So, the Lantern Batteries I own are Red, Green, and Violet (Star Sapphire). Of those three, Green has been done to death by everyone and Red lacks a fun factor (except when used like this), but I’m always trying to dream up teams for the Star Sapphire battery. Sure I had some fun with it in Sealed. I think I also came up with something nice for it in our Lantern article. But, I feel like I’m not quite there yet.
So lately I’ve been looking at the pieces I like to call “Summoners.” That’s not an official term, but what I am referring to are pieces that bring an unlimited amount of pieces into play during a game (although they may have a limit of how many pieces can be put into play at one time). To clarify further, AAOU101Iron Man Mk. 43 brings in an AAOU002Iron Legion once per game. If you kill that piece, he can’t summon another. On the other hand, AAOU001Iron Man can summon an unlimited amount of AAOU002Iron Legions per game, but he can only have 4 in play at a time. I would consider AAOU001Iron Man a Summoner, while AAOU101Iron Man Mk. 43 is not a Summoner. He’s just, I dunno, friendly.
Anyway, Summoners are probably my favorite kind of piece and the newest set (Avengers: Age of Ultron) brought us three new summoning pieces. Those three pieces are AAOU007Ultron Sentry, AAOU001Iron Man, and AAOU016Baron Strucker. The Sentry is best on Ultron teams and I think Iron Man is a bit overcosted, but I have been looking for a team for Baron von Strucker since I first got him. I originally thought of running him with his Hydra buddy (and fellow Summoner) DP054Arnim Zola because I remembered him fondly from this article. But, Strucker and Zola together just lacked an offensive punch. Sure they could flood the map with people, but to what end? Even Mind Controlling Gwens or Test Subjects to attack three at a time just isn’t that effective, and the two pieces together didn’t leave enough room for a primary attacker (especially not a Hydra themed one – sorry Hydra Wolverine). So I scrapped that Idea and I’ve moved on to what you see below:
“This is the Age of Miracles and there is nothing more terrifying than a miracle. Especially one that can explode for two unavoidable damage.”
How it Works: IIM037Iron Monger 2.0 is an average ranged attacker. But if you add in DP020Weasel, Hammer ATA, and a Spotlight he becomes a very formidable ranged attacker. The Star Sapphire Battery helps him both on offense by boosting his Range via it’s emotional power and on defense by granting him Shape Change. Weasel is there because he is the number one way (outside of GOTG058Mentor) to make a ranged attacker more dangerous. He gives +1 range,+1 damage, +1 attack, and evens offers the possibility of a reroll if you happen to juuuust miss. If your name isn’t WKM-015Doop, JLTW068Gluttony, or IIM038Iron Man – you are going to be taking a ton of ranged damage.
AAOU016Baron Strucker will eventually be an offensive monster, but for most of the game his role will be an entirely different one. He is there to produce AAOU004Test Subjects that will run forward and tie up opposing characters. That way Iron Monger 2.0 can take shots all day without having to worry about the opponent shooting back. The idea is that Baron Strucker’s special power (WE LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM… ) lets you put a new Test Subject into play anywhere within 6 range. It doesn’t have to even be within line of fire. Then they each have 6 Movement and can move immediately.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: As a former Magic: The Gathering player, no Summoning Sickness for the Test Subjects just makes me giggle with glee… ]
That means if an opposing figure is anywhere within 12 spaces of Baron Strucker, he should be able to base them with a Test Subject. Just remember to put a Construct on that new figure. Also, make sure that Iron Monger 2.0 carries Baron Strucker (and not Weasel) so that he is always ready to create a Test Subject without pushing. You should also try to keep an extra Test Subject next to Baron Strucker for Mastermind purposes.
So what are an opponents choices when based by a Test Subject?
Do nothing, or
Try to break away, or
Try to kill the Test Subject.
Option 1 won’t hurt the opponent directly, but if he’s just sitting there then you can just sit back and pick him off with Iron Monger 2.0. Option 2 may fail – especially if that Test Subject has plasticity or the WOLR206.13Stop Sign (Violet). So that may end up being like doing nothing and giving your character an action token to boot. That leaves option 3. Here’s some reasons why option 3 is the worst of the three options.
The Test Subject might hit shape change and you’ll have wasted an action. This is probably the best case scenario.
If the Test Subject takes damage, then the attacker gets a Mystic TA unavoidable damage back because of the battery.
If the Test Subject dies after taking damage from an attack then every opposing character it’s adjacent to will take an unavoidable damage because of Iron Monger 2.0
After Test Subject Dies and does it’s unavoidable damage, Baron Stucker may get a stat increase. Then he can simply recreate that same test subject with a power action the next turn and it will be able to run right back to where the last one died. You won’t even lose the construct. Those go back to the Battery ready to be redeployed when the figure they are on is KOed.
When he or she is considering those those three options, I like to remind my opponent of my favorite Jerry Seinfeld MEME:
Today we’re here to share our first scenario with you. In celebration of the May 2nd premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ninwashui and I have prepared a couple special scenarios that we’re going to play out on our own time. Our first scenario is detailed here today!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who are unaware, a scenario is any game of Heroclix with special rules that are specific to that particular game. Often times they are meant to be played with either a specific set of figures, or else they give you a much smaller range of figures with which to create your Build. Usually there is also a small bit of story context accompanying the scenario (that justifies its existence and/or explains the comic or movie-based storyline you’re about to play out). WizKids sometimes creates scenarios for added depth of play during their OP events and distributes instructions on how to play them with the OP Scenario Pack (for example, Fear Itself had 2 Scenario Pack, War of Light had 1).]
Ninwashui and I have been chomping at the bit to try out some of these new Age of Ultron Gravity Feed pieces, but this Scenario will also give us a chance to break out some of our favorite older Movie Set pieces as well.
So, without further ado, here is our first Critical Missives Scenario. Taking a page from Survivor, it’s simply titled…
HEROES VS. VILLAINS!!
The Scenario: It’s all out war in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!!
While inside Avengers Tower celebrating their ability to finally subdue the Hulk’s latest rampage, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers are finally able to relax. During a fun game of “Whosoever Is Worthy to Pick Up Thor’s Hammer,”all of the Tower’s computers suddenly light up. The Tesseract Thor had brought back with him from Asgard begins to spew energy, and a temporal anomaly forms in the Tower’s Quinjet hangar! For a moment, everything seems normal–until the hangar is ripped open, and the Avengers find themselves under attack from the menacing AI of Ultron and his Sentries! But things immediately go from bad to worse as almost EVERY major villain from the MCU–even some they thought they had dealt with permanently–begin flooding in from the anomaly! The fate of the world is in the hands of the Avengers, and to save it, they’ll have to fight their worst enemies or die trying.
But the Villains aren’t the only ones back from the beyond. An ally once thought lost has returned to aid the Avengers, and he’s brought a really big gun…
The Game: Designed for 2 Players. 1600 Points. Oreo Age. One player assumes control of the “Heroes” side. The other will guide the “Villains.”
The Map: Avengers Tower (from the Age of Ultron Movie Set Starter Pack). The “Heroes” should begin in the Starting Zone located on the side with the lab, while the “Villains” should start on the side with the open hangar.
The Special Scenario Rules:
–When forces are being built, the “Heroes” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.
–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.
–At the beginning of each player’s first turn, that player may select a single Additional Team Ability (ATA) and assign that Team Ability to all eligible members of their team. At least one member of a player’s force must have the printed keyword required for the chosen ATA.
–There is a restriction of 5 actions per team per turn (NOT COUNTING FREE ACTIONS). This total can be increased by Leadership as per normal.
–While we’re not going to bother with declaring Sidelines or anything, the “Heroes” player should have at least 4 Iron Legions stashed off the map (as well as a Captain America and Black Widow & Iron Man and War Machine Duo Figures if available) and the “Villains” should have at least 4 Test Subjects ready to go.
Special Character Rules:
–In addition to his normal stats and powers, Agent Coulson gets the following Special Damage Power on Click number 4: “So That’s What it Does: Once per game, if this click is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing attack, stop turning the dial and select an opposing character. Agent Coulson can use Pulse Wave. When he does, the area of effect for this attack is his range value, he has a locked damage value of 3, and this attack ignores all characters except the opposing character selected for this power. After actions resolve, deal Agent Coulson 1 unavoidable damage. This power cannot be countered or ignored.”
–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player may assign either Loki or Red Skull GGS102 Cosmic Cube without paying its cost. During the game, figures named “Loki,” “Red Skull” or “Captain America” automatically succeed when rolling for the Cosmic Cube.
AAOU003 Captain America — Common — 125 Points
AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43 — Starter Pack — 150
AAOU005 Thor — Common — 200
AAOU008E Hulk — Common — 250
AAOU013 Black Widow — Mass Market Rare — 80
AAOU009 Hawkeye — Core Hobby Rare — 94
AAOU010 Scarlet Witch — Core Hobby Rare — 55
AAOU014 Quicksilver — Mass Market Rare — 63
AAOU011 Vision — Core Hobby Rare — 100
IM3016 War Machine — Mass Market Rare — 220
CATWS006 Falcon — Common — 105
AAOU015 Nick Fury — Mass Market Rare — 45
AVM206 Agent Coulson — Common — 50
CATWS011 Maria Hill — Core Hobby Rare — 60
= 1597 (Hmmm… Heroes are apparently so confident that they’re leaving 3 Points on the board!)
AVM211 Loki — Chase — 220 Points
AVM041 Red Skull — Chase — 170
IM3008 Aldrich Killian — Common — 35
TDW004 Malekith — Common — 350
CATWS008 Winter Soldier — Common — 100
GOTGM106 Ronan — Starter Pack — 300
AAOU016 Baron Strucker — Mass Market Rare — 95
AAOU018 Ultron Prime — Mass Market Chase — 250
AAOU007 Ultron Sentry — Common — 40
AAOU007 Ultron Sentry — Common — 40
= 1600 Points!! (Villains got their $#!t together!)
Why These Teams?: Because, as I mentioned before, this gives us a chance to really dig into the new Age of Ultron Movie Set while also providing an opportunity to dust off some old favorites. As for these specific rosters, we chose them because–between the two of us–we happen to have all these pieces and the points match pretty damn close (in a 1600 Point game, I’m prepared to deal with a variance of 3 points).
Handicapping the Squads: While we haven’t decided who will play which side, just looking at the rosters, I’d expect the “Heroes” side to have a distinct advantage. While there is certainly a ton of raw power on the “Villains” side (and Ooooo, Malekith at 350 looks like soooo much fun…), the “Heroes” side is much more synergistic with their “Avengers Assemble!” Traits and such. Still, we shall see…
The Result: Check back in this space next week. Once we play out the Scenario, we’ll post the highlights and tell you who won right here!! (And/or in the next Weekly Roundup–we’re waaaay overdue for one of those!)
Until next time, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!
Hope you all had a Happy Easter! Or a Happy Passover, or, if you’re not a person of faith, or at least not a person of a faith that celebrated this season, I hope you had, uh, a Happy Sunday!
As our belated gift to you, Ninwashui and I are teaming up to rip through the just-released Avengers: Age of Ultron Gravity Feed Movie Set! We’re gonna go figure by figure using our popular and patented [EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, it’s really neither of those things.] Oxygen Filtration Mask Numeric Scale!
It’s all part of our month-long ramp up celebrating the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st! In addition to today’s article, we’re also going to review the Starter pack and write and play a scenario based on the movie (or, y’know, what little we know about the movie since it hasn’t released yet).
But today is about the Age of Ultron Gravity Feed, so let’s get it rolling!
SOME QUICK NOTES ABOUT THE SET:
–The whole set actually gets its flavor not just from AoU but also from prior Marvel movies as well. Iron Man (Iron Man 3), Iron Legion (Iron Man 3) and Nick Fury (Avengers) all have power sets and costumes that reference previous MCU outings. Conversely, Hawkeye and Black Widow are definitely in their Age of Ultron costumes (note Hawkeye’s longer tunic, which gets him a little bit closer to his comic book look), but their power sets almost seem like they’re taken directly from the first Avengers film (going back to Hawkeye, he has Traits and Powers with names like “Rooftop Maneuvers” and “Vantage Point.” He could certainly spend a lot of time on rooftops in Age of Ultron, but these really sound like Hawkeye’s abilities taken from the Battle of Manhattan sequence in the first Avengers film).
–Meanwhile, it seems like the designers went out of their way to make the most generic Cap, Thor and Hulk pieces they could possibly imagine (I’m speaking strictly from a flavor/sculpt standpoint–see each figure’s individual entry to see how we think they stand up as Heroclix figures!). Cap gets an abilities like “Rebounding Shield” and “His Enemies Fear Him,” while Hulk has “Fueled by Anger” and “He Only Leaves Rubble.”
–For those keeping score at home, we finally have MCU Clix for: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Baron Strucker and Ultron. First time generics include Test Subject and Iron Legion (although IM3 had at least 4 Armor Shell versions from the “House Party Protocol” scene at the end of the movie).
Alright, enough notes about the set! Let’s dig into the dials!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry bro, we need one more note.As always with Movie Set Reviews, we’re saving the Starter Review for a separate article, since we’re already over 7000 words on the Main Set alone, making this our largest single article ever!]
AAOU001 Iron Man — 250/185 Points — Common:
HypeFox Says: At 250 Points, Iron Man here is certainly beefy, starting with a 12 Attack and an 18 Defense Value with Invincible. His awesomely-named second Trait (THE HOUSE PARTY PROTOCOL, SIR?:Give Iron Man a power action if there are less than 4 friendly undefeated characters named Iron Legion. If you do, place a AAOU002 Iron Legion in your starting area from outside the game.) allows him to bring in armor shells that are two clicks deep, but they come into play in your starting area. Depending on where the action’s centered, the battle may be lost before you can even get the shells into play. This is a bit of a problem, especially since there’s another figure in this set who does the same trick better. Similarly, his Avengers Assemble Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!:When Iron Man hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: You place a friendly AAOU #002 Iron Legion from outside the game into your starting area or, modify the defense value of your friendly characters by +1 until your next turn.) is a nifty lil’ bonus, but there are better versions of the same Trait on almost every other Avenger.
In a Modern Age environment that also includes Ultron Prime and Trinity War Superman at the 250 Point level, I just don’t know that you’re getting enough damage out of this Iron Man and his Iron Legion shells to really keep up with number of effective actions your opponent will be taking in a 300 Point game. Also, while any piece with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability is going to be a nuisance, his 7 Range is below average for a piece in his price range.
Now, at 185 Points… he’s still over costed. With five clicks of life and middling Attack Values (again, for the points), he still offers the same two Traits as his higher-costed version and the ability to target through Stealth. Still, this feels much more like a 150 or 160 Point dial. 185 is just a rip-off, frankly. Not the worst dial in the world, but not one that I would choose to play, especially with all of the other Iron Man options out there.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)
Pretty short dials for both versions, actually. Both Traits are more fun than competitive. The Iron Legions he can bring into play hit hard enough, sure, but they’re easy to KO and award 50 Points to your opponent for each one that’s KO’d. And really, the Transport Symbol is pretty much wasted on figures that already fly and have top dial Running Shot.
GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)
AAOU002 Iron Legion — 50 Points — Common:
Ninwashui Says: Mildly effective for his points, but you’re probably not playing him this way very often. He’s useable, but far from groundbreaking. Actually, he’s kind of a boring way to use 50 points, but at least he can Taxi, too.
GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: Yeah, he’s only got 4 Clicks, but for 50 Points I get Running Shot, 10 Attack and a Damage Value that never drops below 3 AND never loses Enhancement. A great Tertiary Attacker with a mild amount of support with Enhancement and the ability to Taxi. I think he’s damn effective for 50 Points–I’d put him right up there with some of the better Lantern Recruits we just got.
GRADE: 3 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU003 Captain America —125/80 Points — Common:
HypeFox Says: One of the most creative Caps we’ve seen in awhile. The 125 Point dial is a brutally effective mid-range piece to start. He’s actually at his most deadly when he’s at least two squares away from an opposing figure, even though Cap is normally thought of as a close combatant. His Avengers Assemble Trait is pretty one-sided (there will be very few circumstances when your opponent would rather take a -1 hit to the Attack Value of all his pieces versus letting you give one of your pieces +1 to Damage). His top dial vanilla Leadership is somewhat wasted when the majority of Avengers cost more than him (or at least the majority of Avengers who can Carry him and keep him adjacent–yes, you can sometimes end up adjacent to a friendly after a Running Shot to set up Leadership next turn, but that’s a lil’ tricky to do usually). If he ignored characters on movement (instead of or in addition to) I’d love him; as it is, I merely like this dial.
His Rookie dial, on the other hand, offers a ton of value for 80 Points–and also plays way differently than his Blue dial. Now that’s a great design! He starts with a Leadership Special Power (HIS ENEMIES FEAR HIM:Captain America can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, he may also either place an action token on a higher point opposing character within range or he may place an action token on each lower point opposing character within range. Placing this action token doesn’t deal pushing damage.) that he keeps his whole dial. He doesn’t even need line of fire to dish out tokens–opposing characters merely need to be within 4 Squares.
His Attack Value never descends below 10, and even gets up to 11 more than once. The only problem is a lack of Indomitable, but the last half of his dial features Willpower anyway. And top dial, once he gets in close on someone, they’re gonna need a 20 to hit him with a Close Combat attack.
This is a fun piece and one of my favorites from the set.
GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)
Ninwashui Says: Really dig his 125 Point dial. He’s difficult to hit at range, which should allow him to use his Avengers Initiative Team Ability to slowly close in on his opponents. After that first hit he magically transforms into an equally hard to hit close combat headache for your opponent.
His 80 Point dial is almost as good, but his Leadership Special–as powerful as it can potentially be–will only go off 33% of the time. And with no native damage reducers, it’s possible for a heavy hitter like AAOU005 Thor to knock him out with one lucky hit.
GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)
AAOU004 Test Subject —30 Points — Common:
Ninwashui Says: Ugh. The first real loser of the set. Don’t let the 3 separate dials fool you–even for a generic, this is a bit uninspired. Their Trait (THESE EXPERIMENTS ARE YIELDING… INTERESTING… RESULTS:When Test Subject is first placed on the map, roll a d6 and click the character to the indicated starting line: 1 – 2 red; 3 – 4 blue; 5 – 6 yellow) ensures that you’ll never know which of their dials you’ll actually be playing, which is a problem when you are, y’know, TRYING TO BUILD A COMPLEMENTARY TEAM! These guys need help to be anything more than even just a tie-up piece for a turn. But with such limited mobility, it’ll take them forever just to get next to an opposing figure to tie them up in the first place. I can’t see 4 of these pieces ever taking out any 120 Point figure I can think of.
GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: Okay, taken on their own merits, they’re not the best use of 30 Points. However, what if I told you there was a way to easily get them within range of an opposing figure, to the point that they’d be all but guaranteed an Alpha Strike? Then would you be interested? If you can find a way around their awful mobility, these guys suddenly become pretty dangerous–especially since they’re only 30 Points. Having said that, no one is ever going to play them for 30 Points, for reasons we will get into as we get a bit further down the list…
GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU005 Thor —200/150 Points — Common:
HypeFox Says: Wow. We’ve gotten a ton of 4-Star Thors in the past couple years, but this version might just be a cut above. His AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!:When Thor hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters modify their damage values by -1 until your next turn or, opposing characters can’t make ranged combat attacks until your next turn.) is absolutely brutal.
You: “So, would you prefer to do way less damage next turn, or would you prefer to do no damage next turn?”
Your Opponent: “Uhhh… is that a real power? That doesn’t sound like a real power.”
You: “It’s a Trait, not a power.”
Your Opponent: “I hate you.”
I mean, what kind of choice is that? But beyond that, he starts with 5 native Damage, an 11 Attack Value that alternates between Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion (with an 8 Range and 2 Bolts) and an 18 Defense Value that’s boosted by both Invincible and his second Trait (MJOLNIR TO CARRY ME: When Thor has one or more action tokens, he can use Energy Shield/Deflection.). And remember, he sees through Stealth via his AI Team Ability. The only thing keeping him from 5 Masks at this point is his one glaring weakness: no Willpower.
Still, in a Tactics format, this is pretty easily fixed, and in a No Tactics format, he hits so heavy that it may not even matter. If you only push him once or twice, you’ll be fine–heck, that first push basically just puts him on Pulse Wave. He only loses one Movement and one Defense.
His Rookie dial is a little more subtle, but just as effective.
GRADE(S): 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)
Ninwashui Says: User UncorkedMonk on HCRealms.com said “Hes an indom symbol away from being great. As is hes alright. But theres enough ways to give him willpower I spose.” Despite his clear vendetta against apostrophes, I have to completely agree. Outside of the normal Resource/Relic route, let’s remember that Thor is an Asgardian. For 5 Points, their ATA explicitly GIVES him Willpower on his first click. That’s right. The Asgardian ATA: it’s not just for Splitlip anymore.
His Rookie dial finds him switching from a 5 Damage Primary Attacker to a 4 Damage sniper squad leader. And while he plays differently than his higher point version, he’s just as effective. Especially if you put the right team around him, which you’ll have 50 more points to do with this version.
GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)
AAOU006 Hydra Soldier — 40 Points — Common:
Ninwashui Says: I think this was the only character in the set I wasn’t looking forward to getting (so guess who I’ve pulled 4 of so far… ). Even in groups, I don’t see this guy ever lasting long enough to hit anyone. I can see what they were trying to do with his Minion power that bestows Leadership (MINION: HAIL HYDRA:When a friendly character with the HYDRA keyword and a higher point value is within 8 squares, Hydra Soldier can use Charge. When that character uses Leadership and succeeds, remove an action token from all characters named Hydra Soldier within that character’s range and line of fire unless one has already been removed this turn from that character from this effect.), but the low inherent Movement and the existence of DP006 Hand Ninja means that this guy will likely never see play from me. On the plus side, he’s got a pretty cool sculpt though.
GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: For the first time in this article, I think I finally agree with Ninwa. His TA only works for ranged attacks (well, unless your running him with Wolverine, Agent of Hydra) but his skill set is only viable for close combat attacks. Come to think of it, running him with Hydra Wolvie is really the only way to make him work. Even then, as Ninwashui mentioned, DP006 Hand Ninja is pretty much a better choice all the way around.
GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU007 Ultron Sentry — 40 — Common:
HypeFox Says: 3 Clicks for 40 Points doesn’t instill a ton of confidence until you look a little closer at those three Clicks. Top dial they have Pen/Psy and Enhancement (although only a 4 Range) with a native 3 Damage. In other words, as they multiply, they can start dishing out 4-5 Penetrating Damage. That’s a huge amount of Damage output for a 40 Point figure. Yes, they can be destroyed quite easily with just a 15 Defense Value, but their Movement Special on Click 2 (THERE’S NO END IN SIGHT!:Once per turn, for all characters with this power, give Ultron Sentry a double power action. Place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry from outside the game in an adjacent square on click number 3.) means that they can replicate themselves over and over. In other words, for 40 Points, you can create a whole army INSIDE your army.
GRADE: 4Oxygen Filtration Masks
Ninwashui Says: It’s a 40 point character that can duplicate itself as soon as turn 4. And it can keep doing it until you run out of them on your sidelines with no outside help required. And when one dies, a double power action can put that guy right back out. Unlike Iron Legion, the duplicate figures are the exact same strength as the original. And they have two Traits that make it so they can work together to become far more powerful the more of them there are (COMBINED EFFORTS: Modify Ultron Sentry’s attack value by +1 for each adjacent friendly character named Ultron Sentry. Modify Ultron Sentry’s damage value by +1 for each 2 adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry AND CONSISTENT PROGRAMMING: When using the Carry ability, Ultron Sentry may carry any number of adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry regardless of their combat symbols.).
They also have additional Trait that works well with the other versions of Ultron: HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Sentry is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area:
3 – 4, place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry on its starting line; 5, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line; 6, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its blue starting line.”
Try to imagine this: Starting on Turn 4, Ultron Sentry makes another Ultron Sentry. Turn 5, the first Sentry you made makes another. Turn 6, the original makes another. You can just keep doing this in your starting area until you feel like you have enough. A 40 point investment can bring 8 more of these things into play and descend on the opponent as a cloud of nine sentries. Nothing in the game anywhere near 40 points can take that on. If you own enough of these you can bring a 900 point army to a 300 point game.
GRADE: 5Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU008 Hulk — 300/250/200 Points — Common:
Ninwashui Says: Going in, you have to know a couple things. First, you’re paying a metric poop-ton of points for a character that has absolutely no range AND that has absolutely NO OUTWIT PROTECTION!! These are major issues. It’s true that if Hulk gets Outwitted, he gets the small bonus of an Anger Token via his Trait (ENORMOUS GREEN MONSTER:Hulk can use Battle Fury. Each time Hulk takes damage from an opponent’s attack or one of his powers or combat abilities is countered, put an Anger token on this card.), but that’s not really Outwit protection, is it?
His 300 Point dial has an awesome top dial, but the chances of you being able to get to swing with that top dial in a 300 or even 400 Point game is minimal. He’ll most likely be picked apart on his approach.
At 250, he runs into the same problems. While his dial is fun, one Outwit can just absolutely ruin his day.
Finally, his Rookie dial actually gets a half-mask more from me because it leaves room for supporting figs (just from this set, adding AAOU015 Nick Fury and AAOU010 Scarlet Witch will form a perfect 300 Point team) that can really help Hulk deal maximum damage.
Just make sure that whichever dial you play, you use Colossal Stamina whenever there is a meaningful action to take UNLESS that would put you on a Stop Click.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)
HypeFox Says: For a Hulk dial, there is a lot going on here, most of which I like. Traited Battle Fury means that Shape Change will not help you–and with a figure that costs this much (no matter which dial you play), any ability that can eliminate the possibility of wasted actions is a very good thing. His Avengers Assemble Trait is good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Hulk hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Deal one target 1 unavoidable damage and give it an action token or, put an Anger token on this card.), but again, it’s pretty much one-sided (no opponent is going to choose to take an additional damage AND lose an action as opposed to giving Hulk a token that lets him increase a potential Regeneration roll somewhere down the line by +1 or increase the chance Hulk won’t take Colossal Stamina damage by just over 16%.). The first choice wreaks havoc on his team right now, while the second option might subtly benefit you at some unspecified juncture down the line. Not much of a choice there. Having said that, getting the Anger Token bonus is better than not having that Trait at all, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.
I like his Rookie dial a little more than Ninwashui, since I believe that his Defense Special Stop Click (HIS ANGER SUSTAINS HIM: When this click is revealed due to taking damage, stop turning the dial and remove all actions tokens from Hulk. This power can’t be ignored.) gives him a little bit of Outwit protection (and Pulse Wave protection). And it shows up twice, in tandem with his Damage Special Power (HE ONLY LEAVES RUBBLE:Hulk can use Invincible and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration, you may remove any number of Anger tokens from this card. If you do, the d6 roll can’t be rerolled and you may increase the result by 1 for each token removed.).
So while he doesn’t have Outwit protection, he does have some built-in survivability.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 and 1/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)
First of all, he’s got arguably the best AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!:When Hawkeye hits one or more characters with an attack, the opposing player chooses: Hit characters are each dealt 1 unavoidable damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye isn’t given an action token for this action.). Finally, an Avengers Assemble! where both of the choices really suck for your opponent! Remember, Hawkeye has 3 Bolts and Precision Strike, so chances are he’s already dealt 1 Penetrating Damage to two or three of your opponent’s characters (and keep in mind that Stealth won’t help them, because Clint has Avengers Initiative). Now, does your opponent want each of the hit characters to each take ANOTHER Unavoidable Damage? Or do you want to keep Hawkeye from getting an action token, which means he can do the whole thing over again next turn?
This is an actual dramatization of your next opponent trying to decide which of these options to go with after 3 of his characters have been hit by Hawkeye.
Now before you start worrying about his top dial 10 Attack Value, take a look at his second Trait (VANTAGE POINT:When making a ranged combat attack, modify Hawkeye’s attack value by +1 for each target of the attack. When he hits 3 characters, he may give one hit character an action token if he doesn’t assign that character any damage.). All of which means that it shouldn’t be hard to get Hawkeye a +2 or even +3 modifier to his Attack Value. Forget Perplex–this Hawkeye takes care of his own modifiers.
Finally, Ninwashui is probably gonna come on here and trash Hawkeye’s Movement Value. Sure, it’s a bit low at just 6 Squares, but even that, too, is deceiving. When you break it down, you’ll see that his starting Movement Special (ROOFTOP MANEUVER:Hawkeye can use Sidestep and Stealth. When he uses Sidestep, he can use Improved Movement: Ignores Elevated Terrain.) means that he can actually cover 8 Squares a turn AND he can change elevation, too (AND he can make an Attack afterwards, since it’s Sidestep!)! And since he already ignores Hindering Terrain on movement (again, thanks to the AI Team Ability), you actually have a figure who’s much more nimble than a lot of other figures with higher Movement Values.
Now, I can’t quite give him 5 Masks in an environment where Banshee is still Modern (he’s even more beastly for just 4 more points), but Hawkeye here is darn close. He offers a bunch of powers and abilities that you can’t get from Resources or Relics, and what he lacks CAN be fixed by Resources and Relics (The Phoenix Force or especially the new Pandora’s Box Resource should work wonders with this Hawkeye. If you use Pandora’s Box, I’d recommend it’s first setting–the Path of the Hunter. It’s got pretty easy early access to the abilities that Clint needs the most, like Energy Explosion and Running Shot, and it’s also pretty easy to get Hawkeye permanent access to both ES/D AND Combat Reflexes).
GRADE: 4 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks
Ninwashui Says: Low Movement Value, no dampeners or anything to help his Defense beyond Stealth and a lack of Running Shot hurt this guy. That being said, if your opponent can’t find a way to hide two or three of his pieces (and it’s admittedly tough to hide guys from a dude who has 8 Range, Sidestep, 3 Bolts and the ability to see through Stealth), then this guy could suddenly be the star of your team. All his is missing is Energy Explosion to be the best figure ever made at taking out clusters of opponents at a time. And AAOU015 Nick Fury (who will get to in a minute) has a Special Attack Power that goes great with this guy.
Ninwashui Says: Her Trait (UNCAGING THE BEAST: Give Scarlet Witch a free action when she has two action tokens and choose a friendly character within range and line of fire. Modify the chosen character’s combat values by +1 until the end of the turn, and, at the end of the turn, deal Scarlet Witch 1 unavoidable damage and don’t clear her action tokens. If the chosen character’s name is Hulk, you may modify the chosen character’s combat values by +2 instead.) seems to be begging for you to play her with some version of the Hulk to make her reach her full potential, but I think she’ll end up seeing a lot of play on a variety of tournament teams regardless of the presence of a Hulk. Even just a +1 boost to all stats is no joke, and she could technically do that for five turns in a row before being KO’d. That ability might be worth 55 Points by itself.
Factor in her 8 Range, 10 Attack and 3 Damage with Perplex top dial and you have a piece that’s useful even before her crazy-good Trait starts to kick in!
GRADE: 4 and 1/2Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: She has no Avengers Assemble! Trait on her own, which is a bit of a bummer. Her Point Cost is reasonable, but if Ninwashui thought that Hawkeye was too crunchy with only Stealth to protect him, I can only imagine what he thinks about a figure with one less Click of life and an even worse Defense Value. If you can get some mileage out of her Trait, she’ll make her cost worth it; if she gets destroyed before that, well… sorry.
GRADE: 3 and 1/2Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU011 Vision — 100 Points — Core Hobby Rare:
HypeFox Says: First of all, this is an awesome sculpt and paint job!! Second… yeah, I have no second. At 50 Points, he’d be amazing. Unfortunately he costs double that. Somehow, a figure with no Traits or Improved Movement or Targeting of any kind and with only six Clicks of life costs 100 Points.
He does fly and he has Indomitable, but he doesn’t do enough to be a Secondary Attacker and he costs WAAAAYYY too much to be a Taxi. And he has 0 Range. I’m glad that he has the Avengers keyword, but he is a Theme play only; he’s not turning up in any sort of competitive environment. Even with Hydra Soldier’s existence, this is probably the worst piece in the set (especially since he costs so much more).
GRADE: 1 and 3/4Oxygen Filtration Masks
Ninwashui Says: He’s not as bad as HypeFox makes him out to be, but I have to agree with the idea that if you are actually playing him, you’re playing him because you like the character and not because you think he’s a powerful HeroClix figure. He does have 3 Clicks of Outwit followed by 3 Clicks of Perplex, so I can tell why he’s clocking in at 100 Points. But in a world where even a 43 Point Hand Ninja has Traits and Special Powers [EDITOR’S NOTE: And a Team Ability!], it’s hard to justify a dial that costs more than double and has none of those things unless the power set is just top notch. Vision’s power set, alas, is not.
Ninwashui Says: For 120 Points you get a character that hits hard, but with a low Attack Value. He also is good at absorbing damage with four clicks of Invuln, but he doesn’t match well with other figures in his point range unless you take his Trait into account (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING:Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Mk 1 is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area: (4)-(5), place 012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line. (6), place either 012 Ultron Mk 1 or 018 Ultron Prime on its blue starting line.). Basically, if you’re running any other Age of Ultron versions of him, then you will likely get him back in your Starting Area on Click one. His stats by themselves are average, but his synergy with other Ultron pieces is the real reason to play him.
His Rookie dial is kind of more of the same. You’d play it to fit in another Ultron on your force, but this dial will never see play otherwise.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (120 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (65 Point Dial)
HypeFox Says: Kind of a must have piece if you’re trying to create an Ultron swarm. On its own, it’s average, but when you start running it with Ultron Prime or Ultron Sentry, it can really start to wear your opponent down.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial)
AAOU013 Black Widow — 80 Points — Mass Market Rare:
HypeFox Says: This is one of the stranger Black Widows we’ve gotten in recent years. On the plus side, she’s got a pretty decent AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!:When Black Widow hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters can’t attack Black Widow until your next turn or opposing characters can’t ignore pushing damage until your next turn.) and a cool Attack Special (WIDOW’S STING:When Black Widow hits with a ranged combat attack, after actions resolve, roll a d6. On a result of 4 – 6, Black Widow can use Incapacitate twice, each as a free action, but only to target a hit character.). On the negative side, she’s pretty much set up as a ranged attacker, but she’s only got a 4 Range and no move and attack. And if she can’t attack, her special powers are all wasted.
Having said that, like her former S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddy Hawkeye, much of what ails her can be fixed with a Resource or Relic (Mokk’s Hammer would solve almost all of her top dial problems).
So she has some potential in a Tactics environment, but in a game where you can’t use Resources or Relics, she’s gonna be a tough piece to use effectively. Chances are high that you won’t get out of her what you put into her.
GRADE: 2 and 3/4Oxygen Filtration Masks
Ninwashui Says: She can really shine with an Avengers Themed Team around her, but you’re gonna have to team her up with a really effective Primary Attacker to distract the other team’s best offensive pieces and let her get a ranged attack (or two) off. Nearly full dial Stealth and intermittent Perplex make me like this version slightly more that her Starter pack counterpart (AAOU105 Black Widow, natch!). And, once again, AAOU015 Nick Fury‘s Special Power works really well with her as well.
GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU014 Quicksilver — 63 Points — Mass Market Rare
Ninwashui Says: He’s the cheapest character in Modern right now with top dial Hypersonic Speed. When you compare him to 65 point FL001A The Flash you’ll see that he moves much farther and has a better chance of hitting because of his ability to use Probability Control on himself. This is also one of the few instances where I think it’s really nice for this character to have Force Blast. I can just imagine him flinging opposing support figures off rooftops or into walls. And let’s be honest, 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection is pretty damn impressive for someone at his point level.
GRADE: 4Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: He’s been growing on me. I still don’t like that his Attack Value never exceeds “meh,” but his Damage Special (FAST ENOUGH TO TRY AGAIN:Quicksilver can use Probability Control, but only to reroll his own rolls.) means that he gets two shots at every attack roll. And an 18 Defense with ES/D is EXTREMELY good for any figure under 80 Points. He’s never going to do much damage, but at 63 Points he’s always going to be a Secondary Attacker at most. But depending on how you construct your army, he might even just be a third attacker on a 300 Point squad. And he’s perfect for that.
GRADE: 3 and 1/2Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU015 Nick Fury — 45 Points — Mass Market Rare:
HypeFox Says: So, we’ve already mentioned this guy three or four times, so you probably had an inkling that he’d be good. I think he’s possibly Meta, although he necessitates building an Avengers Themed Team around him. His Trait is great (I STILL BELIEVE IN HEROES:If Nick Fury is part of an Avengers Themed Team and has the lowest point value character on your starting force, he can use Leadership and Outwit. When he uses Leadership, he is considered 300 points.), since at 45 Points he will almost ALWAYS be the lowest point value character on an Avengers Themed Team. So you don’t even really need to alter your team any to fit him in, and in a 300 Point game his Leadership is guaranteed to work on whoever he’s next to as long as you make the roll. On top of that, since he has Avengers Initiative, his Outwit sees through Hindering Terrain!!
Oh, and speaking of rolls, Fury Attack Special (I RECOGNIZE THE COUNCIL HAS MADE A DECISION…:When an opponent makes a choice from an Avengers Assemble! Trait, you may roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, change the effect to the other option.) gives him a 33% chance to just completely wreck your opponent’s day. Remember how we mentioned how one-sided some of the Avengers Assemble! Traits were on the figures in this set? Well, if YOU suddenly get to make the choice for your opponent, those AA Traits become stratospherically better!
On top of all that, he has Willpower, Shape Change, Stealth and a native 3 Damage. This is a great package for just 45 Points.
GRADE: 4 and 1/2Oxygen Filtration Masks
Ninwashui Says: He is really only viable on an Avengers Themed Team, but if you’re playing one, he is almost an auto-include if you have the points. Even if your not using his Attack Special because you’re running him with non-AoU Avengers, just the fact that he gives you a working Leadership and Outwit while also being a competent Tertiary Attacker is pretty amazing. I’m not sure if Avengers Themed Teams will start showing up at major tournaments, but if they do, I’m pretty sure they’ll be running this Nick Fury.
GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks
AAOU016 Baron Strucker — 95 Points — Mass Market Rare:
Ninwashui Says: And finally we come to my top Want from this set. Sporting a creative and efficient dial, Baron Strucker is capable of changing a game just by himself. Like AAOU001 Iron Man, he can make himself a small army with just a few power actions via his Special Attack Power (WE LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM…:Give Baron Strucker a power action if there are less than 4 friendly characters with the Test Subject keyword on the map. When you do, place a friendly AAOU004 Test Subject from outside the game on the map within 6 squares of him.). Unlike Iron Man, when Baron Strucker’s army dies, his Trait (THEIR SACRIFICE ENSURES OUR FUTURE:When a friendly character with the Test Subject keyword is KO’d put an Evolution token on Baron Strucker’s card. Modify Baron Strucker’s combat values +1 for every two Evolution tokens on his card.) ensures that the Baron gets stronger! Keep in mind that for a 95 Point piece, he was already sitting on some pretty good stats to begin with. Several of his Clicks sport a 10 Attack Value with 4 Damage. Now imagine if that got pumped up to a 13 Attack and 7 Damage–those are Hulk Smash numbers!
And he has Mastermind, so, depending on how you place your Test Subjects, it’ll be damn near impossible for most of your opponents NOT to KO some Test Subjects along the way to Baron Strucker, unless their pieces are just dripping with Precision Strike. And you get all this for just 1/3 of your 300 Point Build!!
I am already dreaming of playing this guy with DP054 Arnim Zola for some friendly Mind Control shenanigans or IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0 to turn those Test Subjects into Claymore mines. Oh, the destruction I’ll wreak…
GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks
HypeFox Says: This is the piece I was referencing in my AAOU001 Iron Man writeup. Whereas the Iron Legion pieces have to come into play all the way back at your Starting Zone, Strucker here can place his Test Subjects wherever the hell he likes within a 6-Square radius! Think about how useful that is! Can’t get through that wall and into the room where your opponent is trying to heal his Primary Attacker back to full? Boom–now there’s a Test Subject adjacent to his healer. Who can make an attack on that same healer THIS TURN!! This ability is kind of like Deadpool’s Sheep Gun Word Balloon, only it’s about a thousand times more useful.
If Strucker’s Dial was crap except for that power, he’d still be good. But he’s got a great dial, and he gets stronger for every Test Subject that’s killed! You just need to get this man some Willpower!
I hate to say it again, but this is another near-Meta piece for me. More importantly, he’s going to be poop-tons of fun at house games…
HypeFox Says: Sort of a disappointing Chase, especially since we know we’re getting a comic version of the Hulkbuster armor one piece at a time in the Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. boosters this summer. But beyond that, his dial seems much more like a 200-250 Point character; at 300, you’re really only playing him in fun, epic games where you think you’re gonna run into other big’uns.
His AA Trait is actually pretty good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!:Once per turn, when Hulkbuster hits one or more characters with a close combat attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Modify Hulkbuster’s defense value by +2 until your next turn or Hulkbuster may make a close combat attack as a free action against a hit target, modifying his attack value by -2 for the attack.), but his other Trait (DESIGNED TO PUT YOU DOWN, BRUCE:At the beginning of the game for all characters with this trait, choose an opposing character with :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:. That character can’t ignore pushing damage or have its combat values increased.) and his Defense Special Power (SHE IS BUILT TO FIGHT THE BIG ONES:Hulkbuster can use Invincible. When Hulkbuster is hit by an attack from a character with the :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:, modify that’s character’s damage value by -1 for the attack.)are geared specifically towards putting down Giant-sized or Colossal figures, Team Bases or Vehicles. If you’re playing 1000 Point Brawl where those figures are allowed, he’s well worth his Points. If you’re playing almost any other format, you probably overpayed for this dial by at least 50 Points.
His Rookie version is a little bit better, if only because it’s 75 Points cheaper. You lose two really good Clicks, but you’re also closer to his Hypersonic slots.
These pieces are slight misfires for me.
GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)
Ninwashui Says: I have to agree. You should only play this guy if you know in advance that you have a good shot at facing Giants or Team Bases–and even then I’m not sure that he’ll win that fight. Against Colossals, you’d do much better playing AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man.
It’s not that this guy can’t win; it’s just that he’s a close combat piece that’s likely to get shot crossing the board and his combat values don’t hold up like they do with AAOU008 Hulk. He is also yet another figure above 200 points with no Outwit protection of any kind.
GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)
AAOU018 Ultron Prime — 250/125 Points — Mass Market Chase:
Ninwashui Says: At 250 points there won’t be much room for support (other than maybe an AAOU007 Ultron Sentry) He can use Energy Explosion with 3 Bolts, but he doesn’t have Running Shot until his third Click. Until then, he’s stuck with Charge or Hypersonic Speed with a 9 Attack. Not horrible, but not worth 250 Points, either.
He’s meant to be a close combat figure and just like AAOU008 Hulk he will have a hard time crossing the board without being weakened (this seems to be a Chase theme this set!). And he’s 250 Points with no Outwit protection (another Chase theme!), only an 18 starting Defense Value and no Stop Clicks. Again, Transport Symbol is really wasted points here, unless you’re in love with low Attack Values for some reason.
His Experienced dial is a little better just by virtue of being able to pack in a lot more compatible supporting figs. His actual power set is still mostly incompatible (and, again, no Running Shot ’til Click 3), and Transport Symbol is still wasted here.
GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)
HypeFox Says: I think I like him a little better than you do. Yes, he does not have an efficient power mix, but he’s not a pushover, either, and his Trait (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING:Once per game, when Ultron Prime is KO’d, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 5 – 6 place this character in your starting area on its blue starting line.) gives him a 33% chance to come back and haunt your opponent all over again.
That Trait works even better on his Experienced dial, since it brings him back all the way to his Starting Line.
GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)
Alrighty! There you have it–the longest article (by word count) we’ve ever published! We hope you enjoyed this look into Avengers: Age of Ultron, and make sure to come back for our Starter Review!
Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!