Comics & More Local Tournament Report for 07/08/2015: Age of Ultron SLOP: Month Two: The Quickening!!

Local Tournament Report

Age of Ultron Month Two went down at Comics & More in Madison Heights, Michigan on July 8th, and we’ve got the results!

Just as everyone was competing for Grandmaster in Month One, in addition to playing for Quest for the Quinjet Points, players were also going for the monthly prize:

Graviton!

We again had 10 competitors (including myself, although, as the Judge, I was, as always, not allowed to accumulate points).

The Build:

For the most part, we followed the WizKids Instruction Sheet and played 300 Point Builds while allowing players to use the Round Table Resource and any Avengers ID card the had accumulated the previous month (by paying its Point cost) or the Hank Pym ID Card if they had bought the Classic Avengers Fast Forces pack. Having said that, players could only play figures that they pulled this month. This basically means that you could play any Avengers ID card you pulled in either month on the Round Table Resource, but to Call-In a figure, you had to actually pull an eligible figure.

(For example, I played a Round Table with four cards: Iron Man, Hank Pym, Jocasta and Protector. If I rolled any of those slots, I could use that card’s Inspiration power for a turn. However, the only corresponding figure I pulled this month was Iron Man, so he was the only piece I could actually call in with the Resource.)

We also decided to allow the use of the Pym Particles Light Object from the Avengers Assemble LE kit (again, by paying its Point cost), as we deemed it as a group to be thematically appropriate.

Some Observations About Age of Ultron, Month 2:

–I played a team that revolved around She-Hulk and Yellowjacket. Having actually got to play She-Hulk this time, I saw nothing to dampen my enthusiasm from Month One. She’s fun to play, and she came through for me in 2 out of the 3 games I played (a little more on that later). I think her Rookie dial has a lot to offer in Constructed, so I’m glad I pulled her.

–Phalanx Ultron went 1-2. I was surprised, but the consensus seemed to be that it’s too easy for certain Builds to out-action him, even in a Sealed Event. I don’t know if I completely agree, but it’s hard to argue when the results were so one-sided this month…

–This whole set seems to be a bit schizophrenic. All of the pieces are either ONLY viable in Sealed or kinda suck in Sealed but good be game-changers in Constructed. We’ll see if Wave 2 brings a bit more balance…

–It’s still tough to make an all-Drone army. Again, the mechanic just isn’t as much fun as it seems like it should be to play…

The only known photo of Carl, the Month Two winner...

Artist’s rendering of Month Two winner “Carl,” based on descriptions provided by other Comics & More competitors…

The Winner:

This month ALSO came down to a pitched battle of unbeatens (mathematically, that wasn’t a huge surprise), and this time, Carl and his Hank Pym/Yellowjacket/Black Knight trio beat Tim’s double Iron Man plus Protector delight! I actually played against Carl’s Build and lost. I went all in with She-Hulk and it didn’t work out too well for me–Hank Pym was able to keep her Movement Power Outwitted after that first miss, which made things a lot tougher, although calling in Iron Man almost completely flipped the script.

I really love Tim’s Build; I think it was smart to double up on ol’ Shellhead, but he just ran up against a team that had a decent counter to that strategy with Carl’s Build. If Carl was able to get Black Knight going, those Iron Men weren’t going to last long…

Actual footage from the final match.

Actual footage from the final match.

Okay! Let’s take a look at the standings. After two months, we’ve now got enough data to break the standings down into tiers.

But first, a scoring system refresher:

For the first three events, you score:

1 Point for Attending;

1 Point for a Loss;

2 Points for a Win;

3 Points for Winning the Event!!

If there is a need to break ties, I will use total Victory Points accumulated during matches. If that somehow ends in a tie, I will use Fellowship votes. If things are still tied, we’ll have a roll-off after I write 4000 words for this site about the improbability of ties in Storyline OP Events.

I still don’t have any information yet on what–if anything–will change in terms of scoring for the fourth month. Nevertheless, here are the…

Quinjet

Quest for the Quinjet Standings:

(Through Month 2)

In the Pilot’s Seat:

Darren: 15 Points!!! (1122 Victory Points Accumulated)

In the Co-Pilot’s Seat:

Andrew: 12 Points (1105)

Sitting in 1st Class:

Roberto: 11 Points (810)

Tim: 11 Points (770)

Carl: 11 Points (605)

Comfortably Seated in Business Class:

Nicholas: 10 Points (870)

Tyler: 10 Points (655)

George: 9 Points (695)

Now Boarding… :

Matt: 6 Points (740)

Brian: 5 Points (525)

Shant: 5 Points (295)

Okay! So that’s where things stand after two months!

The fact that Carl attended Month One, immediately dropped and THEN went on to win Month Two means that things are actually WIDE OPEN at the moment. Darren is still King of the Mountain thanks to his spectacular showing in Month One, but Andrew, Roberto and Tim’s consistent play over the first two months has them right in the thick of things.

Even Matt, who was great in Month One but wasn’t able to attend Month Two, still has a shot–but he’s probably gonna have to win Months Three AND Four! It’s even trickier for Brian and Shant, but again, if someone pulls off two event victories in a row, anything is possible.

And if you expect to find yourself somewhere near southeastern Michigan next month and want to join in on the action (even if you didn’t play in the first two contests), Month Three is currently scheduled to go down at 6:15pm on August 5th, right back at Comics & More in Madison Heights!!

And for Month Three, in addition to the Quest for the Quinjet points, competitors will also be playing for this guy:

High Evolutionary

Also, all participants will receive Captain America’s Avengers ID Card!! Hope to see you there! And keep an eye on this space to read about the results next month!

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

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How to Summon the Heroes You Grew Up Reading About!! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Avengers Assemble!!)

"Whaddaya mean I'm the only one who didn't make the Chase cut? Who beat me out? Falcon? War Machine? Captain Marvel? I mean, as long as it's not, like, Rick $#!@&%( Jones."

Whaddaya mean I’m the only one who didn’t make the Chase cut?  I’m Nick Fury, dammit! Who the hell beat me out? Falcon? War Machine? Captain Marvel? I mean, as long as it’s not some Z-lister like 3-D Man or, God forbid, Rick $#!@&%( Jones… 

Welcome back!

We’ve been living in what Jonathan Hickman might call an “Avengers World” for almost a month now, so you know what that means…

IT’S TIME FOR AN AVENGERS ASSEMBLE TOP TEN SET REVIEW!!

You know the rules. I’m going to give you 5 Honorable Mentions, then we’ll roll right into counting down the 10 best figures in the set!

But first, as always, I have…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

–I was pretty pleased with the roster of figures in this set. Nice mix of the old and new. Are you a fan of classic Avengers villains Michael Korvac or Immortus? They’re both here. Did you like the more recent Avengers Academy series? There’s a ton of them in this set; everyone from Hazmat and Mettle to Turbo and Thunderstrike. And there’s also a ton of great, almost forgotten characters in this set that all debuted or had their heyday in the early-to-mid 2000’s and that I, frankly, never thought we’d see (I’m looking at you, Cammi and Juston Seyfert! I mean, yeah, Juston had a cameo or two in AA, but still, he kinda came out of nowhere!).

–The sculpts in this set are pretty solid–reminded me of a more toned down Flash set for some reason–although I thought that the Trinity War sculpts were a little more risky and dynamic than anything we got here (with the exception of the Chase Rick Jones, which is complete Bonkerssauce–in a good way!).

–This may be the best set of C/U/R dials ever, ahem, assembled. Especially the Commons. You don’t actually have to break the bank to grab some reeeeeallly cool figures this time around. While the Chases were once again very strong (4 out of 7 made the cut), I believe you will find only two Super Rares in this article. That might be a record low for them. And this might be the strongest set of Rares we’ve had in a loooooong, long time.

Okay. That’s it for all of my notes and musings–let’s get to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS!!

Black Widow AVAS

5. AVAS001 Black Widow110 PointsCommon: Yep. Another Modern Age Black Widow. But you know what? She’s kind of my favorite of the recent Widow iterations. She’s a lil’ more costly, but she offers a great power set. First of all, her Stealth is part of a Trait (DOUBLE AGENT: Black Widow can use Shape Change and Stealth. When she uses Shape Change and succeeds, Black Widow can’t be targeted by opposing characters this turn.), so it ain’t gonna be Outwitted. Moreover, she also has Traited Shape Change to go with her top dial Super Senses, which, when combined with her Stealth, means she’s going to be reeeeallly tough to pick off at range (especially since she isn’t slowed down by green squares since she has Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain).

She’s only got 6 clicks of life, but 4 of those clicks are extremely productive, especially when she picks up her “anytime” Special Poison power (WIDOW’S BITE: Black Widow can use Poison, but may be given the free action to activate it at any time during your turn.) in the back half of her dial. And I haven’t even gotten to her top dial Perplex or Precision Strike! Moreover, just from a “storytelling” perspective, this just FEELS like a Widow dial. While her teammates are usually hammers, Widow should always be a scalpel (well, except for the OTHER version of her from this set…).

I’d love it if Natasha was 90 or 100 Points; but even at 110, she’s still an elusive, solid secondary attacker who offers a variety of offensive options.

AVAS Hawkeye

4. AVAS002 Hawkeye85 PointsCommon: Apparently this will be the easiest Top Ten Review ever. I just have to go right in order from the beginning! Now I know what you’re saying. “We just got 2 Hawkeyes from the AOU Movie set that were both better!” And you know what? I agree with you. But just because those RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME Hawkeyes were better, that doesn’t mean that THIS Hawkeye isn’t very good in his own right.

He sees through Stealth with his Improved Targeting, and his two Traits separate him from the average Secondary Attacker. His first Trait (LIKE FISH IN A BARREL: If Hawkeye targets a single character when making a ranged combat attack, modify his attack value by +1.) means that just about whenever he attacks, he’ll have at least an 11 Attack Value. But it’s his second Trait that everyone is talking about (TRICK SHOOTING: Give Hawkeye a power action to place an Aim token on this card. At the beginning of your turn, if he has 1 or more Aim tokens on this card you may remove them and choose one effect that Hawkeye can use this turn: Improved Targeting: Ignores Elevated Terrain, Improved Targeting: Ignores Outdoor Blocking Terrain, or a locked range value of 14.).

Remember all that drama last set about whether or not the Prime Doctor Light could Running Shot for, like, 16 Squares? Well, as long as you spend one turn setting things up, Hawkeye can run 5 Squares, shoot 14 #$&^#$% Squares, shoot through an opposing figure’s Stealth if need be AND Energy Explode!! Whaaa… ?

Now, he only has 5 clicks of life. No top dial Willpower (he’s got one of those annoying dials where Willpower shows up in the Defense slot at all the wrong times). His Movement slot alternates between Running Shot and Stealth (as opposed to having at least one of those powers Traited, like some of his other versions), which isn’t as big a deal as it might be for other characters who don’t have his Trick Shooting Trait, but still. Finally, his native 3 Damage is fine, but it’s nothing to jump over the moon about when you consider that he doesn’t have a built-in way to break through reducers.

Still, it’s an innovative and creative take on a figure that’s already been Clix’d quite a bit in the last 3 years.

Aleph

3. AVAS003 Aleph140 PointsCommon: I swear I’m not doing this on purpose. It’s just working out extraordinarily well.

But I’ve played against this guy, and he is an absolute brick. He’s got 9 simple clicks; no Traits, Improvements or Special Powers. But he’s almost like the perfect blank canvas on which to throw an Entity and/or a Resource. He comes standard with the Wing Symbol, Sidestep, a 10 Attack with Pulse Wave, 17 Defense with Invincible and the Indomitable Combat Symbol. If you hook him up with a Battery and an Entity, he gets real imposing real fast.

For example:

Team Name: Al-eph You Up!!

Theme: None

Roster:

 AVAS003 Aleph 140 Points

AAOU039 Jocasta — 25 (Possessing Aleph)

AVAS020 Juston Seyfert40

AVAS044 Arcade70

WOLR100 Power Battery (Green Lantern Corps) — 2

WOLR300 Green Lantern Corps Ring8

WOLR200.04 Wall (Green) — 10

WOLR200.03 Mallet (Green) — 4

=297

How It Plays: Jocasta’s Possession ability works just fine on Aleph, since he has the Robot keyword. With Jocasta, Aleph has the option of pumping up his Movement or Attack Value, and he can grab Running Shot, Precision Strike or Jocasta’s Special Damage Power (Sensors Coming Online: Jocasta can use Outwit and Perplex, but only to target characters within 3 squares.). All of which are great options.

Juston Seyfert hypercharges any Robot-keyworded character he assigns as his Sentinel. And since Juston Seyfert prevents us from fielding a Themed Team, we might as well level the playing field with Arcade. He’s a good supporting piece for his points if you lose the opening role; if you win it, you suddenly have a deadly and effective Secondary Attacker who is very hard to kill because of his Defensive Special Power (THIS IS MY WORLD, YOU’RE JUST LIVING IN IT. FOR NOW.: Arcade ignores Poison and all but 1 damage dealt to him from an attack. After Arcade is dealt damage from an opposing character, you may place him in any square within any player’s starting area. This power can’t be ignored.).

The biggest weaknesses for this Build are the average to below average Defense values of all three characters and the lack of Probability Control. If your dice go cold, there’s not a lot you can do about it. But with Aleph’s rotating Pulse Wave and Penetrating/Psychic Blast, you should be able to cut right through most of your opponent’s defenses in short order.

Now this is just one of a myriad of ways you can take an Aleph Build. There are plenty of other options; as I said before, he’s kind of a blank canvas.

And that’s why he’s number 3 on the Honorable Mention list!

Now if Number Two is Son of the Serpent, then you’ll really know something’s up…

Turbo

2. AVAS009 Turbo — 50 PointsCommon: Long-time readers know that whenever I see a character whose cost is exactly 50 Points, my interest gets piqued. Turbo here is the latest in a long line of great 50 Points supporting characters. In her case, she’s a very effective Taxi who can also fill the role of Tertiary Attacker. Because of her Trait (THIS ARMOR IS AWSOME: Turbo can use Energy Shield/Deflection. When Turbo makes a close combat attack and hits, after actions resolve she can use Force Blast as a free action targeting a single hit character.) and her starting Defense Value of 17 (with Toughness), she’s really hard to hit at range (your opponent needs to hit a 19 Defense just to hit your Taxi!). She starts with a native 3 Damage and a 10 Attack (although that drops down to a measly 8 if you wish to use her Transporter-granted Move-and-Attack). Top dial Sidestep is also arguably the best standard Movement power for a taxi, as well, and she’s got it.

What holds her back slightly for me are her complete lack of Range and–more importantly–her keywords. The generic Armor keyword is probably her best; her named keywords (Initiative, Loners and New Warriors) all have very narrow Build options. Initiative is probably the best of those, and that’s really only because there were so many in this set (although previous sets had some very random entries as well, like Sleepwalker from GotG and Bloody Mary–but not Typhoid Mary–from Deadpool). Down dial she picks up CCE, so if your opponent moves up to attack her (to get around her ES/D), they could be in for a rude awakening. And I haven’t even brought up her Trait-granted Free Action Force Blast (which is, really, the only way to use Force Blast, since it kinda sucks.).

She is sort of a new flavor for Taxi’s, and really efficient for her points.

DMan AVAS

1. AVAS024 D-Man84 PointsUncommon: Finally, a non-Common! D-Man makes his, uh, long-awaited Clix debut, and you know what? He’s pretty damn good. He has a solid, uncomplicated dial with no Improvements or Special Powers. His Attack Value is average to low, but he’s got some great Damage Output Potential for his Point Cost… and one very special Trait (HEADLOCK TAKEDOWN: D-Man can use Plasticity. When he hits an opposing character with a close combat attack, put a Headlock token on their card. Remove all Headlock tokens from characters not adjacent to D-Man. Characters with any Headlock tokens on their card must roll a d6 when given an action. If the result is: 1 – 3, the action ends immediately.; 4 – 6, remove all Headlock tokens from that character’s card an the action resolves normally.). Yeah, that’s basically the Handcuffs from the Utility Belt, which was among the most useful items you could equip. D-Man adds Plasticity on top of all that, which means he kind of hoses Hypersonic speedsters, too.

Is D-Man Meta? No, no he is not. Is D-Man fun as hell to play? Yes, yes he is. You have not lived until you’ve held down the 300 Point, Chase “Last Titan” Hulk with a little headlock from an 84 Point D-Man. This is a great concept for a Clix, and he’s a great addition to the game.

Okay! Enough foreplay. It’s time for…

THE TOP TEN FIFTEEN!! FIGURES IN AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!

Yup! Once again, we have a set that was just too packed with goodness for a straight Top Ten list, so we’ve expanded it to a Top FIFTEEN countdown… AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU!!

You’re welcome.

And even with five extra slots, I still have to leave Hybrid (juuuuuust missed the cut) and Cammi (arguably deserves to be here over a couple of the other dials, and I love the character; but I’m bumping her up to her own future Build article, since she opens up a lot of Guardians Builds with her Drax Trait) off the list–there’s just a ton going on in this set.

Since we have so much to talk about, let’s keep countin’ ’em down!

Hulk Last Titan

15. AVAS064E Hulk300 PointsChase: As I mentioned in “Straight, With CHASEr 3,” I think this dial is the closest we’ve gotten since AVXG001R Dark Phoenix Cyclops to a viable 1-Man Army for 300 Point Modern Age games. Now, that doesn’t mean he’ll win every game, or even most games; it just means that you’ll have a chance, even though you’ll likely be hideously out-actioned. He’s that powerful in the right hands.

As a 1-Man Army, you have three things in your favor with this Hulk. First, his Trait (THE LAST TITAN: Hulk can use Super Strength and his powers can’t be countered. Hulk begins the game with a Titan token on his card. Once per turn when Hulk damages an opposing character with an attack, place a Titan token on this card.) finally gives you a Hulk that can’t be Outwitted. Second, his top click (and his last click) feature one of the best Movement Specials ever (HULK HATES WORLD: Hulk can use Charge. When he does, he doesn’t halve his speed value and can use Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering, Ignores (and Destroys) Blocking, Ignores Characters.). If you can manage to pick up an Ultra-Heavy object, you should have a fighting chance to one-shot a significant piece on your opponent’s side before he can really get going. And finally, his Defense Special (ONLY ONE THERE IS: Hulk can use Invulnerability and, if he has no action tokens, Regeneration. When this click is revealed, stop turning the dial and remove a Titan token from this card. Whenever Hulk would take damage, remove a Titan token from this card instead. Hulk can’t place additional Titan tokens on this card. This power can’t be ignored.) gives him a ton of survivability at the end of his dial–no Pulse Wave for the win here.

That last click grows in effectiveness every time Hulk smashes something, so try to make sure your first target doesn’t have too many avoidance powers (Super Senses, Shape Change, etc.).

He’s a lot of fun to play, which is another reason he’s on this list.

Black Widow as Thor

14. AVAS065 Black Widow200 PointsChase: A second entry for Natasha? Yup. Look, no one ever looks at a Thor dial and goes, “Hmmm… not much offense there.” Thor is all about offense. It’s usually his Defense that’s a problem–even if it’s average, often you have to leave Thor out there to make a ranged attack, and if you miss, your opponent can kind of gang up on the Norse God to take him down quickly.

Well, what if Thor had Traited Stealth? And the means to continually place down Hindering Terrain tokens to hide in? All of a sudden, Thor would get a lot more interesting. Which is exactly what happens here when Natasha picks up Thor’s Hammer. Her Trait (DARK CLOUDS & DIRTY TRICKS: Black Widow can use Stealth. Give Black Widow a free action and place 2 hindering terrain markers, one in her square and another within range and line of fire. These markers remain on the map until she uses this ability to place markers again.) does exactly what we just talked about for, really, no additional cost (most Thor dials–most GOOD Thor dials–are already 200 Points anyway).

She’s got great Damage Output Potential, and she’s left plenty of room for decent support and even a Resource. One of the more underrated pieces in the whole set.

Abyss AVAS

13. AVAS043 Abyss139 PointsRare: As a fan of Hickman’s Avengers run, this was one of the characters I really wanted to see in this set (along with her brother, Ex Nihilo). For 139 Points, you get a tricky Secondary Attacker (which means you’ll have to find a Primary Attacker who’s 100 Points or less–someone in the mold of, say, Banshee, but maybe with the Avengers keyword. Maybe the next guy on this list?) who has one of the best Poison Specials in the game (CREEPING DARKNESS: Abyss can use Poison. When she does, deal each adjacent opposing character damage equal to its printed damage value, instead of 1.) on her second click.

She starts with Power Cosmic, Traited Invuln and an Outsiders TA-like Damage Special (MOLECULAR LOCKDOWN: Give Abyss a free action and target a character within range and line of fire. Until your next turn, the chosen character can’t use Shape Change or have its combat values modified.). Now, unfortunately her Range is only 4, but she Flies AND Phases, so getting her in position should be simple enough. Down dial, her Damage spikes at 4, so she’s capable of dishing out some hurt as well. In addition to the Avengers keyword, she also sports the Cosmic keyword, so depending on how you assemble your team, you could conceivably put together at Themed Team with her that also featured Entities (which would help her in particular A LOT).

Red Wolf AVAS

12. AVAS051 Red Wolf80 PointsSuper Rare: Arguably more effective than the underrated WOL037 Karu-Sil, but for 15 less Points! He’s got the Avengers, Soldier, Warrior and Animal keywords, which opens up a lot of possibilities for him. Like Karu-Sil, Red Wolf comes packed with an attachable Wolf token which Red Wolf can deploy to devastating effect with his Trait (LOBO, FAITHFUL WOLF COMPANION: Red Wolf begins the game with Lobo attached. While Lobo is attached, Red Wolf can use Flurry. Give Red Wolf a free action to remove and place Lobo in an adjacent square.). If Lobo gets KO’d, a simple Power Action brings him right back to Red Wolf’s base (where he can then be re-deployed as a Free Action).

Red Wolf himself also Ignores Hindering Terrain on movement, and anytime he finishes an action in Hindering he has Willpower thanks to his Defense Special (OWAYODATA CAME TO ME: Red Wolf can use Combat Reflexes and Super Senses. If he’s occupying hindering terrain, he can use Willpower.). He’s a wonderful Secondary Attacker who brings a great Tertiary Attacker with him FOR FREE! I really like this design!

To me, the most fun would be to play him with his cosmic DC Universe rival and see how many pet tokens you can get on the board! Which means it’s time for another Quick Build!!

Team Name: The Wolfpack

ThemeAnimal

Roster:

AVAS051 Red Wolf80 Points

(with ATA057 Avengers Response Unit) — 3

WOL037 Karu-Sil95

ASM031B Alyosha Kraven70

WOL102 Power Battery (Red Lantern Corps) — 2

WOLR302 Red Lantern Ring8

WOLR202.06 Decoy (Red) — 6

WOLR202.09 Nurse (Red) — 10

WOLR202.13 Stop Sign (Red) — 8

WOLR202.04 Wall (Red) — 10

WOLR202.01 Net (Red) — 8

=300

How It Plays: Each of these figures has the Animal keyword AND the ability to put out a bystander token of some sort. Alyosha is the engine that drives this Free Action car; each turn he’s given a non-free action, one of the other two figures can be given a move action for free!! Karu-Sil Flies, so she can also Carry if she needs to.

You have 5 Constructs to cover a potential 6 characters, so make sure you’re loading up every character (including tokens) you can with Constructs. Each Construct grants a specific power (obviously) PLUS Giant Reach and Penetrating Poison, two wonderful powers for this Build!

We’re also giving Red Wolf the Avengers Response Unit ATA (When one or more characters using this team ability is adjacent to a friendly character making a close combat attack, modify the characters attack value by +1.), which you don’t see very often but will, again, work perfectly with a close combat Build like this one.

You’ll have +3 to Map Roll, so if you win the roll, hopefully you can choose something that’s easy to traverse while still providing a modicum of Hindering Terrain cover. Elevation changes aren’t a complete dealbreaker, but they aren’t necessarily your friend, either.

This is a bit of a swarm team, but I love that your opponent will need to waste attacks on figures like The Pack and Lobo that can come right back the next turn. And your opponent will score 0 Points for their effort!

Starbrand Prime AVAS

11. AVAS041B Starbrand150 Points Rare PRIME: So, this isn’t the recent version that joined the Avengers during Hickman’s run and took a Beyonder with him when he died; this is the original “New Universe” Starbrand from the 80’s. But that origin does explain his major weakness: no Avengers keyword. He also has a pretty miserable Range Value (just 5 Squares, although with top dial Charge, this Starbrand is clearly meant to be a close combat bruiser) and his attack never goes above a 10–and remember, with Hammers most likely rotating in just over a month, Attack Value is once again gonna be really tough to fix. So that’s a problem.

So why is he this high on the list? Well, he’s got the Wing Symbol, the Power Cosmic Team Ability and 4 Damage top dial with Perplex (so you can fix his Attack if you need to). And starting with click 3, he gets a ridiculously good Damage Special (MAJOR EXPLOSION: Give Starbrand a double power action. Deal 2 penetrating damage to each other character within 2 squares and destroy all blocking terrain within 2 squares.).

That’s right. 2 Penetrating Damage WITHOUT HAVING TO ROLL ANY ATTACK DICE! I cannot overstate how awesome that is. Even the highest Attack Value in the game doesn’t guarantee you’ll hit, so there’s always a risk when you roll the dice. This power completely dissolves that risk–you can’t miss with it.

Then there’s his Trait (THE PITT: When Starbrand is KO’d, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, minimum result 2. Deal 3 penetrating damage to all characters within that many squares and then choose another friendly character. That character modifies its combat values by +1 this game.). If your opponent does manage to kill Starbrand, he sets off a chain reaction that has the possibility of dealing a metric poop-ton of virtually unstoppable damage. So for half the game, he’s trying to keep you from exploding 2 Penetrating damage all over his team, and when he finally succeeds at KO’ing Starbrand, your opponent’s reward is EVEN MORE PENETRATING DAMAGE!

"That is a LOT of penetrating... damage."

That is a LOT of penetrating… damage. See what I did there? You did? Pervert.

Finally, while his New Universe keyword is pretty much worthless (at least right now), he also has the Cosmic keyword, which is still pretty strong (and lets him be on a Themed Team with Entities!).

Overall, a solid, if unorthodox, package of powers and abilities.

3D Man AVAS

10. AVAS013B 3-D Man90 PointsCommon PRIME: And now we arrive at the Top Ten!! Triathlon is good; 3-D man is better. He starts with Hypersonic Speed (always good), 11 Attack, an 18 Defense (with Toughness) and 3 native damage. But his Damage Special [THREE TIMES PEAK HUMAN : 3-D Man can use Perplex, but only to target himself. He can use it up to 3 times per turn, but can’t modify his damage value more than once. When he uses Perplex (no matter how many times), at the end of your turn, roll a d6 and on a result of 1, deal him 1 unavoidable damage.] is what really puts him over the top. Three freaking Perplexes a turn?!?! That’s borderline insane. You want a 13 Attack and 4 Damage from your 90 Point Hypersonic Speed character? You got it!

He obviously has the Avengers keyword, and if you can play him on a team with, like, Pandora’s Box–which would allow you to give 3-D Man the Wrath Token and Willpower–he becomes a very dangerous man. Especially a that 90 Point price! He’s not as good as Speed Demon, but he is poised to become one of the best Secondary Attackers in Modern Age.

Living Lightning

9. AVAS015 Living Lightning80 PointsCommon: So everything I just said about 3-D Man possibly becoming the preeminent Secondary Attacker in Modern? Well, meet his competition. For 10 less points, you get an Avenger-keyworded livewire who is a nightmare from range. He’s basically Zombie Electro with an ever-so-slightly better stat and power mix but without any of the awesome Zombie Traits.

He Flies, moves from Running Shot to Hypersonic as he goes down dial and he’s packing both Penetrating/Psychic Blast AND a Traited, Improved triple bolt Energy Explosion top dial (FLASH-FRY YOUR CIRCUITS: Living Lightning can use Energy Explosion. When Living Lightning hits an opposing character with the Armor or Robot keyword, increase the damage dealt to that character by 2.). And before you dismiss the second part of that power, let me assure you, because of the #1 figure on this list, Robots are going to be a thing for at least the next six months and they are NOT going away.

Living Lightning was one of the most popular UnClix’d Avengers, and the developers did a fantastic job interpreting him for Avengers Assemble.

Jarvis AVAS

8. AVAS034 Jarvis40 PointsRare: Most of what Jarvis brings to the table happens before the game even begins. One of his Traits (I TIDIED UP: Friendly characters can use Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain and Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, but only if they occupy indoor terrain.) will help immensely if you win the Map Roll (and he has the Avengers keyword himself, so he’ll fit right on your Themed Team). The other (THERE’S STILL A FEW AVENGERS IN THE MANSION LEFT TO HELP: Jarvis counts as 3 characters for determining how many ID Cards can be added to your force. You don’t pay the cost for up to 3 ID Cards added to your force. Your opponent scores these ID Cards normally.) allows you to pack slightly more than 300 Points into your 300 Point Build!! I cannot tell you the exact number of pieces that allow you to pack more points than your supposed to into your Build, but it’s small. I mean, if you think about it, it’s almost like Jarvis’s actual dial is only costing you 25 Points. What do you get for that investment?

Four clicks of life, which is about par for the course, top dial Perplex and Stealth and a Defense Special (THE HEART OF THE AVENGERS: When Jarvis is adjacent to a friendly character with the Avengers keyword, reduce all damage dealt to him to 1. If Jarvis has taken damage from an opposing character since the beginning of your last turn, he ignores all damage dealt by opposing characters. This power can’t be countered.) that is fantastic, especially if you can find a way to funnel opposing damage towards him. Now, Masterminding damage to Jarvis won’t activate the second clause of his Defense Special, but it WILL reduce all the damage to 1, provided the keyword threshold is met. For the record, Mastermind is an exceedingly rare power to find on “good guys” like the Avengers, but AVX008 Professor X, CATWS015 Nick Fury and the new AOU201E Hank Pym all sport Mastermind top dial. Of those, I think Professor X and Nick Fury are the most interesting to pair with Jarvis–particularly the Professor, since survivability is one of the biggest question marks about that piece.

Hmmm… that might be worth exploring in another article…

Finally, Jarvis also has the Avengers Team Ability in case you need to move him into place but your running out of actions. It’s a terrible Team Ability for normal Avengers staples like Cap, Iron Man or Thor, but it’s occasionally useful on a pure support piece like Jarvis in 300 Point games.

Loki AVAS

7. AVAS046R Loki120 PointsRare: Wow! While his 225 Point version is good, this Rookie dial takes the cake. Top dial Super Senses combined with an Improved Traited Shape Change (Master of Illusions and Trickery: Loki can use Shape Change and succeeds on a result of 4-6. When an opposing character targets Loki with Outwit or Perplex, he can use Shape Change as if he were targeted with an attack. When Loki makes a successful Shape Change roll, he can’t be targeted for the remainder of the turn.means that Loki is going to be reeeeeaaaal tough to pin down. Think about that. Every turn, Loki basically has a 50% chance to be untargetable by your opponent! 

He also sees through Hindering Terrain and Characters with his Improved Targeting, and his Special Movement Power (To Trick My Brother… And His Friends: Loki can use Mind Control. When he does, he isn’t dealt damage from it and, if he targets only a single character, modify Loki’s Attack Value by +2 and he may target a character that can use Battle Fury.) grants him an awesome form of Mind Control.  Now, Ninwashui has mentioned before that Mind Control can be a dangerous strategy, but with Loki’s improvements on the power via his Special and the fact that he has top dial Perplex, it’s a much less risky proposition (at the top of his dial, Loki has a 13! Attack Value when Mind Controlling a single character). Loki also has the Mystics Team Ability, so taking him out is going to require some blood, sweat and tears on the part of your opponent.

Lack of Willpower and low Damage Output are his only real negatives. The first you can fix that with the Asgardian ATA. The second actually improves as he gets down dial, but he does have that Perplex on his first two clicks. Besides, you’re probably trying to wreak havoc with his Mind Control Special at the beginning of the game anyway.

Arcade AVAS

6. AVAS044 Arcade70 PointsRare: I love this design!! Arcade will either be one heck of a supporting character, with Mind Control, Poison and Perplex, or he’ll be an insanely devilish Secondary Attacker. You won’t know exactly which dial you’re getting until the game is about to start, as his Trait is activated by the Map Roll (Welcome to Murderworld: When rolling to determine first player, no player receives a modifier to their roll. When on a map whose name includes “Arcade’s Arena,” at the beginning of the game you may start Arcade on click 7.  If you do, Arcade has the Power Cosmic Team Ability, can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering, and other friendly characters have the Robot keyword for the rest of the game.).  

If you do get to chose his map, Arcade suddenly jumps from a 9 to an 11 Attack Value and picks up a Special Attack Power (I Control Murderworld. Sucks to Be You: Arcade can use Energy Explosion and Precision Strike. If Arcade occupies a player’s Starting Area, he can draw lines of fire and count range for his attack and damage powers from the square of any friendly character.). So he suddenly doesn’t need a move-and-attack power–he just needs to get back to his lair! After two clicks, he picks up Penetrating/Psychic Blast… WITH A 12 ATTACK!! His Damage alternates between 2 and 3, but he always has a way to get at least some of his damage through reducers, which is the main thing. 

His Defense slot also picks up a Special Power (This Is My World, You’re Just Living in It. For Now.: Arcade ignores Poison and all but 1 damage dealt to him from an attack. After Arcade is dealt damage from an opposing character, you may place him in any square withing any player’s starting area. This power can’t be ignored.that works beautifully in conjunction with his Attack Special. 

I believe we’ll see some Arcade teams start to show up at some R.O.C.’s across the country. He just allows you to do so much, and if you win the Map Roll, it’s almost like having another Prime on your squad.

Ragnarok AVAS

5. AVAS053B Ragnarok200 PointsSuper Rare PRIME: So, it’s a little hard to talk about Ragnarok without spoiling the number one figure on this list, but we can report that he’s already seen play at the World Championships at Origins. Why?

Well, he starts with a 12 Attack Value with Energy Explosion to go along with his 8 Range (with 2 Bolts). As we continue to see more “unkillable” Builds (basically any Build that’s built around characters who only take 1 Damage at a time, no matter how much damage is dealt. Think Doop and Gluttony–pieces like that), I believe Energy Explosion will take on added significance, since it essentially allows you to double your Damage Output against these sorts of teams.

Rags also has Indomitable, an 18 Defense with Impervious and Shape Change, and a 5 native Damage top dial. And hey, you can abbreviate his name as “Rags.” How cool is that? World of Warcraft players will suddenly think that Ragnaros has made his way into Clix! Ragnarok also has a Trait that bumps his Attack Value and Damage Value by +1 when targeting an Asgardian or Avenger, which is probably a good thing, given that we’re gonna see a lot more of both of those keywords in the Meta.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that he has the Robot keyword. As we hinted at before, this will be a MAJOR keyword going forward…

Rick Jones

4. AVAS067 Rick Jones75 PointsChase: His dial is 5 Clicks long for 75 Points, which might seem a tad expensive for a Secondary Attacker (don’t be fooled by the Mind Control and Perplex that show up on Click 2–this is a Secondary Attacker’s dial, not a supporting dial). But when you consider that his first Trait (Summon the Heroes I Grew Up Reading About: At the beginning of the game, place a Captain America Bystander Token (as included with this card) adjacent to Rick Jones. When a Bystander Token placed by Rick Jones is KO’d, place a Bystander Token included with this card adjacent to Rick Jones as per the following: Bystander Token KO’d; Bystander Token Placed; Captain America; Namor. Namor; Blazing Skull. Blazing Skull; Captain America. This ability can’t be ignored.is basically a perpetual motion machine that continuously generates Tertiary Attackers. 

Rick’s second Trait is almost as good (Galactic Burst of Immobilizing Light: Once per game, when Rick Jones isn’t on his first click, give Rick Jones a double power action when he is adjacent to an opposing character. Give all opposing characters on the map an action token. For each opposing character you can’t give a token, deal that character 1 Unavoidable Damage.). Did you get all that? In case you didn’t, let me summarize. It said “Galactic Burst of Immobilizing Light: Once per game, take another turn after this one.”

I mean, that’s almost how good that power is. Rick Jones doesn’t even care where the opposing characters are on the map. Give them all an action token. When you time it correctly, you basically shut them down for an entire turn. And keep in mind that Rick Jones is only 75 Points! That Points cost is looking a lot better now, isn’t it? Well, there’s more!

He also has a 10 Range with three Bolts and he has access to both Telekinesis AND Penetrating/Psychic Blast on his first 3 clicks! Yup–he can get your big hitter into position and then follow that up with a Penetrating Attack of his own. And since that pushes him to his second Click, he actually gets BETTER!

Expect to see him R.O.C.’ing the Meta soon.

Portrait of an Avenger.

Portrait of an Avenger.

3. AVAS037 Manifold58 PointsRare: Yup. He’s reeeeeeaal good. The perfect Taxi/Tertiary Attacker for your Avengers Build. Or, you can bring him in with his ID Card and pump someone’s Movement up by +3 (incidentally, I’m finding that ID Cards are a great way to take your opponent by surprise, especially when used late game by a piece that’s all but defeated.).

For a more in-depth look at Manifold, plus a couple of Ninwashui-created Builds featuring him, click here!

Goliath

2. AVAS066 Goliath98 PointsChase: Another piece we’ve previously discussed, I just think he offers so much versatility in addition to being a solid piece in his own right. But any piece that lets you COMPLETELY change the complexion of your Build AFTER THE GAME HAS STARTED deserves a special place on this list!

Juston Seyfert AVAS

1. AVAS020 Juston Seyfert40 PointsUncommon: How does a little dude from a nearly-forgotten early-00’s title and who deals NO Damage for his entire dial end up with the #1 spot over an entire set’s worth of Avengers and their classic villains?

By opening up a whole new subset of Builds. His Trait (Rebuilt From the Ground Up: When building your force, choose a friendly character with the Robot keyword. The chosen character is Juston Seyfert’s Sentinel.) combined with his Attack Special (Program In a New Prime Directive: Give Juston Seyfert a power action if he’s adjacent to his Sentinel. When he does, his Sentinel may be given a move action as a Free Action and then it may make a close or ranged combat attack.) essentially gives any Robot-keyworded a BETTER version of Multi-Attack. Yes, you read that correctly. A BETTER version of Multi-Attack, one of the best abilities the game has ever seen! 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The wording is slightly wonky in terms of where the phrase “as a Free Action… ” is used. The designers stuck it between the clause that says you can give Juston’s Sentinel a Move Action and the clause that says the Sentinel may then make a close or ranged combat attack. Just trust us, it works exactly how you think it does: you get to move and then attack for free, and then either move or attack again (with the Damage Depletion Modifier). For a slightly more detailed explanation on how this all works, check out the Wizkids Event System ruling regarding Juston Seyfert.]

On top of making your best piece twice as good as it normally is, Juston also rocks a top dial Stealth/Outwit combo on his first two clicks, followed by a Sidestep/Robot Support Special on his bottom two.

So far, the best candidate to become his Sentinel in 300 Point Modern Age is Ragnarok, but the Age of Ultron SLOP is adding a ton of Robots to the game (as well as an Entity that can Possess Robots and make them even better), so we’ll see where this goes. But if you’re someone who enjoys coming up with shenanigans, then Juston Seyfert is the piece for you!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: FUN FACT: Yes, there are characters out there who could potentially attack more than twice in a turn in certain scenarios. For example, if you can get AVAS059 Korvac to his fourth click (it’s a Stop Click, so it shouldn’t be hard) while keeping Juston in good shape, then you get to move half of Korvac’s Movement Value and unleash THREE separate attacks (with the DDM, mind you) in one turn. At that point, Korvac has a 10 Movement with Phasing/Teleport (which would be halved in this example), a 12 Attack with Pulse Wave, 5 Damage and Probability Control. He’d have a 7 Range for the first attack and a 9 Range thereafter. Oh look! Once again, Jerry Seinfeld has something to say to your theoretical opponent:

Seinfeld Good Luck

And if you manage to pull this scenario off and still lose the game… I’ve got nothing for ya. Especially since you can just push everyone next turn and do it all again.]

We told you before in this article, and we’re going to say it again. “Robot” is now a keyword to be feared.

 

Whew! We’re at 6500 words and counting, so I think this is as good a time as any to quit while we’re ahead. So there you have it. Those are the best figures in the Avengers Assemble set. Now, Ninwashui is going to be along here in a couple days with a second opinion on who the best pieces in this set are. Just remember while reading his poorly researched ramblings whose opinions you REALLY trust the most…

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

 

 

 

“Ultron! We Would Have Words With Thee!” (Or, a Figure by Figure Preview of the Age of Ultron SLOP 1st Wave!!)

Ultron We Would Have Words With Thee

Alrighty! Welcome back!

Today we’re gonna take a look at the figure rundown for the first Wave of Age of Ultron, which will be coming to a venue near you in the next few weeks!! We’ll be looking at them mostly in the context of Sealed play, since that’s how most of you will be introduced to them, but we will offer our take on how we think a few key pieces will impact Modern Age as well.

Now that we’re this close to the event, folks have already started opening booster Bricks prematurely (and probably in violation of their vendor agreement) to sell singles on eBay and on other platforms.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview for us all. 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We at Critical Missives have never opened Bricks early, and we do NOT encourage, support or condone other entities breaking vendor agreements to do so. But, since the information is now out there, we have made the editorial decision to report on it.]

Additionally, WizKids themselves have released some previews, so we now know most of the figures in Wave 1.

If you want to go into Month 1 blind and unspoiled, turn away now! Otherwise, sail on!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the Wave 1 figures are odd-numbered.]

AGE OF ULTRON: WAVE 1 FIGURE LIST:

Hank Pym AOU

AAOU001 Hank Pym100/50 PointsCommon: Not a lot needs to be said. He was already spoiled by WizKids, and you can see his whole dial and power set in the Units tab of HCRealms.com. Or, y’know, in the tiny picture above. There will be Morphing in this set. Oh yes. [Best Yoda Voice] There… will… be…

Ant-Man AOU

AAOU003 Ant-Man100/50 PointsCommon: Once again, a dial that’s already been spoiled. There will be more Hank Pym’s to come, by the way, for anyone who is, y’know, completely obsessed with Hank Pym. And whose Hank Pym love was not satiated by the Hank Pym Boxed set, which featured, like, six more Hank Pyms.

Wasp AOU

AAOU005 Wasp70 PointsCommon: So this is actually Janet, not Hank Pym. She does sport the ever popular Lady Liberators keyword to go with her expected Avengers and Celebrity keywords. No Traits, she obviously is a Flyer, and she of course has the “Tiny” Symbol. She starts with (not pictured) an 8 Movement (with Running Shot), 10 Attack Value (with Incapoopitate), 17 native Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage with a Special Power (Founding Member: Wasp can use Shape Change. When she does, she may increase the result by 1 for each adjacent friendly character with a shared keyword (a roll of 1 still fails).).

Like her, don’t love her. Super Senses and Improved Shape Change are normally a great combo, but with so much Precision Strike running around in this Wave, often times it’ll just be the Shape Change. She’s probably most useful as a tie-up piece with Incapacitate, but if you send her away from her teammates to tie-up other pieces, she’ll basically just have regular Shape Change and a very hittable 17 Defense.

In Constructed, I can see some uses for her, but I’d stay away in AOU Sealed unless she was the only fig that fit the point structure of my Build.

Yellowjacket AOU

AAOU007 Yellowjacket85 PointsCommon: This looks like the Rita DeMara version. She comes with two really good Traits. The first (Criminal Past, Reluctant Avenger, and Future Guardian: Yellowjacket can use Shape Change and is a Wild Card.) gives her some defensive options; the second (Stolen Pym Particle Technology: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose “Normal Size” or “Tiny Size.” Yellowjacket possesses the chosen combat symbol until you choose again.) lets her float between two different sizes, so she can be Carried out initially (if she’s Tiny Sized) and then spring back to Normal Size if you need to, say, block line of fire or something.

Her top dial features an 11 Movement (with Sidestep), 10 Attack (with Precision Strike), 17 Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage (with Perplex!). She has a 6 Range. Plus, she’s got a truckload of great keywords, including Avengers, Masters of Evil, Guardians of the Galaxy and Scientist, one of the best generic keywords right now.

I expect to see her played a lot in AOU Sealed, especially since she’s a Common that features top dial Perplex (Perp and Outwit are gold in Sealed). She may also see a lot of house play at your local venue, too, since she fits on so many different teams.

So far, Yellowjacket is the early contender for this year’s  “White Ranger Iron Fist Memorial Commendation” award, which is given annually to the best Storyline Organized Play Common Figure.

"Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I'm not dead yet. In fact, I haven't even retired! I'm still Modern Age!"

Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I’m not dead yet. In fact, I haven’t even been retired! I’m still Modern Age!

Suuuuure you are, Danny. Sure you are.

Alexis AOU

AAOU009 Alexis65 PointsCommon: Another character I wasn’t too familiar with, Alexis is actually a newer creation that came out of the pages of AvengersAI. If ol’ Rita doesn’t win this year’s White Ranger, then Alexis almost surely will.

For 65 Points, you get an Avenger (and Robot-) keyworded figure who is a Flyer (read: Taxi), starts with 9 Movement (with Phasing), 10 Attack (and she’s another piece with Precision Strike–Heaven help you if you just have Super Senses, like most of the other Commons in this set), 17 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and a native 3 Damage with Probability Control (uh, what I just said about Perp and Outwit in Sealed? That goes double for Prob Control)!!

Now, she has no Traits, no Improved Targeting of any kind, no Willpower/Indomitable and only a 4 Range. But securing a Taxi that also offers Prob and is a more-than-capable Tertiary Attacker for only 65 Points? You are going to be seeing a lot of her in AOU Sealed.

Monica Chang AOU

AAOU011 Monica Chang65 PointsCommon: Another AvengersA.I. character. I actually think she debuted in the Ultimate universe first, but I could be wrong. Regardless, she was an important UnClix’d S.H.I.E.L.D. character that WizKids has finally made for us.

No Traits, No Improved Targeting. Her Range is 6 with 1 Bolt. She does have the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scientist keywords, along with the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, and she starts with Stealth and the odd combination of Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Combat Reflexes. I like the Stealth/Combat Reflexes combo, but Pen/Psy won’t help her when she’s based.

Where she really earns her keep is with her Damage Special Power (SHIELD Division Chief: Counter Cyber-Terrorism: Monica Chang can use Enhancement and Perplex. When she uses Perplex, she may modify a combat value by -2 instead if the target has the Armor or Robot keyword.).

In Constructed, there are better options. In Sealed, wow!! She can shut down a LOT of pieces in this set. I personally like Alexis a little bit better for the points, but Monica will be EXTREMELY useful in AOU Sealed.

Victor Mancha AOU

AAOU013 Victor Mancha100 PointsCommon: A somewhat odd piece in the context of the whole set. Victor has Avengers, Robot and Runaways keywords, and he’s a Flyer with top dial Sidestep. He also has Indomitable and an 11 Attack with TK, which are all things that the other Commons in this set mostly lack. He can also do 3 Damage, which is never a bad thing.

But at 100 Points, there are better attackers and cheaper Taxi’s in this Wave. Down dial, he becomes both a better supporting piece with a Special Defense Power (Magnetic Bubble: Victor Mancha can use Barrier, ESD, and Toughness. Friendly characters adjacent to Victor Mancha when he uses Barrier can use Sidestep this turn.) and a better attacker, since he picks up a Running Shot/Pulse Wave combination.

He’s solid for his points, but I think there are better options in this set.

Ultron Drone AOU

AAOU015 Ultron Drone50 PointsCommon: Not much to say here. He’s your basic Swarm-bot that gets (slightly) better the closer it is to other characters with “Ultron” in their name.

Iron Man AOU

AAOU017 Iron Man90 PointsUncommon: This Iron Man comes with a lightning rod Trait (The Original Invincible Iron Man!: If the first ranged combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Iron Man, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that makes him somewhat compelling. Just keeping him in the back while you press the rest of your forces forward almost makes him worth his points for that alone.

He does also offer Charge, Super Strength and Outwit, so he’s an average secondary attacker as well.

Hulk AOU

AAOU019 Hulk 80 PointsUncommon: Basically the close combat version of the Iron Man above, Hulk even comes with a very similar Trait (The Original Incredible Hulk: If the first close combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Hulk, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.).

His combat values are outstanding for his cost (he even does 4 Damage top dial), but he’s extremely schizophrenic, due to his other Trait (With Each New Dawn, the Weakling Banner Comes Back: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 1-2, until your next turn modify Hulk’s combat values by -2 can he can use Outwit, Perplex, and Shape Change and can’t use any other power he possesses. This ability can’t be ignored.).

So basically, you have either a phenomenally good Secondary Attacker (relative to what it costs to field him) or a PRETTY good supporting piece. The problem is, you may not know which figure you have until it’s too late.

Black Knight AOU

AAOU021 Black Knight115 PointsUncommon: Charge and Exploit Weakness are always good, and he starts with an 11 Attack Value. The problem is that he immediately loses that 11 Attack by click 2, he has no Willpower unless he’s already KO’d a character, and one of his Traits (By Sersi’s Side, From One Universe to the Next: If Black Knight is adjacent to a friendly character named Sersi, both characters modify their defense values by +1 unless already modified by this effect.) is completely useless in this set (since the only Modern Sersi we have is in Avengers Assemble. Theoretically, it is possible that your venue might give you one AOU Wave 1 Booster and one AA booster, and that you MIGHT pull both of those characters, but even then they may not be worth playing together).

He has Traited B/C/F and Steal Energy, which will help offset the fact that he doesn’t have Willpower, but it just seems like there are much better ways to spend 115 Points in this set.

She-Hulk AOU

AAOU023 She-Hulk130/75 PointsUncommon: Another figure that’s already been previewed on Heroclix.com. I love her Trait (File for Change of Venue: If She-Hulk isn’t part of a themed team, the first time this game you wouldn’t win the roll for first player, you may roll again and add +1 to the result.), especially when used on an Arcade team. It’s not clear if you would get the +1 modifier on the second roll for Map Choice, but just the ability to try for Arcade’s map a second time if you lose the first roll is huge.

Machine Man AOU

AAOU025 Machine Man120 PointsUncommon: More of a novelty attacker than anything else, Machine Man is a close combatant without Charge or a very high Damage Value. His Trait (Extendable Body Parts: When Machine Man makes a close combat attack, squares within a range of 3 and line of fire are considered adjacent.) somewhat mitigates the first problem, and Super Strength will help with the second.

120 Points seems about right for what he does, and he has some versatility to him, but if he’s your Secondary Attacker, you Damage Output Potential is probably low.

TESS-One

AAOU027 TESS-One150 PointsUncommon: Once again, we have a close combat figure with a significant cost that doesn’t have Charge. Sidestep is better than nothing, but it ain’t Charge.

The ability to move through (and destroy) Blocking Terrain is a big plus, but again we have another figure that’s saddled with yet another narrowly useful Trait (Total Elimination of Super-Soldiers: As long as an opposing character on the map is 100 or more points and named Captain America, TESS-One can use Willpower. When attacking such a character, TESS-One’s damage value is modified by +1.) that will NEVER help you in AOU Sealed. Why? Because, SPOILER ALERT: There is no Captain America in Wave 1.

Frankly, you’re paying for a lot of powers abilities in this dial that you’ll probably never get a chance to effectively use. RCE? Great! Only a 5 Range? Less great (although Sidestep actually will help here…).

The one real positive with TESS-One is that it is really hard to kill. It’s Defense actually gets better (a LOT better) down dial, and it picks up a Movement Special (Rebuilding From The Rubble: At the beginning of your turn, if TESS-One occupies a square containing a debris marker, heal TESS-One of 1 damage.) that gives it a way to (somewhat) reliably heal a click every turn.

Ultron-8 AOU

AAOU029 Ultron-8120/30 PointsUncommon: And now we have our first real Ultron. Get used to seeing his Trait (Autonomous or Drone Mode: Ultron-8 costs 120 points, or costs 30 points and begins on the click #1 after the orange KO. Until KO’d, Ultron-8 is considered 120 points.), cuz most of the Ultrons have some form of it. The idea is to play multiple versions of a single Ultron, and your opponent will really have no way of knowing which one is which, because their dials will be exact replicas of each other… except that the Drones only have 2 clicks of life.

As for the dial itself, it’s pretty solid. I’d rather play this Ultron at 120 Points than Machine Man, that’s for sure.

Vision AOU

AAOU031 Vision100 PointsRare: This is the semi-evil, fresh on the scene, son-of-Ultron version of Vision, and he’s exactly as he should be! If you pull him in Sealed, just pray that you also pull an Ultron–ANY Ultron!

His Trait (Secret Programming: When a friendly character whose name includes Ultron is given a move action and actions resolve, Vision may be given a move action as a free action.) pretty much completely makes up for the fact that he only starts with Sidestep, and his Movement Special Power (He’s Coming… Through the Wall!: Vision can use Sidestep. When Vision uses Sidestep or is given a move action, he can use Improved Movement:Ignores Blocking Terrain.) works quite gracefully with his Trait.

He also adds Indomitable, Super Senses and Shape Change to go with his Penetrating/Psychic Blast. His 10 Attack is pretty pedestrian, but in this set that’s really par for the course.

This is a much better Vision than his Age of Ultron Movie cousin, even though they cost the same amount of points.

Hercules AOU

AAOU033 Hercules220/130 PointsRare: The first real solid close combat brick of the set, with improved Charge, Traited Super Strength, Impervious or Invincible for much of his dial and a lot of CCE and Battle Fury (which will help with the surprising amount of Shape Change in this set). If you pull him, you’re probably playing him.

I like his 220 Dial in a 400 Point event, but I LOVE his 130 Point dial in just about any format. Yes, he’s a little top heavy at 130, but man, he is going to be scary to face.

He also gives us a Modern Age Herc to bring in with his Avengers ID card, which is great as well. Definitely a needed figure.

Protector AOU

AAOU035 Protector100 PointsRare: There are two big things to remember about Protector. The first is that he’s one of the few (gosh, there’s like, I dunno, 3 or 4) characters to appear in the same Set/Wave as his Avengers ID Card. So, theoretically, you COULD pull both Protector AND his ID card.

Secondly, when it comes to calling for his help via an ID card… that’s probably the best way to play him! On his own, there’s nothing very special about him. He has Sidestep, he flies, he has a 10 Attack with NO Attack powers and he does a ho-hum 3 Damage. He does offer Probability Control and an 18 Defense Value (with Defend), which is nice, but hardly game breaking.

If you could get all that for just one important turn, however, and you only had to spend 5 Points to do it… well, Protector just became very exciting, didn’t he? All of a sudden, you’re opponent has to hit an 18 Defense to hit anybody, and he probably has to do it at least twice, since Protector has that Prob at his disposal.

In Constructed, he offers another alternative for Avengers and Kree teams, but honestly, he’s one of the best ID Card Call-Ins, so that’s how I’d expect to see him used most often.

Grim Reaper AOU

AAOU037 Grim Reaper119 PointsRare: Wow. Another Trait (Deadly Sibling Rivalry: Give Grim Reaper a free action when he is within 4 squares of a character named Wonder Man and modify all of Grim Reaper’s combat values except damage by +1 until your next turn. When you do, deal Grim Reaper 1 unavoidable damage at the end of this turn.) that gives its owner NOTHING in Sealed. I’m betting we’ll probably see a Wonder Man in Wave 2, which will mean nothing to you if you happen to pull Grim Reaper here in one of your packs.

He’s basically a 119 Point gamble. While he has a tiny amount of Range (4 squares), if you play him, you’re planning on Charging folks and hitting them with his special Energy Stealing B/C/F, since his native Damage never climbs above 2. If he were, say, 79 Points, he might at least be interesting. At 119 Points, he just doesn’t do enough to effect the game (even the Prob Control they gave him doesn’t show up until his last two clicks).

We needed a new Grim Reaper, but this is the one Rare/Super Rare/Chase that I’m hoping I never see in a box that I’m opening for Sealed.

Jocasta AOU

AAOU039 Jocasta130/25 PointsRare: Jocasta was already previewed by WizKids, so there isn’t a lot more to say. Since she can work like an Entity, she’s definitely one of the “buzziest” pieces in the set, but her real talents will shine through more in Constructed that they will in Sealed.

Very solid piece, and a nice tweak of the Entity Possession Trait. This is one of my personal “big wants” from the set.

Ultron-5 AOU

AAOU041 A & B Ultron-5120/60/30 PointsRare: AAOU41A is basically a (slightly overcosted) Leadership engine for Masters of Evil teams, while the B-side is very much a swarm dial that operates as a Switch Clix with the same Autonomous or Drone Mode Trait that all the Ultrons have in this set.

Goliath AOU

AAOU043 Goliath140/100/50 PointsSuper Rare: A SR Hank Pym. Yay?

Well, you might be cheering after you see his dial. For 140 Points, he actually has one of the the best Close Combat dials in the set. The Morph power is nice, but in most cases, your better off just sticking with Goliath. His top dial Movement Special is amazing (Trample: Goliath can use Charge. When he does and moves in a direct line, after actions resolve, he may make an additional close combat attack targeting all opposing characters whose square he moved through but didn’t already target with an attack this turn. For this attack, each hit character is dealt 3 damage.), but he only keeps it for one click. He does pick it back up on clicks 3 and 4, though, and with top dial Invincible, it’ll be tough for someone to knock him all the way past those “money” clicks (God, especially in this set).

Goliath brings a lot to the table AND leaves you a bunch of room for supporting figs. If your lucky enough to pull him in Sealed, he’s a definite play.

Black Panther AOU

AAOU045 Black Panther140 PointsSuper Rare: Wow. The hits keep coming with the Super Rares! This is pretty much the quintessential version of Black Panther. He was Previewed by WizKids already, but I’m going to go through his dial anyway because I really love this T’Challa.

First of all, his keyword line is jammed pack with everything from great names like Avengers and Illuminati to the best generics like Mystical and Scientist.

He ignores Elevated and Hindering Terrain on movement, so his mobility is awesome, and he’s also going to be extremely difficult to find at range due to his fantastic Trait (Cloaking Tech: Black Panther can use Stealth and Toughness. When it isn’t your turn, lines of fire to him are blocked if he is adjacent to Blocking Terrain.). Pay very close attention to that wording–it’s very similar to the wording on IIM038 Iron Man‘s Personal Cloaking Device Trait. WizKids already ruled that Iron Man’s Trait gets around Pulse Wave, and I’d imagine they’ll rule that T’Challa’s works the same way.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On second look, Black Panther’s Trait says Lines of Fire are “BLOCKED,” while Iron Man’s says they “CAN’T BE DRAWN.” It’s a slight difference; we’ll have to wait and see what comes up in the Event System Rules Forum to know for sure.]

All of which means that if you can keep T’Challa adjacent to Blocking Terrain (maybe with a supporting character who sports Barrier?), he’s pretty much invulnerable to any sort of ranged attack.

His Movement Special Power (Spring from the Shadows: Black Panther can use Charge. When Black Panther occupies Hindering Terrain or is adjacent to Blocking Terrain, he can use Sidestep.) goes hand in hand with his Trait, and his Damage Special adds Leadership and Outwit.

On top of all that… he probably has the best sculpt in the set. Another of my biggest wants from the set.

He’s an absolute monster in Sealed, especially with the right supporting pieces behind him (or, really, the right map), and I think he even has potential in the Meta (maybe not a lot, but still) simply based on that ridiculously good Trait. You can’t KO what you can’t see.

Quasar AOU

AAOU047 Quasar225/125 PointsSuper Rare: Wow! Now this is a ranged Primary Attacker! His dial almost feels like something out of Justice League: Trinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy rather than this current cycle of Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron.

He has two dial options, and they’re both terrific. At 225 Points, he is going to be a heavy hitter that can fling 5 natural, penetrating damage up to 9 squares away. In this set, that might as well be 100 damage. He’s going to one-shot some opposing support characters, and it’s going to be tough to retaliate effectively over that distance.

Plus, his first three (of NINE!!) clicks feature Invincible, so even if your opponent retaliates heavy, it’s going to be tough to make any headway. Especially since Quasar has the Power Cosmic TA, so you can’t counter his defenses.

His 125 Point dial is great as well, but for different reasons. His Defense actually gets BETTER against ranged attacks, and he picks up a Damage Special that partially imprisons anyone he hits (Contain Standard Operating Procedure: When Quasar targets and damages a single opposing character, after action resolve, he can use Barrier as a free action, but may only place blocking terrain markers adjacent to the hit character.).

On top of all that, if your opponent does hit him, Quasar goes right into an Attack Special Power that allows him to Steal Energy even with ranged attacks!

Basically, the only piece Quasar really needs to fear in this Wave is probably Black Panther, only because T’Challa is impossible to hit from range.

If you pull Quasar and don’t play him, you’re either an idiot or you’re trying to impress someone for some reason, even though you’ll really just come off as an annoying D-bag. Don’t be either of those guys. They’re A-holes. Play Quasar if you get him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don't play him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don’t play him.

MODAM AOU

AAOU049 M.O.D.A.M. — 131 PointsSuper Rare: The latest Preview from WizKids. She’s a fun character, but she’s also limited in what she wants to do by her 5 Range.

Ultron-1 AOU

AAOU051 A & B Ultron-1120/60/30 PointsSuper Rare: Okay, so if Black Panther has the best sculpt, this is probably a close second.

The A-dial is a nifty little trickster who comes packing a couple of cool Traits, including one that really narrows your opponent’s options if you hit (Total Mind Wipe: Once per game, when Ultron-1 hits an opposing character, you may give that character a Mind-Wipe token. A character with a Mind-Wipe token can’t attack Ultron-1 unless that character and Ultron-1 are the only characters on the map.). 

His down dial Defense Special (Self-Upgrade: Ultron-1 can use Impervious and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration and the result is 5 or 6, place an Upgrade token on this card.) offers the chance to gain Upgrade tokens, each of which gives him +1 to all combat values.

He’s not the bruiser that some of the other pieces in this set are, but the longer he’s left alone, the deadlier he gets.

The B-Dial offers the normal Autonomous or Drone options and adds a fantastic Defense Special (The True Creator of Me is… Myself: When a friendly character with the Autonomous or Drone Mode trait is KO’d, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 4-6, place that character in your starting zone on its click #1 after the orange KO.) that can keep the Ultron assembly line going.

Ultron-7 AOU Chase

AAOU053 A & B Ultron-7150/125/30 PointsChase: Ultron-7 A is a close combat bruiser who turns into a ranged attacker with a Running Shot/Special Pulse Wave power in the middle of his dial. He has a top dial Damage Special that helps teammates (Hatred of the Horde: Ultron-7 can use Battle Fury and Leadership. Opposing characters that are adjacent to a character friendly to your force can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.), but otherwise his dial is surprisingly straightforward for a Chase.

The B-dial is a surprisingly sturdy (for its points) ranged attacker, but nothing to write home about. Someone is going to find a way to break all these Drones into a great army, but it’s not going to be me.

Ultron AOU

AAOU55 A & B Ultron300/120/30 PointsChase: Here he is–Ultron himself. At 300 Points, you’d expect a lot from his A-dial, and you might end up a bit disappointed. He doesn’t even have a move-and-attack power top dial–just Phasing/Teleport. And his Attack Value never goes above an 11–until you get to his two Stop Clicks (they appear on consecutive clicks).

Once you get to his Stop Clicks, Ultron will wreck house–provided there is an opposing character within 5 squares that he can Charge (or 8 Squares if you’d rather Quake fools).

In Sealed, you can probably get away with this–especially in a 400 Point game. In Constructed, he’s so easily outmaneuvered that it’s almost comical.

The B-Dial is a glorified Robot Taxi that can moonlight as a Secondary Attacker.

So there you have it! Last year’s Storyline OP featured Chases that were so good they were broken and had to be (mildly) nerfed by a Watch List fix. This year, the Chases are confusing and almost a waste of time, in my opinion. The Super Rare slot is definitely where it’s at. Outside of, say, M.O.D.A.M., there’s not a loser in the bunch (even the Ultron was pretty unique and original).

Good luck with your Month One pulls, and we’ll see you back here soon for our traditional dueling Top Ten Set Reviews for Avengers Assemble! Those should start dropping next week!