Wait… That’s Not Superman!! Actually, It’s More Like 16 of Them… (Or, a Top Ten Set Review for Superman/Wonder Woman!!)

Oh, so you didn’t think there were enough versions of Superman in SLoSH, eh?

Oooooh, it’s good to be back. Today, we’re going to dive into the just released Superman/Wonder Woman DC Heroclix set! We haven’t seen much from the DC side of things in a little while (even for a huge Avengers fan like myself, this summer featured perhaps a bit too much face time for the ever-assembling heroes), but that’s about to change as the first of two straight DC-focused sets has just dropped!

Before we get into the individual pieces, though, let’s discuss…

Some Notes About the Set

Some General Notes About the Set:

–While there are some individual standout pieces (who we’ll obviously get to in a moment), Superman/Wonder Woman is definitely a step backwards in terms of overall power level. Not that this really comes as a big surprise–I think WizKids has been deliberately doing this for a while now, starting all the way back in May with Avengers Assemble. It seems like WizKids has been making a concentrated effort to dial back the game’s Power Creep, and with that in mind, Avengers Assemble featured a ton of 9 and 10 Attack Values, as did the Limited Edition Age of Ultron Organized Play set that proceeded it this summer.

(Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the outlier–that set was absolutely LOADED with Meta power pieces. Holy $#!t was that a dynamic set.)

Superman/Wonder Woman goes about containing Power Creep in a different way, I think. You see Attack Values of 10 or 11 quite often, and many pieces start with 4 or even 5 Damage top dial (I mean, it’s called Superman/Wonder Woman, so you’d expect some decent Damage Values). But if you look closely, many of the best pieces have simple Standard Power sets on their first click, and don’t get any elaborate, gamechanging Special Powers until Click 2 or Click 3.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Less Special Powers on Common & Uncommon pieces is another conscious design decision by WizKids, and it’s something we should see more of going forward–but they’re doing that to sort of clean the game up a little bit and make it less complicated, not so much as a counter to Power Creep.]

Let’s do a quick case study with NFAOS056 Nick Fury (a Super Rare from the last set) and SMWW064 Green Light (a brand new Red Son Chase from Superman/Wonder Woman).

Nick Fury SR

Nick Fury’s got great stats for his cost (120 Points), every sort of Improved Targeting you could realistically expect and an absolutely killer Trait. Beyond that, his Special Damage Power (WATCHER’S EYES TO SEE SECRETS: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.) appears right there on his top Click. Fury is already a Meta staple and will stay that way until he rotates out in two years (assuming WizKids doesn’t find a way to nerf him between now and then).

Green Light

Green Light has decent stats for his cost (90 Points) and a somewhat useless Trait unless you are planning on putting together the swarm team to end all swarm teams, but he’s also been blessed with an unbelievably powerful Special Attack Power (Box Within A Box Within An Infinite Number Of Boxes: Green Light can use Barrier. When he does, instead of placing markers normally, you may choose a single base opposing character within range and line of fire and place a blocking terrain marker in each unoccupied square adjacent to the character. That character gains earthbound/neutralized until your next turn. At the beginning of your next turn before removing the markers, give the chosen character an action token if it’s adjacent to at least three of these markers.).

That’s a power that could quickly eat someone’s lunch; it’s a power that’s so useful that apparently WizKids had to make sure that you can’t access it until Green Light’s 3rd Click. Keep in mind, Green Light has a 17 Defense with just Toughness top dial, so it’s not impossible for someone to hit him so hard that never really gets a chance to use it.

This is a common theme throughout this expansion. If you look at a character’s card from this set and see an awesome Special Power, I’ll guarantee that that character doesn’t get to use said power until they’re at least halfway to being KO’d.

–In that same vein, there’s a lot of great Common dials in Superman/Wonder Woman that look great when examined as a whole, but when you look at that starting Click, they give you kind of a sick feeling in your stomach. What?! Common Superman has an 11 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Invincible and the JSA Team Ability and 4 native Damage top dial?! AND he has 8 clicks for just 100 Points?! Sign me up!!

Well… he also just has Leap/Climb for Movement (doesn’t even have the Wing Symbol) and no Willpower of any kind. He also doesn’t have the Justice League keyword, either, so he’s not the easiest guy to throw in a Build.

It seems like some of the recent rules overhauls are trending towards making it very difficult to play both an Entity and a Resource Attachment on one character (although your guess is as good as ours at this point as to what WizKids really intends to do there), so fixing things like “no move-and-attack top dial” are going to be a little more difficult going forward.

–Or not. Did I mention that NO ONE IS QUITE SURE EXACTLY HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME AT THE MOMENT?! I actually tried explicitly asking whether Entities and Resource Attachments could be used by the same character at the same time on the WizKids Event System Rules Forum, and instead of posting an answer, their rules folks just e-mailed this:

Morpheus 2

Seriously, someone might want to get on that.

–From an aesthetic point of view, the sculpts are more subtle in this set. It doesn’t have the abundance of translucent flash that, say, Flash had, but the articulation is phenomenal. It seems like WizKids gets better every set at depicting motion–just look at Krypto’s lil’ cape if you don’t believe me!

Alright! Enough notations. Let’s get into the…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

This seems excessive...

The fire seems excessive…

5. SMWW019B BrutaalUncommon Prime175 Points: Very much a “does what it says on the box” sort of figure. His top Click is absolutely murderous (Running Shot, Pen/Psy, Invincible AND Shape Change), but he only has conditional Willpower via a Trait (basically, you have to be on your opponent’s side of the map–not always easy, but hardly impossible). His Attack Value also stays consistently high throughout his entire dial (once the game gets going, it’s not hard to keep him at a 12 Attack unless your playing against Nighthawk Prime), and his third Trait makes him really tough to Outwit (SPAWN OF APOKOLIPS: Brutaal can use Super Strength. Opposing characters can’t target him with Outwit unless it is granted by the Superman Enemy team ability.).

The only thing I really don’t like here is that even at 175 Points, Brutaal is REALLY top-heavy; pushing him to Click 2 is fine, and Click 3 is still misery for your opponent, but if Brutaal ends up on anything after that, his effectiveness goes way down unless you are very close to your quarry–there is a HARD transition from heavy ranged hitter to close combat beatstick when you get to Click 4. There’s things you can do to compensate for this when building your team of course, but it’s something you will have to be mindful of as you’re playing him. Having said that, his nigh-unOutwittable top dial Invincible should help keep him in that first-3-Clicks-sweet spot long enough to put a serious hurt on whoever you’re playing.

Yes, occasionally Green Lanterns sneeze, and no, it's not pretty...

Yes, occasionally Green Lanterns sneeze in space, and no, it’s not pretty…

4. SMWW035 Green LanternRare180 Points: His dial is actually somewhat similar to Brutaal’s, except Green Lantern turns into more of a gunner down dial. His main advantage over pieces like Brutaal is that he can resurrect himself via his awesomely-named Trait (THE GREEN WILL NOT LET ME DIE: The first time each game that Green Lantern would be KO’d, instead turn him to click #5, then for the rest of the game when Green Lantern clears action tokens, you may heal him 1 click. This ability can’t be ignored.).

Lana Lang

3. SMWW029 Lana LangUncommon50 Points: Lana makes this list just for her sheer value. You get three Clicks of support-y powers like Empower and her Special Attack (THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW: ALL THE SHOCKING DETAILS… FULL COVERAGE AT 8: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose an opposing character within 4 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character’s combat values can’t be increased or replaced with a value higher than its printed values.) THAT IS EVEN BETTER THAN NIGHTHAWK PRIME’S TRAIT*, since it also stops replacement values!!

(*This statement assumes that Lana Lang starts her turn within four squares of the opposing character you wish to shut down. Oh, and it also assumes the targeted character doesn’t have Stealth, and isn’t hiding behind another character, or a wall, or is sitting on a different elevation, since Lana needs line of sight, and–oh, wait a minute. Lana can only do this to one opposing character, whereas Nighthawk stops your opponent’s entire force from increasing stats… SIGH. Okay, I guess it’s not nearly as good as Nighthawk Prime’s Trait. But it’s still pretty damn useful.)

So that’s a decent amount of supporting abilities–maybe not entirely enough to justify her 50 Points, but not bad. But then, if she takes just three damage (whether through pushing damage or just absorbing enemy attacks, which would be even better), she morphs into a pretty good tertiary attacker with Wing Symbol, Charge, B/C/F, Super Senses and Toughness, which she keeps FOR FOUR MORE CLICKS!! That’s right, you get 7 quality Clicks for the low, low cost of 50 Points! It’s like they pulled a dial from Hypertime into the future, made it more useful but kept the point cost the same.

"Yep. Just out here in deep space... posing."

Yep. Just out here in deep space… posing.

2. SMWW013B Captain AtomCommon Prime130 Points: The good Captain here offers a top Click that is almost identical to Brutaal’s (the Movement Value and Damage Value for Captain Atom is 1 less) first Click, except that Captain Atom adds in Indomitable and he costs 45 Points less!! Brutaal does have some built-in Outwit protection, but not 45 Points worth. I mean, before you get too wrapped up in the fact that Brutaal does 1 more Damage than Captain Atom, remember that you could actually play, say, Captain Atom and Fast Forces Fitz (who brings lil’ H.E.N.R.Y. with him) for just about the same amount of points!

Clark Kent

1. SMWW026 Clark KentUncommon55 Points: One of my favorite pieces from the set. Clark has a pretty good Reporter Trait (THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW: YOUR PLANS: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose an opposing character within 4 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t be given power actions.)–and remember, he has the Superman Team Ability so he can see through Stealth–he starts with Stealth and Prob and, on his back half, has the ability to summon a Superman Token with Hypersonic Speed and Super Strength.

WizKids has done an awesome job designing these “Token Creator” pieces, and I hope this is a sub-theme they continue in the future!!

Okay! That’s a solid group of honorable mentions, which can only mean that it’s time to start counting down the…

Top Ten Twelve Figures in SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN:

So, while there isn’t necessarily as many Meta pieces in this set as there were in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., there are twelve more figures worth spotlighting. And hell, it seems like I can never just narrow it down to ten anyway. So like Tony Stark likes to say… here goes nuthin’!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Wrong universe, moron.]

Concept art from Peter Jackson’s studio-thwarted ‘King Kong 2: Electric Bugaloo.'”

12. SMWWG005R TitanoSuper Booster75 Points: On a different character, Leap/Climb and Close Combat Expert would be a pretty sub-standard power mix. But with the new Giant Reach rules established just a few days ago by WizKids in their DesignInsight column, Titano here now has the ability to make a close combat attack from 3 squares away. Which means he can activate Close Combat Expert from three squares away. Suddenly your 75-Point investment essentially has the equivalent of the ability to Charge 4 Squares with a 10 Attack and 3 Damage AND activate CCE on top of it.

But we’re not done. Throw Lois Lane on your team (she’s only 45 Points, shares the Metropolis keyword with Titano, brings a Stealth-busting Outwit, a 6 native Movement Value, is REALLY tough to target at range AND has a Stop Click if you’re also playing a Superman) and suddenly, because of Titano’s first Trait (MONKEY SEE LOIS, MONKEY DO: When a friendly character named Lois Lane moves, after actions resolve Titano can be given a move action as a free action to move up to the same number of squares. When a friendly character named Lois Lane makes an attack targeting an opposing character, after actions resolve Titano can make a close combat attack as a free action.), you have a Colossal Robot Gorilla who can cover up to 9 Squares in a turn and STILL activate Close Combat Expert!!

Let’s see what this looks like as a Build:

Titano 2

Team Name: Metropo-lease Put Me Down!!

Theme: Metropolis

Map Choice Preference: Nothing specific, although the easier it is for Lois to actually move around on her own–remember, she can’t have lines of fire drawn to her by opposing characters unless they’re within 2 Squares or she’s adjacent to a friendly character, so you don’t have to worry about ranged attacks picking her off–the easier it will be for Titano to move and attack.

Roster:

SMWWG005R Titano – 75 Points

SMWW047 Lois Lane 45

SMWW049 Superman 175

=295 Points

What This Build Does: In a no-Resource environment, this should be a pretty competitive Build. You can actually split Lois and Superman up and be fairly confidant nothing will happen to Lois. Just make sure that when Lois grants Titano a free movement, DO NOT finish Titano’s move action with him adjacent to Lois if you can help it. Other than that, feel free to move Lois up, Outwit any bothersome dampeners on opposing figures and then bring the boom with Titano, all in the same turn.

The SR Superman from the same set is a close combat beast with one problem (well, one main problem, at least. There are several others that combined to keep him off of this list.)–he only has Sidestep for move and attack on his top Click. After you split him off just a bit from Titano and Lois, if your opponent choses to come after Supes, no problem–he possesses  a long dial, great stats and the “Odds Are Against Me” running Trait that lets him build up tokens he can cash in for free attacks. Plus, as we stated, Lois and Titano can cross a map in a hurry.

If they come after Lois first, assuming they can even get close enough to hit her, her dial ends on a Stop Click that lets you physically place Superman in any adjacent Square AND lets that Superman use Defend.

As far as Lois goes, she just barely missed the cut on my list, particularly since this was the only Build I really liked her for. I know, the same could be said about Titano–they kind of need each other–but Titano’s really doing the heavy lifting here between the two of them, and his Stop Click (COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: Titano can use Toughness. If Titano began the game on the 20-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation. When this power is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing character’s attack, stop turning the dial. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) can’t be countered or Ignored AND his Attack Special grants you at least one last smackdown (COLOSSAL RETALIATION: TWO-FIST PUNCH: Give Titano a free action if no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn and choose an opposing character that attacked Titano or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Titano such that he can make a close combat attack targeting the chosen character, then make two separate close combat attacks targeting the chosen character each with an area of effect that includes all other characters within 2 squares of the target. Hit characters are each dealt 3 damage instead of normal damage.).

(Btw, if you actually have Chase Red Son Superman, go ahead and disregard everything I said about the SR Superman and just use him.)

I can NOT believe our Tommy Guns are not taking down this gigantic tank!

11. SMWWG006P War WheelSuper Booster15 Points: War Wheel is here because it has my favorite Colossal Retaliation power, which just happens to be it’s only Trait: (COLOSSAL RETALIATION: CRUSH WITH GIANT SPIKES: Give War Wheel a power action if no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn and choose an opposing character that attacked War Wheel or damaged a friendly character since your last turn and occupies the same row or column as War Wheel. Place War Wheel in any 4 squares in the same rows or columns that contain both all of War Wheel and the chosen character. Make a close combat attack whose area of effect is all characters in those rows or columns between where War Wheel began this action and the squares it currently occupies. Hit characters are each dealt 2 penetrating damage instead of normal damage.) It’s also here because it costs just 15 Points. 15 freaking Points!! But beyond the Trait, hell, just try finding a Bystander Pog with Indomitable and a 10 Attack Value for 15 Points. Now find one with Sidestep, Toughness, 3 Damage and a 7 Range!! Go ahead, find one. I’ll wait.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, I will not wait. We’re like 2500 words in and still have a lot of ground to cover. On to Blazing Atomic Skull!]

Atomic Skull

10. SMWW054 Atomic SkullSuper Rare150 Points: For 150 Points, you kind of get exactly the sort of stats and power mix you might expect. Running Shot with a mediocre Range (6). 11 Attack, which is fine, but nothing you haven’t seen before. 18 Defense with a dampener. Pretty standard. 4 Damage top dial is nice, but certainly not unheard of. Then you read his one Special Power, which sits in his Attack slot for his first four Clicks (IONIZING RADIATION: Atomic Skull can use Energy Explosion, Poison, and deals penetrating damage.). Wow! He’s the first character I can think of that deals Penetrating Damage with no ifs, ands or buts.

You want to give him a Bulldozer Construct and have him blow someone with Impervious off a rooftop? All of his Knockback damage is penetrating. That vanilla Poison his Special grants him? He might as well be a Red Lantern, cuz that’s all Penetrating damage. Any attack or effect you can think of with him deals Penetrating damage, which basically means he doesn’t have to be afraid of anyone.

Krypto

9. SMWW050 KryptoSuper Rare50 Points: Possibly the most efficient character in the set for his cost (#2 on this list might have an argument, but we’ll see). Need to bust some opposing Stealth? Krypto has the Superman Ally. Super Senses? He comes packing Precision Strike. Shape Change? His Special Damage power sniffs that out (KRYPTONIAN NOSE: Krypto ignores opposing character’s Shape Change.).

His Trait (LOYAL COMPANION: When a friendly character named Superman, Superboy, or Supergirl within 8 squares takes damage from an attack, after actions resolve you may place Krypto in a square adjacent to the attacking character.) is mildly helpful depending on whether or not you’re building a literal Super-team around him, but his Movement Special (SIC ‘EM, BOY!: Krypto can use Charge and Plasticity.) not only allows him to go on the attack when you need him to, but it also adds Hypersonic Speed to the list of opposing abilities that Krypto takes a bite out of.

No, I’m not ‘Apokolips Bane!’ I’m Brimstone, dammit!

8. SMWWG003R Brimstone Super Booster75 Points: 7 Clicks, Sidestep, 6 Range with an incredible top dial Pulse Wave Special Attack Power (THROWING FIREBALLS: Brimstone can use Pulse Wave. When he does you may choose an unoccupied square within 6 squares and line of fire and he can use Pulse Wave as if he occupied that square.), Penetrating Poison and the obligatory Colossal Retaliation and Indifference powers.

The Pulse Wave is what earns him this spot though; we’ve seen similar versions of this sort of Pulse Wave before (the GOTG Movie Starter comes to mind), but it’s always been limited in some way (usually it’s only usable once per game). The fact that he can do it every turn puts him at #8.

The least

The least “creeper-ish” image of Vartox. Yes, I said the least.

8.  SMWW052E Vartox Super Rare150 Points: This is where the Meta-relevant pieces really start. At 150 Points, Varty gives you Hypersonic Speed, Probability Control and the chance to do a boatload of damage (7) with his Super Strength. His Trait (THE REST OF THE HYPER-POWERS: Give Vartox a free action and choose a standard speed, attack, or defense power that you didn’t choose during your last turn. Until your next turn Vartox can use that power instead of the power in that slot on his dial.) also gives him a wide amount of sneaky versatility. Oh, your opponent just got three damage through on him and thinks he doesn’t have to worry about Hypersonic Speed anymore? Sorry, Vartox can get it back whenever he wants. And so on.

He’s not Zombie Super Skrull, but he’s not far off either, and he saves you 20 Points in your Build, which could be the difference in a Meta-Build between playing a Resource and not playing a Resource. If you can manage to keep him top dial, he will be a nightmare for your opponent.

No, seriously, any second now, I’m totally gonna fly!

6. SMWW065E SupermanChase175 Points: Hypersonic Speed, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage top dial. His Trait (CRIMINALS BECOME “SUPERMAN ROBOTS”: When Superman hits an opposing character with a close combat attack, put a Lobotomy token on its card. Give Superman a power action and remove any number of his Lobotomy tokens to have Superman use Mind Control as a free action targeting those characters that had at least 1 token removed, regardless of range or line of fire.) lets him Mind Control characters he’s hit FOR FREE and, if none of that works, he has TWO Stop Click Specials (WINTER PALACE: Superman can use Barrier, Regeneration, and Super Senses. When this click is revealed due to damage from an opponent’s attack, stop turning the dial, and after actions resolve give the attacker an action token. If you can’t, deal that character 1 penetrating damage.) that actually token the attacker that hit you, which should give you time to actually USE your Regeneration.

Unless your opponent is able to finish Supes off with Pulse Wave, the Red Son is almost impossible to kill.

First Born

5. SMWW037 First BornRare200 Points: So all article we’ve been talking about all the great changes WizKids made to Giant and Colossal characters, and the fact that First Born is Giant-Sized helps him out immensely. He doesn’t fly, but he’ll still have no problem with elevation.

He Charges up to 6 Squares on his first Click, and his Giant Reach gives him the ability to cover two more. He starts with 4 Damage and both Super Strength AND Exploit Weakness, so now he has a Threat Range of 8 Squares and up to 7 Penetrating Damage (assuming he picks up an Ultra-Heavy on the way).

First Born is also the beneficiary of the Divine Aura running Trait (DIVINE AURA: First Born can’t be targeted by Outwit or Probability Control from opposing characters unless the targeting character has a higher point value or has the Deity keyword.) that many of the Deity-keyworded figures in this have, which means that unless your opponent built their team around NFAOS050 Thor (the only Meta-worthy Deity piece I can think of at the moment, although I’m sure I’m forgetting a few) AND found a way to give her Outwit, First Born’s powers aren’t going anywhere (trust me, your opponent isn’t crazy enough to play a piece that costs more than 200 Points, unless he’s going with a Team Base or something, so the first clause of First Born’s Trait isn’t really gonna matter most of the time). And with two Clicks of Invincible right at the top, First Born can soak up Damage like nobody’s business.

His second Trait (SCION OF HATE: All characters within 3 squares can use Battle Fury. Friendly characters adjacent to First Born modify their attack values by +1.) is interesting as well. He becomes even MORE intriguing when you play him with a Resource like, oh, I dunno, the Indigo Power Battery. If you give First Born the Indigo Wall Construct, depending on what Map your using, you can make it almost impossible for First Born to be shot at from range. Which makes it that much more likely that the 8-Square, 7 Penetrating Damage Charge I mentioned earlier might just be an Alpha Strike. It’ll be like playing Ghost Rider  in the Meta of mid-2013 all over again, only First Born might even be BETTER.

Eclipso

4. SMWW055P EclipsoSuper Rare25 Points: Even with the new Equip rules and all the chaos that has caused, Possession is still a Meta-worthy enhancement. And of the two Possessors in the set (Red Son Brainiac also Possesses), Eclipso is the best.

Right off the bat you have access to Stealth, Precision Strike, Impervious or Shape Change. Those are all great powers. Eclipso’s stats are also pretty good, as you might expect, since you’re gaining access to a 250 Point dial. Down dial, turning onto some Pen/Psy or Probability Control could be the difference in a game that’s running long.

Red Son Wonder Woman

3. SMWW066 Wonder Woman Chase165 Points: Quite simply, Chase Red Son Wonder Woman is Point-for-Point the best Primary Attacker in the set. For only 165 Points you get Hypersonic Speed, Super Strength, a 19 freaking Defense Value with Invincible and she deals at least 4 Damage when she hits.

She also has a Stop Click and a Trait (COMMUNISM IS SOCIAL JUSTICE: When a friendly character with a lower point value than Wonder Woman is targeted with an attack, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that’ll do wonders in terms of keeping supporting characters alive.

A brutally efficient package.

The 90's are back, and they brought their Superman with them. (Artwork by Sassophilaco sassophiliaco.deviantart.com)

The 90’s are back, and they brought their Superman with them. (Artwork by Sassophilaco sassophiliaco.deviantart.com)

2. SMWW041AE Superman BlueRare 50 Points: Oh boy, do I love me some 50 Point Taxi/Supporting Characters. Supes Blue is definitely that, but he has Secondary Attacker power sets and stats, too. He also can protect anyone he Carries from Pulse Wave, which is not nothing in the Meta.

While your opponent will need a 20 to hit him from range top dial, Supes Blue can always be pushed onto his second Click, where he has Hypersonic Speed, 3 Damage and Perplex!

He very much reminds me of a slightly more expensive Fear Itself Loki. Sometimes, big things come in small (mostly white and blue) packages, and this 50-Pointer is a gem.

Oh look–you missed another roll! Guess I’m only giving out Tricks this year, which is a Treat. For me.

1. SMWW060 Mr. MxyzptlkSuper Rare70 Points: I know. You thought WizKids learned their lesson about making pieces that offer ridiculous levels of board control for under 100 Points. Well… they didn’t.

Mxy here is not as broken as Felix Faust was this summer, but that doesn’t exactly mean he’s fair, either. His ridiculously useful Trait (MESSING AROUND WITH THE ODDS: At the beginning of the game, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and place the rolled result on this card. Give Mr. Mxyzptlk a power action if there is no d6 on this card, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and place the rolled result on this card. Whenever any dice that can be rerolled are rolled (including as part of a 2d6 roll), you may remove the d6 from this card and replace one of those die results with the rolled result from the d6 removed from this card.) essentially means that every d6 or 2d6 roll goes through you. I cannot emphasize how much paralyzing stress this puts on your opponent’s decision making, particularly if you’re sitting on a 1, 5 or 6.

With a 5 or 6 showing, anyone on your team with either Shape Change or Super Senses has a backup d6 roll that will automatically allow that ability to succeed. Need to really hit that Leadership this turn? You’re golden. Roll a six and a one and just miss? Sub in that 6 sitting on Mxy’s card and all of the sudden you have a Critical Hit.

Conversely, your opponent will be DEATHLY afraid of attacking anyone if you have a 1 showing. Normally, you would have about a 1 in 36 chance (roughly 2.78%) of rolling a Critical Miss. But if you are able to change either of the d6 rolls to a 1 with Mxy, suddenly those odds shoot up dramatically (each d6 your opponent rolls has roughly a 16.6% chance of ending up on 1),

And these are just the most basic and obvious uses. Even a 3 or a 4 can be gamechanging if it guarantees your opponent misses that Super Senses roll or subs in for a 1 to make sure you hit with an attack. There’s really a bunch of sneaky plays you can make with this guy–and we haven’t even talked about his 18 Defense with Super Senses, his Quintessence Team Ability or any of his 3 Specials, including his Pulse Wave Special Attack Power on Click 2 that allows you to completely incapacitate any opposing characters you hit while avoiding giving any damage or tokens to your own folks.

This is the best figure in the set, and it’s not close.

 

Agree? Disagree? Post your opinion by leaving a comment, and let us know which pieces are in your Top Ten!

Mr. Furious Gets Angry!! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!)

mr furious

Don’t mess with the volcano my man, ’cause I will go Pompeii on your… butt.

[WRITER’S NOTE: So the set is about Nick Fury and not Mr. Furious, but a guy can dream.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You have strange dreams.]

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • There are a lot of good figures in this set. I know it sounds like I say that every time, but seriously, there just aren’t many losers when you factor in their point value.  I listened to the Dial H for HeroClix Podcast today and one of the hosts joked that there are so many good figures in this set that when you do Sealed you don’t really need to think too hard. Just make sure the total point value is near 300 and the actual characters you select don’t matter that much. It will be a good team.
  • The Dial H guys also warned that this set is awful for Battle Royales. I would definitely agree with that. Your whole 5 member team might not add up to 300 points and someone else might start off by pulling the 300 point SR NFAOS006A Hulk. Or you might get a Hulkbuster torso in the rare slot of the pack you just opened.

Secret Warriors

  • I would have liked to have seen more Secret Warriors then just Quake and Druid. Most of this set seems to come from the pages of their series and all of the rest of Team White has rotated out of Modern.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Last I checked, Eden Fesi, aka Manifold, was a very important character in that run and arguably–at least before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blew up Daisy Johnson’s profile–the most recognizable member of Nick’s Caterpillar team, since he graduated to the Avengers when Hickman took that book over. And he was just Clix’d in Avengers Assemble!!]
  • Okay, yeah, I meant besides him.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure you did.]
  • Anyway… some of the Invaders are individually powerful, but I don’t see myself ever playing that team. Maybe because they were before my time? It would have been cool to give Spitfire a Trait that shows she is now Blade’s girlfriend. Like +1 to defense when adjacent or something. Missed opportunity.
  • How can Wizkids not have made a “Watcher Eyeball” Special Object for the OP kit? Why would they include a Winter Soldier in that prize kit and not have him be the new “Man on the Wall” version of that character from the final panels of Original Sin? Where are all the villians from the Original Sin series? I want an intelligent “Mindless One” figure! More missed thematic opportunities–and this is coming from someone who really digs this set!
Uhhh... maybe not.

Uhhh… on second thought, maybe not.

  • Continuing that line of thought, everyone knows about the Fantastic Four/X-Men pseudo-ban that Marvel has imposed, so it would have been nice to see Wizkids really properly exploit some of the best Nick Fury stories of the last 6 years. Nick Fury “The Unseen” needs a whole dial–not just a final click. While the Invaders–old and new–are all fine and dandy, this set needed to pull more pieces from “Secret Warriors” and “Original Sin.” I realize we were probably never going to see a new Gorgon (part of his convoluted history involves him being a mutant), but instead of all those Invaders, I would have rather seen: JT James, Alexander, Ares (at this point, he almost HAS to be a Con Exclusive next year, right?), Norman Osborn, Jerry Sledge and, hmmm… oh yeah: Leviathan!! Two or three figures plus some Generics. And I haven’t even gotten to the members of The Great Wheel!! MISSED. OPPORTUNITY!

Alright. Enough moping. Time to get into some…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn't mean you can refer to us as 'Generics.'"

Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn’t mean you can refer to us as ‘Generics.’

5. NFAOS006A S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard – Here’s a quote from my appraisal of Iron Man’s blue-dial from my Avengers Assemble Top Ten article: “18 Defense with Defend is nothing to sneeze at. It was awesome when they released CT043 Invisible Girl and it’s almost as good now.” That applies double to S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard who, instead of costing 125 points like Iron Man, costs 35 points. That happens to also be two points less than CT043 Invisible Girl and with a much better dial. You’re going to want to push the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard to Click 2 where he sports his 18 Defend along with Sidestep and Close Combat Expert (a skill he undoubtedly likes to keep handy for close encounters). If you then push him again onto Clicks 3 and 4 he becomes your team’s medic. So he’s at first protecting your team from damage and then he switches gears to heal your team if they get damaged. That’s a lot of usefulness for just 35 points.

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

4. NFAOS001 Nick Fury – Nick Fury for 65 points is just average. 10 Attack, 3 Damage, Stealth, Precision Strike, Toughness and Shape Change, and Indomitable. There are lots of guys like him in this set. However, his 65 point dial is hiding the best S.H.I.E.L.D generic in the set. The 25 point generic dial starts with the same exact first two clicks as the 65 point version, but for 40 points less! Once you pay for the 65 point leader, you can add as many of the 25 point version as you want. With all of those little guys you’ve added it’s a good thing they all have the rally trait which states, “Rally: Whenever Nick Fury hits one or more opposing characters, add one action to your action total this turn.” That means that even if you have ten of this guy on your team you won’t run out of actions as long as your attacks keep hitting. If you decide that you want to be “that guy” for one event and just run a metric poop-ton of generics, you could do worse than fielding one Fury and a bunch of his L.M.D.’s…

Imperial Hydra

3. NFAOS046 Imperial Hydra – I like him because he enhances a lot of other pieces rather than just being a powerful piece himself. The main reason to play this guy is his Trait that states, “TWO HEADS SHALL TAKE THEIR PLACE!: When another friendly character with the Hydra keyword is KO’d and actions resolve, you may give Imperial Hydra an action token. If you do, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. 4 – 5: Place a character from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra. 6: Place up to two characters from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra.

So keep him in your Starting Area and let him constantly re-spawn  more Hydra units for you all game. If you get even one 40 point Hydra unit out of him then you’ve broken even. He works way better on teams with a lot of Hydra units rather than teams with just a few figures.

"No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!"

No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!

2. NFAOS047 Dr. Demonicus – What a cool idea for a figure. He’s a Kaiju summoning mad scientist. “GIANT MONSTER SUMMON!: Give Dr. Demonicus a power action if no friendly bystander token named on this card is on the map. You may choose one you haven’t chosen this game and place it on the map adjacent to him.”

While each of his Bystander Tokens probably isn’t worth 80 points by itself, if you get most of them out over the course of a game then I’d say you definitely got value for his 80 points. Remember to keep the good doctor close to his creations. He has Perplex and the Special Power  “LIFESTONE DEFENSE: Adjacent friendly characters with “colossal damage symbol” modify their defense values by +1.” Those two powers together can raise any of his monster token’s Defense Value to 20 or more!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Shine bright like a diamond.

1. NFAOS041 Radiance – For 65 points you get a character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that has the Wing Symbol and gives all adjacent S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces Shape Change. There are a lot of good S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces in this set and many that I would argue were great who came out even before this set. Radiance is the best low point Taxi for S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that is not named AVAS037 Manifold. But, unlike Manifold, her duel target Incapacitate lets her also assist her teammates in battle. She reminds me a lot of one of Hypefox’s favorite pieces, IIM002 Rescue.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Probably one of my most-played Common pieces.]

Top Ten Figures of the Set:

"Need... more... arms... with guns!!"

Need… more… arms… with guns!!”

10. NFAOS022 Winter Soldier – This Winter Soldier shares a keyword with Steve Rogers and actually lets them make a Themed Team again. That warms my heart. On the other hand, seeing this guy across the table should chill your opponent’s heart.

Now, he doesn’t have opening Running Shot or any sort of native move and attack. Instead, he just sits in Stealth and bides his time. He sports Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters AND he’s rocking a crazy-good Special Damage Power that reads like this: “Deadly Sniper: Winter Soldier can use Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert, both with a locked range value of 10. If he uses both in a turn, he must target the same character.

When you put it all together, he can Outwit right through Stealth from 10 squares away and then attack that same character for up to five damage. To paraphrase my earlier thoughts on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard, having Steath and Outwit together on one dial was good all the way back in Infinity Challenge (Why, it’s Infinity Challenge Experienced Black Panther! Hello again, old friend!), and it’s still good now. And when you add Winter Soldier’s Improved Targeting twist, it gets even better.

Ooooookay, that does not look safe...

Ooooookay, this does not look safe…

9. NFAOS061 Avengers Sky-Cycle – Hawkeye has been getting a lot of love lately in HeroClix. He’s got three good-to-great options in Modern (AAOU009 Hawkeye, AVAS002 Hawkeye, and AAOU106 Hawkeye.). He’s got two specialized Revert figures (AVAS066 Goliath, and AVAS052 Ronin). And now he has the best vehicle in this set printed for him.

Of all of the Chases in this set, this is the only vehicle that can actually carry more than just the pilot.  That’s a big thing. It will also let Hawkeye take a huge hit that might otherwise have KO’d him (seriously, this thing has six Clicks of life–with Toughness on the first three!).

But the best part about this vehicle is it’s printed power, “Unbelievable Upside-Down Shot: When Avengers Sky-Cycle makes an attack, you may modify its attack value by +2. If you do and actions resolve, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and on a result of 1, place the pilot in an adjacent square, dealing it and all passengers 2 unavoidable damage.” Keep in mind that with the new vehicle rules, the Sky-Cycle will be making attacks with its Pilot’s printed stats. So this power allows almost any Pilot to raise the Sky-Cycle’s Attack Value to a very “Hawkeye-like” 12 or 13 with only a very small chance of catastrophe.

Note to other comic artists: this is how you design and introduce a new look for an established character.

This piece is called “Killing It” by Stuart Immonen. And if it’s not, it should be. 

8NFAOS049 Captain America – The new Falcon as Captain America has a better then expected range of 7 along with Precision Strike, 11 Attack, and 3 Damage. But his defense is where he really shines. He has a Defense Special Power that contain the most standard powers I’ve ever seen combined into one white box. It reads, “How Did I Ever Survive Without a Shield?: Captain America can use Energy Shield/Deflection, Invulnerability, Super Senses, and Willpower.” That’s four standard powers in one! Apparently, Sam is able to use that shield better than Cap ever did (at least in HeroClix).

Being that he’s the artist formerly known as Falcon, this Captain America also gets help from his birds via 3 pigeon tokens and a Redwing token. Redwing’s use is obvious, but the pigeons will need a bit more strategic planning to get the most out of them. Being that they are tiny size I believe that their best use is to be Carried and then dropped into adjacency with opposing figures while your figures stay at least one square back. You opponent will hopefully have to waste an attack on each pigeon token.

I’m just picturing it in my head now:

"Hulk hate puny pigeons!"

Hulk hate puny pigeons!”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: By the way, has there been a better “new look” for an established character in the last ten years than Falcon’s Captain America costume? It’s like they took the best bits of Falcon’s original costume, Cap’s normal suit, and Cap’s “Winter Soldier” movie costume, blended it all together, and somehow the result is even greater than the sum of its substantial parts.

Also, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but of all the diversity initiatives Marvel has undertaken with their topline, A-list  characters lately (Thor is a woman! Spider-Man is black! Ms. Marvel is a Muslim!), Sam Wilson becoming Cap has always made the most sense to me, story-wise. If anything, Falcon should have been promoted to replace Steve a few years ago when the Winter Soldier ended up taking over as Captain America. Cap and Falcon had been friends and fellow Avengers for years; at the time, Bucky Barnes had only recently gotten his mind right after being brainwashed into becoming a Communist killing machine for decades! Which of those two would YOU choose to inspire millions of Americans and carry on your legacy if you were Cap?

Now don’t get me wrong; while I thought most of these storylines were bad ideas at the time (mostly because they seemed forced and contrived, as if they existed solely to round out some sort of character diversity quota instead of coming about naturally as each character’s story progressed), Marvel’s implementation of these stories has been nearly flawless, especially when you consider how easy it would be to screw these twists up and alienate your core readers.

Jane Foster Thor 1

As much as I didn’t understand replacing Thor with a woman called “Thor” (isn’t Thor Odinson Thor’s actual name, and not a title like “Captain America?” That’s like if everyone started calling the Falcon “Steve” after he took over the mantle of Captain America, which wouldn’t make any sense at all, right? Or am I just completely overthinking this?), the way that story has evolved (especially with the reveal of who this new Thor actually is) has kind of grown on me.

Miles Morales

And while I’m not a huge Ultimate Spider-Man fan, Miles Morales actually seems to work better when he exists in stories WITH Peter Parker interacting with/sort of guiding him. Peter’s traditionally portrayed as just barely having his own life together, so the idea of someone like that mentoring a kid with similar powers like Miles is actually pretty interesting to me, and I look forward to the upcoming post-Secret Wars merging where they will both exist in the same universe.

Kamala Khan

Finally, Ms. Marvel has become a wonderful book about a young girl trying to balance the power and responsibility of being a latent Inhuman with her Muslim faith while still trying to survive life as a normal American high-schooler (and not just in her own book–check out her delightful guest appearance in the second issue of Mark Waid’s wonderful new “S.H.I.E.L.D.” series from a few months ago). Also, her hero worship of Carol Danvers offers a unique window into what Kamala Khan values and plants a very compelling reason as to why she would consciously choose to fight for justice under the name “Ms. Marvel.” In other words, Ms. Marvel might be the most Spider-Man-like character Marvel’s published in a decade.

This is why I always loved that Marvel as a whole is called “The House of Ideas.” I love plenty of DC characters, and there are many wonderful stories in that universe. But I just can’t see DC pulling off something this crazy on paper and actually having it all work.

Alright, with all that said, let’s get back to Ninwashui’s Top Ten already!!]

Peggy Carter

7. NFAOS007B Peggy Carter – Ho-hum. Another set, another VERY good Common Prime. For 60 points, this bargain Batman piece Peggy Carter figure brings a lot to the table. First, her Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain helps her get to enemy territory and her Trait protects her when she gets there: “Behind Enemy Lines If Peggy Carter is closer to an opponent’s starting area than she is to her own, she can use Stealth and Shape Change.

If your opponent can’t see through Stealth, then she can keeping running between Hindering Terrain patches while she puts her Energy Explosion to work. If the opponent tries to engage her in close combat he faces the wrath of her exceptionally good Damage Special, “Saboteur At the beginning of your turn, choose a standard power or team ability. Opposing characters within 3 squares of Peggy Carter can’t use it until your next turn. ” If your opponent brings his whole team after her… well, she is only 60 points. Your other 240 points of team should be able to flank your opponent and easily take advantage of that.

Fitz and Henry

6. FFNFAOS004 Fitz (and FFNFAOS099 H.E.N.R.Y.)  If you’ve read any of our Top Tens before, you know that whenever I see a character cost exactly 50 points in a Fast Forces set, I tend to pay attention. 50 points is the magical point value for good support characters in HeroClix Fast Forces releases. It’s a trend that started way back with FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and continued on with pieces like FFDP006R Mercy and most recently FFOA006R Captain America. In the long tradition of 50 Point Fast Forces support pieces, Fitz does not disappoint.

Starting on click two, Fitz has Perplex, the Shield TA, Field Team Backup Trait and an extremely mobile Empower/Enhancement effect via Henry. Then he also has the choice to use a power action for Telekenisis or to grant another character an additional Perplex. That’s a ton of support for just 50 points, and that’s why he’s on this list at #6!

So... I'm thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

So… I’m thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

5NFAOS050 Thor – For 145 points this may be the best version of Thor ever printed. She has the damage reducers normally associated with Thor, but she also has the Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters, Elevation, and Hindering that seems more like it would be at home on DP036 Bullseye. She starts defensively with Impervious and Shape Change. Offensively, she has Running Shot and Energy Explosion. Once she takes some damage she switches to Super Strength and full move Charge! He dial finishes strong with Pulse Wave and then finally regeneration. She doesn’t have a bad click amongst her eight clicks of life and she gets a bonus against resource users: “If She Be Worthy: Modify Thor’s attack and damage values by +1 when targeting a single character that is assigned a relic or resource with an attack.”  A real steal for the points. 

This is a Primary Attacker that we’ll be seeing in ROC’s and other tournies for the next two years!

"Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?"

Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?

4NFAOS051 Steve Rogers – In HeroClix this is the best director that S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had. You’ll notice the high Attack Values right away with the opening 12, but the surprising part is how consistent those values are. Only on his final Click does he get as low as a 10 Attack. While his Running Shot, Improved Targeting and dual target Energy Explosion make him look like a solo Primary Attacker, he is just as good at supporting his team. He has Leadership, Enhancement, the ability to grant other pieces Energy Shield/Deflection, and every time he hits with an attack anyone with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword can use Probability Control while attacking that turn. 

So you may not have a ton of room left after fielding Steve for 150 Points, but you won’t need it, since he gets the most out of his 40-60 Point S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddies!

"No, I'm not a vampire. I know, I get that a lot. I think it's the cape. And the constant brooding."

I am called Nighthawk. Mostly because it is scarier than ‘Kyle.”

3NFAOS059b Nighthawk (Prime) – Think of how much you enjoy powers like Ranged Combat Expert, Traits that grant stat bonuses, or Resources that give +1 to all stats. For 65 points this guy shuts all of that down and much, much more. His Trait reads, “The People Must Think For Themselves: Friendly characters can’t be targeted by Mind Control. Opposing characters’ combat values can’t be increased unless they are adjacent to Nighthawk.” Offensively this guy is nothing too special, but he shines defensively. He defensive power reads, “President of the United States (of Earth-712): Nighthawk can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Shape Change. When he uses Shape Change, increase the result by +1 for each adjacent friendly character.” It’s kind funny that he gets energy Shield/Deflection himself  because that power is useless on opposing characters. But hey, what good is an unfair advantage if you can’t take advantage of it?

"What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!"

What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!

2NFAOS048 Iron Nail – Hypefox and I played a Sealed game with 2 packs each of this set. He pulled Iron Nail and SR Nighthawk. The truth is that he could have beaten my whole team with just this guy. His powers and stats are about average for a character of his point cost, but his Trait is borderline broken. It reads “Rapid Power Drain At the end of your turn, place a Drain token on the cards of all adjacent opposing characters. Opposing characters modify their combat values by -1 for each Drain token placed by him. An opposing character may be given a power action to remove all Drain tokens from that character’s card.

In our sealed game he just walked Iron Nail next to my Baron Blood prime and that was pretty much all he needed to do to win that match. Baron Blood had a 10 attack that became a 9 and of course he missed that attack roll the following turn. Even if he hit, he would have needed a good Blades/Claws/Fangs roll to even do damage. Iron Nail’s dial is 8 clicks long with damage reducers all the way and it has this Trait the whole dial, obviously. He could easily KO any of the 14 figures I have named so far. Even 300 point SR Hulk in this set would have a good chance of losing to this guy in a 1 on 1 fight. In Sealed he’s an auto play and I bet he’ll see a lot of constructed play as well. Especially when you consider he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Which leads me to my next thought: He has the freaking S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword! So you’re not even that limited in what teams you can build around him! Sheeesh.

Nick Fury Original Sin

1NFAOS056 Nick Fury – In the Original Sin storyline it was revealed that Nick Fury was secretly a cosmic assassin (called “The Man on the Wall”) that spent all his free time killing entities that were going to threaten the earth before anyone else even knew about it. If you were a mystical demon overlord, cosmic alien warlord, or a monster from the center of the earth, chances are that Nick and his frankly awesome-beyond-words-Gamma- bullet- sniper- rifle had you in his crosshairs.

They’ve translated this character into HeroClix extremely well. He doesn’t have Running Shot; like the Winter Soldier, Nick will just sit and wait for you to come into his (extremely long) range. When you do, you’re toast He accomplishes this with a Trait and Special Power. His Trait reads “Cosmic Assassin, Guardian of Earth: Nick Fury can use Shape Change. When Nick Fury targets only the highest point opposing character with an attack, modify his attack and damage values by +1 and he deals penetrating damage.

His special power reads, “Watcher’s Eyes to See Secrets: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.

Because of his Trait, the highest point opposing character is always dealt Penetrating damage on any attack (even close combat). If you are someone like IIM103 Absorbing Man who doesn’t fear Penetrating damage, then Nick Fury will just use his Special Power on you and take away your defense anyway. Think about that for a moment. He would deal Penetrating damage to 1000 point Shuma-Gorath and if Invincible showed up, Nick would just take that power away too. With an 11 Attack likely changing to 12 and Probability Control built in, he is not missing often and with his various Improved Targeting Traits, literally only Blocking Terrain is safe to hide behind. Defensively he has Stealth, Toughness, 18 Defense, Probability Control, and Shape Change! If an opponent wants to try and take Nick out, that’s far from a sure thing.

He reminds me a lot of DP036 Bullseye back when Bullseye and DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M. were the Meta team to beat. Nick is far superior to Bullseye for just 10 more points and he should see a bunch of Constructed play. Heck, the Meta might soon be  playing either him or playing a team designed to beat him (whatever that might be). That’s why he’s the best figure in this set.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We also have a special announcement!! We’re teaming with Heroclix Underground to help provide content for their new venture! Look for versions of this article, a Top Ten Second Opinion and more to show up soon on their site. As for Critical Missives, we’re not going anywhere, and we’ll soon return with “Straight, With CHASEr 4” (where we take a special look at the new vehicles) and the aforementioned Second Opinion on Nick Fury!!]