. TMNT012 Casey Jones30 PointsUncommon: Yes, he tops out with a Damage Value of 2. His Defense Value isn’t great either (it’s a 17). But his with a little help from someone’s Outwit, or if you just send him after support figures with little or no damage absorption, Casey Jones can actually get by as a Secondary Attacker… for just 30 Points!! How? His top dial Attack Special (GOONGALA GOONGALA: Give Casey Jones a close action and make a close attack. If he hits, after actions resolve move him up to two squares automatically breaking away, then make another close attack with his attack and damage values modified by +1.), that’s how.

This is probably the most dangerous 30 Point melee piece we’ve seen since Fear Itself Loki!

(Oh, and if you want to go the Outwit route to cancel opposing defenses, might we suggest Ms. O’Neil from slot number 10? She combos nicely with Casey.)

TMNT Jason Flowers

Click here for more info on this awesome Jason Flowers TMNT print.

5. TMNT034 Donatello — 75 Points — Chase:

4. TMNT035 Leonardo — 75 Points — Chase:

3. TMNT033 Michaelangelo — 75 Points — Chase:

2. TMNT032 Raphael — 75 Points — Chase:

Okay, we’re gonna talk about these four Chase pieces all together since they’re all really similar pieces. Each Turtle again has their signature Weapon Special, and they all share the same two Traits (we’ll use Mikey’s card as an example, since he was always my favorite Turtle): (SHELL TO SHELL DEFENSE: Michelangelo can use Stealth. If Michelangelo is adjacent to a character named Raphael, Donatello, or Leonardo, he can use Impervious.) and (ADVANCED TURTLE TECHNIQUE: When Michelangelo hits one or more opposing characters, after actions resolve Michelangelo can move up to 2 squares automatically breaking away, and then may make a close attack targeting a character he has not attacked this turn.).

So each Chase Turtle gives you six highly efficient Clicks for 75 Points that get even BETTER when played with each other.

Getting melee pieces to their targets in one piece has always and will always be a problem in Heroclix, but giving Stealth and Impervious to these Turtles when they advance in pairs is a huge advantage!

Krang

Shredder, my eyes are down here!

1. TMNT031 Krang — 170 Points — Super Rare: Wow. For everyone who looked at Super Rare Prime Ragnarok from Avengers Assemble and said, “Sure he can unleash unholy destruction when paired with Juston Seyfert, but I wish he was, like, 30 Points cheaper… ,” well, now you have your wish.

Yup, Krang has the “Robot” keyword. He has other keywords as well, I’m sure, but who cares? “Robot” is all Juston needs to go crazy with him.

Krang’s Trait (MOLECULAR AMPLIFICATION CHIP: Give Krang a free action and he has (Giant Damage Symbol) and modifies his combat values by +1 until your next turn. At the end of your turn, deal him 1 unavoidable damage. Give Krang a free action and he has Colossal and modifies his combat values by +2 until your next turn. At the end of your turn, deal him 2 unavoidable damage. You may only activate one of these powers each turn.) is really what all the fuss is about. By making him Colossal, you end up with even better stats than what Ragnarok starts with, and Krang also has top dial Charge, Impervious and Prob Control.

Not a bad little package… but it gets much better! His Attack Special (SHAPESHIFTING HANDS: Give Krang a free action to choose a standard attack power or (Wing Movement Symbol). Krang can use the chosen power or symbol until you choose again.) also gives him a TON of flexibility over how he’s going to kill you.

And if you do manage to knock him off of his first Click, he simply gains a Damage Special Power (IQ OF 968 – UNTIL HE GETS MAD: Krang can use Outwit and Probability Control. His powers can’t be countered by a character on an equal or higher click number.) that makes it REALLY hard to damage him again!

Oh, and speaking of damage, how about we just pair him with “Scientist” Baxter Stockman (number 7 on our list) and let him heal damage every freaking turn… for free!

I will be shocked if Krang doesn’t make a significant impact on the Meta!

 

Okay, that’s all for today. In the coming days and weeks we will be gearing up for our dual Top Ten Set Reviews for Uncanny X-Men, and Ninwashui has a special Meta Build article he’s working on wherein he brainstorms a way to counter everyone’s favorite gun-toting uncle, Nick Fury!!

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