Comics & More Local Tournament Report for 08/05/2015: Age of Ultron SLOP: Month Three: With a Vengeance!!

Local Tournament Report

Age of Ultron Month Three was played earlier this month at Comics & More in Madison Heights, Michigan, and we’ve got the results!

This was the first month to use the Wave 2 boosters, so the set felt fresh and new again. I have to say, as hard as it makes collecting the entire set, releasing two waves of boosters for an OP event is definitely a good way to keep things fresh and exciting. It was fun last year with WoL, and it’s fun again this year with the (much) smaller Age of Ultron set.

What are the Wave 2 (Non-Chase) highlights? Let’s take a look (with the help of random cosplay images from around the net–hey, if Marvel can do a whole cosplay variant month, why can’t we?)!

Mockingbird cosplay

AOU010 Mockingbird52 PointsCommon: And here is your Modern Age Mockingbird! You may now dust off your Avengers Assemble Mockingbird Avengers ID Card that you’ve kept in that old sock drawer since May. As long as you can keep her next to a higher point friendly, she’s well worth her 52-Point investment. Alternatively, if you choose to use that ol’ ID Card, she’ll bring Empower, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Team Ability and +1 to Defense for adjacent characters with her Inspire ability, along with her native 10 Attack and 3 Damage.

Captain America Cosplay

AOU020 Captain America65 PointsUncommon: A Cap that basically starts with Carry, Hypersonic Speed AND costs less than Rick Jones?!?! Sign me up! Down dial, he turns into a sniper, then gets real support-y. Unlike other figures that do that, though, Cap is only 65 Points, so he’s probably already filling that supporting character slot anyway!

(Not gonna lie, there's not a ton of Scott Lang specific Ant-Man cosplayers out there at the moment. But this one is pretty damn good.)

(Not gonna lie, there’s not a ton of Scott Lang specific Ant-Man cosplayers out there at the moment. But this one is pretty damn good.)

AOU024 Ant-Man65 Points Uncommon: Apparently 65 Points is the new 50 Points, in that if a character from this set comes in at 65 Points he’s probably an auto-play in Sealed and even worth a look in Constructed. Scott Lang comes packing Outwit, Super Senses, an 18 Defense (19 against ranged attacks with his “Tiny” size) and Stealth. Also, he’s easy to move around via his AWESOME Trait (RIDING ON HAWKEYE’S ARROW: When an adjacent friendly character that shares a keyword with Ant-Man makes a ranged combat attack, after actions resolve, you may place Ant-Man adjacent to the target.).  Literally, you can have Hawkeye (or any Avenger, really) shoot at a character, place Ant-Man right next to that character, Outwit that character’s defensive power and then attack them for 2 more damage. All at the cost of just 2 actions.

(No green suit Wonder Man cosplayers out there, so here's his traditional visage.)

(No green suit Wonder Man cosplayers out there, so here’s his traditional visage.)

AOU032 Wonder Man120 PointsRare: I always loved these characters with two dials who get better AFTER they would normally be KO’d (Spider-Man 2099 and Sodam Yat are other examples). The crazy thing is, Wonder Man might be the cheapest one they’ve ever made! He’s actually 5 Points CHEAPER than Sodam Yat’s NON-Ion dial!

Once he gets past his first dial, he hits a Stop Click and gains Charge, 11 Attack, Invincible, Poison and–oh yeah–when attacking, ALL OF HIS DAMAGE IS PENETRATING!!

But here’s the other big difference–unlike some of those other figs, your opponent really can’t afford to ignore Wonder Man at the beginning of the game–not when he can Charge for up to 7 Damage! A great piece for his points.

And, of course, the Chases are sick… but we’ll deal with them in a future article.

Alright, let’s get to the Month 3 results!

There were a TON of Thors being played (more on that in a bit), the Six-Armed Chase was pulled like three times (including twice by the same player!), and Captain America was fielded quite a bit as well (in fact, I used both Thor AND Cap!).

IMG_2829

In the end, Tim guided his Iron Fist/Luke Cage/Captain America trio to victory over Matt’s Thor (100-Point dial)/ War Machine squad.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: For whatever reason, anyone who played Thor ended up losing hard at one point because their dice quit on them, myself included. For everyone who thinks the AoU Thor is great for his points, just remember, WizKids has apparently included an ancient dice curse attached to the base of every AoU Thor. You’ve been warned.)

Okay! Let’s take a look at the standings. Once again, we’ve broken the standings down into tiers.

But first, a scoring system refresher:

For the first three events, you score:

1 Point for Attending;

1 Point for a Loss;

2 Points for a Win;

3 Points for Winning the Event!!

If there is a need to break ties, I will use total Victory Points accumulated during matches. If that somehow ends in a tie, I will use Fellowship votes. If things are still tied, we’ll have a roll-off after I write 4000 words for this site about the improbability of ties in Storyline OP Events.

Quinjet

Quest for the Quinjet Standings:

(Through Month 3)

In the Pilot’s Seat:

(We have a tie! But with his 900 Victory Points accumulated, Tim actually has the lead with tiebreakers… )

Tim: 21 Points (1670)

Darren: 21 Points!!! (1487 Victory Points Accumulated)

 

Sitting in 1st Class:

Andrew: 18 Points (1795)

Carl: 16 Points (1060)

Nicholas: 16 Points (1692)

 

Comfortably Seated in Business Class:

Tyler: 15 Points (950)

Roberto: 15 Points (840)

Matt: 12 Points (1462)

 

Now Boarding… :

Shant: 11 Points (1060)

George: 9 Points (695)

Brian: 5 Points (525)

 

Okay! So that’s where things stand after three months! Tim and Darren tied for the lead, with Andrew close behind and Carl and Nicholas within shouting distance! It will all be settled on September 16th at Comics & More in Madison Heights!

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

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Comics & More Local Tournament Report for 07/08/2015: Age of Ultron SLOP: Month Two: The Quickening!!

Local Tournament Report

Age of Ultron Month Two went down at Comics & More in Madison Heights, Michigan on July 8th, and we’ve got the results!

Just as everyone was competing for Grandmaster in Month One, in addition to playing for Quest for the Quinjet Points, players were also going for the monthly prize:

Graviton!

We again had 10 competitors (including myself, although, as the Judge, I was, as always, not allowed to accumulate points).

The Build:

For the most part, we followed the WizKids Instruction Sheet and played 300 Point Builds while allowing players to use the Round Table Resource and any Avengers ID card the had accumulated the previous month (by paying its Point cost) or the Hank Pym ID Card if they had bought the Classic Avengers Fast Forces pack. Having said that, players could only play figures that they pulled this month. This basically means that you could play any Avengers ID card you pulled in either month on the Round Table Resource, but to Call-In a figure, you had to actually pull an eligible figure.

(For example, I played a Round Table with four cards: Iron Man, Hank Pym, Jocasta and Protector. If I rolled any of those slots, I could use that card’s Inspiration power for a turn. However, the only corresponding figure I pulled this month was Iron Man, so he was the only piece I could actually call in with the Resource.)

We also decided to allow the use of the Pym Particles Light Object from the Avengers Assemble LE kit (again, by paying its Point cost), as we deemed it as a group to be thematically appropriate.

Some Observations About Age of Ultron, Month 2:

–I played a team that revolved around She-Hulk and Yellowjacket. Having actually got to play She-Hulk this time, I saw nothing to dampen my enthusiasm from Month One. She’s fun to play, and she came through for me in 2 out of the 3 games I played (a little more on that later). I think her Rookie dial has a lot to offer in Constructed, so I’m glad I pulled her.

–Phalanx Ultron went 1-2. I was surprised, but the consensus seemed to be that it’s too easy for certain Builds to out-action him, even in a Sealed Event. I don’t know if I completely agree, but it’s hard to argue when the results were so one-sided this month…

–This whole set seems to be a bit schizophrenic. All of the pieces are either ONLY viable in Sealed or kinda suck in Sealed but good be game-changers in Constructed. We’ll see if Wave 2 brings a bit more balance…

–It’s still tough to make an all-Drone army. Again, the mechanic just isn’t as much fun as it seems like it should be to play…

The only known photo of Carl, the Month Two winner...

Artist’s rendering of Month Two winner “Carl,” based on descriptions provided by other Comics & More competitors…

The Winner:

This month ALSO came down to a pitched battle of unbeatens (mathematically, that wasn’t a huge surprise), and this time, Carl and his Hank Pym/Yellowjacket/Black Knight trio beat Tim’s double Iron Man plus Protector delight! I actually played against Carl’s Build and lost. I went all in with She-Hulk and it didn’t work out too well for me–Hank Pym was able to keep her Movement Power Outwitted after that first miss, which made things a lot tougher, although calling in Iron Man almost completely flipped the script.

I really love Tim’s Build; I think it was smart to double up on ol’ Shellhead, but he just ran up against a team that had a decent counter to that strategy with Carl’s Build. If Carl was able to get Black Knight going, those Iron Men weren’t going to last long…

Actual footage from the final match.

Actual footage from the final match.

Okay! Let’s take a look at the standings. After two months, we’ve now got enough data to break the standings down into tiers.

But first, a scoring system refresher:

For the first three events, you score:

1 Point for Attending;

1 Point for a Loss;

2 Points for a Win;

3 Points for Winning the Event!!

If there is a need to break ties, I will use total Victory Points accumulated during matches. If that somehow ends in a tie, I will use Fellowship votes. If things are still tied, we’ll have a roll-off after I write 4000 words for this site about the improbability of ties in Storyline OP Events.

I still don’t have any information yet on what–if anything–will change in terms of scoring for the fourth month. Nevertheless, here are the…

Quinjet

Quest for the Quinjet Standings:

(Through Month 2)

In the Pilot’s Seat:

Darren: 15 Points!!! (1122 Victory Points Accumulated)

In the Co-Pilot’s Seat:

Andrew: 12 Points (1105)

Sitting in 1st Class:

Roberto: 11 Points (810)

Tim: 11 Points (770)

Carl: 11 Points (605)

Comfortably Seated in Business Class:

Nicholas: 10 Points (870)

Tyler: 10 Points (655)

George: 9 Points (695)

Now Boarding… :

Matt: 6 Points (740)

Brian: 5 Points (525)

Shant: 5 Points (295)

Okay! So that’s where things stand after two months!

The fact that Carl attended Month One, immediately dropped and THEN went on to win Month Two means that things are actually WIDE OPEN at the moment. Darren is still King of the Mountain thanks to his spectacular showing in Month One, but Andrew, Roberto and Tim’s consistent play over the first two months has them right in the thick of things.

Even Matt, who was great in Month One but wasn’t able to attend Month Two, still has a shot–but he’s probably gonna have to win Months Three AND Four! It’s even trickier for Brian and Shant, but again, if someone pulls off two event victories in a row, anything is possible.

And if you expect to find yourself somewhere near southeastern Michigan next month and want to join in on the action (even if you didn’t play in the first two contests), Month Three is currently scheduled to go down at 6:15pm on August 5th, right back at Comics & More in Madison Heights!!

And for Month Three, in addition to the Quest for the Quinjet points, competitors will also be playing for this guy:

High Evolutionary

Also, all participants will receive Captain America’s Avengers ID Card!! Hope to see you there! And keep an eye on this space to read about the results next month!

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

Patriotic Ant-Man!! (Or, Happy 4th of July 2015!!)

Patriotic Ant-Man

The Fourth is here once more! A Happy Holiday is wished by all of us here at Critical Missives to all of you out there celebrating! And, for our non-American readers, we’d like to once again wish you a Happy Saturday!

We’ll be back on Sunday or Monday with a look at some of the better Avengers ID Cards, and Ninwashui has been cooking up even more Team Ideas as well.

So we’ll see you soon! Until then, as always:

Stay Safe (especially when shooting off fireworks!), and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire (um, again, ESPECIALLY when shooting off fireworks!)!!

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

Ultron We Would Have Words With Thee

Alrighty! Welcome back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGE OF ULTRON: WAVE 1 FIGURE LIST:

Hank Pym AOU

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

Ant-Man AOU

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

Wasp AOU

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

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

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

Yellowjacket AOU

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suuuuure you are, Danny. Sure you are.

Alexis AOU

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

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

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

Monica Chang AOU

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

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

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

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

Victor Mancha AOU

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

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

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

Ultron Drone AOU

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

Iron Man AOU

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

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

Hulk AOU

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

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

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

Black Knight AOU

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

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

She-Hulk AOU

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

Machine Man AOU

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

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

TESS-One

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

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

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

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

Ultron-8 AOU

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

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

Vision AOU

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

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

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

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

Hercules AOU

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

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

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

Protector AOU

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

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

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

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

Grim Reaper AOU

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

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

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

Jocasta AOU

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

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

Ultron-5 AOU

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

Goliath AOU

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

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

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

Black Panther AOU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quasar AOU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MODAM AOU

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

Ultron-1 AOU

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

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

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

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

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

Ultron-7 AOU Chase

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

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

Ultron AOU

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

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

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

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

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

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