META Diary: December ROC Win-A-Map!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Roberto Ty is back with another META Diary including a breakdown of the team he used and the detailed planning he put into the role of every piece on his team! Roberto’s already on some other column ideas, so if you like what you see, let him know in the Comments below!]

By Roberto Ty

December 1, 2019

RoC November 2019.jpg

Garden City, MI — What qualifies as a great attendance for a Heroclix event? Looking at the numbers from the various ROC States Championship, a great turnout is 12 players (Michigan had 26). It’s reasonable to expect a smaller crowd for a less prestigious event like a ROC Win-A-Map. Today’s competition drew a great crowd of 13 players.

Restricted Win-A-Map

The local shop hosting the Win-A-Map prefers to run major events with restrictions. Usually they  ban Colossal Retaliators (cannot start on their lower-point retaliation-click) and ID cards along with one-man-army Uni-mind and the annoying Q Prime.

WIN-A-MAP FORMAT

  • 500-point Modern
  • Highlander Rule (Primes are primes, all other characters are considered to be silver ring)
  • Ban List: ID cards, Special Terrain, Colossal Retaliators starting on their lower-point retaliation-click, Uni-mind, and Q Prime.

After brainstorming some builds, I gravitated toward a monster team with Onslaught. There was little time to practice with Thanksgiving, but I managed to put in four hours of testing on Black Friday. I tried a couple Onslaught-based teams and a Cosmic team nested around Dark Phoenix. Woefully under-practiced and feeling my usual stress before a competitive meta event, I rolled the dice and stuck with Onslaught.

Breaking Down My Monster Mash Team

MY MONSTER TEAM
200 RE068 Barbatos
125 XDPSG006R Onslaught
50 EAX062E Captain Venom
– 5 WKMP19-S105 Nightbringer (Mandarin Ring)
75 XDPSG022R Mojo
35 RE014 Prez Rickard
– 5 WKMP19-s103 Spin (Mandarin Ring)
5 EAXLB-ST Iron Avengers, Assemble
500

Suffering the Onslaught

Onslaught images

By now most meta players (which I’m not) have experienced just how annoyingly good Onslaught is (I have), but in case you’re not as lucky, I will highlight his abilities:

  1. (☆TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Onslaught can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆TRAIT) PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Onslaught has PROTECTED: Mind Control, Outwit, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. Once per turn, Onslaught can use Incapacitate as FREE -or- Mind Control as FREE -or- Telekinesis as FREE.
  3. (SPECIAL ATTACK) “KILL YOU, CAIN MARKO? WHAT A SPLENDID IDEA!”: Onslaught can knock back characters that can use Charge or Combat Reflexes. // When Onslaught hits with a close attack, a hit character unequips all equipment and drops any held objects and after resolutions, Onslaught knocks back a hit character 9 squares.
  4. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) RESHAPING REALITY: Probability Control, Shape Change. When Onslaught uses Probability Control to reroll an opposing character’s attack roll and the final result is a miss, after resolutions you may place that opposing character up to 3 squares away from their current square.
  5. Improved Targeting: Hindering and Characters with nine range and three targets.
  6. Brotherhood of Mutants and X-Men Team Ability

Having seen enough of this guy in the X-Men Animated Series pre-release and release day events and in the ROC States Championship, I wanted to build around his strengths. With the format being 500-modern, I would have plenty of room to include more formidable attackers and complementary support.

The Bad Mofo

Barbatos.jpg

Barbatos is exactly that: one bad Mofo. He is the must-have of the Rebirth chases. At 100-points he is more of a secondary attacker with some unique abilities that can be useful on the right build. However, the correct move was to use him at the full 200-points as the primary attacker on my monster team. What makes him such a bad-ass:

  1. (☆TRAIT) ASSEMBLE AN ARMY OF NIGHTMARES: Friendly characters with the Monster keyword can use the Batman Enemy team ability. Friendly characters with the Dark Knights keyword can use the Batman Ally team ability.
  2. (☆TRAIT) DRAG YOU INTO THE DARK MULTIVERSE: Phasing/Teleport. Phasing/Teleport as FREE, but only to move up to 4 squares and when he does, after resolutions adjacent opposing characters have Immobile until your next turn.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) SO FALLS THE REALM OF LIGHT: Opposing characters within 6 squares that can use Outwit, Perplex or Support can use Battle Fury.
  4. Improved Targeting: Hindering
  5. Quintessence Team Ability
  6. Giant

On top click he has a 12 movement, 8 range, 12 Penetrating Psychic Blast, 19 Invincible, and 4 Damage. The idea was to free phase 4 squares, immobilize adjacent opposing characters and/or attack with Penetrating Psychic Blast. Then I could use Onslaught’s FREE Telekinesis to place him in hindering terrain for his Stealth via the Batman Ally team ability. Additionally, Barbatos gave monster keyword friendlies, the Batman Enemy team ability. With his top attack of 12, my entire team got a bump to their attack when they were adjacent to Barbatos.

The Director

aug180908__82487.1538762497

Now that I had my bad Mofo, it was time for a behind-the-scenes maestro and what better director than the Electrifyin’ Mojo? What he brings to the team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Mojo can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) MORE ACTION!…RATINGS ARE DROPPING!: Whenever a character misses all targets of their attack, give Mojo a Bored token. FREE: Remove 2 Bored tokens to either place Mojo anywhere on the map -or- make an attack.
  3. (SPECIAL MOVEMENT) KEEP THE CAMERAS ON THEM!: Sidestep. When an opposing characters uses Sidestep, after resolutions Mojo may move up to 2 squares.

You can begin to see that my team doesn’t have the traditional move and attack capability (i.e. Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, or Charge), but there’s a lot of mobility inherent to each monster’s special trait. With the prevalence of Sidestep in the game, Mojo takes incredible advantage of this fact by being able to move after the resolution of my opponent’s Sidestep. A subtle, but very effective special damage power that could help control positioning. Additionally, Mojo would help place Barbatos through his own Telekinesis. Like a good director, Mojo sets the battle scene.

Oh Captain, My Captain

Venom Cap

The minute Captain Venom was introduced, the monster keyword got a huge bump. Let’s breakdown why:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) ALIEN SYMBIOTE: Plasticity, Shape Change. Captain Venom automatically breaks away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) EDDIE, YOU’RE JUST THE MAN WE NEED: During game setup when establishing themed teams, you may treat the Monster keyword as a named keyword.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) READY TO SERVE MY SPECIES: Leadership. When another friendly character with the Monster keyword attacks, modify its attack +1 if Captain Venom attacked this turn.

Captain Venom is the natural leader for my monster band. He makes the generic monster keyword into a named one. This would provide me with additional sources of Probability Control through Theme Team Probability Control. It also gave me a fighting chance to win the map and gain control of the environment my team would battle on. As I mentioned in the previous Meta Diary, a good map can neutralize an advantage your opponent’s team possesses (i.e. XDPSG007 Juggernaut is incredibly weak on a map like Galador Promenade that has no blocking terrain). Captain Venom’s role wouldn’t be on the front lines, but as a commander providing the support for a victory. I decided to play him at his 50-point level, where he’s only four clicks long. My foot soldiers would have to rally around him to keep him alive. Despite his short dial, most of my opponents never thought to target him for a quick kill. This often was to my advantage because Captain Venom just needed to attack in a turn and all monster keyword friendlies would get a +1 to their attack.

The Human

Prez Rickard.jpg

In monster movies, there’s always one human that sympathizes with the monster’s plight. By playing Captain Venom at his lower point value, I was able to include my version of the human monster sympathizer: Prez Rickard. Kudos to Jose Rodrigo Rosales Guerrero, the 2016 Mexican Heroclix Champion,  for designing such a capable figure. At 35-points Prez Rickard has the best Leadership in the game. His two traits and low point cost make him an easy addition to any team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) EVERYONE’S FAVORITE TEENAGE PRESIDENT: Prez Rickard doesn’t count for or against themed teams.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICA: Leadership, but succeeds on [4-6]. When Prez Rickard uses it and succeeds, instead you may remove one action token each from any number of opposing characters. For each one removed, remove an action token from a friendly character within 6 squares. In all my games, he was well-worth his points.

Final Team Building Thoughts

The strategy would be to attack my opponent from range while not being able to be targeted at distances greater than four squares away. To further help control the battlefield, I added the following game elements:

  1. IRON AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE MAP LOCATION BONUS FROM EARTH X STAR TOWER INDOOR MAP. With only a +4 to map roll, there was a good chance I wouldn’t win map since all the teams had to be themed. Including this map location bonus meant that at the very least I could generate a Crimson Sage bystander for her Probability Control if I didn’t win the map roll. If I won map, then I would use Captain Venom’s Indomitable to POWER action in consecutive turns to roll a d6 to potentially generate a bystander (d6 result: 1-Tank, 3-Crimson Sage, or 5-Bolt).
  2. NIGHTBRINGER (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Captain Venom to give him Stealth and the ability to generate 2 Smoke Cloud markers for FREE.
  3. ZERO (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Prez Rickard to give him Barrier. He could generate 1 Barrier marker for FREE.

Swiss Rounds

Phoenix Mags.jpg

GAME 1 — My first round opponent was a regular at the venue. He thought that we were required to bring a named theme team and therefore had built an X-Men team that consisted of the Convention Exclusive WKMP19-002 Phoenix Force Magneto, which he would equip with the Red Skull’s s007 Cosmic Cube, OP WKM19-013 Wakanda Queen Storm, XDPS003 Beast, XXS053E Wolverine at the 50-point starting line, XXS007A Moira MacTaggart, ABPIS001 Reality Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKMP19-S101 Remaker (Mandarin Ring). He won map and chose X-Men Regenesis Lombard Street Outdoor Map. I generated a Crimson Sage bystander for my consolation. I chose the side with the higher elevation 3. In all my games, my first turn is usually spent using Onslaught’s and Mojo’s Telekinesis to equip the Mandarin Rings to Captain Venom and Prez Rickard. His team was pretty scary with a lot of Perplex abilities to boot. Magento would present the greatest challenge with his Running Shot 11 Movement and 8 Range with 2 Targets. He could easily get into the radius necessary to target Onslaught with a few Perplex modifications to his movement. The Storm is also a nice addition to his team because she gives Stealth to characters within three squares that share a keyword with her. Unfortunately for him, both Onslaught and Barabatos has Improved Targeting: Hindering. We both positioned conservatively at first, but once he moved his team midway I went after his Wolverine with Barbatos hitting him to his STOP click. I tried to follow that up with Onslaught’s Mind Control, but Wolverine had Battle Fury. I had to choose a different target, Storm, but failed to hit due to her defense being Perplexed up. He would try to retaliate using his Magneto, but I successfully rolled for Shape Change with Onslaught. I then would KO his Wolverine with Barbatos and move my team away from the Magneto threat. I won 50-0. Record: 1-0.

Loki.jpg

GAME 2 — Game 1 was a low-scoring affair and was proof that I hadn’t practiced enough with my team. Despite this I learned a few things that I hoped to correct in my Game 2 matchup with a well-known Clix player. He has an incredible track record locally, winning several major events and usually placing in the Top 4. Most recently he placed 2nd in the Michigan ROC States Championship. He brought a mystical swarm team in the form of TMT002 Loki with TMT002T God of Trickery that allowed him to generate two faux Lokis, TMT053A Hela, EW040 Al Jhor Dan, SWB031 Alex Wilder, RE026E Billy Batson, TMNT4024 Shredder with TMNT4024A ILLUSIONARY DOUBLE, RE014 Prez Rickard, and WKMP19-S107 Incandescence (Mandarin Ring). He was a +8 to map roll, a net of +4. I rolled a 12! Quickly looking at his team I knew that he would definitely force the action by basing me with his Lokis. They are really annoying tie-up pieces that generate more Lokis if they successfully hit their Shape Change rolls. Then if I managed to KO them, Hela would bring out a Warrior Soul in their place. After first turn positioning and equipping, the action started with his Loki basing my Onslaught. This was definitely a faux Loki and I spent a couple actions killing it, not realizing that I didn’t score the points for them. Once that was explained to me, I decided to simply avoid them. He managed to land some damage on Captain Venom and I knew I would have to carry him away with Onslaught. I really used the map to my advantage to isolate his swarming ability and placed Captain Venom in a safe location protected by a wall and Onslaught. At this point, he had moved Al Jhor Dan into position where he could choose Telekinesis through his pick-a-power ability to place Hela within 4 of Onslaught. Unfortunately, his rolls were terrible. When he needed a 5, he would roll a 4. This allowed me to come in with Barbatos and immobilize his Hela. Because of her Mystics Team Ability I didn’t necessarily feel a need to attack and instead one-shot his Alex Wilder, killing him, and because he’s a traitor figure, he was now friendly to my force. This gave me two of the following powers: Perplex, Probability Control, or Outwit, depending on the power my opponent chose that I couldn’t use. He gave me Perplex and Probability Control. This allowed me to modify Onslaught with all my Perplexes and kill Al Jhor Dan in a single shot. Win 115-0. Record: 2-0.

Thanos UC

GAME 3 — Another matchup with a well-known and highly-skilled player. Because of my low point total, I knew I had to win this game to make Top 4. His Cosmic team consisted of full-point Ultra Chase ABPI074 Thanos equipped with the Ego Gem (Infinity Gem) and ABPIS002 Time Gem (Infinity Gem), Chase CMM021 Captain Marvel with the TMTS005 Enchanted Crowbar, ABPI048 Astronomer with ABPIT006 Bearer of the Power Gem, ABPI064 Collector with ABPIT003 Bearer of the Reality Gem and ABPIS003 Power Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKD17-B003 Ape Green Lantern bystander. I win map roll. Much of the game was positioning and I knew he had excellent sources of Telekinesis in Astronomer and Collector with the Reality Gem. I would have to use the walls to prevent line of sight and use Prez Rickard’s Barrier through the Zero ring to prevent him taking a running shot with Captain Marvel. Ultimately I made a couple errors that cost me the game. The first error was not anticipating that Captain Marvel’s ability to Charge at no cost after using Running Shot was not dependent on hitting. He used Telekinesis to position Captain Marvel to Running Shot and destroy my Barrier. She then Charged on Barbatos landing a huge hit. This forced me to retreat to keep him alive. I decided to retaliate and Mind Control his Thanos to attack his own team, which I did successfully, but not enough to KO anyone. He then placed Thanos into position with Telekinesis where he could Sidestep within Onslaught’s radius. Having used Thanos only once myself, I forgot about his awesome Perplex, which essentially neutralizes PROTECTED: Outwit when he uses it on an opponent. He Perplexed Onslaught’s defense down then proceeded to Outwit my Shape Change and defense. He then modified Thanos’ damage and hit Onslaught, killing him  in one shot as last action was called. Loss 0-125. Record: 2-1. Final placement was 6 of 13 players.

Twilight of the Monsters

Progenitus.jpg

I really enjoyed my team and felt it mostly performed as I had anticipated. My strategy was sound. I do believe that if I had practiced more I could have possibly placed even higher. I forgot a few other items that could have helped my team. Particularly Mojo’s bored tokens that he accrues when any characters miss an attack, including my own team. Mojo then can remove two bored tokens to either be placed anywhere on the map or to make a close attack. I had utilized this in practice, but forgot it on my own missed attacks on game day. Overall, I’m not sure I would change much to my team since each element served a purpose and all my pieces worked well together. About the only adjustment I could make was to the equipment, but even then I thought they did well. I did forget to use normal Barrier from the Zero Ring and not just the free 1 Barrier marker. This definitely could have helped in my third game, where I could have put up a Barrier that was 2 squares deep. I would like to possibly consider adding the Pym Pocket Tank, but that would force me to either drop both Mandarin rings or the map location bonus and a ring. Overall, it wasn’t the day for Monsters, but then again you never know when they might return to rule the day.

Thanks for reading another Meta Diary installment.

It’s Mighty’s Thor’s World; We’re Just Living in It! (Or, All The Mighty Thor Coverage I Could Fit Into One Post!!)

Mighty Thor Banner

Welcome back!!

I’ve been on vacation, gotten a cold and have been grinding away at some day job work drama since our last article. So I’ve been gone a minute.

But I’ve had a bunch to say about TMT, and, frankly, there’s so much to talk about with this set that a normal Top Ten column won’t cover everything (but we’re still going to do one, so sit tight–soon, soon!!).

Today, we’re going to break this set down into some random categories (chosen by me, natch) and talk about some of the hits and misses from this set.

BEST HEALER:

Jane Foster

TMT022 Jane Foster30 PointsUncommon: Back in the day (circa, oh, say 2012-2013), Donald Blake ruled the Meta scene (okay, maybe not “ruled,” but still… ) as the best Support-equipped supporting piece in the game. 33 Points got you an 11 Attack with Support, which made it extremely likely you could heal your pieces back to top dial. Donald even had a Movement Special on clicks 2-4 that let him turn into Chaos War Thor, too. And wit the Avengers keyword, he fit on a lot of teams.

Fast forward roughly five years, and WizKids has decided that, apparently, DONALD BLAKE WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH!! What?!?!

Jane Foster costs three points less, has one less click of life and and even worse Defense Value (15 to Blake’s 16). Buuuuuuut… she also comes packing Defend, so on her first two clicks, she will ALWAYS hit on just a six or more! Donald’s 11 Attack only hits a 17 Defense with that same roll.

Okay, so she’s a good healer, but what else? Well, first, she’s not a good healer, she’s a GREAT healer! Why? Cuz she can pull off her Support tricks no matter how close your opponent gets thanks to her wonderfully flavorful Damage Special (PLEASE TRY TO HOLD STILL: Support, even if her target is adjacent to an opposing character.)!

Another problem with Donald Blake was that he could be sniped fairly easily if your opponent really needed to stop a heal. If they could hit a 16 Defense Value and deal 4 Damage, Blake was wiped off the map.

Well, Jane’s Trait makes this a LOT harder (ONLY HERE TO HELP: Opposing characters of 75 points or more can’t draw lines of fire to Jane Foster unless it is the only character on the map from that force. When an adjacent friendly character is KO’d by an opponents attack, after resolutions you may roll a D6 and replace Jane Foster with TMT #017 Thor on a click # equal to the result.).

So you can’t even target her with your Primary Attacker (or even many Secondary Attackers). Moreover, if you don’t go after her first (which we just established is kind of difficult), Jane can transform into a Goddess of Thunder–possibly on click one!

Lady Thor

Dude, I’m top dial, I got this. I’m about to deal 8 damage. By the way, I cost 30 freaking points.

Yup. You have a 16% chance to sub out your 30 Point piece for a 100 Point figure WHO CAN IMMEDIATELY ATTACK TWO DIFFERENT ENEMIES FOR 4 DAMAGE EACH!! That’s a possible gain of up to 70 points for your army in a 300 Point game! This is a huge advantage! I CAN’T STOP USING CAPS LOCK AND EXCLAMATION POINTS WHEN I TALK ABOUT THIS PIECE!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Wait, she has the Asgardian keyword too?! So I can recklessly advance my title character Thor Odinson up the map for an Alpha Strike and then, if my opponent retaliates, I can just spend 1 Plot Point to immediately place Jane next to Thor and heal him EVEN IF HE’S BASED?! That’s madness!!]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yup!]

 

COMMON PIECE MOST LIKELY TO BREAK THE BANK:

Loki 002

TMT002 Loki65 + 10 Points — Common: Yes folks, we have a Common piece that’s still holding over $5 a copy on eBay more than a month after release. My Lord this was a deep set.

Loki has what has to be the best value Wizkids has ever offered us in terms of add-on Traits (GOD OF TRICKERY (+10 POINTS): During force construction, you may add two TMT #002 Loki to your starting force on the click #1 that appears after the (orange) KO. It has a 0 point value for all effects (including scoring).).

For just 10 Points, you get two REALLY GOOD copies of a 65 Point piece. Huh?! THAT’S NOT HOW MATH WORKS, DAMMIT!!

First of all, Loki and all of his copies have both Super Senses AND Shape Change, so they are a nightmare to get rid of. If Loki actually HITS a Shape Change, he gets to spawn ANOTHER version of himself. And all of these copies have a 10 Attack with Incapacitate, so be prepared to, y’know, never get to do anything on your turn except take tokens off of your army at the end of your turn whenever you’re playing this guy. Sheesh.

Considering there’s not really a hard limit to the amount of TMT002 Lokis you can have on the map at one time, people have been scooping him up on the secondary market left and right.

 

THE MOST UNDERRATED COLOSSAL: 

Frost Giant

TMTG007P FROST GIANT — 20 Points — Colossal Booster: First of all, the sculpt is cool. Second of all, HOLY CRAP HAVE YOU SEEN HIS DAMAGE SPECIAL?!?!

(ONCE YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO FEEL THEIR CHILL… YOU ARE ALREADY DEAD AND JUST DON’T KNOW IT: At the end of your turn, choose one: Give an adjacent opposing character an action token, -or- Give each adjacent opposing character that’s lower points an action token.)

Uh… what is this doing on ANY 20 Point generic, much less one THAT CAN HOP AROUND THE BOARD AND BASE ANY OPPOSING FIGURE WHO SUCCESSFULLY ATTACKED LAST TURN?!

Incapacitate isn’t the best power in the game, but it becomes REALLY freaking good if you don’t even have to roll for it!! And when you start playing two (just costs 40 Points) or three (only 60 Points) or four (still just 80 points), it gets really silly. Remember, they give action tokens AT THE END OF YOUR TURN, so you can move them 6 squares beforehand.

Yes, Carnage is borderline broken. Yes, Mangog is borderline broken. Hell, even Surtur is really, REALLY good. But generic Frost Giant is definitely the most underrated, though I suspect not for long.

 

BEST PRIME: 

TIE: 

Skurge Prime

Prime Odin

TMT029B Skurge — 125 Points — Uncommon Prime:

TMT041BE Odin the Destroyer — 175 Points — Rare Prime:

I really can’t decide, but holy crap are the Primes solid in this set. Red Leader, the Common Prime, has a lot of potential as a supporting piece and can actually resurrect under certain circumstances; Angela is a lot of fun, but I’m not sure she’s actually better than her A-side, Hela (more on this from Ninwashui soon).

But Skurge is awesome. He is a killing machine who is just SO hard to take down.  Once he throws down his Last Laugh marker granted by his Trait (I WILL STAY BEHIND AND THE LAST LAUGH WILL BE MINE: FREE: Once per game, generate a Last Laugh marker in the square Skurge occupies. As long as Skurge occupies the square with the Last Laugh marker, he modifies defense +2, takes a maximum of 1 damage from attacks, and can’t be moved or placed by opposing characters.), he becomes next to impossible to hit AND he can dish out 4-5 damage up to 7 squares away pretty consistently (his Damage Special runs almost his entire dial and gives him his choice of RCE or CCE).

For 125 Points, he is a beast.

Odin the Destroyer is an absolute monster though. I like his 175 Point level the best for a couple reasons. The first reason is pretty basic: more support is almost always better when running a tentpole.

The second is more complicated. With the recent change to Invincible (which Odin starts with on his Experienced dial), Odin is extremely tough to bring down at range with abilities Pen/Psy, since he now reduces even penetrating damage. He also can’t be Outwitted due to his Power Cosmic Team Ability. This means there’s a good chance Odin will get where he’s going without being sniped to death, which is always a concern with Close Combat pieces.

But if he can actually get his hands on an opposing figure, the pummeling can commence. His second Trait even gives him the closest thing to Multi-Attack we’re likely ever going to see going forward (INCALCULABLE MIGHT: POWER: If Odin the Destroyer has 1 action token, give him any two actions at no cost.).

 

THE TOP TEN… PIECES OF EQUIPMENT IN THE MIGHTY THOR: 

Mjolnir

  1. TMTS009 Mjolnir — 10 Points — Heavy Object: Makes so many Chargers just otherworldly good. Try It With: EW050 Superman is just 240 Points of disgusting with this, and Mistress Death is Meta when she’s holding Thor’s hammer.
  2. TMTS008 Enchanted Ball and Chain — 10 Points — Heavy Object: When you absolutely, positively need to KO every Clix in the room, accept no substitutes. Try It With: You can put EW050 Superman on crowd control duty with this thing and watch him mop up the entire map. TMT052 Hulk will literally break through walls and then destroy the room with this thing.
  3. TMTS006 Mirror of Mysolljh — 7 Points — Light Object: For 7 Points, you can give any character a “66% get out of any attack FREE” card. That’s pretty damn good, no? Try It With: Literally any piece that does not have Shape Change, but if they already have Super Senses, that’s even better.
  4. TMTS012 Casket of Ancient Winters — 12 Points — Light Object: There will be builds that will abuse this to no end. Even more than Mjolnir, I think the Casket is the most likely piece from this set to end up on a future Watchlist. Try It With: Any team that is set up to keep your opponents from doing anything. Like, say, a build with 2-3 Frost Giants (who have the Asgardian keyword even at 20 points and thus would remain unaffected by the Casket).
  5. TMTS001 Bloodaxe — 10 Points — Heavy Object: Steal Energy, Battle Fury and Exploit Weakness. In other words, the works!
  6. TMTS011 Stormbreaker — 10 Points — Heavy Object: Deserves this spot for the static +2 to Range alone. Energy Explosion unfortunately isn’t as good as it used to be, or this would be higher. Having said that, Quake got a huge boost.
  7. TMTS016 Dragonfang — 10 Points — Light Object: It gives you re-rollable B/C/F. Try It With: Any “sticky/tie-up” figure with low damage output (<cough> Ha-Ha Joker <cough>).
  8. TMTS015 Gungnir — 10 Points — Light Object: The one-time +3 Attack, Penetrating Damage add-on is nice, but I’m more interested in the “This characters attack rolls can’t be rerolled” portion. Unfortunately, it stops YOU from probbing as well; otherwise, it’d be higher on this list.
  9. TMTS010 Thunderstrike — 10 Points — Heavy Object: Another object that lets you heal while causing maximum mayhem. The Bloodaxe is more efficient though.
  10. TMTS102 Asgardian Shield 4 Points — Light Object: One of the most simple pieces of equipment in the set is also one of the best. It just gives you ES/D. But it does it for just 4 freakin’ points! That means your average piece with an 18 Defense is now an impenetrable 20 from range! The cost/benefit ratio here is too good to pass up!

 

Well, that’s all for today! We will keep hammering (pun intended) out the Thor coverage until… well, really until the next set comes out!

In the meantime, keep up with all of our latest musings on Twitter @criticalmissive !!

 

Tiana house.png

Finally, on a personal note, my cousin and her husband just lost their home to the wildfires blazing through California.

If you have the inclination and ability to help, a friend of theirs has set up a GoFundMe page to assist them while they rebuild the next chapter of their life together. The page can be found here. Even small amounts help tremendously!

If you’re not in a position to donate, I totally understand. You can still help by going to our Twitter page and retweeting our pinned tweet about the fire.

Sunfire Chase

At the end of the month, I’m going to choose one person at random who retweeted that message and send them an Uncanny X-Men Age of Apocalype Sunfire Chase!

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

 

Some Assembly Required (Or, A Second Opinion on the Top Ten Figures in Avengers Assemble)

Avengers Assemble Ninwashui Byline

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • It seems like Attack Values are being subtly lowered by WizKids in this set. There are a lot of 10 Attacks in this set where 11 seemed to be the norm for sets like Flash and Trinity War. Thankfully, they seem to be compensating for this by subtly ramping up the powers. For example, In another set I think AVAS007 Mettle would have just given AVAS006 Hazmat Mastermind and called it a day. Instead, in this set he actually teleports to her side from any distance whenever she is attacked to absorb damage for her. That’s a huge step up in effect.
  • All of the Movie Avengers got both a regular version and an ultra powerful Chase version. Black Widow with Thor’s Hammer. Steve Rogers with a Nova helmet, Tony Stark with… armor so thick it doesn’t move around very well. Some of these ideas were better than others.
  • The new cosmic Avengers from Hickman’s recent 3-year run are in the set, but for the most part their dials underwhelmed me. AVAS041A Starbrand, AVAS043 Abyss, AVAS054 Nightmask, AVAS056 Ex Nihilo, and AVAS036 Captain Universe all have great looking sculpts to go with dials that are so underpowered they will never be played at any real tournament. I mean, obviously not every figure is going to be a tournament piece, but c’mon. “Ooo, watch out! My 190 point Ex Nihilo is going to grow grass around your Ragnarok! It will be angry grass!” Sigh…
  • Not only were the new Cosmic Avengers underpowered for their cost, they were underpowered compared to what they do in the comics. For example, in the comics, Star Brand knocked the Hulk into orbit and almost beat the rest of the Avengers roster combined (including Thor and Hyperion) by himself. In HeroClix Wiz Kids decided that amount of power translated into having a 10 attack and… 3 damage. 3 damage? Really WizKids? Really?

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Hulk Last Titan

5. AVAS064E Hulk – He is the best No-Tactics 300 point one-man army in Modern Age. Rivaled possibly only by… himself (AAOU008 Hulk). While I think he would lose against his movie version one-on-one, I think the Hulk in Avengers Assemble would do better in a tournament for two very important reasons. First, his powers can’t be countered. Secondly, his Stop Click can’t be ignored by Pulse Wave. Add to that his Movement Special Power that lets you Charge 10 squares up a mountain while carrying an ultra heavy object, and this Hulk is really good at what every Hulk should be good at… Smashing!

Echo_as_Ronin

4. AVAS010 Echo I love figures with Super Senses and Shape Change. I tend to use those figures to tie up my opponent’s big hitter because no matter its Attack Value, those defenses will always be just as effective.

So I love that Echo has has Super Senses and Traited Combat Reflexes and that in addition to those two powers she can copy a power, like, say, Shape Change, from someone on your team or even an opposing figure. Sure she can copy any Attack or Damage power (even Telekinesis, which is weird for that character), but copying Shape Change gives her a third defensive ability which is just awesome for a character under 100 points. Plus, unlike another recent, cheap defensive powerhouse (JLTW034 Element Woman), she actually has a decent offense. 11 attack (with her own Perplex) and Blades/Claws/Fangs.

I’ll take that all day. Her downside is her lack of Willpower and the fact that while she has Stealth, she doesn’t ignore Hindering Terrain on movement. Both issues can generally be solved by a good taxi. In a No-Tactics environment she’d do well with Chase AVAS065 Black Widow.

Avengers Age of Ultron Captain America

3. FFCA006R Captain America Whenever I see a character cost 50 points, I know my writing partner Hypefox tends to pay attention. How he missed this guy I’ll never know. Didn’t he remember my Trinity War Top Ten Article where he said we’d be including Fast Forces figures in our Top Ten Lists from now on

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Absolutely! But I decided not to use any Fast Forces: Classic Avengers pieces BECAUSE THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH AGE OF ULTRON, NOT AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!]

Uh… what?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Look at the set symbol for any Avengers Assemble piece.]

Um, okay. It’s a slanty “Avengers-A.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Now look at the set symbol for any Age of Ultron SLOP piece.]

It’s Ultron’s face.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: And as we all know, all of the Fast Forces pieces feature the Fast Forces symbols–which looks kind of like a blocky, italicized “6,” plus a smaller version of the set that it’s supplementing.]

Oh crap. So, since the Classic Avengers feature the Fast Forces symbol with an Ultron head in the middle…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: They would be considered a supplement to Age of Ultron, not Avengers Assemble. Which is probably why the Age of Ultron Wave 1 Instructions allowed the use of the Hank Pym ID card from the Classic Avengers pack.]

Hmmm… it’s just…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, I know. You’re kind of pot-committed at this point, so you might as well just go with it.]

<Ahem> So, there isn’t too much to say about this version of Cap that isn’t obvious. His special power will let another Avenger move 4 or 5 squares without that figure taking an action and that can just be huge. But the real interesting thing about this guy is that he can do that from any distance. You can leave him in the (relative) safety of your starting area and he is just as effective. If you do want to bring him into battle, for 50 points his Precision Strike will give him a chance to hurt characters well above his point cost.

Black Widow AVAS

2. AVAS001 Black WidowI love figures with Super Senses and Shape Change–did I mention that before? And Natasha’s Shape Change is especially good. It’s Traited so it can’t be Outwitted and if you hit make the roll then she can’t be attacked for the rest of the turn. She could have 5 other figures around her and they will just have to sit and stare at her. Making that roll a few turns in a row could be back breaking to your opponent in terms of lost actions.

Her Damage Value is low for a Primary Attacker, but she makes a great Secondary Attacker on any team. Willpower, Stealth, Improved Movement, Perplex, Precision Strike… everything else you would want besides a high Damage Value. If you can compensate for that, then she will do quite well.

1. AVAS037 Manifold  He is the #1 best way to Carry around groups of Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D or Hydra keyworded figures. Only a lack of willpower kept him out of my Top Ten. For more on this figure, see this article.

Top Ten Figures of the Set:

Red Wolf AVAS

10. AVAS051 Red WolfWho is this guy? I have to say, I’ve read a lot of comics and I’ve never even heard of him. He has conditional willpower and good defense to go along with both Super Senses and Combat Reflexes. Which is okay as it is.

But then I looked at his offense. In the right circumstances, this guy can deal more close combat damage than any Wolverine I’ve ever seen in HeroClix. Is that a wooden spear he’s holding, or a light saber? He can Flurry for two shots at 3 damage. Then he can drop his pet, Lobo, who can attack with Blades/Claws/Fangs. That’s up to 12 damage without a critical hit or even using his Super Strength… and he’s only 80 points! Did this guy beat up Odin in the comics and I just missed reading that issue?

Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man

9. AVAS050E Iron Man – Even in today’s game, 18 defense with Defend in nothing to sneeze at. It was good when they released CT043 Invisible Girl and it’s still good now. Add to that fact that any adjacent Avenger also gets Defend and you’ve got two ways to exploit Iron Man’s Trait. He could Carry around pieces with Combat Reflexes or Energy Shield/Deflection–AVAS049E Captain America is a great example of that. Or, he Carry Avengers that have the Tiny combat symbol and have a Defense Value higher than 18 like FFCA002R Wasp.

Beyond his Defend tricks, this Iron Man also packs 4 damage, Hypersonic Speed, Indomitable, Invincible, and Ranged Combat Expert. He could fly in to punch an opposing figure and land one square away while dropping a figure like AVAS010 Echo to tie up the figure he just smashed. Then, the following turn, he can follow up with an Ranged Combat Expert attack for big damage. Always use your Hypersonic Speed to strike and then leave him behind the rest of your team. He doesn’t take a hit very well at the 125 point level.

Something else that lead to his high placement on this list is that at his 125 point level he makes a great ID card call in figure–especially at the end of his dial.

Charles_Barton_(Earth-616)_0001

8. AVAS048 Trick Shot – Compare him to DP036 Bullseye and I think he’ll compare favorably. We all remember how good Bullseye was when the Deadpool set came out. Trick Shot is 6 points cheaper and has much better defensive powers. Instead of Bullseye’s Probability Control, Barney Barton gets Stealth and Shape Change, which means he ends a lot of strikebacks before they begin.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m not sure if “strikebacks” is a word, but I like it.]

But, even better then comparing the two, play them together–they share two named keywords (Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts, the latter of which opens up all kinds of possibilities). Any opposing figure will be full of holes before they even know what’s happening.

3082549-black+swan+from+new+avengers+v3+6

7AVAS045 Black Swan – Probably the coolest new character to be introduced in the last few years. She has also been given one of the coolest dials in her point range.

Her opening movement power states, “HURRY TO EACH THREATENED WORLD: Black Swan can use Phasing/Teleport. When she does, after actions resolve she can make a close combat attack as a free action.” This means she can move up to 10 squares through buildings, mountains, water, or whatever else is in your way and still make an attack by dropping an ultra heavy on someone’s head for 7 damage! When she gets targeted by opposing teams she has Invincible, which eventually turns into Impervious. And remember, her powers can’t be countered thanks to her Power Cosmic Team Ability.

However, the power that has everyone excited about her is “YOU HAVE FAILED TO STOP THE INCURSION: Unless this click is revealed due to taking damage from an opposing character, immediately deal Black Swan 1 unavoidable damage. At the beginning of your turn, if Black Swan is the only character on your force, KO all opposing characters. This power can’t be ignored.” As of yet, no one has thought of a way to get around the formidable restriction on that power and activate it on a less random basis, but people are working on it.

In the mean time, I like to think of it a nice bonus on an already efficient figure. 

Thor_Odinson_(Ragnarok)_(Earth-12131)

6. AVAS053B Ragnarok – Marvel’s Thor/Terminator combo character. For 200 points you get a ranged Primary Attacker with all of the attributes you’d want. 12 attack, 5 damage, Indomitable, Impervious, Shape Change and Running Shot. You get great stats and great powers for a bargain price. Being Outwittable is really his only true weakness.

This best part of his dial isn’t even anything I’ve mentioned above, It’s his keywords. Specifically the “Robot” keyword. They got a huge boost this set (more on that later). Ragnarok may the best character in Modern with that keyword.

Which means you’re going to be seeing him a lot.

new-avengers-27

5. AVAS052 Ronin – This spot on my list was going to be either Ronin or AVAS066 Goliath. I ended up going with Ronin. Here’s why. If either figure needs to make a ranged combat attack, they both will likely turn into AAOU009 Hawkeye. So that’s even, or even a little slanted to Goliath due to the heal when replacing to Hawkeye.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A “little slanted?!” That’s up to a 3-Click heal!!]

But, If Ronin or Goliath were to be in a close combat battle then I would rather have Ronin (or even Echo), hands down. Another thing to keep in mind is that compared to the Stealthy Ronin, Goliath is a Giant-symbol-ed target when moving across the board.

Ronin brings to the table Charge, Blades/Claws/Fangs and either Exploit Weakness or Flurry depending on what the situation demands. That’s some high powered offense for only 109 points. Later in the dial Ronin also has some nice Outwit. Also, until set retirement later this year he can change into Blade from Amazing Spider-Man and use Regeneration if he has taken too much damage. That’s another option Goliath doesn’t have.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, that’s a good point.]

Rick Jones

4. AVAS067 Rick Jones – This spot on my list was going to be either Rick Jones or AVAS047 Master Pandemonium. Even though Master Pandemonium was the king of sealed at my local venue, I went with Rick Jones due to his much lower point cost and the fact that Rick doesn’t have to use a power action to resummon his Bystander Tokens when they are destroyed.

What Rick Jones brings to the table for 75 points is 10 range and three bolts (wow!) with Telekinesis, Psychic Blast, Mind Control, Perplex, a 19 Defense from ranged attacks, an 11 Attack Value and a never ending stream of his own personal tie up Bystander Tokens.

If that’s not enough to impress you, he’s a got a unique Trait that states: “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.”

Loki AVAS

3. AVAS046R Loki – 120 points of Asgardian support figure with no Willpower or damage reducers or move-and-attack and a starting damage of two? Why do I like him again?

Because he is awesome. To be more specific, he’s the best defensive character in this set, and sometimes, the best offense is a good defense–especially if that defense makes your opponent waste turns.

His Trait reads, “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.” So Loki is just waiting for an excuse to shut down your opponent’s attacks against him this turn. You could try to Outwit his Super Senses or Perplex down his defense, but you’d be stupid to do so. That Perplex or Outwit might shut down your attack before you even declare one!

Offensively his damage is low, but you probably won’t be making many standard attacks. His Mind Control Special Power reads, “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.” He has double targets, 8 range, 13 attack (with the bonus) and he can use that to Mind Control pretty much any piece(s) in the game–2 at a time–without taking feedback damage for it! When your opponent only has one piece left on his team, then you can feel free to go and Poison him.

If you are looking for ideas for teams I have two suggestions:

"Stop trying to hit me AND HIT ME!"

“Stop trying to hit me AND HIT ME!”

Team Name: “Try to Hit Me… If You Can.”

Theme: Asgardian

Roster:

AVAS046R Loki120 Points

(w/ ATA055 Asgardian) — 5

IIM103 Absorbing Man153

(w/ ATA055 Asgardian) — 5

=283

Which means you have 17 Points left to add in whatever Bystander tokens or Resource pieces you want. Hammers would be fun. But the funnest part of this Build is watching your opponent’s attacks do absolutely nothing turn after turn.

Or…

"AAUGH!! Not the Blue Battery again!"

“AAUGH!! Not the Blue Battery again!”

You can work him into the old Blue Battery team with Superior Spider-Man (you’d be taking out Captain Marvel and some Constructs). Give Superior Spidey the Decoy and Loki the Net and just have fun with your opponent finally hitting only to have the Blue Emotional Spectrum Power take it away again. I call it my “Charlie Brown and Lucy Kicking the Football” team. Feel free to call your opponent a “Blockhead”. Click here to see more info about using Superior Spider-Man and the blue battery.

Juston Seyfert AVAS

2AVAS020 Juston Seyfert – Okay, so, everyone remembers GG026 Mole Man and what he did for monsters. Well he and his three similar friends DP043 Black Talon, GOTG003 Mantis, and IIM015 Tony Stark all share a similar power. They can all Mind Control certain types of friendly figures and, if they make the Mind Control roll, assign that figure one action.

When WizKids made Juston Seyfert, they made him similar to those other guys except THERE IS NO ROLL REQUIRED AND ZERO CHANCE OF FAILURE!! And the cost to activate–a Power Action for Juston or a Close or Ranged Combat Action for the others–is exactly the same!! That alone makes him better than all of those other guys I mentioned.

At 40 points he is also cheaper, too! Then, just to add insult to injury, they let Justin give any Robot a full move AND a close or ranged combat attack all with one action. That is two actions instead of the one that everyone else ever made like him before gets. That’s not power creep, that’s a power leap!

If you want team ideas go to the HCrealms units section and get a list of every robot in Modern with a point value between 140 and 260. They are now suddenly all tournament viable. All of them. You don’t even have to try and pick a good one. Honestly, sometimes it’s funner if you pick a crappy one–it stings your opponent more when you win.

Wtf?! How in God’s name did I lose to a team featuring Ladytron and Computo?!”

Expect to see Juston on Top 8 army lists until he is retired.

3D Man AVAS

1AVAS013B 3-D Man – For 90 points you get a Hypersonic piece with 9 movement, 11 Attack, 18 Defense, and 3 Damage. Those are pretty good stats for that point level. He’s missing Willpower, but what he does have is the game’s first Perplex that can be used three times! Even the ASMS102 Dr. Octopus Arms Relic only lets you use Perplex twice! The drawback is that he can only target himself and that Outwit ruins his day. The good news is that with his 9 Movement, often times he can strike before your opponent can get within Outwit range.

This gives him some incredible utility. For example, you can increase your Damage by one and Movement by 2 and then suddenly you’ll have a near carbon copy of the 110 point FL037B Dark Flash Prime! Or you could add +1 to Damage and +2 to Attack and land a massive 13 attack 4 damage Hypersonic blow. Or you can do what I would likely do all game and just Perplex his defense to 21… every… single… turn! That’s a 90 point character that can get to a the highest Defense Value that has ever been printed on any HeroClix figure ever. The Spectre, Galactus, and Dr. Manhatten all seem like great company to be in for a 90 point character!

However he uses his Perplex, he is still a great scout for the other 210 points of your team. His trait reads, “SEE A PERSON’S TRUE FORM AND INTENT: Opposing Characters within 6 squares and line of fire can’t use Shape Change or Stealth. Friendly characters within line of fire may modify their defense values by +2 when targeted by Mind Control.” That means that as long as he’s around your whole team will be ignoring opposing Shape Change and Stealth. That would absolutely wreck the defense for a ton of different characters and it’s not even an action, he just has to be standing near the opposing team, just nodding and saying “What’s up?”

Everything I’ve listed above is still not enough to make him my number one figure in the set. What makes him the top figure is that he is also the best ID Card character to call in that is under 100 points. When you summon him for a turn, any figure within 6 spaces of him has their Shape Change and Stealth spoiled by his Trait. Then you get to do a giant 13 attack value 4 damage Hypersonic hit. And after all that any friendly figure next to him when the dust settles gets the Triathlon inspiration which states, “Modify speed value by +1. Modify attack value by +1 when making a close combat attack. Modify defense value by +1 against close combat attacks.”

That is a plethora of effects for a 5 point investment and that’s why he is the best figure in the Avengers Assembled set.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Alright! We hope you enjoyed this counter look at Avengers Assemble! We’ll have an upcoming local game announcement here in the next couple days, followed by some new articles next week! Thanks for reading.]

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

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!!

 

 

 

It Might Get Loud!! (Or, Critical Missives Scenario #1: MCU Heroes Versus Villains!!)

Avengers poster

Hello again!

Today we’re here to share our first scenario with you. In celebration of the May 2nd premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ninwashui and I have prepared a couple special scenarios that we’re going to play out on our own time. Our first scenario is detailed here today!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who are unaware, a scenario is any game of Heroclix with special rules that are specific to that particular game. Often times they are meant to be played with either a specific set of figures, or else they give you a much smaller range of figures with which to create your Build. Usually there is also a small bit of story context accompanying the scenario (that justifies its existence and/or explains the comic or movie-based storyline you’re about to play out). WizKids sometimes creates scenarios for added depth of play during their OP events and distributes instructions on how to play them with the OP Scenario Pack (for example, Fear Itself had 2 Scenario Pack, War of Light had 1).]

Ninwashui and I have been chomping at the bit to try out some of these new Age of Ultron Gravity Feed pieces, but this Scenario will also give us a chance to break out some of our favorite older Movie Set pieces as well.

So, without further ado, here is our first Critical Missives Scenario. Taking a page from Survivor, it’s simply titled…

 

AvU

HEROES VS. VILLAINS!!

The Scenario: It’s all out war in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!!

While inside Avengers Tower celebrating their ability to finally subdue the Hulk’s latest rampage, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers are finally able to relax. During a fun game of “Whosoever Is Worthy to Pick Up Thor’s Hammer,”all of the Tower’s computers suddenly light up. The Tesseract Thor had brought back with him from Asgard begins to spew energy, and a temporal anomaly forms in the Tower’s Quinjet hangar! For a moment, everything seems normal–until the hangar is ripped open, and the Avengers find themselves under attack from the menacing AI of Ultron and his Sentries! But things immediately go from bad to worse as almost EVERY major villain from the MCU–even some they thought they had dealt with permanently–begin flooding in from the anomaly! The fate of the world is in the hands of the Avengers, and to save it, they’ll have to fight their worst enemies or die trying. 

But the Villains aren’t the only ones back from the beyond. An ally once thought lost has returned to aid the Avengers, and he’s brought a really big gun…

The Game: Designed for 2 Players. 1600 Points. Oreo Age. One player assumes control of the “Heroes” side. The other will guide the “Villains.”

The Map: Avengers Tower (from the Age of Ultron Movie Set Starter Pack). The “Heroes” should begin in the Starting Zone located on the side with the lab, while the “Villains” should start on the side with the open hangar.

The Special Scenario Rules:

–When forces are being built, the “Heroes” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–At the beginning of each player’s first turn, that player may select a single Additional Team Ability (ATA) and assign that Team Ability to all eligible members of their team. At least one member of a player’s force must have the printed keyword required for the chosen ATA.

–There is a restriction of 5 actions per team per turn (NOT COUNTING FREE ACTIONS). This total can be increased by Leadership as per normal.

–While we’re not going to bother with declaring Sidelines or anything, the “Heroes” player should have at least 4 Iron Legions stashed off the map (as well as a Captain America and Black Widow & Iron Man and War Machine Duo Figures if available) and the “Villains” should have at least 4 Test Subjects ready to go.

Special Character Rules:

–In addition to his normal stats and powers, Agent Coulson gets the following Special Damage Power on Click number 4: “So That’s What it Does: Once per game, if this click is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing attack, stop turning the dial and select an opposing character. Agent Coulson can use Pulse Wave. When he does, the area of effect for this attack is his range value, he has a locked damage value of 3, and this attack ignores all characters except the opposing character selected for this power. After actions resolve, deal Agent Coulson 1 unavoidable damage. This power cannot be countered or ignored.”

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player may assign either Loki or Red Skull GGS102 Cosmic Cube without paying its cost. During the game, figures named “Loki,” “Red Skull” or “Captain America” automatically succeed when rolling for the Cosmic Cube.

 

THE ROSTERS:

 

Avengers 1 MCU

Heroes:

 AAOU003 Captain AmericaCommon125 Points

AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43Starter Pack150 

AAOU005 ThorCommon200

AAOU008E HulkCommon250

AAOU013 Black WidowMass Market Rare 80

AAOU009 HawkeyeCore Hobby Rare94

AAOU010 Scarlet WitchCore Hobby Rare55

AAOU014 Quicksilver Mass Market Rare63

AAOU011 VisionCore Hobby Rare100

IM3016 War MachineMass Market Rare220

CATWS006 FalconCommon105

AAOU015 Nick FuryMass Market Rare45

AVM206 Agent CoulsonCommon50

CATWS011 Maria HillCore Hobby Rare60

= 1597 (Hmmm… Heroes are apparently so confident that they’re leaving 3 Points on the board!)

 

Marvel Villains

Villains:

AVM211 LokiChase220 Points

AVM041 Red SkullChase170

IM3008 Aldrich KillianCommon35

TDW004 MalekithCommon350

CATWS008 Winter SoldierCommon100 

GOTGM106 RonanStarter Pack300

AAOU016 Baron StruckerMass Market Rare95

AAOU018 Ultron PrimeMass Market Chase250

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

= 1600 Points!! (Villains got their $#!t together!)

 

Why These Teams?: Because, as I mentioned before, this gives us a chance to really dig into the new Age of Ultron Movie Set while also providing an opportunity to dust off some old favorites. As for these specific rosters, we chose them because–between the two of us–we happen to have all these pieces and the points match pretty damn close (in a 1600 Point game, I’m prepared to deal with a variance of 3 points).

Handicapping the Squads: While we haven’t decided who will play which side, just looking at the rosters, I’d expect the “Heroes” side to have a distinct advantage. While there is certainly a ton of raw power on the “Villains” side (and Ooooo, Malekith at 350 looks like soooo much fun…), the “Heroes” side is much more synergistic with their “Avengers Assemble!” Traits and such. Still, we shall see…

The Result: Check back in this space next week. Once we play out the Scenario, we’ll post the highlights and tell you who won right here!! (And/or in the next Weekly Roundup–we’re waaaay overdue for one of those!)

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

Straight, With CHASEr!! (Or, 4600 Words About the Top Ten Most Effective CHASE Pieces in Heroclix Modern Age!!)

"Even consumed by my darkest demons, I have all the power of a million exploding suns. Oh, and I'm like $55 on eBay."

“Even consumed by my darkest demons, I still have all the power of a million exploding suns! Oh, and I’m like $55 on eBay.”

Hello again! We’re gonna go off the beaten path for a just a moment this week (don’t worry–the Deadpool Top Ten set review is coming soon!) with a JOINT column that takes a look at those figures that are the hardest to find, yet create the most excitement when you stumble into a store and find them buried deep inside a tall pack. We’re talking, of course, about Lone Ranger Heroclix Chases.

These weren't hard to find and they created no excitement. Wait, a whole Gravity Feed set that had just four #$@&!ng pieces? Why did they bother? Who was this set aimed at? People who saw the movie and hated it? Actually, that's probably a wide target market. Okay, you win WizKids!

Wait, did they really make a Gravity Feed set that had just FOUR f$@&!ng pieces? Why did they even bother? Who was this set aimed at? People who saw the movie and hated it? Actually, that was probably a wide target market. Okay WizKids, you win!

Chases, by their very nature, are usually pretty expensive. Often that’s just because of their scarcity. But occasionally, WizKids will publish a Chase figure that dominates most of the pieces it encounters and becomes significant in the Meta (or dominant in higher point games). This is our list of those pieces. We’ll tell you why we like them, we’ll create a quick and fun build featuring that piece, and we’ll let you know how much you’re going to have to invest to get each piece if you haven’t had the luck to pull one!

We give you… THE TOP TEN CHASE PIECES IN MODERN AGE!!

 

In the DC Universe, Mount Rushmore only has one face...

In the DC Universe, Mount Rushmore only has one face…

10. SLOSH059 Guardian – 207 Points: Most of the recent full sets in the current Modern Age all feature Chases that share at least one (and in a lot of cases, more) Trait or ability. The SLoSH Chase pieces were all granted one of the most Meta-baiting Traits yet (THE GROWING DARKNESS: At the beginning of the game for all friendly characters with this trait, you may remove one attached game element from an opponent’s resource and, if it is a relic, assign it to a character with this trait. At the beginning of your turn, roll 2d6 for all friendly characters with this trait. If the result is lower than the sum total of all of these characters’ click numbers, then modify all opposing characters’ combat values by -1 until your next turn.), which is ridiculous enough (in the Meta, unless the whole tourney is No Resources or Relics, at least 75% of all teams will feature something these Chases can steal), but all the SLoSH Chasers also get a special Stop Click (SPACE WARP: When this click is revealed, stop turning the dial. Guardian can use Phasing/Teleport. When he does, after actions resolve, he may immediately use Regeneration as a free action.). But Guardian here has a couple things going for him that his SLoSH Chase brethren do not have.

Firstly, he has a 9 Range with 2 Bolts, which goes great with his top dial Psychic Blast and 4 damage! Running Shot (with an 11 Movement) and Enhancement mean that he can act as a Primary Attacker, Support Piece and Taxi, all at once. Secondly, that Stop Click I mentioned? Guardian gets 2 of them! He’s the only one from the set who does–every other SLoSH piece has only one. His 207 Point cost doesn’t leave a lot of room for the rest of your force, but his Enhancement definitely helps that. And in Epic Games (400 Points or more) his versatility makes him even more valuable. Let’s see what Ninwashui’s cooked

NINWASHUI SAYS:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

Not my favorite of the SLoSH Chases, but if I were forced to use him in a 300 Point army (HYPEFOX’S NOTE: You’re forced to. That’s kind of the gimmick here, genius!), I’d do this:

Team Name: Guarding Skadi

Theme: Monster

SLOSH059 Guardian 207

GG026 Mole Man47

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot 30

IIMR100 The Power Plant10

IIMR003 White Light Ring2

IIMRoo7 Matter Rearranger Ring2

IIMR009 Electro Blast Ring 2

=300

As of this writing, Mole Man is still Modern Age, so giving Guardian two actions a turn seems like a good idea to me. If you keep Skadi’s Warbot adjacent to Guardian, it can do 4 damage with Psychic Blast. 18 Defense with Super Senses makes him difficult to bring down. Even before you start messing around with rings, you have the possibility of doing 8 penetrating damage a turn between Guardian and Skadi’s Warbot (and with the Matter Rearranger ring, even Stealth shouldn’t bother your pieces too much). Throw in some abbreviated Power Plant goodness, and you’ll have an army that can compete with just about anything it might run into.  You won’t win every game, but you should at least take out a significant figure of your opponent’s army just about every time.”

What He’ll Cost You on eBay: Actually, not much. About $15-$20.

 

"Hmmm... I think this mirror is broken!"

“Hmmm… I think this mirror is broken!”

9. IM3018 Iron Man and War Machine – 200 Points: There’s a lot to like here. Running Shot with an 11 Attack, Energy Explosion and a standard 4 damage. This is the type of figure that’s just begging to get its hands on some Resource goodness. Hammers make the most sense, since you can team ’em with Splitlip and still have a Stark Industries Theme Team.

Also, Duo Attack is one of the best attack abilities in the game, and the fact that they have an enhanced Duo Attack Trait (TRYING TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER: When Iron Man and War Machine use the Duo attack ability, you may give them a ranged combat action instead of the second attack.) makes it even better. Even better, uh, ER, these guys are on a single base (and can therefore be TK’d)! Their other Trait (WATCH EACH OTHER’S BACKS: When Iron Man and War Machine do not have two tokens, Iron Man and War Machine can use Energy Shield/Deflection.) combines with their top dial 18 Defense with Impervious to give them at least 20 D at range (for most turns). HypeFox in particular loves these guys, and uses them every chance he gets.

 

HypeFox Says:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

As noted, I love these guys. Probably the Duo piece I’ve played the most. Heck, they’re probably the Chase figure I’ve played the most (NINWASHUI’S NOTE: Tell that to Iron Pharaoh, you jackwagon!). Our venue usually doesn’t allow resources, so I haven’t played this army exactly as written, but I definitely would like to. If you’re in an event that doesn’t allow relics or resources, sub out Bethany Cabe and the BotS for IIM002 Rescue, and you’ll be almost as deadly!”

Team NameDwarven But Deadly

Theme: Stark Industries

IM3018 Iron Man and War Machine – 200

FI301 Splitlip – 20

IIM102 Bethany Cabe – 39

DOFPH002 Sentinel Sentry – 14

FIR100 The Book of the Skull – 6

Plus 7 Hammers (every Hammer except Greithoth’s)21

=300

Iron Man and War Machine carry Splitlip around, which pumps their ranged damage up to 5, and if they get to Duo Attack, they can do up to 9 freaking damage a turn. If you can get Hammers on both Iron Man and War Machine AND Splitlip (keep in mind, that gives IM & WM a 13 FREAKING ATTACK), you may find yourself choosing Splitlip as the ‘dial’ character most turns. Even on Click 1, the BotS dial gives Splitlip Smoke Cloud, Barrier AND Perplex to go along with his native Enhancement. Usually you’ll be dumping Splitlip 1 square behind Iron Man and War Machine so that you can slip Bethany Cabe in front of the lil’ guy and adjacent to IM & WM. This gives everyone +1 to their Defense (and with her Police Team Ability, she can make it so that Iron Man and War Machine basically only miss on a roll of 2 against characters with 17 Defense or less!). The Sentinel Sentry is really just there to round out your points and help you get out the maximum amount of Hammers quickly and to provide cover mid-game (if he’s still around) with Smoke Cloud (especially if you’ve gone beyond the Smoke Cloud clicks on the resource).

What They’ll Cost You on eBay: These dudes are still popular. You don’t see more than 2 or 3 being auctioned at a time, and they still command $25-35.

 

When you get to Zombie Electro, maybe the Z-Virus story has run its course...

When you get to Zombie Electro, maybe the Z-Virus story has run its course…

8. DP064 Electro 90 Points: The most recent entry on this list and the best of the DeadPool Chases that just released this month. He is offense in a bottle. If left unchecked, he can take over a game real quick. What’s special about Mr. Dillion in his Zombie form here is that his Zombie Traits (ZOMBIE HUNGER: When Electro damages an opposing character, place a Food token on this card if there are less than 5 Food tokens. When Electro would be KO’d by an opponent’s attack, turn to its first KO click, remove all Food tokens from this card, and heal it that many clicks. & ZOMBIE INFECTION: When Electro damages an opposing character, give that character a Virus token if it has less than 5 Virus tokens. When an opposing character is KO’d by this character, you may add it to your force, turn to its first KO click, remove all of its Virus tokens and heal it that many clicks.) actually work perfectly with his dial. He starts out with Psychic Blast top dial and a special damage power (LIGHTNING ROD OF THE DAMNED: Electro can use Energy Explosion. When he does, he does not need a line of fire to one target within range if that character has a Virus token.) that is nearly broken when combined with everything else. Why? BECAUSE ALL OF HIS FREAKING POWERS COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER! He has top dial Running Shot with a 10 Attack Psychic Blast, 7 Range and THREE FREAKING BOLTS!! Combined with his Damage Special that we just mentioned, this means that Electro can split 3 PENTRATING Damage in up to 3 different directions, and any hit characters will splash 3 more damage onto adjacent figures! This is insane! In one attack, he could potentially fill up his “Zombie Hunger” meter! And then, he can keep pounding them with shots REGARDLESS OF LINE OF FIRE! Just freaking insane. Lots of “Iron Pharaoh” type of potential here, and I would not be surprised to see him show up in the Meta. His ES/D gives him a 19 Defense against ranged retaliation, but even if he’s damaged to the point of being KO’d, that Zombie Hunger Trait means he’ll come right back at nearly full strength!! And we haven’t even touched on the fact that every figure he KO’s JOINS YOUR TEAM!! Or that you can’t really base him to shut him down BECAUSE HE IGNORES CHARACTERS FOR MOVEMENT!! This is a piece that could get real stupid real fast.

NINWASHUI SAYS:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

Like this guy. I still have my Zombie Power Cosmic Wolverine that I think would be fun to play with this guy. For a quick, fun team, try this:

Team Name: Meat-ster Sinister

Theme: Sinister Syndicate

DP064 Electro – 90

DP053A Speed Demon – 110

ASM031B Alyosha Kraven – 70

IIMR100C Power Plant (with any 4 Rings plus the Electro Blast Ring) – 20

ATA090 Sinister Six x3 – 9

=299

If this doesn’t end up being the most expensive team on this list, I’ll be surprised (HYPEFOX’S NOTE: Geeee, the best of the brand new crop of Chases, a brand new Super Rare that’s even rarer cuz it’s the front half of a Prime slot and a Meta-level Rare Prime. Expensive? Y’think?!). Still, lots of versatility here, Electro’s damage output starts out very strong and should only get better as the game goes on. If you want to set up a shot for him, you can use Speed Demon’s Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.) to Cyclone opposing figs next to each other for maximum lightning madness. Alyosha and his pet lion are insane on their own, but with the ATA, if Alyosha can use his superior Attack value to score a couple of hits, things will be that much easier for Electro. The Power Plant is just there to fill out points effectively; you’ll probably find yourself draining rings for an emergency Outwit or +1 to all stats as much as you will find yourself using them for their native abilities. Having said that, giving Electro the “Electro Blast” ring is basically broken–which is the polite way of saying that you should do it as often as you can.

What He’ll Cost You on eBay: The word is out on Zombie Maxwell Dillon. When you can even find him, he usually starts at $55 and ends up in the $70-$80 range.

 

"We're only #7? Then how broken are the pieces ahead of us?"

“We’re only #7? Jesus, how broken are the pieces ahead of us?”

7. CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow130 Points: Another HypeFox favorite, this Duo fig came out only a few months ago in the ridiculously good Captain America and the Winter Soldier Gravity Feed set. If nothing else, what have we learned so far in this article? Duo Attack is gooooood. Duo Attack that ignores damage modifiers (WORKING TOGETHER: When Captain America and Black Widow use the Duo Attack Ability, they may target more then one character with a ranged combat attack and ignore damage modifiers from the Duo Attack ability.)? Hooooo, boy! They also possess two of the best TA’s in the game (Avengers Initiative and S.H.I.E.L.D.), they occupy a single base so they can be TK’d, they have Sidestep, Precision Strike, Traited Stealth–actually, just read this before we spend another 1000 words repeating ourselves!

HYPEFOX SAYS:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

Man, I know what I said last time, but I think this may be the Chase figure that I play most often (NINWASHUI’S NOTE: Seriously?). They’re great as is, but they get even better with the Phoenix Force!

Team Name: The Soldiers and the S.H.I.E.L.D.

Theme: Avengers.

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow130

(w/ the Magik Fragment) – 3

CW039 Hawkeye 98

(w/ the Cyclops Fragment) – 3

FFCW005R Mockingbird25

CATWSH001 S.H.I.E.L.D. Support 10

The Phoenix Force12

3 Fragments Left On 9

2 Assigned Characters6

=296

With the TA’s granted by Cap and Black Widow, Hawkeye becomes a Stealth busting machine, and even if you go up against a team that messes with resources, he can still move through Hindering Terrain without an issue. Cap and Black Widow now have access to Invuln and, more importantly, un-Outwittable Running Shot! Mockingbird pairs with Hawkeye to pump up his attack and pop off the occasional Theme Team Prob.”

What They’ll Cost You on eBay: These two are consistently available in the $17-$22 range.

 

"Does that dude know he's in the shot?"

“Does that dude know he’s in the shot?”

 6. IM3017R Iron Man and Iron Patriot200 Points: Okay, everything we said about Iron Man and War Machine? That goes double for these guys. Another single based Duo fig, these two have even better defensive Traits than their counterparts (I’VE GOT YOUR BACK. NO, I’VE GOT YOUR BACK: Iron Man and Iron Patriot can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Defend. Iron Man and Iron Patriot can use the Sharpshooter ability and may target non-adjacent characters with a ranged combat attack even when they are adjacent to an opposing character.), and their Duo Attack Trait is even better as well (THIS LONE GUNSLINGER ACT IS UNNECESSARY…YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE!: When Iron Man and Iron Patriot use Duo attack ability, each attack may use 2 targets instead of 1 target and one of their attacks may be a ranged combat action instead.). They are, in a word, sick and wrong. Which is two words, actually. But there ya go!

NINWASHUI SAYS:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

“I like this Duo better than Iron Man and War Machine. This Build is simple and fun. Enough of these Theme Teams and Resources and ATA’s–we’re keeping this as simple as possible. Here goes nuthin’!

Team Name: Leftover Parts

Theme: None

IM3017 Iron Man and Iron Patriot200

DP019B Evil DeadPool – 100

=300

Simple, right? Evil DeadPool’s only real weakness is his erratic Defense, which we’ve fixed to some degree with Iron Man and Iron Patriot’s top dial Defend. Point and shoot, basically. Then repeat. And, y’know, repeat, uh, again.”

What They’ll Cost You on eBay: This Duo, while more powerful than their IM3 counterparts, were not as popular. You can find them for $18-$20.

 

"Wait, I thought we were just posing!"

“Wait, I thought we were just posing!”

5. CW060R Avengers Prime300 Points: This is the biggest kitchen sink piece in the game. It’s not quite good enough to stand on its own in a 300 Point game, but in larger builds, man, these guys are TOUGH. But the main reason they’re this high on this list is their ability to take a three actions in one turn (TRIO ATTACK: Give Avengers Prime a double power action. They can be given 3 close or ranged combat actions as free actions, each targeting a single character. These free actions may be used to activate the same effect.). Yes, it’s as nuts as it sounds. But the ability to do that while holding a couple of Hammers is even crazier, as HypeFox is about to discuss:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

Avengers Prime needs very little help to be competitive in Epic Games. That said, for a 400 Point game, I’d surround ’em with some Asgardian love.

Team Name: As-Whoop-ians

Theme: Asgardian

CW060R Avengers Prime300

FI301 Splitlip20

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot30

FIB003 Damaged Warbot10

FIB003 Damaged Warbot 10

The Book of the Skull (Complete)30

=400

You know the drill. Avengers Prime is basically carrying Splitlip after picking up a couple Hammers. You can hook the Warbots up with Hammers too if you like, but honestly they’re really just there as distractions until you can pull off a Trio Attack that will cripple your opponent’s best figures. Yes, you only get two Theme Team Probs, but with two Hammers, Avengers Prime has a 15 attack. If you’re constantly missing with a 15 Attack, I really can’t help you.

What They’ll Cost You on eBay: I’ve seen them go occasionally in the $50 range, but it’s rare. Usually you’re spending at least $65 to get them to your door.

 

"Well hello again, you mewling quim."

“Well hello again, you mewling quims.”

4. AVM211 Loki – 220 Points: Another figure we’ve talked about at length before! His ridiculous number of TA’s (Power Cosmic, Mystics and ANY COPYABLE TA’S POSSESSED BY YOUR OPPONENT’S FIGURES), Traited Toughness, 18 Defense with Super Senses AND Shape Change (dampeners are great, but Super Senses AND Shape Change is a great way to avoid having to dampen any damage), Pulse Wave with a Range of 9… and that’s before you hook him up with a Resource. He’s great in Epic games, but even in 300 Point contests, he’s not a bad fig to hang your hat on. Plus, I mean, it’s Movie Loki, and he’s holding the Tesserect! Pretty much the definition of awesome, as Ninwashui is about to discuss:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

Normally I wouldn’t play a piece this expensive in a 300 Point game, but if Resources are allowed, it’s viable. Still wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in one basket though.

Team Name: All Your Eggs in Loki’s Basket

Theme: Asgardian

AVM211 Loki220

FI301 Splitlip20

Skadi’s Warbot30

Store Clerk3

The Book of the Skull (with 7 Hammers)27

=300

Loki gets Charge and Running Shot after picking up his dual Hammers (I’d start with Mokk’s Hammer, and then have him grab Angrir’s once you start your second wave of Hammer distribution), and he can still be carried by Splitlip if you turn your lil’ dwarf into a Greithoth-powered monster (Greithoth’s Hammer grants, among other things, Giant Reach). We’ve talked about how good Skadi’s Warbot is; the Store Clerk is just there to dish out Hammers. But basically, you’re banking on a hopped-up Loki going nuts with his Running Shot, 13 Attack, 5 Damage (with Splitlip’s Enhancement) Pulse Wave (and don’t forget that you gain a Perplex from the Resource dial at the start as well).

What He’ll Cost You on eBay: Loki can be found for $21 and up.

 

"Tonight on FOX--When X-Rays Go Wrong!"

“Tonight on FOX–When X-Rays Go Wrong!”

3. CW057 Sentry and Void300 Points: And now we come to someone–or someTHING–who COULD hold his own in a 300 Point game with no backup. Sentry and Void’s list of abusive powers starts with their Multiattack Trait–yes, not just Multiattack, but a Multiattack TRAIT (EMERGENT EVIL: Sentry and Void can use Multiattack ability. Give Sentry and Void a power action if it has no tokens and replace it with CW #035 Sentry or CW #045 Void on the same click number. When the replacement character would be KO’d, you may instead return this character to the map on click #10.), because Multiattack clearly isn’t good enough on its own. Then you add in top dial Hypersonic Speed, Psychic Blast, 18 Defense with Impervious and 5 native damage and, frankly, you start to feel guilty just for playing him/them/it. Sentry and Void has finished in the Top 16 of several ROC tourneys in the last year–and again, since they’re 300 Points, that means there is NO BACKUP in those games. And it was still a pretty successful piece. Pretty amazing. In larger point games, where you have extra points for a resource or relic, this piece gets downright stupid.

HYPEFOX SAYS:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

This one’s an easy inclusion for me. This is one of my favorite pieces ever made, and Sentry and Void is probably the Chase figure I’ve played the most (NINWASHUI’S NOTE: I’m not talking to you any more.). This piece is ridiculously good in Epic Games. But we’ll keep it simple:

Team Name: What About Bob?

Theme: None

CW057 Sentry and Void300

=300

You run around with Sentry and Void. You kill stuff. Then you rinse off the blood and repeat.”

What He’ll Cost You on eBay: Sentry and Void can be yours, too! Y’know, for the low, low price of $55 to $80.00.

 

"Is it cold in here?"

“We’re sure I’m Lydea Mallor and not Lyssa Drak?”

2. SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor79 Points: She’s got the same broken Trait that Guardian has, except she’s only 79 FREAKING points–the cheapest of the SLoSH Chases. Her dial without the Trait would easily be worth that investment–when you add in her ability to steal Relics right off of their Resource base, she starts to get silly. On top of that, good luck finding her with her top dial Movement Special (WRAPPED IN SHADOW: Lydea Mallor can use Smoke Cloud and Stealth. Once per turn, when Lydea Mallor occupies hindering terrain and is given a non-free action, before the action begins or after actions resolve, you may place Lydea Mallor in any square of hindering terrain within 5 squares and line of fire.). Basically, she’s the best way to spend 79 Points this side of Brother Voodoo.

At any ROC that allows Resources and Relics, you can expect her to turn up somewhere in the Top 16–probably multiple times, actually. There’s a lot of different ways you can go with her; let’s check in with Ninwashui for his way:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

NINWASHUI SAYS:

She’s the most used Chase from SLoSH, that’s for sure. But I wouldn’t necessarily say she’s the best; people are just playing her as the cheapest way to acquire that Trait for their Build. Having said that, it’s hard to argue with the results she’s consistently showed at ROC tourneys across the globe.

Team Name: Smoke and Mallor

Theme: Monster

SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor79

ASM101 Frankencastle102

SLOSH039X Bizarro – 100

FIR100 The Book of the Skull (with 4 Hammers)18

=299 Points

Hopefully you’re able to steal a key piece from your opponent’s Resource. Either way, you’ve got a pretty balanced yet unpredictable team to go against whatever your opponent has in store for you. Bizarro, with his 3 Stop Clicks and the possibilities that his ever-spinning dial represents, can get really crazy when you start tossing him Hammers. Lydea will be hard to find until your ready for her to attack, and Frankencastle’s Leadership could work on any of these pieces. Happy hunting.

What She’ll Cost You on eBay: Lydea Mallor will run you about $60 right now.

 

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward...

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward…

1. IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110 Points: He’s stupid good. He’s been the winning figure on a winning ROC team not too long ago. He’s great with Resources, but in matches and at venues that don’t support the use of Resources… he gets even better. For those who don’t know, his Trait (GOLDEN FALCON, SHARTING: When Iron Pharaoh is first placed on the map, place a Falcon special terrain marker in an adjacent square. Give Iron Pharaoh a free action to move this marker up to 3 squares. Iron Pharaoh can draw lines of fire and count range (up to 3 squares) from the Falcon marker using Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Outdoor Blocking Terrain, Ignores Characters.) is what makes him so exploitable. Barrier Tech teams in the Meta generally feature either Fantomex or Iron Pharoah. Iron Pharaoh’s inherent stat-boosting Trait (FIGHT THE FUTURE: Iron Pharaoh modifies his attack and damage values by +1 when attacking a character that shares a keyword with him.) works on a LOT of the best figures in the Meta, and there’s a bunch of figures <cough>Shaman<cough> that make him even stupider to deal with. Versatility combined with overall usefulness for the points make Iron Pharaoh our #1 Chase figure in Modern Age (at least as of this writing).

HYPEFOX SAYS:

HYPEFOX SAYS:

This is another of my favorite pieces in the game (NINWASHUI’S NOTE: A-HA! Finally!); I just wish I got to play him more often (NINWASHUI’S NOTE: Oh c’mon!!). Having said that, winning Map Choice can sometimes straight win you the game with Iron Pharaoh–the longer you make your opponent take to get to you, the easier it will be to pick him off with IP’s Golden Falcon. With that in mind, for the final Build of the article, I’m actually going to steal from myself! This army originally appeared in my look back at the Invincible Iron Man set article that ran a few weeks ago:

Team NameNo Flights, No Tights

Theme: Mystical

Map ChoiceAvX Month 1 (Wundagore Mountain)

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110

(w/Cyclops Fragment) – 3

IIM040 Shaman92

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot30

The Phoenix Force12

1 Assigned Character3

=300

What I wrote before: ‘This team can double Barrier to protect Iron Pharaoh while his Golden Falcon goes out and treats the map like a Seagull treats a parking lot after a big lunch. If you win Map Roll, yikes. Your opponent better have a non-flying piece equipped with Phasing/Teleport and the Carry ability–essentially, Cloak from ASM (there’s a couple others, but he’s the best). If not, he or she will have to take the long way around a freaking mountain only to be met by a double Barrier tandem who each have the Mystics TA when AND IF you can actually hit them. All the while, Iron Pharaoh will be chilling like the Boss that he is and taking pot shots of at least 5 damage (and it’s quite easy to make that even more) at your best figs after he’s Outwitted their defense. This is the definition of “a bucket of yuck” for your opponent.’

Yup! Pretty much that!”

What He’ll Cost You on eBay: Iron Pharaoh could have been had for about $25 awhile back. Now that he’s a Meta hero, he’ll run you about $40-$60.

 

Well then! Hope you enjoyed this look at a bunch of different armies that were all strangely built around Skadi’s Warbot some of the harder-to-acquire pieces in the game. Agree? Disagree? Hit us up in the Comment section below!

The Only Way to Fix a Fixer Upper!! (Or, The Pieces That Improve the Most When You Play Them With the Phoenix Force Resource!!)

"She was messing with the Phoenix Force, wasn't she?"

“The only way to fix a fixer upper is… to give it Running Shot?”

Well Hello there!

Today, we’re going to take a brief look at the Phoenix Force and try and pick some figures who have kind of fallen through the cracks recently and see what happens to them when you give them access to the Phoenix Force! Every time a new resource is released, some of the best minds in the game (Editor’s Note: And sometimes even we here at Critical Missives!) will reevaluate the current Meta and see who benefits from what the new resource has to offer. Granted, just about ANY figure gets better when you assign a resource to it, but, as we all know, not all dials are created equal. Similarly, not all dials benefit equally from every resource.

(FYI–While this list is hardly comprehensive, it should be noted that I’ll be sticking to Modern Age figures)

Well, that’s kinda what we’re doing today.

Who benefits?

Who benefits?

So, before we get started, I should point out that the Phoenix Force is a little complicated (I know–what resource isn’t? But it doesn’t help that the instructions have a MAJOR misprint either), so if you have any questions about the basic (and even advanced) mechanics of HOW the resource works, check out Hunter’s (from Dial H for Heroclix) YouTube explanation video. He goes over the resource from every angle, and answers most of the questions you might have about it.

What I personally like about this resource is that you assign figures Fragment Relics at the start of the game (for free) and get benefits RIGHT AWAY (no moving to pick up hammers, etc.). Yes, the resource does progress in terms of the abilities it grants like other resources, but it gives you more abilities more quickly than other resources–specifically, this resource’s first click mods can be taken advantage of much more easily than some of the other resources out there.

Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to break down some of my favorite figs based on their current HCRealms.com Unit ratings (1-5 Stars) and talk about some of their fatal flaws and how the Phoenix Force can potentially put them over the top!

Let’s start with some…

4-Star Figures!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

IIM042 Iron Doom (IIM Super Rare) — 200 Points

What He Brings Himself on His 1st Click: Indomitable with 8 Range, Wildcard TA, 8 Movement with Running Shot (although that’s his ONLY click of Running Shot), Naked 12 Attack, 18 Defense with Super Senses, Master Mind and Leadership (and he prevents other figures of lower point costs from using either Master Mind OR Leadership–a proviso that is much more interesting in a world filled with CATWS005 Shield Agents!) and 4 Damage with an awesome SP (LORD OF THE WORLD: Iron Doom can use Outwit and Perplex. Give him a free action and roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On an result of 4-6, when he uses Outwit, he may counter a power possessed by an opposing character anywhere on the map.).

Whew! That’s a lot. So why don’t we see him more? In other words, …

What’s Wrong With Him?: Well, he’s tough to fit in on a 300 point team for a few reasons (although we’ll discuss his role in higher point games in a second). He doesn’t fly, nor does he have ANY improved movement or targeting. That’s a HUGE negative for a figure of that point cost. Also, he only has Running Shot for 1 click! That’s it! That’s actually one reason why I found this figure so cool, at least from a design standpoint–it’s like the dial designer said to himself, “If I omit virtually every standard Move and Attack power, can I get away with giving this piece EVERY OTHER SINGLE POWER IN THE GAME?!?!” Plus, it’s Tony Stark AS Doctor Doom. Just a fun concept. So I like the flavor of this guy. But when it comes to his place in the game, if your opponent gets even 1 damage through, he’s lost all efficiency.  That’s where the Phoenix Force comes in.

The Phoenix Fix: Now, you can fix SOME of what ails Iron Doom by teaming him with a 50 Point IM3006 Tony Stark, who would provide Mastermind fodder (not a great choice for Mastermind, but in a 300 Point game, that’d be all you could afford), Avengers Initiative TA (which would give Doom Improved Movement AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering), Enhancement and Outwit (and with the new Theme Team rules, you now have a Theme Team as they’re both Scientists). But that basic Move and Attack issue remains.

If you play the Phoenix Force with 4 Fragments (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus and Magik) and 2 Assigned Characters (Iron Doom with the Cyclops Fragment and Tony Stark with the Fragment of your choice–probably Emma Frost or Magik, unless your opponent is playing Lydea Mallor or someone of her ilk; then, you’d probably want to assign him the Colossus Fragment to keep her from getting it), you’d still have 20 points left over for either a Splitlip (who would mess up your Theme Team bonus, although that’s not a huge deal), a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. Support Horde Tokens, a KGB Horde Token (gives you a small amount of Prob) or some Warbots. Whatever you choose is probably going to be carried by Iron Doom and might be used as Master Mind fodder in a pinch, so choose wisely. But, for the purposes of this build, we’ll go with Splitlip and say screw the Theme Bonus.

Team Name: No Escaping Your DOOM!!

IIM042 Iron Doom

IM3006 Tony Stark

FI301 Splitlip

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

Cyclops Fragment, Colossus Fragment, Emma Frost Fragment, Magik Fragment

=300 Points

Now, to start the game, Iron Doom has: Indomitable with 8 Range AND Avengers Initiative TA; 8 Movement with Flight, Running Shot AND Charge; 12 Attack (or 13 or 14, depending on how you use RCE) with Blades/Claws/Fangs and Poison; 19 Defense with Leadership, Master Mind and Super Senses; 4 Damage with RCE, Empower, Perplex AND an Outwit that can potentially Outwit a power ANYWHERE ON THE BOARD. And, during the start of your turn, you can also give him Invuln, Mystics TA against ranged attacks or TK. Plus, when you can get Tony Stark to fly in next to him, you have up to +3 to Ranged Damage (from Splitlip AND Tony Stark’s Enhancement plus 1 or 2 more from the RCE that the Cyclops Fragment grants him) AND a Master Mind target who has access to either Toughness (Splitlip) or Invuln (again, Tony Stark if you can get your positioning right)! That’s a figure who’s hard to take down. This isn’t a team that will win a ROC, but it’ll be competitive in most House Games.

In Epic games (400 points or more) Iron Doom only gets better! With Wildcard TA’s, you’ll have room for even more Support, and you can add in another Fragment to get this team access to the second-to-last Power Set to start the game (Running Shot instead of Charge, +1 to Attack instead of Defense, etc.). In a serious 400 or 500 Point game, a Phoenix Force-powered Iron Doom really does become viable as the main piece on a competitive force.

"I'm not a 5-star figure, eh?"

“I’m not a 5-star figure, eh?”

AVX006E Scarlet Witch (Starter Set) — 100 Points

Yep! I was shocked too. She’s only a 4-star fig as of today. Let’s take a look!

What She Brings Herself on Her 1st Click: 8 Range! For the cost of 1 pushing damage, she can flat destroy your opponent’s strategy if they’re depending on TA’s (NO MORE MUTANTS: Once per game, give Scarlet Witch a double power action and choose a team ability. Any other character that can use that team ability must roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and if the result is 1 – 5, that character can’t use the chosen team ability for the rest of the game.). She also has a 9 Movement with Phasing, 10 Attack with Precision Strike, 16 Defense with another awesome SP (MYSTICAL WARDS: Scarlet Witch can use Energy Shield/Deflection. When Scarlet Witch is hit with an attack, the roll is ignored and the attacker must roll again. This new roll can’t be rerolled or ignored.) and 3 Damage with possibly the best supporting SP IN THE GAME (CASTING SPELLS: Scarlet Witch can use Perplex, Probability Control, and Support.)! So, essentially, she’s the best support figure/secondary attacker in Modern right now (in my opinion, of course).

What’s Wrong With Her?: Well… not much! Like Iron Doom she doesn’t fly, but with Phasing she really doesn’t have to. She has no reducers, but that’s assuming you can hit her 18 damage from Range TWICE!! No, the main thing that she’s missing is, again, move-and-attack. She has almost every other desirable power in the game! Having said that, at some point you’ll probably want to use that No More Mutants Trait, which means that she’ll either need Willpower OR Regeneration. Let’s see if the Phoenix Force can help with that!

The Phoenix Fix: I would use her on a team with a couple Fragment users and leave 1 Fragment on the resource. Wanda would gain Charge (now we have Move-and-attack!), +1 to Attack and Toughness (we have a reducer!). So we’ve solved two of her three problems just with what the Phoenix Force gives her on its first click. You’d still need a figure with Support to heal her after she uses No More Mutants (unless you use someone like AvX  Black Panther to give her Willpower), but we’ve fixed most of what ails her already! For a basic army build featuring Scarlet Witch and the Phoenix Force, let’s try a Mystical build like this:

Team NameLife’s a Witch, and Then You DIE!!

AVX006E Scarlet Witch

IIM040 Shaman

FI007 Iron Fist

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

Cyclops Fragment

Colossus Fragment

Emma Frost Fragment

=299 Points

Wanda would be dangerous from close or from range, the Emma Frost Fragment would give you multiple TK options with her and Shaman, and if you won the map roll (granted, you’d only have +3 to map roll, but that’s not too shabby) and got to go first, you’d be able to fly into position and then zap your opponents flyers with Shaman’s “No Flights” spell, which you’re much more prepared to deal with than they are (hopefully!) with Wanda having phasing and Shaman being able to fly still and White Ranger Iron Fist ignoring both Hindering AND Elevated Terrain. If you were able to take the fight to, say, AvX’s Wundagore Mountain map, you’d have a SIGNIFICANT advantage. This is a team that wouldn’t necessarily do one thing extremely well, but it would do almost everything. Plus, the ability to take away both your opponent’s best TA AND their Flight ability is kind of nasty. If the Map roll goes your way, you can give your opponent fits. And if you assign Cyclops’s Fragment to Shaman, if you can move the resource dial even once, all of the sudden he’s got Sidestep and RCE (one of the cooler combos in the game right now) with a 10 Attack and 3 Damage, 7 range, and an 18 Defense with Barrier and ES/D with a Perplex floating around!! He’s now a Ranged Attacker TO BE FEARED, especially with Wanda backing him up with her Perplex and Prob. This team would take a minute to get going, but they’d be a nightmare to hit from range AND have a fantastic tie-up piece in White Ranger Iron Fist who can dish out healthy amounts of damage himself!

Okay, that blurb turned into a write-up of BOTH Scarlet Witch and Shaman, so consider that 2 for the price of 1 (for the record, Shaman is also a 4-star character, so it still works!)! Can’t believe I almost forgot him!

"Y'all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!"

“Y’all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!”

 

Alright, now let’s look at some…

5-Star Figures!

We’re also going to take a look at two pieces who ALREADY rate 5-stars on HCRealms,com, but with the Phoenix Force, they get downright broken!!

First up is…

"Finally, I will lead an army worthy of--dammit, it's just my infirm uncle, a midget and a bloody Troll! What mewling quim came up with this?"

“Finally, I will lead an army worthy of–dammit, it’s just my infirm uncle, a midget and a bloody Troll! What mewling quim came up with this collection of @$$holes?”

AVM211 Loki (Chase) — 220 Points

He is already a MONSTER (as he should be–he did take on the combined box office power of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg AND Samuel L. Jackson–Good God, what a cast! No wonder this thing made a billion dollars!), but as Michigan State’s own Mike Valenti likes to say, let’s do the format!

What He Brings Himself on His 1st Click: How about the Power Cosmic TA (Willpower, powers can’t be countered). How about the Mystics TA (so if you manage to penetrate his defenses, you get a click of unavoidable damage for your troubles)? How about any copyable TA’s possessed by your opponent? (Three sentences in and we’re not even done with his Team Abilities? Good Lord!)

When you get to his dial, he has 11 Movement with Phasing, 11 Attack with Pulse Wave, 18 Defense with Super Senses and Traited Toughness, and 4 Damage with Shape Change! Now THAT is a dial!

What’s Wrong With Him?: Well, again, he’s almost impossible to fit on a 300 point team because of his cost, and because of that we’re gonna discuss some higher point games with Loki. But beyond his cost, just like Iron Doom, he doesn’t fly. Phasing helps slightly with that; although it can’t be used in conjunction with Charge or Running Shot. It doesn’t matter anyway though because Loki has neither. That is his fatal flaw. But we’re going to fix that with The Phoenix Force!

The Phoenix Fix: We’re gonna run a 400 point game here. The Phoenix Force with 5 Fragments plus 2 Assigned Characters is 33 Points, so when you add Loki in we’re at 253. Add in Splitlip for Loki to carry around the map, and now we’re in business! Asgardian Troll is a fun lil’ close combat attacker, and The Serpent is your other Assigned Character, even though he’s mostly just Phasing around the map to maintain adjacency to his nephew. So, assuming that you leave the Colossus Fragment on the resource dial and have Loki use the Cyclops Fragment and carry Splitlip, his first click looks like this: 11 Movement with Phasing and Running Shot with 9 Range; 11 Attack with Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion; 18 Defense with un-Outwittable Toughness and Invuln (since you’d select that as your Phoenix Power every turn just about) and Super Senses AND Defend; and 4 Damage with Shape Change! Jerry Seinfeld has a message for your opponents while they evaluate a Phoenix-powered Loki:

Seinfeld Good Luck

 

If you don’t have a really good Pulse Wave piece who has a way to get a significant Alpha Strike in, you’re in trouble before you even sit down to play. And we haven’t even gone into everything Loki gets with all the TA’s. Plus, if the Serpent is next to Loki, The Serpent’s Leadership has the potential to take tokens off of Loki even though Loki’s more points! Shhheeeeessssh!. So it goes a lil’ something like this:

Team Name: Stay Up All Night to Get Loki!!

AVM011 Loki

FI027 The Serpent

FI301 Splitlip

FI002 Asgardian Troll

The Phoenix Force

2 Assigned Characters

All Five Fragments

=398 Points

 

And now for our last 5-Star figure! It’s none other than…

"We're in the best Phase 2 movie, right? Right?"

“We’re in the best Phase 2 movie, right? Right?”

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow (Chase) — 130 Points

Our last figure up for discussion is also the newest! Let’s take a look!

What They Bring Themselves on Their 1st Click: How about the kitchen sink? I mean, S.H.I.E.L.D. AND Avengers Initiative TA’s, 10 Movement with Sidestep and Traited Stealth, 11 Attack with Precision Strike and Duo Attack, 18 Defense with Toughness and 3 Damage that ignores the Duo Attack modifier! In a word, Awesomesauce. Which is kind of like two words that I mushed together.

What’s Wrong With Them?: Again, not much! They’re a 5-Star character. Outside of Sidestep, they have no move-and-attack though…

The Phoenix Fix: In a 300-Point game, Cap and BW are really good. But, when we give them some S.H.I.E.L.D. Movie Fig support, along with THE PHOENIX FORCE, they really shine! How about:

Team Name: I Have a Plan–Attack!! (Okay, I know that was a Iron Man line, not a Cap quote, but at least he was saying it to both Cap and Black Widow! So that kinda still counts!)

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow

 CATWS011 Maria Hill

AVM206 Agent Coulson

CATWSH001 SHIELD Support

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

All 5 Fragments

S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA x3

=292

Cap and BW now have Running Shot, 12 Attack, 18 Defense with Defend and RCE when you give them the Cyclops Fragment! Here’s a Heroclix formula for you: Traited Stealth + Sidestep + 6 Range + RCE + Avengers Initiative TA + DUO FREAKING ATTACK THAT IGNORES THE NEGATIVE DAMAGE MODIFIER ALL OTHER DUO ATTACKS ARE SUBJECT TO = YOUR OPPONENT DOING THIS:

Behind the scenes at the WizKids figure development lab...

Followed by his friend coming over from another game to see what’s going on:

WizKids top executives initial reaction to the reveal of Toyman's dial...

Until finally the Judge comes over to wonder what all the fuss is about and sees what the hell you’re playing for what was supposed to be a “fun build” tournament:

Triple Facepalm

Again, just for emphasis,  you’ve just made a figure who has: Un-Outwittable Stealth; the ability to move and see through Hindering (i.e., most Stealth); Flight; Running Shot; Sidestep; 6 Range with 2 Targets; RCE; Energy Explosion with two targets; Poison; 3 Damage with improved Duo Attack; 18 Defense with Defend; the Phone Book; the Kitchen Sink; and on and on…

And Maria Hill can TK them around the Map with her Fragment! They’ll each have access to Invuln via the Colossus Fragment, and at this point you’re just a really, really bad person who, as Ninwashui likes to say, probably lacks a moral compass.

So, there ya go! There’s four fun builds based around the newest Marvel Heroclix resource. Have fun! Experiment! Folks are not even close to breaking this thing’s true potential yet.

And–more importantly–I got through a 3000-word article without mentioning Iron Pharaoh!! That absolutely has to be some kind of record!!

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward...

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward…

Or, you know, at least I almost did!

So what figs do you think will benefit the most from The Phoenix Force? Post your suggestions in the Comments below, and we’ll be back again in a few days for another Weekly Roundup!