When You Absolutely, Positively HAVE To KO Every $&*#(@! In The Room… Accept No Substitutes!! (Or, A Second Opinion On The Top Ten Figures in Captain America and the Avengers!!) (Or OR, The Seventh Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome back to the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas 2020! For Night One’s announcement trailer, click here. We built an Excalibur Themed Team with some new pieces on Night 2; Ninwashui finally released his SVC Top Ten on Night 3; he came back to talk Watchlist results on Night 4; and he came back once more to build an Apocalypse Prime army on Night 5! And we postulated that Bystander Generators are the new Duos on Night 6!]

[EDITOR’S NOTE 2: Why are you getting a Top Ten for a set that released in February?! Well, this article has been stuck in WordPress hell for the better part of a year. I normally write in the Classic Editor, but somehow, some way, WordPress decided to convert the entire article into their new Block format with, well, disastrous results. Still, we thought it would be neat to finally finish an article that was started before Covid was even a thing. Hope you guys and gals enjoy a look back at a time capsule from… well, still from 2020, but it feels like a lifetime ago!]

Cap and the Avengers 3

Let the new Clix year begin!!

Oh. Wait. It’s already begun.

Well then. Ninwashui already led off with his Top Ten figures from CAATV, so it’s time I got back on the saddle… to explain how wrong he was with his Captain America selections (well… a few of them, anyway)!

Sorry this has taken so long, but I’ve had a lot of personal things going on these past two three nine <ahem> ten months. But now I’m back!

But before we get to the CORRECT rankings, let’s look at…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

War Machine dual Target

Rhodey was best known for once bringing three guns to a knife fight.–Wow!! That was quite the lil’ power creepage, eh? How many pieces did we get in this set that get two attacks a turn? Yes, there are conditions for most of these pieces to make the second attack (Thor, War Machine), but those conditions (usually just, y’know, hit with the first attack) are fairly easy to meet and the benefits are ridiculous! Punisher War Machine just literally needs to have two tokens to unleash hell.

Captain Marvel Busting Through

–Beyond that, there’s a higher than usual amount of figures that get two-for-one special abilities or Traits. Sharon Carter has a Perplex that grants Outwit to any friendly character she uses it on (provided they have the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword). SR Captain Marvel deals automatic penetrating damage AFTER she makes a Hypersonic Attack. Okay, she probably belongs in the list above. But still. The pieces in this set aren’t just strong; many are among the most versatile figures Wizkids has ever printed!

Ultron Chase

–Once again, we have a set of Marvel Chases that don’t have a strong thematic connection. In this case, they’re connection was actually material–as in, they are each the only pieces in the set that come with Clix FX, a previous mechanic making a welcome return here.

(Anytime I can see a visual representation of a mechanic on the map, I’m a happy camper. Makes it harder to forget elements during a match!)

So with that, let’s get on to five…

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Namor 2

5. CAAV069 Namor — 75 Points — Chase:

This dial would probably crack the Top 10 of most other sets. Unfortunately, the King of Atlantis here is trapped in an absolutely stacked lineup, so he will have to settle for Honorable Mention.

Still, a 12 Attack top dial with a native 4 Damage for 75 points is always going to get some notice. But what I really love about this version of Namor is how his two Traits really open up Water Builds, a sub-genre of team building that’s never really been Meta but is always a ton of fun.

Namor comes with a Flood Marker Clix FX that counts a Water Terrain and works with his first Trait (AVENGING SON OF ATLANTIS: Namor starts the game with the Flood marker in his square. // The Flood marker is water terrain. // Smoke Cloud as FREE, but to generate water terrain markers instead of hindering terrain markers. // FREE: Place the Flood marker in Namor’s square.). So on any Map, he can literally flood seven squares every turn, which can activate Traits and Special Powers on a ton of other Dolphin-symbol characters (check out the aptly-named Dolphin from DC Rebirth, for example. If you can guarantee she starts her Charge in Water Terrain every time she attacks, she doesn’t halve her movement and suddenly she’s probably worth double her Point Cost).

His second Trait complements the first and helps other Dolphin characters hit their marks (MASTER OF THE SEVEN SEAS: (Dolphin symbol). // Friendly characters with (Dolphin symbol) or who share a keyword (with Namor) modify attack +1 if making a close attack while occupying water terrain.).

Losing Map Roll is always a big risk with Water Builds, but Namor mitigates that risk quite a bit!

Songbird

4. CAAV065 Songbird — 60 Points — Super Rare:

As we’ll soon see, the Super Rare slot in this set is PACKED with heavy hitters!

So there’s nothing really tricky here. Songbird is just REALLY efficient for her points.

Top dial, she’s rocking a 10 Movement with Running Shot, an 11 Attack with Pulse Wave, 18 Defense with Super Senses and 3 Damage with Probability Control. That right there is about as packed as you can get for 60 Points!

She also has one of the set’s Theme-based token Traits (ASSEMBLED BOLTS AND MASTERS: Once per turn when Songbird hits, after resolutions you may roll a d6. 5-6: If your force has 3+ friendly characters with the Masters Of Evil or Thunderbolts keywords, remove an action token from Songbird -or- give an action token to a hit target. If your force has 6+, do both.), which is fine, but her second Trait (SOLID SOUND CONSTRUCTS: Barrier as FREE, but only to generate 1 marker then remove all other blocking terrain markers adjacent to the generated marker.) is borderline amazing!

Basically, she can put up one Barrier marker to make it difficult to target her, or you can use that Trait offensively to destroy opposing Barrier markers and open up strategic lines of fire!

This is the best version of Songbird they’ve ever made (and get used to that, because it’s going to be true for a bunch of different characters that we’re going to be covering!).

Sharon Carter

3. CAAV006 Sharon Carter — 35 Points — Common:

So, just in case you were thinking the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword would be gone from the Meta for awhile, here’s the first of MANY pieces with that keyword that we’ll be discussing today.

Sharon only has three clicks, but she’s ridiculously affordable, has great survival instincts with the recurring Espionage Trait (ESPIONAGE: Stealth, Improved Movement: Hindering, Improved Targeting: Hindering.), gives your squad some cheap Leadership AND comes packing with a Special Damage Power (STAND BY FOR UPDATES: Perplex. When Sharon Carter uses it to target another friendly character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword, that character can use Outwit until your next turn.) that can be gamechanging.

Her Leadership special works better when she’s teamed with any almost any version of Steve Rogers, but that Damage Special absolutely breaks a different soldier that we’ll be talking about when we get to the top of this list…

Taskmaster2

2. CAAV049 Taskmaster — 60 Points — Rare:

Yet another switchblade version of one of my favorite villains, this Taskmaster comes STACKED with powers and abilities!

He moves through Hindering Terrain, he has the Wildcard TA, starts with a 12 (TWELVE!!) Attack with B/C/F AND Perplex, and his pick-a-power Trait (YOU FORGET THAT I TOOK ON THE AVENGERS: FREE: Choose a standard speed or defense power printed on this card. Taskmaster can use that power until your next turn.) makes him extremely hard to KO. Heck, with Stealth up top, he’s hard to even touch!

The Black Widow Movie set gave us a bunch more Taskmasters, but I don’t know that it gave us anything (for the points) that’s better than this.

1. CAAV060 Blade — 50 Points — Super Rare:

A potentially neverending Charge (provided he offs an enemy with the Monster or Mystical keyword each time); Stealth; Improved Movement: Hindering; Improved Targeting: Hindering; Steal Energy (with the ability to heal past his starting line); Blades (of course) and a 17 Defense with Combat Reflexes.
Yes, he’s a bit chewy, but he recovers well and his offense could potentially swing the match. His subpar 10 Attack at this level is the only thing keeping him from the Top Ten.
And NOW…..

THE TOP TEN FIGURES IN CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE AVENGERS!!

War Machine CAAV

10. CAAV053A War Machine — 100 Points — Super Rare:

Two Team Abilities. A Trait (MINI-GUN TARGET LOCK: When War Machine hits, after resolutions you may give a hit character a Target Lock token, then remove all other Target Lock tokens. // FREE: Make a range attack using War Machine’s printed attack and damage values, but only to target the character with his Target Lock token.) that allows up to a second ranged attack in one turn.

Plus Indomitable, Improved Targeting: Hindering, the ability to make ranged attacks while based and some pretty good stats. Also, this Preview set off a firestorm of anticipation among Heroclix fans for this set.

Hell, War Machine would be higher on this list if his B-Side wasn’t EVEN BETTER

Old Steve Rogers

9. CAAV038 Steve Rogers — 50 Points — Rare:

Stats are aight. He has the recurring Living Legend Trait (LIVING LEGEND: The first time each game Steve Rogers would be KO’d, instead turn him to his last non-KO click, then roll a d6 and heal him equal to half the result. Protected: Pulse Wave.), so he’s a bit harder to put away than his point cost might suggest.

But his Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. Building Trait (WE’LL TAKE ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET, IF YOU’RE WORTHY: Leadership. During force construction, you may choose a standard character of 50 points or less. That character loses its printed keywords (for the entire game) and then gains either the Avengers –or– S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword (choose one).) is the main reason to play him.

This can even lead to some comic-ly ridiculous scenarios, like:

-Chase Ultron on his rookie dial can now suit up for S.H.I.E.L.D.!
-Valeria Von Doom can now be a child Avenger!
-Heck, if you want, you can take SR Q’s 50 point dial… and do nothing with it (as he’s not a standard character. Not all of these ideas were going to be winners.).

Peggy Cap

I don’t know who photoshopped this, but it’s pretty good!

8. CAAV075E Peggy CarterSideline Active (Aka “Free”) — Ultra Chase
So you’re telling me that if I field the ridiculously good Steve Rogers I just ranked at #9, I can also back him up with a 50-Point Peggy that Charges, has Precision Strike, has Indomitable, sports Leadership AND generates a really good Bystander Token… and that I can do all that FOR FREE?
That Rogers is good enough on his own. He doesn’t need any more value packed in.
This Peggy is just kind of alright for her points on her normal dial, but her Sideline Active free dial is bananas!
Maria Hill
7. CAAV008 Maria Hill — 45 Points — Common:
Why is a 45-Point Common all the way up at #7 in my Top Ten? Because she has an Omega-Level Movement Special Power (WELCOME TO PLEASANT HILL: Mind Control. Once per turn when a friendly character uses Mind Control to target a character that hasn’t been damaged this turn, after resolutions that targeted character can’t make attacks or be attacked until your next turn unless it’s the only character on its force.) that opens up all kinds of new Build possibilities!
I remember when Ninwashui and I thought Mind Control was one of the weaker powers in the game a few years ago; well… not anymore. Suddenly Mind Control is essentially a Maze of Ith (for non-MTG lifers, read “neutralizing force”) for your opponent’s best piece.
She also has Leadership coupled with the Espionage Trait and Shape Change for survivability. Even when she finally loses her special power, she gains Perplex and the ability to do Penetrating damage.
Truly a groundbreaking piece!
Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider
6. CAAV071 Ghost Rider — 70 Points — Chase:
His dial is great for his points (except for an average to low Attack across the dial), but he adds some wrinkles that really make him worthwhile.
First, his Special Ram ability (THE AVENGERS HAVE A SWEET NEW RIDE: Passenger: 3, but only to carry character who share a keyword regardless of [Wing symbol]. // Ram. When Ghost Rider uses it, he modifies speed +3 and does not take unavoidable damage from it.) is basically the best of its kind in the game.
Secondly, he has the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Mystical keywords… I mean, what team DOESN’T he fit on?
Ultron Age of Ultron
5. CAAV074(?) Ultron — (???) — Chase:
Yup! Another Chase from just a killer run of Chases (and we’re not done yet). I just threw question marks up there for his exact set number and Point cost because, honestly, each of his three point levels is just stupidly ridiculous.
For God’s sake, they even brought back his classic 14 Attack Value, which is honestly just stupid. If his dial was naked and you just had to make due with his native stats, he’d be a great value. Instead, you can pretty much just name a random great power, and he probably has it.
The second click on his 150-Point dial has a 13 Attack with Pen/Psy, 18 Defense with Impervious and 3 Damage with Perplex. Yeah. A 13 Attack Value. On his second click. #$%# off, Wizkids!
If your opponent places this guy in his Starting Area when forces are revealed, good luck.
Immortal Hulk
4. CAAV058 Immortal Hulk — 100 Points — Super Rare:
At some point when designing this set, someone in charge at Wizkids looked at all the broken pieces they were already stuffing into this set and thought, “Hey… why don’t we make a Hulk piece where we combine the survivability of that “Ha-Ha Joker” from Joker’s Wild with, y’know, the offense of an enraged, uh, Hulk. That seems like it’d be a pretty fair figure to play against.”
That was a real thought that a real adult had.
This piece is just stupid. He’s already starting to put his stamp on the Meta.
I actually got to play against this guy in Sealed, and the only reason I beat him is because I miraculously pulled the #1 piece on this list.
Thor Chase 2
3. CAAV070 Thor– 125 Points — Chase:
Another piece that–like Ultron–is darn near broken at any of its point levels.
It must have come from the same design space as that Immortal Hulk we just talked about.
Designer One: “Uh… what if we designed the Quintessential Thor dial”
Designer Two: “Hmmm… okay, we could–
Designer One: “And then added Probability Control!”
Designer Two: “But… why though?”
Again: this was a real thought that a real adult had.
Thor’s Lightning Marker Trait (BRING THE LIGHTNING: Thor has PROTECTED: Energy Explosion. // Thor starts the game with the Lightning marker attached. // When Thor hits with an attack not using Energy Explosion, you may place the Lightning marker in the square of a hit character. If you do, after resolutions make a range attack using Energy Explosion at no cost targeting that character regardless of range or line of fire. At the beginning of your next turn, attach the Lightning marker to Thor.) alone will make sure you get your investment out of fielding this absolute Monster.
Captain Marvel Anime
2. CAAV054 Captain Marvel — 95 Points — Super Rare:
Wizkids has been on a mission lately to make the perfect Carol Danvers version of Captain Marvel, and if there’s a better Captain Marvel to been had, I’ve not seen it.
Her top dial Movement Special Power (HIGHER!: Hypersonic Speed. When Captain Marvel uses it, after resolutions deal 1 penetrating damage to an opposing character she moved through. If that character is a vehicle, deal it 3 penetrating damage instead.) is among the best versions of Hypersonic Speed we’ve ever had.
And the Chewie Bystander Token she generates is also top notch.
Altogether, she is going to be a force until she rotates.
Punisher War Machine 2
1. CAAV053B Punisher War Machine — 95 Points — Super Rare PRIME:
And now we circle back to the title of the article!
When you absolutely, positively have to KO everything in the room…
Here’s the best Colossal Stamina Trait you’ll ever see (THE WAR NEVER ENDS: Colossal Stamina. // If Punisher War Machine has two action tokens, he has “FREE: Make an attack.”).
He also has a great Attack Special Power (JUST NEED TO LIGHT THE FUSE: Energy Explosion, KNOCKBACK.).
By the way, he sees through Hindering and has a starting 12 Attack and 4 Damage.
He is a one-man army except he only costs 95 Points at most.
And he is the number one figure in this set!!
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the Comments below.
And we’ll see you here tomorrow night!!

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!!

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!

Defying Gravity (Or, a Prediction of What’s to Come from the Next Marvel Movie Gravity Feeds!!)

This defiance of gravity goes to 11.

This defiance of gravity goes to 11.

And now for something completely different!!

So, we know we’re getting a couple of Marvel Movie Gravity Feeds this year: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. CA:TWS theoretically releases (at least the “Core Hobby” version) on March 5, to be followed by the Target Exclusive version (or “Mass Market” version–man, I feel like an a-hole when I say “core hobby” or “mass market.” Can’t I just say “comic-shop” version and “Target” version?) at some indeterminate time in the future.

Core Hobby! Vis a vis! Mass Market!

Core Hobby! Vis-a-vis! Mass Market!

Guardians will be here in early-to-mid-July. In both cases, we have some idea of what we’ll see in terms of characters, but it’s always fun to try and predict which figures we’ll see in upcoming sets. So that’s the goal of today’s little lark–let’s see if we can predict which figures are coming in these Gravity Feeds!

Today, we’ll focus on the set that’s almost here–Cap 2!!

Cap 2

(Yes, that is the new poster.)

Okay, so let’s start with #001 and go in order. Why? Cuz that’s the easiest to predict:

CATWS#001: Captain America

Whew!! That was tough, but we got where we needed to go, people. Let’s double down. Usually, the second fig in a movie GF set is some sort of good guy generic piece. In Thor: The Dark World, it was Einherjar; in Iron Man 3 (these two sets are the most recent comps to CA: TWS, so that’s why we’re looking so hard at them for this) it was Iron Man Mark 42 (aka one of his many armors from the film–not quite a generic, but definitely a good guy piece).

With all that said, I’m going to go with:

CATWS#002: S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Agent

I suppose it could be S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier, or Technician, or Operative or any of a dozen different variations. But for the sake of this prediction (and because at least 3 different actors are credited as “S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Agents” on imdb.com), I’ll go with “Strike Agent.”

Slot #3 is usually reserved for an “evil” character. In TDW, it was a couple different versions of the Dark Elf Scouts. In IM3, it was Iron Patriot–the Rhodey version, who was actually a good guy. Hmmm… I’m going to say they change it up a little here:

CATWS#003: Alexander Pierce

Pierce is played by screen legend Robert Redford and may–or may not–end up being the main villain in the movie. Which leaves spot 4 for the character who’s advertised as the main villain. TDW#004 was Malekith, and IM3#004 was the Mandarin, so this should be a no-brainer:

CATWS#004: The Winter Soldier

The fifth slot has been kind of a hodgepodge–it was a generic villain in IM3 and Lady Sif in TDW, so I’m going to say it’s a named hero in CATWS:

CATWS#005: Black Widow

We know she’s in the movie, and her piece will probably straddle the Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword line like her AVM pieces did.

Speaking of, there are a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters in this movie: In addition to Black Widow, we have Jasper Sitwell, Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, Nick Fury and at least some sort of flashback cameos by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. Any one of these characters could be Clix’d, along with good ol’ Phil Coulson, who I’m betting does NOT make an appearance in this movie (and this would not be unprecedented; we got “Skrulls” in the AVM GF set along with Odin and Red Skull Chases, even though none of those characters appeared in Avengers. Tyr and Duhg showed up for maybe a combined 30 seconds of screen time in TDW, and yet both got Clix’d in that Gravity Feed set–hell, Duhg was a Target-exclusive rare, and a damn cool one at that!).

So, having said all that, I’m going to go with:

CATWS#006: Nick Fury

Just feels like he should be right about here. We also have Batroc the Leaper and Crossbones showing up as villains in this film, so next we’ll take:

CATWS#007: Crossbones

Back to S.H.I.E.L.D. for our next picks:

CATWS#008: Sharon Carter

CATWS#009: Howard Stark

I know he’s already  been Clix’d, but I think he’ll get a version here where he’s the first Executive Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a dial to match. It’s worth noting that with Howard Stark’s slot at #009 we’ve moved into the Core Hobby Rares section, so I guess he’s my first “rare” prediction.

CATWS#010: Batroc the Leaper

He’s kind of obscure and probably won’t have a huge role in the movie–Duhg anyone? I think he’ll be a Core Hobby rare.

CATWS#011: Maria Hill

Another high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. officer who I think we’ll combo well with other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. So that’s

CATWS#012: Falcon

He’s gotta show up somewhere. I could also see him being a common and this slot going to ScarJo’s Black Widow, but on movie sets like this they like to make popular returning characters like Widow a Common, so more people will get her. Falcon (as the new blood with a ton of dial possibilities) seems like a much better bet to be a rare. We’ll see! By the way, that’s four Core Hobby exclusive rares, which means we can go right into the Target rares!!

CATWS#013: The Winter Soldier

Yep. I’m expecting them to double down on the Winter Soldier. At least. Why? Well, firstly, his name is in the title. And secondly, the main villain (I know, we’re expecting him to be a good guy by the end, but that’s not really relevant for this prediction) always gets a Common and Rare version (at least).

CATWS#014 Peggy Carter

Just as there will be a Howard Stark rare fig, I’m predicting we’ll also get a Peggy Carter Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. fig (with the Past keyword as well, obviously).

CATWS#015 Machete

This slot could go to any number of figs–they could opt to do a Rare Widow, a Rare Nick Fury or some Hydra henchman (or just general bad guy henchman) that’s impossible to predict until one has seen the movie. Still, I’m going to try. There are a bunch of Russian soldiers listed in the credits, so it’s possible that they’ll take up a generic slot or too. But there’s also a dude named Machete, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he’ll get a slot here as a “named” bad guy. Jasper Sitwell, another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who will kind of act as the Phil Coulson of this movie, I’m guessing, could go here too, although he feels more like a common. Of course, if Coulson cameos in this flick this spot could go to him, too.

CATWS#016 Captain America

This is almost certainly Cap. Each main hero of the single movies so far has gotten at least one Rare version in their set.

CATWS#017: Captain America and Winter Soldier

The first Chase slot (Core Hobby). These aren’t always Duo figs, but it would make sense here. I’ve mentioned before how kickass it would be to get a single-based S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier as a Chase fig, but it well never happen (hey, if Yu-Gi-Oh! can have an entire floating castle on a single base…). Which, I believe, leaves ONE MORE FIGURE!!

CATWS#018: Captain America and Falcon

Well, the only thing better than one Duo Chase is two, right? This would be similar to what they did with Iron Man 3 (and both of those Duos turned out to be awesome).

There’s a remote chance we get another Red Skull Chase if he makes a cameo, or if Alexander Pierce somehow becomes the Skull (there’s, uh, some justification for this in the comics–SPOILER ALERT, I guess), that could be a possibility as well.

So, to recap, my prediction–which is sure to go wildly wrong in just a couple days–is:

CATWS#001: Captain America

CATWS#002: S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Agent

CATWS#003: Alexander Pierce

CATWS#004: The Winter Soldier

CATWS#005: Black Widow

CATWS#006: Nick Fury

CATWS#007: Crossbones

CATWS#008: Sharon Carter

CATWS#009: Howard Stark

CATWS#010: Batroc the Leaper

CATWS#011: Maria Hill

CATWS#012: Falcon

CATWS#013: The Winter Soldier

CATWS#014 Peggy Carter

CATWS#015 Machete

CATWS#016 Captain America

CATWS#017: Captain America and Winter Soldier

CATWS#018: Captain America and Falcon

If my prediction is even remotely accurate, we should be getting a little boost to Avengers teams (just in time for the end of AvX!), a HUGE boost to S.H.I.E.L.D. teams and a small bump to HYDRA teams.

Good Luck with your pulls, and Happy Building!!

Ninwa and I will be back later this week with some tourney reports and more SLoSH coverage!