You’re Simply the Best!! (Or, The Best Everything of 2013!! )

Tina Turner

With apologies to Tina Turner, now that we’ve wrapped up January and are preparing for the REAL start of the Heroclix year in February (with the exception of many venues across the country who are FINALLY catching up on Month One of AvX–although, God help me, not mine–January has been a Dead Zone for Heroclix), it’s time for our final list of, well, lists, to wrap up the year that was.

2013 saw more figures released than any year previous. No, I don’t have mountains of data to back that up, but holy Lord, look at everything we got this year:

Amazing Spider-Man (February)

Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game (March)

TabApp Elites for Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel (Various)

No Man’s Land (Various)

Iron Man 3 (April, although I don’t think the Target stuff hit ’til May)

Teen Titans (May)

Man of Steel (June)

Wolverine and the X-Men (August)

Batman Classic TV (September)

Superman Quick Start Kit (September)

Thor: The Dark World (October)

Fear Itself (All Summer, wrapped in November for most venues)

Batman: Arkham Origins (November)

Invincible Iron Man (November)

That’s quite a bit, eh? Oh, but wait–we’re not done yet. Not even close!!

Star Trek: Tactics 2 (January)

Star Trek: Mini-Game (April)

Iron Maiden (May)

The Fellowship of the Ring (June)

Pacific Rim (July)

Bioshock Infinite (July)

Kick Ass 2 (July–man, they love July releases, don’t they?)

The Lone Ranger (August)

Star Trek: Tactics III (October)

The Hobbit: Journey to the Lonely Mountain Strategy Game (October)

The Two Towers (November)

Mage Knight: Resurrection (November)

DOTA 2 (November)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (November)

WizKids's projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

An internal company diagram of WizKids’s projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

I mean, are you kidding me?! 28 releases in 2013 alone?! No one has time to sort through all those figures, much less collect them! Well, that’s where we come in. Pull up a chair, find something fruity to drink, and let’s get to it. These… were the best Heroclix of 2013!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bolded entries were the winner in their respective category; any other entries were the runners up. Which is why they weren’t bolded. Cuz I only break out the Bolding Stick… for Simply the Best!! Ahem.]

BEST 5-FIGURE SET (Marvel or DC):

And this still isn't every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

And this still isn’t every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man

Wolverine and the X-Men

Fear Itself

This was very close. Fear Itself broke ground as the first 5-Figure Set that could only be obtained through tourney play, and it was the hottest thing going the first two months it was played; Teen Titans gave us the first Team Bases (some would argue that this was a huge debacle, but whatever) and some really underrated figures (Omen, Psimon, 81-Point Wonder Girl); Wolverine and the X-Men gave us Phoenix 5 Chases, some cool Primes and some even cooler Team Bases (Side Note–C’mon, the Shi’ar?! How cool is that? Never thought I’d see WizKids make a full-0n Shi’ar Team Base! And Lilandra doesn’t even go on it! I mean, she makes it totally broken, but she doesn’t actually go on it! Outside of Gladiator, I knew, like, zero of these figures, and I LOVE the cosmic Marvel stuff. Props to WizKids for having the guts to not only make a Team Base full of figures that many players probably didn’t know about, but to then also make that piece overpowered as–well, it’s overpowered.); and Invincible Iron Man kind of snuck up on everyone and ended up being waaaaaay more powerful than folks expected:

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

But Amazing Spider-Man was the first set we got in 2013, and it was the best by just about every measure. I don’t know if WizKids has every produced such a well-rounded group of figures. You want power pieces for the Meta? Brother Voodoo and Ghost Rider ate up the Meta to the point that, outside of Spiral and the JLA Team Base–who, let’s remember, might have been a couple of the most broken pieces not just in Heroclix history but in the last 25 years of gaming– they were singled out in the Watchlist as needing immediate change lest they ruin all of Heroclix with their unstoppable nature. (Side Note 2–How did Brother Voodoo escape the Watch List? He was one of the most broken things on there!! All they did that even SLIGHTLY affected Brother Voodoo was alter the HfH ATA, and that was only so Ghost Rider couldn’t kill entire armies by himself whenever he felt the need for vengeance! Brother Voodoo don’t care about that! His Spirit Brother is still going to possess the shit out of you! For free. Go read those Watch List changes again. It spits on a dozen different figures and strategies until it comes to Brother Voodoo, but then it almost apologizes for having him on the list in the first place. So the question must be asked… Just what does Brother Voodoo have on WizKids?) And fast forward 3 months after the Watchlist, and Alyosha Kraven (the rare Prime) is now powering Animal teams in the Meta with Lizard. It gave Spidey book fans plenty of supporting characters they’ve been waiting for (Kaine! Madame Web!) along with a ton of fantastic options for Sinister Syndicate teams.

Alas... still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

Alas… still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

And we finally got some damn Monsters!! Dracula, Living Mummy (ridiculous for his points), Werewolves, Vampires and Morbius, oh my! We even got some Maximum Carnage pieces! Thematically, this set just hit it out of the park. And just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be any more new versions of Spider-Man to make, WizKids goes and gives us EIGHT freaking Chases, all with the Morph ability! And top to bottom, there are almost no duds in the set. Good gosh, I’m two paragraphs deep talking about the great figures of this set and I still haven’t mentioned Hannibal King, Doctor Druid, Shocker, Carrion, Terrax, Nightmare, Spider-Man 2099–all these figs would be the highlights of most releases, and they’re practically an afterthought here. And Franken-Castle! We have a freaking Franken-Castle! How is the world–and how are we as a species–not better for having a Franken-Castle?!

No matter what format you play, there was something cool for you in ASM. And that’s why it wins this category.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Marvel or DC):

The real Man of Steel.

The real Man of Steel.

Iron Man 3 (Target Exclusive)

Batman: Arkham Origins

Thor: The Dark World (Target Exclusive)

This was also pretty close. The movie sets tend to be a little bit larger, with a variant Target-exclusive version, so they have a distinct advantage over the regular set Gravity Feeds. ASM’s Gravity Feed is filled with above-average pieces, but nothing that I would call truly great; Teen Titans had Rose Wilson and nothing else worth writing home about; WXM had a few great pieces like Jean Grey and Shi’ar Guard, but not much else, and the IIM Gravity Feed actually featured an entire run of crappier versions of the some of the main set staples (I’m not gonna go on a rant again about Gravity Feed Rescue, but, man, she sucked so hard!). Batman: Arkham Origins was pretty awesome, except good luck pulling a rare. Distribution definitely seemed off. Still, Deadshot, Shiva, Deathstroke, Joker… there were some great figs here. Deadshot and Shiva especially are great for their points.

Among the three movie sets (well, six if you want to split each one into the Target Exclusive/Non-Target Exclusive versions) we got, the Target Exclusive Iron Man 3 set was the best top to bottom. The rares were all good–actually, War Machine is great, and the Chase (Iron Man and War Machine duo fig on single base) is severely underrated. Especially now that 125 Point War Machine exists as a thing for Splitting and Merging (and is pretty great in its own right). Moreover, the Commons were spectacular; Tony Stark & Aldrich Killian have factored into the Meta at various points through their run. Hell, even 75 Point Rookie Iron Man is beastly for his points! Simply put, this is the Gravity Feed set with the most figs that I’ll still be playing 12 months from now.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Non-Marvel or DC):

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

Pacific Rim

The Fellowship of the Ring

Iron Maiden

If you’re gonna release a Gravity Feed set where there’s only, like, 11 0r 12 different figures, you could do far worse than to release an all-Colossal set where GIANT FREAKING ROBOTS BATTLE GIANT FREAKING MONSTERS! We’ve talked about Slattern before; but the other figs in this set are just plain cool. Great sculpts, and this set opens up so many Epic Game options. You can fill out a 400, 500 or 600 Point Build in no time. And while, outside of 600 Point Slattern, I wouldn’t say that any of these figs are ridiculously good, they’re all fun to play.

The Fellowship of the Ring is a good set with one broken fig–Saruman. His Mind Control special rivals Omen’s for its reach and scope; it can’t really be defended against. He’s already made some impact in ROC, I believe. As has Iron Maiden, which, despite being another short set, is filled with interesting power sets. ROC has really shown a spotlight on a lot of these crazier sets–you really need to be prepared for almost anything when you play one of those.

BEST INNOVATION:

The Worthy

OP Exclusive Sets (Fear Itself)

Team Bases

The Mandarin’s Rings

The excitement generated by the first few months of Fear Itself trumps the dominance of the Team Bases, which I’m not sure WizKids has perfected yet. Fear Itself got a ton of players who normally wouldn’t participate in Organized Play into their local venues, since they’d be missing out on an entire set otherwise. That means a lot. Team Bases are a cool concept that were so initially overpowered that there was no point in playing a Modern Age tournament without one (specifically the JLA). They’re in a better place now, with several worth playing but none that are head and shoulders above the others (although Shi’ar and Hellfire Club are close).

Plus, that excitement you got when opening that month’s allotment of FI boosters was second to none. Once everyone had most of the set (by Month 4 or 5, usually), yeah, it became a bit tedious, but Fear Itself was the hottest thing going for a while.

The Mandarin’s Rings are the first Resource components distributed through regular boosters (at least that I’m aware of). They’re fun to collect, and are great Relics in their own right, but you still need a Power Plant to get them to their full potential.

BEST TEAM BASE:

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Trinity of Sin

Shi’ar

Hellfire Club/New Mutants (tie)

This was a close one, and my final selections are taking the Watchlist nerfs into account (otherwise, this would have been the JLA all day. That base is still powerful–Edward Shelton recently piloted it to a second-place finish at a ROC event–but these other bases didn’t lose as much as JLA did to the Watchlist changes.). But the Trinity of Sin is just all kinds of wrong. Plus, each one of its pop-offs can shut down a specific staple–Prob, Outwit or Perplex (although with Quintessence, you’re probably only worried about Prob or Perp). And, if you have the Trinity of Sin, that means you also have access to The Question and Pandora for any Modern Age Mystical builds you want to compete with–those are two of the strongest pieces with that keyword right now (particularly the Question–he’s already shown up on some major tournament Top 16 teams).

The Shi’ar Team Base is almost as disgusting, with great stats, one of the best pop-offs in the game in Warstar and the fact that it possesses a plethora of ways to decimate your opponent’s strategy. Does your opponent have really efficient taxis to ferry his big hitters around? Manta turns all fliers into non-carrying walkers. Did they stack their team with a ton of cheap figs in an attempt to overwhelm you? Just get the Assest Dial to Starbolt and his three target Energy Explosion. And so on. There just aren’t a lot of great ways to go at this piece, because it has so many options available to defend itself.

Hellfire Club and New Mutants also feature a bunch of trickeration backed up by some sneaky damage potential (and the Black King may actually be a BETTER pop-off than Warstar, if that’s possible).

BEST VEHICLE:

Unsafe at any speed.

Hey Warlock, maybe next time we morph some seat belts, eh? You just killed all of Self’s Friends.

Warlock

Batmobile (Batman Classic TV)

I’m mainly doing this category to highlight the fact that WE GOT NO FREAKING VEHICLES this year! After introducing a promising new mechanic, WizKids just rolled right on into Team Bases. Will we ever get Marvel vehicles? Who knows, but I want a damn S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, dammit! And the Winter Soldier movie set coming in late March would be perfect. Everyone keeps asking for a Colossal Helicarrier, which makes sense, but if they can fit an entire castle on a single base, I don’t see why we can’t get some sort of single base Chase Helicarrier or something to tie in with the movie. End of rant.

BEST NEW BUILD ENABLER:

This static photo is actually more screen time than Duhg got in the actual film.

Two-toned pants are all the rage on Duhg’s world.

Duhg (Thor: The Dark World)

Absorbing Man LE (Invincible Iron Man)

Shuma-Gorath (Convention LE)

Shuma and Absorbing Man have affected the Meta way more, but y’know what? Duhg teams are just more fun to build. They just are. When you’re bored at work, just pick a Build Total, pull out your smart phone and start building a Duhg team. You’ll look up and it’ll be at least ten minutes later. It’s like time traveling, I swear.

BEST MAIN ATTACKER PIECE (for the 300 Point Meta):

The difference is... I make this look gooooood.

The difference is… I make this look gooooood.

Silver Centurion (IIM Prime)

War Machine (IIM Prime)

Fantomex (WXM)

Silver Centurion is among the best main attack pieces WizKids has ever made, especially considering that you have your choice of augmenting him with the Power Plant or The Book of the Skull. He’s basically immune to Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy and Poison–basically everything you would realistically use to take him down. He brings his own secondary attacker. His Keywords are awesome. And you have 139 points left over for support figs. Or 89 Points after paying for Booklip.

War Machine Prime is only worse in that he costs more points. But he has the possibility of doing insane amounts of damage every three turns or so (depending on how many times he’s attacked and such). Fantomex is just rude. Coldly efficient, especially when teamed with some Barrier pieces.

BEST SUPPORT PIECE:

70's fashion... for the win!

70’s fashion… for the win!

Brother Voodoo (ASM Prime)

E Scarlet Witch (AvX)

Cerise (WXM Prime)

Whew. This was the closest call of the night, but Brother Voodoo is simply the best. Free Mind Control & Smoke Cloud PLUS Prob that rotates into Perplex… and oh, you say you think you can hit an 18 Defense with Super Senses while maneuvering around Smoke Cloud and Prob? Incidentally, this was a great year for support figs. I didn’t even mention Raven or Omen, two of my favorites from Teen Titans, or that little turd Bat-Mite. And that AvX Scarlet Witch is gonna have to pull some Brother Voodoo type intimidation tactics to avoid Watch List 2: Electric Boogaloo.

 

Well, that about covers it. Or maybe not, but we’ve already cruised right past the 2500 word barrier, which usually means I’ve outstayed my welcome. But let me know what you think in the Comments section. Did I get it right? Were there any categories I should have considered but didn’t? Post your picks below!!

Gone Hollywood (Or The Top 10 MovieClix of 2013!!)

And, as we wait for new Clix in 2014, we continue our look back at what we got in 2013…

photo (6)

So I was channel surfing a couple nights ago, and a late-night FX Network screening of Thor inspired me to reminisce about the set that got me back into Heroclix after a long time away from the game—the Avengers Movie Set!

In particular, it was the Gravity Feed set that came out in Targets across the country in the summer of 2012 that inspired me to get back into Clix. I bought two little packs and pulled a movie-Cap and the Chase Loki. I hadn’t played Heroclix since the days of Secret Invasion, but I was hooked again as soon as I saw that lil’ plastic Tom Hiddleston! He’s a boatload of points, but man, with Mystics, Power Cosmic AND every copyable enemy TA, he is a rough day for your opponent before the match even begins! (As he should be. He almost singlehandedly took down the stars of, like, 2 billion dollars worth of blockbusters.)

The main Avengers movie set also had two more Chases, Odin and the Red Skull. Odin was fine; he was a little bizarre, with two Odinsleep clix that almost ensure you’ll lose in a 300 point game if you land on them (unless your opponent misses against that 19 defense, though. Then he’s in trouble.). But in a 300 or 400 point game, sinking 250 points into an Odin with two different Clix that are devoid of damage reducers is a tough way to go.

The Red Skull Chase was a different story, though. He had great keywords and is still widely used a year and a half later to be the engine on a multitude of different Hydra teams. The rest of the set was awesome, too, with a great mix of support pieces and a very useful new Team Ability for Marvel: Avengers Initiative (the Superman Ally TA finally comes to Marvel!). Avengers, Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. teams got the biggest boost (Gravity Feed Phil Coulson was one of the best Perplex sources for the points for a few months there), but there was a little bit of something for everyone.

When WizKids released a Dark Knight Rises set just a couple months later, it became clear that movie tie-in sets were going to be a THING going forward, and that you would ignore them at your own peril. If you were someone who only collected “comic sets,” you were gonna miss out on some great pieces. How many? Well, in 2013, WizKids released sets for:

Iron Man 3 Movie Set (April) (Regular CTD AND Target Exclusive Gravity Feed)

Man of Steel (June) (Regular CTD AND Target Exclusive Gravity Feed)

Fellowship of the Ring (June also) (CTD–only 12 years late!)

Pacific Rim (July) (CTD) (Giant Robots and Giant Monsters—the whole set is Giant figs, and it’s as cool as it sounds)

Lone Ranger (July again) (Mini-starter set with 4 bizarrely sculpted figures—they have oversized heads for whatever reason—and a couple of generic POGS)

Kick Ass 2 (Oh good Lord, July again—they really went for it in July, eh?) (CTD)

Thor: The Dark World (October) (Regular CTD AND Target Exclusive Gravity Feed)

The Two Towers (November) (CTD—this one’s only 11 years late! Much more timely!)

The Desolation of Smaug (November—wait, two separate Tolkien sets two weeks apart? That’s insane.) (CTD)

By my count, that’s at least 9 movie tie-in sets. Not every set is legal for every format, so I don’t blame you one bit if you let some of those releases pass you by (9! There were 9 freaking sets! WizKids HAD to be drunk, right? Everyone? Like, all of the Wizard Childern?) uncollected, but the Marvel and DC sets are legal in pretty much any standard game, so they’re definitely worth tracking down. But which figs will give you the best bang for your buck? Or, put another way, which pieces were the best? Man, if only someone would publish, like, a TOP TEN best MovieClix for 2013, then I’d know what to buy… Well, random italicized trailing stream of consciousness, your ethereal wish has been granted!!

(As Doctor Who once said, that sentence got away from me.)

THE TOP 10 MOVIECLIX OF 2013!!

Slattern

10. Slattern (#007) 600 points (Common–Pacific Rim CTD):  What do you get for 600 points nowadays? 13 Attack, 6 Damage with Shape Change, 20 Defense with Impervious and a 12 Movement with Charge and Giant Reach. Oh, and a hungry, colossal behemoth who comes back to life if your opponent somehow manage to kill him (as all great movie monsters must and should!) just so he can try to eat them again.

His Trait (BIGGEST, BADDEST MONSTER TO EVER WALK THE EARTH: Once per game, when Slattern would be KO’d, instead, heal it to its starting line, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1. Deal it the result as unavoidable damage. For the rest of the game, modify Slattern’s attack and damage values by +1. This power can’t be ignored.) is ridiculously awesome, even more so when you consider that he’s got the Pacific Rim version of Mystics (it’s called Kaiju, but it’s Mystics). That’s up to 22 clicks of Mystics TA to get through, which means you’re in for a long day of hating yourself if you’re sitting across the table from him.

So after all that, why is he only number 10 on this list? Cuz I once saw his 300 point version taken down almost singlehandedly by a 100 point Holiday Elf in a battle royale where I was controlling neither figure. Is that relevant? Not remotely, especially since we’re talking about the 600 point Veteran here. But that experience was seared into my memory. So, sorry Slattern, but 10 is as high as you go.

Colonel SAS

9. Colonel Stars and Stripes (#200) 100 Points (Marquee–Kick-Ass 2 CTD): This set kind of came and went quickly without making much impact at my local venue, but there are some interesting pieces here, none more so than Colonel Stars and Stripes. He has Traited Duo Attack with his dog Eisenhower, and he can be given a power action to release his dog as a Bystander token, which he can then give a free move action to each turn (provided the pup is still within 4 squares of his master). Add in Running Shot, Charge and Flurry at various points in his dial, and you have a nifty lil’ fig here. Pieces like this are what get me excited about “lesser sets” like movie sets—this isn’t a power piece per say, but he looks like he’s a lot of fun to play and he’s totally different from most of the Modern Age pieces we have right now (Squirrel Girl is probably his closest comp, but she plays a slightly different role—and is less points, too. Oh, and I think she’s either out of Modern Age or about to be rotated out this year…). You couldn’t actually PLAY him in a Modern Age game, but he’d be a lot of fun to mess around with at your local venue or in an Indy-themed tournament. Plus, given how he responded to the promotion of this movie, this is almost definitely the first and last time Jim Carrey will be Clix’d.

Worker Spider

8. Worker Spider (#H006) 10 Points (Horde Token–The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Starter Set): Yes, a Bystander token made this list. It also made Top 16 at a recent ROC event. Why? Because it’s damn near broken for its point level. 10 points now gets you Empower? Okay, it’s a little harder to use than Enhancement; you can sell me on one click of Empower being only 10 points. It’s a newer power, so they may still be working out exactly what to charge for it. But why, pray tell, does this thing also get an 8 movement with Leap/Climb (a 10-point POG with a movement spec that puts figures 10 times its cost to shame?!) and Barrier?! Freaking Barrier?! It’s even got a tiny bit of range! Holy cow. For 10 points, this thing can pump up your melee damage by one AND block your opponent’s line of fire. I’m pretty sure it’ll do your taxes for you and take out the garbage too. It might as well; it does everything else apparently. It’s ridiculously efficient. Man, this is the first click that the first click of all other support figures need to be measured against, I guess…

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7. Aldrich Killian (#008) 35 Points (Common–Iron Man 3): He’s cheap, but he’s also capable of altering the board. Aldrich has only four clicks, but man, those clicks can be game-changing in certain situations. His Attack Special (A NEW WORLD IS DAWNING: Opposing characters within 8 squares can’t use Additional Team Abilities.) shut down certain Meta builds for a while (back when Ghost Rider could use Heroes for Hire to attack roughly 8 billion times each turn), and Barrier is almost always useful. His enhanced Support special (EXTREMIS TREATMENT: Aldrich Killian can use Support. When he does, a character healed through this use of Support modifies its attack and damage values by +1 until your next turn.) also means that, with a lucky role or two, he can completely flip a game on its ear in one turn. Only two keywords, but Soldier (Why does he have Soldier while Savin has Scientist again?!) means he can get into some shenanigans with his buddies Brandt and Savin, not to mention a host of figures from other sets. And if you are playing an Extremis A.I.M. team, his Trait (FATHER OF EXTREMIS: Friendly characters using the Extremis Explosion power affect characters and terrain within 7 squares instead of 5.) can really make his Extremis Brutes and Mercenaries devastating to deal with.

photo (9)

6. Tony Stark (#006) 50 Points (Common–Iron Man 3): Just an awesome support piece who can be dangerous if left to his own devices. For a long while, he only rated two stars on HCRealms.com (Editor’s Note: His rating is now four stars out of five), and all I could think was “Man, these cats must not be playing the same game that I am. Cuz in the Heroclix that I play, Enhancement and Outwit for 50 points is damn good!” Add in Energy Explosion, 17 Defense with Willpower, a Promotion mechanic that lets him turn into a 75 point dial and 6 range with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability, and suddenly he’s not just a support piece, he’s a legitimate third attacker in most 300 point games! His sculpt is awesome as well (taken from some storyboards from the movie, I believe).

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5. Odin (#020) 350 Points (Chase–Thor: The Dark World): Full disclosure: I thought Thor: The Dark World was the best superhero movie of the year. I had some issues with Man of Steel, and I liked Iron Man 3 well enough, but Thor was where it was at this year (I didn’t actually get to see Kick-Ass 2; maybe it sucked, maybe it was great–I have no earthly idea. First one was pretty good though.). Tom Hiddleston stole the show as Loki, of course, but I don’t think Chris Hemsworth gets enough credit for the pathos he generates with Thor. But enough about the movie–this is about the movie’s Heroclix, dammit!

Odin has a 200 point version that’s well worth playing, but in epic games, this Odin is a beast. He has the Alpha Strike of all alpha strikes (GUNGNIR: Once per game, give Odin a double power action and make a ranged combat attack targeting the highest-point opposing character anywhere on the map. For this attack, Odin’s combat values are locked, the attack can’t be evaded and the attack roll can’t be rerolled by friendly characters. After actions resolve, deal Odin 1 unavoidable damage.), and you can’t hide from it. Super Senses and Stealth will not save you, as he ignores Hindering Terrain for targeting purposes, starts with a 12 Attack with Pen/Psy, 19 Defense with Invincible and Running Shot with 12 Movement and 9 (9!!) range with two targets and 5 raw damage. Power Cosmic TA keeps him out of reach of cheap Outwitters and such. You’re paying quite a bit, but damn, that’s nasty. And you can usually say this about any 350+ point character, but man, if you give him Angrir’s Hammer… ouch (EDITOR’S NOTE: You can say that about any character. They don’t have to be 350+ points. A 35 point character plus Angrir’s = Pain Train.). The All-Father is a forced to be reckoned with, but it’s that unique Trait that really makes him special. Obviously, Odin isn’t gonna affect the Meta at 350 points, and that’s fine. Not every piece is gonna be about that. But he might be the funnest piece to field on this list (although an argument can be made in that respect for one of the rares from this set–but we’ll get to that in a second!).

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4. War Machine (#016) 220 Points (Rare–Iron Man 3): Wow. He IS the War Machine. Edward Shelton once described this piece as having “everything you want, when you want it” on Dial H for Heroclix, and he wasn’t wrong. His Trait (WANNA BE THE WAR MACHINE?: At the beginning of your turn choose one of the following that you did not choose last turn: Energy Explosion, Penetrating/Psychic Blast or Ranged Combat Expert. War Machine can use that power until your next turn.) plus the fact that he sees through Stealth with the Avengers Initiative all but assures that you’re going to get damage through when you absolutely need to. The fact that he can Duo Attack as well with his Attack Special is just sick. His native Attack never gets above 11, but that’s still above average; his damage starts at 4 and eventually he gets Prob on his own attack rolls! Just beastly. I would have loved one click of 18 Defense, but his 17 Impervious will serve him well. We’re starting to break into a run of figs that you can competitively build around.

Duhg

3. Duhg (#015) 125 Points (Rare–Thor: The Dark World): Okay, this guy may be even more fun to play than Odin. He’s awesome. His Trait (A MOTLEY ARMY FROM ALL NINE REALMS: When building your force, if Duhg is the highest-point character, other characters that share a keyword with him also have the Duhg’s Army keyword.) is what gets everyone all hot and bothered, but his dial is actually pretty tremendous! At various points, he Charges, Sidesteps and Flurries, all the while leading his troops into battle with Leadership. He hasn’t been “broken” yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone finds a way to do that eventually.

The other thing I love about this character is just the total randomness of his existence. He’s in the movie for all of two seconds and has, like, zero lines. He reminds me of how toy companies would take, like, the fifth alien from the Cantina scene in Star Wars and make hugely popular action figures out of the character simply by giving him a name and a backstory on the back of the figure’s package. That’s basically what Marvel and WizKids did here, only they turned him into one of the more innovative pieces we got this year.

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2. Iron Man and War Machine (#018) 200 Points (Chase–Iron Man 3): Basically taken from this exact scene, this piece is a fantastic figure that has become sneakily easy to Merge into with the release of Invincible Iron Man (Cough–125 point War Machine! Cough). 11 Attack plus Energy Explosion with a 7 Range and 3 targets can be devastating, especially with the 2013 rules updates to how EE works. Even more so with Duo Attack. Later in the dial these guys get Pen/Psy, followed by Pulse Wave. Even better, one of their two excellent Traits (TRYING TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER: When Iron Man and War Machine use the Duo attack ability, you may give them a ranged combat action instead of the second attack.) lets them use those abilities WITHIN a Duo Attack. That’s pretty sick. Then you look at their defense; 18 with Impervious, combined with their other Trait (WATCH EACH OTHER’S BACKS: When Iron Man and War Machine do not have two tokens, Iron Man and War Machine can use Energy Shield/Deflection.), and all of the sudden these guys have a 21 Defense value against ranged attacks while standing in Hindering. You really can’t do better. So their hard to hit, and they bring tons of damage themselves. That was a winning combination when Heroclix first debuted, and it’s still a winning combination today. The fact that they’re on a single base is also advantageous for certain other abilities (Like Rescue’s Carry Trait) as well. Very deadly piece.

IMIP

1. Iron Man and Iron Patriot (#017) 300 Points Experienced Version (Chase–Iron Man 3): I’ll make this short and sweet–everything I just said about Iron Man and War Machine? This is that taken to the next level. In epic games, this is a sick, sick piece. In standard 300 point games… it’s a sick, sick piece. 2 Traits again (I’VE GOT YOUR BACK. NO, I’VE GOT YOUR BACK: Iron Man and Iron Patriot can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Defend. Iron Man and Iron Patriot can use the Sharpshooter ability and may target non-adjacent characters with a ranged combat attack even when they are adjacent to an opposing character. AND THIS LONE GUNSLINGER ACT IS UNNECESSARY…YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE!: When Iron Man and Iron Patriot use Duo attack ability, each attack may use 2 targets instead of 1 target and one of their attacks may be a ranged combat action instead.), and they’re both basically SOUPED UP versions of the ridiculously awesome Iron Man and War Machine Traits! They even added another target! Four freaking targets? And they rotate through Pen/Psy, Pulse Wave and EE just like IM & WM? It’s like they took the already awesome Chase Duo from the Target set and said, “Okay, yeah, but MORE.”

Whew! Alright, that wraps up the list! Here’s to hoping this year’s movie sets match or even exceed what we got in 2013 (I’m looking at YOU, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, Godzilla & Guardians of the Galaxy!).

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to post YOUR lists in the comments below.