Coming Up Next-i-er!! (Or, A Look at the Rest of Your Year!! Part 3: Marvel’s What If… !!)

What If One

I loved this issue when I read it back when I was ten. Now I look at the cover and think, “Wait a minute, Peter’s being punched by Hulk and Thor AT THE SAME TIME and he doesn’t even feel it?! When has the Symbiote suit EVER WORKED LIKE THAT?” Also, what was the heroes’ plan here? Mister Fantastic’s like, “Thor, you and the Hulk are two of the strongest beings on this planet! See if you can overpower Peter physically. If not, I’ve cooked up a special device that should destabilize the Symbiote at a molecular level. But if all that fails, Black Cat, we’ll need you to walk over and scratch him!”

Welcome back!

Today we’re continuing with our year-long Set Preview series by taking a look at Marvel’s What If… ? Heroclix 15th Anniversary expansion set (which actually just came out yesterday!).

Almost the entire setlist has been revealed, so we’ll list the every piece here and talk specifically about selected entries.

COMMONS:

SPidey

001 Spider-Man — 55 Points: Incidentally, the first five figures of the set all seem to be normal versions of popular 616 heroes. This particular version of Spidey is notable for only costing 55 Points while possessing a great Movement Special (Web Swing: Spider-Man can use Hypersonic Speed. When he does, modify his damage value by +1 if his target is on a lower elevation than the one Spider-Man occupied when he began moving.) and Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering and Elevated Terrain.

His lone drawback is really having no Willpower, but he is really solid and a sneaky good play in Sealed.

002 Iron Man

003 Punisher

004 Daredevil

Thor What If

005 Thor — 110 Points: This Thor is awesome. Six Clicks of life with a Range of 6 (with 3 Bolts), Traited Energy Explosion and a SWEET Attack Special Power (Lightning Strike: Damage dealt from attacks made by Thor cannot be reduced below his click number.) that basically works like Pen/Psy except it seems like they priced it at about half the cost of normal Pen/Psy (he has it on EVERY Click!).

Like Spidey 001, he lacks Willpower, but his other Trait (Founding Member: When Thor is given a non-free move action he isn’t given an action token for that action.) helps quite a bit with that, especially at the start of the game.

As we’ll talk about in a minute, much of the crazy-good that is coming in this set is coming in at the Super Rare level, but if you’re playing Sealed, there’s a decent chance that you won’t get one of those. But chances are that you might still find yourself with a great Primary Attacker if you open this guy in one of your Common slots.

006 Iron Lad

007 Oni Hulk

008 Punisher Squad

Doctor Stark Common

009 Doctor Stark — 45 Points: This is not really the Doctor Stark you’re looking for, but this is as good a time as any to talk about a Trait he possesses that recurs throughout the set (From an Alternate Earth: If this character is on your sideline you may give a free action to a friendly character named Doctor Strange or Iron Man that’s equal or more points. Replace that character with this character on the same click number.) that allows you to swap him into the action in the middle of the game. So, in essence, virtually any Doc Strange or Iron Man now has a one-time use Shifting Focus ability.

010 Iron Rick

011 Molly Hayes

012 Chase Stein

Jessica Jones Agent of Shield

013 Jessica Jones — 65 Points: Probably the best Jessica Jones we’ve ever gotten, although most of the previous Jessicas just kinda suck, so that’s not a huge compliment.

Still, this Jessica has both the Shield AND Avengers Team Abilities, 10 Movement with Flying AND Charge, Super Strength, Super Senses and Toughness and a cool Trait (Keeping My Last Name, Though: When building your force, if your force also includes one character named Captain America, Jessica Jones gains all the keywords of that character this game.) that lets her team with really AND Cap out there!

All in all, this piece is a lot of fun!

UNCOMMONS:

014 Spider-Man 

015 Iron Man

016 Punisher

017 Daredevil

018 Thor

019 Captain Britain Iron Man

020 Oni Leader

PunisherSHIELD

021 Punisher of S.H.I.E.L.D. — 90 Points: He’s only five Clicks long for 90 Points, but those clicks are packed! He’s got some form of Running Shot or Sidestep AND Precision Strike for most of his dial, he’s got a Balls of Fury-like Damage Special (A SHOT AT THE REAL BAD GUYS: When attacking only characters with a point value of 100 or more, modify Punisher Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attack and damage values by +1. When attacking only characters with a point value of 200 or more, modify both values by an additional +1.) and he can draw lines of fire and count range from friendly Punisher Squad figures (#008 in this set).

He also has a situational Trait (I’LL BRING THE BUILDINGS DOWN: When Punisher Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is KO’d, deal 3 damage to each character occupying an elevation other than 1.) that you may be able to exploit on certain Maps.

Dr. Stark Meme

022 Dr. Stark — 115 Points: Big investment for a Secondary Attacker, but Dr. Stark can completely screw with your opponent’s team.

He has the Mystics TA, Phasing/Teleport, a 10 Attack with Pen/Psy, a 7 Range, 17 Defense with Impervious and 3 Damage with Prob. That’s all decent, but probably not worth 115 Points. But he also has the aforementioned From Another World Trait along with one of the best-named Traits the game has ever seen (AUTOMATED COUNTERSPELL: Dr. Stark can use Energy Shield/Deflection. Opposing characters within 4 squares can’t use Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Precision Strike, or Pulse Wave.)!

Slap the SFSMS101 Symbiote suit on him and you essentially have a sticky bomb that is capable of hamstringing your opponent’s entire force.

Iron Punisher.jpg

023 Iron Punisher — 100 Points: There’s no trickeration here. This is Frank Castle in an Iron Man suit. You get Running Shot, Pen/Psy with a freaking 12 Attack Value and 3 Damage. Yes, he has the From An Alternate Earth Trait, but really, he’s so good for his points that you might just want to start him.

He’s also got a frontrunning Damage Special (DID WE FREE AMERICA?: When Iron Punisher KO’s an opposing character, modify a friendly character’s damage value by +1 until your next turn.) that will help keep the game’s momentum rolling in your favor.

Young Avengers Runaways

024 Karolina Dean — 75 Points: So, these are probably the best Runaways they’ve ever done. None are bad (Victor Mancha as Iron Lad is probably the worst for his points, but he’s still playable), and three are quite good. Karolina is one of the “quite good.”

At 75 points, she’s at the high end of the Taxi/Supporting Figure cost spectrum, but she’s also a more than capable Secondary Attacker. Here’s a list of everything she brings top dial:

7 Range; Flight; 10 Movement with Running Shot; 10 Attack with Pen/Psy; 18 Defense with a great, damage-absorbing Special Power (REACTIVE ENERGY BARRIER: Karolina Dean can use Barrier and Defend. When Karolina Dean or adjacent friendly characters are targeted by a range attack, modify the attacker’s damage value by -1.);  3 Damage with Enhancement.

She also has the Runaways Trait/Defacto Team Ability (RUNAWAYS: Once per turn, when Karolina Dean attacks, if she is adjacent to a friendly character with the Runaways or Young Avengers keyword, she can re-roll a 1 on a die of the attack roll.), which in itself is not bad at all.

Finally, it’s worth noting that if you want to play the “classic” lineup of Gert, Nico, Chase, Molly and Karolina… they all add up to 300 Points exactly! Yes! Great job Wizkids! Oh, and if you want to add in Victor Mancha as Iron Lad, then they’re… 400 Points exactly! Wonderful design! As much as I like complaining about some of the things Wizkids does, they deserve credit for a fantastic job here. These may not be the “real, 616”-Runaways, but if you’re a fan of the characters, you should seek these pieces out. It’s honestly one of the strongest Sub-Themes from top-to-bottom that Wizkids has given us in quite awhile.

025 T.V.’s Spider-Man

RARES: 

026 Spider-Man

027 Iron Man

What if Punisher

028 Punisher — 60 Points: Another Punisher piece with a 12 Attack! He doesn’t have a move-and-attack ability up top (he does have Stealth though), but he does have Willpower, Precision Strike and a sweet, sweet Trait (SET THE TRAP: Give Punisher a power action to place a Decoy bystander adjacent to an opposing character within range and line of fire, removing any existing Decoys from the game. When a Decoy is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, deal 3 penetrating damage to each character adjacent to the square it occupied unless the attack total was 2 or greater than Decoy’s defense value.) that makes him kind of Anarky-lite.

The Decoys themselves have Plasticity, a Special Pulse Wave (RIGGED TO BLOW: If Decoy was not placed on the map this turn, it can use Pulse Wave. When Decoy uses Pulse Wave and actions resolve, KO it.) with a 5 Range and 9 Attack along with Shape Change.

So even though they only have a 15 Defense, they have the potential to be quite annoying to your opponent.

029 Daredevil

What if Thor.jpg

030 Thor — 105 Points: Your usual Thor smorgasbord of Running Shot and Pulse Wave with Sidestep and Pen/Psy mixed in down dial. What makes this Thor interesting is the ability to grant him extra attacks via his Damage Special (UNDER SETH’S THRALL: Give an adjacent friendly character with the Mystical keyword and point value of 50 or more a double power action that deals no pushing damage. When you do, Thor may make a close or range attack.).

If WW009Raven was 50 Points instead of 40, he’d be sick. Still, someone is going to find a way to break this.

Young Avengers Runaways

031 Nico Minoru — 75 Points: Okay, yeah, I just used this art for Karolina. I’m probably gonna use it again for Gert, just because it’s a great shot of the whole team.

Nico here is notable for the fact that she’s another pick-a-power piece. Her Trait (SISTER GRIMM: Give Nico Minoru a free action and choose up to two standard powers, each of a different combat type. You may not choose a power from a type chosen during your last turn. Nico Minoru can use the chosen powers until your next turn.) lets you grab two powers, actually. On a 75-Point piece!

She also has Willpower naturally on her first three clicks as well as the Runaways Trait I mentioned with Karolina.

032 Victorious

033 Spider Ma’am

034 TV’s Daredevil

035 Daredevil, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

036 Captain America

SUPER RARES: 

Young Avengers Runaways

037 Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace — 50 Points: She has an 8 Attack and only does 1 Damage. Why is she on the notable list again?

Oh yeah… cuz she has an unkillable pet Raptor! Her second Trait (MY PARENTS ONLY LEFT ME ONE THING: At the beginning of the game place adjacent an Old Lace Bystander. When Old Lace would take damage, you may instead deal Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace 1 unavoidable damage.) allows Gert to hang back in her Starting Zone (preferably on Hindering to take advantage of her top dial Stealth) and simply absorb any damage done to Old Lace! Which basically gives her dino buddy 5 Stop Clicks–and that’s assuming you never find a way to heal Gert!

She also comes packing a fantastic Leadership Special–one of the best we’ve ever seen, frankly (YOUNG AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace can use Leadership. When they do and succeed, you may instead remove an action token from one friendly character with the Runaways or Young Avengers keyword, regardless of adjacency or point value.), which synergizes with leaving her in your Starting Zone.

You also have to remember that all these Runaways ALSO have the Young Avengers keyword. So while playing them as a 300 Point squad is fun, if you don’t think they’re quite Meta, you can, say, sub out Chase Stein and Molly Hayes and throw in, say, CWSOP031 Wiccan and STILL have a NAMED Themed Team!

Something like:

Team Name: Picture Me Young Avengin’!!

Theme: Young Avengers

Roster:

WI036 Gertrude Yorkes & Old Lace — 50 Points

WI024 Karolina Dean — 75 Points

WI031 Nico Minoru — 75 Points

CWSOP031 Wiccan — 90 Points

wkMVID-009 Spider-Man — 5 Points

NFAOSNFID-007 S.H.I.E.L.D. Level 7 — 5 Points

Total: 300 Points

Sideline: 

WI038R Cosmic Spider-Man — 75 Points

NFAOS Peggy Carter — 60 Points

Now that is a Themed Team that’s full of tricks! And Prob, Perp and other enhancers. And unkillable Raptors.

What If Cosmic Spidey.jpg

038 Cosmic Spider-Man — 275, 175 or 75 Points: This is the usual Cosmic mix of powers (Hypersonic Speed, Invincible, etc.), but what makes this a standout piece is his Uni-Vision-powered Improved Targeting that sees through Hindering, Elevated and Blocking Terrain (and destroys Blocking when he attacks through it).

The 275 Point dial is fun, but not necessarily competitive.

The 175 Point dial is closer to Meta, but his damage is frankly a little light. Still, with both the Power Cosmic TA and the Spidey TA, he’s worth a look.

His 75 Point dial is probably the best Call-In piece in the game right now. He’s got Sidestep and an 11 Attack with Pen/Psy that can do 4 Penetrating Damage. When you add that to his Uni-Vision, that becomes gamechanging.

What if Peter the Hunter.jpg

039 Peter the Hunter — 90 Points: This is an aggressive close combat Spidey dial (Charge, 11 Attack with B/C/F, Combat Reflexes and Exploit Weakness) that gets turned up to 11 because of all of his Traits.

With his first Trait, Peter the Hunter brings his own army (ENSLAVED KRAVEN FAMILY: At the beginning of the game, place the 4 bystanders listed on this card into your starting area. These bystanders can use the Carry ability this game, but only to carry each other. The first non-free action you give one of these bystanders each turn doesn’t count towards your action total.).

These are ridiculously good pogs that you get FOR FREE!! I won’t go over all of them here, but you get a mix of Stealth, Charge, RCE, B/C/F and even Outwit. The fact that they can Carry each other is also bonkers.

His Second Trait is the standard Sideline Trait that half of these pieces have (FROM AN ALTERNATE EARTH: If this character is on your sideline, you may give a free action to a friendly character named Spider-Man or Kraven the Hunter that’s equal or more points. Replace that character with this character on the same click number.), but when combined with Peter’s third Trait, it can suddenly be devastating to your opponent.

His Third Trait (KILLED MY GREATEST ENEMIES: When Peter the Hunter KO’s an opposing character of 50 or more points, after actions resolve heal him to click #1 and place a Trophy token on this card. When Peter the Hunter would be KO’d, you may instead remove a Trophy token and turn him to his last non-KO click.) is probably stupid. In fact, I know it is.

To recap: You can be on the last Click of a TOTALLY DIFFERENT SPIDER-MAN (up to Click #6), switch to Peter the Hunter, and if you can use him to KO any opposing character of 50 Points or more (Peter can deal up to 4 Range damage on his last Click), suddenly he is not only back to his top dial, but he essentially gains a STOP CLICK too!

Someone will figure out a way to break him right quick.

What If Goblin King

040 Goblin King — 275, 175 or 75 Points: Forget the Chases; this is the piece everyone is after. It’s possible he’s even better than Jakeem Thunder, and that’s before you realize he doesn’t take your Prime slot.

We will go into his dial in more detail in our Top Ten Set Review, but he is bonkers good (and already will cost you more than most of the Chases on eBay!).

And if you’re planning on going to Origins for the World Championship this year, you’re going to want to come up with a strategy to beat him.

Because you will see him.

041 The Advocate

042 Punisher of the Strange

043 Peace Machine

044 Thordis

045 In-Betweener

046 Scarlet Centurion

CHASES:

047 Poison

048 Venom Hulk

049 Venom Thor

050 Venom Punisher

Have fun during Release Week! We will be back soon with our Top Ten Set Review!!

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

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Coming Up Next-er!! (Or, A Look at the Rest of Your Year!! Part 2: Wonder Woman, HorrorClix, ATA Rotations and More!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: So, Preview Week was blown out by what was pretty much Southeastern Michigan’s worst windstorm in, well, a long time. I mean, we’ve had tornadoes come through and do less structural damage. It was insane. But, that said, we are trying again this week with a look at what’s coming up for Heroclix fans for the rest of the year. In Part 1, we took a look at the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set.]

Wonder Woman 2.jpg

Welcome back!

We’re gonna cover a few upcoming Gravity Feed releases in about half the space as yesterday’s look at the new GotG Vol. 2 set, and for good reason.

We know next to nothing about either of them.

Wonder Woman

WONDER WOMAN: 

What We Know:

Precious little. This SHOULD release in May of this year, although no exact date has been selected. It’s meant to coincide with Wonder Woman’s 75th Anniversary, and will probably be comic-based.

Unless it isn’t. In which case it may or may not be based on the movie that comes out on June 2nd.

We do know that the set is expected to have 16 total figures split between a Mass Market (Target) version and a Core Hobby (Comic Shop) edition, with 8 Commons across both and 4 exclusive Rare figures for each.

That’s about it for what we know.

What We Think We Know:

Uh… it revolves around Wonder Woman? Oh, and unlike Guardians, there probably won’t be any Chases.

It is actually astounding how LITTLE we know of this set, considering how imminent its release is. Some have said it’s actually going to vaguely tie in with the Wonder Woman movie. Some think it will revolve around a specific classic Wonder Woman story.

What We’re Guessing:

While either is possible, it seems at this point more likely that it will be a sort of “greatest hits” of characters from Wonder Woman’s 75-year history.

But we’ll have to wait til May to find out.

 

Hollywood Undead.jpg

HOLLYWOOD HEROCLIX: UNDEAD:

What We Know:

In June, it’s the return of HorrorClix… kind of!! 19 new figures in a Gravity Feed, running the horror gamut from generic ghosts, werewolves and demons to specific public domain scary folk like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The figure breakdown is 9 Commons, 8 Rares and 2 Chases.

What We Don’t Know:

There’s one main thing we don’t know for sure about this set: Will it be Modern Age? That’s the major question remaining about this set. If it is, I’d expect sales to be fairly steady. If not, this will end up on the same scrap heap as Kick-Ass 2.

What We’re Guessing:

I can’t imagine Wizkids releasing a non-Modern Age Gravity right in the middle of their 15th Anniversary summer, so I’m gonna guess that this will be Modern Age AND Modern Age relevant. Don’t sleep on the Undead!

 

Heroclix Rules

Finally, let’s talk about the 2017 Rotations!

In addition to the all the sets rotating, Wizkids is dumping the ATA mechanic. As of June, all ATA’s will be Golden Age, and there are no plans to ever create more.

Or will there be?

Even though ATA’s as a mechanic are technically going away, to be honest, it feels more like they’re morphing.

As we’ve seen in the most recent Deadpool set, Wizkids is essentially keeping ATA’s around as static Traits that are common to a large portion of figures with a certain keyword (for example, many of the new X-Force pieces in Deadpool & X-Force have a Trait simply called “X-Force” that grants Stealth; Age of Ultron featured several characters with the “Mighty Avengers” Trait; etc.).

While I kind of like this idea, I want to see them take this mechanic even further, or even require Theme to activate, which would give greater incentive to play Themed Teams.

For example, an ATA Trait could read something like this:

“Themed Team–X-Force: If Cable is part of an X-Force Themed Team, he can use Stealth.”

Or you could even keep X-Force the way it is, but use Themed Teams to boost certain individual members, like so:

“Themed Team–X-Force: Cable can use Stealth. If he is part of an X-Force Themed Team, he can use also use Leadership, but he can only use it to remove tokens from characters with the X-Force keyword.” And so on.

So what do you guys think? Are you excited for Wonder Woman or Undead? What do you think about the (supposed) end of ATA’s?

Sound off in the Comments below! And keep an eye on this space for the next Preview article, the Deadpool & X-Force Top Ten AND the scenario for Month 3 of Heroclix: The Gathering!!

So About That Blackout…

Blackout

Nope. Not this Blackout.

Okay!! Some quick housekeeping here. Preview Week was kinda interrupted by about a million folks here in Michigan losing power for days on end (including yours truly), which REALLY pushed back our schedule.

So here’s where we are:

–The final Deadpool & X-Force Preview article should drop by Tuesday night.

–Ninwashui is hard at work on his DXF Top Ten; hopefully that will be published by the end of this week.

–I am also working on my DXF Top Ten Second Opinion, which will obviously be better than Ninwashui’s original article. Probably about 10-14 days away from publishing that though.

–For those who have been tracking our Heroclix: The Gathering series and are awaiting Month 3’s Scenario, that has been pushed back a couple weeks to March 29th (it was originally scheduled for March 15th).

–We’re also cooking up some Build articles and some other general nonsense, but we have nothing else to announce juuuuusssst yet.

 

Finally, I want to give a big shout out to all the lineman and electrical workers who have been trying to restore everyone’s power for the last four days. It hasn’t been easy on anyone, but we will all make it work!

And to our readers, we hope anyone affected by this blackout is (or will soon be) safe and warm and in a house or apartment that has plenty of power!

Until next time,

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

Welcome to Preview Week, PART 1!! (Or, Everything We Currently Know About Deadpool And X-Force: CUR Edition!!)

x-force

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to our first ever Preview Week, which is devoted to–you guessed it–Previews!! With Deadpool and X-Force dropping in one week, we’re gonna devote the next five days to taking a look at what’s gonna be coming our way this year!]

Happy February!!

While we’re waiting on a Shredder’s Return Top 10 and a Build article from Ninwashui, I figured it was time to take a look at what we know about the first full set of 2017!!

That’s right! Deadpool & X-Force is coming to a FLGS near you in just THREE days! But there’s already a ton of information about this set out there on the interwebs, so if you know where to look, you can start evaluating the set right now!

Today we’re going to look at some of the Common and Uncommon figs that we know will be in this set.Tomorrow we’ll evaluate the Rares and SR’s, and finally, on Wednesday, we’ll look at the Chases and Primes. But before we do any of that, let’s run down what we know about the set’s Themes, Sub-Themes, Mechanics and Notes in a little feature I like to call…

THEMES, SUB-THEMES, MECHANICS AND NOTES:

Captain Comics

–Sure, X-Force shows up quite a bit in this set, but this roster is all about the Merc With a Mouth. I think there are more versions of Deadpool in this set than any titular character from ANY previous set. Current estimates place the number of versions of Deadpool in the main set at approximately NINETEEN and counting.

And that DOESN’T include any Fast Forces versions.

So, if you’re one of the few who doesn’t like Deadpool… uh, sorry. But if you love you some Deadpool, good Lord, is this ever the set for you!!

shifting-focus

–Speaking of Deadpool, the “Shifting Focus” mechanic has finally come to Marvel Heroclix, and Deadpool is the star! This set is stuffed to the gills with Deadpools capable of shifting on and off the Battlefield–my God, there’s even a Prime that has the Trait! We’ll be looking at some of those today.

deadpool-title-character

–There is a new “Title Character” Mechanic that debuts with this set. It’s the Heroclix equivalent of Planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering, and we’ll look more closely at that piece tomorrow (being that it’s a Super Rare).

marvel-team-abilities

–This set also sees a return/continuation of Team Traits. Wizkids will do this from time to time. Basically, a Team Trait is a Trait that is shared by most (though usually not all) members of a team or group from the comics. In Age of Ultron, for example, many of the Mighty Avengers had a special Mighty Avengers Trait even though they just had the Avengers keyword.

In the case of this set, many of the characters who have appeared in the comics as members of X-Force get the X-Force Trait (X-Force: [Insert name of character] can use Stealth.).

It’s essentially a way for Wizkids to add more Team Abilities to the game without having to actually add more Team Abilities. And stuff.

x-statix

–The X-Statix are finally here! Uh… yay? Outside of Doop, who is unarguably awesome, I can’t say I’m too excited as I never really liked any of the other characters in the comic. But I’m sure there are some Mike Allred fans out there who are just digging it!

Alright! Enough Jibber Jabber!! Let’s take a critical look at some of the notable Commons, Uncommons and Rares!

COMMONS:

 

deadpool

 DXF001 Deadpool75 PointsCommon: Our first “Shifting Focus” Deadpool, this guy offers an 11 Attack Value with an Attack Special (No Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth. A Sword.: Deadpool can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. When he does, the minimum result for his D6 roll is his printed damage value.) that essentially makes him a human Ginsu knife. Top dial he sports an 18 Defense Value WITH Combat Reflexes, so this is the Deadpool you want to shift to if you find yourself needing a Close Combat killer. As we’ll shortly see, the amount of situational versatility you get with these “Shifting Focus” 75 Point Deadpool pieces is pretty insane.

 

Wolvie X-Force.jpg

DXF002 Wolverine70 PointsCommon: Nine Clicks for 70 Points seems like a bargain, especially combined with Stealth and dial-long B/C/F. However, with no move and attack on his own, he needs to be paired with some early game TK… and even then, he may still need some help getting to his target.

His lone Special (Wolverine can use Regeneration as a free action. Give Wolverine a free action and roll a d6. One time this turn, he can use that result instead of rolling for Blades/Claws/Fangs or Regeneration.) is great, except that it doesn’t come around until he’s already taken SIX Clicks of damage.

And even though he has the X-Force keyword, he does not have the X-Force Trait, which means that his Stealth takes up his Movement slot for most of his dial.

Essentially, this Wolvy is going to need a lot of help if he’s ever gonna get to show us why he’s the best there is at what he does.

 

madcap

DXF004B Madcap — 100 PointsCommon: Easily damaged, but not easily KO’d. His recovery Trait (Instant Healing: When Madcap takes damage, after actions resolve roll a d6 and heal Madcap half of the result.) is hella useful as is the Poison and Perplex that he picks up on his second Click.

At 100 Points, he’s expensive, but he can also wreck your opponent’s plans, too.

 

Tippy Toe.jpg

DXF010 Tippy-Toe25 PointsCommon:

More than just a tie-up piece, Tippy Toe has an Attack Special (Squirrel Talk: Give Tippy-Toe a free action to deal 1 damage to an opposing character within 8 squares and line of fire that occupies printed hindering terrain.) that can be REALLY annoying on the right map. Any ability that deals damage without needing to roll a die is a good ability, no matter how situational it is.

A high Defense Value coupled with Super Senses and Exploit Weakness down dial make Tippy-To well worth the points.

 

cable-dxf

DXF014 Cable120 PointsCommon: Wow!! You usually don’t see this many Traits/Special Abilities on a Common nowadays, but Cable is great!

Traited Stealth, a move-and-attack Movement Special that utilizes Phasing, Pen/Psy, Probability Control AND a native 4 Damage? Sign me up?

This is a great piece that will probably crack my Top Ten list!

 

deadpool-uncommon

DXF017 Deadpool75 PointsUncommon: Another “Shifting Focus” piece, this is Deadpool with a sniper rifle, so he has Pen/Psy and Energy Shield/Deflection. Think someone is gonna shoot at your Deadpool ? Shift to this version and all of the sudden they have to hit a 19  or 20 Defense.

This is a wonderful piece to have on your sideline.

 

feral

DXF029 Feral60 PointsUncommon: Feral! We finally have a Feral, after all this time! And for 60 Points, she’s not bad at all for a Close Combat piece. Not great, but nowhere near the worst piece of the set.

 

Alright!! Let’s meet back here tomorrow and take a look at the Rares and Super Rares!!

 

And finally, I want to give special thanks to Wizkids, Scott Porter, all the eagle-eyed folks in the HCRealms.com community (especially Jaysol for putting everything there together), the good people at Married With Clix and everyone else who’s helped spoil this set. This article wouldn’t have been possible without all of their hard work. 

 

The Finest Set Preview in the World!! (Or, a Brief Look at What We Know About World’s Finest!)

Bats Supes

Okay! We’re just one day away from the next set (pre-)release, so it’s about time we round up all the rumor mills and discuss what we actually know about the next Clix release: World’s Finest!

Thanks to the intrepid sleuths at HCRealms.com’s Upcoming Sets and Rumors Forum along with the always-welcome Scott Porter unboxing videos (the chain for World’s Finest starts here) and the follow-up ComicBook.com unboxing video, we now know quite a bit, actually.

The entire set list has pretty much been spoiled at this point, and it seems like a pretty good roster. As more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of these figures I really want. When one considers that the set immediately preceding this one (Superman/Wonder Woman) had a very similar primary theme (but sets are heavy on Supes), and that the DC set immediately before that, Trinity War, had a similar primary theme (Justice League characters) AND pretty much the exact same sub-theme (DC’s mystical characters), I wasn’t able to muster up much enthusiasm when this set was announced.

Now, the Doom Patrol and Metal Men characters only mildly interest me, but there’s some deep-cut characters that the game has never attempted to adapt before (Zantanna’s dad Zatara–a Rare in this new set–comes instantly to mind) that I can’t wait to get my hands on. And we’ve needed a new Desaad for a looooong time; I just never thought this would be the set where he’d make an appearance.

From a production standpoint, the designers brought back the oversized Giant type of figures (Elasti-Girl is one such piece) that we saw so many of in Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes. And they made a great choice for the Chase figure theme–Kingdom Come, which is one of my favorite DC stories of all time.

(So if you got caught up in that FaceBook hoax from a few weeks ago, never fear–you’re about to get the real thing!)

Yup–we’re getting Kingdom Come Batman, KC Superman, KC Green Lantern, KC Wonder Woman, KC Shazam and KC Spectre! If KC Spectre is also a Giant-sized figure (like his 2 War of Light versions), I’ll be a happy camper indeed. And it seems like all the Chases have a 25-Point dial that has the potential to give you access to half that character’s dial… for just 25 Points!

And we’re also getting a Super Rare Prime KC Harlequin, it looks like. If you’re trying to collect all of the KC figures that WizKids has made, like I am, that SR Harlequin is going to be a tough piece to find.

Well, that’s all we have today! Come back next time for our full Top Ten Set Reviews!!

The Ghosts of Clix-Mas Future Part 2: Electric Bugaloo!! (Or, The 4th Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We are unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 4! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here! Night 2 is here. And last night’s article (Night 3) is here.]

Clixmas future masthead 2

Welcome to the 4th Night of Clix-Mas! Last night we took a look at the Clix we know we’re getting in the first six months of 2016. Tonight, we’re gonna put our thinking caps on and speculate at what we MIGHT be getting in the second half of the year.

JULY 2016:

'Murica!! F-yeah!!

‘Murica!! F-yeah!!

Outside of a Monthly OP kit (The Defenders, with a new Moon Knight sculpt plus another Shang-Chi dial and Shroud dial. Moon Knight hasn’t been seen since ASM, so he’s pretty sorely needed, but the Shang-Chi and Shroud we got in Deadpool were both good, and there’s a chance they’ll still be Modern legal when this kit comes out.) and the third month of Civil War, I think July will be pretty dry for Clix releases. Which I’m fine with, given the crush of Spring product we just talked about last night.

AUGUST 2016:

I have no idea who took this photo, but it's awesome. I found it here.

I have no idea who took this photo, but it’s awesome. I found it here.

Here’s where things get interesting. There’s been an August Clix set release for the past two years, and each one has been Marvel. Now, we’d be coming off of the Civil War Movie Set, Uncanny X-Men AND the Civil War SLOP set by the time August rolls around, so WizKids might want to change it up a bit and go DC, right?

Not so Fast

Looking back, there were even MORE Marvel sets before August last year (or at least it sure seems like there were), and August brought us Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and some brand new Vehicle rules. So this really could go either way.

Here’s how I would handicap it:

If it’s Marvel, this has to be a Spidey set, right? The two things we haven’t seen in awhile from Marvel Clix are a ton of Spideys and monsters, both generic and otherwise. Both were prominent in the recently rotated Amazing Spider-Man, and monsters aren’t going to sell a set on their own.

If it’s a DC set, then this could really be anything, then, but let’s narrow it down based on what we know. We know WizKids likes making money (this may shock you, but most businesses work like this); we know that WizKids likes to headline sets with major characters in the set name and/or on the box, even if they barely show up in the set itself (coughSLoSHcough), because it tends to boost sales.

(At the risk of starting a Marvel/DC flame war, you could argue that WizKids has been a little more adventurous with their Marvel license having based sets around Deadpool, GotG and Nick Fury in the last two years alone. Hmmm…)

We also know that DC has pretty much thumped the Trinity drum to death the last year and a half with sets based on, well, the Trinity (Trinity War), Superman (Superman/Wonder Woman and the upcoming World’s Finest), Wonder Woman (see previous examples) and Batman (again, see previous examples).

While it’s still possible we’ll see an all Batman set, it’s almost as likely that we’ll see something Green Lantern related, especially if War of Light rotates out of Modern (which would be aggressive on WizKids’s part, but not inconceivable, given how much trouble the Entities caused). With sub-themes that could fit in the Lantern framework, this would be a decent way to go.

But.

If WizKids was ever going to base a set on a non-Trinity, non-Justice League IP, this would be the perfect time to unleash a Suicide Squad set. While that would have been unthinkable even three years ago, we got Guardians of the Galaxy in August of 2014 because of the movie that was being released at the same time; well, Suicide Squad is in theaters starting in early August of 2016.

The final prediction and handicap:

Suicide Squad

A DC Suicide Squad set: (I’ll give it as high as 3-1 odds)

Runner-Up: A Marvel Spider-Verse set (which I’d put at about 5-1 odds)

SEPTEMBER 2016:

Again, just a Monthly OP kit. Which could really be anything.

OCTOBER 2016:

Of course we’ll get another Monthly OP kit, but I could also see WizKids sneaking in a second Turtles Gravity Feed here if the first one sells as much as it seems like it will. Yu-Gi-Oh! is always a possibility, too.

NOVEMBER 2016:

Another Monthly, but the main draw here will be the last set of 2016. And based on everything we just discussed (remember, I predicted Suicide Squad for August), I’m going to say that in November, Marvel takes a chance on another character not named Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk or Spidey:

Doctor-Strange-1

Doctor Strange!

Yes, this could still be a Spider-Verse set, but there is going to be a ton of marketing dollars thrown around for this movie, so if WizKids wanted to switch things up, this would be the time to do it, since those marketing dollars will mitigate a lot of risk!

Plus, we could see a Secret Wars Chase sub-Theme (with Strange as the leader of the Black Priests, Ultimate Reed as the Maker and maybe, just maybe we’d even get a Rabum Alal Doom!) or even a monsters-as-Howling Commandos sub-theme (which would open the door for a lot of monster Clix updates!).

(5-1 Odds)

DECEMBER 2016: 

The Monthly OP kit will feature another Holiday-themed figure. Gonna guess it’ll be either ol’ Saint Nick himself, one of his reindeer or a Snowman.

Well, there you have it. Tons of needless speculation about what may or may not come in time for Christmas 2016!

And for more crazy Heroclix discussion, check this space tomorrow!!

 

“Ultron! We Would Have Words With Thee!” (Or, a Figure by Figure Preview of the Age of Ultron SLOP 1st Wave!!)

Ultron We Would Have Words With Thee

Alrighty! Welcome back!

Today we’re gonna take a look at the figure rundown for the first Wave of Age of Ultron, which will be coming to a venue near you in the next few weeks!! We’ll be looking at them mostly in the context of Sealed play, since that’s how most of you will be introduced to them, but we will offer our take on how we think a few key pieces will impact Modern Age as well.

Now that we’re this close to the event, folks have already started opening booster Bricks prematurely (and probably in violation of their vendor agreement) to sell singles on eBay and on other platforms.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview for us all. 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We at Critical Missives have never opened Bricks early, and we do NOT encourage, support or condone other entities breaking vendor agreements to do so. But, since the information is now out there, we have made the editorial decision to report on it.]

Additionally, WizKids themselves have released some previews, so we now know most of the figures in Wave 1.

If you want to go into Month 1 blind and unspoiled, turn away now! Otherwise, sail on!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the Wave 1 figures are odd-numbered.]

AGE OF ULTRON: WAVE 1 FIGURE LIST:

Hank Pym AOU

AAOU001 Hank Pym100/50 PointsCommon: Not a lot needs to be said. He was already spoiled by WizKids, and you can see his whole dial and power set in the Units tab of HCRealms.com. Or, y’know, in the tiny picture above. There will be Morphing in this set. Oh yes. [Best Yoda Voice] There… will… be…

Ant-Man AOU

AAOU003 Ant-Man100/50 PointsCommon: Once again, a dial that’s already been spoiled. There will be more Hank Pym’s to come, by the way, for anyone who is, y’know, completely obsessed with Hank Pym. And whose Hank Pym love was not satiated by the Hank Pym Boxed set, which featured, like, six more Hank Pyms.

Wasp AOU

AAOU005 Wasp70 PointsCommon: So this is actually Janet, not Hank Pym. She does sport the ever popular Lady Liberators keyword to go with her expected Avengers and Celebrity keywords. No Traits, she obviously is a Flyer, and she of course has the “Tiny” Symbol. She starts with (not pictured) an 8 Movement (with Running Shot), 10 Attack Value (with Incapoopitate), 17 native Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage with a Special Power (Founding Member: Wasp can use Shape Change. When she does, she may increase the result by 1 for each adjacent friendly character with a shared keyword (a roll of 1 still fails).).

Like her, don’t love her. Super Senses and Improved Shape Change are normally a great combo, but with so much Precision Strike running around in this Wave, often times it’ll just be the Shape Change. She’s probably most useful as a tie-up piece with Incapacitate, but if you send her away from her teammates to tie-up other pieces, she’ll basically just have regular Shape Change and a very hittable 17 Defense.

In Constructed, I can see some uses for her, but I’d stay away in AOU Sealed unless she was the only fig that fit the point structure of my Build.

Yellowjacket AOU

AAOU007 Yellowjacket85 PointsCommon: This looks like the Rita DeMara version. She comes with two really good Traits. The first (Criminal Past, Reluctant Avenger, and Future Guardian: Yellowjacket can use Shape Change and is a Wild Card.) gives her some defensive options; the second (Stolen Pym Particle Technology: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose “Normal Size” or “Tiny Size.” Yellowjacket possesses the chosen combat symbol until you choose again.) lets her float between two different sizes, so she can be Carried out initially (if she’s Tiny Sized) and then spring back to Normal Size if you need to, say, block line of fire or something.

Her top dial features an 11 Movement (with Sidestep), 10 Attack (with Precision Strike), 17 Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage (with Perplex!). She has a 6 Range. Plus, she’s got a truckload of great keywords, including Avengers, Masters of Evil, Guardians of the Galaxy and Scientist, one of the best generic keywords right now.

I expect to see her played a lot in AOU Sealed, especially since she’s a Common that features top dial Perplex (Perp and Outwit are gold in Sealed). She may also see a lot of house play at your local venue, too, since she fits on so many different teams.

So far, Yellowjacket is the early contender for this year’s  “White Ranger Iron Fist Memorial Commendation” award, which is given annually to the best Storyline Organized Play Common Figure.

"Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I'm not dead yet. In fact, I haven't even retired! I'm still Modern Age!"

Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I’m not dead yet. In fact, I haven’t even been retired! I’m still Modern Age!

Suuuuure you are, Danny. Sure you are.

Alexis AOU

AAOU009 Alexis65 PointsCommon: Another character I wasn’t too familiar with, Alexis is actually a newer creation that came out of the pages of AvengersAI. If ol’ Rita doesn’t win this year’s White Ranger, then Alexis almost surely will.

For 65 Points, you get an Avenger (and Robot-) keyworded figure who is a Flyer (read: Taxi), starts with 9 Movement (with Phasing), 10 Attack (and she’s another piece with Precision Strike–Heaven help you if you just have Super Senses, like most of the other Commons in this set), 17 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and a native 3 Damage with Probability Control (uh, what I just said about Perp and Outwit in Sealed? That goes double for Prob Control)!!

Now, she has no Traits, no Improved Targeting of any kind, no Willpower/Indomitable and only a 4 Range. But securing a Taxi that also offers Prob and is a more-than-capable Tertiary Attacker for only 65 Points? You are going to be seeing a lot of her in AOU Sealed.

Monica Chang AOU

AAOU011 Monica Chang65 PointsCommon: Another AvengersA.I. character. I actually think she debuted in the Ultimate universe first, but I could be wrong. Regardless, she was an important UnClix’d S.H.I.E.L.D. character that WizKids has finally made for us.

No Traits, No Improved Targeting. Her Range is 6 with 1 Bolt. She does have the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scientist keywords, along with the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, and she starts with Stealth and the odd combination of Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Combat Reflexes. I like the Stealth/Combat Reflexes combo, but Pen/Psy won’t help her when she’s based.

Where she really earns her keep is with her Damage Special Power (SHIELD Division Chief: Counter Cyber-Terrorism: Monica Chang can use Enhancement and Perplex. When she uses Perplex, she may modify a combat value by -2 instead if the target has the Armor or Robot keyword.).

In Constructed, there are better options. In Sealed, wow!! She can shut down a LOT of pieces in this set. I personally like Alexis a little bit better for the points, but Monica will be EXTREMELY useful in AOU Sealed.

Victor Mancha AOU

AAOU013 Victor Mancha100 PointsCommon: A somewhat odd piece in the context of the whole set. Victor has Avengers, Robot and Runaways keywords, and he’s a Flyer with top dial Sidestep. He also has Indomitable and an 11 Attack with TK, which are all things that the other Commons in this set mostly lack. He can also do 3 Damage, which is never a bad thing.

But at 100 Points, there are better attackers and cheaper Taxi’s in this Wave. Down dial, he becomes both a better supporting piece with a Special Defense Power (Magnetic Bubble: Victor Mancha can use Barrier, ESD, and Toughness. Friendly characters adjacent to Victor Mancha when he uses Barrier can use Sidestep this turn.) and a better attacker, since he picks up a Running Shot/Pulse Wave combination.

He’s solid for his points, but I think there are better options in this set.

Ultron Drone AOU

AAOU015 Ultron Drone50 PointsCommon: Not much to say here. He’s your basic Swarm-bot that gets (slightly) better the closer it is to other characters with “Ultron” in their name.

Iron Man AOU

AAOU017 Iron Man90 PointsUncommon: This Iron Man comes with a lightning rod Trait (The Original Invincible Iron Man!: If the first ranged combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Iron Man, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that makes him somewhat compelling. Just keeping him in the back while you press the rest of your forces forward almost makes him worth his points for that alone.

He does also offer Charge, Super Strength and Outwit, so he’s an average secondary attacker as well.

Hulk AOU

AAOU019 Hulk 80 PointsUncommon: Basically the close combat version of the Iron Man above, Hulk even comes with a very similar Trait (The Original Incredible Hulk: If the first close combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Hulk, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.).

His combat values are outstanding for his cost (he even does 4 Damage top dial), but he’s extremely schizophrenic, due to his other Trait (With Each New Dawn, the Weakling Banner Comes Back: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 1-2, until your next turn modify Hulk’s combat values by -2 can he can use Outwit, Perplex, and Shape Change and can’t use any other power he possesses. This ability can’t be ignored.).

So basically, you have either a phenomenally good Secondary Attacker (relative to what it costs to field him) or a PRETTY good supporting piece. The problem is, you may not know which figure you have until it’s too late.

Black Knight AOU

AAOU021 Black Knight115 PointsUncommon: Charge and Exploit Weakness are always good, and he starts with an 11 Attack Value. The problem is that he immediately loses that 11 Attack by click 2, he has no Willpower unless he’s already KO’d a character, and one of his Traits (By Sersi’s Side, From One Universe to the Next: If Black Knight is adjacent to a friendly character named Sersi, both characters modify their defense values by +1 unless already modified by this effect.) is completely useless in this set (since the only Modern Sersi we have is in Avengers Assemble. Theoretically, it is possible that your venue might give you one AOU Wave 1 Booster and one AA booster, and that you MIGHT pull both of those characters, but even then they may not be worth playing together).

He has Traited B/C/F and Steal Energy, which will help offset the fact that he doesn’t have Willpower, but it just seems like there are much better ways to spend 115 Points in this set.

She-Hulk AOU

AAOU023 She-Hulk130/75 PointsUncommon: Another figure that’s already been previewed on Heroclix.com. I love her Trait (File for Change of Venue: If She-Hulk isn’t part of a themed team, the first time this game you wouldn’t win the roll for first player, you may roll again and add +1 to the result.), especially when used on an Arcade team. It’s not clear if you would get the +1 modifier on the second roll for Map Choice, but just the ability to try for Arcade’s map a second time if you lose the first roll is huge.

Machine Man AOU

AAOU025 Machine Man120 PointsUncommon: More of a novelty attacker than anything else, Machine Man is a close combatant without Charge or a very high Damage Value. His Trait (Extendable Body Parts: When Machine Man makes a close combat attack, squares within a range of 3 and line of fire are considered adjacent.) somewhat mitigates the first problem, and Super Strength will help with the second.

120 Points seems about right for what he does, and he has some versatility to him, but if he’s your Secondary Attacker, you Damage Output Potential is probably low.

TESS-One

AAOU027 TESS-One150 PointsUncommon: Once again, we have a close combat figure with a significant cost that doesn’t have Charge. Sidestep is better than nothing, but it ain’t Charge.

The ability to move through (and destroy) Blocking Terrain is a big plus, but again we have another figure that’s saddled with yet another narrowly useful Trait (Total Elimination of Super-Soldiers: As long as an opposing character on the map is 100 or more points and named Captain America, TESS-One can use Willpower. When attacking such a character, TESS-One’s damage value is modified by +1.) that will NEVER help you in AOU Sealed. Why? Because, SPOILER ALERT: There is no Captain America in Wave 1.

Frankly, you’re paying for a lot of powers abilities in this dial that you’ll probably never get a chance to effectively use. RCE? Great! Only a 5 Range? Less great (although Sidestep actually will help here…).

The one real positive with TESS-One is that it is really hard to kill. It’s Defense actually gets better (a LOT better) down dial, and it picks up a Movement Special (Rebuilding From The Rubble: At the beginning of your turn, if TESS-One occupies a square containing a debris marker, heal TESS-One of 1 damage.) that gives it a way to (somewhat) reliably heal a click every turn.

Ultron-8 AOU

AAOU029 Ultron-8120/30 PointsUncommon: And now we have our first real Ultron. Get used to seeing his Trait (Autonomous or Drone Mode: Ultron-8 costs 120 points, or costs 30 points and begins on the click #1 after the orange KO. Until KO’d, Ultron-8 is considered 120 points.), cuz most of the Ultrons have some form of it. The idea is to play multiple versions of a single Ultron, and your opponent will really have no way of knowing which one is which, because their dials will be exact replicas of each other… except that the Drones only have 2 clicks of life.

As for the dial itself, it’s pretty solid. I’d rather play this Ultron at 120 Points than Machine Man, that’s for sure.

Vision AOU

AAOU031 Vision100 PointsRare: This is the semi-evil, fresh on the scene, son-of-Ultron version of Vision, and he’s exactly as he should be! If you pull him in Sealed, just pray that you also pull an Ultron–ANY Ultron!

His Trait (Secret Programming: When a friendly character whose name includes Ultron is given a move action and actions resolve, Vision may be given a move action as a free action.) pretty much completely makes up for the fact that he only starts with Sidestep, and his Movement Special Power (He’s Coming… Through the Wall!: Vision can use Sidestep. When Vision uses Sidestep or is given a move action, he can use Improved Movement:Ignores Blocking Terrain.) works quite gracefully with his Trait.

He also adds Indomitable, Super Senses and Shape Change to go with his Penetrating/Psychic Blast. His 10 Attack is pretty pedestrian, but in this set that’s really par for the course.

This is a much better Vision than his Age of Ultron Movie cousin, even though they cost the same amount of points.

Hercules AOU

AAOU033 Hercules220/130 PointsRare: The first real solid close combat brick of the set, with improved Charge, Traited Super Strength, Impervious or Invincible for much of his dial and a lot of CCE and Battle Fury (which will help with the surprising amount of Shape Change in this set). If you pull him, you’re probably playing him.

I like his 220 Dial in a 400 Point event, but I LOVE his 130 Point dial in just about any format. Yes, he’s a little top heavy at 130, but man, he is going to be scary to face.

He also gives us a Modern Age Herc to bring in with his Avengers ID card, which is great as well. Definitely a needed figure.

Protector AOU

AAOU035 Protector100 PointsRare: There are two big things to remember about Protector. The first is that he’s one of the few (gosh, there’s like, I dunno, 3 or 4) characters to appear in the same Set/Wave as his Avengers ID Card. So, theoretically, you COULD pull both Protector AND his ID card.

Secondly, when it comes to calling for his help via an ID card… that’s probably the best way to play him! On his own, there’s nothing very special about him. He has Sidestep, he flies, he has a 10 Attack with NO Attack powers and he does a ho-hum 3 Damage. He does offer Probability Control and an 18 Defense Value (with Defend), which is nice, but hardly game breaking.

If you could get all that for just one important turn, however, and you only had to spend 5 Points to do it… well, Protector just became very exciting, didn’t he? All of a sudden, you’re opponent has to hit an 18 Defense to hit anybody, and he probably has to do it at least twice, since Protector has that Prob at his disposal.

In Constructed, he offers another alternative for Avengers and Kree teams, but honestly, he’s one of the best ID Card Call-Ins, so that’s how I’d expect to see him used most often.

Grim Reaper AOU

AAOU037 Grim Reaper119 PointsRare: Wow. Another Trait (Deadly Sibling Rivalry: Give Grim Reaper a free action when he is within 4 squares of a character named Wonder Man and modify all of Grim Reaper’s combat values except damage by +1 until your next turn. When you do, deal Grim Reaper 1 unavoidable damage at the end of this turn.) that gives its owner NOTHING in Sealed. I’m betting we’ll probably see a Wonder Man in Wave 2, which will mean nothing to you if you happen to pull Grim Reaper here in one of your packs.

He’s basically a 119 Point gamble. While he has a tiny amount of Range (4 squares), if you play him, you’re planning on Charging folks and hitting them with his special Energy Stealing B/C/F, since his native Damage never climbs above 2. If he were, say, 79 Points, he might at least be interesting. At 119 Points, he just doesn’t do enough to effect the game (even the Prob Control they gave him doesn’t show up until his last two clicks).

We needed a new Grim Reaper, but this is the one Rare/Super Rare/Chase that I’m hoping I never see in a box that I’m opening for Sealed.

Jocasta AOU

AAOU039 Jocasta130/25 PointsRare: Jocasta was already previewed by WizKids, so there isn’t a lot more to say. Since she can work like an Entity, she’s definitely one of the “buzziest” pieces in the set, but her real talents will shine through more in Constructed that they will in Sealed.

Very solid piece, and a nice tweak of the Entity Possession Trait. This is one of my personal “big wants” from the set.

Ultron-5 AOU

AAOU041 A & B Ultron-5120/60/30 PointsRare: AAOU41A is basically a (slightly overcosted) Leadership engine for Masters of Evil teams, while the B-side is very much a swarm dial that operates as a Switch Clix with the same Autonomous or Drone Mode Trait that all the Ultrons have in this set.

Goliath AOU

AAOU043 Goliath140/100/50 PointsSuper Rare: A SR Hank Pym. Yay?

Well, you might be cheering after you see his dial. For 140 Points, he actually has one of the the best Close Combat dials in the set. The Morph power is nice, but in most cases, your better off just sticking with Goliath. His top dial Movement Special is amazing (Trample: Goliath can use Charge. When he does and moves in a direct line, after actions resolve, he may make an additional close combat attack targeting all opposing characters whose square he moved through but didn’t already target with an attack this turn. For this attack, each hit character is dealt 3 damage.), but he only keeps it for one click. He does pick it back up on clicks 3 and 4, though, and with top dial Invincible, it’ll be tough for someone to knock him all the way past those “money” clicks (God, especially in this set).

Goliath brings a lot to the table AND leaves you a bunch of room for supporting figs. If your lucky enough to pull him in Sealed, he’s a definite play.

Black Panther AOU

AAOU045 Black Panther140 PointsSuper Rare: Wow. The hits keep coming with the Super Rares! This is pretty much the quintessential version of Black Panther. He was Previewed by WizKids already, but I’m going to go through his dial anyway because I really love this T’Challa.

First of all, his keyword line is jammed pack with everything from great names like Avengers and Illuminati to the best generics like Mystical and Scientist.

He ignores Elevated and Hindering Terrain on movement, so his mobility is awesome, and he’s also going to be extremely difficult to find at range due to his fantastic Trait (Cloaking Tech: Black Panther can use Stealth and Toughness. When it isn’t your turn, lines of fire to him are blocked if he is adjacent to Blocking Terrain.). Pay very close attention to that wording–it’s very similar to the wording on IIM038 Iron Man‘s Personal Cloaking Device Trait. WizKids already ruled that Iron Man’s Trait gets around Pulse Wave, and I’d imagine they’ll rule that T’Challa’s works the same way.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On second look, Black Panther’s Trait says Lines of Fire are “BLOCKED,” while Iron Man’s says they “CAN’T BE DRAWN.” It’s a slight difference; we’ll have to wait and see what comes up in the Event System Rules Forum to know for sure.]

All of which means that if you can keep T’Challa adjacent to Blocking Terrain (maybe with a supporting character who sports Barrier?), he’s pretty much invulnerable to any sort of ranged attack.

His Movement Special Power (Spring from the Shadows: Black Panther can use Charge. When Black Panther occupies Hindering Terrain or is adjacent to Blocking Terrain, he can use Sidestep.) goes hand in hand with his Trait, and his Damage Special adds Leadership and Outwit.

On top of all that… he probably has the best sculpt in the set. Another of my biggest wants from the set.

He’s an absolute monster in Sealed, especially with the right supporting pieces behind him (or, really, the right map), and I think he even has potential in the Meta (maybe not a lot, but still) simply based on that ridiculously good Trait. You can’t KO what you can’t see.

Quasar AOU

AAOU047 Quasar225/125 PointsSuper Rare: Wow! Now this is a ranged Primary Attacker! His dial almost feels like something out of Justice League: Trinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy rather than this current cycle of Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron.

He has two dial options, and they’re both terrific. At 225 Points, he is going to be a heavy hitter that can fling 5 natural, penetrating damage up to 9 squares away. In this set, that might as well be 100 damage. He’s going to one-shot some opposing support characters, and it’s going to be tough to retaliate effectively over that distance.

Plus, his first three (of NINE!!) clicks feature Invincible, so even if your opponent retaliates heavy, it’s going to be tough to make any headway. Especially since Quasar has the Power Cosmic TA, so you can’t counter his defenses.

His 125 Point dial is great as well, but for different reasons. His Defense actually gets BETTER against ranged attacks, and he picks up a Damage Special that partially imprisons anyone he hits (Contain Standard Operating Procedure: When Quasar targets and damages a single opposing character, after action resolve, he can use Barrier as a free action, but may only place blocking terrain markers adjacent to the hit character.).

On top of all that, if your opponent does hit him, Quasar goes right into an Attack Special Power that allows him to Steal Energy even with ranged attacks!

Basically, the only piece Quasar really needs to fear in this Wave is probably Black Panther, only because T’Challa is impossible to hit from range.

If you pull Quasar and don’t play him, you’re either an idiot or you’re trying to impress someone for some reason, even though you’ll really just come off as an annoying D-bag. Don’t be either of those guys. They’re A-holes. Play Quasar if you get him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don't play him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don’t play him.

MODAM AOU

AAOU049 M.O.D.A.M. — 131 PointsSuper Rare: The latest Preview from WizKids. She’s a fun character, but she’s also limited in what she wants to do by her 5 Range.

Ultron-1 AOU

AAOU051 A & B Ultron-1120/60/30 PointsSuper Rare: Okay, so if Black Panther has the best sculpt, this is probably a close second.

The A-dial is a nifty little trickster who comes packing a couple of cool Traits, including one that really narrows your opponent’s options if you hit (Total Mind Wipe: Once per game, when Ultron-1 hits an opposing character, you may give that character a Mind-Wipe token. A character with a Mind-Wipe token can’t attack Ultron-1 unless that character and Ultron-1 are the only characters on the map.). 

His down dial Defense Special (Self-Upgrade: Ultron-1 can use Impervious and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration and the result is 5 or 6, place an Upgrade token on this card.) offers the chance to gain Upgrade tokens, each of which gives him +1 to all combat values.

He’s not the bruiser that some of the other pieces in this set are, but the longer he’s left alone, the deadlier he gets.

The B-Dial offers the normal Autonomous or Drone options and adds a fantastic Defense Special (The True Creator of Me is… Myself: When a friendly character with the Autonomous or Drone Mode trait is KO’d, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 4-6, place that character in your starting zone on its click #1 after the orange KO.) that can keep the Ultron assembly line going.

Ultron-7 AOU Chase

AAOU053 A & B Ultron-7150/125/30 PointsChase: Ultron-7 A is a close combat bruiser who turns into a ranged attacker with a Running Shot/Special Pulse Wave power in the middle of his dial. He has a top dial Damage Special that helps teammates (Hatred of the Horde: Ultron-7 can use Battle Fury and Leadership. Opposing characters that are adjacent to a character friendly to your force can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.), but otherwise his dial is surprisingly straightforward for a Chase.

The B-dial is a surprisingly sturdy (for its points) ranged attacker, but nothing to write home about. Someone is going to find a way to break all these Drones into a great army, but it’s not going to be me.

Ultron AOU

AAOU55 A & B Ultron300/120/30 PointsChase: Here he is–Ultron himself. At 300 Points, you’d expect a lot from his A-dial, and you might end up a bit disappointed. He doesn’t even have a move-and-attack power top dial–just Phasing/Teleport. And his Attack Value never goes above an 11–until you get to his two Stop Clicks (they appear on consecutive clicks).

Once you get to his Stop Clicks, Ultron will wreck house–provided there is an opposing character within 5 squares that he can Charge (or 8 Squares if you’d rather Quake fools).

In Sealed, you can probably get away with this–especially in a 400 Point game. In Constructed, he’s so easily outmaneuvered that it’s almost comical.

The B-Dial is a glorified Robot Taxi that can moonlight as a Secondary Attacker.

So there you have it! Last year’s Storyline OP featured Chases that were so good they were broken and had to be (mildly) nerfed by a Watch List fix. This year, the Chases are confusing and almost a waste of time, in my opinion. The Super Rare slot is definitely where it’s at. Outside of, say, M.O.D.A.M., there’s not a loser in the bunch (even the Ultron was pretty unique and original).

Good luck with your Month One pulls, and we’ll see you back here soon for our traditional dueling Top Ten Set Reviews for Avengers Assemble! Those should start dropping next week!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a New Avengers Movie Set!! (Or, A Brief Look at What We Know About the Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Set!!)

Age of Ultron Avengers

 

Well, here we are again, with news breaking just before a new set comes out. Thanks to Cool Stuff Inc. (and a few other sources), we now know plenty about the Core Hobby version of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie set!!

I’ve been looking forward to this set for several reasons, none more so than the fact that the first Mass Market Avengers Movie Set is what got me back into Clix in the first place (bought a few on a whim–pulled a Loki Chase in my first pack and was hooked!).

A few quick notes before we get into the individual figures:

–We only really know the top dial for each character so far. That’s why we’re not handing out grades yet. This is strictly a preview/spoiler.

–Most of the core Avengers from the first film have a common Trait called Avengers Assemble! The effects vary with each character, but usually it makes your opponent choose between two effects every time your Avenger hits one or more of his characters. For example, Iron Man makes your opponent choose between letting you summon an Iron Legion figure or pumping up the Defense Value of all your friendly characters by +1. Not bad. Hawkeye’s is straight filthy (borderline broken!), but we’ll get to him in due time.

So, with that in mind, here is a list of figures that we know of so far, with some armchair analysis from yours truly:

 

Age of Ultron Iron Man

001 Iron Man (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He can be played at 250 or 185 Points. This seems to essentially be another version of ol’ Shellhead circa Iron Man 3, except they were able to give him some Traits and Special Powers (like “The House Party Protocol” and “The Clean Slate Protocol”) that may have been spoilers had this piece come out in that set. This Iron Man should play a little like Chaos War Gravity Feed Ultron in that Tony Stark can summon “Iron Legion” drones pretty easily.

He’s also a Transporter, which gives the 250-point version a top dial option of either Hypersonic Speed with a 10 Attack or a 12 Attack Running Shot that can cover 13 squares. And while he has no Improved Targeting, his Avengers Initiative Team Ability will let him bust Stealth all day long!

250 Points is almost your entire squad, but if you call in a few members of the Iron Legion to start the game, suddenly it’ll be a lot harder to out action you.

 

Age of Ultron Iron Legion

002 Iron Legion (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Another holdover from Iron Man 3, this is basically one of the “empty shells” that Tony calls to his aid for the climax of that movie. It’s okay for its 50 point cost, but the fact that you can call them into play (depending on what you roll, it’ll either come in at full strength or on its yellow dial) for the cost of one power action if you’re playing Iron Man makes them an awesome bargain. His top dial has Running Shot (albeit with just a 5 Range), Toughness, 10 Attack, 3 native Damage and Enhancement. Plus Indomitable. Solid piece.

 

Age of Ultron Captain America

003 Captain America (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He’s available for 125 or 80 Points, and he’s about what you’d expect:  a competent close combatant. He has some vulnerability at range, but he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for opposing swarm teams. A solid close combat piece.

 

Age of Ultron Test Subject

004 Test Subject (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A 30-Point generic that’s comes with what are essentially 3 different dials, all of which offer at least something useful for his Points.

 

Age of Ultron Thor

005 Thor (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A brick that can pack a punch from range at either the 200 or 150 Point level. At some point on his dial he gets Energy Explosion, Pulse Wave or Penetrating/Psychic Blast. A little reminiscent of his AvX version, except with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability, this Thor can obliterate Stealthed foes as well.

 

Age of Ultron Hydra Soldier

 006 Hydra Soldier  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: 60 Point foot soldier with the always useful Hydra Team ability and absolutely no Range Value of his own. Strange. For hardcore Hydra teams only.

 

Age of Ultron Ultron Sentry

007 Ultron Sentry  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Basically the evil version of Iron Legion, this a drone that Ultron himself should be able to bring into being. Nothing too exciting.

 

Age of Ultron Hulk

008 Hulk  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: We don’t know how many clicks this Hulk has, but it’s probably a lot. He dial comes in 3 sizes too: 300, 250 or 200 Points. He’s Giant Sized with no Range, so his Avengers Initiative Team Ability is almost wasted. But as much as any figure in this set, Hulk will really be made or broken by the values and length of the rest of his dial.

 

Age of Ultron Hawkeye

009 Hawkeye  (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: The figure of the set. He’s got the best Avengers Assemble! Trait (either all hit characters are dealt an additional 1 Unavoidable Damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye doesn’t get an action token. Holy smokes, he’s good!!), he’s rocking a top dial of 8 Range with 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Sidestep, Stealth, Precision Strike, Willpower and 3 Damage! Triple Bolt Precision Strike WITH Avengers Intiative TA equals a bad day for your opponent! Plus, when he’s making a Range Combat attack, he pumps his Attack Value by +1 for each target (Yup! That means he can potentially have a 13 Attack!!). And, if he targets someone and hits them but decides to deal damage elsewhere, he can still give that hit character an action token. Genius!! All this for 94 Points!

When Chaos War Hawkeye was retired last year, I didn’t think we’d ever see his like again. Not only have we seen his like again, but it’s ANOTHER freaking Hawkeye!! Wizkids must hate Green Arrow…

This is the biggest Meta-baiting piece in the set that I have seen so far…

 

Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

010 Scarlet Witch (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: Finally an Avenger without the broken Avengers Assemble Trait. Sheesh! She’s only 55 Points, and, as you might expect, she’s a complete supporting piece, with Perplex top dial and Probability Control down dial.

 

Age of Ultron Vision

011 Vision (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: This is one of the coolest Vision sculpts ever. Having said that, he has NO Traits or Special Powers of any kind, so he’s kinda hard to judge until we get a look at his full dial.

 

Age of Ultron Mk 1

012 Ultron Mk 1 (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: A solid piece that can be played at 120 or 65, depending on circumstances. This figure also has a chance to resurrect itself once per game. 4 Damage top dial is niiiiiiiiice.

 

Age of Ultron Hulkbuster

017 Hulkbuster (Core Hobby Chase)

Analysis: Your choice of either 300 or 225 Points of ass-whoop. He’s got a cool, unique sculpt, and his Avengers Assemble! Trait is almost as good. He’s a big can of beef that’s designed to take on other kinds of beef. Against other giant characters, he’s pretty fantastic. Against ordinary characters, not as much.

 

Some Final Notes:

Based on what we know, we are expecting the Target/Mass Market Rares to include:

–Baron Strucker (90% confident on this one)

–Black Widow (95% sure on this)

–Nick Fury (60% confident)

–Ultron Prime is probably the Mass Market Chase, but there’s a chance he could merely be another Mass Market Rare and that the Red Skull will be the Chase. We shall see!

 

Well, thanks for checking in with us! We’ll revisit this set (along with the Starter, which WizKids has officially started spoiling) in April!

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

 

(P.S.: That awesome artwork of Ultron sitting on the Lincoln Memorial was created by a guy named Matt Broox, apparently on a whim. It’s awesome! Hope you enjoyed it!)