The Ghost of Christmas Past Presents… My Three Favorite Sets for Heroclix Sealed Play and Why I Love Them!! (Or, The Fifth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

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[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years!]

Welcome to Night 5 of The Twelve Nights of Christmas!

Tonight I’m gonna talk about my favorite Sealed sets.

Sealed balance is mixed bag for Wizkids. It’s one of my favorite ways to play, but not every set is as much fun to play Sealed as some others are. The following sets I think are some of the best Wizkids has ever made, albeit for various reasons.

 

Deadpool 2014

3. DEADPOOL (2014)

Reason: Great Roster of Characters; Creativity of Mechanics; Sealed Release Prizes

2016’s Deadpool and X-Force almost took this spot, but I give the edge to the original because the Deadpools worked better on their own if you only happened to pull one (and the best ones weren’t all at the Chase level).

Admittedly, you probably liked this set better if you were a Deadpool fan (I know some comic readers can’t stand the character, but I’ve been a fan since the Joe Kelly solo series days), but still, this set had everything!

The Word Balloon mechanic is still one of my favorite pieces of game design to this day! Outside of “Hammer Time,” which you only got if you lucked into the Super Rare Thor Deadpool, all of the Word Balloons were extremely situational, so pulling a Deadpool didn’t automatically mean you were going to steamroll someone. Still, they were occasionally useful, and even if you only pulled a couple ‘Pools from the Common slot (like Headpool and Dogpool), you could interchange their Word Balloons for maximum effectiveness.

But beyond that, this was a set with great, synergistic sub-themes (Sinister Syndicate, Thunderbolts, Z-Virus, Heroes For Hire) that yielded some high-demand figures. The Super Rare level was filled with hits, but even in the Rare slot you could pull a piece like Black Talon and–if you pulled the right supporting cast–steamroll the competition.

Chases were better when played together (although zombie Electro was pretty deadly on his own or paired with other Sinister Syndicate pieces), so again, if you were lucky enough to pull one, it didn’t mean you would auto-win.

The Uncommon, Rare and Super Rare Primes were all a ton of fun (Evil Deadpool!!), and this is also the set that gave us DP053A Speed Demon, probably the most unique speedster dial Wizkids has ever given us!

And you wanted to do well at the Sealed Release events, because Wizkids gave us four (FOUR!!) fantastic LE pieces that only came in the Deadpool OP kits.

–DP101 Ultimate Deadpool, who I think to this day has the most Named Keywords and who also came with an exclusive Word Balloon.

–Bill, Agent of A.I.M., a 30 point Taxi with an Attack Special (MY HIGH-ENERGY FINDER THING: Give Bill, Agent of A.I.M. a power action and choose the highest-point opposing character. Until your next turn, that character can be targeted with a ranged combat attack by one friendly character adjacent to Bill, Agent of A.I.M. and line of fire for that attack isn’t blocked.) that was so good he ended up as a Meta piece for the next year and a half.

Bill, like his counterpart Bob, Agent of Hydra, is one of Deadpool’s most popular supporting cast members and this was the only way to get him as he didn’t appear in the main set.

–Wolverine, Agent of Hydra, who was the “boss” character that both The Hand and Hydra teams were looking for at the time. I wouldn’t say he ended up being Meta, but he made a bunch of ninja teams viable at house games over the next year.

–Cosmic X-23. This was the first solo version of X-23 the game had seen in 4 years. She was borderline Meta, but never really got there. Still, she had two great dials and was also in high demand from players who collect the various Captain Universe pieces.

To this day, I don’t think we’ve seen better release day LE’s. In fact, I think shortly after this set Wizkids switched to including just one release OP LE figure for new standard sets.

 

Heroclix WOL

2. War of Light (2014)

Reason: Titanic, High-Point Battles; $$$$!!

Man, 2014 was the year to be playing Sealed! War of Light was the 2014 Summer OP Limited Edition set, and it was crazy popular.

First of all, there are a LOT of Lantern fans out there, and the Clix community had been waiting for powerful, Modern interpretations of these characters (or, in some cases, their debut). Suddenly EVERY color on the spectrum had enough pieces to field viable teams for house games; some colors (Green, Yellow) even found themselves in the Meta.

Because you could only get these boosters by playing at your local game store (or by sniping a brick on eBay, where they were going for $210-$249 a BRICK during their heyday!), almost every SR was worth more than $25, with some going for $50-$80 the first month the set was released.

And the Chases… each color got a Chase Entity (except for Black, whose Entity piece was SR) that went for $100 plus (or $200 in the case of Parallax) because of both their scarcity and their power level in the Meta (from June 2014–January 2015, EVERY Meta team had at least one Entity on it).

All of which turned these Sealed OP events into lottery draws. So these events were PACKED, and competitors were hyped EVEN BEFORE FOLKS STARTED PLAYING!

Now, I talked a bit about balance with Deadpool (and I’ll talk a LOT more about balance with the #1 set), but WOL was NOT the most balanced set Wizkids has ever designed. Far from it, actually.

But that imbalance just fed into the whole lottery craze! A lot of folks sold their most expensive pulls on eBay after the event, so for some, the event itself was the only time they’d ever get to play with these figs.

And Battle Royales… wow! I’ve never seen so many folks queue up for Battle Royales than the fall of 2014 when the bigger venues in town would run a ROC or other big event! If WOL was on the menu, people would be there!

I can remember being ganged up on in one WOL BR by two different guys who knew each other and happened to be in the same pod as me. Unfortunately for them, I pulled the Weaponer of Qward, so it didn’t go so well for them (as opposed to when the same thing happened to me during an Uncanny X-Men BR, and I got my @$$ handed to me!).

But that was the boom or bust nature of the set. In month one at my LGS, I pulled Ophidian with Red Lantern Superboy Prime. In Round 2 I played Ninwashui, and the game lasted about 15 minutes, since his best pull was Brother Warth (to be fair, I think he actually got Supes down to, like, click 3 or 4).

But I will always remember the furor this set inspired, and that’s why it’s number two on this list!

 

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1. BATMAN, THE ANIMATED SERIES (2018)

Reason: Insanely Well-Balanced!! Plus Some Nice Nostalgia… 

And now for my favorite Sealed Set! Yup! It just came out in July!

This set is arguably the most well-balanced Sealed set Wizkids has ever designed. I’ve written before about how I lucked into possibly the BEST Sealed configuration a person can pull from this set at a WKO, and I still lost on a roll-off in the playoffs against stiff comepetition!

I’ll say it again–even the BEST PIECES IN THE SET were no guarantee of victory!

The point distribution between characters was very narrow for the most part, and outside of a few characters <cough–Hawkman & Hawkgirl–cough>, no piece had distinct offensive or mobility advantages over the others (okay, maybe Rare Batman with his Batarang, which was insanely good in Sealed!).

I’ve played this set Sealed probably four or five times now, and I’ve enjoyed every game!

That’s why it’s my favorite Sealed Set… so far!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I would give an Honorable Mention to Avengers: Infinity, also from this year, solely because it’s the first time we saw Sealed Colossal vs. Colossal play! There were some other slight issues that caused the set to slip down my personal rankings a bit, but for the Colossal novelty alone, I thought it also deserved a mention here. More of this please, Wizkids!!]

What are yours? Sound off in the Comments below, then join us right here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas!!

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Tippy-Toe-ing Through The Rainbows On Unicorns!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Deadpool & X-Force!!)

Squirrel Girl

Welcome Back, Welcome Back!!

Well, Avengers/Defenders War is almost upon us, so I figured it was time to crank out at DXF Top Ten. Unfortunately, my brother Ninwashui has been immobilized for the better part of the last month with a serious illness that he’s only now getting over, so we’re a bit behind on things (what else is new?).

But enough jibber-jabber! Okay! You folks know how this works: Five Honorable Mentions, followed by Ten Top… uh, Ten figures!!

Also, normally I’d start with some Notes About the Set, but, well, I kinda already covered that during the Wind Apocalypse of 2017!

The only thing I’ll add is that I think this is one of the strongest top-to-bottom sets that we’ve gotten since World’s Finest (and probably the most powerful Marvel set we’ve gotten since Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.), so no Top Ten list (even with our customary five Honorable Mentions) could cover every great figure in this set. So if we left something off, hopefully that piece will come up in a future article (so sorry, Chipmunk Hunk!). It’s not that we don’t like, say, Fast Forces Stingray, or Solo in his Deadpool uniform–it’s just that there’s only so much we can spotlight in one article!! But this is a deep, deep set that will spawn a ton of Meta play!

So, with that said… LET’S GET ON WITH IT!!

 

FIVE HONORABLE MENTIONS:

 

Terror

5. DXF101 Terror100 PointsLE:

This is one of the better release date LE’s we’ve gotten in quite some time (at least as far as figures go–that Symbiote object from SFoSM is getting used a TON in the Meta right now). Terror is an interesting character who has been tooling around the Marvel Universe for 25 years and who has now, finally, been Clix’d (with THREE versions no less!).

What makes his dial so interesting is his Morro-like Trait (HE WON’T BE NEEDING IT: When an adjacent standard character is KO’d, choose a standard power that character could use on any click. Terror can use that power this game.) that theoretically allows him to access almost any power in the game! And remember, his Trait doesn’t care if that figure is opposing or friendly–only that it’s adjacent.

Beyond that, Terror gives you seven Clicks of life, Sidestep, 3 native damage, three Regen Clicks on the back end and a weird Outwit that only letss him counter Pink powers (Sidestep, Precision Strike, Invincible & Empower), which, I guess, is better than NOT being able to counter anything.

I can’t quite say that he’ll be a Meta staple (he takes a lot of in-game planning to get going), but he is worth a look and he’s a lot of fun to field.

 

Fantomex

4. FFDXF003 Fantomex75 Points –Fast Forces:

Wow! Now this is what a 75 Point Secondary Attacker piece should look like! Great evasion with his Rooftop Movement Special (ROOF-RUNNING GUNFIGHTER: Fantomex can use Running Shot. On opponent’s turns, lines of fire drawn to Fantomex are blocked if he occupies the rim of elevated terrain.) and E.V.A.-provided Super Senses combined with a solid 3 Damage top dial with Energy Explosion and two bolts.

Alternatively, you can pop E.V.A. off and take advantage of her (his? its?) Outwit. For the points, this is an extremely solid complement to almost any Primary Attacker. If you Theme him and get to choose Map, he can really become a gamebreaker.

 

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3. DXF010 Tippy-Toe — 25 Points — Common:

Tippy-Toe is 25 points of tie-up annoyance that can also help break up teams that depend on hunkering down in covered, adjacent positions (Bizarro Green Arrows and the like)… but only on certain Maps (specifically those with a bevy of Hindering Terrain).

Her Attack Special (SQUIRREL TALK: Give Tippy-Toe a free action to deal 1 damage to an opposing character within 8 squares and line of fire that occupies printed hindering terrain.) lets her nibble at enemies from across the board. If they have Stealth or she loses that top dial power, though, she can still walk right up to characters to tie them up with her 18 Defense (plus Super Senses) and scratch them for 1 Exploit Damage.

 

Slapstick

2. FFDXF010 Slapstick — 50 Points — Fast Forces:

50 Points for Hypersonic Speed (or whatever Speed power you want), Willpower and 2 Damage with Precision Strike? Okay! Once again you are paying Support/Tertiary Attacker prices for a solid Secondary Attacker. Slapstick is awesome for taking out opposing Support pieces before they can impact the game.

 

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1. DXF064 Hulkpool — 125 Points — Chase:

Most of the (EIGHT!!) regular Chases in this set are pretty damn good. Even if you don’t like the dials by themselves, you have to remember that each of them can gain one of EIGHT different abilities as a free action from a Comic Panel marker if they have no action tokens at the beginning of your turn.

You can choose from Smoke Cloud (meh); Enhancement (eh… situationally useful); an extra Bolt (somewhat useless now–really useless in about two months when Energy Explosion gets nerfed); Quake (comes with this figure and is more on the “meh” side than not); Precision Strike (almost always useful); Stealth (wait, I can give what is essentially a Hulk dial Stealth? This is very useful!! Now I might make it across the board unscathed!!); Combat Reflexes (very useful!!); or Energy Shield/Deflection (even usefull-er!!).

This makes these pieces EXTREMELY adaptable, and adaptability is one of the key strategies in the current Meta (look no further than the domination of Jakeem Thunder right now).

So add to all that a dial that features 10 Movement with Charge; 12 Attack with Super Strength; 18 Defense with Impervious and 4 top dial damage WITH Probability Control! He also has Indomitable and 8 Clicks of life. His last 3 Clicks feature a Revert Special Power that basically lets you heal him one Click and then replace him with ANY figure that has Deadpool in its name (except for the new title character Deadpool).

Again, to reiterate:  you get insane Primary Attacker stats mixed with what basically amounts to a Resource (the eight Comic Panel powers) in an increasingly Resource-less Meta environment and HE BRINGS ALONG ONE OF THE THREE BEST SUPPORT POWERS IN THE GAME!!

This is the best Hulk dial they’ve made in a long time, AND THEY’VE MADE INSANELY GOOD HULK DIALS NONSTOP FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS!! I mean, can you name another Hulk with the ability to pop on ES/D or Stealth top dial to actually get across the board in one piece? Or another Hulk piece who can change into a competent Ranged Attacker at the end of his dial?

Do not sleep on Hulkpool!

 

And now, for your…

TOP TEN DEADPOOL AND X-FORCE FIGURES!!

 

Mistress Death

10. DXF052 Mistress Death — 100 Points — Super Rare: 

Yes, there is a lot that she doesn’t do. But her Touch of Death Trait (TOUCH OF DEATH: When Mistress Death hits with a close attack, immediately place a Touch of Death token on the target’s card if it doesn’t already have one. For the rest of the game, when a character with a Touch of Death token is dealt damage by an attack, double the damage dealt.) is almost bonkers-good–if you can get it off.

She also has another Trait (YOU CAN’T KILL DEATH… OR MARRY HER, I TRIED: When Mistress Death would be KO’d and there is another friendly character on the map, you may instead place her in your starting area on click #3 with 2 action tokens and the opponent scores her. This can’t be ignored.) that causes her to revive throughout the entire game as well as a third (THIRD!!!) Trait (THE REALM OF DEATH EXPANDS: When another standard character is KO’d, remove an action token from Mistress Death.) that means she’ll potentially be taking an action almost every turn as long as you are dishing out lethal punishment. And a 12 Attack with Pulse Wave is nothing to sneeze at, either.

If you can find a way to boost her with Plasticity (Symbiote maybe?) or TK her next to someone for consistent same turn strikes (hello Stryfe! or Jean Grey! or… you get the idea), you can turbo-charge the Damage Output of your entire squad in a hurry.

But I wish there was just some piece out there that could open some sort of Space Portal and let Death pop out adjacent to an opposing figure and attack it in the same turn. Alas, we live in a world governed by the laws of physics, but man, sometimes I just want to tell the laws of physics that they can kiss my… nevermind, this is a family website.

Well, family-ish.

 

Swarm

9. DXF054 Swarm — 120 Points — Super Rare:

Another piece that is just really hard to KO. Swarm has a Trait (ONLY THE QUEEN MATTERS: Unless the attack roll is doubles, Swarm takes no more than 1 damage from attacks.) and an Attack Special (ORPHAN SWARMS: Each time swarm hits an opposing character, after actions resolve put a Bee Swarm bystander adjacent to that character unless there already is one.) that can take over the game in certain matchups, especially if your opponent hasn’t packed the right abilities to counter him.

And yes, Poison is getting slightly nerfed in that it will no longer combo with Sidestep, but the Bee Swarm tokens that Swarm generates with each hit don’t count against your action total when they move, either, so navigating the map starts to become really tricky for your opponent (not Prime Anarky tricky, but still).

 

Stryfe.jpg

8. DXF058 Stryfe– 135 Points — Super Rare: 

Looking strictly at his dial and Standard Power mix, 135 might seem a tad high. However, his Attack Special (MIND OVER MATTER: Stryfe can use Telekinesis. He can use it as a free action if he has been given a non-free action this turn.) will allow him to send most of his minions exactly where they need to be on the map or bring an opponent to him.

But where he gets really evil is when your opponent actually KO’s him (THE LEGACY VIRUS: When Stryfe is KO’d, choose a named keyword. Opposing Characters with that keyword are dealt penetrating damage equal half their current click number. This can’t be ignored.). Which means there’s a timer on the game for your opponent. Either they come to Stryfe early, or they don’t come at Stryfe at all. Remember, you can even PUSH Stryfe into a KO and he goes off. Or you can just push him to his late-dial Running Shot/Pulse Wave, which is also a crowd-pleaser.

There’s a lot of options with this guy.

 

Dreadpool.jpg

7. DXF001B Dreadpool — 130 Points — Common PRIME:

So, his opening 8 Movement with Running Shot, 12 Attack with Pen/Psy, 18 Defense with Super Senses and 3 Damage with Perplex (!) is almost worth the 130 Points right there. Then you factor in his Willpower through Indomitable and his AWESOME Trait (DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED: Dreadpool can use Steal Energy. At the beginning of your first turn, choose a named keyword an opposing character possesses. At the end of your turn, give Dreadpool a free action to make a close or range attack targeting a single opposing character with the chosen keyword if he has not attacked any character with the chosen keyword this turn.), and you realize that your favorite new Primary Attacker is quite capable of Alpha Striking half of the pieces in the Meta!

 

Cable

6. DXF014 Cable — 120 Points — Common: 

Where to start? Indomitable, 4 Damage with Prob, 11 Attack with Pen/Psy, Traited Stealth, Invuln AND ES/D (provided he has less than 2 Action Tokens), and a Movement Special (BODYSLIDE: Cable can use Phasing/Teleport. When he does and moves 5 squares or less, after actions resolve he may make a close or ranged attack.) that practically re-imagines Running Shot for the modern Meta.

Also, he has damn near every keyword you could ever want a mutant hero to have (Armor, Future, X-Men, X-Force, New Mutants, Soldier and Six-Pack!!), so he Themes quite nicely. And as a Primary Attacker who only costs 120, you’ll have plenty of room for supporting pieces.

 

Domino

5. FFDXF006R Domino — 25 Points — Fast Forces: 

Her 75 Point dial is also really good, but 25 points for 3 Clicks of Stealth, a 7 Range, 9 Attack with Precision Strike and 2 Clicks of Prob is a ton of bang for your buck. Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain is being given out less and less lately, so that dial-long Stealth is going to be hard to deal with for many teams.

Top dial Prob almost never comes this cheap, and almost never with a Range greater than 6. She’s already seen Meta play in several ROC’s, and I expect that to only continue.

 

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4. DXF060 Deadpool, Merc With a Mouth — 70 Points — Super Rare:

The first ever “Title Charcter” Clix, this version of Wade is simply under-costed by about 40 points. He comes packed with a way to heal himself and can eventually work up to Slo-Mo Bullet Time, wherein he can deal 2 Penetrating damage to every opposing piece within 6 range as a free action. Yowza!

Otherwise, you’re just stuck with a Deadpool that has 8 Clicks of life, 11 Attack, Indomitable and 17 Defense WITH ES/D!!

His keywords aren’t great (Initiative, X-Factor), but that seems a small price to pay for so much goodness.

————————-INTERMISSION: FLASH FIGURE REVIEW #3: WIZ Kid!————————

Wiz Kid

Okay!! So, this is kind of a first for us, but we’re about to do a mini-article INSIDE of another article!! This is Flash Figure Review #3, and we’re gonna spotlight… Wiz Kid, the Super Rare Prime!

For a little 25 Point nugget of a piece, he’s already created a small bit of controversy.

First, let’s talk about his dial. 25 Points. You get about the numbers you’d expect: 3 Clicks of life, Toughness (with an above average 18 Defense value top dial, although it quickly falls), 5 Range, 7 Speed (with Flying, although his lone Trait states that he can’t Carry anyone) and 2 Damage with a Special Power (TECHNOFORM YOUR WEAPONS: Adjacent friendly characters modify their attack, range and damage values by +1.) that is pretty much the whole reason for playing him.

WHY WIZ KID BELONGS IN THE TOP TEN:

For those in the community who love him, they point out that for 25 Points you get a pretty mobile battery for your ENTIRE squad–he is, in effect, a Resource unto himself. With the right positioning, he can add two to three more damage dealt a turn. He doesn’t need line of fire to activate his ability, so you can keep him behind your heavy hitters. And with his Range extension, it’s possible (again, depending on a whole host of factors) that Wiz Kid will allow you to position your characters just out of reach of your opponent while still being able to attack, Outwit, Perplex and Prob opposing pieces, which is kind of the Holy Grail of board control strategies.

While his keywords kind of suck (Initiative and X-Factor, exactly the same as Title Character Deadpool), they’re not without options.

To wit:

Not this Nighthawk

Not this Nighthawk, although his costume is way cooler…

Team Name: Mercs and Mouths

Theme: Initiative

Roster:

DXF059B Wiz Kid25 Points

DXF060 Deadpool, Merc With a Mouth70 Points

equipped with  UXM057P Proteus — 35 Points

FFDXF010 Slapstick50 Points

NFAOS059A Nighthawk120 Points

= 300 Points

HOW IT PLAYS: 

(Incidentally, there’s also a pretty competitive and fun option for this Build that subs in X-Factor pieces for the Initiative pieces including Boom-Boom and the Super Rare Iceman broken-ness from UXM.)

Regardless, Wiz Kid’s presence here should have your characters regularly attacking with a 12 or 13 Attack Value and 3 or 4 Damage minimum.

Nighthawk himself has not just one Trait (NIGHT AND DAY: At the beginning of the game, an opponent chooses Night -or- Day. If they choose Night, modify Nighthawk’s combat values by +1. If they choose Day, modify the defense values of all characters by -1 unless they occupy hindering terrain or are friendly to Nighthawk.) but two (PUSHING THE DEFENDERS TO BE MORE PROACTIVE: Nighthawk and friendly characters that share a keyword with him may replace their attack value with the unmodified attack value of an adjacent friendly character sharing that same keyword.) that pair pretty nicely with Wiz Kid’s power.

(I actually think Nighthawk’s A-side is an overlooked gem, but this article is about Wiz Kid, so we’ll talk about Nighthawk in a different column.)

This team is EXTREMELY vulnerable to Energy Explosion, but should synergize well. And Slapstick is great for taking out annoying opposing support pieces (see his Honorable Mention entry above for more details).

WHY WIZ KID DOESN’T BELONG IN THE TOP TEN: 

For those taking the opposite view, just the mere fact that Wiz Kid is a Prime is a major bummer. This is a list of top Meta performers from the past year or so that you are unable to field (either in your army or as a Sideline piece) if you choose to use Wiz Kid:

FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)

JLTW003B Doctor Light

JLTW037B Freddy Freeman

 AVAS013B 3-D Man

AVAS053B Ragnarok

NFAOS007B Peggy Carter

NFAOS059B Nighthawk

WF037B Nightlantern

WF053B Harlequin

UXM023B Kitty Pryde

UXM043B Sunfire

JW003B Anarky

JW053B Jakeem Thunder

That list is like a Meta All-Stars team. And that doesn’t even include Dreadpool or the Regen’ing Rare Prime Shifting Focus Deadpool. So yeah, using Wiz Kid as your Prime slot is a significant cost in and of itself.

Also, while Wiz Kid is almost like having a mobile Resource on the map with your team, he is also a highly KO-able Resource. And he requires you to play your team in an adjacency ball for his ability to work, which makes your build highly susceptible to Energy Explosion pieces.

Weasel in the last Deadpool set arguably did Wiz Kid’s tricks better (and added a limited Prob) for just two more measly points. He saw SOME Meta play, but not necessarily a ton. Is his past usage a good predictor of what Wiz Kid will do in the Meta? Hard to say…

Still, with a piece as divisive as this, I thought it best to remove him from the Top Ten list entirely and consider him separately from everyone else. I guess what you have to decide in the end is whether Wiz Kid a Top Ten piece, or a sucker’s bet? I happen to think he’s very useful on a very narrow set of teams, but only time will tell.

——————END OF INTERMISSION: FLASH FIGURE REVIEW #3: WIZ Kid!——————-

 

Fenris Comics

3. DXF049 Fenris — 60 Points — Super Rare:

Looking at their pedestrian stats (Running Shot with only 8 Speed; 9 Attack; wheee!!), you would not be faulted for being unimpressed with yet another low-costed, low-upside piece that yet again features two characters on one dial BUT NO FREAKING DUO ATTACK ABILITY [EDITOR’S NOTE: Seriously, why did that go away? I loved Duo Attack, you loved Duo Attack, everyone loves Duo Attack!!]!!

But then you look at their sole Special Ability (SHE IS THE POWER, I AM THE FOCUS: When Fenris make a range attack, modify their attack and damage values by +2 and choose one: damage dealt is penetrating or the attack causes knock back.) in their Attack slot, and you wonder if it’s too late to snag one for under $10 on eBay.

These folks are among the best Secondary Attackers in the game, and they only cost 60 Points. They even come with a 7 Range and Enhancement!!

They’ve already impacted the Meta at several ROC’s, and I expect that to only continue. And with their Hydra keyword, and all the Hydra figures from NFAOS, and the Hydra Cap Chase rumors in Avengers/Defenders War, I mean, there’s gotta be a really decent Hydra Build out there somewhere, right?

 

Deadpool on a Unicorn

By johnny bijos. Check his stuff out right here!

2. DXF069 Deadpool — 140 Points — Ultra Chase: 

Good Lord. Yeah, no one’s gonna want to track down an Ultra Chase if all it does is kick ass, ignore damage and chew bubble gum while making free close attacks, right?

Let’s dive in.

First, the sculpt is ridiculously awesome.

Second, this guy has Charge, Pen/Psy, Impervious and Exploit Weakness top dial. He has a Speed of 11, an Attack Value of 12, an 18 Defense and 4 native Damage. That Defense Special that grants Impervious (YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING SO AWESOME: Deadpool can use Impervious. Once per game, when Deadpool would take damage, you may choose that he takes no damage instead.) also lets you just decide once per game to ignore any attack of your choosing that actually lands.

Normally you’d be bummed about a piece with Charge and Pen/Psy since those two powers don’t work together, but here it feels more like Deadpool can just wreck face from anywhere on the map.

He also has Indomitable and Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain and Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain, just in case you thought your 11 Speed Value sucked. Which it totally does not, by the way.

I mean, what other piece in the game allows this to happen:

Timmy, Power Gamer: “And… 11. I hit your Deadpool. For… 4 Damage.”

You: “Eh… nah. I’m not really feeling it.”

Timmy, Power Gamer: “What? You can’t just choose to not take damage when I hit you!”

You [holding up card]: “It turns out I can.”

Also, he makes free Close Attacks (THAT HORN JUST AIN’T FOR SHOW: At the beginning of your turn, if Deadpool has no action tokens, he can make a close attack using Blades/Claws/Fangs.), cuz that’s a thing he needed to be worth his points.

Well, at least you still need a lot of skill to play a piece like this. It’s not like you can just walk this Deadpool up to your opponent end, hit their best piece ONCE with your 12 Attack Value and then not have to worry about that piece for the rest of the game.

Oh, wait, that is EXACTLY what you can do (I’M HERE TO SPREAD JOY AND RAINBOWS: I’m Here To Spread Joy And Rainbows: When Deadpool hits an opposing character, after actions resolve, you can place the Rainbow Joy Marker on that character, removing it from anywhere else. A character with a Rainbow Joy Marker cannot attack Deadpool unless it is the only character on its force. At the beginning of its player’s turn, a character with a Rainbow Joy Marker can roll a d6: on a result of 5 or 6, they may remove the Rainbow Joy Marker.).

Unbelievable.

 

Venompool

1. DXF068 Venompool — 80 Points — Chase: 

Again, really, almost all of the Chases could’ve filled these slots, but Venompool here is the class of the bunch.

It’s not just that his sweet dial that features Sidestep, Poison, an 11 Attack with 4 Damage (and Exploit Weakness) and an 18 Defense with Super Senses.

It’s that you can take all that and add in an obnoxiously good Trait (RETCON EXPONGIFIER GUN: When an opposing character uses Probability Control, after actions resolve, that character cannot use Probability Control for the rest of the game.) to go along with any of the EIGHT Comic Panels on your sideline.

Does your opponent see through Stealth? No? Then boom, Venompool’s got Stealth. Oh, those long-range bombers can see through Stealth? Great. Now my Venompool has ES/D. And on and on.

Venompool is coming, folks. Venompool is coming.

 

Alright, that is the end of another Top Ten! Try as I might, I just couldn’t fit Shatterstar, Boom-Boom, Chase Pirate Deadpool and a host of others (still looking at you, Chipmunk Hunk. But not you, Koi Boy.).

But we will be taking a look at all the Shifting Focus Deadpools. Since they really need to be looked at as a whole, they will probably be at the center of our next Flash Figure Review!!

How’d we do? Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts in the Comments below!

Until next time,

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

Welcome to Preview Week, Part 2!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to our first ever Preview Week, which is devoted to–you guessed it–Previews!! With Deadpool and X-Force dropping in one week, we’re gonna devote the next five days to taking a look at what’s gonna be coming our way this year–from DXF and beyond! Part 1 dropped two days ago and can be found here.]

Today we take a look at some of the interesting Rares and Super Rares from DXF!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s just so much to talk about with the Rares that we’re gonna save Super Rares and Primes for tomorrow, followed by Chases and beyond in Part 4!]

Without further ado…

RARES:

deadpool-bathrobe

DXF034A-C Deadpool75 PointsRare: Wow–Deadpool in an ultra-supporty role? Whaa… ? Yup–it’s true. All three versions of this “Shifting Focus” sculpt have the same powers. They only differ in their main named Keyword and which Keyword their powers affect.

But they will all give you 4 Range, 3 Damage top dial, Phasing/Teleport, a limited Prob, a limited DOUBLE PERPLEX and Defend. And yes, you can shift to him AFTER making a ranged or close attack with some of his more offensive versions, then use his double Perp and Prob on his teammates. Awesomesauce.

 

Howard the Defender Duck.jpg

DXF035 Howard the Duck50 PointsRare: Look, everyone loves Howard the Duck, but there’s just not a ton to work with here. Sidestep, Stealth, minimal Damage Output and a Special Damage Power (We Can Do This the Wrong Way, or My Way!: At the beginning of your turn, choose a standard power that an adjacent friendly character can use. Until your next turn, all characters within 6 squares and line of fire of Howard the Duck can’t use the chosen power.) that might hurt you as much as it hurts your opponent, especially since ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS HAS TO ALREADY HAVE THE POWER YOU WANT TO DISALLOW!!

He picks up a decent Incapacitate Special in the middle of his dial (Fowl-Mouthed!: Howard the Duck can use Incapacitate. When he does, he may target all adjacent opposing characters.), but it’s not enough to save this piece.

 

squirrel-girl

DXF039 Squirrel Girl85 PointsRare: A close combat machine who is also a token generator, Squirrel Girl becomes more of a problem for your opponent as the game goes on.

With her first Trait (Chuk Chitty Chit Chit Chkk!: Give Squirrel Girl a free action when she has one action token and place a Squirrel bystander adjacent.), she can generate her own tie-up supporting figs and her third Trait (Fighting Squirrel Man!: Give Squirrel Girl a free action if there are 6 Squirrel bystanders on the map. Replace them with a Squirrel Man bystander in one of their squares.) lets her bring in what is essentially another Secondary Attacker (Squirrel Man).

 

boom_boom.jpg

DXF042 Boom-Boom — 60 Points — Rare: Running Shot mixed with an absolutely AWESOME Attack Special (3,2,1… Boom!: Boom-Boom can use Energy Explosion and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When she makes a range attack and has no action tokens, modify her attack and damage values by +1.) makes Boom-Boom an extremely efficient Secondary Attacker.

 

Shatterstar.jpg

DXF044 Shatterstar60 PointsRare: Basically the close combat version of the Boom-Boom I just mentioned. He has Traited Sidestep and Toughness, and his Attack Special (Twin Blades: Shatterstar can use Blades/Claws/Fangs. When he does, once per turn he may reroll the d6.) lets him essentially Prob his Blades roll.

I would definitely say there’s some dark horse Meta potential with both Boom-Boom and Shatterstar as they’re both Secondary Attackers for Tertiary Attacker prices.

 

doop-mjolnirs

DXF046 Doop90 or 35 PointsRare: I just played him at his 35 Point level at a Sealed last night and he was great. His Trait is long and wordy:

The Unimaginable Power of Doop: Give Doop a power action. Roll a d6 that can only be rerolled once per turn by removing a Headline token from him.
1-2 Moving Between Panels: Place Doop and all adjacent characters into any square adjacent to themselves.
3-4 Doop Space: All characters within 4 squares are placed adjacent to Doop.
5 Gleaming The Cosmic Cube: Choose a friendly character and it can use the Power Cosmic team ability until your next turn.
6 Hailstorm of Mjolnirs: Doop makes a range attack with a range value of 10 and Targeting: OO>. Instead of normal damage, each hit character and each character adjacent to 1 or more hit characters is dealt 3 damage.

And it’s totally usable at either point level. At 35 Points, he still comes with Sidestep, Invincible and Prob, which makes him nearly indispensable in a Sealed environment. In the Meta, I still prefer Spectre on his Tower Click for the same 35 Points, but it’s close, and Doop doesn’t break Theme on X-Force or X-Statix Builds.

The Con Exclusive is still better, but the more I play this Doop, the more useful he becomes.

 

Okay! That’s all our time for today, but keep watching this space for some standout Super Rares, Primes, Chases and more as we Preview the Deadpool & X-Force set–and beyond during Preview Week!

 

And finally, I want to once again give special thanks to Wizkids, Scott Porter, all the eagle-eyed folks in the HCRealms.com community (especially Jaysol for putting everything there together), the good people at Married With Clix and everyone else who’s helped spoil this set. This article wouldn’t have been possible without all of their hard work. 

You’re Simply the Best 2: Electric Boogaloo!! (Or, The Best Everything of 2014!!) (Or, Let’s Hand Out Some Critters*!!)

Tina Turner

(As always, with apologies to Tina Turner for stealing her gimmick…)

Is it 2015 already? Yes. Yes, Timmy, it is. Which means another year of Heroclix has come and gone. And since it’s January, it also means that it’s time to look back at the year that was and pick out the best, coolest and weirdest pieces!

In other words… IT’S TIME FOR A YEAR-END REVIEW!!

But first, let’s look at all the Heroclix releases from 2014:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re gonna leave AvX out of it, since it technically started in 2013, although many of the participating venues didn’t finish up until January or February.]

–Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix: Series One (01/08/2014)

–Fast Forces: Legion of Doom (02/26/2014)

–Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes (02/26/2014)

–Captain America: The Winter Soldier (03/12/2014)

–Batman: Arkham Origins Quick-Start Kit (05/03/2014) [EDITOR’S NOTE: While technically a release, this was given out at certain venues on Free Comic Book Day. The figures are actually kind of interesting, but they’re Purple Ringed and, therefore, not tourney legal. Still, this is a cool lil’ setup.]

–Fast Forces: Thunderbolts (05/14/2014)

–Deadpool (05/14/2014)

–X-Men: Days of Future Past (05/31/2014)

–War of Light (06/01/2014)

–Return of the King (06/04/2014)

–Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set (07/02/2014)

Star-Lord Gif

–Justice League Strategy Game (07/09/2014)

–Fast Forces: The Inhumans (08/13/2014)

–Guardians of the Galaxy (08/13/2014)

–The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (11/05/2014)

–Fast Forces: Rogues (11/12/2014)

–The Flash (11/12/2014)

Whew!! Okay! So we had 17 major releases in 2014. And that’s not including the various Convention Exclusives that also released this year. Plus, War of Light came in two Waves and therefore almost counts as two sets on it’s own. A major success, War of Light also birthed the Entity Chases, which were probably the most sought after Chases of all-time.

Speaking of Entity-fueled successes, here is the publicly released third quarter earnings statement put out by Heroclix makers WizKids/NECA, LLC:

Gold Swimming Pool

In response to the secondary market frenzy created by the Entity Chases, WizKids/NECA, LLC submitted this follow-up statement:

the_joker_smile_by_angrypig-d4k075d

So, in other words, the game did okay this year. But enough about the games finances!

Time to dole out some Critters*!! As always, these categories are chosen and (ill-)defined by yours truly!

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: “Critters” is the current short name for the annual “Simply the Best” awards handing out by Critical Missives. It’s creepy. We know it’s creepy. We’re working on it.]

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… PRIMARY ATTACKER (Vaguely defined as the best attacking piece to build an army around):

SLOSH039X Bizarro

DP051 Banshee

DP057 Tiamat

WOL025 The Weaponer of Qward

WOL107 Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)

GOTG062 Super Skrull

FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)

FL050 The Flash

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Zombie Super Skrull

Why Super Skrull Won: Versatility. Pure and simple. No matter which Clix your opponent sets down in front of you when you start the game, if you’re running Super Skrull, you know you’ve got a chance. His Trait (IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS: Give Super Skrull a free action and choose up to one each of standard speed, attack, defense, and damage powers. Super Skrull can use the chosen powers until your next turn. For each power chosen this way, place a Power token on his card. At the end of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1 for each Power token on his card and remove all Power tokens from his card. On a result of 1 or less, deal Super Skrull 1 unavoidable damage.) is simply ridiculous, and that’s before you remember he’s got the standard Z-Virus powers that let him bank healing for the future while also having the ability to resurrect your opponent’s KO’d pieces… on your side!

Notable Runners-Up:

Kyle Rayner just missed out on this for me. The fact that a guy used Super Skrull to take out a buncha Kyle teams (among others) in a recent ROC was the deciding factor for me.!

Banshee is almost as good with his strong stats and his ability to target through both Hindering and Elevated Terrain, but he’s stymied by the existence of Copycat. The fact that there’s a piece out there that simply let’s your opponent take Banshee and leave you with a walking Pu-Pu Platter is intolerable to me… and makes playing Banshee somewhat risky.

Black Lantern Zoom is extremely good for his points, but he does take up your Prime slot, which sometimes makes it harder to field great supporting figs around him.

And finally, the Kingdom Come Flash just hasn’t been around long enough to truly flex his muscles in the Meta. Once Resources rotate back in, expect to see a bunch of Sinestro Corps Batteries powering the Flash here to victory!

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… SECONDARY ATTACKER (Vaguely defined as figures who can reliably damage the enemy but cost less than the Primary Attacker in your Build):

SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor

DP053A Speed Demon

WOL010 Controller [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, got my lists confused. Controller belongs in the “Most Embarrassing Piece to Pull in a War Of Light OP Event” category.]

WOL013B Tomar Tu

GOTGM012 Yondu

SLOSH039X Bizarro

DP064 Electro

It takes a special kind of crazy to run Lethal Legion at a ROC...

Actual video of me using Zombie Electro against Ninwashui in a house game. For the 43rd time.

GOTGM101 Star-Lord

GOTGM106R Ronan

GOTG007B Captain Marvel

GOTG023 Yondu (Yep! They both made this list!)

GOTG059B Doctor Spectrum

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Speed Demon

Why Speed Demon Won: My Lord, this was a packed category, and it really came down to Speed Demon and Captain Marvel at the end. Either one would have walked away with this category in 2013, but damn, how do you choose here? I give Speed Demon the nod for two reasons. One, he’s not a Prime (actually, he’s better than Whizzer, his Prime version), so you can still run a Prime character in your Build. And two, his Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.) was the best Trait I read this year. It can be gamechanging on its own, but when you start to combine it with things like Entities or The Phoenix Force, Speed Demon can get out of hand in a hurry.

Notable Runners-Up:

Captain Marvel (the Prime) was a close second. His ability to completely shut down the attacks of anyone he hits is stupid good. He’s a little crunchy himself, but his Special Defend power lets him boost the Defense Value of most adjacent friendlies to 19!!

Both Yondu figures are great; much has already been said about the main set Uncommon from GOTG. But I really think folks need to take another look at the GotG Movie Set version. He’s a different kind of ridiculousness.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far and not mentioned Lydea Mallor. There was a time when she ruled ROC’s all across the country. Now, she’s kind of old news. Still, she may have burned through her usefulness quickly, but she also burned quite brightly for that short while, too. With the new ROC season allowing Resources again, I’d expect her business to pick back up a bit.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… SUPPORTING FIGURE (Vaguely Defined as those pieces that round out your force by providing those important non-damage dealing abilities, like Perplex, Probability Control or Outwit; Support; or TK, or Taxi Service, or something else entirely):

FFDP006R Mercy 

SLOSH001 Cosmic Boy

CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

CATWS014 Agent Sitwell

DP018 Blind Al

DP020 Weasel

DOFP008 Senator Robert Kelly

DOFP011 Destiny

WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit

WOL010 Controller [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, got my lists confused again. This Controller nomination belongs in the “Most Exciting Piece to open during War Of Light: Month 1… Until You Realize That He Isn’t a Poorly Scuplted Superboy Prime Like You Were Hoping.” category.]

WOL033 Sister Sercy

WOL029 Brother Hymn

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon

GOTG003 Mantis

GOTG017A Kree Lieutenant

FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Rocket Raccoon Gif

Why Rocket Raccoon Won: So, while the 300 Point Meta game probably exerts the greatest influence on a lot of these awards, I chose Rocket because he offers so many great supporting abilities PLUS he’s the lynchpin to so many different cool Guardian of the Galaxy Builds (if you’re playing Star-Lord from the comic set, you almost HAVE to play the Movie Chase Rocket with him!). He’s also a decent Secondary Attacker (not great, but decent) and certainly could have been nominated in that category as well.

But I view him more as a Supporting Figure. He lends adjacent snipers Enhancement, he has Outwit with a 7 Range AND he buffs the Attack Values of adjacent friendlies that share at least one of his two main keywords (Ravagers or Guardians of the Galaxy). Now, there are certainly other figures in the game who can buff both Attack and Damage (Rocket’s fellow nominee Weasel can do that trick too), but you can very easily run into positioning issues where you find it extremely difficult to keep the Enhancer next to the Attacker that your trying to buff. Not with Rocket! He’s Tiny-sized, which means he can be carried by just about any attacker, whether or not they fly! And, being tiny, Rocket doesn’t make the carrier subtract two from their movement (VEEEERRRY helpful during Running Shot/Carry maneuvers.)

Notable Runners-Up:

Blue Lantern Recruit packs about every starting ability you’d want into one tiny, 50-Point shell. He probably would have won this if not for Rocket.

Ditto for Mercy, except I like Blue Lantern Recruit just a tad better.

Agent Sitwell is an AWESOME supporting piece… as long as you’re playing a S.H.I.E.L.D. team.

Finally, S.T.A.R. Labs Technician has already started to show up in the Meta. Great package of abilities for the point cost.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… WORST FIGURE OF THE YEAR (Vaguely defined as, well, the worst figure of the year, which would technically make that piece the best at sucking):

FL018 Steve Trevor

FL019B Bizarro Flash

SLOSH050 Toyman

SLOSH047A White Witch

DOFP002 Sprite & DOFP020 Ariel (A RARE DUAL DISAPPOINTMENT!!)

WOL010 Controller (FINALLY!! A category he’s SUPPOSED to be nominated in!)

WOL039 Kryb

WOL051 Krona

GOTGM010 Nebula

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

"Yes. And don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

Yes. And don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Why Steve Trevor Won: So, at only 54 Points, you could argue that there are much worse figures out there who, by virtue of the higher Point cost, would be a bigger detriment to your team because you’d have to sink more of your Build’s Resources (i.e. Build Points) into fielding them.

And you’d be wrong. As I argued during the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, Steve Trevor is so bad that you’ve probably already lost the game just by fielding him, since you probably thought you could successfully find a way to use his Leadership Special Power. And you were wrong. Because while Steve Trevor has a bevy of keywords to chose from, he makes an awful Leader no matter which squad you choose to run.

“But HypeFox,” I can already hear you saying, “Running Shot and Psychic/Blast is an awesome combo, and he has that top click!” Sure he does. He also has a 5 (not 6) Range and only a 16 ES/D for Defense. Look, you could play two more Entities for that price; it’d be cheesy, but you could. Instead, you chose the worst dial released this year.

Are you going against Steve Trevor? Oh, I have some advice. Here’s the secret to taking down Steve Trevor: deal him one damage (I promise it will go through). At that point, on Click 2, Steve Trevor gets Willpower, a 9 Attack and he keeps his craptastic Empower/Leadership Special Power.

And don’t think that it’s that hard to get Steve here to his second Click. All you need is one character with Poison and some patience. Oh, did Steve Trevor just move? Well, go ahead and plop your Poisoner adjacent to him. Whether Steve stays and takes the Poison or he Pushes to vacate the premises, your job is done, since that Willpower only shows up on Click 2!!

Notable Runners-Up:

Krona is 245 Points with a Trait that can’t be legally activated in a 300 Point game unless your running an Entity on a figure 30 Points or less. The benefit to Krona if you do all that? Probably a +2 to his Range or Speed Value. Lame. This character was a universe-imperiling badass in the comics; in Clix, the only thing he’ll imperil is your chance to win if you field him.

White Witch is impossible to promote, even though Battlefield Promotion is one of the only reasons to play her.

Controller is, well, Controller. He has the capability of dealing 4 Penetrating Damage to any character within his Range… provided that he’s already hit with EIGHT FREAKING ATTACKS!! And if he’s already done that, well, you’ve probably already won the game.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… GRAVITY FEED SET (Marvel or DC):

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set

Days of Future Past

Deadpool

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

CATWS

Why CATWS Won: Top to bottom, it had the best pieces. It added a metric POOP-TON of S.H.I.E.L.D.-keyworded figs and gave us a very solid Chase (Cap and Bucky) and a damn near broken one (Captain America and Black Widow). We now have a very useful Nick Fury, and Agent Sitwell is one of the best S.H.I.E.L.D. supporting figs we’ve seen since… well, since the CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent THAT’S ALSO IN THIS SET!!

Notable Runners-Up:

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set gave us a fantastic Chase Rocket, probably the best Drax we’ve seen yet along with the best version of The Collector we’ve ever received. Having said that, most of the pieces I keep reaching for from this set (Star-Lord, Ronan) are actually from the STARTER, not the Gravity Feed.

Days of Future Past had some neat ideas, but top to bottom it can’t compare with CATWS. Professor X is great until you see that he’s overcosted by at least 30 Points. Sprite and Ariel pose that time-honored riddle: when you have the opportunity to eat the Chicken Salad you didn’t want OR the Egg Salad you didn’t want, which do you chose?

And finally, Deadpool was probably about the best main set Gravity Feed we got all year. It was worth seeking out the Deadpool dial that comes in the Gravity Feed just for his Word Bubble alone. Daredevil in that same Feed is a SwitchClix, which is a really cool thing to pull from a Gravity Feed pack. Also, Secret Empire Number 9 is one of the best Ranged supporting pieces in Modern right now that no one ever talks about.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… PRIME FIGURE (Vaguely defined as… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory, actually):

SLOSH005B Mon-El

DP019B Evil Deadpool

DP047B Cat

DP053B Whizzer

WOL013B Tomar Tu

WOL020B Laira

WOL046B Abin Sur

GOTG007B Captain Marvel

GOTG047B Thanosi

FL037B Dark Flash

FL053B Zoom

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

Why Captain Marvel Won: Wow! This was probably the deepest and most competitive category this year. Captain Marvel wins because he does so many different things to help your team win, yet at 81 Points he’s on the low-end of what most Secondary Attackers cost. Plus, his Attack Special ability that–among other things–allows him to shut down opposing figures counter-attacks when he hits them (UNI-BEAM: Captain Marvel can use Energy Explosion, Incapacitate, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When Captain Marvel hits with a ranged combat attack, hit targets can’t make attacks during their next turn.) is damn near broken!

Notable Runners-Up:

Abin Sur is just ridiculously cheap, and he has the Construct ability. He finished second for me.

Whizzer is a great figure, but I can’t vote for a figure for “Best Prime” when it’s NON-PRIME (Speed Demon) is both cheaper to field AND more effective.

Zoom would have finished third; he’s fantastic, but he’s almost a Primary Attacker. Nothing wrong with that, except that many of the best Modern Age Supporting Figures happen to be Primes themselves right now, which means that you can’t use them in a Build with Zoom.

Finally, Cat still has a lot of room to grow in the Meta. Now that ROC is switching back to a format where Relics and Resources are allowed, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see him turn up a little more often.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… 5-FIGURE SET (Vaguely defined as THE SET OF THE YEAR!!):

Guardians of the Galaxy

War of Light

Deadpool

Flash

Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

"We're number one!"

Guardians… pull my finger.

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Won: The Critical Missives version of Best Picture goes to… Guardians of the Galaxy?! Hmmm… Before I sat down to write this article, I thought for sure War of Light would capture this, but when I look back over this past year, I have to say that, top to bottom, Guardians was the best set. The fact that every generic had a “soldier” version and a “royal” version is freaking awesome. It actually cut down so much on the normal clusterglut (a term I just coined) of generic Commons that you accumulate every time you buy packs.

War of Light did this too, to an extent, but that was mostly different versions of the same character (“Kyle Rayner as a White Lantern. Kyle Rayner as a Blue Lantern. And on and on…”). War of Light was also WAAAAAY harder to initially collect. But Guardians also gave us almost as many Meta pieces as WOL without all the headaches (Entities). Even now, I still feel like there’s TONS of undiscovered GOTG pieces just waiting to be tried out. Heck, Ninwashui finally beat me for once just the other day using a Brother Royal team. It was ridiculously effective–and you never even see those guys. At least, not yet. But GOTG’s top to bottom depth is what put it over the top for me!

Notable Runners-Up:

War of Light obviously finished second. It was everything DC fans seemed to want and more. Uh, way more. It was actually like 3 or 4 separate Lantern stories rolled into one set. Still, it gave us a lot of previously Un-Clix’d figures, and two MAJOR new mechanics with the Construct Trait (found on the Primes and Participation Prizes) and the Entities (with their “Possessed” Traits). The Entities were extremely powerful; they’re recent slight-nerfing probably has them in the right place, power-wise. The Construct Trait is the next thing that may need to get looked at; I’ve seen so many players going out of their way to play, like, 4 Wall-bearing figures in larger point games (“If no one can target any of my figures ever, I’ll win!” Uh, yeah, Timmy, maybe, but it’s the antithesis of what the game is about. It’s basically the strategy of people who don’t trust their own ability to orchestrate a strategy.). So War of Light was second for me, if only because it caused so many issues in the Meta and beyond; but as we end 2014 and roll into 2015, I’m pretty happy with where we’re at Rulings-wise with the set, and I think it’ll be an important source of Builds for the next couple years.

Deadpool was awesome. It gave us Speed Demon and Banshee and a TON of great Hand figures. It also gave us Copycat, who was just as big of a problem (in her own way) for a while as the Entities were.

Flash had some of the best sculpts of the year. The Speed Force mechanic isn’t as cool as the two mechanics put forth by War of Light, but it’s still a solid addition to the game.

Finally, SLoSH will primarily just be remembered for Lydea Mallor, I think. It wasn’t a bad set; it just wasn’t as much fun as the other big sets we got this year.

 

Well, there you have it!! That’s all for this year’s Critters*!!

Join us next month as we dive into Justice League: Trinity War and start a new Page for this site that’s devoted to Comics on TV!!

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

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, no really, we are still working on it! We’ll have it sorted for next year!]

Team Ideas – The Unstoppable Force

Idea

See that? Lightning shoots right out of my hand. You should give up now.

See that? Lightning just shoots right out of my hand. You can’t beat that.

So it’s been quite a while since I posted a team ideas column, but I think the wait was worth it. I’ve got a great team idea for today’s article that is completely original to this blog right now and very tournament worthy. Without further ado here’s the team:

The Unstoppable Force

IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0

DP042 Grasshopper * 4

WOLR102 Power Battery (Red Lantern Corps) [Writers Note: Battery color and construct color don’t matter that much, just make sure the ring is red.]

WOLR302 Red Lantern Ring

WOLR202.03 Mallet (Red)

WOLR202.06 Decoy (Red)

WOLR202.11 Bulldozer (Red)

WOLR202.13 Stop Sign (Red)

Total= 299 points

The most powerful character ever is a Great Lakes Avenger? You bet it is! This team works much better than you might think it does because of timing rules. When multiple effects happen at the start of your turn, you choose the order in which they happen. So the idea is to put a Red Construct on each of your Grasshoppers, which–in addition to the normal effects of the Construct–grants penetrating poison to each character. Once everyone is equipped, use all three actions to Maximum Jump and remove three grasshoppers from the board. They will be double tokened and they will each take a pushing damage. That sounds bad, but stick with me.

Maximum Napalm!

Maximum Napalm!

On your next turn the Grasshoppers hit the board like virtual napalm. Because of beginning of turn timing rules they can land and then do penetrating poison damage to every adjacent opposing figure immediately. That’s 3 penetrating damage dropped out of the sky with no attack rolls and probably hitting multiple opposing pieces at once. The Grasshoppers are still double tokened, but they haven’t taken an action this turn so they will clear at the end of the turn. And then if you need them to they can maximum jump again next turn with the same bad effect for your opponent. Since you’ve done all that damage on your turn but haven’t taken any actions you can use Maximum Jump on your last unused Grasshopper and even get a standard attack in with Iron Monger. But who likes rolling attack dice? Boring. Just keep doing automatic penetrating damage. That’s so much easier.

Then comes the hard part for your opponent. Every turn a Grasshopper survives next to an opposing character is another Penetrating Poison damage it will do the following turn. Depending on tokens, the number characters he’s playing, and positioning your opponent may not be capable of eliminating them all in one turn. Which means more Poison damage next turn. Just to make it harder on your opponent I’ve included Iron Monger 2.0 on this team. Iron Monger 2.0’s trait says that if your opponent kills a Grasshopper he’ll avoid taking a penetrating poison damage to every adjacent opposing figure next turn, but he’ll trade that for a penetrating explosion damage to every adjacent opposing figure right now! It’s a real lose-lose situation. Don’t knock out a Grasshopper? Take penetrating one damage for every one left alive. Knock out a Grasshopper? Take penetrating one damage for each one you kill.

Star-Lord Gif

After your opponent figures out what’s going on, this could be his response.

Something else to keep in mind is that the first Grasshopper that gets KOed resurrects itself for free in your starting area due to it’s Trait. Being in your starting area doesn’t really matter when you are moving around with Maximum Jump and the construct that was on the KOed figure simply returns to the battery to be redeployed on the resurrected figure. It’s really like you are playing 5 Grasshopper napalm bombs, but only paying for 4.

You’ll need a few turns for deploying constructs to get maximum effectiveness out of this team. Waiting until turn 4 is ideal. You can use the fact that this is a theme team to win map roll and make it a map that’s hard to traverse from one side to another. Wundagore Mountain anyone? Then if you need to you can use Iron Monger and any Grasshoppers that are ready to engage the other team for a turn or two from a distance. After taking all those Battery actions early, it should be pretty easy to get to the end of the dial. Which means that if all Grasshoppers are eliminated your opponent will likely still have to face down an Iron Monger 2.0 with Shape Change, Penetrating Poison, Plasticity, and +3 to all stats.

It takes a special kind of crazy to run Lethal Legion at a ROC...

Artist’s rendition of what it looks like when Iron Monger 2.0 gets plus three to all stats.

If you surprise people with this team by taking it to you next constructed tournament, there is really only one thing to say to someone trying to beat it.

Seinfeld Good Luck

Modern Is the New Silver!! (Or, The Best Replacement Figures for Recently Retired Meta Staples!!)

For some pieces, it's just time to retire...

For some pieces, it’s just time to retire…

So, WizKids announced recently that they will be rotating (read: RETIRING) a whole chunk of recent sets from being Modern Age eligible. Why? For starters, they do it to promote the idea that we who play Heroclix need to keep buying new Clix products to compete in Modern Age games (although getting us to buy new Clix hasn’t been much of an issue so far, I’d wager…), and two, they need to keep new pieces away from unintended and possibly Meta-breaking interactions with older figures. Okay, there’s waaaay more reasons than that, but those are two big ones. Two other reasons, however, are a little bit more subtle.

Before we get into the meat of this article (the figure comparisons), we need some context, so we’re going to look at game design for just a few paragraphs here. Now, every time a game like Heroclix releases new products, it evolves just a little bit. And it does so in two interesting ways. First, collectible games of all types–if they stick around long enough–all go through phases where they deal with “Power Creep,” where each successive set release brings with it elements which, on average, are slightly more powerful than those released in the previous set or expansion, which in turn was just a little more powerful than its predecessor, and so on. For example, you can compare almost any Modern Age figure with a similar figure from Infinity Challenge, the first ever set, and see that things have changed drastically. Back then, an Attack Value of 8 was a fairly common top dial stat. Now, 8 AV’s are reserved for the deep end of cheap support figure dials. And so on and so on.

This should explain everything...

This should explain everything.

Power Creep is just a natural by-product of game designers trying new and different things with the intention of making their game better with each release. The very much missed WoW TCG from Cryptozoic was constantly dealing with Power Creep, and at one point they actively made it known that they were consciously lowering the power of Quests (a card type that’s kinda like Lands in Magic) in future sets because that particular card type had crept to absurdly powerful levels at that point in the game’s life cycle.

Sometimes, the opposite can also be true. Occasionally, the designers look back at some of the early cards/figures/whatever and realize that they drastically under costed certain tropes in the past. They may like a certain mechanic or effect of a particular piece, but there not about to reprint it as is, since they now know its effects to cost ratio is to high as is. To solve this, the designers basically create a new version of that element that contains almost the exact same effect yet costs slightly more to play. I call this “Cost Correction.” Magic: The Gathering is constantly doing this.

One of the famous early examples of Cost Correction in gaming was when Magic’s R&D department took a look at many of the staples from the early Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Revised era as they started preparing a rotating block of “Core” sets from which players could draw familiar cards to combine with the current expansion set inventory to create Type II (read “Modern Age”) decks. The folks in charge of balancing the game quickly decided that a card like Lightning Bolt, for example, was too powerful (3 Red Damage for 1 Red Mana) to stay in the Type II environment, so it was replaced with the Ice Age common Incinerate (3 Damage and the prevention of Regeneration for 1 Red Mana and 1 Colorless Mana) by the time Magic published its “Fifth Edition.”

Great...

This is great…

... but just about as good!

… but this is still pretty damn good!

This was awesome, because it allowed the folks in charge of Magic to fix an under costed staple (quick Red damage dealing) with something that would still effectively to the job for a little more cost. Incinerate was still a great card and was widely adopted. Problem solved (well, until it was deemed that Incinerate was too good, and it was replaced with a different staple, and so it goes).

The savvy tournament players in Magic weren’t just the players who came up with “killer combos” by exploiting certain card interactions; they were actually usually the ones who could spot both the Power Creep cards AND the Cost Correction cards that were still extremely efficient for their cost. See, a lot of times, players can smell Cost Correction pieces a mile away, and they don’t want any part of them. Incinerate wasn’t universally accepted when Fifth Edition rolled around.

Sometimes they’re right; but sometimes, the Cost Correction version of something is still really powerful and should still be used regardless of the cost.

"Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o' lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if'n ya had a Mana Flare, ya got change!!"

“Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o’ lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if’n ya had a Mana Flare out, ya got change!!”

Okay! Enough amateur game theory lecture! Let’s apply our discussion to Heroclix! We’re going to be looking at some of the retiring staples and theorize about which–if any–Modern Age piece can take the place of the retiring figure. Then after we review the replacement candidate, we’ll decide if the new figure is better than its forebear (Power Creep), worse (Cost Correction) or about the same (uh… Static?).

SUPERMAN:

"Fly away, Superman. Fly free."

“Fly away, Superman. Fly free.”

SM001R Superman150 PointsCommon: Supes was a Meta staple waaaay back in the Dark Ages of 2011, because his base stats and mix of powers were so great. Flight, 9 Movement with Hypersonic, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 17 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage with Outwit. One of the all-time great top clicks, especially for a Common 150 piece! Superman Team Ability means he can see through Stealth, too. Bonus! His keywords are quite pedestrian by today’s standards (no JLA?), but there was a time when Scientist teams were a thing!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM001AE Iron Man150 Points – Common: Hmmm, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Flight, 9 Movement, 11 Attack, 17 Defense and 4 Damage with Outwit! His move-and-attack ability is Running Shot where Supes had Hypersonic; I’ll actually take Iron Man’s Precision Strike over Supes’s Super Strength, but whatever. You’re mileage may vary. Finally, Iron Man has Invuln where Supes has Impervious. But Iron Man can see through Hindering Terrain AND Blocking Terrain; Supes’s X-Ray vision doesn’t work on walls like Tony’s Thermal Imaging Array does, so Mr. Stark can get up to all sorts of see-through shenanigans. Kind of a bummer for Superman. Iron Man also has much better keywords (Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Scientist, Armor and Stark Industries are all great) and he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, so he can help your support guys do damage in a pinch as well. With resources and Entities, Iron Man here gets pretty filthy pretty fast….

 The Verdict: A Static replacement that features just a tiny touch of Power Creep. The Meta has become much more sophisticated since Supes was a major player, but Iron Man 001 is just as good; maybe even a lil’ better!

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

SM035 Magog172 Points – Rare: A close combat beatstick who turns into a mid-dial mid-range sniper and a back dial healer (how’s that for a powers mix?), Magog left team builders enough points to still be an effective Primary Attacker; his lack of Willpower wasn’t great, but his Trait (EXCESSIVE FORCE: Once per turn, when Magog KO’s an opposing character, after actions resolve Magog may take one action as a free action.) meant that his teams were very tough to out-action, particularly if opposing teams ran several small support figures or Bystander tokens that Magog could snipe in one shot.

Replacement Candidate:

DP057 Tiamat 255 Points – Super Rare: Tiamat cannot be stopped. He cannot be reasoned with. He’s a double-based son of a gun whose extra-action Trait (CHAMPION AND STEED: Once per turn, when an opposing character has taken damage from his attack, give Tiamat any action as a free action. When you do, after action resolve, remove an action token from Tiamat.) is as good as any they’ve ever made. With Power Cosmic, he’s all but impossible to Outwit, too, so the opposition will have to chew through his 4 clicks of Invincible–if they’re able to hit his 18 Defense!

The Verdict: Even with the dramatic increase in cost, there’s still some Power Creep going on with Tiamat. His Trait is just sick. Like Magog though, this is still more of a fringe Meta piece. But he’s a lot of fun to field.

An old movie poster for the 70's exploitation flick "Black Adam... White Lighting!"

An old movie poster for the 70’s exploitation flick “Black Adam… White Lighting!”

SM054E Black Adam – 200 Points – Super Rare: An out and out beast, Black Adam was nigh unstoppable. He had no Range, but he made up for that with a ridiculous Charge Special that let him move up to 10 spaces for a close combat attack, and when he lost that, he gained Hypersonic Speed! Not a bad backup plan! 18 Defense with a Special that lets him reduce 3 damage with his Imperious instead of 2 and an end 0f dial Regeneration that does 1 Penetrating damage to adjacent opposing figures!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM041BE Hyperion – 200 Points – Prime Super Rare: Top dial Hypersonic, same Attack (11) as Black Adam only with Precision Strike, 18 Defense with merely Invuln and 4 Damage instead of Black Adam’s 5. Also his keywords are fine (Avengers is very useful, Squadron Supreme is useless, as the only other Modern Ager with that keyword is also Prime), but Black Adam’s are great. Having said all that, Hyperion has two things going for him that Black Adam doesn’t. Power Cosmic TA and 8 Range! Also, Hyperion picks up almost every good Improved Targeting ability in the game on his second click, which actually makes the Marvel man more versatile than the heavy duty dude who sometimes runs with Captain Marvel.

The Verdict: Again, a fairly Static replacement with a hint of Power Creep. What you lose in top end damage, you more than make up for with the 8 Range and Power Cosmic TA. The Improved Targeting shenanigans are where the Power Creep creeps in.

INCREDIBLE HULK:

Now that... is a creeper 'stache.

Now that… is a creeper ‘stache!

IH102 Major Glenn Talbot33 Points – LE: The good Major here powered up Soldier teams for the last couple of years. His top dial Enhancement for only 33 Points was a bigger deal pre-Fear Itself (Splitlip now gives you top dial Enhancement for a measly 20 #$#@ing points), but even post-FI, if you wanted to play a Soldier Theme Team and you wanted a top dial Enhancer, he was still your best option. The S.H.I.E.L.D. TA he carries also has proven to be quite useful in a pinch, and if you play him on the right team, his Mastermind top dial will keep him around for a while longer than he should.

Replacement Candidate:

DP204 Secret Empire Number 9 35 Points – Common (Gravity Feed): Stop laughing! This robed menace is the real deal, and one of the best figs in the Deadpool Gravity Feed assortment. Everyone so far has focused on the fact that he has the Secret Empire keyword, and how useless that is. Well, they’re right. You can’t do much with that. But look at his SECOND KEYWORD–that’s right, it’s “Soldier!” Which means you have your Soldier Theme Team support figure back–and he can even do some damage of him own if you get into trouble. A 9 Attack isn’t great, but Penetrating/Psychic Blast means that his two damage will get through. And while he has no S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, he does have the Hydra TA, which is almost as useful for ranged attacks.

The Verdict: Even at three more points, I’m still gonna classify SE#9 as a Power Creeper! He just gives you more bang for your buck, and you still have the one keyword you need to keep it Theme!

GALACTIC GUARDIANS:

Noted Detroit Pistons fan Mole Man watching the NBA Draft Lottery last month...

Noted Prince Oberyn Martell fan Mole Man immediately after watching the Trial By Combat scene on his DVR from the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

GG026 Mole Man47 Points – Uncommon: Now, you want to talk about a Meta staple? Here is a Meta STAPLE!! Hans Moleman here was the engine that powered the Shuma-Gorath monstrosities that ruled the ROC for awhile at the end of last year and early this year. How important was his souped-up, I-can-Mind-Control-a-friendly-Monster Special Power? So important that everyone’s predicting the end of Shuma as a viable Meta piece, simply because Mole Man’s going Golden Age, which would imply that Mole Man was doing the heavy lifting all along. The fact that he was a top dial Outwitter and had some close combat applications down dial was just icing on the cake.

Replacement Candidate:

DP043 Black Talon 60 Points – Rare: There really wasn’t a replacement candidate until Deadpool was released. Black Talon allows you to Mind Control a friendly character from up to 8 squares away, and he also lets you Mind Control opposing figures that have already been KO’d! Still… his keywords are incongruent with most of the teams with which you’d like to play him. I mean, Masters of Evil is okay, and Mystical has slipped a lil’ bit but is certainly still viable, but that’s it for useful keywords, unless you’re looking to dominate the Meta with a Lethal Legion team. And hey, if you are, good luck to you. Here’s the last guy to try that at a big tournament:

It takes a special kind of crazy to run Lethal Legion at a ROC...

It takes a special kind of crazy to run a Lethal Legion at a ROC…

The Verdict: This is a Cost Correction piece. But it’s a First Generation Cost Correction piece; you could argue that WizKids still is not valuing the ability to Mind Control your own characters highly enough (in one of the early episodes of The Quarry, one high level player who was an early Mole Man/Shuma adopter said that after playtesting those two together with his friends, they all came to the conclusion that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters–even with a keyword restriction–should not appear on pieces less than, like, 100 or 125 Points. Thus, Black Talon is still extremely good and he’s definitely Meta-worthy. He’s just not as balls to the wall insane as Mole Man. Jumping from 47 to 60 may not seem like much, but that 13 Point hike could possibly cost you the space you need for a resource or the exact right support piece. That’s another reason it was so key for Mole Man to be under 50 Points. He left you plenty of room to get creative–or to run a full Booklip, if you didn’t care about Theme. Black Talon, not so much…

 CHAOS WAR:

"Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you."

“Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you.”

CW039 Hawkeye98 Points – Rare: This is one of the most discussed pieces in the history of Critical Missives (NINWASHUI NOTE: Iron Pharaoh would beg to differ.), but we’re gonna have to talk about him at least one more time! His top dial 12 Attack with an INSANE 9 Range w/ 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Wildcard TA (and Thunderbolts keyword, which means that between the two you can give him almost any TA in the game), Stealth and Running Shot and 3 Damage with Leadership. If this dial cost 130 Points, it’d be worth it. He costs 98!! Insane. Great keywords (Thunderbolts, Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. with GLA just thrown in for fun). Just stupidly good.

Replacement Candidate:

DP036 Bullseye110 Points – Rare: Right down to rarity, Bullseye is almost a clone of that silly Hawkeye piece. Running Shot with 8 Range and 3 Bolts, 12 Attack with Precision Strike instead of Sharpshooter, 17 Defense with Combat Reflexes instead of Willpower, 3 Damage with Probability Control instead of Leadership (I’ll take that deal everyday!) and some okay keywords (Thunderbolts, Assassin) mean Bullseye is gonna show up in the Meta SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!! Oh, and his Improved Targeting: The Phone Book makes it really hard to hide from him…

The Verdict: Even with all the goodness on Bullseye’s dial, this is a Cost Correction dial. Just 12 Points more than Hawkeye, but you also lose the Avengers keyword, the Spidey (Wildcard) TA and 1 Range. I think WizKids knows that they undervalued that Hawkeye by a significant amount. Bullseye they only underestimated by a less significant amount. Which, as always, means you should play Bullseye as much as you can.

FAST FORCES: CHAOS WAR:

"Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you're happy."

“Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you’re happy.”

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): You know what she does; Mystics TA, Pen/Psy, Barrier, Perplex and Prob Control with an 8 Range. With Avengers and Mystical keywords (among others). One of the most used figures in ROC history, I’m sure.

Replacement Candidate:

FFDP006R Mercy50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): 7 Range, Wing Symbol (so she can Carry!) with Phasing, TK, Barrier and Prob top dial with Support on her second click. Her lone keyword (Thunderbolts) is also where she’ll see the most play–on a Thunderbolts team.

The Verdict: Another Cost Correction piece. We won’t see the like of FFCW Scarlet Witch again, methinks. Mercy is missing the Mystics TA AND the Mystical keyword, but she is still very playable. Thunderbolts is probably the keyword that gained the most from this set, so if you’re fielding such a squad, pick up a Mercy for some support in a bottle!

There were also several other figures you could use in this role, but none of them were as good as Mercy (Sister Sercy, I’m looking at you with your 66 Point Cost and your measly lone keyword: Blue Lantern Corps. But hey, at least her name RHYMES with Mercy’s!).

Before we finish, one final note about keywords in general. We’re coming out of an era where Avengers, GCPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. were some of the dominant named keywords, and Mystical, Armor and Monster fueled some of the best generic keyworded teams. Those keywords still offer a lot of options, but Chaos War (an EXTREMELY Avengers-heavy set) rotating out does hurt Avengers teams a little bit. New keywords that have recently become a lot stronger include Thunderbolts, Heroes for Hire and Sinestro Corps. (with Guardians of the Galaxy about to get a double boost from the movie set that just dropped and the upcoming 5-figure booster full set in due in August!). Mystical and Armor are still great generics, but Martial Artist has gotten a big boost between AvX, Days of Future Past and Deadpool, and Cosmic is set to explode with the 4 Entities that have been released in War of Light already (with 4 more to come) and, again, the Guardians of the Galaxy set that’s just around the corner (and the Collector from the GotG Target Exclusive set already offers some intriguing possibilities for Cosmic teams with his unique win condition–but more about that set later this week!)!

"I know it's hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I've collected my tokens--y'know what? We'll talk about this later."

“I know it’s hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I’ve collected my tokens–y’know what? We’ll talk about this later.”

 

So there ya go! What important retired figures do YOU think WizKids has already published replacements for? Sound of in the Comments section below!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Team Ideas – The Bridge to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Idea

Among the other competitive pieces to come out in the Deadpool set (detailed here and here), we got a new figure that falls into a category of pieces that I refer to as “recruiters,” DP041 G.W. Bridge. Like TDW015 Duhg and SLOSH201 Cosmic Boy, DP041 G.W. Bridge has the ability to give any character a keyword that they didn’t have before. In a correctly built team, he can give any character the Six Pack, Weapon X, or Solider keywords. Just one problem… those are boring. Reasonable but boring. And they aren’t worth all the hoops you have to jump through to get them. That leaves the S.H.I.E.L.D keyword. That’s more fun.

So what does it take to get that keyword in a 300 point army? Well G.W. himself is 68 points, and the cheapest S.H.I.E.L.D generic, AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is 19 points. Together the 4 generics required and G.W. are 144. That means I can give the S.H.I.E.L.D keyword to any character 156 points or less. So I can easily create a team like this:

 

Little known fact: this is how Michael Jackson would have looked in another 10 years.

Little known fact: Red Skull’s appearance is actually the result of the world’s worst nose job.

Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D, Director Skull

DP041 G.W. Bridge

CATWS014 Agent Sitwell

CATWS002 S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier

AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

AVM016 Red Skull

Total = 296 points

 

See that was way more fun than the Six Pack keyword. Let’s try Another one for those of you who saw the latest Captain America Movie:

 

Sometimes his chest TV shows his face, other times it shows Game of Thrones.

My face, now in HD…

Arnim, Head of the I.T. Department

DP041 G.W. Bridge

AVM206 Agent Coulson

AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

AVM003 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

DP054 Arnim Zola

Total = 300 points

 

Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s fun but not all that competitive. Is there any way giving someone S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword actually helps you in battle other than giving you a theme team bonus? Just one. It’s this guy: CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. I’ve tried this guy out in battle and he’s the real deal. Just about any attack aimed at the pieces you care about get redirected to this guy and you lose a 36 point character instead of your 100+ character. Alpha Strike? Just stand there and take it. If they swoop in for a hit on your team that just means they’ll be in a great position for you to hit them next turn. To bump it up a notch the special mastermind power on CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent also works with CATWS106 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent because they share the same name. That means you would only lose 25 points of your force to an attack instead of 36. Even better.

The downside of having six S.H.I.E.L.D. characters on a team in a 300 point game is that it will take you all of your actions just to move them around, much less make any attacks. S.H.I.E.L.D. keyworded figures aren’t know for flying. What a S.H.I.E.L.D. team really needs is something to carry them. There is no helicarrier in HeroClix (currently), but I thought of the next best thing. Here’s my final (competitive) team:

 

The ring is the mightiest weapon in the universe... and it get's HBO.

The ring is the mightiest weapon in the universe… and it gets HBO.

Hal Jordan, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

DP041 G.W. Bridge

CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

CATWS106 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

CATWS106 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

TT033E Green Lantern

Total = 300 points

 

TT033E Green Lantern is exactly what S.H.I.E.L.D. needs. He can carry your whole team. That means moving all 6 guys in 1 action. He’s a virtual helicarrier. The offense on this guy is great. He’s got 8 range, perplex, and he can choose to gain Close Combat Expert, or Ranged Combat Expert as the situation warrants. Since the rest of his team all has the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, that will allow him to turn his range up to 11.

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

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

DP041 G.W. Bridge is very similar to TT033E Green Lantern offensively as he also can gain Close Combat Expert, or Ranged Combat Expert as needed, but instead of perplex he has outwit. Additionally, they both strikingly similar defensively – which means they both have a lousy defense. That’s their weak point. At least it was until they got to this team. With two CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, and two CATWS106 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, it’s likely the first four times your team takes a hit neither Green Lantern or G.W. Bridge will take any damage at all. They will just be able to sit there and take pot shots with their RCE and willpower while any living S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents enhance their damage with the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA. The other team isn’t going to out range you with all the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA floating around and even if they base you, your damage dealers can get Close Combat Expert and your two CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents have empower! That’s a no win situation for the opponent. The only things you need to fear are Precision Strike, Pulse Wave, and Energy Explosion. You have an outwit to help nullify those powers.

Just like with my Iron Pharaoh team, I feel my Green Lantern S.H.I.E.L.D. team is very capable of competing at an event like the ROC and I haven’t seen anything like it published anywhere. It’s original to me right here and now. It’s designed to win in a no resource allowed tournament and will need to be changed for a tournament where resources are allowed. If you get a chance to play this team at a real tournament, leave a comment here and let me know how you did.

 

 

The Merc and The Meta (Or, A Second Opinion of the Top Ten Figures in Deadpool!!)

"Good Morning!"

“Good Morning!”

So, Ninwashui has chimed in with his Top Ten list for the new Deadpool set, WITH NO REGARD TO MY OWN OPINION!! Obviously, I could not let this besmirchment stand!

Here then, for the DeadPool set, is your…

Second Opinion!!

That's high praise!!

“That’s high praise!!”

 Some General Notes About the Set:

–While there are obviously some powerful individual pieces, I thought that the overall “Power Level” of this set fell slightly below Invincible Iron Man and SL0SH… and that’s OKAY! The fact that we got a ton of weird characters that I never thought I’d see made (Grasshopper? Sweet! Now my GLA team can–wait, there was more than one Grasshopper?), plus some much-needed Modern Age updates to some figures who have been conspicuously absent until now.

–Having said that, I would still agree with Ninwashui’s assessment that this set was more consistent in terms of the usefulness of the characters; I just feel that the previous two sets both had higher ceilings in terms of the power level of their best pieces. Still, since most of the characters were consistently useful, coming up with a Top Ten (and 5 Honorable Mentions) was pretty tough; so tough, in fact, that I was forced to cheat and list a TOP TWELVE!! Even still, there are some good figures in this set that just aren’t gonna get mentioned here, cuz there’s a lot to like.

–After getting to play a couple games with WizKids’s brand new mechanic, I can say that the Word Balloon feature turned out better than I expected. I thought these were all going to be kitschy, trite add-ons that simply granted silly powers that would only be used once in a blue moon, especially after seeing the “I Never Miss With the Sheep Gun” balloon (Man, I’ve had so many theoretical conversations about the impossibly far flung, Rube Goldberg Machine-induced scenarios in which plopping a Sheep token next to an opposing figure will turn the tide of a game, and while it’s early days yet, I think I’ll be okay if that’s the one Balloon I never pull). Boy, was I wrong.

"I was wrong on this one."

“I was wrong–this is awesome.”

First of all, they’ve made it really flavorful and probably avoided themselves future headaches by creating such a small pool of eligible characters (Deadpool Corps. members and Ultimate DeadPool and ThorPool, etc.). Fewer affected characters means there’s a lot less chance to break the game. And then, within that framework, they created some Word Balloons that are good enough to make you WANT to play a DeadPool. “Hammer Time,” “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?,” “My Common Sense is Tingling” and “ ” are all really good, especially when used with DP019A DeadPool, DP019B Evil DeadPool or DP055 DeadPool. In my opinion, those three figs are already all worth their Points to begin with; throw “Hammer Time” on any one of them (for example) and I believe that you’re actually fielding more points than you’re being charged for (remember, Balloons are NOT Resources in and of themselves, so they can be used in tandem with Resources and Relics. And don’t get me started about the “Possessed” ability on the new War of the Light Chases coming this month (Y’know, just when I finish a 4600-word column on Modern Age Chases, WizKids goes ahead and releases these “Entity” Chase pieces that are probably all gonna be Meta in some way–particularly through the aforementioned “Possessed” Trait).

Remember, if there’s one thing that this site has tried to teach ‘Clixers everywhere, it’s Critical Missives Army Build Axiom #1:

CRITICAL MISSIVES ARMY BUILD AXIOM #1: DO NOT PAY “RETAIL” POINT PRICES FOR FIGURES WHEN THERE’S A VALUE-PRICED OPTION AVAILABLE!!

Now, the corollary to that is this: Free Points Are Awesome!!

Again, CRITICAL MISSIVES ARMY BUILD AXIOM COROLLARY #1A: WHEN BUILDING YOUR ARMY, FREE POINTS ARE AWESOME!!

If you accept that the 3 DeadPools from this set that I just mentioned are already worth their points, and if you accept that Resources in general are EXTREMELY under costed, then you would have to conclude that the DeadPool set–and the various Merc With a Mouth Traited characters–offer a LOT of value for opportunistic builders. I’ll get into this a little more in the individual profiles, but you can create some RIDICULOUSLY powerful characters who can get bonuses from 2 or even 3 sources that aren’t really even on the map–or at the very least, sources that your opponent can do little to nothing about.

–No ChampionPool? C’mon!! How will we ever have a complete DeadPool Corps.?!

–Probably the most useful group of Super Rares ever. Cable is probably the only Super Rare you’d be disappointed to pull in Sealed (well, maybe Kingpin, but Kingpin is really useful in Modern), and there’s a TON of awesome SR’s that people will be playing even years from now…

The Chases. Yikes! While the Z-Virus mechanic is cool, Marvel Zombies was never really my hot sauce, so I could kind of take or leave them. I think it’s cool that they’ll have their own Zombie Team Base, but… we don’t get that Team Base until August’s Guardians of the Galaxy set, and with the info that’s been released so far, it seems like that set’s gonna have ANOTHER 8 ZOMBIE CHASES!! Blleeecccch! Enough already! Guardians should have 6 Chases–all 6 of the members of the Cull Obsidian from last year’s Infinity storyline. Those are the Chases everyone wants and expects–and it’s about 99% for sure that it’s not gonna happen. It would have been so simple and so appropriate to do the Black Order figures that I have to wonder if WizKids has gone completely insane (Hunter on Dial H for Heroclix has stated that this has dimmed his enthusiasm for the set so much that he probably won’t even buy his customary Brick of GotG, much less a case–and I can’t say I blame him). Grrrr… but enough about the NEXT Marvel set! I’m here today to talk about the set that’s actually been released!

So let’s start with the…

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Dude... I'm'a 'bout ready to smash the $#!t out this flag over here."

“I punch flags! Then I paint them black and wear them!”

5. DP025 Flag-Smasher119 Points Uncommon: Okay, my understanding of flags as a concept is that they are generally emblems of some significance that have been made out of some sort of flexible cloth material. So how exactly does one “smash” a flag? Flag-Tearer? Okay. Flag-Ripper? Sounds menacing, unless you mumble it out loud, in which case it comes dangerously close to sounding like “Fart-Ripper.” Regardless, either name seems like it would make more sense than the perplexing “Flag-Smasher.” Although, maybe that’s why he has top dial Perplex? All I know for sure is that Flag-Puncher here has a couple of devastating abilities that get him close to my Top Ten (but not quite in it). First, his Trait (WE SHALL BE ONE PEOPLE, AND I SHALL LEAD: Flag-Smasher can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, choose a copyable Marvel Team ability. Friendly characters with a lower point value can use that ability until your next turn.) is fantastic! You make your Leadership roll, and all of the sudden all your characters have the Mystics TA. Or Avengers Initiative, or any useful copyable TA you can think of. That’s pretty damn fantastic. And while his starting attack is a 10, he has Running Shot, Pulse Wave and Perplex to go with it, so if your opponent isn’t careful, he could be in for a world of hurt.

Even though Flag-Smasher doesn’t have Willpower, that’s okay as well since pushing him onto his second click gives him a fantastic Movement Special (THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD SHALL CRUMBLE, AND BE ONE: Opposing characters that possess or can use a team ability modify their attack and defense value by -1 unless already modified by this effect.). I mean, if he was nine points less, you could team him with Cul Borson and give most of your opponent’s figs -2 to their Attack!

But that Point total is a problem. I would have loved this character at 90-95 points, or maybe an even hundred. At 119, as great as his abilities happen to be, I think he’s a bit over-costed. If he were 20 Points less, he probably would have made my top 5. Still, his skill set is unique enough to keep him on the Honorable Mentions list.

"Man, if it just had eyeholes, this costume would be perfect!"

“Man, if it just had eyeholes, this costume would be perfect!”

4. DP053B Whizzer120 Points – Super Rare Prime: Obviously has one of the best Improved Movement abilities in the game (he ignores just about everything), especially when he can use Hypersonic Speed his whole dial. Hypersonic Speed + Flurry on his first three clicks is damn good. On his own, he’s a great piece who’s probably worthy of a Top Ten slot. But he’s an Honorable Mention instead for a few different reasons.

First, he’s got the Squadron Supreme keyword, but he still can’t team with Hyperion from IIM because they’re both Primes. That kinda sorta really sucks.

Second, as cool as his Hypersonic Speed + Flurry Special Movement Power is, his defense is predicated on being right next to the character taking a swing at him (since he has Combat Relfexes), which means that it’s almost NOT in your best interest to speed around the board, attack, and then hide. Not the worst thing in the world, and he does have Super Senses as well, but he definitely needs a different play style from how most people play HS characters to be effective.

And finally, Speed Demon’s just got a better Trait for 10 less points, so as far as speedsters go, I’m’a stick with Speed Demon. Which means this is one of the rare instances when the non-Prime actually offers more goodness for less points than the Prime…

"Rawr."

“Now this doesn’t seem safe at all.”

3. DP003 Dogpool 65 Points – Common: Love this lil’ pup. For 65 Points, you can totally nerf Stealth for one of your opponent’s pieces every turn (“BARK” WHAT’D YA FIND BOY? TIMMY IN THE WELL AGAIN?: Dogpool can use Perplex, but only to decrease a defense value. When he uses Perplex, he can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain and targeted characters can’t use Stealth this turn.). But what’s really neat is that with a 10 Attack and Precision Strke, he can even sneak some damage in on the biggest of foes! And he picks up Blades/Claws/Fangs further down dial–in Sealed, my opponent nailed one of my best figures twice with that. Unfortunately for him, he rolled 1 twice (and that opponent may or may not have been Ninwashui). Still, he more than proved his worth, and that’s even without a full compliment of Word Balloons (I mean, “Hammer Time” on a dog is just fun…).

Now THIS would have made an awesome Duo figure!!

Now THIS would have made an awesome Duo figure!!

2. DP019A DeadPool135 Points – Uncommon: The star of the set, Deadpool at 135 is like a nice blob of clay that you can mold into whatever sort of primary attacker you need him to be. Want to create mass causalities? Throw on “Hammer Time.” Want to make him harder to hurt? Throw on “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?!” or “Quick! Shield Me With Your Bodies!” Or turn him into a Wildcard–the possibilities are nigh endless (okay, there’s only like 12 different Word Balloons or so, so the possibilities definitely have an end), and that’s before you start adding in bonuses from Resources or Possessing Entities. The fact that there are two even crazier versions of DeadPool in this set is the only reason he’s not in the Top Ten.

I'll be honest, this could even be Cobra Commander. YOU try finding Secret Empire Number 9 images!

I’ll be honest, this might be Cobra Commander. YOU try finding Secret Empire Number 9 images!

1. DP204 Secret Empire Number 935 Points – Common: Actually, for once, the comments on HCRealms.com’s Units page explain this fig better than I ever could. A user named MrDgreen: “man, enhance and the Hydra TA, these guys are basically walking relics.” Hydra TA, Enhancement (with a respectable 2 damage), Pyschic Blast and ES/D to prolong their already pretty good 5 clicks of life… Their only drawback is that Soldier is their lone useful keyword (no one is fielding any decent Secret Empire Theme Teams, I promise you).

Alright!! We’re done with the appetizer–here’s the Main Course!

THE TOP TEN TWELVE FIGURES IN DEADPOOL!!

The next character in Sprint's "Framily" commercials.

The next character in Sprint’s “Framily” commercials.

12. DP057 Tiamat – 255 Points – Super Rare: The Beast with Two… bases. Tiamat comes on a peanut base, and he/she/it is a complete badass. 9 Clicks that are all painted, plus 1 ridiculous Trait (CHAMPION AND STEED: Once per turn, when an opposing character has taken damage from his attack, give Tiamat any action as a free action. When you do, after action resolve, remove an action token from Tiamat.). Besides the boatload of points it takes to field Tiamat, the only drawback is that Tiamat can’t account for Hindering or Elevated Terrain when he moves (that’s why we have Hammers though, right?). Close Combat figs are always gonna take a backseat to Ranged-Based figures, but man, this is a Monnnnnnnnster!!

"I have Stop Clicks! Sort of!"

“I have Stop Clicks! Sort of!”

11. DP057A/057B Typhoid Mary/Bloody Mary100 Points – Super Rare: One of the most unique figures WizKids has turned out in a while now, due to her Trait (I’M JUST MARY WALKER, SOAP OPERA ACTRESS/ BLOODY MARY, PSYCHOTIC BUTCHER: Each time a new click is revealed due to damage taken from an opponents attack, roll a d6. On a result of 6 stop turning the dial, and Typhoid Mary ignores all further damage dealt this turn. On a result of 4-5 you may replace her with DP #058b Bloody Mary on the same click number and then deal her the remaining damage minus 1.) and the fact that both bases come together! She’s slightly over-costed given that’s she’s mostly a supporting piece to start, but as she gets down dial she turns into a solid damage dealer as well.

WizKids's sculpts get more and more lifelike each set...

WizKids’s sculpts get more and more lifelike each set…

10. DP050 Wolverine and X-23168 Points – Super Rare: Another Close Combat figure that has been gifted with so many abilities that Ranged-based attackers won’t necessarily have the Alpha Strike advantage on them. Their best powers come from an awesome Trait (SNEAK AND KILL: Wolverine and X-Men can use Sidestep and Stealth. Unhindered lines of fire drawn to Wolverine and X-23 during an opponent’s turn are blocked unless Wolverine and X-23 have 2 action tokens or are adjacent to an opposing character not on its starting click.) that combines with their Special Attack Power (SLICE AND DICE: Wolverine and X-23 can use Blades/Claws/Fangs and Flurry. When using Blades/Claws/Fangs, their minimum d6 result is 3. If they hit a character twice during a turn, they may use Incapacitate as a free action, targeting that character.) to give them the coveted Charge, Flurry and Blades/Claws/Fangs combo. So, to review: Top dial, they can move up to 7 squares in one turn and still attack between their Sidestep and Charge, then they get to attack you twice with Flurry and–if they hit both times (not unreasonable to think they will with that 12 Attack)–they also plop an action token on their target. Easy ways for them to heal once they hit Click 3 means that their 7 Clicks of life will seem like it’s almost double that. I can’t quite say that they’ll be a Meta piece, since their Point cost is fairly high even for a Primary Attacker, but man, if I sat down at a ROC and saw this Duo in my opponent’s starting area, I wouldn’t exactly feel too comfortable either.

 

"Rawr!"

“Rawr!”

9. DP060 Superior Spider-Man160 Points – Super Rare: The most powerful Spidey since ASM’s Spider-Man 2099, Sup Spidey is basically Toyman from SL0SH done right. Depending on which Spider Bots you attach, you can either give him a 50-66.6% to evade all attacks not made by Banshee or someone with Precision Strike (and that’s assuming that they hit his 18 Defense to begin with), or you can double his Outwit and Perplex Range. Either choice makes him really hard to deal with (although I’d go with the Super Senses bonus myself). So hard, in fact, we’re gonna do a quick Flash Build with him!

Team NameA Superior Way to Die!!

Theme: Scientist

DP060 Superior Spider-Man160

(w/ the Secret Avengers ATA) – 5

IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0135

Sideline: Like a bazillion Spider-Bots (both Mark 1 and Mark 2).

=300 (Exactly! Yeah!)

This may be one of the most self-explanatory armies we’ve ever published. Iron Monger 2.0’s Trait (REWIRE YOU FOR EXPLOSIVES: When a friendly character is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, you may deal 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character adjacent to that character.) makes friendly characters (like, say, little disposable Spider-Bots) go boom when your opponent deals damage to them. Superior Spider-Man spits out a Spider-Bot as a free action (depending on your d6 roll) every turn, and if your opponent doesn’t kill them, they can start surrounding his figures and causing serious problems (like jacking up each other’s Attack Value and firing off a bunch of Incaps right in a row. A classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. It will take a minute to get everything going, so you’d want a map that slows your opponents roll out a little bit (like that crazy Fires of Apokolips map or whatever it was called from the SLoSH kit).

"Wheeeee."

“Wheeeee.”

8. DP055 DeadPool215 Points – Super Rare: Insanity in a box. He comes with the “Hammer Time” Word Balloon, which pumps his attack up to a 13 and lets him mix some Energy Explosion Marshmellows in with his Pulse Wave Lucky Charms. If you play him with a TK’er, he’s devastating on most maps. You’d want to pull him anyway just for his Word Balloon; the fact that he’s one of the best figures in the set is just gravy. 215 is a lot to sink into one figure, but damn! Keep in mind, too, that he has the Asgardian keyword, so Splitlip and the Book of the Skull sits you down at 265 with a Theme Team and 35 Points left to spend in a 300 Point game. He’s even better in Epic Games.

"The H does not stand for Hero, incidentally."

“The H does not stand for Hero, incidentally.”

7. DP103 Wolverine, Agent of Hydra90 Points – LE: This is the engine that Hand swarm teams needed. He’s less than 100 Points and enables the Hydra TA to work for Close Combat attacks as well. Since most Hand characters (even the generics) already have this TA, it basically turns your Hand swarm into a mobile meat grinder. Hook him up with the Hand ATA to make it nearly impossible to target him until its too late. One of the best Wolverines currently in Modern Age (and since there’s roughly 2000, that’s saying something!). He also has one of the best Charge Special Movement Powers in the game (especially considering his point level).

"I am not a Bruce Lee rip-off."

“I am not a Bruce Lee rip-off.”

6. DP047A Shang-Chi90 Points – Rare: Why does this entire set either cost 90, 100 or 110 Points? Weird. Anyway, Shang-Chi is a Close Combat nightmare. If sets were measured in the effectiveness of their Close Combat pieces, Deadpool would be the best set ever released! Shang-Chi is the beneficiary of another near-broken Trait (COUNTER-BLOCK: Each time an opposing character targets and misses Shag-Chi with an attack, put a Counter token on this card. Give Shang-Chi a free action and remove all Counter tokens to make that many close combat attacks with a locked damage value of 2. At the end of your turn, remove all Counter tokens.). Add in some GREAT keywords (Avengers, Martial Artist and HfH, among others), Empower, a couple of Improved Movements (including Elevated), a 12 Attack, and an 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes, and you have the Phone Book of Modern Age Close Combat abilities. His dial should be in the 120-135 Range; in reality, it’s 90. There ya go.

"Yep! I'm back!"

“Yep! Zombie Electro. Again.”

5. DP064 Electro – 90 Points – Chase: And now we start to get into the figs you can build competitive teams around. Check out my column on the most effective Chase pieces in Modern Age from last week for some suggestions on the shenanigans you can get into with Zombie Maxwell Dillon.

The cover to "Black Talon and the Ex-X-Men #1," the least selling X-book of all time.

The cover to “Ex-X-Men #1,” the least selling X-book of all time.

4. DP043 Black Talon60 Points – Rare: They should call him Black Shenanigans, except that sounds like it could be the title of a racist D.W. Griffith propaganda film from the early-1900’s. So scratch that. But the point remains–with his Damage Special Power (CONTROL OF THE MINDLESS UNDEAD: Black Talon can use Mind Control with a range value of 8, and when he does he may target friendly characters. If all of his targets are friendly, a lower point value, and have the Monster keyword, he may use it as if had 3 bolts.) & Trait (POWER OF THE LIVING LOA: When Black Talon uses Mind Control, you may place a KO’d opposing character in an adjacent square on its starting click, and that character becomes the target. After actions resolve, that character is removed from the game.) someone (as Ninwashui always likes to say) is gonna find a way to break him. One of the early episodes of the Quarry featured an interview with a ROC winner (or judge–I can’t remember) who had determined within his playgroup that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters shouldn’t appear on figures less than, like, 110 Points or something. He had all kinds of mathmatical reasoning and whatnot, I’m sure–just like I’m sure that WizKids heard that interview, chuckled, and then said “Oh yeah?” out loud and to no one in particular. Whether you agree with my half-remembered anecdote or not, giving a friendly Mind Control ability to a 60 Point figure is damn near absurd. Never mind the fact that he can also use Mind Control to target opposing characters WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN KO’D AND THUS REMOVED FROM THE GAME!! I mean, that’s almost an afterthought, and it’s also a near-gamebreaking ability. He will power some ROC Top 16 teams in the near future–count on it.

"The all-new Thunderbolts! Justice... like rainbows?"

“The all-new Thunderbolts! Justice… like rainbows?”

3. DP053A Speed Demon110 Points – Super Rare: Here’s what you need to know: his Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.) is among the most broken currently in Modern and allows him to sneak in a second attack in one turn, except that you don’t even actually make an attack; assuming you can devote six squares out of your 14-square Movement to circle an opposing figure, this will go off on anything less than a roll of 6. Again, this Trait works WHILE HE’S USING HIS HYPERSONIC SPEED and it allows you to place an opposing character where you want him to be, which can really screw up your opponent’s positioning. It’s also probably the best way to go when you need to damage someone without making an attack (to get around the Mystics TA, for example). It’s sick and wrong.

Like his Prime version, the Whizzer, Speed Demon also has an 11 starting Attack with 3 damage. But unlike his Prime version, as Speedy gets down dial he only gets better, picking up a +2 Perplex (on anything but damage) and a Movement Special that keeps HS but adds in a second attack. This means that he’s actually as good–if not BETTER–on click 4 as he is top dial. That’s pretty sick on a 110 Point character. He’s another piece you should be seeing at an ROC soon, given everything that he does and the fact that his insanely good keywords (Among others, HfH, Sinister Syndicate AND Thunderbolts–plenty of options just with those!) make him eligible for a bevy of different armies. Let’s look at a basic Sinister Syndicate Build:

Team Name: Sinister Six-ish

Theme: Sinister Syndicate

DP053A Speed Demon110 Points

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

ASM031B Alyosha Kraven70

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

ASM019 Vulture 61

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

FIB003 Damaged Warbot10

FIB003 Damaged Warbot10

FIR100 The Book of the Skull6

(w/ 7 Hammers attached–all except Greithoth’s) – 21

=300 (Exact-a-mundo again!)

You’ll get +3 to Map Roll and 3 Theme Team Probs. So, with Gulyadkin the Lion’s token, you should have 6 characters at the start of the game, which will hopefully be at least one more than your opponent so that your Sinister Twelve ATA’s go off. Vulture can taxi Alyosha, who can give his pet a free move every turn too, and Speed Demon is, well, Speed Demon, so once you Hammer Up, mobility shouldn’t be an issue. Speed Demon in particular (with a now 12 Attack) should run amok. Not ROC-worthy, because you’re team would be too vulnerable from Range (depending on Map Choice), but this team can dish out a ton of damage!

Gotta love the backwards arm.

Gotta love the backwards arm.

2. DP019B Evil DeadPool100 Points – Uncommon Prime: Just looking at his stats and powers, you’d think his dial was made up of rejected SLoSH Bizarro clicks. But when you look closer, you’ll see an amazing damage dealer whose main flaw–low top dial defense–is easily fixable with a Resource and/or Word Balloon, and his Regeneration Special (WEIRD REGENERATION FROM LEFTOVER PARTS: Evil Deadpool can use Regeneration. Choose an opponent to roll another d6. If the opponent’s roll is higher than your d6 roll, add the two results together and subtract 2. Evil Deadpool is healed of damage equal to this amount instead. Each time Evil Deadpool would heal past his starting click in this way, modify his combat values by +1 for the rest of the game, even if this power is lost.) means that he can survive almost anything that gets thrown at him and actually come back stronger! Put him on a Book of the Skull team, give him “Hammer Time” when he attacks and suddenly you’re opponent is in for a world of hurt–and you still have 170 Points left to support him. Awesome piece!

"Get used to seeing me around, homies."

“Get used to seeing me at every ROC, homies.”

1.DP051 Banshee98 Points – Super Rare: Just stupid for his Points. His Trait (IT’S GOING TO GET A LITTLE LOUD: Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Super Senses. Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Impervious, Invincible, or Invulnerability but can use Toughness instead. When Banshee hits a character that can’t use a power due to this trait, increase damage dealt to that character by 1.) shuts down just about every good defensive power and in a lot of cases increases Banshee’s damage by one. I talked about how stupid broken he gets the more Resources etc. that you add to him in last week’s Weekly Roundup. At this point, you should either buy one yourself or be prepared to deal with him–a lot.

(One Final Note: Fast Forces: Deadpool is technically it’s own Micro Set; having said that, I should note that the Elektra and the Rookie Mercy figs from that set would have made my Honorable Mention and Top Ten, respectively had then been part of Deadpool proper. In other words, you’re gonna want that Fast Forces…)

Whew!! 4500 words on Deadpool, and there’s still so much we didn’t cover. But I hope this helps–now get out there and dominate!

War of the Light…ened Wallets!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 06/01/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Let the games begin!! With many venues running War of the Light Month 1 this week (and some of the pieces ALREADY turning up on eBay–naughty naughty!!), peeps are getting excited for some batteries and rings! Of course, if you don’t pull that Chase or Prime you’re looking for, you’re still in luck! They can be yours for a mere $100+!! Good Lord. This set is going to cause some divorces and bankruptcies. Which is to say, it should be a lot of fun!

Speaking of the opposite of fun, my Tigers–just like that guy you know who dropped out of community college after his third year to, y’know, go “find himself”–suddenly just cannot get there s#!t together.

In the last two weeks:

–Joe Nathan, the closer, decided it was a good idea to blame his rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos for causing Nathan’s billionth blown save of the year because Castellanos dropped what would have been out number 2 in the ninth inning of a game against Oakland. That drop, according to Nathan, is why Nathan went ahead AND SERVED UP A #$%^#($&^#)$^)#^$)#^$in’ meatball on the very first pitch to Josh Donaldson for a walkoff 3-run homerun. Without that drop, by Nathan’s insane reasoning, that homerun never would have happened, because Nathan could have taken a different “approach” to the Donaldson at-bat, and could have “played with him” a little more.” Excuse me? Because of one error, you had to throw every subsequent pitch slow and right down the middle like it’s a glorified batting practice session and not the bottom of the freaking NINTH?!?! Bravo, Joe Nathan. Not only did you fail again, but this time you almost took down your entire team using only your ego! Closers blow saves around the league all the time. You know what most of those Closers do, Joe? They get back at it the next day, and sooner than later people forget about the blown save. Part of being a Closer is not being a slave to your own ego and admitting when you screwed up, neither of which involves laying the blame for a loss on the shoulders of a rookie whose had less than a year to learn third base after being moved from the outfield and whose error DID NOT END THE GAME!! That is weak.

Great job, Joe. Not only did you fail again, but this time you almost took down your entire team using only your ego!

This is what “Fail” looks like.

–Our starters have gone from the best in the league to the flat-out worst. Why? Only God and Pitching Coach Jeff Jones know. Scratch that–if Jones knew, presumably he would FIX IT! And hey, Max Scherzer–let’s stop throwing teammates under the bus as well, eh? How about everyone just chills the #^#@ out? Just for a minute, okay? Geeezzzz…

–Suddenly, if Victor or Miggy doesn’t light it up, our offense can’t hit. Grrrrr…..

Alright!! Enough negativity!! You’re not here to read my Tigers screeds! No, you’re here for…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix just released Episode 47! It was a little shorter than normal because host Hunter Smith is knee-deep in Wedding prep–in fact, he should be married and off on his Honeymoon as you read this!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is still cooking up Episode 2.4!! Check their Podbean for updates and the first three episodes of Season 2!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 19, which features interviews with and perspectives from a bunch of different recent ROC winners (the Roundtable has the week off). I listened to most of this ep–some great insight from the recent tourney champs!


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–Up to date upcoming ROC tourney listings have been released, which you can find right HERE!

–A brief announcement was made that the recent “Watchlist 2: Electric Bugaloo” changes will go into effect, well, immediately.

–What’s been winning at the ROC Super Qualifiers lately? Well, to answer that, I’d have to review every ROC team that made the Top Four and compile all that data into an article that was able to articulate the information in a way that makes sense. And… I’m sure Ninwashui will get right on that.

Wizkids

WIZKIDS NEWS:

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


Preview

Previews:

–New War of the Light dials went up last week–most notably Kyle Rayner as a White Lantern–but pretty much every Wave 1 dial is up at HCREALMS.com in their Unit section!

–They weren’t officially spoiled, but four of the Light Entity Chases went up on HCREALMS.com as well, and my, are they (very nearly, depending on which figures you choose to put them on! If you choose, say, Banshee, he can become a World Breaker in no time fast! What’s that? He already basically is a Worldbreaker? Uh… well, here’s a quick Build to make my point–in fact we’re going to make this our:

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Team Name: It’s Going to Get a Little Loud

Theme: None (Honestly, you probably won’t need it)

DP051 Banshee98 Points

WOL061P Entity – 25

FI301 Splitlip20

FIH005 Navy Seaman8

DP059 Kingpin118

FIR001C The Book of the Skull30

=299

With this army, you’re sacrificing Theme Team Bonuses for the right to essentially use 2 Resources on one character-Banshee. Assuming you select Banshee with the Book and choose Damage Power and Damage Value via the Possessed Trait from Entity (POSSESSED: Click the Possessor’s dial to the same click number as this character and change it during the game in the same way that this character’s dial changes. At the beginning of each of your turns or after this character takes or is healed of damage and actions resolve, you may choose 1 power showing on one Possessor’s dial and 1 combat value on one Possessor’s dial higher than this character’s printed combat value. This character can use that power and modifies that combat value by +1 until your next turn or until it is healed or takes damage. If the Possessor is turned to a KO click, it is removed from the game immediately.), on his top click, Banshee has: the Police and X-Men abilities; 8 Range; Running Shot with a BotS-enhanced 12 Movement; 11 Attack with Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Smoke Cloud; 18 Defense with Super Senses and Barrier; 4 Damage with Probability Control and Perplex. Then, if he chooses to Carry Kingpin with him (Holy God!!), he gets all that (Except he can only move 4 spaces for Running Shot instead of 6) PLUS his Damage goes up to 5 (from Kingpin’s Enhancement) and he also gains Sharpshooter, RCE and freakin’ Precision Strike. Oh, and due to Banshee’s own Trait, from which this army gets its name (IT’S GOING TO GET A LITTLE LOUD: Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Super Senses. Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Impervious, Invincible, or Invulnerability but can use Toughness instead. When Banshee hits a character that can’t use a power due to this trait, increase damage dealt to that character by 1.), if you’re close enough, your target can’t use Super Senses AND your damage goes to 6. Again, you still have a Perplex floating around.  I mean, that’s borderline psychotic.

And that’s without a Theme Team. One of these Chases may actually make someone like White Phoenix Hope viable–and still be a Theme Team! Who thought we’d see that?!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–X-Men: Days of Future Past was pretty damn good! Really solid flick, prolly the second best of the entire franchise (after X2: X-Men United). 3 out of 4 Stars, by my reckoning!

Critical Missives:

–Two big articles last week: a gigantic 4600+ word monster on the best Chases in the Meta (not including the upcoming War of the Light Chases, which easily would have made the cut); and our first DeadPool set review (Ninwashui’s)–my version will be coming in the next couple days!

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