Hello again! We’re back for Part 2 of our countdown of the best 10 Named Keywords in Modern Age… RIGHT NOW!!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you missed numbers 10-6 and want to catch up, click here!]
We Are Legion!: 32 pieces with 37 different dials (Man-Thing alone has 3!).
Uncle Sam Wants You!: None that I am aware of.
Also Known As: Yup. And, just like the Heroes for Hire ATA, it costs 8 points per character and it’s pretty awesome. Basically, at the beginning of the game, you choose any other Marvel TA (that’s not an ATA, Wild Card TA or an uncopyable TA), and everyone with the Thunderbolts keyword on your team gets that Team Ability. In most cases, this means that you’re choosing Mystics or Avengers Initiative, but you don’t have to decide until the game begins, which means you can scope out your opponent’s team and choose the TA that will be most helpful.
Is your opponent playing some short-dialed pieces that hit hard? Choose Mystics. Are you playing against a Batman Family theme team? Choose Avengers TA. Are you playing a Punisher or Deadpool-led ranged attacking team? Maybe Hydra or S.H.I.E.L.D. will do the trick. Do you want everyone on your team to have Phasing/Teleport? Well… you can’t. Cuz Serpent Society is no longer an official Team Ability–like Morlocks, it is now an ATA and, thusly, sadly ineligible to be copied. All of which just goes to prove my theory:
Germans love David Hasselhoff WizKids hates the Serpent Society!
Working Together!: No team base, although, oddly, several of their pieces (Red Hulk, Deadpool) fit on the Avengers Team Base.
Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: None.
Straight, With Chaser: None.
Shadow of the Colossus: None (Sheessh! How ’bout some more Thunderbolts love, WizKids? We need a Colossal Atlas! Well, not really… ).
Micro Machines: A lot of great pieces under 100 Points, but only 1 dial that qualifies for this: Fast Forces Rookie Mercy, who clocks in at an even 50 Points.
Who Let You In?!: Has to be Kuurth, from Fear Itself. Sure the Juggernaut was a member of the Thunderbolts, but I don’t remember too much Thunderboltin’ around by ol’ Juggs when he was the thrall of the Serpent! Weird that this version of Juggernaut would have the Thunderbolts keyword.
Why Thunderbolts Is #5: Cuz I like them just a tiny bit better than Heroes for Hire, a group with which they share a good many key members. But after the HfH ATA nerf, you’re usually better off playing most of these pieces as Thunderbolts. Plus, you gain access to some Meta pieces like Bullseye, who’s tough to play on a Modern Age Themed Team any other way now that Entities have been nerfed (unless you want to team him with Convention Exclusive Moonstone, M10 Green Goblin or–nope, that’s it. Those are ALL your Modern Age Dark Avengers choices.).
Having played some of these pieces recently, both the Fast Forces and main set version of Elektra that we got in Deadpool were great, and Venom and Deadpool himself have their uses, but holy gawd is the main set Punisher good. Just playing him for 100 Points is a good move, but playing him on a Themed Team that allows you to give him Avengers Initiative for 8 measly point turns him into an absolutely remorseless killing machine.
Which, I suppose, is comic accurate.
Must Have Pieces: Speed Demon, Bullseye, Deadpool Fast Forces Mercy, Deadpool Main Set Punisher–hell, pretty much all of the Deadpool set.
We Are Legion!: Whoa! 110 figures with over 134 dials between them!! Holy Schnikes, That’s even more than the Avengers.
Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter, although with a roster list that long, they don’t need one.
Also Known As: Until very recently, none. Now? 3 different ones from which to choose: X-Men: Gold, X-Men: Blue & X-Men (Utopia). They’re all kind of utilitarian (they all kind of revolve around positioning and or Leadership), and each one seems to work much better if you have some version of Cyclops on your team. If you want to play a non-Cyclops X-Men Themed Team, maybe don’t worry so much about the ATA’s…
Working Together!: Wow. Not 1 Team Base… not 2… how about 3 FREAKING TEAM BASES!! Good Lord! And if New Mutants wasn’t a keyword in and of itself, they’d have 4!
Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yup! 2. I bet you remember good ol’ Vampire Jubilee from Wolverine and the X-Men; what you may have forgotten is that the Magneto Prime from that very same set (the Rare Prime) ALSO has the X-Men keyword.
Straight, With Chaser: 6. The Phoenix Five Chases from WXM and… Skrull Wolverine from M10!! In larger point games, the Phoenix Five start to get really broken really quickly. In 300 Point games, Rookie Magik is probably your best bet at 150 Points.
Shadow of the Colossus: Dark Phoenix Cyclops, the Grand Prize from AVX! He can be played at 3 different point levels; his 300 Point level is okay, but his 750 Point level and 1000 Point level are especially deadly.
Micro Machines: Four different members are 50 Points or less, including Prime Jubilee and Moira MacTaggert, one of the best healers in the game!
Who Let You In?!: Pretty solid roster, actually, but I’m gonna go with Husk. While she was certainly part of the official X-Men roster for awhile, she always took a back seat to her brother (Cannonball) in terms of notoriety, and her powers were just plain weird (she basically has the power to shed dead skin like a snake, which, um, allows her to, uh, do stuff). You could almost tell that the writers didn’t know what to do with her either, since they eventually just had her go crazy and, then, when she finally got better, they just had her go away.
Why X-Men Is #4: Because, right now, they have pretty much the largest roster in the game. You can go so many different ways with them and still be competitive. Plus, with so many versions, you can probably play your favorite roster and still be squarely in the Modern Age.
People always talk about the great Avengers pieces we got in AVX, but the X-Men did just as well! And Banshee (my #1 Figure from Deadpool) is ridiculously good for his points.
Must Have Pieces: Banshee is a Meta stud, Prime Jubilee, Gambit can fuel some shenanigans, AVX Cyclops, AVX Magneto, Dark Phoenix, Dark Phoenix Cyclops, DoFP Moira MacTaggert.
We Are Legion!: 47 pieces with 51 different dials. This is a sneaky big roster!
Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yes, of a sort. G.W. Bridge will add any character of 150 Points or less to an already existing force of five, provided that the first five characters all share a keyword. In 300 Point games, that’s pretty much gonna be either Soldier or S.H.I.E.L.D., but this Trait starts to get real interesting in larger point games.
Also Known As: Yup! It extends the minimum Range of Outwit, Perplex and Probability Control for just 3 Points per character. It’s incredibly useful, since S.H.I.E.L.D. characters almost always have at least one of those abilities.
Working Together!: No team base.
Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: You betcha! Remember Brother Voodoo? Yup. He’s also got the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Along with Deathlok Prime (heavy hitter from range) and War Machine Prime (heavy hitter from, well, everywhere).
Straight, With Chaser: 2 Chases. The aforementioned Captain America and Black Widow Chase from CATWS, and the, uh, also aforementioned Captain America Skrull Chase from M10.
Shadow of the Colossus: Currently none, but if and when WizKids ever wises up and creates an actual Helicarrier vehicle piece…
Micro Machines: 4. A S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier. 2 different Agents and Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales) from ASM.
Who Let You In?!: As much as I love the character, since when is Sleepwalker an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Why S.H.I.E.L.D. Is #3: Because S.H.I.E.L.D. teams are some of the most effective teams out there, and they cater to a bunch of different play styles. From big bruisers like Iron Man 001 to War Machine Prime, to smaller, tricky pieces like Brother Voodoo and Agent Sitwell.
Speaking of the agents themselves, each one brings a different set of skills to your team. Sitwell offers a Power Action group Perplex and Sidestep to adjacent characters; Agent 13 can cancel any defensive powers used by adjacent opposing characters; Black Widow can steal opposing Themed Team Probs; Nick Fury can steal the placement of opposing objects; Maria Hill can Outwit opposing characters from across the board (under certain circumstances). And so on.
Beyond the fact that many of these figures are not only fun to play but also tourney tested, you’ll find some of the more unique powers in the game belong to pieces with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword.
Must Have Pieces: Brother Voodoo, Captain America and Black Widow, Agent Sitwell, Agent 13, M10 Iron Man, Living Mummy.
2. Justice League
We Are Legion!: 80 separate characters with 111 different dials!
Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter.
Also Known As: 4 separate ATA’s, although Justice League Dark is kinda obsolete (and was only “okay” to begin with).
“Justice League” is actually kind of sneaky good; for a measly 1 Point per character, it pumps up member defenses by +1 whenever they’re attacked by a character with the Wing, Sharpshooter, Indomitable or Giant combat symbols (just think about how many Meta pieces have one of those symbols for a second–almost all of them will have either Wing or Indomitable).
Working Together!: Yup! It was the original OP Team Base that dominated the tourney scene. It’s a bit obsolete now, but really only because we’re just coming off of a ROC season that banned Team Bases.
Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: 2. Dark Flash and The Caped Crusader. Dark Flash is perfectly respectable for his points; The Caped Crusader has seen some tourney play.
Straight, With Chaser: While there is a metric poop-ton of Super Rares on the roster, there isn’t actually a Chase piece.
Shadow of the Colossus: Believe it or not, none (The Bug is a “Giant” figure and Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet–a FREAKING JET, mind you–is considered to be normal-sized.
Micro Machines: 4. Crime Syndicate Fast Forces Atomica, Oracle, Rookie Batgirl… and Autopilot Invisible Jet. By the way… 50 Point Autopilot Invisible Jet HAS 10 CLICKS!! Sure, you say, but it’s just a glorified taxi. Uh, Invisible Jet has Pulse Wave on its last 4 Clicks (Range is 6) and a 10 Attack Value on its last 4! Whaaa… ? For 50 Points? How has this not been used more?
Who Let You In?!: I gotta be honest, I never really “got” Geo-Force. I know he has a 35 year history at this point, but I’ve never thought to myself, “Man, I really want to build a Justice League team from the Ge0-Force era!” I mean, even among his fans, he’s thought of more as an Outsider, no?
Why Justice League Is #2: Because there is elite-level quality all up and down their roster. Yeah, most of that quality is named Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, but so what? Each of those characters has no less than 3 awesome versions in Modern right now (actually, those Tab-App figures weren’t bad either–maybe that should be 4 awesome versions!).
Justice League: Trinity War alone added a 5-star Batman and a 5-star Superman. With the addition of Ultra-Heavy objects to the game, Trinity War Veteran Superman can Hypersonic 12 spaces across the board and potentially deal 8 freaking damage! And he’s backed up by a 19 Impervious. A dial like this probably would have cost 300-350 Points as recently as two years ago, but somehow WizKids thinks he’s fair at 250. I’m not saying Supes will destroy the tourney scene (figures who cost more than 200 Points and are not named “Sentry and Void” tend not to do so well at tournaments), but even with his high cost he is a VALUE for his points. Batman is probably even better (we’ll talk more in depth about both these pieces in our JL:TW Top Ten Set review).
But beyond the Trinity, Justice League has access to really special pieces like JL:TW Lex Luthor, that Team Base, and much more. Big point games simply allow you to use your pieces at full strength, but even in 300 Point games, this keyword is very competitive.
Must Have Pieces: Team Base, JL:TW Batman, JL:TW Superman, Fast Forces Atomica, JL:TW Lex Luthor, Elongated Man and The Flash from Flash.
1. Green Lantern Corps
We Are Legion!: 32 different characters featuring 36 different dials.
Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yup–Ion is a Possessor, so you can induct any Modern Age character you want into the Corps (I’d suggest Speed Demon, but then I always suggest Speed Demon for everything).
Also Known As: 1 ATA, The Green Lantern Honor Guard. At 5 Points per member, it’s actually a pretty expensive and very situational +1 buff to Attack Value.
Working Together!: No Team Base. This could change in the future, as I’m sure fans will clamor for it, but that’s assuming that WizKids even makes Team Bases in the future.
Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Oh, they’ve got Primes. 4 to be exact. Laira Prime was one of the key pieces on the 2014 World Championship winning team, and she’s maybe the THIRD best prime with the keyword. Abin Sur and Tomar Tu are both better; regardless, all FOUR GLC Primes can use the extremely awesome “CONSTRUCT” Trait.
Straight, With Chaser: Ion is the lone Chase, but during his peak, he was going for over $200–he’s that good. As a Possessor, that is.
Shadow of the Colossus: None.
Micro Machines: 2 besides Ion when used as a Possessor. Green Lantern Recruit is pretty good; Abin Sur Prime is probably the best 50 Piece in Modern (although that’s deceiving, since you need to add another 8-10 Points for his Construct Trait).
Who Let You In?!: It’s not that they shouldn’t have made Simon Baz; his WOL LE was great! I just don’t need another, frankly inferior Simon Baz just two sets later.
Why Green Lantern Corps Has to Be #1: Because no other keyword has put more pieces in more high level tournament Top 8’s (ROC, World Championship, etc.). LE Kyle Rayner is almost silly he’s so good. All the WOL Primes are great; Abin Sur and Tomar Tu are ridiculously effective for their points.
The fact that the CONSTRUCT Trait is so good is really what powers their success, especially in ROC tourneys. And they have no less than 11 different pieces that can use that Trait!
Even in tournaments where Resources are allowed, the Green Power Battery interacts so well with their keyword that almost any GLC figure will be able to punch above its weight with ease. If you’re rolling into a major tournament, you better have a plan for dealing with the Corps!
Must Have Pieces: Ion, LE Kyle Rayner, Abin Sur, Tomar Tu, Laira, Parallax (Hal Jordan).
JUST MISSED THE CUT: Justice League of America (too top heavy–lots of quality from the best pieces, but that quality thins out pretty quickly); Justice League Dark (John Constantine is awesome, and the pieces all have synergy with each other, but the roster is simply too thin right now. There’s really only a few different ways to go if you want to be even mildly competitive. Now, if you just want to play some cool figures and have a lot of fun, they’re aces!); Kree (just missed out–again, a lot of synergy, and it’s overflowing with really good Ronan pieces from the GotG Movie Set).
So, there ya go! Those are your Top 10 Named Keywords in Modern Age… RIGHT NOW!! Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments below!
And look for our Justice League: Top 10 Set Review and Second Opinion articles coming later this month!