Flash Fact #2: SPOILERS (Or, A Brief Intermission About the Flash Season 2 Finale!!)

Flash Zoom Race

So, I swear, I’m hard at work on the Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review (hopefully by the end of next week, but I can’t promise anything… yet!), but today we’re gonna take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and talk about some good ol’ fashioned superhero TV.

Why?

Well, the 2015-2016 TV Season just ended, and there’s a few things that need discussin’!

A year ago, I thought Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was pretty consistently solid while The Flash (in its first season after spinning off from Arrow) was kind of cheesy, at least initially. I thought the show really found itself during the back half of that debut season and (like A0S) had a dynamite finale.

Fast forward a year, and both shows have just finished firing off their best seasons. When considering all the great comic-based TV we have these days, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had probably the best episode of the season (that would be its fifth episode, 4,722 Hours), but The Flash turned in an extremely solid run of 23 episodes that didn’t really have any turkeys in the bunch. The finale, in particular, is what I want to write about today.

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

You were great, Agent Simmons, but we’ll talk about your show in a different post. (ABC/Tyler Golden)

At this point, like all other bloggers, I am contractually obligated to note that the rest of this post will SPOIL much of the Second Season finale of The Flash. If you wish to proceed from here and have not seen this episode yet, you have been warned. We’re jumping in:

5…

4…

3…

2…

1…

 

Okay!! Still with me? Good. So, if you made it to the end of the finale, you know that after defeating Zoom, Barry went back in time (again) to the scene of his mother’s death (again) and finally decided to do something about it.

Flash Reverse Flash

In the process of beating up the Reverse Flash, Barry SEEMS to have done some possibly irreparable damage to the Timeline and changed both the past and the future in ways we’ve yet to see. What does it all mean?

Essentially, it seems like we’re headed for “Flashpoint” in Season Three, or at least the Berlanti-verse version of it. The Flash has become the most interesting DC show on television, and the ramifications of this finale are potentially mind-boggling.

WHAT WE KNOW:

-There are four shows in the Berlanti-verse: Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Of those four, the first two are closely connected and part of the same extended universe; Legends of Tomorrow is primarily populated with DC characters who were previously introduced as supporting characters on either Arrow or The Flash. It is seemingly connected to Arrow and The Flash, although it’s unclear even–or perhaps ESPECIALLY–if time travel on Legends of Tomorrow works the same way that time travel on The Flash works. For this discussion, it’s not really important though.

Supergirl is set on a completely different Earth where there is no Flash and no Arrow; this may be important later. Flash did randomly journey to Supergirl’s Earth during Supergirl’s first season, so the two characters have met at least once.

-All four shows were renewed for the 2016-2017 season.

DC Shows

All four shows will crossover with each other at least once during the season; currently, the big crossover event doesn’t have an exact date (it’s still at least 5-6 months away), but sometime in mid-November would be a good bet.

-The presumed source material for The Flash‘s third season, Flashpoint was a major DC Comics crossover event from 2011 that completely changed the status quo and introduced the “New 52” universe (I’m not a huge fan of the New 52–I liked DC fine enough the way it was, but there are those who really dig it). One of the benefits for DC of remaking their universe was the opportunity to fold in Jim Lee’s recently acquired Wildstorm characters (WildC.A.T.’s, The Authority, etc.). Basically, DC used Flashpoint to incorporate an entire, newly acquired universe in the main DC hierarchy.

This may be important later…

WHY FLASHPOINT CAN’T JUST BE A STRAIGHT ADAPTION:

-So if you’ve made it this far, then you’ve probably either read “Flashpoint” at some point or else you just read the Wikipedia (read: Cliff Notes) version of it.

And you know that there’s an awful lot of folks who play major roles in that story who haven’t been introduced yet… and–(NOT REALLY A) SPOILER ALERT–are not getting introduced into the Berlanti-verse anytime soon.

For Example:

-Batman ain’t coming (he’s being portrayed as a petulant little twerp over on FOX in a show called Gotham). Moreover, there seems to be an edict from DC that Berlanti can’t introduce any of the Trinity characters on his collection of shows. Or at least that’s the rumor.

Its worse than you know

It’s worse than you know.

It usually is

It usually is.

I actually think it’s even worse than that.

I think Berlanti is forbidden from using any of the seven main Justice League folks except the Flash, since he’s already established, and I think if Warner Brothers could find a way to take back Barry Allen, they would, despite the show’s success. Why? Because unlike Marvel, DC wants their TV universe separated from their (theoretically) burgeoning film universe. There’s a few reasons why they prefer things this way, and a host of reasons why this is dumb. But that hasn’t stopped DC and Warner Brothers before, so why should it now?

Even though Batman V Superman was greeted with a critical thumping, it still performed juuuust well enough at the box office to keep DC from completely pulling the plug on this iteration of their movie-verse (we’ll take a page from the internet here and just call it Zach Snyder’s “Murder-verse” for short). And as long as they’re going to continue with that continuity, most of the big-name DC heroes (and even C-list characters like Booster Gold, who now has a Zach Stentz-penned movie in development) will remain completely out of reach for the Berlanti-verse.

-Thomas Wayne (Batman in the Flashpoint universe) ain’t coming (for the very same reasons Batman isn’t);

-Martha Wayne (and her Joker turn) ain’t coming;

-Wonder Woman and all the Amazons? Ain’t coming;

-Aquaman and his Atlantean army? Nope. His profile has gone way up since Smallville. I’m betting he’s off-limits too.

-Booster Gold was mentioned above; he had a big role on the periphery of Flashpoint… and I’m pretty sure he ain’t coming (it would make no sense to cast an actor to play Booster for TV when you’re dead-set on recasting the role for the movie version in a couple years anyway–if everything pans out, that is).

-Cyborg has a movie on the docket. He’s not gonna show up;

-Pick a version of Green Lantern. Who’s your favorite? Hal Jordan? John Stewart? Guy Gardner? Kyle Rayner? Guess what: none of them are coming, despite the fact that any of them would kill on the CW (“Blackest Night” done over the course of a 4-show crossover on the CW? Yes, please! Too bad it will never happen).

-You get the point. Despite all of the those characters making very specific and important appearances throughout “Flashpoint,” I’d bet dollars to donuts that not a single one will show up in the Berlanti-verse next year.

But here’s the surprise twist: you don’t need ANY of them to faithfully adapt “Flashpoint” on The Flash. Not a single one.

WHAT WE THINK WILL HAPPEN:

-When you think about it, Arrow on the CW is really just the story of how Bruce Wayne became Batman–it just doesn’t have Bruce Wayne or Batman in it. But Oliver Queen in Arrow is a rich playboy who suffers the trauma of losing his parents and decides to dedicate his life to stopping crime and saving his city. Oliver Queen would be a perfect stand-in for Bruce Wayne in the Berlanti-verse.

“But won’t Stephen Amell be hella-busy shooting his own show?” you might ask. Yes. Yes he will be. But remember, Bruce Wayne pretty much just showed up at the end of the story, so Amell really only needs to show up for the end of the “Flashpoint” storyline (which may or may not happen during that already-planned November crossover that Amell will be doing anyway).

Besides, the producers may already have a different actor in mind to play Green Arrow on The Flash:

Robert Queen

Me?”

Yes you, Jamey Sheridan. Thomas Wayne was the man in the Batman costume during “Flashpoint,” and similarly, Robert Queen could be the man under the cowl in the new, altered timeline. In fact, I think the producers hinted at this possibility during one of the Earth 2 excursions we witnessed during Season Two, where Robert Queen was unmasked as Green Arrow during a news report.

Bringing back Robert Queen for a few episodes to actually be the Green Arrow would be pretty slick for two reasons: firstly, it would bring back a somewhat under-utilized Berlanti-verse supporting character for an awesome final run. Secondly, it would still maintain the original spirit of Thomas Wayne’s “Flashpoint” storyline.

And best of all, it would allow them to do that final envelope scene from “Flashpoint” where Barry puts the universe back together again (more or less) and then hands an emotional, handwritten letter to Bruce Wayne from his dead father, Thomas. That scene was a beautiful coda to the whole saga and is, frankly, one of the best reasons to try and adapt this particular storyline. Probably THE best reason, actually (“Heart, Humor and Spectacle,” indeed!).

But the only way that final scene lands is if the producers can get Mr. Sheridan to come back and suit up for a few guest-starring roles as Green Arrow on The Flash.

-In “Flashpoint,” Martha Wayne’s grief over losing her son Bruce eventually twists her mind until she becomes a psycho-Joker. Once that’s revealed, she pretty much just falls in a pit of bats and then dies.

If Berlanti’s team wants to bring back Moira Queen and have her do a similar heel turn, that would be fine. Could actually make for a cool sort of one-off “Villain of the Week.”

-No Aquaman and no Wonder Woman is trickier, since their respective nation’s escalating war threatens the whole world and without them, a major source of environmental tension would be gone. But once again, you really don’t need those specific characters–indeed, having them show up out of nowhere at this point would probably be kinda jarring.

What you really need is two large organizations fighting with each other on a scale that could threaten the whole world with how out-of-control their conflict becomes. What about the assassins of Nanda Parbat versus the shadowy intrigue of The Hive? Could one not argue that, if left unchecked by Oliver and his team, both of these organizations would have been on a super-powered collision course by Season Four of Arrow?

-And since we brought it up before, wouldn’t this all have to have a big effect on Arrow, Legends and Supergirl?

Yeah, to really hit home, it probably would. But Arrow could actually pull a fast one and basically start telling their Season 5 story without really acknowledging The Flash but showing subtle differences between the Season 4 status quo and the Season 5 status quo. Then, after the crossover, we find out the differences are because on Arrow, we’ve been watching the post-Flashpoint continuity all along!

Legends is already a time-traveling show and its central characters could show up at some point in November to help Flash put right those things that once went wrong, but they exist outside the normal flow of time to begin with, so, in theory,  they don’t really need to worry so much about the repercussions of “Flashpoint.”

And Supergirl? Well, Supergirl’s universe would suddenly and inexplicably–or perhaps even splicably–find itself on Earth 1 or Earth 2, ready to adventure with our

Flashpoint

CONCLUSION: This is all wild speculation, of course, but isn’t that what makes the internet so damn much fun at the end of the day? Anyway, whether Season Three of the Flash goes even something like what I’ve predicted here, or if it turns out to be completely different, I will be watching the CW this Fall with great interest.

 

And don’t forget to join us next time as we get back into Heroclix with our Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review!

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

 

Upcoming Games: Clix TV!! (Or, The 2nd Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We are unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 2! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here!]

Clix TV

Welcome to Night 2 of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!

Another quick local game announcement for SE Michigan Clix’ers…

On Wednesday, December 16th, at Comics & More in Madison Heights, we’ll be playing: Clix TV!

In honor of all the great comics-based TV, we will play a 300 Point, Golden Age game with a $5 Entry Fee.

Prizes will come from the “Arrowette” Monthly OP Kit, although…

IMPORTANT PRIZE NOTE: IF WE GET THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN KIT WIZKIDS HOLIDAY KIT IN TIME, WE WILL AWARD PRIZES FROM THAT INSTEAD!!

The Stipulations: Each character on your team must have appeared on a Network, Cable or Streaming LIVE ACTION Television show. Animated appearances don’t count, but the show does not have to currently be on.

As long as piece shares a real name OR a character name (ie, Clark Kent or Superman) with a character from a TV show, that piece is eligible.

Now, if you don’t watch a lot of TV but want some examples, you can build your team from Clix’d characters who have appeared on such shows as:

(DC)

Supergirl (2015: Notable characters include Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Hank Henshaw, Lucy Lane, General Lane, Red Tornado, etc.)

Flash (2014-Current: Flash, Firestorm, Jay Garrick, Vibe, Killer Frost, Zoom, Reverse Flash, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Vandal Savage, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, Golden Glider, Girder, Jesse Quick, Captain Boomerang, Rainbow Raider, Gorilla Grodd, Weather Wizard, Dr. Light, etc.)

Arrow (2012-Current: Green Lantern, Black Canary, Arsenal, Mister Terrific, The Atom, John Constantine, Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Deathstroke, Merlyn, Huntress, Brother Blood, etc.)

Smallville (2001-2011: Clark Kent, Bizarro, Lex Luthor, General Zod, The Martian Manhunter, etc.)

And so on…

(Marvel)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-Present: Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Agent Ward, Nick Fury, Lady Sif, Agent Fitz, Agent Simmons, Absorbing Man, Skye/Quake, John Garrett, Mockingbird, Deathlok, Victoria Hand, Major Glenn Talbot, Eric Koenig, Mister Hyde, Graviton, Blackout, Blizzard, etc.)

Marvel’s Agent Carter (2014-Present: Peggy Carter, Dum-Dum Dugan, Jarvis, etc.)

Daredevil (2015-Present: Daredevil, Kingpin, etc.)

Jessica Jones (2015-Present: Jessica Jones/Jewel, Luke Cage, The Purple Man, Hellcat, etc.)

You get the idea.

Clarifications:

Ninwashui and some others have brought up certain pieces to inquire whether they’re eligible.

To wit:

Zoom (Black Lantern): Eligible. Remember, the parenthetical information doesn’t actually count when determining whether certain game effects work or don’t work.

Batmobile: Eligible. Vehicles are still characters, so yes, the ol’ Adam West show qualifies the Batmobile.

Thor (any version): Eligible. A live action Thor appeared in The Incredible Hulk Returns, which, while technically a TV Movie, still premiered on network television and was, in fact, a continuation of the Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.

 

Okay! Hope to see you down at Comics & More for some good ol’ fashioned boob-tube mayhem!

And don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for another Night of Clix-Mas! We’ll be taking a closer look at what sets, intellectual properties and characters YOU want in the upcoming year!

(Actually, it’ll mostly be what I want in the upcoming year, seeing as I’m writing the article!)

Team Ideas – Hurting People… in a Flash!!

the flash

He’s already knocked out your team–you just haven’t realized it yet.

Idea

So I was not able top attend the ROC state championship for Michigan, but after it was over I talked to several people that were there. One of those people was Adam Kohl, who finished in third place. I thought his team was very interesting and deserved further analysis. He played:

Team Name: Adam’s 3rd Place ROC Team

Keyword Theme: None

Roster:

  • FL050 The Flash (w/ WOL068P Predator)
  •  WOL099 Despotellis 
  •  WOLR107 Power Battery (Blue Lantern Corps)
  •  WOLR307 Blue Lantern Ring
  •  WOLR207.11 Bulldozer (Blue)
  •  WOLR207.14 Sniper Rifle (Blue)
  •  WOLR207.13 Stop Sign (Blue)
  •  WOLR207.04 Wall (Blue)
  • WOLR207.06 Decoy (Blue)
  • WOLR207.09 Nurse (Blue)

Total = 300 Points

I asked him why he used the pieces he used. He responded, “Predator because it looks cool and gives you Shape Change the whole dial. Blue Battery because it let’s you reroll Shape Change . I’d give Flash Sniper Rifle and Despotellis the wall. Basically I wanted to take non meta or barely meta stuff to the top to prove it could be done.”

He took third place at States with his team and he was trying to play non meta pieces. This got me thinking… what if we took his team and went the other way with it. What if we took KC Flash and went completely Meta with the rest of the team?

yellow_lantern_reverse_flash_by_zanderyurami-d3f2cxy

KC Flash you have shown the ability to cause great fear in the hearts of HeroClix Players. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps.”

Team Name: KC Flash, the Meta Version

Keyword Theme: Sinestro Corps

Roster:

    • FL050 The Flash (w/WOL065P Parallax)
    • WOL099 Despotellis
    • WOLR105 Power Battery (Sinestro Corps)
    • WOLR305 Sinestro Corps Ring
    • WOLR205.11 Bulldozer (Yellow)
    • WOLR205.14 Sniper Rifle (Yellow)
    • WOLR205.13 Stop Sign (Yellow)
    • WOLR205.04 Wall (Yellow)
    • WOLR205.06 Decoy (Yellow)
    • WOLR205.09 Nurse (Yellow)

Total = 300 Points

Now this isn’t a team I’d ever play at my local venue, but in a State Championship the gloves are off. This is a Themed Team, so you’ll get +3 to map roll and WOL099 Despotellis will get to use Themed Team rerolls.

The Yellow Power Battery and WOL065P Parallax are proven winners. They  just won the European Championship teamed up with JLTW050 Superman. The Emotional Spectrum Power states: “Opposing characters modify their attack values by -2 when targeting a friendly Corps Member of a higher point value.” In a 300 point game it’s not very often that you’ll see characters played that are a higher point cost then 195 point FL050 The Flash. When I looked through the lists of the Michigan state ROC Championship, I didn’t see any. So it’s likely that people will be at a -2 to hit when Targeting Flash.

Then you may also consider the fact that the combination of Parallax granting the Sinestro Corps Keyword to Flash and the Yellow Battery grants Flash +1 to all stats (except Damage). The Parallax Entity can grant Flash +1 to Attack or Damage. He can also choose either Impervious or Quintessence and Perplex (opposing figures only).

So if I had played this team at a ROC, I would’ve planned to use the Decoy on Flash to grant Shape Change, Parallax to grant Impervious and the Flash already has Super Senses. Now, the Flash will have 20 Defense (due to the ring) and he has Probability Control printed on his Dial.

So, I took the time and work up the math on a possible situation the Flash might face during a real match. If an opposing character has a 12 attack and tries to attack Flash they will face -2 attack, Shape Change, 20 Defense, Probability Control, Super Senses, and Impervious. If that character has no way to get around any of what I just listed then they have a less then %1 chance of doing damage to Flash. If Despotelis is near by he can also through in a Theme Team Probability Control.

So Flash is pretty well defended. On offense Flash’s 17 move with Hypersonic speed should get him the first strike on anyone not named Adam Strange or Supreme Intelligence. Flash’s attack can go as high as 13 (with Probability Control), but most times I would instead bump his damage up to four. You might have problems with someone who has strong Damage Reducers especially if they also have Mystics. Despotelis  is the best character in the game in situations like that.

I think this “Meta” version of Adam’s team is a real contender. If you can track down the pieces to build it, it could take you all the way in a big tournament.

Having said that, congrats to Adam, and I’d like to thank him for letting me talk about his Build!

And we’ll be back in a few days with a post-Gen Con report, an update on Age of Ultron: Month 3 and, next week… our Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Top Tens!!

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!]

Flash Fact: This Top Ten Is Better Than Ninwashui’s!! (Or, A Second Opinion on the Top Ten Figures in Flash!!)

Flash Family

 

What’s that? You thought you were only getting ONE Flash Top Ten Review just because it’s been, like, seven weeks since the set released?! Think again! Better yet, THINK FAST, cuz a second opinion is coming right at ya’… RIGHT NOW!!

Let’s start with…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

The piece that inspired a thousand J-horror movies...

The piece that inspired a thousand J-horror movies…

–These sculpts are beautiful! In particular, Black Lantern Prime Zoom, Abra Kadabra, Kingdom Come Flash, Reverse-Flash, Mirror Master, Dark Flash and Captain Cold are some of the best looking sculpts and paint jobs they’ve put together in some time!

–Overall, the Power Level of this set is a slight notch below Guardians, but it’s pretty close. There’s a lot of great Supporting Pieces and Secondary Attackers in here; Meta-worthy Primary Attackers are few and far between here (see the end of this list for details on exactly who does make the cut!).

No joke--this time the Primes and Chases were all in the "Zoom" packs...

No joke–this time the Primes and Chases were all in the “Zoom” packs…

–This set was a lot of fun to play in Sealed formats. It almost seems like Sealed balance was a priority with this set more so than with the last 3 three main sets (SL0SH, Deadpool and GotG; not counting WoL as that set was theoretically designed primarily FOR Sealed) combined. Not really a criticism of those other sets; just an observation. That said, while Sealed play doesn’t necessarily matter in these evaluations, I will occasionally touch on that aspect if I think a figure happens to be extremely good in that format.

–The designers did a great job with figure selection on this set. The Sub-Themes (particularly the Rogues and Authority) are EXTREMELY well developed–much more so than in previous sets. You want to put together an Authority team? You have 11 different dials spread among 9 different characters for you to choose from. And if you’re a Rogues fan? Make that 27 different dials among 22 different characters–and that’s not counting the other six versions of the Rogues you get in the Fast Forces Pack (not technically part of the set if you go strictly by numbering, but still!)!! Only the Suicide Squad really didn’t get much to play with here (outside of Amanda Waller, who can induct folks into the Suicide Squad, which, as Ninwashui explained previously, is fairly useless, since there’s only, like, two or three playable Moderan Age Suicide Squad-ers).

Now, compare that with a set like Deadpool, which had a decent representation of Thunderbolts and Heroes for Hire, but really fell down with Sub-Themes like the Secret Empire (um, 3 characters doesn’t really make what I’d call an “Empire.”) or U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. (again, most hate groups have more than three dudes in their membership…). Not every keyword needs to be able to produce a Meta-worthy team, but there should be enough members to at least make a single 300 Point Build!!

 

–Alright! Enough with the Notes! Now for MY list! This is what Ninwashui SHOULD have told you. We’ll start with…

 

5 Honorable Mentions!!

 

Pied Piper

5. FL021 Pied PiperUncommon76 Points: This guy really took me by surprise. I pulled him in Sealed and he absolutely wrecked house. His top dial Pulse Wave Special is just awesome (HYPNOTIC TONES: Pied Piper can use Pulse Wave. When he does, hit characters modify their damage values by -1 [minimum 1] until your next turn and he can immediately use Mind Control as a free action to make a close combat attack with an area of effect that includes any hit opposing characters.), and the fact that he has Improved Movement (Ignores Hindering AND Elevated) is the cherry on top. Even if you NEVER get to use the Mind Control part, just the fact that you have a 76 Point Secondary Attacker running off rooftops and Pulse Waving is something that’ll bring a smile to your face every time.

He also offers a bit of support with top dial Enhancement before he totally switches gears to Mind Control, Willpower and Poison late dial. He just has the Rogues keyword, but if you’re only going to have one keyword in this set, that’s a good one to have. Finally, he has the Calculator team ability, which I was using to copy Mystics (from Abra Kadabra) during my Sealed games. PP very nearly cracked my Top 10, but if you’re playing Rogues, he’s practically a must play for me. Having a Secondary Attacker that costs under 100 Points who can also ignore all game effects (via Pulse Wave) is almost unheard of.

 

Elongated Man All this Trouble

4. FL051 Elongated ManSuper Rare81 Points: If you can get him safely to his second click, he is a tie-up monster. A crazily effective improved Plasticity Trait (GINGOLD SODA: Elongated Man can use Plasticity. Opposing characters within 2 squares and line of fire treat Elongated Man as adjacent for movement purposes.), Stealth and one of the best Outwits in the Modern Age game (MY NOSE IS TWITCHING: Elongated Man can use Outwit as if he had a range value of 8 and Improved Targeting: Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters.) means that Ralph Dibny is going to be a nightmare to deal with if he ends up next to your best attacker.

His second click brings a Defense Special that grants him Willpower, Barrier and Combat Reflexes to go with his native 18 Defense value. Good luck hitting that, especially when he’s countering your best power every turn. Now, a 9 Attack value with 2 Damage means he isn’t doing a ton of damage back, but with his power set he could easily tie-up some really good figs who are almost double his points! Besides, improving Attack and Damage values–even in a No Tactics environment–is waaaaay easier than finding someone with his tie-up skills and Special Outwit.

It’s a little early yet to know exactly how this massive influx of Speedsters (read: Hypersonic Speed pieces) is going to affect the Meta, but if Speed Demon continues his dominance (or if people start adopting Prime Zoom and others of his ilk en masse) expect to see more and more folks playing Mr. Dibny here as a legit countermeasure.

 

The Doctor Authority

3. FL016R The DoctorCommon50 Points: Whenever a Modern Age figure costs 50 Points even, I perk my ears up a little bit and pay attention. Going all the way back to FFCW006R Scarlet Witch, WizKids has a history of producing some EXTREMELY useful and EXTREMELY under costed pieces at that exact point level.

Now, the good Doctor here isn’t Fast Forces Chaos War Scarlet Witch. He isn’t even Fast Forces Deadpool Rookie Mercy. What he is, however, is a great Tertiary Attacker/Supporting Piece.

His Attack Value is subpar at just 9, but he comes packing Running Shot (with a 5 Range) and Pen/Psy top dial. He also offers Barrier and Probability Control to complete the package. Four clicks of life at his point value is pretty good, even if the last two are completely useless (Force Blast? Really?).  Lastly, his Mystical keyword ensures he’ll fit on a large array of Builds.

He’s not overpowered, and Prime Abin Sur from WoL won’t be losing any sleep over his place in the Meta, but The Doctor IS really efficient for his Point level, and is definitely worth a look.

 

Rainbow Raider

2. FL026 Rainbow RaiderUncommon68 Points: So, you’re probably not gonna go to the Finals at Worlds with this guy, but honestly, if I told you I had a fig that had seven clicks of life, Stealth down his WHOLE DIAL, Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain, 7 Range and a minimum of 2 Damage his whole dial AND he cost less than 70 Points, you might be interested in playing him just based on that information. But then if I told you that that same character has access to no less than FOURTEEN MORE STANDARD POWERS, your brain would probably explode.

Then imagine what would happen when I told you that his Trait (MY FAVORITE COLOR (TO DRAIN) THIS WEEK: Give Rainbow Raider a power action and choose Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Light Blue, Blue, or Purple. Opposing characters possessing a power of that color on their dial modify their combat values by -1 until he chooses again, if not already modifed by this effect.) allowed you to nerf the combat values of any opposing character you wanted by -1 (and in some cases, more than one opposing character)!

For his Point cost, he’s probably got as much going on throughout his dial as any character ever. He’s at his best on clicks 2 and 3, where he can access Energy Explosion and Toughness with an 11 Attack (Click 2) and Pulse Wave with a 10 Attack and Defend with a 17 Defense Value (Click 3).

The Raider is kind of a jokey character, but if you think about throwing an Entity like, say, Ophidian on him, he starts to creep into Meta territory, especially with that Trait.

 

Rival 2

1. FL001B RivalCommon PRIME105 Points: He has the Speed Force Trait, and he can ramp up in a hurry, but he’s only an Honorable Mention for me because of what he lacks versus the other top end Speedsters. He just has Charge top dial (he only gets Hypersonic Speed AFTER he gets a Speed Force Token, and that only works on his first four clicks); no Willpower or Indomitable; and he still costs 105 Points AND takes up the Prime slot in your Build. Still, he weakness (Charge) actually becomes an asset on those first few clicks because it means he can still move and attack once he gets a Speed Force Token even if his Attack Special that gives him Hypersonic is Outwitted (he’s the only character in the game that I’m aware of that has the potential for move and attack powers on two different slots simultaneously).

 

And now, for the MAIN EVENT!! These are…

 

THE TOP TEN ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN FIGURES IN FLASH!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Since Ninwa actually gave you a Top 12 Review, I had to do one better!! After all, this review is better than Ninwashui’s–that’s a FLASH FACT!!]

[NINWASHUI’S WEIRDLY OBTUSE PETER JACKSON’S HOBBIT-REFERENCING RESPONSE: Do better than MY list? Those are Rhosgobel Rankings–I’d like to see you try!]

 

Apollo Midnighter

10. FL048R ApolloRare125 Points AND FL049R MidnighterRare100 Points: Same #10 character as Ninwashui, but a different dial. AND THEN I ADDED ANOTHER AWESOME FIGURE ON TOP! Boom! Already I’m winning!!

APOLLO

As far as Apollo goes, I like his Rookie version just a little bit better than his Experienced dial for the points. For 75 points less, he still starts with Invincible (just with an 18 value instead of a 19), Running Shot, Precision Strike and Ranged Combat Mastery (with a native Damage Value of 4!), and he tops it all off with his Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain.

Basically, Rookie Apollo approaches Primary Attacker combat values but for a price that’s not unheard of for a great Secondary Attacker. But he also brings a lot more to the table.

Firstly, his Trait (I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING: Telekinesis can’t be used to place opposing characters in squares within Apollo’s range and line of fire.) will do wonders for slowing down Alpha Strikes; doesn’t make them impossible, but such a maneuver will often require even more planning on your opponent’s part–which means his Alpha Strike suddenly becomes a much riskier play. Secondly, yeah, he only has five clicks, but the Defense Special on his last two clicks has the potential to grant him FREE Regen (JUST NEED TO RECHARGE: Apollo can use Toughness. During the beginning of your turn, if Apollo occupies a square of outdoor terrain that is the highest elevation on the map, he can use Regeneration as a free action.). If he’s on click 4, you have 33% chance to get him top dial at the beginning of your turn–for FREE! Did I mention that it’s FREE?

The one caveat is that he really needs to be played on an Authority Themed Team that features Midnighter, as that’s the only way he can gain Willpower. This isn’t much of a handicap, though, since Midnighter himself is just as good–and he also made this list!

MIDNIGHTER

For 25 less points than his Experienced dial (which merely substitutes Super Senses for the Rookie’s Combat Reflexes–which is a trade you wouldn’t make anyway, given how you’re probably gonna play him), Midnighter’s Rookie dial is clean and efficient–he is a close combat tie-up nightmare, and he’s hard to hit on approach because he’ll usually be equipped with Stealth if he’s on one of his top three clicks thanks to his Movement Special (CYBERNETIC IMPLANTS: Midnighter can use Charge, Flurry and Toughness. When Midnighter doesn’t have 2 action tokens, he can use Stealth.) which also grants him both of the best close combat Movement-slot abilities.

He Ignores Hindering Terrain on movement, and he has not one but TWO Traits [(I KNOW WHAT YOU’LL DO: When an opposing character uses Close Combat Expert, they can only use it to modify one value by +1.) AND (WE’VE FOUGHT THIS FIGHT IN MY HEAD ALREADY: When Midnighter targets an opposing character with a close combat attack, until your next turn modify that character’s defense value by -1 and ignore any other modifiers to that character’s value.)] that ensure his triumph even when based with much higher-costed figures. Finally, his Damage Special (GO FOR THE SOFT SPOTS: Midnighter can use Exploit Weakness and Outwit. If he uses Outwit to target an adjacent character, Midnighter can use Plasticity and can’t be ignored for movement purposes.) ensures that his quarry won’t get away, either.

The ability to lock down almost any Primary Attacker in the game is well worth 100 Points, methinks.

 

Thorn 2

9. FL030 ThornUncommon65 Points: One of the better Secondary Attackers in Modern right now only costs 65 Points! On just her first click, Thorn brings Charge, Flurry, Stealth, B/C/F, Combat Reflexes and Shape Change. You want a better tie-up piece? You just got one! She doesn’t have Willpower, but who cares? Her second click is even better than the first, since her Defense Value actually goes up a notch and her Shape Change goes Special (MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES: Thorn can use Shape Change and succeeds on a result of 4-6. When she does and succeeds, heal her of 1 damage and she can’t be targeted with an attack this turn.). So, 50% of the time, not only will her Shape Change succeed, but NO ONE else can attack her either.

The amount of annoyance you can cause by using her to tie-up your opponent’s best ranged attackers is almost endless.

 

Harley Quinn Baseball Bat

8. FL046 Harley QuinnRare65 Points: And speaking of 65 Point-ers… Harley has to be the best of the bunch (EDITOR’S NOTE: What is with all the good figures in this set that cost exactly 65 Points? Even Murmur is really good for 65 Points–and he didn’t even make this list! Weird.) from this set at that Point level. She was designed by a World Champion to be a solid supporting piece that could also come through with some damage when needed, and that’s exactly what she turned out to be.

Mobility won’t be an issue in most games since she Ignores Hindering Terrain and Characters during movement, and if she has no action tokens she can use Sidestep. Her support is primarily provided by her Trait (MY PUDDIN’: Once per game, choose a friendly character with a higher point value. The chosen character is Harley Quinn’s Puddin’. Harely Quinn can use Perplex and Probability Control, but only to target her Puddin’. When her Puddin’ is KO’d, modify all of Harley Quinn’s combat values by +1.), which is both flavorful AND incredibly useful! She also starts with Stealth in her Movement slot and Outwit in her Damage slot, so she should be quite the enabler for whoever you pair her with.

Top dial, she has an Attack Special (NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY: Harley Quinn can use Poison. When she does, if she is adjacent to only one opposing character, the damage dealt is penetrating damage.) that can dish out some Penetrating Poison if you position her correctly, and she rounds out her resume with Combat Reflexes, Super Senses and the Calculator team ability.

She’s also very playable at 50 Points, but her top dial at 65 is so good that I had to go that route for my list.

 

Flash Running Laps

7. FL202 The FlashCommon (Gravity Feed) — 149 Points: The best of the Gravity Feed figs, he’s got the Police team ability, the normal Speed Force Trait, an 11 Attack, 18 Defense Value with Super Senses and Outwit. But once he starts building Speed Force Tokens, his Movement Special causes him to become something else entirely (RUNNING LAPS AROUND THE WORLD: The Flash can use Hypersonic Speed. Remove a Speed token from this card and once this turn, The Flash may consider squares on edges of the map to be adjacent to each other for movement purposes, as long as they are in the same row or column.). If you think it’s hard to hit speedsters now, with their ability to hit you and run away, just wait ’til you’re try to hit a guy who can Close Combat you from across the map!

He’s pricey, but I like him for 149 Points waaaaaay more than Wally West’s dial, which has the exact same cost.

 

Turtle

6. FL031 TurtleUncommon50 Points: I gotta be honest–for awhile, I thought this guy might finish at #2 or #3 on this list. In a No Tactics, No Entities Format (like the one that’s winding down in the ROC right now) he can be downright DEADLY when combined with Iron Pharaoh (there are a couple other ways to go, but that’s the main Build that strikes fear into people’s hearts!).

Zombie Chase Super Skrull and a few other pieces who have/can gain Invincible don’t care as much, because Turtle’s Trait (SLOWNESS AS A WAY OF LIFE: Turtle can use Plasticity. When another character moves at least 5 squares and actions resolve, give them an action token. If you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage.) only deals PENETRATING damage if they already have an action token, not UNAVOIDABLE damage. Still, as we talked about before, if you team him with someone like Shaman, you can force all your opponent’s flyers to the ground AND make them move 4 spaces or less a turn (unless they have Sidestep, which is a huge boon against a figure like this). Then, if you win Map Roll and choose Apokolips, Wundagore Mountain or R’yut, forget about it. You’ll be bombing your opponent before his best character can even see you!

This piece does what it says on the box:  he slows cats dooooooowwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn. With a Trait that good, his Outwit and Quake are just gravy. Definitely useful, but not why you play him.

 

"Good luck trying to sort through all the rules complications caused by my Trait, Judges!"

“Good luck trying to sort through all the rules complications caused by my Trait, Judges!”

Weather Wizard

5. FL038 Captain ColdRare100 Points AND FL040 Weather WizardRare100 Points: I’m grouping of couple of the Rogues together in the five slot because, frankly, I can’t decide which one I like better. But the best part is, you usually won’t HAVE to decide–they share a named keyword and they’re each just 100 Points, so you can play ’em both and still have room for more!

CAPTAIN COLD

The Rogues Leader [EDITOR’S NOTE: Ha! Quasi-Star Wars reference/joke! See what I did there, Ninwashui? That’s how you make an obtuse sci-fi/fantasy movie reference in a Heroclix blog!!] [NINWASHUI’S RESPONSE: Uh… noted?] comes packing with one of the most annoying Traits for an opponent to have to deal with since Iron Pharaoh’s Golden Falcon, Sharting (FROZEN FIELD: At the beginning of your turn, you may place an Ice Block special terrain marker within range and line of fire. When a character occupying or adjacent to one of these markers attempts to move, it must attempt to break away as if the marker was a character that can use Plasticity and is friendly to Captain Cold.). That’s right, baby, every turn until he’s KO’d, Captain Cold will fill up the map with those things. This is an insanely good power, and the fact that you get to do for free every turn is just stupid and wrong. You want board control? He is the CAPTAIN of board control.

He also brings some Running Shot, Toughness, Rogues-keyword-based Special Leadership and the Calculator team ability to the table, along with an Attack special (ABSOLUTE ZERO: Captain Cold can use Precision Strike. When he hits with an attack, you may place an Ice Block terrain marker in that square.) that grants Precision Strike and the ability to drop more Ice bombs when he hits!

WEATHER WIZARD

Weather Wizard is almost like “A Tale of Two Dials.” On his first three clicks, he offers a 7 Range with two Bolts, Running Shot, a 17 Defense Value with Energy Shield/Deflection and a native 3 Damage with Perplex! Plus, one of the coolest Special Attack Powers in the game (POWERS LIKE THE SEASONS: At the beginning of you turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Weather Wizard can use the power indicated by the result on the back of this card.
1 – Spring Storms: When Weather Wizard makes a ranged combat attack, it generates knock back and if the target occupies outdoor terrain, damage dealt is increased by the target’s elevation level.
2 – Summer Lightning: Weather Wizard can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Outdoor Blocking Terrain, Ignores Characters.
3 – Autumn Winds: Weather Wizard can use Quake as if he occupied a single square of outdoor terrain within range. Characters with “standard damage symbol” or “tiny damage symbol” can’t ignore knock back during this attack.
4 – Winter Chill: Weather Wizard can use Smoke Cloud. When he does, after actions resolve, he can use Incapacitate as a free action, targeting all opposing characters occupying one or more of these markers with a close combat attack.
5-6 – Weather Wizard may choose any single result.).

Sooooo… y’know how people have been playing Bill, Agent of A.I.M. or using Zombie Chase Electro JUST to set up situations where they can attack opposing figures within Range no matter what Terrain lies between them? Yeah, Weather Wizard has a 50% each turn of being able to do that on his own. For free. On a d6 roll of 2, 5 or 6, you get his Summer Lightning power. Plus it combos with Running Shot, which means you can actually run Weather Wizard out of harm’s way and STILL make a ranged attack. This is beyond awesome.

The back half of Weather Wizard’s dial is a bucket of poo-poo with no top on it. He becomes almost worthless (until you get to his last click, where there’s no almost about it–he is worthless).

But those first three clicks? Man…

Taken together, this duo will really present board control issues for your opponent.

 

Jenny SParks

4. FL061 Jenny SparksSuper Rare125 Points: Running Shot/Pulse Wave PLUS her Trait (ELECTRICAL CORTEX SHORT CIRCUIT: When Jenny Sparks hits an opposing character, that character can’t use special powers from now until your next turn.) = A LONG DAY for your opponent.

She basically the Honey Badger Meme given clicks form:

Oh, you have special power that gives you Charge AND Flurry. Jenny Sparks don’t care. Now you can’t move and attack at all. Aww, you have some cute lil’ Stop Clicks? Well Jenny Sparks DON’T GIVE A $#!T!

She has above-average t0 great native combat values plus a dial that’s a robust 8 clicks long. The only things that keep her from being even higher on this list are a lack of Indomitable (she eventually gets a couple of clicks of Willpower down dial though) and no Improved Movement or Flight (hmmm… I wonder if there’s a Resource that grants the flight of the Phoenix… ).

I don’t think she’ll dominate the Meta, but I would not be surprised to see her show up quite often on some Top 8 ROC rosters (particularly since she’s an absolute Kyle Rayner assassin). And for some special fun (and a great taxi), try teaming her up on a Scientist Theme with Prime Captain Marvel from GoTG. You’ll thank me later.

 

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other

3. FL064 The QuestionChase100 Points AND FL062 PandoraChase125 Points: Two great flavors that taste great together!

THE QUESTION

Ninwashui had The Question as his number one piece in the whole set, which was clearly wrongheaded and stupid [NINWASHUI’S RESPONSE: Hey! I’m right here!]. Still, The Question is a damn good piece. Top dial he features Charge, Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Shape Change, Stealth, Poison AND Precision Strike (and after using them, he can use Smoke Cloud for free), Indomitable, Super Senses (with a native 18 Defense), a special version of the Wild Card team ability and Outwit. And if he successfully Outwits an opposing character, he gets to take off an action token, which means you’ll essentially be using this guy every turn. And did I mention he only costs 100 Points?

The last Question we got was a con-exclusive that still features on a lot of Meta squads to this day. This Question is better.

PANDORA

Sort of the Ranged version of the Question. Pandora buffs her Range and Bolt number by the number of teammates she has with the Warrior or Trinity of Sin keyword. She has Sidestep, 6 Range, the Sharpshooter ability, Precision Strike, Indomitable, Super Senses, the Mystics team ability and Perplex. If she uses her Perplex to target an opposing figure, she too can remove an action token, so she, too, will probably be acting every turn. Especially since her Improved Targeting allows her to see through both Hindering AND other characters.

Great on their own, these two only get better when played together!

 

zoom-blacklantern

2. FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern) — Super Rare Prime —120 Points: In a set of speedsters, you’re looking at the one piece that’s arguably as good as DP053A Speed Demon. Zoom offers the Speed Force Trait, Indomitable (rare on speedsters), Hypersonic Speed, an 11 Attack (also rare on speedsters), Super Senses and a native 3 Damage. Additionally, his Attack Special (A NEW BLACK FLASH: Remove a Speed token from this card and choose either Exploit Weakness or Flurry. If you do, Zoom can use Blades/Claws/Fangs and the chosen power as a free action instead of making a close combat attack while using Hypersonic Speed this turn.) has the capability of just RUINING opposing strategies.

Need to take out a key support piece? Remove a Speed Token, choose Flurry and go to town for a possible six Damage–and then put another Speed Token on his card for hitting a character. And on and on. Unlike almost all speedsters not named Speed Demon, Zoom here actually gets better as he takes damage, picking up Steal Energy, Special Regeneration and Toughness.

Yes, he costs you your Prime Slot, but you weren’t gonna use that anyway if you’re playing a Black Lantern Themed Team. Zoom is a monster in a sub-150 Point body. Be very wary if you’re ever lined up against him.

 

Kingdom COme Flash

1. FL050 The Flash (Kingdom Come) — Super Rare195 Points: Criminally underrated by Ninwashui [NINWASHUI’S NOTE: Hey! I had him at # 8!!], this version of the Flash is the best Primary Attacker in the set. He has the normal Speed Force Trait (which, when fully active, punches his top dial Movement Value up to 20), the Kingdom Come team ability, ANOTHER TRAIT (HE NEVER GETS TIRED, HE NEVER STOPS MOVING: The Flash’s speed powers can’t be countered.) that ensures he’ll always be able to move and attack no matter how much Outwit your opponent is packing, Indomitable, a Hypersonic Speed Special that almost breaks Hypersonic Speed (PATROLLING BOTH CITIES AT ONCE: The Flash can use Hypersonic Speed. When he does, you may remove a Speed token from this card and he may then make a second close combat attack or use Outwit as a free action during this move and then continue his movement.), Super Senses (in case someone somehow hits his native 19 Defense Value) and Probability Control (in case someone somehow hits his native 19 Defense Value and you screw up your Super Senses roll).

Down dial (assuming your opponent ever gets The Flash down dial), he picks up normal Hypersonic Speed, Exploit Weakness, an Attack Special (WHO WOULD DARE BE A CRIMINAL IN THIS CITY?: Up to three times per turn, give The Flash a free action and remove a Speed token from this card. When you do, lock his damage value at its current value until the end of the turn and give him a close combat action as a free action.) that can absolutely pulverize even the heartiest of figures in one turn, and a Defense Special (HE’S JUST A BLUR: The Flash can use Super Senses, but succeeds on a roll of 3-6. This roll can’t be rerolled.) that makes him even tougher to damage.

Now add the Yellow Power Battery to your force (including the Yellow Decoy) and Possess The Flash with Parallax. Suddenly, after you give him the Decoy to start the game, The Flash has 18 Movement, Indomitable, 12 Attack, 20 Defense with Super Senses and (assuming you choose to up his Damage with Parallax) 4 Damage with Probability Control. Then you can either choose Stealth or the ability to gain the Quintessence team ability plus a Special Perplex (that only Perplexes values down). Then, assuming your opponents figures all cost 194 or less, they’ll have a -2 to each of their attack rolls against the Flash.

This is what you will look like every time your opponent makes an attack roll against the Flash:

"Oh, you're attacking me? Good luck."

“Oh, you’re attacking me?”

I mean, is your opponent REALLY gonna beat your Shape Change, Super Senses, 20 Defense AND Probability Control? As always, Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t think so:

Seinfeld Good Luck

And Jerry Seinfeld is always right!!

That’s why he’s a stupidly good Meta choice once Tactics rotate back in during the upcoming ROC season. And that’s also why, after 5000 words and 2 glasses of Oberweis chocolate milk, I can confidently say…

HE’S THE BEST FIGURE IN THE FLASH SET!!

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

Saving People – In a Flash! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Flash!!) (Or, The Third Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to Night Three of the 12 NIGHTS of Clix-Mas here at Critical Missives, where we’re providing 12 straight nights of ‘Clix content! If you missed Night One, click here! The Second Night of Clix-Mas can be found here.]

"So we've had sets for  Superman, Batman and the Flash. Do I need to start a KickStarter for an all Aqua-set? Who's ready for a Piranha-man Chase?! Anyone? Hello? Is this an audience or a watercolor painting? But seriously... "

So we’ve had sets for Superman, Batman and the Flash. Do I need to start a KickStarter for an all Aqua-set? Who’s ready for a Piranha-man Chase?! Anyone? Hello? Is this an audience or a watercolor painting? But seriously…

Some General Notes About the Set:

Uh, did everyone else catch the irony of the HeroClix set centered around the fastest man alive arriving like three weeks late? Or that my Set Review is equally as late?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Eh, this is about the elapsement of time from release to review as our GotG Top Ten Set Reviews, so I’m going to say its more of an editorial choice than pure laziness on our part.]

Some Flash Facts about the set:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Uh… are all the italics supposed to make the words seem faster?]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yes. And it’s totally working!!]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually… that’s not a bad gimmick for this.]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thank you. Now shush!!]

  • This set brings a new “Speed Force” shared Trait, but the effectiveness of the Trait varies greatly by character. For example, FL001B Rival gains Impervious, the ability to deal Penetrating Damage, Energy Shield/Deflection and Hypersonic Speed after gaining just 3 Speed Force tokens. FL202 The Flash can literally run off the edge of the map to the other side AND BACK AGAIN by removing just a single token. Meanwhile, FL003 Jesse Quick needs three Speed Force tokens just to get Toughness and Super Strength. You can see a real difference there. Something else to consider is that by the time you’ve built up enough Speed Force tokens to use some of the bigger powers, the game might well be over. Professor Zoom has a power that requires ten freaking tokens. In a 300 point game you will probably have either lost or won before you have more than 3 tokens. Most opposing teams won’t last long enough for you to get 5 hits in with a single character.
  • Flash has some real stinkers (FL002 Max Mercury) and some real winners (FL046 Harley Quinn). Overall, most of the set is pretty playable. With only 2 characters in the 200 point range it seems like it should be great for Sealed, in particular.
  • The set delivered a bunch of Hypersonic pieces, but it also delivered a lot of anti-speedster figures as well. FL028 Tarpit and FL049R Midnighter will stop a speedster or keep him in place, respectively. FL042 Fallout and FL015 Rag Doll punish Hypersonic attackers in particular. FL044 Savitar will cripple anyone who relies on the Speed Force as a way of life and FL031 Turtle will cripple any strategy that doesn’t involve going really, really freaking slow (or using a lot of TK to move around the board).
  • On the negative side, wouldn’t it have been fun if they had more of a Black Lantern sub-theme in this set to go with FL206 Captain Boomerang and FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)? FL051 Elongated Man was already in this set. There was space at the end of his dial for a Black Lantern resurrection the similar to what Captain Boomerang has on his dial. It’s a real missed opportunity. It also would have been a great way to include several characters in the set that needed Modern versions. They could have had 2 point costs with a normal dial and then a Black Lantern dial at the end. Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Firestorm come to mind right away. These could even have filled in the “missing” chase slots. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I LOVE this idea!! A Black Lantern Chase sub-theme definitely would have had me buying more packs. I hadn’t thought of this, but now that you bring it up, it’s probably all I’ll be able to think about during my next Flash Sealed Event. Damn! I mean, did we really need more Trinity of Sin versions ONE SET BEFORE THE TRINITY WAR SET?! Man. I also like this idea because Flash was such a huge part of Blackest night. Ninwashui, this might be your best idea ever.]
"Hello! We should have been your Chases!"

Hello! We should have been your Chases!

 

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

 

Elongated Man: One time I disguised myself as a vase. For 3 days! Booster Gold: No you didn't. Elongated Man: Okay, maybe not. Who'd want to anyway? Booster Gold: Doesn't Plastic-Man do that all the time?

Elongated Man: “One time I disguised myself as a vase. For 3 days!
Booster Gold: “No, you didn’t.”
Elongated Man: “Okay, maybe not. Who’d want to anyway?”
Booster Gold: “Plastic-Man. Usually in a women’s bathroom.”

5. FL051 Elongated Man – This guy is surprisingly good for his points. Admittedly he won’t be on next year’s Worlds team and you may never see him KO anyone, but he can be a fun support piece. He doesn’t have Willpower, so push through his first click to get him into position. His second click is where the magic happens. That’s the click you’ll use to tie up the opposing team. He shares a power with Groot from the Guardians movie set that lets him tie up characters that aren’t adjacent to him. Combine that with his super Outwit that let’s him draw lines of fire almost anywhere and there are some close combat characters that will be completely powerless against him. For example, if you are facing FL019A The Flash, you simply have to move within one space of him and then you can continuously Outwit Hypersonic Speed. Without outside help, it’s likely Flash won’t move again for the rest of that game.

Captain Thunder

4. FL052 Captain Thunder – This guy has a long dial, lots of damage reducers, and a Stop Click, and each of those attributes go well with his Mystics TA. Unfortunately, in HeroClix it’s very difficult to field a piece that costs 200 points or more that doesn’t also have Outwit protection built-in. Zero range also makes him even more of a risky play. However, in an environment where you aren’t likely to see much Outwit (like Flash sealed), he can really shine.

"Uh, how can we miss you if you never leave?"

Uh, how can we miss you if you never leave?

3. FL025 Golden Glider – For only 60 points she makes 6 squares of hindering terrain every time she moves. These hindering markers last until this character is KOed. You can use this for your team to hide in and your opponent can never make use of these squares at all. Beyond just being normal hindering terrain, they require an opponent to break away when they are adjacent to one of these squares. In a long game your opponent’s movement options could be very limited. If you can find a way to let her ignore characters for movement she could be really nasty. Also, she gets bonus points for being Captain Cold’s brother. I’d forgotten about that.

Yup. This is what Google gave me when I asked for a picture of a S.T.A.R. Labs Technician.

Yup. This is what Google gave me when I asked for a picture of a S.T.A.R. Labs Technician.

2. FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician – Pop quiz. Who is the cheapest TK figure in Modern HeroClix? It’s this guy. Okay, now, who is the best cheap medic in modern HeroClix? That’s actually DOFP016 Moira MacTaggert, but I would say this guy on click 2 is in second place. Add to that his ability to give someone Precision Strike and we have a real winner in the support category.

Hmmm... why wasn't this the sculpt?

Hmmm… why wasn’t this the sculpt?

1. FL030 Thorn – With a first click that has Charge, Flurry, BCF, Combat Reflexes, Shape Change, and Stealth for only 65 points she was an easy inclusion on this list. The fact that her Shape Change gets better and starts healing her once she takes a hit is just gravy. The only thing keeping her out of the top 10 is that FL046 Harley Quinn is also 65 points and fills a similar role.

 

Sadly there are still some Flash characters that have yet to be clixed...  [EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly?!]

Sadly, there are still some Flash characters that have yet to be clixed…
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sadly?]

My Top 10 Figures of the Set:

 

Apollo

10. FL048 Apollo – Any time you see a printed 19 Defense for under 300 points, you should pay attention. Apollo also brings Outwit protection that is sorely needed given his high cost. What sets him apart is that he has Hypersonic, Improved Targeting, Precision Strike, Invincible and Super Senses on his first click. The lack of Willpower on a 200 point character is frustrating, but you could do a lot worse than a team up with FL049R Midnighter.

"Boys, my ocular units are up here."

Boys, my ocular units are up here.

9. FL060R Engineer – With her ability to choose her own powers, she makes a wonderful support character. Running shot and Pulse wave or Hypersonic and Super Strength are great on offense. On defense you can still use Stealth and Shape Change to go along with her Toughness. I recommend the 90 point version over the 175 point version due solely to the existence of GOTG062 Super Skrull. At that 170+ point level Super Skrull is just better.

Kingdom COme Flash

8. FL050 The Flash – This guy can have up to a 20 Movement and he’s dangerous all the way through his dial. With Willpower and his incredibly high Movement there are characters who literally won’t be able to catch this guy. His double attack up front also helps justify his point cost. He’s good on his own, but with some Perplex to his Damage value he should end games very quickly. He’d make a real good Puddin’ for Ms. Harley Quinn.

Pssshh. Rainbow Raider was Geoff Johns REAL inspiration for the War of Light!!

Pssshh. Rainbow Raider was Geoff Johns’s REAL inspiration for the War of Light!!

7. FL026 Rainbow Raider – For a character with 7 range, a full dial of Stealth, and 7 clicks of life, he’s very cheap by today’s standards. I think he plays best by Pushing to click 2 off the bat and being a ranged sniper. An 11 Attack and 3 Damage Value is great for sub 75 points. And then there is his Trait. If I told you that he gave your best figure a mostly permanent +1 to all stats, you’d be wondering why he isn’t on the watch list. Consider that what he really does is give your opponents best figure -1 to all its stats and you’ll see that his Trait is just about as good as the crazy broken Trait I just made up. Then he really gets nuts when you realize he might affect your opponent’s whole team.

Jenny SParks

6. FL061 Jenny Sparks – She is a capable attacker for her point cost, but it’s her Trait that really gets my attention. She is the one way in this game to get past powers that “can’t be countered or ignored“. Think about how often you see that phrase on really good powers that are on really good figures. The IIM103 Absorbing Man that is made of Uru metal folds like tin foil against this piece. WOL107 Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) and WOL026 Sodam Yat might not ever see their Ion clicks when they are facing Jenny Sparks. That’s right, she disables all Stop Clicks! Think about that. I mean, really, THINK ABOUT THAT!!

"Man... why does every portal end on top of Batman?"

“Man… why does every portal I go through always end on top of Batman?”

5. FL045 Etrigan the Demon –  If you are paying 135 points for just the six Demon Clicks, he’s not that impressive. At least not until you realize the Demon’s self healing potential. Your opponent might see those 6 clicks several times over and take Mystics damage for every hit. No matter how hurt the Demon gets, if he is alive, he can be back to full health in 2 turns. When you consider that he has Invincible to start, your opponent will need to focus fire or risk not being able to KO the Demon at all. Best of all, the sculpt kicks butt.

Harley Quinn Baseball Bat

4. FL046 Harley Quinn – With Combat Reflexes, Super Senses and Stealth, she has great defensive options at her disposal. She is also the second cheapest figure in the game to start with Penetrating Poison (behind only Red Lantern Recruit). She also has Outwit with 5 Range, so you could try to stay hidden and make them come to you. Best of all she falls in love easily. Her ability to make anyone her Puddin’ turns a very good figure into an outstanding figure.

Captain Cold

3. FL038 Captain Cold – When you look at his dial without his Trait you see 10 Attack and 3 Damage and you’d think that was a pretty good 85 point dial. Then you do look at his Trait. Then you realize the Ice Block Markers don’t go away. What? I’ve played against him once where I was fielding a Hydra Team lead by DP103 Wolverine, Agent of Hydra. Captain Cold moved into Range and ice blocked Wolverine without needing to make an Attack Roll. Wolverine never moved for the rest of the game. There are a lot of characters out there who can literally be Ice Blocked and just plain ignored thereafter. Captain Cold is well worth his 100 points.

zoom-blacklantern Rival Flash

2. Prime Speedsters (FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern), FL037B Dark Flash, FL001B Rival) – Listed in order from best to worst. I cheated a little with this entry but it’s not like you can ever play them all on the same team. And if I had listed them separately they would have all made my top 10 and pushed other figures out. Here they are in a Flash:

  • FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)– The best all around Prime. He has three ways to heal himself and Willpower for only 120 points. He also has great offense when you can remove a token. He also has the great monster and Black Lantern Keywords. His major weakness is that you’ll want to remove a Speed Token for the extra damage every attack and that will make it impossible to save them up for better Speed and Regeneration.
  •  FL037B Dark Flash- For 110 points you lose Willpower but you gain 4 top dial Damage. He has the best starting dial without Speed Tokens and only 2 tokens makes all his Damage Penetrating. He also has the best keywords with Teen Titans and Justice League. He doesn’t need to remove tokens for attacking, but he will for Regeneration. His major weakness is that if he has to Regenerate more than once he will likely lose his Penetrating Damage.
  • FL001B Rival – For 105 points he is the hardest of the Primes to get started. He has the best defensive powers, but with starting Charge he practically requires a support figure with TK to put up a good fight. Once he gets that first token things change for him quickly. Hypersonic Speed and Energy Shield/Deflection really bring up his power level. If he can make it to 3 Speed tokens then he additionally gains full Penetrating Damage and Impervious! If he’s still on his first click at that point he has Super Senses, Shape Change, Impervious, and Energy Shield/Deflection. Just to hit that guy you’ll need to plow through an 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection, and Rival’s controller still gets 3 shots at rolling a 5 or a 6 to nullify your attack! Rival is the hardest of the three Primes to start with but is also the most powerful when he has Speed Tokens.

Question_Prime_Earth_0001

1. FL064 The Question – Let me compare this version of the question to the last version (WKD-008 Question), because that is still one of the best pieces in the Modern age.

One of the reasons the last version of the Question was so good was because you could sub in a power that appeared anywhere on his dial in place of one currently there. He could only use 4 powers at a time, but one of the 4 could be tailored to the situation. The new Question can’t pick powers to add, but his first click has 8 Standard Powers on it! Toughness, Charge, Shape Change, Stealth, Poison, Precision Strike, Super Senses and Outwit. Do you really need to pick more powers if you already have that many?

The Stats and cost are similar between both the old and new version of the Question. I love the older versions double Perplex that prevented the other teams from using Perplex, but the new version has the power to subtract an action token from itself every time it uses Outwit. The other team might not be playing anyone with Perplex, but most teams run at least 1 figure vulnerable to Outwit and that could let this figure act every turn! In addition, the new version has Traited Toughness, and if he is played with the Phantom Stranger he gains Quintessence as well! All this makes the new figure superior to the old figure, which should easily make it the best figure in this set.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: And that will do it for Night 3 of Clix-Mas here at Critical Missives! We’ll see you right here tomorrow for a look at some potential issues with the game and what we’d do to fix them!!]

Say Geronimo! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 11/23/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello again! It’s been a solid month since we last rounded up everything there is to, y’know, round up! And, given that Thanksgiving is just about here, I figured everyone could use a Turkey Day Roundup!

So what’s been going on this last 30 days? Well, War of Light is finally done (at least at most venues); The Flash has finally released (after just a one week delay); and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies should finally be out now at a Target or hobby store near you (or be coming very soon–depends on where you live, it seems).

All of which means we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going with…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; last week, in Episode 71, they opened up their Meta Toolbox to talk about all the Modern Age resources in the context of the Meta! And as a special Holiday bonus, they’ve ALREADY released Episode 72!

Yours truly was lucky enough to finish in the Top 4 of their Dial Design contest this month; if you want to get in on the action, December’s Dial Design should start around November 30th.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27 is still the most recent ep of The Quarry. The ROC tab on HCRealms has a link to upcoming events and vaguely mentions an Episode 28, but damned if I can find it!

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an October or November ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Just announced on the Heroclix.com Downloads tab: there is going to be a “Spider-Man Symbiotes” Monthly Op Kit in May of next year! Looks like there’ll be 3 different versions of Venom!

–No other current Previews, but that’s to be expected as they JUST released Flash. I’d expect no real previews until WizKids’s annual 12 Days of Clix-Mas promotion, where we’ll get a look at next year’s offerings like Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble and both Avengers: Age of Ultron offerings!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

So, we’ve gone on and on about the new R.O.C. Format, but sometimes I think we don’t put enough emphasis on choosing the best supporting characters for the Primary Attacker that you’ve chosen. Let’s take a look at how adding or subtracting a single supporting character can drastically alter a Build in this environment!

First, let’s look at the Iron Pharaoh Build from ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!

"Oh! Golden Falcon, no! I just polished this armor!"

“NO! Golden Falcon, I just polished this armor!”

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle 50

=300 Points

What This Build Does:

It slows everything down!! Which, as everyone knows by now, is fantastic for pieces like Iron Pharaoh and Fantomex (who can’t really be played in the current format because E.V.A. is a bystander token, which is illegal in “No Tactics” formats). But the fact that Shaman disables flying and Turtle limits people to moving just 4 squares or less (unless they want to take an additional action token) is just an insane combo. And if you win Map Roll (which will happen roughly 50% of the time, since there are no Themed Team Bonuses), Ryut should be a nightmare for most teams you’ll face. Weasel is the best supporting piece (offers a very limited Prob, +1 to Attack and Range and Enhancement) in the game for Ranged-based attackers, and Thule Society Priest is just there to get pushed into another Prob’r.

Okay, now that we know what the default Build does, let’s change the roster a bit!

This is what's known as a 'Dark Future.' (See what I did there?)

This is what’s known as a ‘Dark Future.’ (See what I did there?)

Team Name: “She Blinded Me With Science!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

FL031 Turtle 50

SLOSH004 Science Police Officer 45

=297 Points

What This Build Does (Differently): This is a Ninwashui variant. Okay, so we lost our main supporting piece (Weasel) and our secondary supporting/tie-up piece (Thule Society Priest), but we added Science Police Officer. What does this do? Well, it slows down the damage Iron Pharaoh can do by about 20%-25% (basically 3 instead of 4). You can make up for this a little bit by constantly keeping Shaman within range and line of fire of Iron Pharaoh, so he can use his Perplex there. But Science Police Officer combos really brutally with Turtle. Science Police Officer’s top dial Damage Special (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) means that your opponents best attackers are at risk of shutting themselves down before you even attack them!

Let’s run down everything your opponent has to deal with BEFORE you’ve even attacked them (assuming they don’t Copycat away Shaman–which is an unlikely matchup, but not an impossible one):

1. They can’t fly (after Shaman’s “No Flights” ability goes off);

2. They can’t move more than 4 squares at a time UNLESS they want to take a second action token or take 1 Penetrating Damage.

3. If they do try and burst through with one big move and attack (via Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, etc.), they take an UNAVOIDABLE DAMAGE in addition to the extra action token/penetrating damage from Turtle!

With all this SLOWNESS going on, you should have plenty of time to get your Golden Falcon into position to start dropping 3 Damage Outwit Bombs!

 

What We’ve Learned:

While both Builds should be competitive no matter who you play, the first Build is fairly aggressive in terms of lining up its shots (with Weasel, Shaman and the available Probs, you’re trying to line up a 4-5 Damage shot that won’t miss after Outwitting a character’s Defense slot).

The second Build is more of a “take the opportunities that my opponent gives me” sort of army, where you’re basically turning the whole map into a spider’s web and waiting for your opponent to get themselves “stuck” (double-tokened and damaged).

That’s two nearly identical Builds with two significantly different styles of play based solely on which supporting character you choose to use!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Just in case May 2015 wasn’t going to be a busy enough month for Marvel fans (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; a ton of different Marvel Heroclix sets), that’s also the month that is currently set to be the premiere month for Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s new Netflix shows.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats!

Show: Daredevil

Showrunner: Drew Goddard (first two episodes); Steven S. DeKnight (current showrunner)

Known Regular Cast:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock: Charlie Cox

Karen Page: Deborah Ann Wolf

Foggy Nelson: Elden Hensen

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin: Vincent D’Onofrio

Claire Temple/Night Nurse (?): Rosario Dawson

Vanessa Marianna: Ayelet Zurer

Known Notable Guest Stars/Recurring Cast:

Stick: Scott Glenn

Ben Urich: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Leland Owlsley: Bob Gunton

Hachiro: Peter Shinkoda

Daredevil will go for at least one season of 13 episodes, with the character currently expected to play a major role in a planned “Defenders” mini-series which would feature all of Marvel’s Hells Kitchen-based heroes teaming up in an Avengers-like fashion.

It is entirely too early to know whether we’ll get a second season of Daredevil and/or when that would premiere. As of now, even the “Defenders” show is somewhat theoretical; if they four lead-up series bomb, you can bet Marvel and Netflix will find a way to can the mini-series.

On the other hand, if Daredevil is wildly successful (and only Netflix and Disney will really have any idea, since digital distribution success is almost impossible for folks outside the industry to determine), I’d expect Marvel to go ahead with both “The Defenders” AND a second season of Daredevil. And possibly even start added some mystical heroes to the Netflix slate, starting with Blade and Ghost Rider.

–The second Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil will be the as-yet-unofficially-titled Jessica Jones series. Casting has begun, with rumors swirling around who will play both Jessica Jones AND recurring guest star (and star of Marvel’s third Netflix series) Luke Cage!!

For the next Weekly Roundup, I’m going to start compiling season-long episode guides of current genre TV shows, starting with…

 

Gotham Title

 

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Annnnd, welcome back to the latest feature category for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

For any who have forgotten, this is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about interesting upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–RIW Hobbies in Livonia is hosting a Sealed Draft of War of Light on 12/05!!

–If you’re looking to try D&D Attack Wing, Month One of the Tyranny of Dragons OP is happening at Eternal Games in Warren on 12/06.

–Annnd, one week later, Eternal Games is running a really cool event that they’re calling War of Light: Month 7! This will happen on 12/13 @ 1pm, and will feature a 600-Point Constructed tournament as well as Battle Royal side events throughout the day!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–We were ROC’ing the Meta this past couple weeks. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here!

Coming up in the next week, we should have a Comics & More War of Light: Month 6 Battle Report PLUS both my AND Ninwashui’s Flash Top Ten Reviews!

And that’s it for this week!! Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo… PART 2!! (Or, a Look at Where the Meta Might Be Heading!!)

"Hmmm... well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday... "

“Hmmm… well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday… “

[To Be Read In Your Best Kiefer Sutherland Voice]

Previously, on Critical Missives:

 

Bill Agent of Aim Soranik Natu Void Tomar Tu Despotellis

–‘Anakin, NO!’

–‘Iron Pharaoh is still a thing, going forward.’

Abin Sur Kyle Raynor ION 2 Shatterstar Helspont

–‘Hail Hydra!

–‘Highfather is a losing strategy.’

ROC  "I;m back?! My dear, I never left!" Krampus 2

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

—————————————————————

 

And Now… The Conclusion.”

 

Whew!! Okay! Now that we’re all caught up, let’s look at some figs that ain’t what they used to be when it comes to the ROC, and some figs that people should be looking really closely at that haven’t yet had their day in the sun. Finally, we’ll talk a bit about what we can expect to show up in the Meta now that FLASH has been released!

 

Ain’t What They Used to Be Division:

This is what a good idea poorly executed looks like.

Suuuuure you do, Sweetie…

–DP038 Copycat: Wow. Some idiot was predicting doom and gloom for this ROC season because Copycat would dominate in an environment without Resources and Entities. What’s that? Oh, it was me? And what’s happened (at least so far)? Copycat is nowhere to be seen? Oh. And the lesson, as always? I’m an idiot?

Yup!

So, every now and then, some jackass will Copycat in a ROC now, but they won’t advance even into the Top 8. Why? Well, it’s because of the Construct ability that lets you start with the Nurse on a piece like Abin Sur or Tomar Tu. And Construct pieces are EVERYWHERE! And because of this, if you’re running a Copycat, it’s useless to switch, because your opponent will just put her in a horrible position and then Regenerate (remember, any attachments or effects on the targeted character transfer to Copycat), thus ending the effect. And if you don’t switch, you’ve got 90 Points (basically a third of your force) that’s next to useless. 90 Points that’s so bad that you thought giving it to your opponent for almost ANY qualifying figure they had was a winning strategy.

It doesn’t help her either that the New Mutants Team Base–her best running buddy–is disallowed in the current format.

So yeah, you may run into one or two teams that you can wreck with Copycat, but more often than not you’re cutting your own throat by playing her in this format. I couldn’t have been more mistaken in where I thought this Meta was heading, and I’ve never been happier to be so wrong!

"He's better than me?Wait, doesn't Speed Demon know that I'M supposed to be the Prime?"

He’s better than me? Wait, doesn’t Speed Demon know that I’M supposed to be the Prime?

–DP053B Whizzer: Hell of a dial. Hell of a power set. Hell of a piece! It’s just that Speed Demon does everything Whizzer does, but better. And without taking up that valuable Prime slot that most folks are using for Brother Voodoo, Tomar Tu or Abin Sur.

Just as a refresher for those of you keeping score at home, let’s talk for a minute about the differences between Whizzer and Speed Demon (you can follow along at HCRealms.com):

–Whizzer ignores Elevated, Water and Blocking Terrain (and Characters, but so does Speed Demon); Speed Demon ignores Hindering Terrain. This is pretty much a wash; you’ll certainly encounter more Hindering Terrain than anything else, but the ability to run up walls or through them, or over water in a pinch with Whizzer is pretty cool. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

–Whizzer can make TWO attacks during his Hypersonic movement, but only during his first two clicks. Speed Demon knows the same trick ON HIS LAST FOUR CLICKS. ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON.

–Whizzer has Indomitable. Speed Demon doesn’t. ADVANTAGE: WHIZZER

–Speed Demon has the Speed Cyclone Uplift Trait, arguably one of the ten best Traits Wizkids has ever made. Whizzer has no Traits. MASSIVE ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON

Whizzer here gets a lil’ closer to his non-Prime brother in a format where keywords don’t matter (Speed Demon’s are waaaay better), but otherwise, save the 10 Points and go with Speed Demon.

FINAL TALLY: Speed Demon wins, 2-1.

And that is why Whizzer is in this category. He was great when the ROC was just starting to roll out, but–especially with almost every team running some sort of Prime secondary figure–Whizzer is just too expensive at the moment, especially since we know how good Speed Demon is now.

"No, I've not seen the Earthen cinema classic 'Basic Instinct.' Why do you ask?"

No, I’ve not seen the Earthen cinema classic ‘Basic Instinct.’ Why do you ask?”

–SLOSH052 Highfather: Actually, I think we discussed him in Part 1! But he’s kind of in the same boat as Copycat for me; if you’re playing a Highfather team, you’re hoping to face one specific kind of team the whole tournament (any Build that revolves around a big bruiser–the more points, the better) that you can basically screw over before the game begins. If you run into a balanced team or really any team with a solid secondary attacker, you’re probably gonna lose. That’s why I think Highfather and Copycat are losing strategies; it’s not that you’ll lose every game, but you have almost no shot to actually win the tournament (or even make a Top 4). And if you’re not playing to win, you’re playing to lose–Ricky Bobby taught us this!

"Bizarro am Meta this season!"

“Bizarro am Meta this season!”

–SLOSH039X Bizarro: Unfortunately, no, Bizarro is not Meta right now. And no, that’s not me saying the reverse of what I actually mean. Bizarro’s still got his un-ignorable Stop Click-y goodness Trait, but without access to Resources, Relics or Entities, he’s a bit more inconsistent in terms of the stats on his dial, and he can’t heal as easily. There’s also been an increase in the number of Meta-Worthy figures who can do damage to him twice in one turn (Speed Demon, Proxima Midnight, etc.).

Now, when Resources, Entities and everything else returns in the second half season, Bizarro will once again be Meta, but until then, he just isn’t going to be a consistent enough performer to structure a team around.

(Having said that, you WILL occasionally see 25 Point Bizarro included in some Builds as a Taxi/Tertiary Attacker. I never loved Bizarro at 25 Points simply because with only 1 Orrazib Token on his card, Bizarro can’t take advantage of his best power–that Traited, un-ignorable Stop Click! But at 25 Points, he’s kinda like a pull on a slot machine–if you roll him onto one of his best clicks, you can do some serious damage for very little Build cost.)

 

Modern Age Figures That Have So Far Been Ignored in the ROC:

 

Speed Demon

DP053A Speed Demon: So far, ROC results indicate that strong ranged-base pieces are at the center of the Meta right now. But Hypersonic Speed came back in a big way this year (more on that later), and as of yet seems really untapped! And of all the great speedsters WizKids released this year, Speed Demon is pound for pound the best of the lot! He’s placed in ROC Top 8’s before, and even in this format, I don’t see why he can’t be dominant again. As always, it’s his awesome 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.) that lets him potentially deal damage twice in one turn (or up to three times a turn down dial!). The fact that his Trait can go off without having to make an attack roll is just awesome, and it’s a great way to deal with potentially problematic figs like Despotellis who have Defense Values that are really tough to reach.

Also, at 110 Points, he can be used as either a Primary Attacker or a Secondary Attacker, depending on which way you want to go with your build.

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

–007B Captain Marvel: So, this was kind of an omission from Part One, since he has shown up on multiple ROC teams, but we’ll talk about him here. Captain Marvel Prime is stupidly, ridiculously good. He was #1 on my GotG Top Ten Review, and he’s only gonna grow in popularity. His usefulness knows almost no bounds; he offers taxi services, Running Shot, 6 Range, Energy Explosion, Pen/Psy and Incapacitate, and if he hits with any of those attacks, the hit character CANNOT ATTACK during the next turn. He also has an 18 Defense with uncounterable Defend and Super Senses, and he adds +1 to the Defense of any non-Kree. Whew!! That’s a ton of stuff for only 82 Points!

His only drawback is his RELATIVELY short Range of 6 and his lack of Indomitable. That’s it. Try teaming him with AVX007 Black Panther and some other supporting folks to grant him Willpower to unleash his full potential!

Maxwell_Dillon_(Earth-2149)

–DP064 Electro: Zombie Chase Electro! Yay! In addition to being fun to play, Zombie Electro here has the potential to deal boatloads of damage. His attack isn’t necessarily consistently high enough to to be a Primary Attacker, but he’s damn dangerous as a secondary attacker. Try teaming him with Meta staples Super-Skrull and Headpool to get the most out of him. Either one will gives Virus tokens to any opposing character they hit, and once that happens, Electro can zap them from any square on the map as long as they’re within his Range–line of fire is no longer required! Also, Zombie Super-Skrull, Zombie Electro and Headpool is 298 Points, so they all fit together!

"I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate... Y'all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!"

“I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate… Y’all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!”

–IIM040 Shaman: Okay, I’ve been pitching this guy as a Secondary Attacker/Support piece for over a year now, but he is still REALLY good. And his “No Flights” ability can really screw over some Builds, especially on certain maps. We’ll have a Build featuring this guy, Iron Pharaoh and some NEW blood a little bit later!

"Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!"

“Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!”

–CATWS Captain America and Black Widow: Get this Duo some TK and Perplex and let them go to work. They have Traited Stealth and can see and move through Hindering themselves. Duo attack plus Precision Strike is nice. Sidestep + Improved Movement: Ignores Characters is also awesome! The best part about these two is that they only cost you 130 Points, which is really low for everything they offer. With the right supporting pieces, they can be straight deadly!

 

And What to Expect From The Flash:

 

Well, I don’t want to step on our Flash Top Ten Reviews coming later this month, but this is a really solid set, and there’s more than a few figures you’re going to have to know if you have hopes of competing in the ROC!

 

Turtle

–FL031 Turtle: I love this figure! His Trait is so flavorful, and I love that his name is Turtle and that he, y’know, helps your team “turtle.” He gives you a Stealthy Outwitter for 50 Points, but the best reason to play him is his Trait (Slowness as a Way of Life: Turtle can use plasticity. when another character moves at least 5 squares and actions resolve, give them an action token. if you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage.), which pairs absolutely PERFECTLY with that Iron Pharaoh/Shaman team I mentioned earlier:

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!

Theme: N/A

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110 Points

IIM040 Shaman92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle50

=300 (Exactly! Yay!)

How to Play: This works like any other Pharaoh team. If you win Map Roll, you want to choose Wundagore Mountain (from AvX) or any other map that is a bear to cross. Hole up in your Starting Area, send out your Falcon, stop anyone else from flying with Shaman and destroy any who would oppose you. And with Turtle’s Trait, the faster they try and get to you, the longer it will actually take.

You’ll have 2 Outwits (IP, Turtle), 1 Perplex (Shaman), Enhancement (Weasel) and the possibility of a Prob Control (Thule Society Priest on his last click). Weasel will also pump up Iron Pharaoh’s Attack by 1 and let him reroll if Iron Pharaoh misses by 1! When the enemy closes in, Shaman makes a decent Secondary Attacker. Alternatively, his Defense Special (GLACIAL WALL: Shaman can use Barrier and Energy Shield/Deflection. When he uses Barrier, the blocking terrain markers can’t be targeted with an attack by characters marked with one or more action tokens.) lets him pump out an improved Barrier. Thule Society Priest can also be used as a tie-up/annoyance piece, especially since he can copy Mystics from Shaman and deal an unavoidable damage to whichever opposing figure has to spend an action killing him.

Now, Flash has also seen the release of Jack Hawksmoor, an Authority character who has a Trait that deals 1 Penetrating Damage to any character still in a Starting Area during Turn 3 or later. To me, though, this is hardly a deterrent to playing a Pharaoh team. Moving Pharaoh (especially with Shaman as a Taxi) and the rest of the team just outside their own starting area in the first couple turns is child’s play, and sometimes it leads to even better positioning for “turtling” (depending on the Map). At the end of the day, all Jack Hawksmoor is really going to stop is Blind Al.

So there ya go! The Slowest Team Ever Devised!! And its main flaw–it’s not a Themed Team–doesn’t matter in the current ROC format because Themed Team rules are not in effect!

–Finally, keep an eye out for FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician (possibly the best pure all around support piece in the game right now!); FL202 Flash (once he gets going, there’s almost no safe place on the map for your opponent!); FL053B Zoom (the Prime; he’s a beast who can use Blades/Claws/Fangs AND either Flurry OR Exploit Weakness WHILE HE’S USING HYPERSONIC SPEED! Yup! Another piece who can attack twice in a turn. AND he’s a Black Lantern!); and FL050 Flash (aka Kingdom Come Flash; once he gets some Speed Force tokens going, he can absolutely END even some of the hardiest figures IN ONE TURN!).

Kingdom Come Flash's KO rate when using his "Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?" special Attack Power.

Kingdom Come Flash’s KO rate when using his “Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?” special Attack Power.

For more specifics on exactly why you need to be ready for these pieces and more, check out our Flash Top Ten Review coming later this month!

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

 

 

 

A Really Long Reply: Skye’s Father and Other Random Thoughts…

This started off as a really long comment/reply to Hypefox’s last Mid-Weekly Roundup. With everything he brought up, my reply ended up being long enough to be it’s own article.

What follows is in no particular order…

Agents of Shield Title

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D:

–I read an article today theorizing that the Inhumans are coming to Agents of S.H.I. E.L.D. . The author theorized that the blue alien that healed Coulson was a Kree and that Skye was an Inhuman. That’s why Skye shared some DNA with the blue alien (being that the Inhumans were the result of Kree genetic experiments on humans). They also theorized that the obelisk is actually a Terrigan Crystal. Various characters in the series have also mentioned several times that Skye and her father were from the Himalayas. That was the original location of the home of the Inhumans (before it moved to the moon and before it blew up). Now, the author of the article thought Skye’s father would either be Mr. Hyde (retconned to now be an Inhuman), Maximus, or the Unspoken! The first one would make Skye into “Daisy” from Marvel’s Secret Warriors and the last two would actually make Skye part of the Inhuman royal family!

My guess?

I think it will turn out that Mr. Hyde will be Skye’s father. There is talk of an Inhumans movie and if that’s true then Mr. Hyde would be the least likely character that would be needed for such an endeavor, which in turn would mean that the showrunners would have free rein to do whatever they wanted to with the character. That’s why I think Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t feature more recognizable super people–they didn’t know which characters would and would not be needed for MCU films in the near future. Having a major villain debut on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much ensures that character won’t make it into the movies (at least not in any meaningful way, i.e. the primary antagonist).

Can you imagine if, say, a Hawkeye movie featured as the main villain someone that Phil Coulson’s team fought (and ostensibly beat) during an episode of MAoS? There could definitely be a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ to the proceedings, which could cause ticket sales to suffer, which is just about the last thing you would want for a tentpole flick that would cost a minimum of $150 million to produce.

However, if the MCU movies used some of the characters who were first established on TV (or, say, one of the upcoming Netflix series) to fill in the edges of some of their stories, well, that could be really cool. For example, if, say, Absorbing Man showed up as bit player in the next Avengers movie then I think that would drive the up popularity of both media, and would make the TV series “matter” in the movie universe. Can you imagine Avengers 2 opening with the already-established-on-Agents-of-S.H.I.E.L.D.-Absorbing Man fighting the Hulk in Times Square before the opening credits? Then Ultron reveals him himself after the Avengers assemble post-fight back at the tower. I don’t think they’ll do it, but it’s awesome to think about. Really, the possibilities for this sort of thing are endless…

 

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

Celebrate-Gate…

 The Detroit Lions – These guys have been known in years past (really every other year previous to now) to lead fans on and make them start to believe only to yank the football away at the last second like Lucy does with Charlie Brown. Their defense this year will be remembered as one of the best the team has ever had. The offense will likely not be remembered at all. They won their latest game in incredible fashion, or more accurately the Falcons lost their latest game in incredible fashion. On the plus side this week no major player injured themselves celebrating, and our field goal kicker proved he can actually make a field goal if you give him a free do-over. Seriously I would love it if Jason Hanson came back. I think the Lions are getting kickers from the same place that the Tigers get closers.

 

Avengers_Assemble_TV_series

Marvel Cartoon Series – I don’t have any new news here. I just wanted to bring these to your attention in case you haven’t been checking them out. When Marvel connected everything in their movie universe by releasing the Avengers, the cartoon universe made that same move. In 2013, the current (at that time) Avengers cartoon was based off of the comics. It was replaced by Avengers Assemble, which started in episode one with the events of the Avengers movie. From there it diverges wildly (like adding falcon to the team in episode 1), but it’s nice for new viewers to have the movie starting point. Being in cartoon form also allows them to do things that wouldn’t fly in the movies – like having Dracula (yes that Dracula) be a reoccurring villain.  Avengers Assemble also connects with Ultimate Spider-man and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in the same cartoon Universe. This allows them to guest star characters frequently between series and keep the same voice actors for characters regardless of show. For example, Iron Man is always voiced by Adrian Pasdar (who is also Glen Talbot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) regardless of which of the shows he’s appearing on at the time. That inter-connectedness makes it cool.

 

redbox

On Blu-Ray this month – I’ve got kids so I miss a ton of movies in theatres. I took a chance and rented Godzilla this week. I loved Pacific Rim and I was hoping this would be similarly fun. That ended up not being the case. The director made the incomprehensible decision to shoot the movie with realistic lighting conditions. Like maybe the monsters would be a lot scarier if you couldn’t really see them. Except in other movies that do that there is something else for the viewers to watch. This was just dark and hard to see. Can you imagine if the original Star Wars used realistic lighting conditions and you could barely see the Death Star the whole movie? Ridiculous. The plot also was absurd and that’s coming from someone who thought the Mathew Brodrick version was decent. HISHE has a wonderful spoof on this movie. The part with the “let them fight” line was dead on.

I’m hoping to rent The Edge of Tomorrow and 1000 Ways to Die in the West soon. I have higher hopes for those movies.

 

The_Flash_(2014_TV_series)_logo

The Entire Flash set Versus Speed Demon – They’ve revealed five Hypersonic Speed-based character dials for The Flash set so far. While they each have some interesting powers, they all require you to hit an opponent before you can really do anything special. There are faster pieces in this set, but so far it looks like Speed Demon will remain the best Hypersonic HeroClix character [EDITOR’S NOTE: All characters get better with Entities, obviously, but he is damn near broken! Ion is great with him; Ophidian might be just as good, if not better (keep in mind, if you can find a way to give Speed Demon Sidestep, his Trait still activates! So in addition to your normal attack and first Speed Cyclone Uplift victim, if you’re careful enough with your positioning, you would have a 1 in 6 chance to do another 1 damage to an opposing figure. That’s three freaking chances to deal damage to opposing figures, and two of them don’t even need attack rolls. Sick, sick SICK!!]

On an unrelated note, FL204 Central City Police Captain has a power that reads “LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT: When building your force, all characters with the Police keyword have the Central City keyword.” With the Batman and Streets of Gotham sets still being legal, Police teams might be a thing again. As always, stay tuned…

 

Krampus

Team of the week – I’ve had reason to study the Krampus/Helspont combo recently and I’m finding the only teams truly resistant are teams that feature a tent pole that costs over 199 points (because Helspont can’t switch with them). To that end I put together this quick team.

“Deadpool is Just the Man to Teachethetheth Thee.”

  • DP055 Deadpool (w/DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?”)
  • TDW011 Fandral
  • FIR100 The Book of the Skull
  • FIR107 Angrir’s Hammer
  • Total = 299 points

If someone tries to “Krampus” this team they won’t be able to touch Deadpool due to his point cost.  That leaves Fandral. Fandral can use his perplex to raise his defense by one and then Krampus would need hit a 20 defense to get his Capture. It’s still very possible Krampus makes that roll, but it’s a certainly not a “lock”. That’s not really even the worst part for the Krampus player. If Helspont switches with Fandral, he’ll end up double tokened next to Deadpool. Deadpool has outwit, pulse wave, and an attack of 14. He’s not going to miss except on snake eyes. Helspont will be near the end of his dial very quickly.

Against non-Krampus teams, Deadpool is still a killer and Fandral is still a very competent backup attacker. If Fandral rolls low on Blades then Deadpool gets a free close combat attack via Fandrals’s Feint special power . If Fandral rolls high on Blades, then he rolls high on Blades. Isn’t that enough?

The approach on the battlefield against other teams might hurt because Deadpool only has a six range, but once you close with another team you will be incredibly deadly.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Any team using the Yellow Power Battery has the possibility to give Krampus fits as well, provided your figures are over 79 Points. The Hal Jordan Parallax team from the first “Let’s Be Lanterns” should be able to mop the floor with a Krampus/Helspont team. Having said that, yeah, there’s not a lot that effectively counters Krampus/Helspont. Props to you again, Andrew!]

Well, that’s it for now. Man, that was a lot of randomness that I just scribbled down. I feel like Larry King! Now if only I got paid like him…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry. Not gonna happen.]

Damn.