This Ain’t your Father’s SuperFriends! (Or a Top Ten Set Review for Justice League Trinity War!!)

I’ve heard that this is pretty much what the Burning Man Festival looks like.

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • The Trinity for whom the set was named (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) each fielded their most powerful Clix versions ever. For as many times as those three characters have been made, that’s pretty impressive. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I dunno... the Justice League Strategy Game versions of the Trinity are pretty damn good too. That’s a close race. For example, JL:TW Batman can pick any standard Attack or Damage power with his Special Attack Power. JLSG Batman already can just USE almost every dang Standard Power in the game with his Special Attack Power. That’s Energy Explosion, Sidestep, Smoke Cloud, Regeneration and Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain. Oh, and he Ignores character when he Sidesteps. And he can go on the JL Team Base. And so on. The point is, both versions of the Trinity are fantastic.]
  • For as impressive as the Trinity were, their counter parts in the CSA were unimpressive. Ultraman is good, Superwoman is ok, and Owlman is just plain “not great”. That all changes in the Fast Forces however, where each of these characters was Clix’d much, much better.
  • This set featured several characters who come with ways of avoiding Outwit without needing the Quintessence TA. These pieces are: Ultraman, The Outsider (Prime), Lex Luthor, Black Adam, and Despero. [EDITOR’S NOTE: What’s The Grid, chopped liver? Granted, his power is situational depending on your opponent, but still!] I love this trend and they need to keep it going. With the amount of Outwit floating around in Modern right now I was starting to think characters with Impervious weren’t really worth playing. If a Defense Power is just going to get Outwitted anyway then you might as well have a cheaper one. These characters and future characters will hopefully start letting us play big point Impervious characters competitively again.
  • Keywords are starting to really matter. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Especially with the Entity keyword nerf!] There are a number of figures in this set that grant benefits to characters with the same keyword, more than I remember in any recent sets. John Constantine grants Stealth to Justice league Dark, Green Lantern gives the Justice League of America Sharpshooter, and Killer Frost protects Secret Society of Super Villain members from Steal Energy. There are many more. This is a nice bonus for a guy like me that usually plays keyword teams.
  • During our local sealed event for this set release a bunch of us had to look up what the CSA team ability did because we all remembered playing it, but it had been so long no one remembered what it actually did. Congrats to Wizkids for making something old fun and new again.
  • The CSA will be a lot better in a Tactics environment than a No Tactics format. Having a bunch of 3 point bystanders to put tokens on for their TA really helps ramp up their power level.
  • For the first time ever there is an Ultra Chase (Prime Chase?!) and you don’t need to own it to play competitively. JLTW069 White Rabbit is an interesting and effective piece, but I doubt she will be on any of the top teams at Nationals this year. Before it was revealed I was worried that the piece would be so uber that people wouldn’t be able to field a tournament competitive team without one. It would make amateurs like myself feel like we are no longer able to compete. When I get a feeling like that I tend to move on to other games. Bravo to Wizkids for making a cool figure, but not a Meta defining figure.
  • The Prime selections in this set weren’t great compared to the last three or four sets. Dr. Light is decent, but not overpowered. The Outsider was just okay (although, like I said, I like the Outwit protection). Freddy Freeman is actually pretty good. Nick Necro I am just not sold on – time will tell. However, the main /fail with the Primes in this set is that none of them were John Constantine with the power of Shazam. That happened in the comics (briefly) and had that figure been made it would likely have been my favorite in this whole set.
What wasn't this a prime?

Why wasn’t this a Prime? Or an Ultra-Chase? Actually, if this was an Ultra-Chase, folks would riot.

 

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For the first time, we are including pieces from the relevant Fast Forces pack as being officially “part” of the set, and thus eligible for inclusion on this Top Ten list. Too many good pieces were falling through the cracks of our coverage because of their distinction as “Fast Forces” figures. Starting today and going forward, we believe this change will remedy that.]

 

ocean_master 

5. JLTW029 Ocean MasterAtlantis Themed Teams are likely still not going to be vying for the top spots at Nationals this year, but because of this figure they are now much closer to being truly relevant. This is the best “Water Terrain-creating” figure ever produced. It will take him a 12 on his role at the start of the game to cover most maps entirely with water (only a 3% chance). However, on some maps the starting areas are in the corners and you can flood those starting at the side. Because maps are longer than they are wide if you can entirely flood a map from the side with an 8 or better on the tidal wave role. (42% chance).

The most likely scenario is that you role a 7 on the tidal wave role. In that case the first 14 rows of the board become water and the remaining 10 rows remain normal. For a lot of characters that’s all you’re going to need. Most characters gaining a bonus from water either just need to start there and can move out (TT015 Aquaman, ASM025 Manphibian, JLTW008 The Trench) or they can shoot from Water Terrain and hit enemies on dry land (JLTW028 Mera, FFLOD004 Black Manta, FI022 Nerkkod). That gives you a lot of options building a team.

For added fun pair him with GOTG047BR Thanosi and both traits together will practically drown the opposing team. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Hmmm… this is dangerously close to being clever.]

Element Woman

4. JLTW034 Element WomanDefensively this may be the strongest character ever printed especially considering her point cost. Shape Change, Super Senses, and Impervious on her first clicks and then Impervious throughout. Because lets face it, you will be choosing Earth 95% of the time. Her lack of offense and Willpower is her downside. You could just use her as a really tough Barrier figure, but if your opponent is just ignoring her then I could see choosing Fire for a turn as a nice surprise. When she really comes into her own is with a Resource. A Hammer or a Green\Black construct could make her really ridiculous.

hawkman

3. JLTW038 Hawkman12 starting Attack is always a good way to get me to notice a figure right away. With dice like mine, high Attack figures are a necessity if I want to be competitive. His full movement Charge that also allows for a post attack Sidestep (although you still need to hit your break-away roll) to activate his Energy Shield/Deflection are really great together. His weakness is that he’s meant to be played more like a speedster than Superman. He doesn’t hit very hard unless he’s standing still, but you are going to want to keep him moving to use his Energy Shield/Deflection.

The Grid

2. JLTW042 The GridThe Grid is just really effective for his point cost. His Outwit\Improved Shape Change combo along with his TA should protect him well against anyone who is can be targeted by Outwit. You could run him up and let an opponent focus on him (and miss) before using his Running Shot/Pulse Wave to retaliate on the following turn. With Probability Control and Outwit he’s competent support as well as a great secondary attacker. Two great tastes in one!

Tim Hunter

1. JLTW055 Tim Hunter – When I pulled this guy at our Sealed tournament I realized two things. The first was that he is completely useless in Sealed. Completely. The second is that this may be my favorite character in the set to try and build a combo team around. Ever since then I’ve been working on ideas. WOL050AE Spectre (Red Lantern) lets him be Untargetable at range. FL045 Etrigan the Demon grants Invincible, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Charge, and Exploit Weakness. JLTW053A John Constantine grants Stealth, Outwit (OR Perplex), and double Probability Control! Again, for emphasis, teaming him with John Constantine gives your side FOUR PROBS a turn!!

I’ve also been pondering how to get him to his 4th click. I’ve thought about having him follow an IM3105 Extremis Mercenary into battle. I’ve also considered using FL063 Phantom Stranger to Mastermind exactly 3 Damage (Phantom Stranger can Mastermind any amount of damage). I think I’ve settled on the easiest method being a White Lantern Battery and letting your opponent do the Damage for you.

My next Team Build article will likely feature him soon.

 

My Top 10 Figures of the Set:

John Constantine

10. JLTW053A John Constantine – If you are running a Justice League Dark team, he is practically a must play. While playing JL Dark he grants Stealth to any adjacent JL Dark friendlies. We’ve only seen that a few times before with FFDP004 Red Hulk, JLTW051 Batman, and BM001 Batman. Beyond that He’s got mystics TA, his choice of Outwit or Perplex, and that neat Special Damage Power that grants Probability Control twice per turn. We’ve only seen someone able to use Probability Control more than once per turn with FL047 Zoom. That’s pretty good company to be in.

An older more mature version of Freddy Freeman.

9. JLTW037B Freddy Freeman – Extremely effective for his points. He’s maybe enough just by himself to make a certain keyword that has largely been unseen at competitive events for ages start showing up again. That keyword is Teen Titans. (Most people forget there was a DC 5 figure pack set between Batman and SLoSH). But the best part about this figure is his ability to effectively heal when hurt. That and yelling Shazam when using Pulse Wave is totally worth it.

Despero

8. JLTW059 DesperoDespero’s stats for his point cost don’t quite measure up to other figures in his point range. However it’s his Trait that makes him great. “PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Despero can’t be the target of Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, or Penetrating/Psychic Blast by characters of a lower point value.”  A giant 200 point character that is likely immune to Outwit and Psychic Blast can be really scary. Invincible and Impervious are really formidable if you can’t find a way to bypass them. At 235 points he also leaves enough room in a 300 point build for a good support piece.

Superman Invincible

7. Superman – For 250 points you get one of the toughest characters ever printed. One click of Invincible, seven clicks of Impervious, and two of Super Senses. 12 Attack, 19 Defense, and 5 Damage to start, plus Hypersonic Speed and Super Strength. He’s also a pseudo support figure with his Leadership Special and the ability to grant his TA to anyone in the Justice League. This is the Superman we’ve always wanted. His weakness is that he’s a 250 point character with absolutely no Outwit protection. Or should I say no protection other than breaking an Ultra Heavy object over an Outwitter’s head for 8 damage using Hypersonic speed. That happened to me in sealed and it turned out that it was all the Outwit protection Superman needed.

power ring

6. JLTW044 Power RingThis is my sneaky pick for the most overlooked character in the set that will be showing up in the Meta later. When you look at him you might think that he’s not a very good attacker for 70 points… and you’d be right. However this guy is really a support piece. Don’t think of him like a 70 point attacker, think of him as a better version of FFDP006R Mercy or WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit (with a little bit of DP048 Blink and FFFL003 Mirror Master thrown in for good measure) and you’ll start to get the picture of how you can use him most effectively…

martian manhunter

5. Martian Manhunter – At 300 points he can’t stop you from Outwitting his powers – if you can see him at all. Better hope your character with Outwit can see through Stealth. Otherwise it’s going to be a really long game. I faced this guy in sealed with Superwoman and Sea King. After a few turns of him beating on me he decided to just go toe to toe with me to save time. I did get lucky and hit him once, but the game was never in doubt.

Think of it this way – when you target him you need to get past Stealth and he has Hypersonic Speed so close combat attacks are hard to line up. Then 1/3 of the time Shape Change stops your attack. Then you have to try to hit a 19. Even with a 12 attack that’s a 42% miss chance. Then he uses Probability Control and you have to hit that 19 again. Finally, if you get past all of those obstacles then he STILL has a 1 in 3 chance of making you miss with Super Senses. It’s been too long since I took any kind of college math for me to add that all up, but I’d say the chances of the average figure doing damage to him is extremely low.

Owlman

4. FFJLTW002 Owlman (Fast Forces) – Fast Forces FFJLTW001 Ultraman, FFJLTW003 Superwoman, and FFJLTW006 Deathstorm are all very good figures, but this easily the best of the Fast Forces CSA bunch. His dial is top notch. INTO THE SHADOWS is pretty effective on the right map and ALL CRIME PROFITS ME IN THE END grants him Mastermind. I love Mastermind on figures that I actually want to keep healthy, and I don’t like it on figures like FL034 Amanda Waller or SLOSH050 Toyman. I’m not sure which dial (Point level) I like best, but his 100 Point version makes a very effective support character with Probability Control, Empower, Enhancement, and Outwit.

Just like JLTW055 Tim Hunter, this guy brings a lot of good ideas to mind for fun team building. I’ve finally found a good way to play a lot of my favorite characters from the Batman Arkham Orgins set. Or, he can be the head of a Gotham City Police team like DKR100 Batman used to do. He can even combine everything into one team like TDW015 Duhg. Do WXM023B Cerise and BMAO021 Bane make good team mates on a Gotham City Underworld team? You can find out. My Recommendation is to try FFJLTW002E Owlman, FL046E Harley Quinn, and JLTW051 Batman. That Gotham Underworld Themed Team can pump Batman up to 6 Damage with a 12 Attack and have one or two uses of Probability Control in case Batman does miss.

Sinestro

3. JLTW049 SinestroIf you field a team with JLTW049 Sinestro on it then any character you face with the Quintessence team ability is at an incredible disadvantage. Even without that coming into play, Sinestro is well worth his points. He starts with Running Shot and Pulse Wave which is great on offense. But his best power may be his Special Damage Power which reads “FEAR THE SINESTRO CORP: Sinestro can use Perplex, but only to decrease combat values. Until your next turn, a character targeted by this Perplex can’t target Sinestro unless the targeted character or Sinestro are the only characters on their force on the map.” That means you can keep your opponent’s best figure from targeting Sinestro until you’ve wiped out the rest of his team. As an added bonus he has Injustice League, Legion of Doom, Ruler, and Sinestro Corps keywords so there are tons of good characters that share a keyword with him. And the Parallax Entity can make any character over 25 points share a keyword with Sinestro.

For added fun play him with JLTW033E Lex Luthor. Whomever you target with Perplex will literally just have to sit there while Sinestro tears their team apart.

Gold Swimming Pool

Technically this is Wiz Kids profits from selling HeroClix as opposed to Greed the character, but you get the idea.

2. JLTW065 GreedHypeFox has been talking up this guy ever since the set came out. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, I’ve been talking him up since he showed up on the Units page a couple of days before JL: TW was even released. So there!] He has the two best TAs in the game and one of the coolest Mind Control powers I’ve ever seen  (Try to Mind Control someone with Running Shot so they can take a shot and end their movement next to you!) But the real reason that he is the best of the 7 deadly sins is that similar to SLOSH047B Black Witch he can provide Relics for your team in a No Resource environment and he’s half the cost of SLOSH047B Black Witch. I’d recommend AVXS103 Fragment – Colossus (for Poison, Flight, and Invulnerability), JLTWR101A Envy (for Sidestep, Energy Shield/Deflection, and Attack Value replacement), or FIS102 Mokk’s Hammer (for Running Shot, Plasticity, and +2 attack), or FIS107 Angrir’s Hammer (for Steal Energy, Toughness, Regeneration, and +2 attack). Additionally, he provides the JLTWS104 Greed relic to someone else on your team and you can still play a Resource! That brings him up to a total of 83 points and even considering his short dial, you’re still getting an incredible deal.

I'm not even in this set, but I'm still in this article. Why? Because... I'm Batman!!!

I’m the best figure ever. Why? Because… I’m Batman!!!

1. JLTW051 BatmanThis is the best version of Batman ever created. Considering how many good version of Batman there are, that’s really saying something. He is the only character I am aware of that can have all the best support powers at once without outside help (Outwit, Perplex, Probability Control, and Telekenesis). At 150 points he’s a competent primary attacker with support capabilities and at 85 points he’s the best support character ever printed. During close combat situations he can choose Pulse Wave and Shape Change or Blades and Exploit weakness if other characters are around. He can even throw in Steal Energy if necessary. In ranged combat he has Running Shot and he can choose Pulse Wave, Ranged Combat Expert, or Close Combat expert. Add to all that the fact that he can use support with a 12 printed attack and Probability Control which likely makes him the best healer ever in addition to everything else. He doesn’t give you quite an many options as FL060 Engineer or GOTG062 Super Skrull, but his already existing abilities and great stat values make him equal or exceed those characters. All of this together makes him the best character in the set.

 

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments section below!

Heat Check: Wordplay!! (Or, The Top Ten Named Keywords in Modern Age… Right Now–PART ONE!!)

50 Greatest Avengers

Hello again, and welcome to a very special day at Critical Missives! We’re introducing a new recurring column gimmick! It’s called “Heat Check,” and we’re going to use this space to count down the Top Ten versions of various Heroclix game elements.

Today, as we start to analyze where the game is at now that Justice League: Trinity War has released, we’re going to take a look at the best Named keywords in Modern Age play right now. Why? Well, first, because it’s always fun to rank stuff in a blog post, and second, these rankings may help you decide what team you want to play the next time you’re getting ready for a game at your local venue–or at least give you a hint as to which Named Themed Team keywords you might run into at your next event!

We’re going to judge keywords based on a bunch of different criteria:

We Are Legion!: This one’s pretty straightforward. This is just the total number of available characters.  The higher the number of total characters, the more options you have for team building.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: This is basically asking if there’s a recruiter–that is to say, is there any way for the keyword to pull characters without the keyword into your army while still keeping Theme. Which is a complicated way of asking if there’s someone like Amanda Waller, G.W. Bridge, Duhg, etc. who has a Trait that gives a certain Named keyword to a character who doesn’t have it during army construction. Recruiters obviously open up your options quite a bit; not every Named keyword is going to have a Recruiter–most don’t–but those that do definitely have a leg up when it comes to being able to construct a competitive team for just about any gametype.

Also Known As: Is there an available ATA? This is a big one. There’s some really great ATA’s out there, and some Named keywords even have access to more than one! The presence of an ATA can vastly increase the effectiveness of your team in many cases.

Working Together!: Does this keyword have access to a Team Base? If you haven’t heard, these things are stupidly good. The presence of a Team Base also means that the keyword can support larger game types as well.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Prime characters are usually ridiculously efficient for their points. That’s why (in all but one case) you can only play one per Build. If a Named keyword doesn’t have access to at least one Prime character, they’re gonna have to work a little harder to be as effective in a competitive environment. If they have MORE than one Prime to choose from, um… damn. That usually doesn’t happen… Usually.

Straight, With Chaser: Chases are cool. But, more relevant to our purposes here, Chases are usually really effective (much less consistently than Primes, and they’re not intended to be equivalently as good, but still), primarily because they often all share at least one really good Trait (if not more) that’s often synergistic (for example, the Z-Virus Traits on the Zombie Chases from Deadpool and Guardians). Plus, they’re just that little extra bit of fun to play. If a Named keyword has access to one or more Chase characters, again, this will only give you more options while building your squad.

Shadow of the Colossus: Like Team Bases, Colossal characters are just fun as hell to play, and often overpowered (just by their very nature). Most venues only allow them for certain gametypes. Still, the presence of a Colossal within the pool of available figures often means that the Named keyword can field not just a great 300 Point team, but great teams at point levels up to 1000 and beyond for those weeks your venue is running an epic clash.

Micro Machines: The other end of the spectrum; if your putting a team together for a micro game (200 or less), does this keyword have enough good figures to make a team? Also, a larger number of smaller character would indicate that this keyword has a lot of supporting characters to choose from. Another sign of overall versatility.

Who Let You In?!: Our pick for the least likeliest figure in Modern that ACTUALLY has the keyword.

 

So, with all that said, let’s count ’em down, Dave Letterman-style!!

Here are your TOP TEN KEYWORDS IN MODERN AGE.. RIGHT NOW!!

 

Marvel ZOmbies Villains

10. Z-Virus

We Are Legion!: Pretty darn small roster, actually. 18 distinct characters with 20 different dials (17 figures plus a 3-dial Team Base). But Z-Virus makes up for its small quantity with a high amount of quality!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: In short, no, although all but two Z-Virus characters (everyone but Headpool and the Team Base) can resurrect opposing characters that they KO as new teammates, which I suppose is a roundabout way of recruiting, no? Still, this won’t help you during army construction, which is what this category is really about.

Also Known As: No ATA. Frankly, they don’t need one.

Working Together!: They do have a Team Base, and it’s pretty damn good!

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: No Primes, but…

Straight, With Chaser: … they have access to 16 DIFFERENT CHASE PIECES!! Only Headpool (Common) and the Team Base (LE) aren’t Chases. As mentioned before, all the Chase Z-Virus characters have Improved Movement: Ignores Characters AND the same two Traits in common: ZOMBIE HUNGER: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, place a Food token on this card if there are less than 5 Food tokens. When Super Skrull would be KO’d by an opponent’s attack, turn to its first KO click, remove all Food tokens from this card, and heal it that many clicks AS WELL AS ZOMBIE INFECTION: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, give that character a Virus token if it has less than 5 Virus tokens. When an opposing character is KO’d by this character, you may add it to your force, turn to its first KO click, remove all of its Virus tokens and heal it that many clicks.

This makes almost every character with this keyword hard as heck to kill with any finality.

Shadow of the Colossus: Shockingly, Zombie Galactus does NOT have the Z-Virus keyword. Ninwashui and I often “House Rule” him to have it; regardless, he still has the Monster keyword so he can make a generic Themed Team with any of the Z-Virus characters. Still, this really hurts–very annoying, WizKids!

Micro Machines: Not so much. Only Headpool at 38 Points is under 50, but most Zombies are actually pretty reasonably priced.

Who Let You In?!: Has got to go to GOTG061 Skrull. The Zombie Villain no one was asking for. It’s the only Zombie Chase that isn’t Unique. Even Wizkids is like, “Naw, man, go ahead and play as many as you want. Trust us, it’s not to your advantage.” For so many reasons, this should have been Zombie Thanos.

Why Z-Virus Is #10: Because of their innovative Zombie mechanics, these guys are a blast to play. The Team Base is much more effective to play than it is on paper. Now, outside of Headpool, it is a nightmare trying to cobble all these characters together (after a lengthy pursuit over two sets, I myself have Headpool, five of the Chases and the Team Base–basically 33% of the available Zombies. Sigh… ), but it can be worth it. Headpool, Electro and Super Skrull in particular are Meta-Worthy, with Super Skrull having headlined at least one ROC-winning squad (if not more).

Must Have Pieces: Headpool, Electro, Super Skrull.

 

LEgo Avengers

9. Avengers

We Are Legion!: Huge roster. Go spelunking for the Avengers keyword on HCRealms.com’s Units section and you’ll return 120 results!!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter, at least not as yet, although who knows how the Avengers Round Table Resource that’s gonna hit this summer will work…

Also Known As: Yup–four different ATA’s!! The best is probably Secret Avengers (Characters using this team ability can’t be the target of an opponent’s Outwit or Perplex unless they’ve been targeted with an attack previously in the same turn. 5 Points per character.).

Working Together!: A pretty decent Team Base from AVX that offers a ton of different cast options (more than a dozen characters to choose from).

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yup! Invincible Iron Man gave us three–Hyperion, War Machine and Silver Centurion!

Straight, With Chaser: Just a few Chases to choose from, at least until this summer. The best is probably the Cap/Black Widow duo from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Shadow of the Colossus: At the moment, none, although Phoenixbuster Iron Man is a giant… and a giant sculpt!

Micro Machines: One pretty good one (Tony Stark from Iron Man 3 is exactly 50 Points) and NOTHING ELSE. Wow!

Who Let You In?!: Gonna go with wkM-012 Firestar. I remember the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon fondly from my youth; never thought I’d see those characters made into ‘Clix with Avengers keywords. Crazy! I’d say the runner-up here is Mantis–I think of her more as a Guardian now.

Why Avengers Is #9: Just on sheer variety, Avengers has to be a part of this list. Man that’s a big roster! But they’ve also got some wickedly effective pieces, too. They’ve slid down to #9 because of all the quality they lost when Chaos War rotated (Hawkeye or Sentroid, anyone?), but I’d expect Avengers to be Top 3 (or better) by the time Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. releases this summer as there’s no fewer than THREE sets devoted to the Avengers coming out between April and May.

Most of the AvX pieces were quite solid, with Scarlet Witch being especially effective at her 100 Point level, but the fact is that since at least half of the Marvel Universe has been in the Avengers at some point, just about every set has a quality Avengers piece (heck, even Deadpool gave us Shang-Chi… along with a Deadpool piece that didn’t have the keyword but somehow was allowed on the Avengers Team Base!).

Must Have Pieces: AvX Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Black Widow Duo, Silver Centurion.

 

Black Lantern Lego

8. Black Lantern Corps

We Are Legion!: 17 different Modern Age characters with, like, 27 different dials.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yup! WOL060P Black Hand will bring any character you want over to the dark side for a measly 25 Points! Also, if you’re using the Black Lantern Resource, you can dish out the Black Lantern Corps keyword to whoever you want, but that won’t help you during force construction.

Also Known As: Uh-huh. They’ve got just one, but it’s a good’un! Only costs 1 point per character and it guarantees at least 1 click of health will be restored whenever a BLC member uses Regeneration (which, with their dials, will probably happen quite a bit)!

Working Together!: No Team Base…

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yes! Exactly one, and he’s awesome! Zoom, the Super Rare Prime from Flash!

Straight, With Chaser: None–even Black Hand is just a SR.

Shadow of the Colossus: Two!! Nekron and Black Lantern Anti-Monitor! Nekron is a straight Boss Battle piece (which basically means he costs a ton of points and is definitely over powered in larger games) as would be expected of the Grand Prize Piece for a 6-month long OP campaign. BLAM is great in his own right; not as powerful, but he doesn’t cost as much, either.

Micro Machines: Just 2–Black Hand (as a Possessor only, so he doesn’t really count for this) and Black Lantern Reanimate, who’s not bad for his 35 Points.

Who Let You In?!: The Modern Age BLC roster is pretty tight, so we’re gonna twist this category around and complain about who HASN’T been let in yet. The biggest no shows so far (in order of “totally egregious omission” to “would have been nice to have”) are Black Lantern versions of Elongated Man, Hawkman and Hawkgirl (these two could have even been a duo!), Martian Manhunter, Sue Dibny and Jean Loring. Now, we got a pretty good Elongated Man in Flash and a very good Hawkman in JL: TW, so theoretically you could Black Hand Possess either of those pieces and be comic accurate. BL Manhunter was also a big antagonist in “Blackest Night,” so he would have been nice to have as well. At least there’s a Brave and the Bold Golden Age version of him, so at least he isn’t as yet Un-Clix’d like Ms. Dibny and Ms. Loring.

Why Black Lantern Corps Is #8: They are just hideously effective. Playing a Black Lantern Corps team isn’t entirely dissimilar than playing a Z-Virus team–both keyword families get exponentially stronger every time you KO an opposing figure. But the fact that they have both a Recruiter (Black Hand) and TWO different Colossals to choose from means that this keyword can be a contender in almost any size game. And we haven’t even mentioned the fun that is Black Lantern Firestorm or Aquaman yet!

Must Have Pieces: Zoom Prime, Black Hand, Nekron.

 

Lego GotG

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

We Are Legion!: 29 different figures with 33 distinct dials!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiters. Bummer.

Also Known As: Two! The first basically makes team members un-Outwittable for a measly 4 Points a character. Extremely useful. The second (GotG Silver Age) is now practically useless (makes team members Wild Cards, but erases all other team abilities they possess. Which, y’know, makes being a Wild Card preeeeeeeety pointless.

Working Together!: No Team Base… this clearly needs to be remedied.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Surprisingly, none.

Straight, With Chaser: Two, and one’s a must have! The Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set gave us what has to be considered one of the best Rocket Raccoons ever!

Shadow of the Colossus: None.

Micro Machines: Not one. Mantis I think is the closest at 56.

Who Let You In?!: No actual complaints here; roster is solid, with a few classic characters (Killraven!) mixed with a heavier tilt towards the modern roster (Iron Man, Angela, etc.).

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Is #7: Because there’s barely any stinkers on the roster. Even some of the common, easily available figs like Mantis and Major Victory have turned up on Top 8 winning ROC squads. You want to get up to some shenanigans? Main set Star-Lord makes every team member’s Defense value equal to the highest native Defense value possessed by a team member (hello Chase Rocket Raccoon and his 19 D!!).

If there’s a power or game mechanic you want, you’ll probably find it on one of these folks! Consistent quality.

Must Have Pieces: A bunch. Rocket Raccoon (Movie Set Chase), Star-Lord (Movie Set Starter), Major Victory, Mantis, Yondu, Star-Lord (Main set Uncommon).

 

Lego Heroes for Hire

6. Heroes for Hire

We Are Legion!: 26 characters with 27 different dials (for those keeping score at home and wondering about my math, the Colleen Wing and Misty Knight duo fig can actually be played as separate dials that distinctly represent each character, or played as a whole dial representing both as a duo piece). Also, for those wondering why I’d choose Luke Cage to headline this section when THERE IS NO MODERN AGE LUKE CAGE, well, yeah, that’s kinda my point! We need a Modern Luke Cage, dammit! (And with Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron OP coming this year, I’m pretty sure were getting at least one, if not two or more, since we know he’ll have an ID card… )

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter.

Also Known As: Yup! Their ATA was, at one point (circa 2013) the best in the game. So good, in fact, that WizKids had to nerf it, since every tournament was being won by Ghost Rider with the HfH ATA and, well, anything else.

Working Together!: No Team Base.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Two. One is a super-efficient close combatant who starts with Charge, Flurry, Stealth, Quake (with a 12 Attack!), Super Senses, CCE (and the ability to use it as a close combat action, so it pairs nicely with Charge or Flurry!) and a Trait that has a 33% chance to nerf opposing Relics and Resources if a character using one of those attacks him.

And he’s the “bad” Prime.

As good as Cat is, Brother Voodoo will go down as possibly the best Prime ever made (although we shall watch the Modern Age careers of Zoom and Captain Marvel with interest, methinks–and yes, unfortunately that was a Phantom Menace reference. Deal with it!).

Straight, With Chaser: None. Don’t really need one. That ATA turns almost any piece into a Chase-level efficient attacker!

Shadow of the Colossus: Again, none. And again, probably don’t need one.

Micro Machines: Just two–Black Cat from Deadpool and Johnny Blaze from ASM.

Who Let You In?!: So, again, just to be clear: 2 (really three, when you count the fact that you can play the Duo as separate dials) Modern Age versions of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing; 2 Modern Age versions of Black Cat; a Modern Age freakin’ Humbug… and no Modern Age Luke Cage?!?!?!?!? Suuuuuuuurrrre…

Why Heroes for Hire Is #6: Because they’re still going strong two years after they’re Modern Age reintroduction in ASM! It’s funny, everyone thinks of HfH as a ASM sub-theme, which it certainly was, but Deadpool actually gave us more than twice as many HfH figs, which really rejuvenated the keyword. Once ASM rotates out, HfH will definitely suffer, but given the roster overlap in the comics between the Avengers (who, as mentioned, have, like a bazillion sets coming this year) and the Heroes for Hire, I wouldn’t be shocked if HfH shows up on this list again in 6 months!

But you could argue that right now, they deserve to be even higher. They have Meta pieces coming out of their earholes: Ghost Rider; Speed Demon; DP Main Set Elektra; FI (White Ranger) Iron Fist; Brother Voodoo; Shang-Chi… all these pieces have made a Meta impact, whether at a ROC tourney or elsewhere.

Must Have Pieces: Pretty much the list above. Also, HfH pieces are probably the easiest to collect. Individually, there’s none that will cost more than about $20, and most are much cheaper. Kind of like the opposite of collecting Z-Virus pieces.

 

Alright! That’s the end of part one! We’ll count down all the way to number 1 in Part 2 next week! Also, later this month you can expect Ninwashui and I to give our JL: Trinity War Top Ten Set Reviews!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 2 is live! And you can find it right here!]