The Ghost of Christmas Present… uh, PRESENTS… The Marvel Heroclix Set We Should Have By Now, But Don’t!! (Or, The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

 

 

New FF Intro.jpeg

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

Welcome back for Night Four of The Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas 2018!!

Tonight we’re going to look at a (for now) imaginary set that, when you think about it in the abstract, we should have gotten already, but for whatever reason, Wizkids has yet to produce.

FF Tortured

Yup… getting the FF back in Clix has indeed been a torturous endeavor.

Whew! That’s as awkward an article description as any I think I’ve ever written. Nevertheless… here we go!

The Marvel set we should have gotten by now but haven’t is…

New Fantastic Four.jpg

THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR:

There’s been no shortage of articles detailing Marvel’s alleged (wait, is it even still “alleged” anymore? Hasn’t it been proven?) reluctance to allow any licensed merchandise featuring the X-Men or Fantastic Four. But the weird part is, this shadowban of FOX movie properties seems to have expired some time ago for the X-Men. How long ago? Well, long enough ago that their big return to Clix, Uncanny X-Men, HAS ALREADY SHIFTED TO GOLDEN AGE!

When you consider that the first Deadpool set and the DoFP comic book Gravity Feed (which itself was essentially just Marvel using Wizkids to send Fox a giant middle finger) both came out in Spring 2014, we were really only without Marvel’s Merry Mutants in Heroclix for about two years. Meanwhile, Marvel’s First Family hasn’t had a core character appear in any set since Fear Itself in 2013 (the Super Rare FI033 Angrir) and a regular set since Chaos War in 2012. 20-FREAKING-12!!

So this leaves me with two questions:

1.) Why are the FF (and their related characters) being withheld from Clix while the X-Men have basically had a green light to appear for going on three years now when their respective licenses were both being held by the same competitor?!

2.) IF the FF were to ever be allowed to front another Heroclix set, which version of the team would I personally like to see as the focus of such a set?

The answers:

1.) Nobody knows.

Seriously. At this point, I’m really not sure if anyone even freaking knows. And even if someone deep inside of Marvel or Wizkids did know, I doubt they’d ever tell us.

2.) Hmmmm… how about…

All of them?

And thus, I would simply call this hypothetical set “New Fantastic Four” (from the famous Walt Simonson run) and plaster the box art with both the traditional Reed-Sue-Johnny-Ben lineup AND the Hulk, Spidey, Wolverine and Ghost Rider lineup.

I mean, did you know that if you look up the FF all-time roster on Wikipedia there are 17 names BEFORE it even gets to the New Fantastic Four entry?

So this set would still have a ton of Marvel Heroclix staples like Spidey and Wolverine WHILE AT THE SAME TIME finally giving us Modern Age designs for the traditional lineup! I’d even add in a “Fantastic Five” sub-theme from the MC2 Universe.

Add in some Doctor Doom and a Latveria sub-theme along with a new Surfer and Doc Strange-led “Defenders” sub-Theme, and you’ve got more than enough pieces for a full five-figure set.

Hell, if you want to ensure that this set would literally blow off the shelves and sell out everywhere nearly instantly, Wizkids could meme us all and make the Chase theme for this set “Fox-owned figures that played starring roles in the stories other sets were based upon yet never showed up.”

Chase figures like:

Sue Storm AOU Best

–Invisible Woman (from the “Age of Ultron” comic story and Limited Edition set)

Wolverine and Wolverine.jpg

–Wolverine and Wolverine duo fig (from the “Age of Ultron” comic story and Limited Edition set)

The Silver and Golden Surfers.jpg

–Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock duo fig (from the famous Infinity Gauntlet series and the Avengers: Infinity set)

Molecule Man slice

–Infinite Molecule Man (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

Black Priest Doc Strange.jpg

–Black Priest Doctor Strange (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

Rabam Alal.jpg

–Doctor Doom as Rabam Alal (from the “Time Runs Out” storyline and Secret Wars: Battleworld set)

And, of course, the special Ultra-Chase that fans have been demanding for almost four years:

God Emperor Doom

God. Emperor. Doom!

Boom. Mic drop.

This set would not sit on shelves. These are the characters fans want in Modern right now!

What do you guys think? Would you get hyped for “The New Fantastic Four?”

Let me know in the Comments below!

And next time the Ghost of Clix-Mas Presents appears, he’ll have a theoretical DC set to talk about that WE HAVEN’T GOTTEN YET!!

And come see us tomorrow night for Night Five of Clix-Mas 2018!

MCU 10 years

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally, this article was going to be about the TWO Marvel sets we should have by now but haven’t gotten yet. The other hypothetical set that people have been clamoring for is a MCU: Tenth Anniversary/Infinity War set. But this was a little bit harder to pin down for two reasons: First, it’s unclear whether we will be getting an MCU set for Avengers: Endgame. I don’t think anything’s been announced, but Captain Marvel’s MCU Clix set was sort of thrust on us in a low-key way, and I’m not sure we’d hear for certain either way until January or February. Secondly, a MCU Tenth Anniversary set seems to mean something different to everyone. Some folks just want the movies we never saw Clix’d from Phase 2 on (Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ant-Man 2, etc.). Others really just want the (well, formally, now I guess) Netflix heroes Clix’d. So it would have been harder to articulate exactly what people would want from that set, even though it’s an expansion theme that I hear people requesting all the time!]

 

 

 

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Call It A Gift Then!! (Or, Y’know… Let’s Talk BRIEFLY About Avengers: Infinity War!!)

Avengers Infinity War masthead

Wow!!

I mean… we knew it was going to be good.

But WOW!!

So, I have some thoughts. I might ramble a bit, but I want to get this column out so we’re free and clear for some Clix coverage in the immediate future!

[SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!! BUT IF YOU READ THIS BLOG AND HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE YET, YOU MUST BE A UNICORN… ]

I wrote before about what the trailer for this movie meant to me (check that piece out here), and now that I’ve seen the whole film, I can say it did not disappoint in any way.

Did it have elements of Thanos Quest? Yep. Did it have characters from Hickman’s Infinity event from a few years ago? Sure.

But make no mistake: This was an adaptation of Infinity Gauntlet (or the first part of Infinity Gauntlet, at least), one of the crown jewels from Marvel’s brilliant history. And it’s something that would have been ABSOLUTELY INCONCEIVABLE just ten years ago.

Some of the Highlights:

Josh Brolin as Thanos: Absolutely delivered one of the best performances of his career. A lot of folks have been talking about Thanos as perhaps the best mo-cap movie character ever created, as if he’s only the result of technological breakthroughs. That’s certainly true, but Brolin truly became this character even though we never seen him physically onscreen.

The creators (specifically the writers and directors) said this would be Thanos’s story, and they were not lying. And a lot of that hangs on Josh Brolin’s shoulders;

Chris Hemsworth as Thor: This character has gone from the forgotten MCU Avenger to everyone’s favorite overnight. No one really missed him in Civil War; Ragnarok seemed like just an obligatory, almost contractual entry on Marvel’s calendar. Then we actually saw the damn thing, and it was terrific.

In some ways, about a third of Infinity War is basically a sequel to Ragnarok. And it was one of the best parts of the movie. Hemsworth has finally found a groove with Thor; on one hand, I’d understand if he decides he’s done with the grind of portraying a superhero; on the other hand… he’s doing his best work right now! Drama! Comedy! Action! Adventure! Thor has become an amazing character, and I really hope he sticks around.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange: Wow! Doctor Strange has come a long way. More than even in his own movie, this is the Doctor Strange that I remember from the comics!

Some of the Lowlights: 

–Really, not much. Some folks have brought up some minor pacing issues; others didn’t like Star-Lord screwing up the plan. But I didn’t notice anything that took me out of the movie.

No, the only thing I would’ve hoped for was actually some more screen time for Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. The weapons are cool; their backstory is even cooler. In the comics, Corvus Glaive is actually more of an orator about Thanos than Ebony Maw ever was.

It’s a minor quibble, but not having more of Proxima or Corvus robbed us of two things:

First, if we’d spent a little more time with them, they wouldn’t have felt just like cannon fodder during that final battle in Wakanda.

Secondly, Corvus Glaive has one of the best death scenes in comics when he takes on Hyperion in Infinity.

Corvus Death 1

Corvus Glaive Part 2

Even if they had given this sequence to, say, Iron Man dispatching Ebony Maw, this was one great exchange from the comics that I missed in the film.

How Did They Even Make This Movie Without the Silver Surfer Or, Y’know, Adam Warlock… WHO WAS THE MAIN CHARACTER IN THE ORIGINAL COMIC?

–By dividing up their parts among some of the other characters.

Let’s start with the Surfer. His main purpose in Infinity Gauntlet was three-fold.

First, Surfer is extremely powerful, so when Thanos quite easily dispatches him, that tells the audience that Thanos is a badass who is going to be hell to deal with. Then, Surfer is hurtled towards Earth from space to warn the rest of the Marvel heroes that Thanos. Is. Coming! Finally, Surfer was one of the key heavy-hitting combatants that confronts Thanos at the very end of the story.

Hmmm… pretty much every one of those plot points was given to the Hulk in Infinity War. I was actually surprised at how easily the writers were able to slide Hulk into that role.

Adam Warlock’s part was more complicated. I think they actually split his role and gave it to two different characters.

First… I think it’s pretty clear that most of the Soul Stone shenanigans that Warlock gets into in Infinity Gauntlet were given to Gamora (this actually isn’t too far from the comic–Gamora was with Warlock when he emerged from the Soul Stone in the beginning of the story).

I really think Gamora will find her way out of the Soul Stone eventually. She might be the only non-“snap” death that eventually gets reversed. Remember that orange-tinged scene with young Gamora and Thanos at the end of the film, when it seemed like Thanos was having some sort of vision? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that took place in the Soul Stone where Gamora–at least some part of her–still resides.

But there was one other character who got some of Warlock’s lines, I think. As it happens, he also wielded a green Infinity Gem…

Doctor Strange.

In Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock devises what is essentially a long con to wrest control of the Gauntlet from Thanos (who is impossible to defeat in any sort of battle while possessing the gems). At one point, he explains part of his plan to the Silver Surfer, who is horrified to find out that Warlock is interacting with the crisis as if it is some sort of game.

A Game.png

Indeed, gathering Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face off against Thanos was nothing more than a ploy to distract the Mad Titan, and their subsequent horrific deaths could in fact be attributed to Warlock’s seeming indifference (we find out later that Warlock had no intention of letting their deaths be permanent, but still… ).

Well, I think there’s a lot more going on in the scene between Tony Stark and Doctor Strange on Titan where Strange tells Stark that giving Thanos the Time Gem was “the only way.”

Strange knows something in that scene that we do not. I’m convinced of it! And even if it meant sacrificing half of the galaxy (albeit perhaps temporarily), Strange was willing to do that if it meant ultimate victory in the end.

 

Whew. Alright, that was a little scattered, but I just wanted to get some thoughts down on paper. I loved, loved LOVED this movie, and I hope you all did too!

Back in a few days with some more Clix coverage!

 

Eight Things I Want From Avengers: Infinity!! (Or, More Irresponsible Speculation!!)

Hi There! It’s been awhile (well, we’ve been tweeting up a storm the last few months, but still!).

Fresh off getting my butt kicked at the Spring WKO (look, I’d write about Call-Ins ruining the game, but it’s been discussed to death and Wizkids apparently has market research to show that people like extra value inserted into packs via things like Equipment or ID Cards, so, they’re not going away anytime soon… ), today we’re starting to get ready for one of the biggest sets of the year.

Yup! We’re talkin’ Avengers: Infinity!

Spoilers won’t start for a little while yet, so now is the perfect time for some of our patented Irresponsible Speculation!!

Here are eight things I hope we’ll get in this set!

FF

8. Fantastic Four Characters!!

Okay, I like the FF as much as anyone, but the two characters I’m really talking about here are Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom.

Unfortunately, both of these characters are probably still on the ban list until the Disney/Fox merger is complete (probably 16-24 months from now).

Still, Surfer (and, to a lesser extent, Doom) were big characters in the original Infinity Gauntlet (from which many of the characters in this set come), so their absence would definitely be missed.

 

Helicarrier

7. Helicarrier!!

C’mon, Wizkids! We want a Helicarrier already!

We know we’re getting vehicles in this set (Spider-Mobile!!); we know that at least one of those vehicles will be S.H.I.E.L.D.-related (Nick Fury’s flying car!); and you’ve even given us special Helicarrier maps in the past, so we know you guys are familiar with them!

Brainiac’s Skull Ship proves that you don’t mind making big ships, either! So the time has come for everyone’s favorite flying gunships to enter Heroclix!

 

Thanos Come and Get Me.jpg

6. Title Character Thanos!!

Of all the things on this list, this one might be the most likely.

The Title Character mechanic has been a lot of fun (and so far, not nearly as overpowered at it first might have seen, although Ninwashui and I still think Title Character Thor has a lot of untapped Meta possibilities), and Title Character Thanos would have the potential to be the coolest one yet (and this wouldn’t be a bad pose for his scuplt, either).

They wouldn’t necessarily have to give him the Infinity Gauntlet on this piece (although a Chase series of characters who have all wielded it at some point would be cool–hmmm, maybe there were really 9 Things I should have written about for this article), but Thanos is certainly deserving of the Title Character treatment considering he’s long been one of Marvel’s greatest villains.

 

Adam Warlock.jpg

5. Title Character Adam Warlock!!

And, in keeping with the recent trend of two Title Characters per set, who better for the second slot than Thanos’s greatest foil, Adam Warlock?

In addition to being one of my favorite characters, Adam Warlock was pretty much THE MAIN PROTAGONIST of Infinity Gauntlet (you can argue that Thanos was still the main character of the story; you can also argue that, from a certain point of view, Thanos was actually the protagonist in a weird way and Adam Warlock was the antagonist of the story, keeping Thanos from what he most desired–is it clear that I loved this story and have read and thought about it WAAAAY too much over the last 25 years?).

A Title Character Adam Warlock with the Infinity Watch keyword and some sort of Soul Stone Title Character ability would absolutely make my day!

 

Uatu

4. Updated Colossal Watcher!!

We haven’t gotten a Watcher since Galactic Guardians and this is the perfect time for an update!

I really liked the way the GG version played, which could fill different roles on your team for different point costs. Really, if they just updated the sculpt and Uatu’s stats, they could pretty much just release the last dial they made for him!

 

Infinity Gems.jpg

3. Infinity Gems!!

Look, we just got Equipment in Thor, and since then, virtually nothing. Give us some Infinity Gem Equipment inserts!!

This is almost too obvious of an idea for Wizkids to actually execute, but I would love to see it.

Who wouldn’t want to outfit their team of choice with the six Infinity Gems?

Oh, speaking of that…

 

Infinity Watch.jpg

2. Full Roster of the Infinity Watch!!

See that guy in the lower right corner? 12-year-old me remembers his name–Maxam! And for a time, he was an official member of the Infinity Watch–and he remains un-Clixed!

We know we’ll be getting some Infinity Watch pieces in this set, so it’s time for Wizkids to give us the WHOLE team! So yeah, we want Maxam, for sure, but the Galactic Guardians pieces haven’t aged well at all, so go ahead and give us updated versions of the entire team!

(For the record, that’d be Adam Warlock, Thanos, Drax, Maxam, Pip the Troll, Gamora and Moondragon.)

 

Galactus

1. Some form of Galactus!!

Yeah, he’s also tied up with the FF license Disney is trying to get back, but we’ve gotten a Zombie Galactus in the last few years, so he’s always a possiblity. But the unique nature of this set would allow them to give us a Modern Galactus that could be pulled right from a normal booster, something that’s never happened with a Galactus piece!

 

Okay, that’s my list! What’s on yours? Let me know in the Comments below!

ROC’ing the Meta… Just like Shuma-Gorath Did!! (Or, A Look at the Top Pieces for ROC Super Qualifiers!!)

Welcome Back!

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

Can you smell what the ROCK is cooking?


 

So I’ve continually talked about how the ROC’s are great source of information for the current Meta. Well, on a whim (and somehow finding myself with some rare time to kill) I decided I should tally up all of the Top 4 finishing teams from the entire history of the ROC to see who the Top 10 most popular figures are. Why? Well, if you’re thinking of entering a ROC tourney near you, this might give you an idea of which army you want to build; but even if this doesn’t give you an idea of what to play, it should (perhaps even more importantly) give an idea of what you’ll be facing in the finals if you make the Top 16.

Welcome... to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that's prolly not my last).

Welcome… to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that’s prolly not my last).

For the record, there are 21 tournament results posted. Four teams from each would be 84 team results to work with, but one tournament only posted the top two teams. All of which means that I’m pulling data from 82 Top 4 teams total.

In the interest of total transparency, the picture below should illuminate the primary methodology I used to determine the following results.

"Me calculating the ROC results for my article. Damn, I'm a handsome beast!"

Showing my work.

Before getting to the actual figures, here are the ranks for the most popular:

Resources

Resources:

1. FIR100C The Book of the Skull
2. NMLR100C Utility Belt
3. IIMR100C Power Plant
4. AVXR100 The Phoenix Force
5. IGR101C Infinity Gauntlet

The Book of the Skull is my favorite Resource, so this pleased me. HypeFox is more of a Phoenix Force or Infinity Gauntlet guy.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the nonexistent Great Lakes Avengers Team Base.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the Great Lakes Avengers Team Base. Which is not a real thing. Better luck next time, Fairchild!

Team Bases:

1. WXMT004 New Mutants
Tied for 2nd. TTT002R Justice League, WXMT001E X-Men: Blue Strike Force, WXMT006 Hellfire Club: Inner Circle

No other team bases have made a Top 4 table, which surprised me. Would have thought Trinity of Sin would have shown up at some point.

Bystander

Bystander Tokens:

1. FIH002 Warbot (Rocket)
2. FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot
3. FIB003 Damaged Warbot
4. FIB005 Super Fan
5. FIB018 Store Clerk

Skadi’s Warbot coming in second is the upset here.

And now without further ado here’s…

ROC

The Top 10 Figures of the ROC.

Tied for 10th place. WXM023B Cerise – Cerise is the only representative from the Wolverine and the Xmen set and one of only 2 primes to make the list. She arguably would have made it even higher on this list except for popularity of the other prime and the fact that they can’t be played together. For 60 points, she’s one of the most efficient Soldier and Police keyworded figs around.

Tied for 10th place. SLOSH008 Phantom Girl – When Phantom Girl phases through opposing characters she gets to target one of them with a close combat action. Every other figure with a similar power gets a close combat attack (like all those characters with hypersonic speed). The fact that she gets a close combat action gives her unique ability to use the bat belt and NMLR106 Handcuffs to handicap opposing figures. From SLOSH039 Bizarro to WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath, she can wrap them up tight.

Tied for 10th place. IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC) – This blog has done plenty to hype this piece (here and here) so it’s inclusion on this list is no surprise. What is surprising is that no other piece from the Invincible Iron Man set made this list.

Tied for 10th place. GG026 Mole Man – How did this make the list? WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath is the biggest reason. He is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made DP043 Black Talon as his replacement.

9th place. JL52016R Enchantress – The 2nd best way to spend 50 points in modern. She is not only support, but a decent secondary attacker as well. Especially with a resource.

8th place. SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor – The best of the Chases from SLOSH. Lydea is one part Out-of-the-Shadows Batman and one part relic stealing Cat Woman. Her Regen stop click at the end of her dial is just icing on the cake.

7th place. M10A009E Iron Man – If you absolutely know your opponents are playing a resource, then this is their kryptonite. His dial is very efficient for it’s cost, but his trait is the only reason people ever play him.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SOGV003A GCPD Motorcycle (Autopilot) – This is never played without the GCPD ATA. If you’ve played this without the GCPD ATA, you did it wrong! Combined the cycle and ATA allow to carry two characters regardless of stat symbols 4 squares a turn as a few action. That police motorcycle is a steal for it’s point cost.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SLOSH039 Bizarro – HypeFox once told that this should be my favorite character in the whole game. I love stop clicks and for this guy every click is a stop click. Depending on point value this is the toughest character ever made.

4th place. FFCW006 Scarlet Witch – She very similar to JL52016R Enchantress, but slightly better. She’s been a popular piece to play when she was first introduced due to her combination of perplex, probability control, and barrier on the same character. She is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made FFDP006R Mercy as her replacement.

3rd place. GG014 Astral Dr. Strange – This is a great way to spend 13 points. The free move definitely puts it over the top. However, a lot of the play this piece has seen lately is with SLOSH048 Tellus. The combo is free move this 13 point figure into range and then have your whole team shoot through it. On your opponent’s turn the only thing in range is this 13 point figure.

2nd place. ASM017B Brother Voodoo – Brother Voodoo is the most popular prime character to date. He’s also my pick for most powerful character (for the points) ever. He’s made the top teams from the very first ROC all the way through the most current one. It seems like a lot of top 4 teams start with Brother Voodoo and fill in the rest from there. Think about this-of the 82 published top 4 ROC teams, this character was on 24 of them (EDITOR’S NOTE: DAAAAAMMMMN)!

1st place. FI301 Splitlip – With 25 total top 4 ROC appearances it’s the most popular figure. How did it get there? Of all of the teams I looked at that used the book of the skulls, all of them included Splitlip. There are a few teams out there that played him without the book, but no one played the book without him. The fact that he’s the cheapest source of enhancement in modern shouldn’t be forgotten either.

So there you go! If you go to a ROC, expect to see some–if not most–of these characters across the board from you.  Thanks for reading.

And keep on ROC'ing! Okay, that was my last pun...

And keep on ROC’ing! Okay, that was my last pun…

 

Shadow of the Colossals!! (Or, The Build–02/08/2014!!)

Colossus

[Editor’s Note: We’re back! Illness and other factors meant we had to go dark for a week, but we now return you to your regularly scheduled programmingThe Build is (hopefully) gonna be a semi-regular column wherein I discuss an upcoming tourney at my local venue and explain what I’m playing and why, and then I’ll write a follow-up entry detailing the results.]

Normally, my venue only allows Modern Age figs, ATA’s and Relics, and generally between 300 and 400 points. But for the next tourney, they’re cooking up something a little special…

So let’s get to it!

The Game:

600 Points. Modern Age. Anything Goes (Resources, Relics, Colossals, ATA’s, Team Bases & Vehicles all allowed).

The Build:

I want to build a team that’s both competitive AND fun to play. Basically, that means I’m not going to go with 5 Mole Men, The Power Plant and Shuma–I’m trying to beat my opponents, not make them hate me. And that type of army–cheap, broken, stupid–is not what I want to play. I want a team that will be pretty good UNDER the current rules and not one that will be good because it EXPLOITS the current rules.

Going in, I know I have a few fixed points for this build. I already know I want to play a Colossal (because it is so rare for my venue to allow them and, well, dammit, they’re fun to play!), and I know I want to play a resource (for the same reasons).

So I already know a little bit about what I’m going to play. Let’s start with the resource.

I own four resource dials in total. The Infinity Gauntlet (for which I own 4 of the 6 gems); The Utility Belt (with only three pouches); The Penguin (for only a slight 10 point investment, he’s sneaky good); and the Book of the Skull (7 of 8 Hammers, which is all I really need–plus Splitlip, who basically takes almost all of the drawbacks away from the book and just makes it stupid broken). AvX hasn’t happened at my venue, and may not ever happen [Editor’s Note: Bleeccch. This sucks! Stupid distributors…], so the Phoenix dial is not available to me.

–The Infinity Gauntlet is great, but without all the gems, I’m going to cross it off my list (although it would be awesome to play with the team I have in mind–more on that later).

–The Utility Belt is also a non-starter, for mostly the same reason (I don’t own enough attachments), and I never liked it as much as the Gauntlet anyway. It’s still ridiculously powerful (what resource isn’t?), but the nerfing of Prep Time really puts it at the bottom of my list.

–The Penguin is a nifty resource that can be thrown in to an army at that last minute when you find out you’ve miscalculated and you need 10 more points. Unlike the other resources in the game, the Penguin probably isn’t sticking around for the whole match, but he’s a great boon for the first four to six turns. After that, he’s probably run his course and is out of the game.

–The Book of the Skull is damn near broken. I could make a very compelling argument that two of its eight Relic components (Angrir’s Hammer and Nul’s Hammer) ARE broken. And even though I don’t have Skadi’s Hammer (only available in the Blitzkrieg USA Pack), I still have the other seven Hammers and Splitlip, which means that all four slots on the dial will be active AND I can give two Hammers to three different characters should I choose to.

I don’t have the Batcave or the Power Plant. This decision is really pretty easy–I’m going to go with the Book of the Skull and Splitlip.

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points.

Splitlip–20 Points.

Okay! So far, the Build stands at 47 Points. We’re off and running! Next, let’s talk about Colossals. Cuz I really want to play one, and I don’t have a ton of choices. The three Modern Age Colossals I currently own are:

Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet); Oatu the Watcher (Galactic Guardians); Master Mold (Galactic Guardians)

And that’s about it. This decision is going to be a little harder than choosing a resource because even though I only have 3 figures to choose from, they each can be played at multiple point levels that would fit this build.

Let’s start with The Watcher; he can be played at three different point levels: 400, 200 and 50.

–The 400 point level features 16 clicks and builds slowly (oh my stars and garters, does it ever build SLOOOOOWLY) in damage output (he starts with a stinkin’ 2 and keeps it for his FIRST FOUR CLICKS!), but he’s got a really cool defensive power (POWER NEGATING FORCE-FIELD: Uatu The Watcher can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Toughness. When an opposing character misses Uatu The Watcher with an attack, counter all powers that character possesses until that character’s next turn.) that looks even better when you remember that he has a 12 (TWELVE!!) range. So your opponent is basically going to be dealing with at least a 19 defense until he gets in close. However, with the 2 damage Uatu starts with, even with starting Outwit (and there’s no guarantee in a 600 point game that your opponent’s main striker won’t also have Power Cosmic or Quintessence, which would render the Outwit useless unless you’re also running GG Adam Warlock), you’re just not going to be doing enough damage to justify his 400 point cost.Towards the end of his dial, his damage does ramp up and he starts getting things like Pen/Psy and Mind Control, but chances are the entire rest of your team could be KO’d by then. Now, if this was, like, a 1200 point game? Well yeah, then he’d be a great supporting piece. But for this game, he’s just not the best option. As much as I like Uatu, his 400 point dial is simply a nonstarter for this build.

–200 point Uatu is just the opposite. He’s practically a DPS machine, with a little bit of range support via Enhancement thrown in. He’s only got six clicks, but there’s not a bad click in the bunch. Solid 18 Defense with either Invuln or Impervious the entire dial, and he starts out doing 4 damage with Pen/Psy on an 11 Attack (or 13, if you want to give him one of the Serpent’s Hammers!). This is a strong contender for a secondary attacker; it will just depend on which figure I go with for my main piece.

–50 point Uatu changes everything up again. He will deal no damage; in fact, he’s forbidden from attacking. But he is hard to kill with starting 18 Super Senses on Defense, and he will, depending on click number, provide you with either Outwit, Probability Control, or Perplex. The downside is, every time you use one of those powers, he’s got a 66% chance to take one unavoidable damage. Still, for 50 points, you have to view him almost like a second resource. When viewed that way, his dial goes from seeming a little overcosted to almost being undercosted, since there’s no other way in the game (that I’m aware of) to assign a second resource to your force. In a game like this, your opponent is almost doing you a favor if he bothers to actually attack Uatu–every attack directed at him is an attack directed away from your actual force, and with the Defense slot I mentioned above, there’s every chance that your opponent will miss! In a “Hammer Raining From the Sky” environment (as Ninwashui puts it) such as this, there’s also one last thing to consider: The Watcher can fling Hammers! His “unavoidable damage” Trait only kicks in when he uses Prob, Perplex or Outwit. And while he can’t use the free Quake attack that Hammer landings provide, you CAN use him to get Hammers off of the Book faster and fling them at friendly characters to let THEM Quake up a storm, if you wish! 50 Point Uatu is also a strong contender to make my team!

Now let’s look at Master Mold. He can be played at two different point levels that would fit this game: 600 and 200.

–600 Point Master Mold is pretty sick. He can churn out mini-sentinels to tie up your opponent–oh hell, who am I kidding? I’m playing Thanos.

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I mean.

It’s freaking.

THANOS!! He’s the masthead of this site. Of course I’m playing Thanos. Is Master Mold more efficient? Possibly. I don’t care. Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet is right up there with Warlock wearing the Infinity Gauntlet as my favorite piece ever made (as you might be guessing, Infinity Gauntlet is my favorite story of all time).

So really, I have three choices then for my main piece in this build. Thanos has a 500, 400 and 300 Point dial, and each are appealing, but for different reasons.

–500 Point Thanos has 20 clicks and 1 weakness Trait (MAKING THE GRAB FOR THE GAUNTLET: If the result of a successful close combat attack roll made by an opposing character against Thanos is a critical hit, after actions resolve that character may make another close combat attack that deals penetrating damage targeting Thanos as a free action.) that gives me pause, even though it won’t go off very often. His other Trait (SHRINKING THE HULK: After Thanos takes damage from an opposing character’s attack, either give that character a shrink token or, if there is already a shrink token assigned, move the shrink token to that character. A character with a shrink token modifies its combat values by -1.) can be awesome in a game like this depending on how many characters your opponent is fielding. The more you whittle your opponent’s force down, the closer he gets to essentially having a permanent -1 to all his combat values on his best fig. Later in the dial, he also gets an attack power that lets him place two squares of blocking terrain after he KO’s someone, and a damage power that gives him Exploit Weakness and doesn’t allow lines of fire to be drawn to him from more than 6 squares away.

His attack never goes above a 12, but his defense stays consistently high, especially early on. Opening click Prob is nice, but at 500 Points, there’s just not much space left to build an army around him. So this Thanos gonna be a pass.

–400 Point Thanos has similar stats but only 11 clicks of life. His Trait (DISSENSION IN YOUR RANKS: Opposing characters lose all keywords. Opposing characters adjacent to Thanos can’t use team abilities.) is beyond awesome, especially in a game like this, and you get Terraxia as a free addition to your force. She’s a 100 Point character with Charge and Super Strength and, as long as you’re playing her with Thanos, Perplex. Finally, on five of his 11 clicks he gets: TORTURE MY “GRANDDAUGHTER”: Thanos can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When he does, if he targets a single opposing character and hits, counter all speed and attack powers the hit character possesses until your next turn. Pen/Psy is one of the best attack powers out there; Pen/Psy that Outwits Hypersonic Speed, Running Shot, Charge, Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy, Steal Energy or whatever the hell else your enemy may have in his speed or attack slots? That’s ridiculous. Btw, here’s a picture of me imagining 400 Point Thanos with Angrir’s Hammer and Mokk’s Hammer:

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Also on the plus side, I’d have 153 Points left over for support pieces (after the 47 I’m using for Booklip). That should be just enough to round out my army. This Thanos is the leader in the clubhouse, but let’s look at 300 Point Thanos.

–300 Point Thanos has one less click and about the same raw stats. His Trait (IMPRISON MY BROTHER: At the beginning of the first turn using this dial, you may choose an opposing character. Place that character in its own starting area and give it two action tokens.) is great when playing all five issues of the Infinity Gauntlet in a row; for this game, it’s merely very good. For most of his dial, his attack slot alternates between a souped-up Pulse Wave (if lines of fire are drawn to more than one opposing character, it does 2 damage instead of one) and Pen/Psy, which is pretty damn good. But he doesn’t mess with opposing keywords or Team Abilities, and he doesn’t give you Terraxia. His last damage power (UNNATURAL DISASTERS: Give Thanos a power action and roll a d6. Use the effect described by that roll below. 1-2 Earthquake; Deal each character that can’t use the Flight ability 1 damage. 3-4 Tidal Wave; Choose an edge of the map. Knock back each opposing character 2 squares, in a straight line away from the chosen edge of the map. 5-6 Tornado; Choose any 2 adjacent squares on the map not occupied by a character. Thanos can use Quake as a free action as if he occupied both the chosen squares.) is probably the most convoluted and unreliable power Thanos gets on any of his dials. If you could just choose which option you want, it would be “meh” at best. The fact that it’s random means that it’s possibly one of the worst uses of Thanos’s time that I can think of.

I’m leaning toward 400 Point Thanos. Is there a more efficient use of 100 Points than Terraxia? Almost certainly, but she works well with Thanos and fits thematically, even if I’m not fielding a Theme Team.

Alright! I have my Colossal! And it only took, like, 1200 words of prattling to make my decision! Yay!

So, to review:

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points

Splitlip–20 Points

Thanos–400 Points

That’s 447 Points. 153 Points left to round out my army. I have a few Primes I’m considering: Hannibal King, Brother Voodoo and Cerise. GG LE Iron Man would be perfect, except he’s 150 and would use up everything I have left. Still, his Colossal Mind Control power is awesome. Another problem–I don’t own him. The other main support piece I’m considering is Experienced AvX Scarlet Witch. Her 8 range is huge. I’m not as concerned about Team Abilities killing me with Thanos’s Trait, but she can definitely shut them down even more. The fact that she gets Prob, Support AND Perplex means she’s winner. Which leaves me with 53 Points!!

Aldrich Killian is most known for shutting down ATA’s (good lord, if nothing else, I will shut down TA’s in this tourney!), but he also has the Hydra TA and Support. And when he heals someone, their combat values are +1 for the next turn. If he heals Thanos even once, that could be game changing.

And finally, to support Killian, I’m throwing in a stupid Flock of Bats for 15 Points. Since Killian can use Stealth on his top clicks, the Bats will give him +1 on those Support rolls. Not to mention that they can be an annoying tie-up piece at some point too. [Editor’s Note: Whoops! Totally forgot that Support doesn’t allow modifiers! Thanks to several folks for pointing this out. Begone, Bats! I’m gonna replace them with a Warbot of some kind, methinks!]

So, my final choices look like this:

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points

Splitlip–20 Points

Thanos–400 Points

Scarlet Witch–100 Points

Aldrich Killian–35 Points

Flock of Bats–15 Points

Random Warbot–10 Points

Secret Avengers ATA-5 Points (for the Scarlet Witch)

That’s 597!! Alright! So, that’s my army. Later in February, I’ll post my results with this motley crew, and we’ll see if any of my theories about this environment held water. What would you change if this was your army? Post your choices below! Given the same restrictions, let me know how you would create…

THE BUILD!!