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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

By your powers combined, I am… the Phoenix! (Or the Build 4/23/2014)

Hmm... 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

Hmm… 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

 

Greetings true believers. (Stan Lee stole that from me.) This weeks “article” revolves around different team ideas I’m considering for this month’s AvX tournament at my local venue and copyright infringement. By which I mean, hopefully, the armies below might give you a good idea for your next tournament.

Now on with the show. (Wow that was a cool phrase. I’m an originator.)

The Format: AvX Month 3. 500 Points. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops). If you need to know what they do look them up on HCrealms. If I told you that would take literally all the time I have to write the rest of this article. It’s not simple or easy to describe.

The Phoenix Force Resource: Through careful analysis, HypeFox and I have determined the best way to use the resource with the pieces we have. It’s the resource itself (12 points), all three fragments (3*3 = 9 points), and 2 assigned characters (2*3 = 6 points). That’s 27 total points. Why do it that way? Because if you leave the Colossus fragment on the resource the 2 assigned people get un-outwit-able (EDITOR’S NOTE: Just say “Unoutwittable.” There! I made it a word now! No more reaching for the “-” key!) poison, flight, and invulnerability! It’s the Invulnerability that makes it all worth it. There have been a lot of clix that are considered very good because of an of un-outwit-able defense on otherwise decent dials. For example SM058 Kal. This means that I have the Namor fragment (which grants nothing useful) and the Cyclops fragment (which grants RCE) to assign to each team I list below. I am also going to note this configuration of the phoenix force resource as “Standard Phoenix Force Resource“.

Now on with the teams!

 

Team 1: TK for the win.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

The key to success with this team are the proper uses of the TK power and Legions trait. Legion was assigned the RCE fragment so that he can make a strong attack before using his trait to select a new power. That way you can avoid having your ranged attack canceled by rolling battle fury or the -2 to attack emotions. He also gets Invulnerability over all seven clicks to cover defense. That means you should be free to chose a good supporting (Perplex, Outwit, Probability Control), or healing (Regeneration, Support) power. You may have to choose a power (like Running Shot) before you make a successful attack, but want to avoid doing that as much as possible. That’s where Magneto’s TK comes in handy. If you can attack with him first and add a second token then he can TK Legion into battle and let Legion attack without having to use his trait. Remember also that even though all of your character’s fly, Legion can choose to gain Earthbound via his trait and then be carried.

To start the battle have Magneto, Phoenix, and Legion arranged in a straight horizontal line with Legion in the middle. Try to have no tokens on Legion and on one Magneto. If your opponent gets the drop on you then have Legion gain Support on your next turn via his trait and heal up your injured guys. If you get a chance at an opening shot, use Legion to TK Magneto into battle and have Magneto use Running Shot and Pulse Wave. If that’s a second token for Magneto have him use TK to pull a teammate up into battle. If you use TK on Phoenix, she can then use Running Shot and her 8 range to hit almost anywhere on the board. You could also pull Legion up to Magneto in case you need to use Support next turn.

 

Team 2: Revenge of the Nerfed X-Force.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM042 Fantomex

WXM041 Spiral (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM018 Sunspot (With Namor Fragment)

AVX005R Wolverine

WXM010 Shatterstar

Total = 499 Points

I made an entire Revenge of the Nerfed article about the strategies for this team. You shouldn’t need any more explanation than that.

 

Team 3: I finally get to use Iron/Man Iron Patriot.

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force

AVXR101 Fragment – Cyclops

AVXR102 Fragment – Namor

AVXR100X Assigned Character

AVXR100X Assigned Character

IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot (With Cyclops Fragment)

AVX012 Colossus (With Namor Fragment)

Total = 499 Points

Note that this team couldn’t quite fit in the Standard Phoenix Force Resource configuration. (1 point too much) I’ve been looking for a good way to use IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot and this might be it. This team is pretty straightforward with a couple interesting synergies. First, when using a duo attack IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot has a trait that says they get a standard attack and a ranged combat action. With their existing dial that didn’t mean too much, but add the Cyclops fragment to them and that ranged combat action is now RCE. The second interesting synergy is that both pieces in this army have 18 defense with defend. That means that while they are standing together they will each have 18 defense until after your opponent has damaged both of them.

 

Team 4: A balanced team.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM046 Warlock (With Namor Fragment)

 AVX009 Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM209 Jean Grey

M10A007 Storm

Total = 500 Points

The Idea here is simple. Warlock consistently uses his Perplex on himself to give himself 20 defense. That along with his Shape Change and Invulnerability should keep him safe as he makes a hell of a distraction for the other team up close by using Pulse Wave and Poison. Everyone else uses Jean Grey’s Enhancement to take good sized pot shots from range.

 

Team 5: The Dune Buggy of Death.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX012 Colossus(With Namor Fragment)

WXM046 Warlock (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM033 Forge

WXM017 Jean Grey

Total = 496 Points

  • Step 1: choose Steal Energy or Precision Strike with Warlock’s “ANY SHAPE FOR ANY OCCASION” power.
  • Step 2: use Jean Grey to TK Warlock to a vertical axis containing multiple members of the opposing team within the next 11 squares. Elevated, hindering, and outdoor blocking terrain don’t matter because Warlock gets flying from the Phoenix force. If you’re indoors use Colossus to clear the walls away.
  • Step 3: transform to vehicle.
  • Step 4: Walk Forge and Colossus up to Warlock so they can be carried.
  • Step 5: Use the Perplex from Forge and Warlock to add to Warlock’s attack by 2 and his damage by 1. (you don’t want to miss)
  • Step 6: Ram! Move straight forward 11 spaces and make 1 close combat attack roll targeting everyone you pass through. Every hit person takes 5 damage!

When it’s your opponent’s turn Colossus’s 18 defend and Forge’s healing should be enough to protect Warlock from your opponents counterattack.

 

What will I play: It depends on several factors. I’m probably leaning most towards team 1 and 4. But if I sense an Iron Pharaoh, then I’ll go with team 2. Team 3 is probably more of a fun team. Team 5 would have worked as a complete surprise, but Hypefox is going to read this article before the tournament. I’ll post a my results in a week. Until then, “You stay classy San Diego.” (I swear that’s totally my phase.)

The Build 2, Part 2!! (Or, The Results Are In!!)

Let's... GET IT ON!

Let’s… GET IT ON! For REALS this time!

 

Okay! So… that happened!

Click here if you need to be refreshed on the game type and stipulations! Once you’re caught up, head right back here, cuz the results… are in!

 

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil' older version of ol' Shellhead...

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil’ older version of ol’ Shellhead…

ROUND 1! FIGHT!

My first match was against Ninwashui. He was using AVX009e Cyclops, AVX010e Emma Frost & AVX014 Magneto. Oh, Magneto… I’d forgotten about you and your 20 Defense against ranged attacks. Eeeshh. When rolling for map, we actually tied. On the second roll, I beat him with my superior Theme bonus and took the battle to Wundagore, which ended up being a sizable advantage for me, since his characters had to walk around the long way. Cyclops was, frankly, toast, although in fairness, this was a terrible matchup for that figure. With no taxi, he was tokened by the time he got into the fight, and the Golden Falcon Special Terrain marker was right there to meet him. With the bonuses the Pharaoh gets because Cyke is a “Ruler,” the X-Men’s Fearless Leader went down like a sack of hot, moist and delicious potatoes.

I was able to get one Mind Control through with Brother Voodoo on Magneto, but it ended up being an odd play. I blasted Emma Frost for a healthy amount of damage, but to do so, I had to move Magneto on a Running Shot to the place where Ninwashui probably would have wanted him anyway, so he could start going crazy with Pulse Wave. Luckily for me, my defenses were still pretty high, and even though Mags eventually whittled down Voodoo, Scarlet Witch and Astral Doc Strange, I still had a full Shaman and half an Iron Pharaoh left while Mags was double chipped with no other friendlies to TK anywhere (I think Mags was a couple clicks in, but I could be wrong). Time was called at that point, but it would have been interesting if the match had continued. I believe I still would have won based on where Magneto was at on his dial and the fact that I would have gotten in another Pharaoh attack or two before Magneto could go again (Magneto also buffs the Pharaoh since he too is a “Ruler”).

What I Learned From This Round:

–My strategy for why I built the team I built seems sound at this point. The movement advantage I enjoyed this round certainly paid off in delaying any confrontations until the Golden Falcon soared into the enemy.

–Full dial AvX Magneto is redonkulous. His defense against ranged attacks borders on insane, especially when its combined with Invincible. No matter what angle of attack you take… he’s gonna be around for awhile. The fact that he can run a limited TK for free when he has two action tokens means that even when Mags couldn’t fly or carry, Ninwashui still had a half-decent taxi on his force. He’s got all that PLUS 11 Attack with Pulse Wave and an 8 Range on his first click. He’s a figure I should have been more prepared to face, given that he’s from the freaking AvX Starters. Still, I was taken a bit by surprise by just how powerful he was, particularly in a game that was designed to limit the usefulness of any figure that flies.

–Oh yeah–Iron Pharaoh is really good. You probably know that, but I just thought I’d repeat it in case you’d forgotten.

–Shaman’s “No Flights” spell is a FREE ACTION! Wow. Completely changes the game and it’s not even a power action. Unbelievable! While his no flying shenanigans were the inspiration for this team, his 7 range Perp along with his high defense against ranged attacks were just as important this round.

–Brother Voodoo is Brother Voodoo. He’s sick and wrong. He’s also the first figure that Ninwashui tried to kill. Eventually, he succeeded, but not until the rest of my army had basically taken out the rest of his army. Using Brother Voodoo as bait would be a recurring theme on the night…

 

What's that Wanda? No, not--it's no more "flights!" Wait, which spell did YOU cast?

Wanda, what was that? No, not–it’s “no more FLIGHTS!” Wait, which “no more” spell did you cast?

ROUND 2! FIGHT!!

For the second round, I played R, a player who’s just gotten back into the game after a long hiatus. Even though he’s still gaining familiarity with the new rules and pieces, he’s extremely adept at positioning his pieces and he learns very quickly. Last month, at the venue’s first AvX event, R defeated me soundly in the championship match. I missed some rolls (doesn’t everyone when they lose?), but, to be frank, R outmaneuvered me at every turn that game. His tactics were simply better.

This time, he was playing AVX003E Thor, WXM040 Hope Summers, AVX008 Professor X & AVX005R Wolverine. So how’d it go?

As good a player as R is, this was an absolute nightmare matchup for him. We ended up marching on Wundagore Mountain again, and after another quick spellcasting by Shaman, R’s entire force was stuck on foot. To make matters worse, my two main attack pieces–Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo–could either attack Professor X from more than 8 squares away or could use a billion different FREE actions so that the good Professor’s fantastically good Movement Special Power (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.) never went off. He killed Astral Dr. Strange and got Brother Voodoo down to his last click, but by that point the Pharaoh had run amok and Shaman had gotten into the fight (he can sling 3 damage with a range of 7 plus a Perplex he can float around to whoever needs it).

What I Learned From This Round:

–Once again, the strategy behind my build paid off. R’s team was solidly constructed; on most other maps, he would have been competitive and Professor X would have caused his opponent a LOT of problems. But the fact that a flier (Thor) was his main taxi and my team was stacked with a lot of Free Actions ultimately lead to his downfall in this match.

–Shaman can do some damage! He’s great to set up your positioning, but he’s not afraid to mix it up himself.

–Iron Pharaoh? Still good. FYI.

This win put me straight into the finals and…

Wait, you're not Cyclops!

Wait, you’re not Cyclops!

ROUND 3!! FIGHT!!

This time I played B., another local regular. He’s a very skilled player who knows about the current Meta but actively prefers to come up with his own creative twists on what he plays. Today was no different. As we sat down to play, B revealed his force:  AVX009 Cyclops, Tab-M004 Wolverine, WXM023A Deathbird and ASM022 Cloak. Can you guess which one of those four blew up my strategy?

It was Cloak! Hadn’t even considered the possibility of facing him (even though he’s got the X-Men keyword!). But his Phasing Movement PLUS Traited Stealth and Carry were a giant headache to deal with for me. He’s only 55 points, but he has 6 (SIX!!) clicks and useful powers all the way down his dial.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our match started with me finally LOSING map roll and B. choosing to take us right to the Savage Land side of the map. This side of the map had plenty of Hindering Terrain and Water but not much Elevated Terrain, which was really what slows people down after “No Flights” goes off. The other crappy part (for me, I mean) about losing Map Roll is that my opponent got to go first after choosing which side of the map we’d play on, which meant he’d get a taxi turn out of Deathbird before I could hit the NF button.

That ended up being exactly what happened, as he used Cloak and Deathbird to ferry Cyke and Wolverine over to a four-square patch of hindering terrain to keep them safe. This wasn’t a very far advance at all, and it took them over to the other side of the map.

On my first turn, I moved out my Falcon 3 squares, perplexed up Brother Voodoo Attack value with Scarlet Witch and Shaman and sent him out to take Cyke with his Traited Free Action Mind Control (I wanted Cloak, so I could separate him from the group, but his Stealth made him untargetable). With ES/D, Cyclops had a 20 Defense, but Brother Voodoo had a 12 or 13 Attack at this point with all the modifiers plus his own Prob Control, and I ended up hitting with the MC. In turn, Cyclops blasted Cloak for four (which, at the time, I thought would either kill Cloak or at least get him out of Phasing. WRONG!). So I got the Alpha Strike, but boy, would I pay for it in the next couple turns. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering. Astral Dr. Strange was also sent into the fray, although it’d take a couple turns to get to his grouping. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering.

On his turn, he mostly de-chipped and/or got his forces out of Hindering (so that when he was ready to Run Shot or Charge, he wouldn’t also have to pay the Hindering Movement bonus). On turn 2, I moved the Falcon out a little more (although he had been careful with his positioning, so Pharaoh still couldn’t touch any of his figs) and tried to Incapacitate Cloak so that B. would have to push him if he wanted to Carry anyone. Even with Strange’s 8 attack I hit–and Cloak promptly hit his Super Senses roll. Tried to use free action MC again with Voodoo but missed.

My opponent retaliated the next turn by blasting Voodoo with Cyke for four. He then offed Strange’s Astral Projection with a Charge/Blades from Wolverine.

My turn. I pushed Voodoo back to Scarlet Witch for a quick heal. The push sent Voodoo to his last click. I moved Wanda into position for a heal next turn. On B.’s turn, he looked at the map 10 different ways before he had to concede that he wasn’t going to be able to base Voodoo and Witch or Outwit Witch’s Support in such a manner that the Falcon couldn’t just swoop over and Outwit his Outwit.

Back to my turn, and I make my Support roll. I need a 6, but I rolled a 3. No problem. Prob it–and I Prob myself right into a Critical Miss–the Nightmare Scenario. The Crit Miss means Voodoo takes 1 damage… and he’s done. So now my opponent has a Cloak who’s down dial quite a bit, but I’m down 2 whole figs–Voodoo and Astral Dr. Strange. My reckless opening gambit that appeared to have paid off actually didn’t, and my opponent presses his advantage on his next turn. I believe he needed a 9 or 10 to hit Scarlet Witch with Cyke–he nails the first roll, and after her defensive Prob ability, he nails a 10 on the second roll. Wanda hits him back for 1 Mystics damage, but she’s toast. Things are looking bad.

My only advantage was that Cyke was now in range of the Golden Falcon. With his “Ruler” keyword (as we’ve discussed before) and the Pharaoh’s Outwit, this is definitely not a fair fight, and within 2 turns, the Pharaoh wipes Cyclops off of the board AND pushes to his superior second click (Iron Pharaoh loses Invuln on his second click for Toughness, but his Attack goes from 10 to 11 and he gains PHARAOH’S SLAVE: Iron Pharaoh can use Mind Control, but only to target characters of fewer points that himself. When he does, after actions resolve, deal 1 unavoidable damage to the character he hit with his Mind Control.) This was huge, because with Cyclops off the board, all of my opponent’s figs were could be targeted by this ability.

The next couple turns were mostly about dechipping and positioning the Falcon (for me) and positioning and advancing with Cloak carrying Deathbird (for him). Yep! B. was using my own spell against me by having his remaining taxi carry his other taxi since I had given her the “Boot” symbol instead of her normal “Flight” icon.

Eventually he was ready (I believe it was right after I dechipped the Pharaoh) and he had Cloak carry Deathbird right up to my Elevated Terrain perch and set Cloak right between Iron Pharaoh and Shaman, my two remaining figs, and he walked Wolvie right up to the staircase, a point from which the Canucklehead could Charage next turn.

On my turn, I attacked Cloak with the Pharaoh and took him out, albeit a turn too late. As my opponent noted, “He did his job.” I’ll say! I debated attacking Deathbird with Shaman, but I decided to Barrier instead to cut off Wolverine from the fray. This was a mistake that ended up being a blessing.

My opponent’s turn. He Outwits the Barrier with Deathbird (Whoops!! Totally forgot about that!) AND marches Wolvie up to hit Shaman for 3. He dechips Deathbird and it’s my turn. Pharaoh has survived (relatively) intact.

This was the break I needed.  I hit Wolvie (who was now on Click 3 I believe) with Pharaoh’s Slave and use him to Flurry/Exploit Deathbird and do a Slave damage to Wolverine. Within 2 turns, Deathbird is dead and both my characters have evacuated the high ground. I miss a Support roll from Shaman on Iron Pharaoh, but it doesn’t matter. Wolverine is essentially immobile, I can start shooting at him from a safe distance with the Golden Falcon, and time is soon called.

This was a grueling game, and there were several moments where I think I was really outplayed. I’m proud of myself for refocusing and getting myself out of said holes, but B. designed a great team and played a great game. He actually ended up with more overall points than me for this particular tournament. But, because of my win here, I went 3-0 and won the whole thing.

What I Learned From This Round:

–Well well well, my map exploitation strategy had one glaring hole–I wasn’t always going win the Map Roll and get Map Choice! Seems like a pretty big oversight, but the Savage Land map wasn’t entirely incompatible with my strategy anyway. Still, worth noting.

–That Cloak is a monster for his points. I’m definitely going to work him into a team of my own at some point. He was useful the whole game; even when surrounded by Wolverine and Deathbird, I still had to attack him because his down dial Poison would have wrecked Shaman. Just a great piece.

–Both Shaman and Iron Pharaoh took a licking and kept on ticking. These are both 5-star pieces in my book. The versatility of this team saw me through in the end. Four of the five pieces I fielded had a way to modify either their own attack values (Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo) or anyone’s values (Shaman and Scarlet Witch with their Top Dial Perplex).

–As proud of this team as I was, I think I learned as much or more about them by watching the way my opponents chose to attack them. 3 different opponents used 3 different strategies. A fun night.

The SPOILS!!

photo (14)

 

AVX101 Cable!!

 

Well, all’s well that ends well! For Ninwashui’s take on the night’s events, click here.

To see what Ninwashui wishes he would have played (and how he would attack the Pharaoh, Tellus and other Modern Age Meta figures), click here!

See you tomorrow for the Weekly Roundup!

 

Local Tournament Report – 3/27/14 Comics & More

Magxorn

“I will bring you hope, old friend, and I ask only one thing in return – don’t get in my way.”

 

The Format: AvX Month 1. Must use at least 1 figure from the starter. Other figures must share a keyword with the starter figure. 400 point modern. No resources, relics, Colossals.

What I played:

AVX009E Cyclops

AVX010E Emma Frost

AVX014 Magneto

Total = 400 Points

Round 1: Facing AVX006E Scarlet Witch(with Secret Avengers ATA), IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC), IIM040 Shaman, ASM017B Brother Voodoo, GG014A Astral Dr. Strange. This was HypeFox’s team. I had some foreknowledge of the team because we hade played together earlier in the week and I helped him make a decision on which characters to use. (Really I just felt bad for stomping him last week with my sealed team.) So I knew my chances weren’t great going in, but I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. I knew my only chance was to get to the Iron Pharaoh in the first few turns. Otherwise he was going to get perplexed up and his stupid Falcon was going to just eat up my whole team. Hmm… I wonder where he got that idea? Was it here? My last minute decision to base my team around Magneto worked out better than I had planned. Even with no flight, Magneto’s TK helped me position my pieces fairly well and his pulse wave had the best chance of getting through well defended pieces like Scarlet Witch and Brother Voodoo. His traited Energy Shield made him one of the few pieces that could stand up well to a Falcon attack.

So the match starts with me walking around the mountain. I am halfway across the board when the real battle begins. Iron pharaoh is in his starting area. Scarlet Witch and Shaman are positioned apart about halfway to me. Astral Strange and Brother Voodoo come right up to my team and say hi (and block my way to getting to the other pieces.) All of my Characters have one token from walking to half map. First attack was Brother Voodoo missing Magneto. My response? I have Cyclops run up to him with a ranged attack that misses and then use a free action force blast that knocks voodoo into a wall for one. First blood goes to me. The bad news is that voodoo is on the other side of hindering terrain and now has stealth. No attack is possible for Magneto and I didn’t want to push Emma this early into the match.

Then the Golden Falcon catches up with me. Two perlexes to damage, an outwit from the Pharaoh and that’s a 1 hit KO to Cyclops. On the plus side that frees up some space for me to running shot pulse wave with Magneto next turn. I get a 5 and do 1 damage to Astral Strange and no one else is hit. In the following turns I slowly work Emma towards the Pharaoh through Her sidestep and finally Magneto’s free Action TK. Magneto continues to distract the rest of Hype’s team by dodging ranged attacks and in turn whiffing with a Pulse wave every turn. Emma gets to the Pharaoh and knocks him to Click 5, but the next turn Scarlet Witch gets through Emma’s defense and Emma is knocked to her last click. The following turn Magneto does another pulse wave damage to astral strange and finally KOs him. Everyone else was missed. Emma mind control’s the Pharaoh and uses him to do 3 to Scarlet Witch and then take one mystic back. Pharaoh then KOs Emma. Magneto finally hits on a Pulse wave and KOs Scarlet Witch. The round ends at that point. A win for Hypefox (200 to 113), but not the slaughter I thought it was going to be. Magneto had survived and was only on click 3 at the end of that game.

Round 2: Facing AVX015 Danger, WXM101 Colossus and Kitty Pryde, WXM203 Havok. (Starters sold out at my venue so my opponent wasn’t restricted to using a starter piece.) I’m not going to into the details of this match too much. My opponent was new to the game and didn’t have much experience on a map with elevation. So Wundagore mountain was very confusing. I ended up helping him with the rules and strategy regarding elevation. It’s not something I minded. We were all new to this game once. His strategy wasn’t the best that game, but in the end it didn’t really matter because his dice betrayed him until the match was all but decided. Emma and Scott each took a hit, but I didn’t lose any pieces. On the plus side, each time I play this opponent he has shown improvement.  He should take pride in that.

Round 3: Facing FFCW006 Scarlet Witch, CW049 Morgan Le Fay, AVX003E Thor, CW039 Hawkeye (with Great Lakes Avengers ATA). As the game starts I move to the high elevation on the center of the map carrying Emma. Cyclops starts up the mountain the long way. My opponent opens by TKing Thor to the edge of the mountain and having Thor do a running shot pulse wave targeting only Magneto.  He misses by one. I respond by outwitting Thor’s defense and having Magneto hit for 4 damage. Thor is on his last click. I choose not to push Emma. That might have been my big mistake. After that Morgan LeFey joins Thor my dice just go south. Thor stays alive on his last click for 30 minutes. Thor, Magneto, and Morgan LeFay just keep missing each other. On the other side of the map Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye are having no problem making Cyclops look foolish. I end up having him run away towards Magneto. I send in Emma. She gets a hit on Hawkeye and takes a Mystics damage. Then he uses incapacitate and pushes her. Now she is on an 8 attack value and can’t hit anything. It takes a while because of her defenses, but Hawkeye finally takes her out. On the other side of the map Thor is finally taken out and Cyclops is also KOed. Magneto and Morgan Lefay are left Heavily damaged. She flies next to Scarlet Witch and I go the rest of the game without being able to hit anyone. Because of Defend, Perplex, and Probability control I needed to roll two nines in a row just to do damage. After about 5 more turns Magneto is KOed.

What I learned

  • I hate Iron Pharaoh…
  • Magneto did really well for me tonight. I will field him again soon.
  • Emma Frost did decently, but she has a weakness to mystics damage and needs a taxi due to her lack of willpower.
  • Cyclops was always the first to be KOed. I won’t be looking to play him at the 100 point level again very soon. If I did a similar team again soon I would sub in 100 point Jean Grey or Tab app Wolverine.
  • I hate Iron Pharaoh…
  • I hate not flying…
  • Morgan LeFay is still cool.
  • I hate when my dice go cold… Thor’s 17 defense seemed like a million. Magneto’s Pulse wave couldn’t hit more that a 15 defense.
  • I hate Iron Pharaoh… (I really hate that guy. Where is a watch list when you need one?)