Flash Fact #2: SPOILERS (Or, A Brief Intermission About the Flash Season 2 Finale!!)

Flash Zoom Race

So, I swear, I’m hard at work on the Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review (hopefully by the end of next week, but I can’t promise anything… yet!), but today we’re gonna take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and talk about some good ol’ fashioned superhero TV.

Why?

Well, the 2015-2016 TV Season just ended, and there’s a few things that need discussin’!

A year ago, I thought Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was pretty consistently solid while The Flash (in its first season after spinning off from Arrow) was kind of cheesy, at least initially. I thought the show really found itself during the back half of that debut season and (like A0S) had a dynamite finale.

Fast forward a year, and both shows have just finished firing off their best seasons. When considering all the great comic-based TV we have these days, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had probably the best episode of the season (that would be its fifth episode, 4,722 Hours), but The Flash turned in an extremely solid run of 23 episodes that didn’t really have any turkeys in the bunch. The finale, in particular, is what I want to write about today.

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

You were great, Agent Simmons, but we’ll talk about your show in a different post. (ABC/Tyler Golden)

At this point, like all other bloggers, I am contractually obligated to note that the rest of this post will SPOIL much of the Second Season finale of The Flash. If you wish to proceed from here and have not seen this episode yet, you have been warned. We’re jumping in:

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

 

Okay!! Still with me? Good. So, if you made it to the end of the finale, you know that after defeating Zoom, Barry went back in time (again) to the scene of his mother’s death (again) and finally decided to do something about it.

Flash Reverse Flash

In the process of beating up the Reverse Flash, Barry SEEMS to have done some possibly irreparable damage to the Timeline and changed both the past and the future in ways we’ve yet to see. What does it all mean?

Essentially, it seems like we’re headed for “Flashpoint” in Season Three, or at least the Berlanti-verse version of it. The Flash has become the most interesting DC show on television, and the ramifications of this finale are potentially mind-boggling.

WHAT WE KNOW:

-There are four shows in the Berlanti-verse: Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Of those four, the first two are closely connected and part of the same extended universe; Legends of Tomorrow is primarily populated with DC characters who were previously introduced as supporting characters on either Arrow or The Flash. It is seemingly connected to Arrow and The Flash, although it’s unclear even–or perhaps ESPECIALLY–if time travel on Legends of Tomorrow works the same way that time travel on The Flash works. For this discussion, it’s not really important though.

Supergirl is set on a completely different Earth where there is no Flash and no Arrow; this may be important later. Flash did randomly journey to Supergirl’s Earth during Supergirl’s first season, so the two characters have met at least once.

-All four shows were renewed for the 2016-2017 season.

DC Shows

All four shows will crossover with each other at least once during the season; currently, the big crossover event doesn’t have an exact date (it’s still at least 5-6 months away), but sometime in mid-November would be a good bet.

-The presumed source material for The Flash‘s third season, Flashpoint was a major DC Comics crossover event from 2011 that completely changed the status quo and introduced the “New 52” universe (I’m not a huge fan of the New 52–I liked DC fine enough the way it was, but there are those who really dig it). One of the benefits for DC of remaking their universe was the opportunity to fold in Jim Lee’s recently acquired Wildstorm characters (WildC.A.T.’s, The Authority, etc.). Basically, DC used Flashpoint to incorporate an entire, newly acquired universe in the main DC hierarchy.

This may be important later…

WHY FLASHPOINT CAN’T JUST BE A STRAIGHT ADAPTION:

-So if you’ve made it this far, then you’ve probably either read “Flashpoint” at some point or else you just read the Wikipedia (read: Cliff Notes) version of it.

And you know that there’s an awful lot of folks who play major roles in that story who haven’t been introduced yet… and–(NOT REALLY A) SPOILER ALERT–are not getting introduced into the Berlanti-verse anytime soon.

For Example:

-Batman ain’t coming (he’s being portrayed as a petulant little twerp over on FOX in a show called Gotham). Moreover, there seems to be an edict from DC that Berlanti can’t introduce any of the Trinity characters on his collection of shows. Or at least that’s the rumor.

Its worse than you know

It’s worse than you know.

It usually is

It usually is.

I actually think it’s even worse than that.

I think Berlanti is forbidden from using any of the seven main Justice League folks except the Flash, since he’s already established, and I think if Warner Brothers could find a way to take back Barry Allen, they would, despite the show’s success. Why? Because unlike Marvel, DC wants their TV universe separated from their (theoretically) burgeoning film universe. There’s a few reasons why they prefer things this way, and a host of reasons why this is dumb. But that hasn’t stopped DC and Warner Brothers before, so why should it now?

Even though Batman V Superman was greeted with a critical thumping, it still performed juuuust well enough at the box office to keep DC from completely pulling the plug on this iteration of their movie-verse (we’ll take a page from the internet here and just call it Zach Snyder’s “Murder-verse” for short). And as long as they’re going to continue with that continuity, most of the big-name DC heroes (and even C-list characters like Booster Gold, who now has a Zach Stentz-penned movie in development) will remain completely out of reach for the Berlanti-verse.

-Thomas Wayne (Batman in the Flashpoint universe) ain’t coming (for the very same reasons Batman isn’t);

-Martha Wayne (and her Joker turn) ain’t coming;

-Wonder Woman and all the Amazons? Ain’t coming;

-Aquaman and his Atlantean army? Nope. His profile has gone way up since Smallville. I’m betting he’s off-limits too.

-Booster Gold was mentioned above; he had a big role on the periphery of Flashpoint… and I’m pretty sure he ain’t coming (it would make no sense to cast an actor to play Booster for TV when you’re dead-set on recasting the role for the movie version in a couple years anyway–if everything pans out, that is).

-Cyborg has a movie on the docket. He’s not gonna show up;

-Pick a version of Green Lantern. Who’s your favorite? Hal Jordan? John Stewart? Guy Gardner? Kyle Rayner? Guess what: none of them are coming, despite the fact that any of them would kill on the CW (“Blackest Night” done over the course of a 4-show crossover on the CW? Yes, please! Too bad it will never happen).

-You get the point. Despite all of the those characters making very specific and important appearances throughout “Flashpoint,” I’d bet dollars to donuts that not a single one will show up in the Berlanti-verse next year.

But here’s the surprise twist: you don’t need ANY of them to faithfully adapt “Flashpoint” on The Flash. Not a single one.

WHAT WE THINK WILL HAPPEN:

-When you think about it, Arrow on the CW is really just the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman–it just doesn’t have Bruce Wayne or Batman in it. But Oliver Queen in Arrow is a rich playboy who suffers the trauma of losing his parents and decides to dedicate his life to stopping crime and saving his city. Oliver Queen would be a perfect stand-in for Bruce Wayne in the Berlanti-verse.

“But won’t Stephen Amell be hella-busy shooting his own show?” you might ask. Yes. Yes he will be. But remember, Bruce Wayne pretty much just showed up at the end of the story, so Amell really only needs to show up for the end of the “Flashpoint” storyline (which may or may not happen during that already-planned November crossover that Amell will be doing anyway).

Besides, the producers may already have a different actor in mind to play Green Arrow on The Flash:

Robert Queen

Me?”

Yes you, Jamey Sheridan. Thomas Wayne was the man in the Batman costume during “Flashpoint,” and similarly, Robert Queen could be the man under the cowl in the new, altered timeline. In fact, I think the producers hinted at this possibility during one of the Earth 2 excursions we witnessed during Season Two, where Robert Queen was unmasked as Green Arrow during a news report.

Bringing back Robert Queen for a few episodes to actually be the Green Arrow would be pretty slick for two reasons: firstly, it would bring back a somewhat under-utilized Berlanti-verse supporting character for an awesome final run. Secondly, it would still maintain the original spirit of Thomas Wayne’s “Flashpoint” storyline.

And best of all, it would allow them to do that final envelope scene from “Flashpoint” where Barry puts the universe back together again (more or less) and then hands an emotional, handwritten letter to Bruce Wayne from his dead father, Thomas. That scene was a beautiful coda to the whole saga and is, frankly, one of the best reasons to try and adapt this particular storyline. Probably THE best reason, actually (“Heart, Humor and Spectacle,” indeed!).

But the only way that final scene lands is if the producers can get Mr. Sheridan to come back and suit up for a few guest-starring roles as Green Arrow on The Flash.

-In “Flashpoint,” Martha Wayne’s grief over losing her son Bruce eventually twists her mind until she becomes a psycho-Joker. Once that’s revealed, she pretty much just falls in a pit of bats and then dies.

If Berlanti’s team wants to bring back Moira Queen and have her do a similar heel turn, that would be fine. Could actually make for a cool sort of one-off “Villain of the Week.”

-No Aquaman and no Wonder Woman is trickier, since their respective nation’s escalating war threatens the whole world and without them, a major source of environmental tension would be gone. But once again, you really don’t need those specific characters–indeed, having them show up out of nowhere at this point would probably be kinda jarring.

What you really need is two large organizations fighting with each other on a scale that could threaten the whole world with how out-of-control their conflict becomes. What about the assassins of Nanda Parbat versus the shadowy intrigue of The Hive? Could one not argue that, if left unchecked by Oliver and his team, both of these organizations would have been on a super-powered collision course by Season Four of Arrow?

-And since we brought it up before, wouldn’t this all have to have a big effect on Arrow, Legends and Supergirl?

Yeah, to really hit home, it probably would. But Arrow could actually pull a fast one and basically start telling their Season 5 story without really acknowledging The Flash but showing subtle differences between the Season 4 status quo and the Season 5 status quo. Then, after the crossover, we find out the differences are because on Arrow, we’ve been watching the post-Flashpoint continuity all along!

Legends is already a time-traveling show and its central characters could show up at some point in November to help Flash put right those things that once went wrong, but they exist outside the normal flow of time to begin with, so, in theory,  they don’t really need to worry so much about the repercussions of “Flashpoint.”

And Supergirl? Well, Supergirl’s universe would suddenly and inexplicably–or perhaps even splicably–find itself on Earth 1 or Earth 2, ready to adventure with our

Flashpoint

CONCLUSION: This is all wild speculation, of course, but isn’t that what makes the internet so damn much fun at the end of the day? Anyway, whether Season Three of the Flash goes even something like what I’ve predicted here, or if it turns out to be completely different, I will be watching the CW this Fall with great interest.

 

And don’t forget to join us next time as we get back into Heroclix with our Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review!

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

 

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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!!

Upcoming Games: Red Vs. Green!! (Or, the Ninth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 9! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here! Night 2 is here. Night 3 is here, you can find the 4th Night of Clix-Mas by clicking here, and Night 5 went down right here! Night 6 is now up, and can be found here. Night 7 showed up right about… here, while Night 8 came stumbling through the door over here.]

Can't tell if cosplay or real footage...

Can’t tell if cosplay or real footage…

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers…

At 6:15pm on Wednesday, December 30th at Comics & More in Madison Heights, we’ll be playing: Red Vs. Green!

This is a holiday-themed, 400-Point Golden Age game with an entry fee of $5.00.

We will be playing for figures from the “Suicide Squad” monthly LE kit: Deadshot (new sculpt), Amanda Waller (new dial) and Captain Boomerang (new dial), with the winner getting their choice of any of those pieces!! However…

IMPORTANT PRIZE NOTE: IF WE GET THE WIZKIDS ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN HOLIDAY KIT IN TIME, WE WILL AWARD PRIZES FROM THAT INSTEAD!! 

The Stipulations: Each entrant will construct two teams: one team shall be comprised of figures whose primary sculpt color is Red; the other team shall be comprised of figures whose primary sculpt color is Green.

Once everyone is paired each round, players will roll for Map Choice as per usual. The winner of the Map Roll shall choose which colored team he or she wishes to play; their opponent must play a team of the opposite color.

Resources, Relics, Bystander Tokens, Constructs and ID Cards are not allowed as part of your Force Build. If a character BRINGS a Relic or Bystander Token with them into play at the start of the game, however, that IS allowed (Emerald Empress and Rick Jones come to mind as examples, although Rick Jones’s sculpt would disqualify him).

In the same vein, Entity Possession is NOT allowed UNLESS the possessing figure started the game on the map (for example, if you paid 185 Points to add Butcher to your Red Team Build, if he’s KO’d, you may then have him Possess another friendly character as per normal; you may NOT field his 25-Point dial).

Colossals and Vehicles are allowed, provided that they are primarily red or green.

 

Spidey Human Torch Christmas

A Quick Note About the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas (2015):

"HypeFox and Ninwashui... YOU HAVE FAILED THIS BLOG!"

HypeFox and Ninwashui… YOU HAVE FAILED THIS BLOG!

Well, tonight is Christmas, and, as I’m sure you’ve probably noticed, we’re only on Night 9! Yup. We fell three entries short of our 12-entry goal this. Looking back on things, it’s crazy that we actually accomplished our goal last year–the first year we tried to publish 12 articles in 12 days. This year was a big year personally for both Ninwashui and myself, and we just weren’t quite able to reach the finish line.

Nevertheless, even though we didn’t finish in time this year, that doesn’t mean we won’t finish! You will get your remaining 3 Clix-Mas articles before the clock strikes 2016, so keep checking back with the main page for more new content!

I truly hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season, and we look forward to bringing you more Clix content in the year ahead. Thanks to all of you, we’ve experienced quite a bit of growth this year (more on that on Night 12), and we really appreciate all the great feedback!

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

Upcoming Games: Clix TV!! (Or, The 2nd Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We are unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 2! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here!]

Clix TV

Welcome to Night 2 of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers…

On Wednesday, December 16th, at Comics & More in Madison Heights, we’ll be playing: Clix TV!

In honor of all the great comics-based TV, we will play a 300 Point, Golden Age game with a $5 Entry Fee.

Prizes will come from the “Arrowette” Monthly OP Kit, although…

IMPORTANT PRIZE NOTE: IF WE GET THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN KIT WIZKIDS HOLIDAY KIT IN TIME, WE WILL AWARD PRIZES FROM THAT INSTEAD!!

The Stipulations: Each character on your team must have appeared on a Network, Cable or Streaming LIVE ACTION Television show. Animated appearances don’t count, but the show does not have to currently be on.

As long as piece shares a real name OR a character name (ie, Clark Kent or Superman) with a character from a TV show, that piece is eligible.

Now, if you don’t watch a lot of TV but want some examples, you can build your team from Clix’d characters who have appeared on such shows as:

(DC)

Supergirl (2015: Notable characters include Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Hank Henshaw, Lucy Lane, General Lane, Red Tornado, etc.)

Flash (2014-Current: Flash, Firestorm, Jay Garrick, Vibe, Killer Frost, Zoom, Reverse Flash, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Vandal Savage, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, Golden Glider, Girder, Jesse Quick, Captain Boomerang, Rainbow Raider, Gorilla Grodd, Weather Wizard, Dr. Light, etc.)

Arrow (2012-Current: Green Lantern, Black Canary, Arsenal, Mister Terrific, The Atom, John Constantine, Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Deathstroke, Merlyn, Huntress, Brother Blood, etc.)

Smallville (2001-2011: Clark Kent, Bizarro, Lex Luthor, General Zod, The Martian Manhunter, etc.)

And so on…

(Marvel)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-Present: Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Agent Ward, Nick Fury, Lady Sif, Agent Fitz, Agent Simmons, Absorbing Man, Skye/Quake, John Garrett, Mockingbird, Deathlok, Victoria Hand, Major Glenn Talbot, Eric Koenig, Mister Hyde, Graviton, Blackout, Blizzard, etc.)

Marvel’s Agent Carter (2014-Present: Peggy Carter, Dum-Dum Dugan, Jarvis, etc.)

Daredevil (2015-Present: Daredevil, Kingpin, etc.)

Jessica Jones (2015-Present: Jessica Jones/Jewel, Luke Cage, The Purple Man, Hellcat, etc.)

You get the idea.

Clarifications:

Ninwashui and some others have brought up certain pieces to inquire whether they’re eligible.

To wit:

Zoom (Black Lantern): Eligible. Remember, the parenthetical information doesn’t actually count when determining whether certain game effects work or don’t work.

Batmobile: Eligible. Vehicles are still characters, so yes, the ol’ Adam West show qualifies the Batmobile.

Thor (any version): Eligible. A live action Thor appeared in The Incredible Hulk Returns, which, while technically a TV Movie, still premiered on network television and was, in fact, a continuation of the Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.

 

Okay! Hope to see you down at Comics & More for some good ol’ fashioned boob-tube mayhem!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for another Night of Clix-Mas! We’ll be taking a closer look at what sets, intellectual properties and characters YOU want in the upcoming year!

(Actually, it’ll mostly be what I want in the upcoming year, seeing as I’m writing the article!)

Upcoming Games: The Doctor Is Out!

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers!!

SHIELD Number One

This week at Comics & More in Madison Heights, we will be playing Week 3 of our custom “Dark Dimensions” series!

In Week 1, we played “A Guy With a Plan.” For week 2 of our Dark Dimensions Series, we ran a new, completely original scenario called “Omega Level Override,” based on Mark Waid’s continuing S.H.I.E.L.D. run.

The Scenario:

Week 3: “Home Invasion”

Coulson’s ongoing investigation into the activities of Mys-Tech and the identity of their mysterious benefactor leads him to consult the world’s foremost expert on the arcane–Doctor Strange!

Unfortunately, the doctor is not at home–and Mys-Tech seems all too aware, as they’ve taken this opportunity to break-in to Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in order to steal the ancient and powerful Book of Morphesti!

If Coulson wants any answers, he’s going to have to stop Mys-Tech’s agents and recover The Book before someone accidentally unleashes an apocalypse! But just getting to the ancient tome is going to be a challenge. Coulson knows as much as anybody that traversing the Sanctum Sanctorum without a mystically-inclined guide is dangerous business.

Because this house has secrets that pre-date Doctor Strange, and it’s never been kind to unwanted guests…

The Build Rules: You must choose to play as one of two factions: S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech. Each faction has their own benefits and restrictions, as outlined below. Regardless of which faction you choose, your team must be a 400 Point Themed Team, and all the figures must be both Marvel and Modern Age.

The Mystical Guide: Traversing the Sanctum Sanctorum without a mystic is hazardous to your health… and your Clix! Therefore, when you build your force, you must include a Modern Age Marvel character with the Mystical keyword. That character has your faction’s keyword (either S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech) this game.

Special “Home Invasion” Scenario Rules:

–This scenario will be played on the “Doctor Strange Mansion” Indoor Map from Amazing Spider-Man. The winner of the Map Roll may choose to either go first OR choose which side of the Map they’d like to start on.

–Protect your Mystical Guide! If your Mystical Guide is KO’d, the rest of your team gains the following Trait for the rest of the game:

Morphesti Has Been Opened!: This character can use Shape Change and Battle Fury. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for all characters on your team with this Trait. On a result of 1 or 2, deal those characters 1 unavoidable damage.”

–If your Mystical Guide has been KO’d, any time a friendly character enters Hindering Terrain for any reason (Movement, Knockback, etc.), roll a d6. On a result of 1-3, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage and then place that character in an adjacent square of clear terrain.

-Relics, ATA’s, Team Bases, Avengers ID Cards, Resources and Bystander/Horde Tokens are NOT allowed as part of your Build UNLESS they are specifically allowed by your faction or brought into play via a Trait or ability possessed by a member of your team.

Special Faction Rules:

Shield Agents of

-If you choose to play as S.H.I.E.L.D.: You must play a S.H.I.E.L.D. Themed Team. You may include the S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA and/or up to 3 Avengers ID Cards in your Build by paying their normal costs.

Mys-Tech

If you choose to play as Mys-Tech: You must play a Themed Team, but you may NOT include any character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers keyword. (You are encouraged to choose a team of “villainous” characters, but it is not a requirement). If one or more characters on your team has an available ATA for one of their keywords, you may include that ATA in your Build by paying all applicable costs. During Force Construction, all characters on your team gain the Mys-Tech keyword.

The Cost: To enter this week’s game, the cost is $5.

The Prize: Winner and Fellowship will both receive wkM15-011 Doctor Strange!!

Okay! That about covers it! Feel free to post any scenario questions in the Comments, and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.

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

 

Upcoming Games: Dark Dimensions!

SHIELD Number One

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers!!

Comics & More in Madison Heights is back in action in three days on Wednesday, September 30th at 6:15pm! We’re running a new Scenario Series called “Dark Dimensions,” and it’s based on the first 6 issues of Mark Waid’s continuing S.H.I.E.L.D. run.

The Scenario:

Week 1: “A Guy With a Plan

Bifrost has been partially shattered by the impact of a mysterious Dark Prism. The rainbow bridge’s sentry, Heimdall, is missing in action and now creatures from all over the nine realms–Fire Demons, Frost Giants, Dark Elves and more!!–are pouring into Midgard!

While the Avengers try to contain the situation, newly installed S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Ops Supreme Commander Phil Coulson–on his first day in his new position–knows that containment is a losing battle. He has to stop this invasion at the source, which he can only do by finding Heimdall, the one person who can end the dimensional breach. But all Coulson has at his disposal is his handpicked S.H.I.E.L.D. team and a talent for calling in the right hero for the right job…

Meanwhile, occult R&D firm Mys-Tech has been funding a group of mercenaries and assassins to plunder mystical artifacts from around the world and severely injure any magic-based entities who could possibly pose a threat to their agenda. Armed with mystic firearms that shoot spells and magic bullets, these mercenaries are extremely well-financed and well-coordinated. But just what is Mys-Tech, and who do their agents really work for?

The Rules: You must choose to play as one of two factions: S.H.I.E.L.D. or Mys-Tech. Each faction has their own benefits and restrictions, as outlined below. Regardless of which faction you choose, your team must be 300-points, and all the figures must be both Marvel and Modern Age.

-Relics, ATA’s, Team Bases, Avengers ID Cards, Resources and Bystander/Horde Tokens are NOT allowed as part of your Build UNLESS they are specifically allowed by your faction or brought into play via a Trait or ability possessed by a member of your team.

Special Faction Rules:

Shield Agents of

-If you choose to play as S.H.I.E.L.D.: You must play a S.H.I.E.L.D. Themed Team. You may NOT include any character with the Mystical keyword on your force. You may include the S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA and/or up to 3 Avengers ID Cards in your Build by paying their normal costs.

Mys-Tech

If you choose to play as Mys-Tech: You must play a Themed Team, but you may NOT include any character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers keyword. (You are encouraged to choose a team of “villainous” characters, but it is not a requirement). If you play a Named Themed Team that has an available ATA, you may include that ATA in your Build by paying its cost.

Additionally, all of your characters gain the following Traits:

Trait: Agent of Mys-TechAt the beginning of your turn, roll a D6 for all friendly characters with this Trait. On a result of:

1-2: (The Book of Morphesti): Characters you control can use Shape Change until the beginning of your next turn. 

3-4: (Sapphire Bands of Storaan): Characters you control can use Energy Shield/Deflection until the beginning of your next turn.

5-6: (Magic BulletsCharacters you control can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast until the beginning of your next turn. 

Trait: Mys-Tech R&D: You may give a friendly character a double power action at the beginning of your turn. If you do, instead of rolling a D6, you may choose one of the three powers instead.

The Entry Fee:

The entry fee is $5.00.

The Prizes:

We will be playing for the Agent Venom LE from the Monthly LE kit!

Points will be tracked from week to week, and the scenarios may change slightly, but our overall winner after 4 weeks will get a brand new Dormammu from the Monthly LE kit!!

So come on out for a fun night of Clix, and continue to check this site for future Comics & More game announcements!

Also, look for a new article on building armies around each of the new Avengers Assemble Chases coming very soon to the front page!

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

Mr. Furious Gets Angry!! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!)

mr furious

Don’t mess with the volcano my man, ’cause I will go Pompeii on your… butt.

[WRITER’S NOTE: So the set is about Nick Fury and not Mr. Furious, but a guy can dream.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You have strange dreams.]

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • There are a lot of good figures in this set. I know it sounds like I say that every time, but seriously, there just aren’t many losers when you factor in their point value.  I listened to the Dial H for HeroClix Podcast today and one of the hosts joked that there are so many good figures in this set that when you do Sealed you don’t really need to think too hard. Just make sure the total point value is near 300 and the actual characters you select don’t matter that much. It will be a good team.
  • The Dial H guys also warned that this set is awful for Battle Royales. I would definitely agree with that. Your whole 5 member team might not add up to 300 points and someone else might start off by pulling the 300 point SR NFAOS006A Hulk. Or you might get a Hulkbuster torso in the rare slot of the pack you just opened.

Secret Warriors

  • I would have liked to have seen more Secret Warriors then just Quake and Druid. Most of this set seems to come from the pages of their series and all of the rest of Team White has rotated out of Modern.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Last I checked, Eden Fesi, aka Manifold, was a very important character in that run and arguably–at least before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blew up Daisy Johnson’s profile–the most recognizable member of Nick’s Caterpillar team, since he graduated to the Avengers when Hickman took that book over. And he was just Clix’d in Avengers Assemble!!]
  • Okay, yeah, I meant besides him.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure you did.]
  • Anyway… some of the Invaders are individually powerful, but I don’t see myself ever playing that team. Maybe because they were before my time? It would have been cool to give Spitfire a Trait that shows she is now Blade’s girlfriend. Like +1 to defense when adjacent or something. Missed opportunity.
  • How can Wizkids not have made a “Watcher Eyeball” Special Object for the OP kit? Why would they include a Winter Soldier in that prize kit and not have him be the new “Man on the Wall” version of that character from the final panels of Original Sin? Where are all the villians from the Original Sin series? I want an intelligent “Mindless One” figure! More missed thematic opportunities–and this is coming from someone who really digs this set!
Uhhh... maybe not.

Uhhh… on second thought, maybe not.

  • Continuing that line of thought, everyone knows about the Fantastic Four/X-Men pseudo-ban that Marvel has imposed, so it would have been nice to see Wizkids really properly exploit some of the best Nick Fury stories of the last 6 years. Nick Fury “The Unseen” needs a whole dial–not just a final click. While the Invaders–old and new–are all fine and dandy, this set needed to pull more pieces from “Secret Warriors” and “Original Sin.” I realize we were probably never going to see a new Gorgon (part of his convoluted history involves him being a mutant), but instead of all those Invaders, I would have rather seen: JT James, Alexander, Ares (at this point, he almost HAS to be a Con Exclusive next year, right?), Norman Osborn, Jerry Sledge and, hmmm… oh yeah: Leviathan!! Two or three figures plus some Generics. And I haven’t even gotten to the members of The Great Wheel!! MISSED. OPPORTUNITY!

Alright. Enough moping. Time to get into some…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn't mean you can refer to us as 'Generics.'"

Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn’t mean you can refer to us as ‘Generics.’

5. NFAOS006A S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard – Here’s a quote from my appraisal of Iron Man’s blue-dial from my Avengers Assemble Top Ten article: “18 Defense with Defend is nothing to sneeze at. It was awesome when they released CT043 Invisible Girl and it’s almost as good now.” That applies double to S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard who, instead of costing 125 points like Iron Man, costs 35 points. That happens to also be two points less than CT043 Invisible Girl and with a much better dial. You’re going to want to push the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard to Click 2 where he sports his 18 Defend along with Sidestep and Close Combat Expert (a skill he undoubtedly likes to keep handy for close encounters). If you then push him again onto Clicks 3 and 4 he becomes your team’s medic. So he’s at first protecting your team from damage and then he switches gears to heal your team if they get damaged. That’s a lot of usefulness for just 35 points.

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

4. NFAOS001 Nick Fury – Nick Fury for 65 points is just average. 10 Attack, 3 Damage, Stealth, Precision Strike, Toughness and Shape Change, and Indomitable. There are lots of guys like him in this set. However, his 65 point dial is hiding the best S.H.I.E.L.D generic in the set. The 25 point generic dial starts with the same exact first two clicks as the 65 point version, but for 40 points less! Once you pay for the 65 point leader, you can add as many of the 25 point version as you want. With all of those little guys you’ve added it’s a good thing they all have the rally trait which states, “Rally: Whenever Nick Fury hits one or more opposing characters, add one action to your action total this turn.” That means that even if you have ten of this guy on your team you won’t run out of actions as long as your attacks keep hitting. If you decide that you want to be “that guy” for one event and just run a metric poop-ton of generics, you could do worse than fielding one Fury and a bunch of his L.M.D.’s…

Imperial Hydra

3. NFAOS046 Imperial Hydra – I like him because he enhances a lot of other pieces rather than just being a powerful piece himself. The main reason to play this guy is his Trait that states, “TWO HEADS SHALL TAKE THEIR PLACE!: When another friendly character with the Hydra keyword is KO’d and actions resolve, you may give Imperial Hydra an action token. If you do, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. 4 – 5: Place a character from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra. 6: Place up to two characters from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra.

So keep him in your Starting Area and let him constantly re-spawn  more Hydra units for you all game. If you get even one 40 point Hydra unit out of him then you’ve broken even. He works way better on teams with a lot of Hydra units rather than teams with just a few figures.

"No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!"

No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!

2. NFAOS047 Dr. Demonicus – What a cool idea for a figure. He’s a Kaiju summoning mad scientist. “GIANT MONSTER SUMMON!: Give Dr. Demonicus a power action if no friendly bystander token named on this card is on the map. You may choose one you haven’t chosen this game and place it on the map adjacent to him.”

While each of his Bystander Tokens probably isn’t worth 80 points by itself, if you get most of them out over the course of a game then I’d say you definitely got value for his 80 points. Remember to keep the good doctor close to his creations. He has Perplex and the Special Power  “LIFESTONE DEFENSE: Adjacent friendly characters with “colossal damage symbol” modify their defense values by +1.” Those two powers together can raise any of his monster token’s Defense Value to 20 or more!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Shine bright like a diamond.

1. NFAOS041 Radiance – For 65 points you get a character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that has the Wing Symbol and gives all adjacent S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces Shape Change. There are a lot of good S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces in this set and many that I would argue were great who came out even before this set. Radiance is the best low point Taxi for S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that is not named AVAS037 Manifold. But, unlike Manifold, her duel target Incapacitate lets her also assist her teammates in battle. She reminds me a lot of one of Hypefox’s favorite pieces, IIM002 Rescue.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Probably one of my most-played Common pieces.]

Top Ten Figures of the Set:

"Need... more... arms... with guns!!"

Need… more… arms… with guns!!”

10. NFAOS022 Winter Soldier – This Winter Soldier shares a keyword with Steve Rogers and actually lets them make a Themed Team again. That warms my heart. On the other hand, seeing this guy across the table should chill your opponent’s heart.

Now, he doesn’t have opening Running Shot or any sort of native move and attack. Instead, he just sits in Stealth and bides his time. He sports Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters AND he’s rocking a crazy-good Special Damage Power that reads like this: “Deadly Sniper: Winter Soldier can use Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert, both with a locked range value of 10. If he uses both in a turn, he must target the same character.

When you put it all together, he can Outwit right through Stealth from 10 squares away and then attack that same character for up to five damage. To paraphrase my earlier thoughts on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard, having Steath and Outwit together on one dial was good all the way back in Infinity Challenge (Why, it’s Infinity Challenge Experienced Black Panther! Hello again, old friend!), and it’s still good now. And when you add Winter Soldier’s Improved Targeting twist, it gets even better.

Ooooookay, that does not look safe...

Ooooookay, this does not look safe…

9. NFAOS061 Avengers Sky-Cycle – Hawkeye has been getting a lot of love lately in HeroClix. He’s got three good-to-great options in Modern (AAOU009 Hawkeye, AVAS002 Hawkeye, and AAOU106 Hawkeye.). He’s got two specialized Revert figures (AVAS066 Goliath, and AVAS052 Ronin). And now he has the best vehicle in this set printed for him.

Of all of the Chases in this set, this is the only vehicle that can actually carry more than just the pilot.  That’s a big thing. It will also let Hawkeye take a huge hit that might otherwise have KO’d him (seriously, this thing has six Clicks of life–with Toughness on the first three!).

But the best part about this vehicle is it’s printed power, “Unbelievable Upside-Down Shot: When Avengers Sky-Cycle makes an attack, you may modify its attack value by +2. If you do and actions resolve, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and on a result of 1, place the pilot in an adjacent square, dealing it and all passengers 2 unavoidable damage.” Keep in mind that with the new vehicle rules, the Sky-Cycle will be making attacks with its Pilot’s printed stats. So this power allows almost any Pilot to raise the Sky-Cycle’s Attack Value to a very “Hawkeye-like” 12 or 13 with only a very small chance of catastrophe.

Note to other comic artists: this is how you design and introduce a new look for an established character.

This piece is called “Killing It” by Stuart Immonen. And if it’s not, it should be. 

8NFAOS049 Captain America – The new Falcon as Captain America has a better then expected range of 7 along with Precision Strike, 11 Attack, and 3 Damage. But his defense is where he really shines. He has a Defense Special Power that contain the most standard powers I’ve ever seen combined into one white box. It reads, “How Did I Ever Survive Without a Shield?: Captain America can use Energy Shield/Deflection, Invulnerability, Super Senses, and Willpower.” That’s four standard powers in one! Apparently, Sam is able to use that shield better than Cap ever did (at least in HeroClix).

Being that he’s the artist formerly known as Falcon, this Captain America also gets help from his birds via 3 pigeon tokens and a Redwing token. Redwing’s use is obvious, but the pigeons will need a bit more strategic planning to get the most out of them. Being that they are tiny size I believe that their best use is to be Carried and then dropped into adjacency with opposing figures while your figures stay at least one square back. You opponent will hopefully have to waste an attack on each pigeon token.

I’m just picturing it in my head now:

"Hulk hate puny pigeons!"

Hulk hate puny pigeons!”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: By the way, has there been a better “new look” for an established character in the last ten years than Falcon’s Captain America costume? It’s like they took the best bits of Falcon’s original costume, Cap’s normal suit, and Cap’s “Winter Soldier” movie costume, blended it all together, and somehow the result is even greater than the sum of its substantial parts.

Also, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but of all the diversity initiatives Marvel has undertaken with their topline, A-list  characters lately (Thor is a woman! Spider-Man is black! Ms. Marvel is a Muslim!), Sam Wilson becoming Cap has always made the most sense to me, story-wise. If anything, Falcon should have been promoted to replace Steve a few years ago when the Winter Soldier ended up taking over as Captain America. Cap and Falcon had been friends and fellow Avengers for years; at the time, Bucky Barnes had only recently gotten his mind right after being brainwashed into becoming a Communist killing machine for decades! Which of those two would YOU choose to inspire millions of Americans and carry on your legacy if you were Cap?

Now don’t get me wrong; while I thought most of these storylines were bad ideas at the time (mostly because they seemed forced and contrived, as if they existed solely to round out some sort of character diversity quota instead of coming about naturally as each character’s story progressed), Marvel’s implementation of these stories has been nearly flawless, especially when you consider how easy it would be to screw these twists up and alienate your core readers.

Jane Foster Thor 1

As much as I didn’t understand replacing Thor with a woman called “Thor” (isn’t Thor Odinson Thor’s actual name, and not a title like “Captain America?” That’s like if everyone started calling the Falcon “Steve” after he took over the mantle of Captain America, which wouldn’t make any sense at all, right? Or am I just completely overthinking this?), the way that story has evolved (especially with the reveal of who this new Thor actually is) has kind of grown on me.

Miles Morales

And while I’m not a huge Ultimate Spider-Man fan, Miles Morales actually seems to work better when he exists in stories WITH Peter Parker interacting with/sort of guiding him. Peter’s traditionally portrayed as just barely having his own life together, so the idea of someone like that mentoring a kid with similar powers like Miles is actually pretty interesting to me, and I look forward to the upcoming post-Secret Wars merging where they will both exist in the same universe.

Kamala Khan

Finally, Ms. Marvel has become a wonderful book about a young girl trying to balance the power and responsibility of being a latent Inhuman with her Muslim faith while still trying to survive life as a normal American high-schooler (and not just in her own book–check out her delightful guest appearance in the second issue of Mark Waid’s wonderful new “S.H.I.E.L.D.” series from a few months ago). Also, her hero worship of Carol Danvers offers a unique window into what Kamala Khan values and plants a very compelling reason as to why she would consciously choose to fight for justice under the name “Ms. Marvel.” In other words, Ms. Marvel might be the most Spider-Man-like character Marvel’s published in a decade.

This is why I always loved that Marvel as a whole is called “The House of Ideas.” I love plenty of DC characters, and there are many wonderful stories in that universe. But I just can’t see DC pulling off something this crazy on paper and actually having it all work.

Alright, with all that said, let’s get back to Ninwashui’s Top Ten already!!]

Peggy Carter

7. NFAOS007B Peggy Carter – Ho-hum. Another set, another VERY good Common Prime. For 60 points, this bargain Batman piece Peggy Carter figure brings a lot to the table. First, her Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain helps her get to enemy territory and her Trait protects her when she gets there: “Behind Enemy Lines If Peggy Carter is closer to an opponent’s starting area than she is to her own, she can use Stealth and Shape Change.

If your opponent can’t see through Stealth, then she can keeping running between Hindering Terrain patches while she puts her Energy Explosion to work. If the opponent tries to engage her in close combat he faces the wrath of her exceptionally good Damage Special, “Saboteur At the beginning of your turn, choose a standard power or team ability. Opposing characters within 3 squares of Peggy Carter can’t use it until your next turn. ” If your opponent brings his whole team after her… well, she is only 60 points. Your other 240 points of team should be able to flank your opponent and easily take advantage of that.

Fitz and Henry

6. FFNFAOS004 Fitz (and FFNFAOS099 H.E.N.R.Y.)  If you’ve read any of our Top Tens before, you know that whenever I see a character cost exactly 50 points in a Fast Forces set, I tend to pay attention. 50 points is the magical point value for good support characters in HeroClix Fast Forces releases. It’s a trend that started way back with FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and continued on with pieces like FFDP006R Mercy and most recently FFOA006R Captain America. In the long tradition of 50 Point Fast Forces support pieces, Fitz does not disappoint.

Starting on click two, Fitz has Perplex, the Shield TA, Field Team Backup Trait and an extremely mobile Empower/Enhancement effect via Henry. Then he also has the choice to use a power action for Telekenisis or to grant another character an additional Perplex. That’s a ton of support for just 50 points, and that’s why he’s on this list at #6!

So... I'm thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

So… I’m thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

5NFAOS050 Thor – For 145 points this may be the best version of Thor ever printed. She has the damage reducers normally associated with Thor, but she also has the Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters, Elevation, and Hindering that seems more like it would be at home on DP036 Bullseye. She starts defensively with Impervious and Shape Change. Offensively, she has Running Shot and Energy Explosion. Once she takes some damage she switches to Super Strength and full move Charge! He dial finishes strong with Pulse Wave and then finally regeneration. She doesn’t have a bad click amongst her eight clicks of life and she gets a bonus against resource users: “If She Be Worthy: Modify Thor’s attack and damage values by +1 when targeting a single character that is assigned a relic or resource with an attack.”  A real steal for the points. 

This is a Primary Attacker that we’ll be seeing in ROC’s and other tournies for the next two years!

"Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?"

Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?

4NFAOS051 Steve Rogers – In HeroClix this is the best director that S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had. You’ll notice the high Attack Values right away with the opening 12, but the surprising part is how consistent those values are. Only on his final Click does he get as low as a 10 Attack. While his Running Shot, Improved Targeting and dual target Energy Explosion make him look like a solo Primary Attacker, he is just as good at supporting his team. He has Leadership, Enhancement, the ability to grant other pieces Energy Shield/Deflection, and every time he hits with an attack anyone with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword can use Probability Control while attacking that turn. 

So you may not have a ton of room left after fielding Steve for 150 Points, but you won’t need it, since he gets the most out of his 40-60 Point S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddies!

"No, I'm not a vampire. I know, I get that a lot. I think it's the cape. And the constant brooding."

I am called Nighthawk. Mostly because it is scarier than ‘Kyle.”

3NFAOS059b Nighthawk (Prime) – Think of how much you enjoy powers like Ranged Combat Expert, Traits that grant stat bonuses, or Resources that give +1 to all stats. For 65 points this guy shuts all of that down and much, much more. His Trait reads, “The People Must Think For Themselves: Friendly characters can’t be targeted by Mind Control. Opposing characters’ combat values can’t be increased unless they are adjacent to Nighthawk.” Offensively this guy is nothing too special, but he shines defensively. He defensive power reads, “President of the United States (of Earth-712): Nighthawk can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Shape Change. When he uses Shape Change, increase the result by +1 for each adjacent friendly character.” It’s kind funny that he gets energy Shield/Deflection himself  because that power is useless on opposing characters. But hey, what good is an unfair advantage if you can’t take advantage of it?

"What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!"

What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!

2NFAOS048 Iron Nail – Hypefox and I played a Sealed game with 2 packs each of this set. He pulled Iron Nail and SR Nighthawk. The truth is that he could have beaten my whole team with just this guy. His powers and stats are about average for a character of his point cost, but his Trait is borderline broken. It reads “Rapid Power Drain At the end of your turn, place a Drain token on the cards of all adjacent opposing characters. Opposing characters modify their combat values by -1 for each Drain token placed by him. An opposing character may be given a power action to remove all Drain tokens from that character’s card.

In our sealed game he just walked Iron Nail next to my Baron Blood prime and that was pretty much all he needed to do to win that match. Baron Blood had a 10 attack that became a 9 and of course he missed that attack roll the following turn. Even if he hit, he would have needed a good Blades/Claws/Fangs roll to even do damage. Iron Nail’s dial is 8 clicks long with damage reducers all the way and it has this Trait the whole dial, obviously. He could easily KO any of the 14 figures I have named so far. Even 300 point SR Hulk in this set would have a good chance of losing to this guy in a 1 on 1 fight. In Sealed he’s an auto play and I bet he’ll see a lot of constructed play as well. Especially when you consider he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Which leads me to my next thought: He has the freaking S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword! So you’re not even that limited in what teams you can build around him! Sheeesh.

Nick Fury Original Sin

1NFAOS056 Nick Fury – In the Original Sin storyline it was revealed that Nick Fury was secretly a cosmic assassin (called “The Man on the Wall”) that spent all his free time killing entities that were going to threaten the earth before anyone else even knew about it. If you were a mystical demon overlord, cosmic alien warlord, or a monster from the center of the earth, chances are that Nick and his frankly awesome-beyond-words-Gamma- bullet- sniper- rifle had you in his crosshairs.

They’ve translated this character into HeroClix extremely well. He doesn’t have Running Shot; like the Winter Soldier, Nick will just sit and wait for you to come into his (extremely long) range. When you do, you’re toast He accomplishes this with a Trait and Special Power. His Trait reads “Cosmic Assassin, Guardian of Earth: Nick Fury can use Shape Change. When Nick Fury targets only the highest point opposing character with an attack, modify his attack and damage values by +1 and he deals penetrating damage.

His special power reads, “Watcher’s Eyes to See Secrets: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.

Because of his Trait, the highest point opposing character is always dealt Penetrating damage on any attack (even close combat). If you are someone like IIM103 Absorbing Man who doesn’t fear Penetrating damage, then Nick Fury will just use his Special Power on you and take away your defense anyway. Think about that for a moment. He would deal Penetrating damage to 1000 point Shuma-Gorath and if Invincible showed up, Nick would just take that power away too. With an 11 Attack likely changing to 12 and Probability Control built in, he is not missing often and with his various Improved Targeting Traits, literally only Blocking Terrain is safe to hide behind. Defensively he has Stealth, Toughness, 18 Defense, Probability Control, and Shape Change! If an opponent wants to try and take Nick out, that’s far from a sure thing.

He reminds me a lot of DP036 Bullseye back when Bullseye and DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M. were the Meta team to beat. Nick is far superior to Bullseye for just 10 more points and he should see a bunch of Constructed play. Heck, the Meta might soon be  playing either him or playing a team designed to beat him (whatever that might be). That’s why he’s the best figure in this set.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We also have a special announcement!! We’re teaming with Heroclix Underground to help provide content for their new venture! Look for versions of this article, a Top Ten Second Opinion and more to show up soon on their site. As for Critical Missives, we’re not going anywhere, and we’ll soon return with “Straight, With CHASEr 4” (where we take a special look at the new vehicles) and the aforementioned Second Opinion on Nick Fury!!]

The Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future!! (Or, Critical Missives Presents: A Viewer’s Guide to Gotham: Season 1!!) (Or, The Tenth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, an ongoing Critical Missives Clix celebration wherein we’re trying to publish new content for 12 straight days. If you’ve missed anything, you can check out Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4Night 5Night 6Night 7Night 8 or Night 9 just by clicking the preceding links!]

Hello! Welcome to Night 10 of The 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Television

Today we’re going to preview what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here on Critical Missives:  Episode Guides for comic-book TV shows! We’ve been teasing these for awhile now, but the 12 Nights of Clix-mas has finally given us the chance we needed to make it a reality! First up will be a FOX Freshman series about a cop. Who lives in a very dangerous city. Today, we’re just publishing a recap of the Pilot, but the full article (which should come in early January, smack dab in the middle of the Heroclix Dead Zone) will have every episode that has run to that point! We’ll also make that page stick so that we can keep adding to it as the season continues.

After the Gotham project’s done, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be next, followed by Flash!

Having said all that, enjoy the preview!

 

"The name's Gordon!"

The name’s Gordon!”

We’ve seen the first half of the first season of GOTHAM, so buckle in–it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Gotham Title

 

Series Overview:

Gotham tells the story of Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival.

Season Overview:

The first season of Gotham is the story of the distinguished war veteran and perpetually serious-faced James Gordon, who comes back to his hometown of Gotham to take a job as a detective with the GPD. His private agenda is to fight the corruption eating at the city’s core by helping to solve as many crimes as he can while also exposing the misdeeds of those in power, but he is alternately impeded and aided by his partner, Harvey Bullock. He also quickly finds out very quickly that his new job has put his girlfriend, Barbara, in harm’s way.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Detective Gordon introduces himself.

Meanwhile, gangster Fish Mooney bides her time as a lieutenant in the Falcone crime empire as she waits for the perfect time to dispatch her boss, Carmine Falcone, and take over, but her plans take a detour when her confidence is betrayed by one of her own employees, a violent, passive-aggressive young man named Oswald Cobblepot…

Showrunner: Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist)

Main Cast:

Ben McKenzie…………………………………………..(James Gordon)

Donal Logue……………………………………………..(Harvey Bullock)

Jada Pinkett Smith…………………………………..(Fish Mooney)

Robin Lord Taylor……………………………………(Oswald Cobblepot)

John Doman……………………………………………..(Carmine Falcone)

Erin Richards……………………………………………(Barbara Kean)

Zabryna Guevara……………………………………..(Sarah Essen)

Camren Bicondova……………………………………(Selina Kyle)

Cory Michael Smith………………………………….(Edward Nygma)

Sean Pertwee……………………………………………(Alfred Pennyworth)

David Mazouz…………………………………………..(Bruce Wayne)

 

Recurring Cast:

Victoria Cartagena……………………………………(Renee Montoya)

Andrew Stewar-Jones………………………………(Crispus Allen)

Drew Powell……………………………………………..(Butch Gilzean)

J.W. Cortes……………………………………………….(Detective Alvarez)

Richard Kind…………………………………………….(Mayor Aubrey James)

Makenzie Leigh………………………………………..(Lisa)

Claire Foley………………………………………………(Ivy Pepper)

David Zayas……………………………………………..(Sal Maroni)

Carol Kane……………………………………………….(Gertrude Kapelput)

Nicholas D’Agosto…………………………………….(Harvey Dent)

 

Episode 1.01: “Pilot

Gordon Wayne Pilot

Written By: Bruno Heller

Directed By: Danny Cannon

Tonight, on Gotham… : James Gordon, Gotham PD’s newest detective, is partnered with grizzled veteran cop Harvey Bullock by their Captain, Sarah Essen. The city is rife with violence and corruption, which sickens Gordon, who has come back to his hometown to do his best to clean it up. Bullock, for his part, seems to be every bit the sort of “dirty” cop that Gordon is crusading against. Before either can object to their pairing, however, they’re assigned to the investigation of the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, two titans of the Gotham business, political and social landscapes.

Bruce-Wayne-in-the-Gotham-TV-show

The case soon takes them through the Gotham City underworld where they encounter Fish Mooney, a ruthless lieutenant in the Falcone crime family. Eventually Mooney’s information leads Gordon and Bullock to corner their lead suspect, Mario Pepper, but Bullock is forced to kill him before Pepper can assault Gordon.

Back at the station, Gordon and Bullock are applauded as the heroes who solved the Wayne murders, although something isn’t sitting right with Gordon. Against Harvey’s objection, Gordon journeys to Wayne Manor to speak with Bruce Wayne–Thomas and Martha’s young son who is now in the care of the family butler, Alfred–so that he can tell Bruce that he screwed up; Mario Pepper wasn’t the guy who killed their parents.

Eventually, a witness to the killings comes forward. Street urchin Selina Kyle was there when the Waynes were murdered, and she may know who did it.

Meanwhile, Fish Mooney finds out that Gordon is still investigating what should be a closed case, and she dispatches a team to kill Gordon and Bullock. Before the hit goes down, however, Carmine Falcone finally makes an appearance and gives Gordon and Bullock a reprieve–provided that Gordon “plays ball.”

Previously, Fish had determined that none other than her little errand boy, Oswald Cobblepot, was the one who tipped Gordon off in the first place about Pepper not being the real killer, so Carmine orders Bullock to have Gordon execute Cobblepot. Gordon, realizing he has no choice, walks Cobblepot down to the edge of a pier with a gun to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot begs for his life and says that there’s a war coming to Gotham. He’s seen it coming for awhile now, and he can help avert it.

Gordon Cobblepot

When they arrive at the end of the pier, Gordon can only whisper one sentence to Cobblepot before he aims his gun: “Don’t come back to Gotham.”

Gordon pulls the trigger and fires–right NEXT to Cobblepot’s head. Cobblepot falls into the water and Bullock is now satisfied that Gordon’s “gotten his hands dirty” by murdering Cobblepot. Gordon can keep his life–and his job–for now.

In the very last scene, a startled fisherman could have sworn he just saw something move in the water. He looks to investigate, but finds nothing. Then he turns around and finds Cobblepot standing there with the fisherman’s own fillet knife. Before the fisherman can run, Cobblepot brutally slices his neck open.

Oswald

Reaction: There was a lot going on in the Pilot–arguably too much. Gordon is really kind of one-note so far, and Bullock is painfully over the top, to the point that Logue really looks uneasy in the role. That will change (mostly because Logue gets more comfortable as the writing gets better), but Bullock is tough to take seriously in these first few episodes.

Fish Mooney is the one major character (so far) that the writers have cooked up exclusively for the show (meaning she isn’t based on a comics counterpart), and the verdict is still out. I like the concept of her (although the name is awful–it would be more at home in a Dick Tracy comic than a Batman story); the fact that Jada Pinkett Smith (who I normally love) seems to be trying to channel Eartha Kitt with each of her line readings is really distracting. The writers clearly love her, because they put her in almost every scene. Still, the whole momentum of the show seems to grind to a halt.

The actors playing Alfred and Bruce are good, but it already seems like it’s going to be tough to shoehorn them into the story every week. Leaving the Waynes’ murder unsolved will give Gordon a reason to check in with them every now and then, but so far Pertwee seems almost wasted as Alfred. An episode or two detailing his backstory (which is quite adventurous, at least in the comics) and why he’s so devoted to the Wayne family would go a long way.

These sorts of problems are actually common for a pilot, as everyone–including the writers–is still sort of feeling their way around. But the biggest find in terms of the cast is Robin Lord Taylor. He’s the one actor on this show who had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his character from the get go, and he really pops in every scene he’s in, whether it’s well written or not. The writers will grow to lean heavily on Cobblepot as the series goes on, and this is in no small part due to Taylor’s performance.

The one thing the show really has going for it is the cinematography. This show looks gorgeous. They got the feel and atmosphere just about dead on. If I lived in Gotham, this is what I’d expect to see when I looked around. I know some folks aren’t sold–they still have the hyper-realized production design from the Tim Burton movies fresh in their mind. But for my money, this aspect of the production was a home run.

Overall, Gotham’s first episode has a shaky foundation, but there are definitely some intriguing elements to build on.

Verdict: C-

 

And there ya go! Look for the full Episode Guide in January!

And now that you’ve seen the Ghost of Critical Missives’ Future, come back Christmas Eve night for a special Ninwashui-penned “Christmas Carol”-style look at Heroclix…

Say Geronimo! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 11/23/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello again! It’s been a solid month since we last rounded up everything there is to, y’know, round up! And, given that Thanksgiving is just about here, I figured everyone could use a Turkey Day Roundup!

So what’s been going on this last 30 days? Well, War of Light is finally done (at least at most venues); The Flash has finally released (after just a one week delay); and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies should finally be out now at a Target or hobby store near you (or be coming very soon–depends on where you live, it seems).

All of which means we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going with…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; last week, in Episode 71, they opened up their Meta Toolbox to talk about all the Modern Age resources in the context of the Meta! And as a special Holiday bonus, they’ve ALREADY released Episode 72!

Yours truly was lucky enough to finish in the Top 4 of their Dial Design contest this month; if you want to get in on the action, December’s Dial Design should start around November 30th.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27 is still the most recent ep of The Quarry. The ROC tab on HCRealms has a link to upcoming events and vaguely mentions an Episode 28, but damned if I can find it!

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an October or November ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Just announced on the Heroclix.com Downloads tab: there is going to be a “Spider-Man Symbiotes” Monthly Op Kit in May of next year! Looks like there’ll be 3 different versions of Venom!

–No other current Previews, but that’s to be expected as they JUST released Flash. I’d expect no real previews until WizKids’s annual 12 Days of Clix-Mas promotion, where we’ll get a look at next year’s offerings like Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble and both Avengers: Age of Ultron offerings!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

So, we’ve gone on and on about the new R.O.C. Format, but sometimes I think we don’t put enough emphasis on choosing the best supporting characters for the Primary Attacker that you’ve chosen. Let’s take a look at how adding or subtracting a single supporting character can drastically alter a Build in this environment!

First, let’s look at the Iron Pharaoh Build from ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!

"Oh! Golden Falcon, no! I just polished this armor!"

“NO! Golden Falcon, I just polished this armor!”

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle 50

=300 Points

What This Build Does:

It slows everything down!! Which, as everyone knows by now, is fantastic for pieces like Iron Pharaoh and Fantomex (who can’t really be played in the current format because E.V.A. is a bystander token, which is illegal in “No Tactics” formats). But the fact that Shaman disables flying and Turtle limits people to moving just 4 squares or less (unless they want to take an additional action token) is just an insane combo. And if you win Map Roll (which will happen roughly 50% of the time, since there are no Themed Team Bonuses), Ryut should be a nightmare for most teams you’ll face. Weasel is the best supporting piece (offers a very limited Prob, +1 to Attack and Range and Enhancement) in the game for Ranged-based attackers, and Thule Society Priest is just there to get pushed into another Prob’r.

Okay, now that we know what the default Build does, let’s change the roster a bit!

This is what's known as a 'Dark Future.' (See what I did there?)

This is what’s known as a ‘Dark Future.’ (See what I did there?)

Team Name: “She Blinded Me With Science!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

FL031 Turtle 50

SLOSH004 Science Police Officer 45

=297 Points

What This Build Does (Differently): This is a Ninwashui variant. Okay, so we lost our main supporting piece (Weasel) and our secondary supporting/tie-up piece (Thule Society Priest), but we added Science Police Officer. What does this do? Well, it slows down the damage Iron Pharaoh can do by about 20%-25% (basically 3 instead of 4). You can make up for this a little bit by constantly keeping Shaman within range and line of fire of Iron Pharaoh, so he can use his Perplex there. But Science Police Officer combos really brutally with Turtle. Science Police Officer’s top dial Damage Special (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) means that your opponents best attackers are at risk of shutting themselves down before you even attack them!

Let’s run down everything your opponent has to deal with BEFORE you’ve even attacked them (assuming they don’t Copycat away Shaman–which is an unlikely matchup, but not an impossible one):

1. They can’t fly (after Shaman’s “No Flights” ability goes off);

2. They can’t move more than 4 squares at a time UNLESS they want to take a second action token or take 1 Penetrating Damage.

3. If they do try and burst through with one big move and attack (via Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, etc.), they take an UNAVOIDABLE DAMAGE in addition to the extra action token/penetrating damage from Turtle!

With all this SLOWNESS going on, you should have plenty of time to get your Golden Falcon into position to start dropping 3 Damage Outwit Bombs!

 

What We’ve Learned:

While both Builds should be competitive no matter who you play, the first Build is fairly aggressive in terms of lining up its shots (with Weasel, Shaman and the available Probs, you’re trying to line up a 4-5 Damage shot that won’t miss after Outwitting a character’s Defense slot).

The second Build is more of a “take the opportunities that my opponent gives me” sort of army, where you’re basically turning the whole map into a spider’s web and waiting for your opponent to get themselves “stuck” (double-tokened and damaged).

That’s two nearly identical Builds with two significantly different styles of play based solely on which supporting character you choose to use!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Just in case May 2015 wasn’t going to be a busy enough month for Marvel fans (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; a ton of different Marvel Heroclix sets), that’s also the month that is currently set to be the premiere month for Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s new Netflix shows.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats!

Show: Daredevil

Showrunner: Drew Goddard (first two episodes); Steven S. DeKnight (current showrunner)

Known Regular Cast:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock: Charlie Cox

Karen Page: Deborah Ann Wolf

Foggy Nelson: Elden Hensen

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin: Vincent D’Onofrio

Claire Temple/Night Nurse (?): Rosario Dawson

Vanessa Marianna: Ayelet Zurer

Known Notable Guest Stars/Recurring Cast:

Stick: Scott Glenn

Ben Urich: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Leland Owlsley: Bob Gunton

Hachiro: Peter Shinkoda

Daredevil will go for at least one season of 13 episodes, with the character currently expected to play a major role in a planned “Defenders” mini-series which would feature all of Marvel’s Hells Kitchen-based heroes teaming up in an Avengers-like fashion.

It is entirely too early to know whether we’ll get a second season of Daredevil and/or when that would premiere. As of now, even the “Defenders” show is somewhat theoretical; if they four lead-up series bomb, you can bet Marvel and Netflix will find a way to can the mini-series.

On the other hand, if Daredevil is wildly successful (and only Netflix and Disney will really have any idea, since digital distribution success is almost impossible for folks outside the industry to determine), I’d expect Marvel to go ahead with both “The Defenders” AND a second season of Daredevil. And possibly even start added some mystical heroes to the Netflix slate, starting with Blade and Ghost Rider.

–The second Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil will be the as-yet-unofficially-titled Jessica Jones series. Casting has begun, with rumors swirling around who will play both Jessica Jones AND recurring guest star (and star of Marvel’s third Netflix series) Luke Cage!!

For the next Weekly Roundup, I’m going to start compiling season-long episode guides of current genre TV shows, starting with…

 

Gotham Title

 

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Annnnd, welcome back to the latest feature category for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

For any who have forgotten, this is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about interesting upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–RIW Hobbies in Livonia is hosting a Sealed Draft of War of Light on 12/05!!

–If you’re looking to try D&D Attack Wing, Month One of the Tyranny of Dragons OP is happening at Eternal Games in Warren on 12/06.

–Annnd, one week later, Eternal Games is running a really cool event that they’re calling War of Light: Month 7! This will happen on 12/13 @ 1pm, and will feature a 600-Point Constructed tournament as well as Battle Royal side events throughout the day!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–We were ROC’ing the Meta this past couple weeks. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here!

Coming up in the next week, we should have a Comics & More War of Light: Month 6 Battle Report PLUS both my AND Ninwashui’s Flash Top Ten Reviews!

And that’s it for this week!! Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

A Really Long Reply: Skye’s Father and Other Random Thoughts…

This started off as a really long comment/reply to Hypefox’s last Mid-Weekly Roundup. With everything he brought up, my reply ended up being long enough to be it’s own article.

What follows is in no particular order…

Agents of Shield Title

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D:

–I read an article today theorizing that the Inhumans are coming to Agents of S.H.I. E.L.D. . The author theorized that the blue alien that healed Coulson was a Kree and that Skye was an Inhuman. That’s why Skye shared some DNA with the blue alien (being that the Inhumans were the result of Kree genetic experiments on humans). They also theorized that the obelisk is actually a Terrigan Crystal. Various characters in the series have also mentioned several times that Skye and her father were from the Himalayas. That was the original location of the home of the Inhumans (before it moved to the moon and before it blew up). Now, the author of the article thought Skye’s father would either be Mr. Hyde (retconned to now be an Inhuman), Maximus, or the Unspoken! The first one would make Skye into “Daisy” from Marvel’s Secret Warriors and the last two would actually make Skye part of the Inhuman royal family!

My guess?

I think it will turn out that Mr. Hyde will be Skye’s father. There is talk of an Inhumans movie and if that’s true then Mr. Hyde would be the least likely character that would be needed for such an endeavor, which in turn would mean that the showrunners would have free rein to do whatever they wanted to with the character. That’s why I think Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t feature more recognizable super people–they didn’t know which characters would and would not be needed for MCU films in the near future. Having a major villain debut on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much ensures that character won’t make it into the movies (at least not in any meaningful way, i.e. the primary antagonist).

Can you imagine if, say, a Hawkeye movie featured as the main villain someone that Phil Coulson’s team fought (and ostensibly beat) during an episode of MAoS? There could definitely be a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ to the proceedings, which could cause ticket sales to suffer, which is just about the last thing you would want for a tentpole flick that would cost a minimum of $150 million to produce.

However, if the MCU movies used some of the characters who were first established on TV (or, say, one of the upcoming Netflix series) to fill in the edges of some of their stories, well, that could be really cool. For example, if, say, Absorbing Man showed up as bit player in the next Avengers movie then I think that would drive the up popularity of both media, and would make the TV series “matter” in the movie universe. Can you imagine Avengers 2 opening with the already-established-on-Agents-of-S.H.I.E.L.D.-Absorbing Man fighting the Hulk in Times Square before the opening credits? Then Ultron reveals him himself after the Avengers assemble post-fight back at the tower. I don’t think they’ll do it, but it’s awesome to think about. Really, the possibilities for this sort of thing are endless…

 

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

Celebrate-Gate…

 The Detroit Lions – These guys have been known in years past (really every other year previous to now) to lead fans on and make them start to believe only to yank the football away at the last second like Lucy does with Charlie Brown. Their defense this year will be remembered as one of the best the team has ever had. The offense will likely not be remembered at all. They won their latest game in incredible fashion, or more accurately the Falcons lost their latest game in incredible fashion. On the plus side this week no major player injured themselves celebrating, and our field goal kicker proved he can actually make a field goal if you give him a free do-over. Seriously I would love it if Jason Hanson came back. I think the Lions are getting kickers from the same place that the Tigers get closers.

 

Avengers_Assemble_TV_series

Marvel Cartoon Series – I don’t have any new news here. I just wanted to bring these to your attention in case you haven’t been checking them out. When Marvel connected everything in their movie universe by releasing the Avengers, the cartoon universe made that same move. In 2013, the current (at that time) Avengers cartoon was based off of the comics. It was replaced by Avengers Assemble, which started in episode one with the events of the Avengers movie. From there it diverges wildly (like adding falcon to the team in episode 1), but it’s nice for new viewers to have the movie starting point. Being in cartoon form also allows them to do things that wouldn’t fly in the movies – like having Dracula (yes that Dracula) be a reoccurring villain.  Avengers Assemble also connects with Ultimate Spider-man and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in the same cartoon Universe. This allows them to guest star characters frequently between series and keep the same voice actors for characters regardless of show. For example, Iron Man is always voiced by Adrian Pasdar (who is also Glen Talbot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) regardless of which of the shows he’s appearing on at the time. That inter-connectedness makes it cool.

 

redbox

On Blu-Ray this month – I’ve got kids so I miss a ton of movies in theatres. I took a chance and rented Godzilla this week. I loved Pacific Rim and I was hoping this would be similarly fun. That ended up not being the case. The director made the incomprehensible decision to shoot the movie with realistic lighting conditions. Like maybe the monsters would be a lot scarier if you couldn’t really see them. Except in other movies that do that there is something else for the viewers to watch. This was just dark and hard to see. Can you imagine if the original Star Wars used realistic lighting conditions and you could barely see the Death Star the whole movie? Ridiculous. The plot also was absurd and that’s coming from someone who thought the Mathew Brodrick version was decent. HISHE has a wonderful spoof on this movie. The part with the “let them fight” line was dead on.

I’m hoping to rent The Edge of Tomorrow and 1000 Ways to Die in the West soon. I have higher hopes for those movies.

 

The_Flash_(2014_TV_series)_logo

The Entire Flash set Versus Speed Demon – They’ve revealed five Hypersonic Speed-based character dials for The Flash set so far. While they each have some interesting powers, they all require you to hit an opponent before you can really do anything special. There are faster pieces in this set, but so far it looks like Speed Demon will remain the best Hypersonic HeroClix character [EDITOR’S NOTE: All characters get better with Entities, obviously, but he is damn near broken! Ion is great with him; Ophidian might be just as good, if not better (keep in mind, if you can find a way to give Speed Demon Sidestep, his Trait still activates! So in addition to your normal attack and first Speed Cyclone Uplift victim, if you’re careful enough with your positioning, you would have a 1 in 6 chance to do another 1 damage to an opposing figure. That’s three freaking chances to deal damage to opposing figures, and two of them don’t even need attack rolls. Sick, sick SICK!!]

On an unrelated note, FL204 Central City Police Captain has a power that reads “LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT: When building your force, all characters with the Police keyword have the Central City keyword.” With the Batman and Streets of Gotham sets still being legal, Police teams might be a thing again. As always, stay tuned…

 

Krampus

Team of the week – I’ve had reason to study the Krampus/Helspont combo recently and I’m finding the only teams truly resistant are teams that feature a tent pole that costs over 199 points (because Helspont can’t switch with them). To that end I put together this quick team.

“Deadpool is Just the Man to Teachethetheth Thee.”

  • DP055 Deadpool (w/DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?”)
  • TDW011 Fandral
  • FIR100 The Book of the Skull
  • FIR107 Angrir’s Hammer
  • Total = 299 points

If someone tries to “Krampus” this team they won’t be able to touch Deadpool due to his point cost.  That leaves Fandral. Fandral can use his perplex to raise his defense by one and then Krampus would need hit a 20 defense to get his Capture. It’s still very possible Krampus makes that roll, but it’s a certainly not a “lock”. That’s not really even the worst part for the Krampus player. If Helspont switches with Fandral, he’ll end up double tokened next to Deadpool. Deadpool has outwit, pulse wave, and an attack of 14. He’s not going to miss except on snake eyes. Helspont will be near the end of his dial very quickly.

Against non-Krampus teams, Deadpool is still a killer and Fandral is still a very competent backup attacker. If Fandral rolls low on Blades then Deadpool gets a free close combat attack via Fandrals’s Feint special power . If Fandral rolls high on Blades, then he rolls high on Blades. Isn’t that enough?

The approach on the battlefield against other teams might hurt because Deadpool only has a six range, but once you close with another team you will be incredibly deadly.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Any team using the Yellow Power Battery has the possibility to give Krampus fits as well, provided your figures are over 79 Points. The Hal Jordan Parallax team from the first “Let’s Be Lanterns” should be able to mop the floor with a Krampus/Helspont team. Having said that, yeah, there’s not a lot that effectively counters Krampus/Helspont. Props to you again, Andrew!]

Well, that’s it for now. Man, that was a lot of randomness that I just scribbled down. I feel like Larry King! Now if only I got paid like him…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry. Not gonna happen.]

Damn.