Heat Check: Wordplay!! (Or, The Top Ten Named Keywords in Modern Age… Right Now–PART ONE!!)

50 Greatest Avengers

Hello again, and welcome to a very special day at Critical Missives! We’re introducing a new recurring column gimmick! It’s called “Heat Check,” and we’re going to use this space to count down the Top Ten versions of various Heroclix game elements.

Today, as we start to analyze where the game is at now that Justice League: Trinity War has released, we’re going to take a look at the best Named keywords in Modern Age play right now. Why? Well, first, because it’s always fun to rank stuff in a blog post, and second, these rankings may help you decide what team you want to play the next time you’re getting ready for a game at your local venue–or at least give you a hint as to which Named Themed Team keywords you might run into at your next event!

We’re going to judge keywords based on a bunch of different criteria:

We Are Legion!: This one’s pretty straightforward. This is just the total number of available characters.  The higher the number of total characters, the more options you have for team building.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: This is basically asking if there’s a recruiter–that is to say, is there any way for the keyword to pull characters without the keyword into your army while still keeping Theme. Which is a complicated way of asking if there’s someone like Amanda Waller, G.W. Bridge, Duhg, etc. who has a Trait that gives a certain Named keyword to a character who doesn’t have it during army construction. Recruiters obviously open up your options quite a bit; not every Named keyword is going to have a Recruiter–most don’t–but those that do definitely have a leg up when it comes to being able to construct a competitive team for just about any gametype.

Also Known As: Is there an available ATA? This is a big one. There’s some really great ATA’s out there, and some Named keywords even have access to more than one! The presence of an ATA can vastly increase the effectiveness of your team in many cases.

Working Together!: Does this keyword have access to a Team Base? If you haven’t heard, these things are stupidly good. The presence of a Team Base also means that the keyword can support larger game types as well.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Prime characters are usually ridiculously efficient for their points. That’s why (in all but one case) you can only play one per Build. If a Named keyword doesn’t have access to at least one Prime character, they’re gonna have to work a little harder to be as effective in a competitive environment. If they have MORE than one Prime to choose from, um… damn. That usually doesn’t happen… Usually.

Straight, With Chaser: Chases are cool. But, more relevant to our purposes here, Chases are usually really effective (much less consistently than Primes, and they’re not intended to be equivalently as good, but still), primarily because they often all share at least one really good Trait (if not more) that’s often synergistic (for example, the Z-Virus Traits on the Zombie Chases from Deadpool and Guardians). Plus, they’re just that little extra bit of fun to play. If a Named keyword has access to one or more Chase characters, again, this will only give you more options while building your squad.

Shadow of the Colossus: Like Team Bases, Colossal characters are just fun as hell to play, and often overpowered (just by their very nature). Most venues only allow them for certain gametypes. Still, the presence of a Colossal within the pool of available figures often means that the Named keyword can field not just a great 300 Point team, but great teams at point levels up to 1000 and beyond for those weeks your venue is running an epic clash.

Micro Machines: The other end of the spectrum; if your putting a team together for a micro game (200 or less), does this keyword have enough good figures to make a team? Also, a larger number of smaller character would indicate that this keyword has a lot of supporting characters to choose from. Another sign of overall versatility.

Who Let You In?!: Our pick for the least likeliest figure in Modern that ACTUALLY has the keyword.

 

So, with all that said, let’s count ’em down, Dave Letterman-style!!

Here are your TOP TEN KEYWORDS IN MODERN AGE.. RIGHT NOW!!

 

Marvel ZOmbies Villains

10. Z-Virus

We Are Legion!: Pretty darn small roster, actually. 18 distinct characters with 20 different dials (17 figures plus a 3-dial Team Base). But Z-Virus makes up for its small quantity with a high amount of quality!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: In short, no, although all but two Z-Virus characters (everyone but Headpool and the Team Base) can resurrect opposing characters that they KO as new teammates, which I suppose is a roundabout way of recruiting, no? Still, this won’t help you during army construction, which is what this category is really about.

Also Known As: No ATA. Frankly, they don’t need one.

Working Together!: They do have a Team Base, and it’s pretty damn good!

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: No Primes, but…

Straight, With Chaser: … they have access to 16 DIFFERENT CHASE PIECES!! Only Headpool (Common) and the Team Base (LE) aren’t Chases. As mentioned before, all the Chase Z-Virus characters have Improved Movement: Ignores Characters AND the same two Traits in common: ZOMBIE HUNGER: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, place a Food token on this card if there are less than 5 Food tokens. When Super Skrull would be KO’d by an opponent’s attack, turn to its first KO click, remove all Food tokens from this card, and heal it that many clicks AS WELL AS ZOMBIE INFECTION: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, give that character a Virus token if it has less than 5 Virus tokens. When an opposing character is KO’d by this character, you may add it to your force, turn to its first KO click, remove all of its Virus tokens and heal it that many clicks.

This makes almost every character with this keyword hard as heck to kill with any finality.

Shadow of the Colossus: Shockingly, Zombie Galactus does NOT have the Z-Virus keyword. Ninwashui and I often “House Rule” him to have it; regardless, he still has the Monster keyword so he can make a generic Themed Team with any of the Z-Virus characters. Still, this really hurts–very annoying, WizKids!

Micro Machines: Not so much. Only Headpool at 38 Points is under 50, but most Zombies are actually pretty reasonably priced.

Who Let You In?!: Has got to go to GOTG061 Skrull. The Zombie Villain no one was asking for. It’s the only Zombie Chase that isn’t Unique. Even Wizkids is like, “Naw, man, go ahead and play as many as you want. Trust us, it’s not to your advantage.” For so many reasons, this should have been Zombie Thanos.

Why Z-Virus Is #10: Because of their innovative Zombie mechanics, these guys are a blast to play. The Team Base is much more effective to play than it is on paper. Now, outside of Headpool, it is a nightmare trying to cobble all these characters together (after a lengthy pursuit over two sets, I myself have Headpool, five of the Chases and the Team Base–basically 33% of the available Zombies. Sigh… ), but it can be worth it. Headpool, Electro and Super Skrull in particular are Meta-Worthy, with Super Skrull having headlined at least one ROC-winning squad (if not more).

Must Have Pieces: Headpool, Electro, Super Skrull.

 

LEgo Avengers

9. Avengers

We Are Legion!: Huge roster. Go spelunking for the Avengers keyword on HCRealms.com’s Units section and you’ll return 120 results!!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter, at least not as yet, although who knows how the Avengers Round Table Resource that’s gonna hit this summer will work…

Also Known As: Yup–four different ATA’s!! The best is probably Secret Avengers (Characters using this team ability can’t be the target of an opponent’s Outwit or Perplex unless they’ve been targeted with an attack previously in the same turn. 5 Points per character.).

Working Together!: A pretty decent Team Base from AVX that offers a ton of different cast options (more than a dozen characters to choose from).

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yup! Invincible Iron Man gave us three–Hyperion, War Machine and Silver Centurion!

Straight, With Chaser: Just a few Chases to choose from, at least until this summer. The best is probably the Cap/Black Widow duo from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Shadow of the Colossus: At the moment, none, although Phoenixbuster Iron Man is a giant… and a giant sculpt!

Micro Machines: One pretty good one (Tony Stark from Iron Man 3 is exactly 50 Points) and NOTHING ELSE. Wow!

Who Let You In?!: Gonna go with wkM-012 Firestar. I remember the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon fondly from my youth; never thought I’d see those characters made into ‘Clix with Avengers keywords. Crazy! I’d say the runner-up here is Mantis–I think of her more as a Guardian now.

Why Avengers Is #9: Just on sheer variety, Avengers has to be a part of this list. Man that’s a big roster! But they’ve also got some wickedly effective pieces, too. They’ve slid down to #9 because of all the quality they lost when Chaos War rotated (Hawkeye or Sentroid, anyone?), but I’d expect Avengers to be Top 3 (or better) by the time Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. releases this summer as there’s no fewer than THREE sets devoted to the Avengers coming out between April and May.

Most of the AvX pieces were quite solid, with Scarlet Witch being especially effective at her 100 Point level, but the fact is that since at least half of the Marvel Universe has been in the Avengers at some point, just about every set has a quality Avengers piece (heck, even Deadpool gave us Shang-Chi… along with a Deadpool piece that didn’t have the keyword but somehow was allowed on the Avengers Team Base!).

Must Have Pieces: AvX Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Black Widow Duo, Silver Centurion.

 

Black Lantern Lego

8. Black Lantern Corps

We Are Legion!: 17 different Modern Age characters with, like, 27 different dials.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yup! WOL060P Black Hand will bring any character you want over to the dark side for a measly 25 Points! Also, if you’re using the Black Lantern Resource, you can dish out the Black Lantern Corps keyword to whoever you want, but that won’t help you during force construction.

Also Known As: Uh-huh. They’ve got just one, but it’s a good’un! Only costs 1 point per character and it guarantees at least 1 click of health will be restored whenever a BLC member uses Regeneration (which, with their dials, will probably happen quite a bit)!

Working Together!: No Team Base…

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yes! Exactly one, and he’s awesome! Zoom, the Super Rare Prime from Flash!

Straight, With Chaser: None–even Black Hand is just a SR.

Shadow of the Colossus: Two!! Nekron and Black Lantern Anti-Monitor! Nekron is a straight Boss Battle piece (which basically means he costs a ton of points and is definitely over powered in larger games) as would be expected of the Grand Prize Piece for a 6-month long OP campaign. BLAM is great in his own right; not as powerful, but he doesn’t cost as much, either.

Micro Machines: Just 2–Black Hand (as a Possessor only, so he doesn’t really count for this) and Black Lantern Reanimate, who’s not bad for his 35 Points.

Who Let You In?!: The Modern Age BLC roster is pretty tight, so we’re gonna twist this category around and complain about who HASN’T been let in yet. The biggest no shows so far (in order of “totally egregious omission” to “would have been nice to have”) are Black Lantern versions of Elongated Man, Hawkman and Hawkgirl (these two could have even been a duo!), Martian Manhunter, Sue Dibny and Jean Loring. Now, we got a pretty good Elongated Man in Flash and a very good Hawkman in JL: TW, so theoretically you could Black Hand Possess either of those pieces and be comic accurate. BL Manhunter was also a big antagonist in “Blackest Night,” so he would have been nice to have as well. At least there’s a Brave and the Bold Golden Age version of him, so at least he isn’t as yet Un-Clix’d like Ms. Dibny and Ms. Loring.

Why Black Lantern Corps Is #8: They are just hideously effective. Playing a Black Lantern Corps team isn’t entirely dissimilar than playing a Z-Virus team–both keyword families get exponentially stronger every time you KO an opposing figure. But the fact that they have both a Recruiter (Black Hand) and TWO different Colossals to choose from means that this keyword can be a contender in almost any size game. And we haven’t even mentioned the fun that is Black Lantern Firestorm or Aquaman yet!

Must Have Pieces: Zoom Prime, Black Hand, Nekron.

 

Lego GotG

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

We Are Legion!: 29 different figures with 33 distinct dials!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiters. Bummer.

Also Known As: Two! The first basically makes team members un-Outwittable for a measly 4 Points a character. Extremely useful. The second (GotG Silver Age) is now practically useless (makes team members Wild Cards, but erases all other team abilities they possess. Which, y’know, makes being a Wild Card preeeeeeeety pointless.

Working Together!: No Team Base… this clearly needs to be remedied.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Surprisingly, none.

Straight, With Chaser: Two, and one’s a must have! The Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set gave us what has to be considered one of the best Rocket Raccoons ever!

Shadow of the Colossus: None.

Micro Machines: Not one. Mantis I think is the closest at 56.

Who Let You In?!: No actual complaints here; roster is solid, with a few classic characters (Killraven!) mixed with a heavier tilt towards the modern roster (Iron Man, Angela, etc.).

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Is #7: Because there’s barely any stinkers on the roster. Even some of the common, easily available figs like Mantis and Major Victory have turned up on Top 8 winning ROC squads. You want to get up to some shenanigans? Main set Star-Lord makes every team member’s Defense value equal to the highest native Defense value possessed by a team member (hello Chase Rocket Raccoon and his 19 D!!).

If there’s a power or game mechanic you want, you’ll probably find it on one of these folks! Consistent quality.

Must Have Pieces: A bunch. Rocket Raccoon (Movie Set Chase), Star-Lord (Movie Set Starter), Major Victory, Mantis, Yondu, Star-Lord (Main set Uncommon).

 

Lego Heroes for Hire

6. Heroes for Hire

We Are Legion!: 26 characters with 27 different dials (for those keeping score at home and wondering about my math, the Colleen Wing and Misty Knight duo fig can actually be played as separate dials that distinctly represent each character, or played as a whole dial representing both as a duo piece). Also, for those wondering why I’d choose Luke Cage to headline this section when THERE IS NO MODERN AGE LUKE CAGE, well, yeah, that’s kinda my point! We need a Modern Luke Cage, dammit! (And with Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron OP coming this year, I’m pretty sure were getting at least one, if not two or more, since we know he’ll have an ID card… )

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter.

Also Known As: Yup! Their ATA was, at one point (circa 2013) the best in the game. So good, in fact, that WizKids had to nerf it, since every tournament was being won by Ghost Rider with the HfH ATA and, well, anything else.

Working Together!: No Team Base.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Two. One is a super-efficient close combatant who starts with Charge, Flurry, Stealth, Quake (with a 12 Attack!), Super Senses, CCE (and the ability to use it as a close combat action, so it pairs nicely with Charge or Flurry!) and a Trait that has a 33% chance to nerf opposing Relics and Resources if a character using one of those attacks him.

And he’s the “bad” Prime.

As good as Cat is, Brother Voodoo will go down as possibly the best Prime ever made (although we shall watch the Modern Age careers of Zoom and Captain Marvel with interest, methinks–and yes, unfortunately that was a Phantom Menace reference. Deal with it!).

Straight, With Chaser: None. Don’t really need one. That ATA turns almost any piece into a Chase-level efficient attacker!

Shadow of the Colossus: Again, none. And again, probably don’t need one.

Micro Machines: Just two–Black Cat from Deadpool and Johnny Blaze from ASM.

Who Let You In?!: So, again, just to be clear: 2 (really three, when you count the fact that you can play the Duo as separate dials) Modern Age versions of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing; 2 Modern Age versions of Black Cat; a Modern Age freakin’ Humbug… and no Modern Age Luke Cage?!?!?!?!? Suuuuuuuurrrre…

Why Heroes for Hire Is #6: Because they’re still going strong two years after they’re Modern Age reintroduction in ASM! It’s funny, everyone thinks of HfH as a ASM sub-theme, which it certainly was, but Deadpool actually gave us more than twice as many HfH figs, which really rejuvenated the keyword. Once ASM rotates out, HfH will definitely suffer, but given the roster overlap in the comics between the Avengers (who, as mentioned, have, like a bazillion sets coming this year) and the Heroes for Hire, I wouldn’t be shocked if HfH shows up on this list again in 6 months!

But you could argue that right now, they deserve to be even higher. They have Meta pieces coming out of their earholes: Ghost Rider; Speed Demon; DP Main Set Elektra; FI (White Ranger) Iron Fist; Brother Voodoo; Shang-Chi… all these pieces have made a Meta impact, whether at a ROC tourney or elsewhere.

Must Have Pieces: Pretty much the list above. Also, HfH pieces are probably the easiest to collect. Individually, there’s none that will cost more than about $20, and most are much cheaper. Kind of like the opposite of collecting Z-Virus pieces.

 

Alright! That’s the end of part one! We’ll count down all the way to number 1 in Part 2 next week! Also, later this month you can expect Ninwashui and I to give our JL: Trinity War Top Ten Set Reviews!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 2 is live! And you can find it right here!]

The AvX Postmortem!! (Or, 4000 Words on Why Cyclops Was Wrong!!)

"Son, unless the category is convoluted character back stories, you gonna lose this one."

“Scott! Unless this conflict is decided by which side has the most convoluted back stories, your X-Men will lose!”

AvX has come and gone, and outside of some Local Tourney Reports and a few article mentions of Scarlet Witch, we really didn’t cover the actual pieces too much. Well, that changes today. Today, we’ll go through the best and the worst pieces and talk about which ones will be relevant in the Meta six months from now and which ones you won’t even pull out to complete a Theme Team. We’ve talked at length before about what the Phoenix Force Resource can do for your squad, so today we’ll focus on the individual characters in this set. Before we begin with the individual spotlights, you should probably be aware that there are (including all the different Team Base Dials) 42 different dials in this set (pretty much every starter fig comes with at least a V and E dial). So it’s actually a bit bigger than most people realize. And with that, we’ll get on to:

 

THE 6 BEST:

"Let's see Elizabeth Olsen pull off this costume!"

“Let’s see Elizabeth Olsen pull off this costume!”

AVX006E Scarlet Witch 100 Points: She’s support in a bottle, with Perplex, Prob and Support all contained in her Damage Special Power. She can virtually eliminate your opponent’s best TA with her Trait (NO MORE MUTANTS: Once per game, give Scarlet Witch a double power action and choose a team ability. Any other character that can use that team ability must roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and if the result is 1 – 5, that character can’t use the chosen team ability for the rest of the game.), which is one of the coolest Traits in the game in terms of function and flavor. Her Defense Special is also one of the best in the game (MYSTICAL WARDS: Scarlet Witch can use Energy Shield/Deflection. When Scarlet Witch is hit with an attack, the roll is ignored and the attacker must roll again. This new roll can’t be rerolled or ignored.), and she has both the Avengers and the Mystics TA on top of that! With a top dial 3 damage with Precision Strike and 8 Range, she’s that rare support piece that’s actually a useful tertiary attacker too! FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and JL52016R Enchantress both offer similar powers for 50 less points, so there hasn’t been an overwhelming need for this Wanda on the Meta scene yet. But with those pieces retiring and with only FFDP006R Mercy available as a replacement in the same point range (it should be noted that War of the Light is bringing us WOL033 Sister Sercy, who has a similar dial to the pieces I mentioned and costs 66 Points; however, her only keyword is Blue Lantern Corps., which means she’d probably break theme on any Meta team she’s included on, since I don’t see Blue Lantern Corps. as being viable in a tournament environment; Map Choice can become so important at that level, so I don’t think she’ll get used a ton, but I guess we’ll see), I wouldn’t be surprised to see people take another look at this Scarlet Witch, since she fills so many role for such a reasonable cost (and has great keywords; Mercy has Thunderbolts and that’s it. That’s better than just having BLC, but it still narrows your build options). And if you play her with the Phoenix Force, you can give her TK, too (with the Emma Fragment).

Cyclops, right before he turned into Magneto. CYCLOPS WAS WRONG!

Cyclops, right before he turned into Magneto. CYCLOPS WAS WRONG!

 AVX009E Cyclops – 100 Points: He has enough offense (Running Shot and 4 top dial damage with an awesome 8 Range and Improved Targeting: Ignores Blocking Terrain and, when he does, blow up that blocking terrain after actions resolve) to be considered a primary attacker, but you get him at secondary attacker prices! He offers a bit of support as well with Outwit and Leadership; as of Watchlist 2, however, he’s lost some of his luster. His defense at this point level is a mere 17 with Toughness and only 5 clicks of life, so he represents a big risk that was greatly mitigated by firing from the other end of the map when used in conjunction with SLOSH048 Tellus. Now that Tellus’s Link Telepathically Trait (LINK TELEPATHICALLY: Friendly characters within 4 squares can draw lines of fire and count range and squares from the square of any one friendly character within 4 squares of Tellus.) only works with other LoSH keyworded figures, I’d expect that this version of Scott Summers is a little to chewy to stay in the ranks of the Meta.

Buuuuuut, having said that, if Cyclops does stick around the tourney scene, it’ll be because of his good buddy Sean Cassidy. We know DP051 Banshee is going to be a Meta piece, and it just so happens that this particular Cyclops makes an awesome running buddy for him. Banshee is 98 points; unlike Scott Summers’s WXM version (94 Points), Cyke here clocks in at an even 100, which means his Leadership can pull tokens off of Banshee (which is huge, since the lack of Indomitable is one of the only drawbacks to playing Banshee). Banshee’s Police TA will help Cyclops’s 10 Attack; Cyclops’s Outwit can counter (even through Blocking Terrain!) opposing Precision Strike or any other ability your opponent might use to get around Sean’s 18 Defense with Super Senses. And they each have the X-Men TA, so they can each heal the other of one damage if there’s a click you just need them to stay on (like Cyke’s Top Dial–or Banshee’s second click). That’s a fairly formidable pair, there, and you still have 102 points left for more X-Men and Resources. Let’s see what that might look like real quick:

Team Name: Ech0-Disintegration

Theme: X-Men

DP051 Banshee98 Points

(Assigned the Colossus Fragment) – 3

AVX009E Cyclops100

(Assigned the Cyclops Fragment) – 3

WXM204 Shadowcat70

(Assigned the Magik Fragment) – 3

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

3x Assigned Characters – 9

= 298 

As described above, this team is designed for all sorts of synergistic shenanigans between Banshee and Cyclops. If you win Map Roll, you want something with a lot of Elevated, Hindering AND Blocking Terrain. Wundagore Mountain is just one example of a map that should work for you, with a top level of elevation that also has plenty of walls for Cyclops to blow through. There’s several from FEAR ITSELF that will work just fine too. Also, with the Phoenix Force and this setup, Banshee has an 18 Defense with Super Senses and Invuln–not too shabby. If your opponent has any bystander tokens (likely if it’s a Hammer team) or any figure that you think you can pick off early, it’s in your best interest to do so. Once you either roll doubles and hit or KO an opposing character with an attack, the Phoenix dial turns to Click 2, where all of your team would get Force Blast, +1 to their Attack, ES/D AND Perplex!! Shadowcat is simply there to Carry Cyclops if need be and to keep Incapping M10 Iron Man if he ever shows his face–plus she’s a great Outwit source and tie-up piece.

"I assure you, that WAS your card!"

“I assure you, that WAS your card!”

AVX008 Professor X – 150 Points: The main reason I have Xavier on here is his awesome Movement Special (I CAN’T LET YOU DO THIS: Professor X can use Mind Control and is not dealt unavoidable damage from it. Opposing characters within range must be given double power actions instead of power actions.). Giving opposing figs 2 chips instead of one, or just plain preventing them from doing what they want in the first place is a great power. In effect it is similar to Mokk’s main Trait from Fear Itself (ADVANCED PETRIFICATION: Opposing characters with a lower point value within 4 squares of Mokk can’t be given non-free actions if they already have one action token.), except the good Professor here only stops power actions. On the surface, Xavier’s power may not seem quite as good, but the Prof doesn’t care about other characters point cost, if effective out to 8 squares instead of 4… and–oh yeah!–he gives you that stopping power for 90 less points!! And he comes with both the Avengers and X-Men keywords (and can attach to either base!). Lot to like here.

150 Points is too much for a non-Primary attacker in 300 Point Meta games, but if you find yourself in a 400 Point tourney (or more), he’s a strong choice. In AvX months three and four, he showed up quite a bit, and for good reason (or REASONS, as we just discussed above!).

"Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!"

“Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!”

AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer125 Points: His Trait is fine if you’re pairing him with Iron Fist or Shang-Chi (TEACHER & PUPIL: During the beginning of your turn, give Lei-Kung the Thunderer a free action and choose a friendly character within 3 squares, with the Martial Artist keyword, and with a lower point value. The chosen character may modify either their attack or defense value by +1 until your next turn.), but his special Movement and Damage powers are what make him really efficient, giving him Charge, Flurry, Plasticity and a special version of Quake that gives hit characters action tokens.

Let’s take a look at another Flash Build with Lei-Kung!

Team Name: Thunderer Cats!!

Theme: Martial Artist

AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer100 Points

DP047B The Cat81

(w/ Complete Utility Belt) –14

DOFP009 Nightcrawler86

=300 

Martial Artist teams are in a weird spot right now. With the new Theme Team rules, they don’t really have any easy access to Probability Control. They’ve actually got a few pretty decent Taxi options now, however, which used to be an issue. I’ve gone with Nightcrawler because he’s so hard to hit AND can make a Close Combat attack if he carries someone 6 squares or less. The Cat is quite dangerous on his own, but he’s especially deadly with the Belt, and if you keep him close to Lei-Kung, you can pump his Attack to 13 or his Defense to 18, depending on the situation. And then, of course, Lei-Kung himself can come and bring the Thunder (read: action tokens) to break up any of your opponent’s formations. If you can win Map Roll and find a map with enough hiding spots (Hindering Terrain), you’d have a good chance of getting to your opponent before he can get too many shots off at your team. Alternatively, if you wanted to use the Phoenix Force, you could sub in Colleen Wing for The Cat.

"I am the Lord... of this hollowed out rubble!"

“I am the Lord… of this hollowed out rubble!”

AVX014 Magneto200 Points: Again, an awesome Trait (ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS, SCOTT?: Magneto can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Telekinesis. During the beginning of your turn, if Magneto has two action tokens, he can use Telekinesis as a free action, but may only use it to place friendly characters.) that makes him so hard to hit with a ranged attack (plop him in Hindering and it’s a 21 to hit for most characters!), especially now that Chaos War Hawkeye is rotating out in 3 weeks. Invincible means that even if you hit him, you’re not doing much damage, and after his top dial 4 damage he stays at 3 for most of the rest of his dial and even picks up Outwit. Rare was the X-Men team I played against during AvX that didn’t feature Magneto. He’s not 300 Points Meta, but in 400 or more, he should get a lot of consideration.

"Wait, is it safe for Thor to channel lightning this close to Iron Man's suit?"

“Wait, is it safe for Thor to channel lightning this close to Iron Man’s suit?”

AVXT001R Avengers200 Points: Their attack value is looooooow (9 to start though, like Spinal Tap’s amps, eventually it goes to 11–I’ll steal the .gif Ninwashui found for his last article to illustrate that).

This is actually what it looks like to turn a Green Lantern ring up to 11...

They have top dial Perplex and Running Shot with 3 Bolts, but otherwise, every power you would want them to have they get down dial. So patience is a key. But the real reason they’re here in the Top 5 Best instead of the Top 5 Worst is because they can get just about EVERY power under the sun via the Asset Dial depending on which Avengers roster you choose to field.

Just look at these Team Base powers:

AVX001 Captain America: This team character can use Combat Reflexes and Defend.

AVX002 Iron Man: This team character can use Perplex. When they do and Black Panther is also attached, you may modify an opposing character’s combat value by -2 instead.

AVX003 Thor: This team character can use Energy Explosion.

AVX004 Spider-Man: This team character can use Super Senses.

AVX005 Wolverine: This team character Blades/Claws/Fangs and Regeneration.

AVX006 Scarlet Witch: This team character can use Probability Control.

AVX007 Black Panther: This team character can use Outwit. When they do and Iron Man is also attached, you may counter a team ability as if it were a power.

AVX008 Professor X: When this team character uses Solo Adventure to place Professor X on the map, he may immediately use Mind Control as a free action.

AVX016 Hope Summers: Give this team character a free action and choose the asset ability of any character that could be attached to the team base but isn’t. This team character can use that asset ability until your next turn.

DP015 Daredevil: This team character ignores opposing characters’ Stealth.

DP019 Deadpool: When this team character is attached, opposing characters can’t use the Avengers or X-Men team abilities.

DP033 Red Hulk: This team character can use Poison. They can use it normally, or damage dealt from it can be penetrating damage. If damage dealt from Poison is penetrating damage, at the end of your turn you must roll the d6 and turn the asset dial that many times clockwise.

That is a WIDE array of choices, and you can put them in whatever order you choose! This team base offers the most customization of any 200 point character in the game! The X-Men Team Base is also good at the same point level; I just prefer the (at least currently) superior variety of the Avengers abilities.

Turbo from Go-Bots, twenty years past his prime and with a heavy drinking problem...

Turbo from Go-Bots, twenty years past his prime and with a heavy drinking problem…

AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man175 Points: People made a lot of noise at first about how “narrow” his Trait was in terms of characters he could actually deal penetrating damage to (HERE GOES NUTHIN’: Phoenixbuster Iron Man’s attacks deal penetrating damage if the target character is assigned a relic or a resource or possesses any of the following: “Giant damage symbol”, “Colossal damage symbol”, the Power Cosmic team ability, the Cosmic or Phoenix Force keyword, or the word Phoenix in its name as a separate word.), but I actually think his Trait is great! First, if you’re playing a ROC event or even a local tourney, unless Relics and Resources are banned, lotsa folks are gonna be playing them, and most (pretty much all of them except the Utility Belt, Penguin and the Bat Cave, although, to be honest, I forgot how the Bat Cave even works since it’s so rarely played…) affect either the entire team or a good portion of it. Second, even if you’re opponent isn’t playing a Relic or Resource, the “Cosmic” keyword is more prevalent then ever, considering we just saw DC Heroclix get a space-based set in SLoSH (11 characters with the Cosmic keyword, including Highfather), they’re about to get another one in War of the Light, and Marvel’s about to get a couple in the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie set along with the Guardians of the Galaxy set proper!

Third… his dial is actually really good! Running Shot with 10 Movement and a 10 Range means he can swing 15 squares in a single attack. That’s pretty damn good. Top dial 11 Attack with Pulse Wave is also pretty nasty. Let’s take a look at what Tony can do for you:

Team Name: Busted Lips

Theme: Armor

AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man175 Points

(w/ Secret Avengers ATA) – 5

FI301 Splitlip20 

IIM015 Tony Stark70

FIB018 Store Clerk3

FIR100 Book of the Skull6

(w/ 7 Hammers) – 21

 =300 (Exactly! Yay!)

So, this is probably a pretty obvious build, but you Hammer up Tony Stark and Phoenixbuster Iron Man as quick as possible with Splitlip’s ability, then you start going to town. Tony Stark should only need a 6 at that point to Mind Control–well, himself, really. Then you try and destroy your opponent’s best figure with a couple doses of Running Shot/Pulse Wave via a 13 Attack (with a Hammer) and 10 Range! Yes, this is a variation on Ninwashui’s Tony Stark/Iron Pharaoh team from a few months ago. And that’s fine, cuz it’s not a bad idea at all, especially with a fig that has a chance to do penetrating damage each time he attacks! Remember, even if his Trait doesn’t help you, PB Iron Man still has Pulse Wave for 4 Clicks and Pen/Psy for his last three–you’ll have chances to get damage through, I promise you.

 

And we're sure she's not talking about the source of her marital problems with Bill?

And we’re sure she’s not talking about the source of her marital problems with Bill?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

AVX003R Thor100 Points: Great scuplt with a great Trait (CALL THE STORM & TEAR OPEN THE SKY: Thor can use Super Strength. When Thor targets and hits more than 1 opposing character with an attack, targets of the attack are dealt penetrating damage.) that really makes him into a sort of mini-Phoenixbuster Iron Man. For 75 less points.

AVX004 Spider-Man125 Points: Extremely effective for his points, and definitely worth fielding depending on the build. He’d be the best Spidey out there if WizKids hadn’t just released DP060 Superior Spider-Man, who is an absolute beast.

 -AVX007 Black Panther100 Points: A Swiss Army knife of close combat abilities, T’Challa’s Damage Special Power (KING OF WAKANDA: Black Panther can use Empower, Leadership, and Outwit. When he uses Leadership and the result is 6, in addition to the normal effects he may remove an action token from himself.) makes him another “support in a bottle” type of character, only he can deal some melee damage as well. He actually makes a great teammate for the previously discussed AVX006E Scarlet Witch because of his Trait (YOU DON’T GET TO GIVE UP: Once during your turn, another friendly character within 4 squares that shares a keyword with Black Panther can use Willpower.), which allows Wanda to use her “No More Mutants” Trait without taking pushing damage. Wild Card TA, top dial Stealth, the ability to ignore Hindering Terrain and Characters while moving and a bevy of good keywords (Avengers, Illuminati, Scientist, etc.) make him a solid choice for a bunch of different builds. He’s probably the best Panther they’ve ever made, although AV024 Black Panther from Avengers is close.

-AVXG001 Dark Phoenix Cyclops1000 Points: If 1000 Point tourneys were more common, this dial would have made the Top 6. He’s insane for his points (mostly because of his Special Pulse Wave, which can hit multiple characters for up to 5 damage the first time it appears on his dial), but he’ll rarely see play because most venues only do large enough builds for him every 3 months or so. Incidentally, Cyke’s 300 Point dial actually made a Top 16 at a ROC recently, but didn’t go any further because it’s too easy for him to get out-actioned at that point level. Still, all three of his dials are solid, and he’s a rare piece that you need to be aware of in Epic games.

The Sculpted Facepalm.

The Sculpted Facepalm.

THE 4 WORST!!

And finally, a few mentions about the pieces I think should be avoided… AT ALL COSTS!

A visual comparison of IIM001AE Iron Man and AVX002 Iron Man.

A visual comparison of IIM001AE Iron Man and AVX002 Iron Man.

AVX002 Iron Man150 Points: The worst Modern Age Iron Man, this exercise in frustration only saw play in AvX from those desperate souls who fielded him in Month 1 hoping to take advantage of his Trait (ENHANCED REPULSORS: All of Iron Man’s attacks generate knock back.) on a map that featured a mountain in the middle. Which was fine, except that you better hope you win Map Roll and that your opponent decides that it’s a good idea to engage you on the top of said mountain. Even then, you still have to actually hit, which–with a dial that sports only a few 10’s and 9’s for Attack Value–might be fairly difficult. His Damage Special is just annoying (INVENTING ON THE FLY: Once per turn, Iron Man can use Outwit or Perplex.) since it’s an either/or proposition AND it doesn’t appear top dial. Just compare what you get here with what you get with IIM001AE Iron Man for the exact same amount of points. It’s not even close. One final note: His keywords suck (No Stark Industries? Really?!).

"Uh, sure, Illyana, you, uh, you definitely made the list."

“Uh, sure, Illyana, you, uh, you definitely made the list.”

AVX013E Magik75 Points: She looks like she should be really good. She’s got a cool sculpt, 2 Team Abilities (Mystics and X-Men) and a vast array of powers like top dial TK, ES/D and a Special Movement Power that lets her deal penetrating damage to characters with the Mystical keyword. All backed up by her Taxi Trait (TELEPORTATION DISKS: Give Magik a power action and choose an adjacent character. Place Magik in any square within range, place the chosen character in an adjacent square, and roll a d6. On a result of 1-4, the chosen character can’t be given a non-free action until your next turn.). So why is she on this list?

Let’s start with her Trait. It’s basically a very fancy way of saying “I can carry someone 5 squares.” Yes, one third of the time, you might be able to do something after that, and she’s not restricted by any symbols or the size of the base of the chosen character, so her Trait is slightly useful from that regard. But if you’re not playing her with a Colossal or peanut base fig, or having her carry a flier or something like that, then she’s pretty useless as a Taxi service with a route of only 5 squares (Ironically, one of the best figures for her to carry would probably be Phoenixbuster Iron Man, who would then have a 33% chance to make a Running Shot that would cover another 15 squares for a 20 square swing).

Well, what about her Movement Special? All of her attacks deal penetrating damage to other Mystical characters! Okay, that’s fine–certainly a popular keyword. But in this era of Power Creep, somehow Magik got stuck with a bunch of 9’s and 8’s for her Attack Values like she’s straight out of Infinity Challenge or something. Which makes her B/C/F and–to a slightly lesser extent–Pulse Wave almost useless. Ah, but she’s got top dial TK! Lots of people played 75 Point FFCW006 Scarlet Witch just for her top dial TK! Well, that’s not nearly the only reason they played her, but if you’re using Magik’s TK, then her Trait is really useless, isn’t it? Neither is a free action, which means you can only choose one or the other. Which means you’re paying “Taxi” points twice for her.

Basically, for almost everything she does, there are better options. Oh, and if you thought Iron Man’s keywords sucked, you should probably know that he looks like DP101 Deadpool compared to Magik (X-Men, Mystical and–wait, that’s it.)

Build your army around Hope Summers and you'll end up in a corner with your head down too.

Build your army around Hope Summers and you’ll end up in a corner with your head down too.

AVX016 Hope Summers122 Points: Her Trait makes her interesting (POWER MIMIC: Give Hope Summers a free action. Choose a standard power possessed by any character within 4 squares. Hope Summers can use that power until your next turn as if she had a range value of 6.); her point cost makes her almost unusable. For 3 more points, I’ll take Lei-Kung every time. The only reason she’s a must own is because she has the best Asset Dial power for both Team Bases (see above).

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

AVX101 Cable124 Points: The same issues as his sister, although they both get slightly better when played together (although not nearly better enough to, y’know, ACTUALLY PLAY THEM TOGETHER). If you know you’re gonna play against some Avengers, he’s passable. Now that AvX is over, however, I don’t see him being useful in life.

 

Okay, that’s just about everything I can think to say about AvX! Thanks for checking out the AvX Postmortem! Back Monday for the Weekly Roundup!! Until then, as always, stay safe and watch those lines of fire!

 

 

 

 

 

Days of Past Sets Future!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 06/08/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello Again!!

(Or perhaps–as our site’s metrics indicate we’ve picked up quite a few new readers this week–hello for the first time!)

Welcome to the Critical Missives Weekly Roundup, where we recap the week in Clix, offer some news and community updates, a few random opinions on stuff, and get you caught up on life–or at least your gaming life. Or at least some of the stuff that happened. With Heroclix. It’s a low bar, but we usually manage to reach it!

So then, without further ado, here is…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix just released Episode 48! I jumped the gun a little bit in reporting host Hunter’s nuptials and honeymoon, but he sits in with the guys and discusses both a new format for their show and which important Modern Age figures will be rotating out come July when, well, a whole bunch of sets will rotate out of Modern (more on this in a little bit in the WizKids section).

Also, June’s Dial Design just finished Week 2; incidentally, I was, unfortunately, too busy to submit this month, but there have been some really cool entries.

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is done cooking up Episode 2.4!! You can also check their Podbean for updates and the first three episodes of Season 2!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 20, which sees the return of the Round Table!! Having said that, Hunter Smith announced on this week’s Dial H For Heroclix Podcast that he will be leaving as a regular on the Quarry Round Table episodes; while he didn’t rule out an occasional pop-in, Hunter is done after this month as a continual presence.


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-A couple new ROC’s have been announced for Kentucky and Indiana!

-Not that I’ll be able to attend, unfortunately, but local venue Gamer’s Gauntlet has a ROC event scheduled for the end of this month. I’ve heard nothing else about this from any other source; check out their website for more details (via the link above).

–If you missed it a couple weeks ago, a brief announcement was made that the recent “Watchlist 2: Electric Bugaloo” changes will go into effect, well, immediately.

–If you want to know what the most frequently used ROC figures are, check out Ninwashui’s latest article that dropped yesterday!

As far as what will be used frequently going forward, I think we’ll see:

-From War of the Light, all of the Entity Chases (but especially Parallax and Entity) will be huge (when played at their 25-point level as “Possessors”); Despotellis should also see a lot of usage;

-From Deadpool, Speed Demon (in particular) and Thunderbolts Teams (in general) should become popular as Speed Demon’s Cyclone Trait offers one of the only ways in the game right now to deal damage without making so much as an attack roll. He’s relatively cheap on eBay at the moment (plenty available around $14.00, which is basically the price of one pack), but once he starts dominating the Meta, look for that price to go up in a hurry. Especially because there’s slightly less of him than other Super Rare, since he’s a Prime;

"'Top o' the morning to ye."

“‘Top o’ the morning to ye.”

-And also from Deadpool… yeah, Banshee. Of course. And possibly Zombie Electro;

-Someone will take a shot at building an army around Phoenixbuster Iron Man, and that person will be awesome in all aspects of life (but they’ll still lose, probably, unless their match-ups fall perfectly).

-Someone will try building a Mystical team around Shaman, as I’ve previously predicted! (Hint: He teams best with Iron Pharaoh!! Also, Map Choice is really important with that type of team!)

-Mercy from the DeadPool Fast Forces is basically the next Scarlet Witch from Chaos War! Of course, at 100 points, AvX Scarlet Witch is pretty good too; but run out and get FF:DP before they’re all sold out and your paying $40 for a $17 quick set! The 75-Point Fast Forces Elektra is also really efficient for her points!

Wizkids

WIZKIDS NEWS:

–WizKids is rotating sets finally, which should juice the Meta starting July 1st!! Pretty much everything Marvel and DC BEFORE M:10 and DC:10

–A general FYI: a few weeks ago, WizKids announced a monthly New OP kit system!


Preview

Previews:

–Final War of the Light color (Black) went live on Newsarama. Black Lantern Spectre looks sweeeeeet.

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week, we’re gonna keep it new and simple for you guys out there:

Team Name: You’lllllll Neveeeerrrr Seeeee Me Commmmmiiiiinng

ThemeThunderbolts

DP053A Speed Demon – 110 Points

FFDP006R Mercy50 

DP036 Bullseye- 110

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force12

(with the Colossus Fragment still Attached) – 3

Cyclops, Emma Frost and Magik Fragments 9

2x Assigned Characters6

=300

Bullseye is taxi’d by Mercy, and then he simply runs amok with his 12 Attack value and triple target 8 Range Precision Strike (remember, Fragments give characters the Flight ability but NOT the Wing symbol, so Mercy can still carry them!). Speed Demon agitates everyone and uses his Trait to fling opposing figures into position for Bullseye to mutilate. Also, with 2 Assigned Characters and 2 Fragments left on the base, Bullseye and Speed Demon get the Defense pumped up +1 to 18 (or 20 against Close Combat attacks as they both have Combat Reflexes) until you KO an opposing figure or roll doubles on an attack roll and hit (the 2 ways the Phoenix Force Resource moves). Bullseye and Speed Demon also get Empower, Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs, which opens up some interesting possibilities, especially for Speed Demon. Since he ignores characters, he can still make his Cyclone Trait go off by Charging 6 or 7 squares around a character and then he can B/C/F them for the possibility of six damage BEFORE he spins them away in his Cyclone. Then you simply rinse and repeat!!

This is a team that would be a lot of fun to play, and it uses all new characters!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Dr. Strange: The Movie may in fact have a director!

Otherwise, not a ton of Hollywood news at the moment. Well, Ben Affleck went to a Tigers game (he’s in town shooting Batman and Superman, or whatever they’re calling it right now). That was kinda cool.

Critical Missives:

–Two big articles last week: A second opinion on the DeadPool set by yours truly; and the frequency of pieces used in the ROC tournaments!

And we’ll be back this week with a special look at Six Pack possibilities in Flash Figure #2 by Ninwashui and some other goodness from me! And in two weeks… a WOL !! Wheeee!

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

 

Eh… On Second Thought, What the Heck? Go Ahead and Do This, Scott!! (Or, The Build 4, Part 2!!)

"And this is just from indigestion. Imagine what'll happen when I'm really mad."

“THIS is what can happen when you ‘Imagine Dragons!'”

Welcome to Part 2 of our fourth “The Build” column! For information on the game I was building for and the thought process behind why I chose the army I did, click here.

And now that you’re all caught up, Let’s Get Fightin’!!

ROUND 1:

VERSUS: Ninwashui!

FACING:

"Oh look, my shirt's off again."

“Oh look, my shirt’s off again.”

WXM038 Legion – 119

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

WXM016 Cyclops – 94

WXM045 Phoenix – 154

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Nice job, bro!)

FIGHT!

I honestly don’t remember how Ninwashui had his Frags arranged; as it would turn out, it didn’t really matter.

We began by tying on map roll; we rerolled, and I took it. I chose the K’un Lun map. We each advanced slightly on our first turns; on turn two, I unleashed Sentry and Void and Hawkeye (with Mockingbird backing him up for the additional +1 to Attack), and Cyclops was pretty much dead in short order. Ninwa retaliated by having Legion choose good supporting powers like Perplex with his Trait (HIDDEN PERSONALITIES: Give Legion a free action and choose a standard power, then roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. He acquires a “Personality Quirk” from the table below, and uses that and the standard power until your next turn.1: “Cowardly” Legion modifies his attack value by -2.2: “Confused” Legion modifies his speed and defense values by -1.3: “Grounded” Legion can use Earthbound/Neutralized.4: “Enraged” Legion can use Battle Fury.5: “Compassionate” Immediately heal all adjacent characters 1 click.6: “Savant” Legion modifies his combat values by +1. Choose another standard power and he can also use that power.), and then he hit a Running Shot on Sentry and Void for 5 damage straight through (via her Penetrating/Psychic Blast)! Ouch! After this, though, 2 things happened.

First, I got slightly more conservative with my Sentry and Void placement. Second… poor Ninwashui never hit another roll (at least not after one of my Theme Team Probs or Scarlet Witch’s native Prob). The biggest insult to Ninwa came when he sent Legion on a Hypersonic run at Rookie Mockingbird just to pick up SOME points from the match. I believe at that point he needed a 7 to just straight up KO her; instead, he rolled yet another 3. This ended up as a 600-0 squash, which was not at all where I thought we were headed after the first couple turns.

DECISION:

600-0 Victory.

WHAT I LEARNED:

–I went to the trouble of assigning the Cyclops Fragment to Sentry and Void, and then NEVER used it the whole day. That was a major mistake. It didn’t really cost me, but it wasn’t until the whole tournament was over that I realized that I could have been using RCE IN ADDITION to the bonuses provided by the Phoenix Dial, of which I was much more mindful. Don’t know if it would have made a difference in the grand scheme of things, but I’m sure I took a few second actions with Sentry and Void’s Multi-attack where I was just firing away without using any of the RCE bonuses. Boo hiss on me.

Phoenix was potent offensively, especially in her first 3 clicks, but when she missed her Shape Change roll, Sentry and Void pretty much vaporized her over the course of the next couple turns. Her dial feels like it should be more in the 14o or so point range, which may not seem like a huge difference from the 154 she costs now, but those extra few points actually close of a lot of different build possibilities. I really like this piece, but I’ve never seen her take over a game to the extent that it seems like she should be able to (whether I was playing her or playing against her).

Legion was a real surprise for me. He was extremely useful, even if Ninwashui rolled Battle Fury about 7 out of 10 times. He’s a figure I enjoyed playing against, even if he was really hard to plan for from turn to turn.

WXM016 Cyclops is not a bad figure–he just got eaten up in this environment. For the extra six points, I’d probably prefer the Experienced AvX version, but I know Ninwashui has had terrible luck with that fig, so it didn’t surprise me that he went with a different Cyclops this month.

–200 Point AvX Magneto is good… unless he’s facing a 98 Point Chaos War Hawkeye. With the Phoenix Force slot I was starting on, Hawkeye basically had a 13 Attack, and if I could maneuver Mockingbird into a square adjacent to the one I wanted Hawkeye to end up in during a Running Shot, his attack zoomed up to a 14. This was huge in a couple games, because Magneto’s Defense is really hard to crack. It’s 18 with ES/D to start, and most people who played him gave him a Fragment and left the Colossus Fragment on the resource base, which meant that even if you hit him, Mags had access to BOTH Invuln and his native Invincible (while you can’t use two reducers at the same time, that meant that even if you Outwitted Invincible, he’d still be subtracting 2 from any non-penetrating damage). But after 3 damage, that defense drops from 18 to 16, which is much easier to touch (even with his Traited ES/D still in effect). So I had basically planned on using Hawkeye as a “bunker-buster” this tournament, Perplexing his Damage to 4 and hitting Mags for 2 on Hawkeye’s first attack and 2 more on his second in any game where I saw Buckethead. Didn’t QUITE work out that way this game (ending up targeting Cyclops first), but Hawkeye was still a straight beast. As the build total went up each month, Hawkeye only got better. His Wildcard TA (Spider-Man) meant that his effectiveness would grow as his supporting cast grew. In this build, AvX Scarlet Witch gave him Mystics TA on my opponent’s turns and IM3 Tony Stark gave him Avengers Initiative, one of the best TA’s in the game, which essentially let him target Stealthed figures.

"Eat $#!%, Green Arrow."

“Eat $#!%, Green Arrow. If anyone deserves a show on the CW, it’s–wait, the CW? I don’t want a show on the CW! You know what? Eat you heart out, Oliver.”

All in all, CW039 Hawkeye was pound-for-pound my best performer in Month 4. He’s a 5-Star figure on HCRealms, and he was worth every point I spent to play him. He’s that rare figure who’s really damn good in a multitude of point builds.

ROUND 2:

VERSUS: A (Venue Regular–see below!)

FACING:

Shiny Happy Avengers.

Shiny Happy Avengers.

M10A009 Iron Man – 225

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

(Assigned a Fragment)

AvX003 Thor – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (I believe that’s how Andrew had his Fragments set–if I’m wrong, I apologize Andrew. A smart man might have taken better notes, but here we are…)

FIGHT!

My second opponent is A, a regular at our venue, Comics & More, and he is a high-level player. While he’s certainly capable of putting together some killer team builds, what he really excels at in my opinion is in-game strategy–specifically, adapting what his team does best to the conditions and positioning on the battlefield. I’ve gone against him several times with what I thought (at least at the time) were better teams only to watch as he picked me apart piece by piece. He also seems to enjoy finding some of the quirkier corners of the game and is a master at using Perplex to get most of his key pieces up to absurdly high Defense levels.

I was very nervous going into this game because A had defeated me with a similar version of this team (he added Hawkeye and the resource, and powered down Scarlet Witch from 75 to 50 Points) in Month 3. I just did not know what I was going to do about M10 Iron Man–I had been praying that I wouldn’t play against one, as both my main AND secondary attacker were using Phoenix Fragments.

I seem to recall that A won Map Roll; regardless of who did, we ended up fighting on the surface of the Moon. A brought his fully powered M10 Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye to the center of the map, setting Hawkeye down in Hindering Terrain. On my turn, I used “No More Mutants” to get rid of his Scarlet Witch’s Mystics TA (so that his Hawkeye couldn’t copy it anymore), then I ran my standard Hawkeye/Mockingbird play and–after Wildcarding Avengers Initiative–smacked his Hawkeye for 3, even though he was Stealthed. Sentry and Void then went to work–and missed twice, after A used up half of his Theme Team probs. Dang.

He countered back by taking out Tony Stark (bye-bye AI TA), but I came right back with Sentry and Void and used Multi-attack to finish off his Hawkeye and get a big blast in on Thor (at that point, I believe my dial had turned to the +1 to Damage, so that hit was about 6 damage straight through). Meanwhile, Mockingbird had tied up M10 Iron Man and even got a hit in with her CCE. Looking at the board, A actually used his Scarlet Witch to attack Sentry and Void–and hit! Then Thor went for the Pulse Wave against Sentry and Void. He needed an 8 at that point I believe to do 5-6 damage, which would have put Sentry and Void on one of its last clicks. He rolled the dice… and he missed! Whew.  M10 Iron Man hit his own Pulse Wave, but with both Mockingbird and Hawkeye within range, he only did 1 damage to each.

On my next turn, Sentry and Void finished off his Thor and Scarlet Witch. A took out Mockingbird, but at this point the match simply became about whittling M10 Iron Man’s Adaptive Armor (ADAPTIVE ARMOR: When Iron Man would take damage from a character assigned a relic or resource, Iron Man ignores that damage and rolls a d6. On a result of 1-3, deal Iron Man 1 unavoidable damage. This ability can’t be ignored.) down with Sentry and Void, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye. M10 Iron Man lasted FOREVER, but couldn’t really muster any offense, and eventually Andrew missed enough rolls that he was KO’d–he just got out-actioned too badly at that point since it was 3-1. Still, it took forever–A made enough rolls to really flummox my troops with that Trait for a while there.

DECISION:

600-175 (I want to say that he killed Scarlet Witch, and I know he KO’d Tony Stark and Mockingbird. So we’ll go with 175. Yes, I know, a smarter man would have taken better notes!!)

WHAT I LEARNED:

–M10 Iron Man can be dealt with even by figures assigned Resources or Relics, but you need to be EXTREMELY patient and you REALLY need to take out his supporting figs first. Just like Silver Centurion brings his own secondary attacker with his Pulse Bolt Torpedo, M10 Iron Man really sort of brings his own Support team with top dial Perplex and Mid-Dial Outwit to go with his Adaptive Armor Trait.

The scariest gently-swaying -in-the-jetstream piece in the whole tournament!

The scariest “gently-swaying -in-the-jetstream” piece in the whole tournament!

–AvX Thor is great… until he gets hit. Outwit and Pen/Psy are his main weaknesses (aren’t they everyone’s main weakness?). His attack and damage output are great, but his native defense never rises over a 17. A Psychic Blast for even 3 damage can burn through 100 Points of clicks in one hit. That’s why I like his 100 Point dial better than his 200 Point Dial, incidentally.

–A assigned the Emma Frost Fragment to the Scarlet Witch, which was very clever. Most people play the 75-Point version just for her Telekinesis; A realized he could get that TK just by paying about 6 additional Points (3 for the Fragment and 3 for assigning that Fragment to her).

–A brief note about IM3 Tony Stark. For 50 Points, just the fact that he gives you Outwit and Enhancement with 17 Defense and Willpower is pretty damn good. That he can be promoted AND the fact that he provides Avengers Initiative to all your Wildcards is just gravy. One of my favorite pieces from the IM3 set, definitely.

ROUND 3:

VERSUS: B, (another Venue regular and my nemesis from Month 2!)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Nemesis is used rather loosely here, as Comics & More is a pretty friendly environment. Just thought I’d throw that out there.)

(DEADPOOL NOTE: Regarding the Editor’s Note above:

"We've waited 2 extra days already for this recap. How about you GET ON WITH IT?!"

“We’ve waited 2 extra days already for this recap. How about you GET ON WITH IT?!”

End of DeadPool note.)

FACING:

WXM032 Bishop -140

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost – 125

WXM209 Jean Grey – 100

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=598 (I wish I could remember who had what Fragment; alas, this is my best guess recreation–B, if you’re reading this, go ahead and let me know what I screwed up in the Comments!)

B is another great local player who’d done well in previous AvX tourneys, so I knew I’d have my work cut out for me. His teams are usually pretty innovative, and like A, he enjoys exploring some of the weirder sides of team building. Having said that, this was a downright normal team for him, and after Map Choice was decided (he won, and we ended up back in K’un Lun), he moved his force up and sat Magneto in one of the printed Hindering Terrain squares on the first level. I countered with my “Hawkeye” bunker buster strategy and conglomerated around the other bit of printed Hindering Terrain that was just a few squares away from the one Mags was in and hit (albeit only for a small amount–only 1-2 damage) to open up the attacking, and we were off and running! On his turn, he started maneuvering the rest of his team into the fray, and I followed that by continuing to chip away at Magneto with Hawkeye and Sentry and Void. Soon I scored the KO on Mags (along with the early advantage), but it cost me Tony Stark (who I’d moved forward to counter Mags’s Invincible).

The tables started to turn my opponents way, and soon he had KO’d Scarlet Witch and Mockingbird as well, and while I had damaged just about everyone but Bishop, I hadn’t KO’d anyone else. Jean Grey was showing Support at that point, so I took her out with Sentry and Void, but it left him in a precarious position, and B. took advantage of that by plugging him for a decent chunk of damage. Eventually I managed to take out Emma Frost, but it cost me Sentry and Void when B. countered with a pretty Phoenix’d out Bishop. At that point the dial was showing +2 to all stats plus Hypersonic Speed.

The end of the game came down to Hawkeye still on first click and the Phoenix Force providing him with +2 to Attack and Hypersonic Speed, which was perfect because Bishop was down to either his last click or his second to last click, and trying to hit him from range was just asking for trouble. My opponent moved Bishop to temporary safety, and I had to move across the map to get into position for a Hypersonic strike, which I did… right as the Judge called time. As I went second to start the game, that meant that the game ended with my last move that turn. B. almost didn’t realize he had won, and announced that he was clearing Bishop. I almost had to shake him to tell him he’d won.

It was an extremely close match, and I can’t say for certain I would have come out on top even if time hadn’t ended. The way things sat, I would have needed about a 5 to KO Bishop with a close combat HSS strike (Hawkeye’s modified attack at that point was 14 while Bishop’s modified Defense was 19 (16 +2 from the resource plus resource granted Perplex +1 =19). Certainly not impossible, but not a gimme either.

I came close, but B’s team (or more accurately, his skilled play) turned out to be too much for me. He won the tourney; with about 1658 points (out of a possible 1798 or something like that), I finished 2nd, leaving me with finishes of 2, 1, 2 and 2 for the whole event. The Judge assigned Player Points to every competitor each month based on attendance, points earned and final place.

With the Month Four win, B… finished ONE Player Point behind me. It really could not have been any closer. He played a great game, had a great four months, and had he taken the top prize, he certainly would have been worthy. Congrats to him for winning the month and go home with a Phoenixbuster Iron Man (who may make some noise at a ROC–this isn’t the last you’ll here of Peanut Butter PB Iron Man).

"Hey, HypeFox--you missed me, @$$hole."

“Hey, HypeFox–you missed me, @$$hole.”

WHAT I LEARNED:

–Bishop plus the Phoenix Force is pretty damn formidable. His Trait (TIMESLIDE: Once per game, give Bishop a double power action to use Phasing/Teleport. When you do, he can use Probability Control until your next turn, and after actions resolve, you may give him a close or ranged combat attack as a free action.) can completely shift the balance of power in a game if used judiciously.

–Sentry and Void is sick and wrong, especially in a Build format where he has enough points left to field a pretty good support squad. Multi-attack has been slightly nerfed in the last year or so, but it’s still so powerful that you ONLY TEND TO SEE IT ON COLOSSALS WHO ARE MORE THAN 500 POINTS! A regular fig who’s 300 even? That’s still really good. Even Dark Phoenix Cyclops at 300 Points doesn’t have Multi-attack!

–WXM Gravity Feed Jean Grey is damn good!

–Going in, I thought Emma Frost would be a pain to deal with, but she ended up being beatable every month I played her. While she could be a pest with her Mind Control and Outwit, I mostly left her alone whenever I played her until most of her teammates were gone. She didn’t wasn’t as formidable as I thought she would be going in.

And now, after four months of blood sweat and tears of playing Heroclix:

THE SPOILS:

"My Precioussss...."

“My Precioussss….”

And:

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

 

Take it easy everyone, and thanks for your patience. Back next week with some new stuff, including a final wrap-up of AvX wherein we’ll rate the best and worst pieces (now that we finally know the whole set), and keep an eye out for the Top 1o Deadpool figures, which should definitely drop before the end of the month!

I Can’t Let You Do This, Scott!! (Or, The Build 4!!)

"RIght then. Who's next?"

“WHO’S behind me? Psh. Yeah, like I’d fall for that again.”

 

Annnnnnnd, welcome back! This is the Build 4, where I run down my options for a specific game build, choose one, and then take you through how my choices turned out during the event itself! As you might have guessed from the picture above, today we’ll be talking about Avengers Versus X-Men: Month 4, where Phoenixbuster Iron Man and Dark Phoenix Cyclops will be up for grabs!!

Prep:

Okay!! Leading into the last month of AvX, I’ve finished 2nd, 1st (click here and here for Build coverage of Month 2!) and 2nd respectively at the first three AvX tourneys, so I’m in the running for the Dark Phoenix Cyclops overall grand prize along with Ninwashui and a couple others at my venue! So I’ve got to come up with something awesome! Here we go!

The Game: AvX Month 4

The Stipulations: 600 Points, Modern Age. Must use at least one figure from an AvX starter; the rest of your army must share a keyword with that figure (I have the Avengers starter). Only Phoenix Force Relics and Resources are allowed (but we don’t yet have access to the Magik Fragment; that final piece is one of the participation prizes for this month, so the Phoenix Force can have a maximum of 4 Fragments).

The Build:

My first idea was to go back to what won me Month 2 (which was really Month 1, yadayadayada)–a “Mystical” Theme Team:

"I'd like your resource better if it glowed blue, but I'll take it all the same."

“I’d like your resource better if it glowed blue, but I’ll take it all the same.”

Team: Loki Charms

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh – 110

AVM211 Loki – 201

(Assigned Cyclops Fragment)

AVX006E Scarlet Witch – 100

IIM040 Shaman – 92

(with Alpha Flight ATA)

Thule Society Priest – 21

Astral Dr. Strange – 13

(Smoke Cloud version)

Astral Dr. Strange – 13

(Smoke Cloud Version)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 9

(With the Colossus, Namor & Emma Frost Fragments Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Woo-hoo!)

What I Like About This Team:

I love playing Iron Pharaoh. I almost always have good results with him, and I need a good result this month. And I really like playing the Pharaoh with Shaman, even when many of Shaman’s potential “No Flight” victims will still fly just fine with the Phoenix Force, at least I’d take away their ability to Carry. Plus, I’m bound to run into some flyers who won’t be assigned a Fragment, right? Additionally, with the Alpha Flight ATA, there are matchups (against a team of, say, X-Men) where Shaman is going to sport an 11 Attack, 3 Damage and 7 Range top dial before he evens decides on what he wants to do with his Perplex. That’s not a bad tertiary attacker.

AVM Loki is a beast. He just needs a little help with finding a way to move and attack in the same turn (for just how beastly he gets with the Phoenix Force, click here). The Priest is just there for tie-up fodder/Prob Control, and the Astral Dr. Stranges are ridiculously meddlesome for just 13 points apiece. Plus, every attack my opponent wastes on one of them is one not directed at the Pharaoh or Loki.

With a +7 (!) to Map Roll, this team was pretty well rounded with two big hitters and a TON of trickeration. With 2 different characters (the Pharaoh and Loki) possessing some sort of special Mind Control and 6 Theme Probs to go with the Scarlet Witch’s native Prob (and with Shaman, Loki and Thule Society Priest all able to pick up Prob down dial), my opponents will probably be rerolling a LOT. Loki charms, indeed.

What I Don’t Like About This Team:

Not much. It’s pretty well-rounded, and even if Loki goes down I’ve still got some decent damage dealing pieces left. One thing that irked me with this build is not being able to give the Cyke Fragment to Iron Pharaoh. I’d like this army a whole lot better if I had access to all 5 Fragments. I’d dump the Alpha Flight ATA and add in Iron Pharaoh as an Assigned Character. Then he’d be able to shoot for at least 5 damage through his Falcon AND Loki could still have Running Shot (because the Phoenix Force would still start on the “3 Attached Fragments” tier of its dial). This may be a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, but the thought of Iron Pharaoh with that Cyclops Fragment teaming with a Running Shot-capable Loki would haunt me every game. It’s a little, stupid thought, but it would have the potential to linger in my mind and nag and distract me during each game–and I’m not nearly a good enough player to win against good players while I’m distracted.

So I was kind of uneasy about this army until my prep for this Build took a dramatic turn on Easter. My brother presented me with a special gift (yeah, me and my bro still do a small gift exchange–we’re dorks like that, but, since you’re reading a blog dedicated to ‘Clixin’, you probably already surmised that) in the monstrous form of…

"Hello, tasties..."

“Hello, tasties…”

 

… The Chaos War Chase piece Sentry and Void!!

In addition to being probably my favorite character created in the Modern era of comics, the Sentry is also usually an Avenger, so I’d been dying to play him in some form during this tournament. Well, when I received Sentry and Void, I knew I’d have to go out of my way to include him somehow. I grabbed his card praying that he’d have a keyword in common with one of the AvX Starter figures. I knew he’d probably have the Dark Avengers keyword, which wouldn’t really help me, but maybe he’d have a Mystical keyword too. It was a long shot, but then I turned his card over to its front side and had a look. There it was!! The very first keyword:

Avengers.

A selfie I took the second I found out that Sentry and Void has the Avengers keyword.

A selfie I took the second I found out that Sentry and Void has the Avengers keyword.

Not only does Rob Reynolds and his Dark Half have Hypersonic Speed and Multi-attack, but he also has… the AVENGERS keyword! This is both Awe and Some!!

And, somehow fitting, I think. Forget these namby-pamby generic keywords! This is Avengers Vs. X-Men–and come hell or high water, I’m gonna play an Avengers Theme Team, dammit (EDITOR’S NOTE: This sort of pretentiously righteous team-building bravado is made MUCH easier by being able to field a 300-point monster like Sentry and Void. At the event itself, when I turned in my Build card, the Judge casually wondered if I’d left my soul at home when he saw Sentry and Void on the list. And really, it was a fair question.) !

No more bad thoughts tugging at my brain of what could have been; I’m building everything around Sentry and Void!

"Go home, Void! You're drunk!"

“Calm down, bud! Hawkeye’s actually on your team!”

Team: A Void and the Noid

CW057 Sentry and Void – 300 (A Void)

(Assigned the Cyclops Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98 (The Noid)

(Assigned the Emma Frost Fragment)

AVX006E Scarlet Witch – 100

FFCW005R Mockingbird – 25

IM3006 Tony Stark – 50

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Again! Woo-hoo!)

What I Like About This Team:

Hmmm… well, I like that I get to play a ridiculously overpowered Chase piece AND assign the Phoenix Force to him. Annnnnnd I like that I get to back him up with that Chaos War Hawkeye, who has ridiculous offensive potential when you combine him with that rookie Mockingbird and the Phoenix Force resource (if I position my team correctly, when the time comes for him to take his first shot every game, he’ll take it with a 14 Attack–that’s AWESOME!). Scarlet Witch provides a ton of Support herself, and Tony Stark gives the team an Outwit that can see through Hindering Terrain, Enhancement and the Avengers Initiative Team Ability so that Hawkeye can see through Hindering himself! Plus, I’ll get a +5 to Map Roll AND five Theme Probs. Not bad!

What I Don’t Like About This Team:

Even with the Theme Probs, I don’t have a ton of trickeration (ie support powers), so if Hawkeye and Sentry and Void start missing, I could be in trouble. Additionally, Experienced AvX Scarlet Witch is no slouch in the attack department, but as a tertiary attacker in a 600 point game, she makes me nervous (her Precision Strike should help that though). Still, though… I’d get to play Sentry and Void!!

Alrighty then! I have my team, and everything is up for grabs! To find out how this team performed, what I learned and what I earned (if anything)…

Little known Keanu Reeves movie. You can find more info on Keanu's IMDB page under the heading "Oh, God, this was actually a thing?"

Little known Keanu Reeves movie. You can find more info on Keanu’s IMDB page under the heading “Oh, God, this was actually a thing?”

 

TUNE IN TOMORROW for The Build 4: Part 2!!

(Yeah, I’m a #$%^ like that. But you won’t have to wait long, I promise!)

See ya’ll tomorrow!