Let’s Not Make This Harder Than It Has to Be!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 05/04/2014)

Roundup

Hmmm… don’t know why I keep dating these Roundups for Sundays when I keep releasing them on Tuesday. Just one of the many quirks of Critical Missives (seriously, though, I’m working on it!), I guess, as is naming this week’s column after the hook from an infectiously ear-wormy Ingrid Michaelson song that I can’t #^#)^$#^ get out of my head. Grrrrr…

Still, it’s been a good week for Southeastern Michiganders! The weather finally seems to be breaking towards an actual Spring, and my Tigers seem to have solved their bullpen issues rather simply–they just have all of their starting pitchers go 7 strong innings and score so many damn runs that it becomes physically impossible for the relievers to cough up the lead in the short amount of time they have to pitch. Mind you, they still try REALLY FREAKING hard to give it up, but this past week they just haven’t had enough time to get it done. Luckily.

Now, you might be thinking, the Tigers have won like 6 games in a row–how bad could their bullpen be? Well, despite the fact that they traded an All-Star-level pitcher who was still under club control in the off-season (Doug Fister) for a pair of tube socks and a bat bag just to save a few million bucks, they just turned around and spent a cool million on a dude whose arm fell off last year… and he’ll be the second best pitcher in the bullpen ASSUMING HE’S EVER HEALTHY ENOUGH TO JOIN THE TEAM THIS SEASON. I know a million is not a lot of money in the world of baseball salaries, but to call this a “flyer” might be generous at best. “Desperation” is a word that comes more readily to mind. Keep in mind, when you search for images of Joel Hanrahan with his most recent team before the Tigers, this is one of the first images that pops up:

"You're not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel."

“You’re not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel.”

Former skipper Jim Leyland is not impressed, either:

"Nope."

“Nope.”

(Okay, I just wanted an excuse to run my favorite Leyland picture–sue me!)

But enough moaning about my favorite baseball team–this is a Heroclix blog, ain’t it? Well of course it is, so that means it’s gotta be time for…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has released Episode 43! This week the guys discuss more of the spoiled War of the Light dials (from Newsarama–Red Lanterns this time, and man do they look nasty!) and discuss the best of the Yu-Gi-Oh figs that were just released. Also, the first week for the May Dial Design has come and gone, and May’s Best Build page just opened up!

Clixcast

ClixCast is still dark. According to their iTunes feed, their last podcast was still February 18th. Sadly, it appears that they may have gone the way of Duo Attack, so this will probably be their last appearance here in the Podcast section until something changes.

Push to Regen

–Apparently delayed due to Easter, Push to Regen is back with the second episode of Season 2! Among other things, they discuss the Con Exclusive figs for this year and talk about War of the Light. Check their Podbean for updates!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 17! Roundtable discussion with Patrick Yapjoco on the Hanford SQ and the Iowa SQ. Ultimate Play just keeps rolling on, b!tches!

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–Up to date upcoming tourney listings, which you can find right HERE!

–Recent tourney results seem to indicate that some of the peeps in Metaland are trying to make Experienced M10 Iron Man happen again. I have to admit that I thought his day had come and gone, but between him, Phantom Girl and Lydea Mallor, players fielding resources are putting themselves at some risk now. Not enough to not play them, in my opinion, but it’s becoming very clear now that if you’re going to compete in a ROC, you had better choose the right resource for the force you’ve constructed and–moreover–you better have a backup plan for if and when you face M10 or Lydea, cuz either one can ruin you’re day real quick if you’re not properly prepared. I don’t know what the best counter to M10 is right now, but you have a few options even if you still want to play a resource. Choosing the Phoenix Force, Outwitting his defense and basing him with your Shard-granted Poison seems like the easiest way to do it (since it would give you another way each turn to force your opponent into that 50/50 unavoidable damage d6), but there’s probably a bunch of other options as well. Outwit plus a free Hammer Quake from the Book might be another way to go, as well. I guess Outwit is the key to all these strategies, eh? All you really have to do is 2 damage and the lil’ bugger goes down to a 9 Attack and 16 Defense with Invuln.

Preview

Previews:

-New War of the Light dials seem to go up every day–Newsarama is a good place to look, but eventually all that info filters down to HCRealms, so you can always check their Units page. Too many to comment on here, but so far, most look like a lot of fun, even if they’re not quite Meta-worthy–although the Red Lanterns certainly have potential. But just how many Primes are in this set? And Chases–Gawd, Chases are gonna run $100 easy, given how hot and scarce this set is gonna be. Btw, Jerry Seinfeld wanted to pop back into this column after a few weeks away with a special message for all the ‘Clixers out there looking to collect the whole set:

Seinfeld Good Luck

-Well, after Banshee was spoiled last week, I’m not sure we even need to see any other Deadpool figures–Shaun Cassidy is probably going to be the biggest addition to the Meta from that set. He’s definitely an early contender for #1 in our upcoming Deadpool Top Ten columns. Having said that, there’s plenty of cool figures from this set on display in a brand new Unboxing video featuring Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights and what I’m told is a CW show called Heart of Dixie. He’ll always be Jason Street in my mind, but if you want to see him unbox a whole brick of Deadpool, click HERE! He’s clearly a big Heroclix fan (the funnest part of the video might have been ogling all his “trophy” figs on display behind him). SPOILER ALERT: Don’t watch the first few minutes of the video if you don’t want to know what the Chase theme is going to be–he pulls one out of the second pack (I can tell you that the Chases will all have the Gold bases that the Chaos War Chases used–they look pretty cool. He also discovers a special secret about them that I hadn’t seen guessed before in any of the various Clix forums… these could get really expensive really quickly too.)

This is NOT a spoiler!

This is NOT a spoiler!

–The other figure spoiled this week that will make AvX X-Men players cry is Moira MacTaggert. She’s a 28-Point Scientist with the X-Men keyword who shuts down the Capture ability (i.e. slightly nerfs the new Sentinels) and–oh yeah–is going to be (arguably) the BEST FREAKING MEDIC IN THE GAME! Heh. Good job delaying her, WizKids! As an Avengers player, I’d rather not have to deal with their version of Donald Blake (hell, their BETTER version of Donald Blake at that!). In addition to her starting Willpower and 11 Attack Support, she also gets Perplex down dial (she’s only 4 clix long), but c’mon–she’s 28-Points! Methinks Moira may see some Meta use.

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Entertainment News:

–Some point soon, I’m going to publish an episode guide for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so peeps can catch up if they tapped out earlier in the season. They’ve had a STRONG back half of episodes! Hopefully ABC announces a second season pickup soon (with the ratings being what they are, it’s actually weird that they haven’t announced a renewal already, but I guess ABC is waiting for the upfronts for that).

–That “Smallville” treatment of Bruce Wayne I’ve been updating you guys on? It just got ordered to series by FOX, so this one’s going to go. Intriguing cast. We’ll see if it works. I’d bet dollars to donuts that it won’t tie into either “Arrow” or the about-to-film “Superman Vs. Batman,” but it’s not entirely clear at this point. History will tell you though that while Marvel has gone to great links to establish shared universes with it’s filmed entertainment ventures (even back as far as the 80’s–remember those TV Hulk movies where Daredevil and Thor showed up?), DC (read: Warner Brothers) has gone to great lengths to SEPARATE their heroes into distinct, solo film ventures. Of course, now that Marvel’s way has proven WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more lucrative, DC is trying to throw together a Justice League movie that would essentially be the sequel to SvB. We’ll see how it goes. As a fanboy, I’m extremely excited. As a person who was entertained but kinda/sorta underwhelmed by “Man of Steel,” I remain skeptical (why in God’s name was Lois Lane–a reporter for a Metropolis newspaper–tooling around Antarctica strong-arming Generals into showing her secret military bases and classified alien ships? And thank God she was an expert at scaling icy metallic surfaces while wearing a flimsy pair of townie boots and a parka… I don’t want to rant too much on this since this is still technically a parenthetical, but Lois Lane shouldn’t have shown up in that movie until those last scenes when Clark shows up for his first day of work at the Daily Planet. Imagine if no one knew that Amy Adams had even been cast and then she shows up suddenly at the end, Sam Jackson style–people would have loved it, and they’d look forward to seeing her in the sequel. Perhaps more importantly, this would have excised pretty much every shitty scene in that movie. Lois Lane isn’t a bad character–she’s one of the coolest women in comics, actually. But shoehorning her into the plot as early as they did added nothing to the story and actually sort of damaged the whole suspension-of-disbelief pact that every movie makes with its audience. Grrrrr…. End of rant).

Critical Missives:

–Just one new article last week, which was Ninwashui’s Local Tournament Report from AvX Month Three. Some nice analysis by Ninwa in there. Check it out if you’re looking for more AvX strategy and analysis.

Back later this week with some more Build columns and–in the next few weeks–that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode Guide.

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

Local Tournament Report – 4/23/14 Comics & More

"Instant Karma's gonna get you  Gonna knock you right on the head  You better get yourself together  Pretty soon you're gonna be dead..."

“Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…” -A spell by John Lennon

 

The Format: AvX Month 3. Must use at least 1 figure from the starter. Other figures must share a keyword with the starter figure. 500 point modern. No relics, Colossals. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops).

What I played:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

I finally did a build article and stuck to it! You can read about the strategy for my team “TK for the Win” here.

 

"Sure, I may not have Willpower, but--wait, I don't have Willpower? S#!tballs!"

“Sure, I may not have Willpower, but–wait, I don’t have Willpower? S#!tballs!”

Round 1:

Facing:

AVX001 Captain America

SLOSH005B Mon-El

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC)

Total = 485 Points

My opponent was new to our venue and thus didn’t know about the shared keyword being required. We played on a map similar to Wundagore Mountain [EDITOR’S NOTE: That would be the  Verkhoyansk Mountains Map]. As the armies closed in on each other I was up on elevated terrain in the center of the map. All three of his characters were grounded about a third of the way up. Iron Pharaoh’s falcon lagged behind. Captain America did a Running Shot up a stairs. He tried to target Legion, but I pointed out the stealth. He targeted Magneto and missed. He didn’t use the Pharaoh and Mon-el because they would take pushing damage. On my turn I struck back. Magneto did a Running Shot Pulse Wave for 4 penetrating damage (cap only has 5 range and was close). Then my opponent realized he hadn’t declared Energy Shield with Cap last turn. I offered to let him, but he declined. Phoenix used psychic blast for 4 damage on Cap and that was a KO.

Next turn Mon-el used Hypersonic speed and an object to attack Phoenix. She missed shape change. He hit his attack. She ignored the damage by hitting impervious. Iron Pharaoh had no move and attack so he just walked into a good shooting position. After KO-ing cap I had turned the dial once  and that granted my team sidestep. Phoenix pushed to do a Running Shot and hit Mon-el for 4. Then she used Sidestep to get back to Legion. Legion chose support and healed Phoenix back to her top click. Magneto pushed to Pulse Wave Iron Pharaoh for 4.

The remainder of his team was injured. Mon-el had no move and attack so he flew next to Legion and ended his turn. Legion choose Impervious and Phoenix was in a position to outwit Mon-el’s close combat expert. I cleared tokens. Mon-el decided not to push to have the possibility of doing 1 damage to Legion. The Pharaoh missed Magneto.

The following turn Magneto finished off the Pharaoh with another 4 damage pulse wave. Phoenix outwitted Mon-el’s defense and Legion used Close Combat Expert for the knockout punch.

My opponents team was interesting and I am sure his strategy had merits, but if I was playing that team I would have done a few things differently. I would have left the Pharaoh much farther away from the battle and waited for the Golden Falcon to be a factor. I also would have kept Mon-El directly behind Captain America as much as possible. Mon-el’s special defend along with Cap’s traited Energy Shield could have given cap a 21 defense versus range!

"I'm viable in the Meta. Y'know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And Hope Summers."

“I am VIABLE in the Meta! …Y’know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And a Hope Summers. Or Rachel Summers, or any of my sisters for that matter–you know what? I’m not viable in the Meta.”

 

Round 2:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX009 Cyclops (With Namor Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost

AVX101 Cable (With Cyclops Fragment)

IH035 Wolverine

Total = 496 Points

This opponent started the match using Flight from the Phoenix shards to carry his forces around. When I pointed out that the Phoenix Shards only granted Flight and didn’t grant Carry, he realized his mistake. At that point he called the judge over and has his first game changed from a win to a loss. That feat of awesome honesty lost him the first game, but Karma (or luck, or divine intervention) made all my rolls go sour in game two.

So we started the game over and my opponent slowly walked his characters into corner down a 2 square wide hallway created by Elevated Terrain and left them bunched together. Due to my superior movement abilities, my team got the first opportunity to strike. I had Phoenix hit wolverine for 4 penetrating damage.  Magneto was then able to swing in and hit the entire opposing team with a 1 damage Pulse Wave. That was enough to KO Wolverine. Legion used Hypersonic and missed Cyclops’s practically naked 17 defense. Missing a 17 defense on an attack was going to happen several more times this game.

My opponent struck back. He outwitted Magneto’s defense, used Cable’s RCE and +1 attack from the Phoenix Force to spice up his attack to 12 and nailed Magneto for 4 damage. The rest of his team missed Magneto. He had rolled doubles so his resource gave him Sidestep.

Magneto ran back to Legion. Legion pushed to try a support roll, but rolled a 5. Phoenix cleared. My opponent’s team cleared. The next turn he used his 3(!) Outwits to remove all of Phoenix’s Defensive powers and hit her twice for a total of four damage(due to Invuln from the Colossus shard). On my turn my team scattered and tried to use elevated for cover.

Legion eventually did successfully heal Magneto, but only for 1 damage. Cable used Sidestep to fly up to elevated and get another hit in on Magneto. Phoenix had 3 non-penetrating damage showing and I knew that with Cable and Cyclops both having shard-granted Invuln, it wasn’t going to be a fun time taking them on. Still, I had Phoenix base them to save Magneto.

On the last turn before the judge called time Phoenix’s defense was Outwitted and Cyclops hit her for 3 damage and the KO. So I lost the game 70-160. HypeFox pointed out later that this shouldn’t have been a KO. I had forgotten about Phoenix’s shard-granted Invuln and taken too much damage. Karma, you can’t fight it.

 

"Cosplayers love me."

“Cosplayers love me.”

Round 3:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

FI031 Wolverine (With Namor Fragment)

WXM031 Gambit (With Colossus Fragment)

AVX009E Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM063 Psylocke

WXM047B Jubilee

Total = 495 Points

This game was the polar opposite of game 2. I started out by taking the elevated center on the Limbo map. My opponent sent Gambit and Psylocke down the right edge of the map and the remaining characters went down the left hand side. With my move and attack advantage I realized it was going to take him two turns at least for his team from one side to help his team on the other side.

Magneto started with a Pulse Wave aimed at Gambit. Hit for 4 clicks. Phoenix pushed for a Running Shot and that KO’d Gambit. My resource switched to a pink movement power, so Phoenix was able to Sidestep back to adjacency with Legion. Legion choose Hypersonic speed and rolled a 6! He gained +1 to all stats and choose Battle Fury as his second power. He ran in, ignored Shape Change, hit Psylocke for 4 and moved next to Phoenix again.

On my opponent’s turn he cleared Psylocke, moved up Jubilee, marched Wolverine next to Magneto, and attacked Phoenix with Cyclops. She hit her Impervious roll and took one (due to Precision Strike). On my turn, every character I had was double tokened. I chose Impervious with Legion and rolled a 5, healing Phoenix of 1 damage. I cleared. Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jubilee were all double tokened. Psylocke was stuck in hindering and moved 3 steps closer to me. My opponent cleared.

On my turn Magneto executed a Running Shot Pulse Wave with which he hit all opposing characters except for Psylocke for 1. Then Phoenix hit Wolverine for 3 penetrating damage with Psychic Blast, which put the Canucklehead on his stop click. Legion finished him off with a 12 attack, 3 damage RCE (due to the Cyke Shard). After his attack Legion chose Impervious again and rolled a 5, which healed Phoenix to full.

On his last turn Cyclops attacked Phoenix and she rolled Shape Change. He switched to Magneto and missed. Psylocke cleared. On my turn Magneto used Pulse Wave on Cyclops hitting for 4. Phoenix pushed to finish him off. Legion chose Hypersonic Speed again and rolled another 6!. He chose Willpower as a second power. He used Hypersonic to range attack Psylocke and finished her off.

The match was complete blowout, but a lot of that was due to my lucky rolls as opposed to anything my opponent did wrong. I never missed, I was only hit for 1 damage, Phoenix kept making defensive rolls, and my Legion rolls of 5 and 6 were just statistically absurd. I guess Karma was swinging back the other way.

It was an unusual tournament and at the end I did take first place because everyone had at least one loss after 3 rounds.

What I learned:

"Great, I'll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this."

“Great, I’ll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this.”

  • WXM038 Legion Legion is definitely worth the points if you play him thinking that you will always be getting Battle fury, or Earthbound, or -2 attack. Until the last game those were literally the only personality quirks I got. If you can plan around those, this guy is the real deal. I ended up using Support, Perplex, Close Combat Expert, Hypersonic Speed, will power, Earthbound (so he could be carried), Battle Fury (to get around shape change) and Impervious (when I knew he was about to take a hit). The three times his savant trait (+1 to all stats AND choose a second power) came up this tournament were sweet. He was a lot of fun and I will want to use him again soon.
  • WXM045 Phoenix was extremely powerful with her running shot and psychic blast, but she seemed to miss a lot (10 starting attack). Also due to my poor rolling her defense was not as strong as it statistically should have been(until the last game). I think I hit Impervious or Shape Change twice all night. Her Outwit was key for me, but I never got to Outwit multiple powers with it. I would use her again.
  • AVX014 Magneto is still awesome. In the two tournaments I’ve used him in now he’s only been KOed once. (Damn you, Hawkeye!) He’s a defensive powerhouse. Just don’t roll low on his Running Shot Pulse Wave.
  • AVX101 Cable by himself isn’t a great figure. However if he’s given Sidestep, R.C.E., AND an opponent with a penchant for missing – he’s very good.
  • Game 2 I faced essentially naked 17 defenses and I kept rolling low. Karma…
  • The Phoenix force resource might be the most complicated game element we’ve gotten yet. Everyone who played it screwed up something about it at least once this tournament.