But THIS… Does Put A Smile On My Face!! (Or, Let’s Talk About the Infinity War Trailer!!)

Thanos Infinity Gauntlet

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t do many trailer reactions on this site, primarily because we’re mostly about gaming in general, and Heroclix specifically. Also, while some folks manage to publish genuinely entertaining reaction videos on YouTube (The Ecomog #StruggleNation guys and Emergency Awesome are some of my personal faves), most are just schlubby guys staring slightly below the camera while shouting “Wow!” and “Oh S—!!” over and over again.

But while we are assembling our Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls Top Ten (I’ve heard some people call it “Joker’s Wild” with funner Primes and Chases, but really–no, wait, that’s pretty much it), I thought I’d break from tradition and embark on a little story time about why I wanted to talk about this particular trailer, what exactly seems to be going on with the movie’s story, and maybe even why the Colossal Thanos on the Throne of Death is the default masthead for this blog! 

So, without further ado… on with the show!]

Infinity War poster.jpg

Marvel finally dropped a trailer for Infinity War today. This is the movie I’ve been waiting for ever since I was a little kid, and one that I never thought I’d ever get in my lifetime.

I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. Grew up just outside of Detroit. For most of my childhood my family would drive up to Lexington, Michigan at least once during every  summer month (after school had let out). Lexington was about 90 minutes away from Detroit, and my grandparents had a small cottage there near Lake Huron.

Now Lexington was (and pretty much still is) the epitome of a small, Midwestern town. It had a Main Street, a few restaurants, a General Store (where, after much petulant badgering, my grandmother would break down and buy me DuckTales stickers and baseball cards) and an indoor bazaar/flea market that, at least in my memory, was always filled to the brim with dusty, undiscovered treasures.

My father was never one to pass up a garage sale or a flea market, so whenever he would head into town, my brother and I always got up early to go with him, particularly because every time we went to that indoor market, someone would be selling… comic books.

In 1992, I was 11 years old, and while I had a general idea who Batman, Superman and Spider-Man were, I was really just discovering the broader range of comic book characters that were out there. That was also the time in my life when I had started earning my own money through delivering newspapers and mowing lawns, so it was not uncommon for me to hit the comic stands with $5, $10 or sometimes even $20 (for our younger readers, you’ll have to trust me–this seemed like a small FORTUNE to 11-year-old me!).

Now I always had to examine the covers of all the comics that were for sale, and my gosh, if I saw a cover advertising a guest appearance by another hero, well, that comic was probably going home with me (I mean, what’s better than getting TWO heroes for the price of one comic?!).

Daredevil 306

I think I still have this issue in my basement somewhere. It came out the same month as Infinity War #1, I think. And it had Daredevil AND Spider-Man!! 11-year-old me was most impressed.

Well, later on in the Summer of 1992, I saw this:

Infinity War 1

A double-sized comic that pretty much had ALL the heroes in the MCU. This blew my mind! I eagerly devoured all six issues of Infinity War; then, the following year, I did it all over again with the sequel, Infinity Crusade.

When I got a little older and I could drive myself to the local comic shop on Wednesdays after high school, I was able to track down bits and pieces of Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet (but, frustratingly, never the whole thing–finding those issues, or even a TPB, became sort of my white whale. Especially because this was before eBay and Amazon).

But the ending of Infinity Gauntlet, where Adam Warlock had to sacrifice his peaceful afterlife in the Soul Gem to literally take on the responsibility of the entire universe while Thanos lost universal omnipotence but gained a mantle of inner peace stuck with me.

Infinity Gauntlet ending

I can still quote the last line of Infinity Gauntlet decades later. “Somehow I feel that, in the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Starlin does not get nearly enough credit for all the concepts and characters he introduced into the Marvel Universe. He has had a brilliant career, but he’s never mentioned in the same conversations as his contemporaries like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Watchmen and DKR are brilliant, but Starlin did something arguably harder; he told an all-time great story that took place IN CONTINUITY. This is incredibly difficult to do. How many crossovers have come anywhere close to Infinity Gauntlet’s brilliance? Very few… And while we’re at it, when it comes to drawing Thanos, there’s Ron Lim, and then there’s everyone else. Period.]

It was such a powerful ending; I finally realized that sometimes the good guys don’t completely win, and sometimes the bad guys aren’t gonna get punished. And yet, from there, Thanos develops from a villain into more of an anti-hero who is eventually entrusted with the Reality Gem and actually helps save the universe during future Infinity catastrophes (and Keith Giffen even wrote a marvelously fun and complex Thanos 12-issue series back in 2003-2004 that continued this redemption arc in unexpected ways).

Fast forward to 2012. I can’t believe that Marvel movies that don’t have Spider-Man or an ‘X’ in the title are actually succeeding at the box office. My childhood is coming to life before my eyes. “Avengers” hits and its everything everyone wants it to be. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and nothing like it has ever been attempted at the level on which “Avengers” was executed. It’s a gigantic hit.

Also that year, I met a girl. My third date with her also happened to be my birthday. “Avengers” was our first date, and she’d been madly interrogating my friends in order to figure out what she should get me. Then, in front of a bunch of my family members who she’d only just met that night, my girlfriend handed me a gift bag. This is what was inside:

Infinity Gauntlet TPB

We were married in 2015.

Coincidentally, that was also an “Avengers” year.

I relate all this so that you know that when I hit “Play” on YouTube this morning to watch the “Avengers: Infinity War” trailer, I wasn’t just carrying 10 years of MCU movies with me; I was sitting there with memories of some of the happiest times in my life swimming around my head, waiting with giddy anticipation.

So you can probably guess that I liked it.

It could have been two minutes of a static, black screen and I would have called it “boldly understated” or something. But it wasn’t two minutes of a black screen. It was colorful; vibrant; thrilling; scary; nostalgic; bold; smart; new and surprising and familiar, all at the same time.

In two minutes and twenty-four seconds, this trailer brought together virtually every dangling thread from every Marvel movie in history. Somehow the writers have seamlessly blended the storylines of “Infinity Gauntlet” and “Infinity” (the talented Jonathan Hickman’s magnum opus from 2013) not only with each other but also woven them into the altogether different continuity of the MCU. This is such a complicated structural endeavor that it boggles the mind anyone would even attempt such a thing.

And that’s before you remember that Marvel can’t use the Fantastic Four, Galactus or the Silver Surfer (my God, Surfer was probably the fourth or fifth most important character IN Infinity Gauntlet!!) and that they are CHOOSING not to use Adam Warlock until the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie (or, at least, we assume this to be so).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I feel like this hasn’t been discussed enough. Again, to make this clear… ADAM WARLOCK IS THE #$&^#(! PROTAGONIST OF INFINITY GAUNTLET!! This would be like a producer going up to Peter Jackson in 1997 and saying, “Look, we’re gonna give you a green light on this Lord of the Rings thing, but only if you lose those weird Hobbit characters. Especially that Frodo guy.“]

This should be an impossible task. But then you watch the trailer, and Black Panther says “Get this man a shield!” and Cap steps out of the shadows to help defend Wakanda against an Outrider invasion, and I’m about frothing at the mouth to find out the earliest date I can pre-order tickets for this movie.

It’s like Kevin Feige and the screenwriters had a workaround for everything.

WRITERS: “Uh, Infinity Gauntlet basically starts with Silver Surfer rushing to warn Earth after a run-in with Thanos and crashing into the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Surfer Crashes

FEIGE: “And?”

WRITERS: “Annnd… we can’t use Silver Surfer.”

Doc and Wong

FEIGE: “Great. So, now the Hulk will be the one to crash into the Sanctum.”

WRITERS: “Uh… he’s not even in space.”

FEIGE: “He will be.”

Hulk Sanctum

Kevin Feige is an absolute stone cold gangster. I’m convinced of this. He saw the possibility for this whole cinematic universe when all anyone else saw was B- and C-list characters with no film potential at all. That’s what I love most about the MCU. Feige and his team just plow ahead.

–Don’t have the rights to Spider-Man or the X-Men? Guess what. We’re focusing exclusively on the Avengers. And we’re gonna do that so well that Sony will be begging us to take over Spidey from them.

–Natalie Portman doesn’t want to come back for Thor 3? Great. We’re not gonna set it on Earth anyway. We’re gonna get Tessa Thompson to play a Valkyrie and it’s going to get the best reviews of any of the Thor movies. Bye Felicia.

–Our original stars are now ten years older and want gobs of money? Great. We’re gonna give it to them for now, but we’re also going to create the next generation of heroes on screen to eventually replace them. And the audience is going to f-ing love every minute of it.

I’m amazed at how many times Marvel has reinvented what a “superhero movie” can be.

For all the reasons I just described, I loved, loved LOVED this trailer, and I can’t wait to take my wife to go and see it in a theater.

Look, I haven’t even really touched on the story of “Infinity” and how it relates to this production, but this probably isn’t going to be the last time I talk about this trailer or this movie, either. But I think I’ll leave it right here for now.

Excelsior.

Should Everything Old Be New Again? Part 2!! (Or, Theory Crafting a Marvel Core Set!!) (Or, The Sixth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… ]

speed-demon

Okay! Yesterday, we talked about what a Core Set is and why Heroclix could use one. Today, I’m gonna put together a mock Core Set for Marvel Heroclix to see what the concept would look like in action!

Here’s how I’m gonna put it together!

–The set would be distributed via 5-figure Booster packs, with 10 Packs equaling a Brick, and 2 Bricks equaling a Case (no change from a normal expansion).

–The set would contain 70 figures; 16 Commons + 1 Prime; 16 Uncommons + 1 Prime; 16 Rares + 1 Prime; 12 Super Rares + 1 Prime; and 6 Chases.

–All figures would be reprints EXCEPT the Primes and the Chases. The reprints would primarily come from all the Marvel sets that rotated out of Modern from the previous year (with the exception of certain “Micro Sets” like the Movie tie-in Sets and Fast Forces, although regular set Gravity Feeds should be fair game) with just a few older pieces. So, for this Core Set, we’d mostly be choosing pieces from Wolverine and the X-Men, Invincible Iron Man, Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy, with just a few exceptions.

–With the Primes and Chases, I would try to add to or even finish Sub-Themes from the rotated sets so that the new pieces fit right in with the reprints.

–Some figures might change rarity. I would make a rule that nothing can move up in rarity (for example, I would never let an Uncommon in a prior set suddenly become a Rare in the Core Set), but figures can move down a tier (a Rare in, say, GOTG could thus become an Uncommon in the Core Set).

Okay! So what would my Marvel 2017 Core Set look like? I’m glad you asked! I present to you…

THE THEORETICAL 2017 MARVEL HEROCLIX CORE SET!!

COMMONS: 

thule-society-priest

MC17001 Thule Society Priest (formally FI001)(Meet one of the exceptions! This guy comes from Fear Itself, obviously, but he was a well-designed, well-balanced piece that deserves to come back for a year!)

MC17002 Rescue (formally IIM002)

MC17003 Mantis (formally GOTG003)

MC17004 Secret Empire Number 9 (formally DP204)

MC17005 U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. Soldier (formally DP005)

MC17006 Dreadnought (formally IIM006)

Weapon X Scientist.jpg

MC17007A Weapon X Scientist (formally DP007A)

MC17007B William Stryker (Our first new piece, this would brind Stryker into the Modern Age–he was last seen years ago in Giant-Size X-Men. Given how many mutants will be running around in 2017, we probably need more X-Men villains and, after all of his X-Men movie franchise appearances, Stryker is one of the most well-known X-Men villains.

MC17008 Colleen Wing (formally DP008)

MC17009 Misty Knight (formally DP009)

MC17010 Lady Deathstrike (formally WXM210)

MC17011 Justin Hammer (formally IIM008)

MC17012 Tana Nile (formally GOTG012B)

MC17013 Recorder #451 (formally GOTG013B)

MC17014 Bulldozer (formally IIM014)

MC17015 Tony Stark (formally IIM015)

MC17016 Nebula (formally GOTG016)

 

UNCOMMONS:

yondu

MC17017 Yondu (formally GOTG024)

MC17018 Alpha Primitive (formally GOTG018)

MC17019 Captain Marvel (formally GOTG207)

MC17020 Weasel (formally DP020)

MC17021 Flatman (formally WXM021)

MC17022 Talon (formally GOTG022)

black-cat

MC17023A Black Cat (formally DP023)

MC17023B Mink (Another new figure, both for this set and for Heroclix, Mink hails from Mark Gruenwald’s wonderful Squadron Supreme run. Although she wouldn’t have the Squadron Supreme keyword herself, I could imagine her having a Trait that would keep her from breaking Theme as long as she was on a force with a character named Nighthawk. Which should be possible with the Squadron Supreme of Earth-712 ATA, once Mink’s Trait was worded properly.)

MC17024 Number One (formally DP024)

MC17025 Flag-Smasher (formally DP025)

MC17026 Crystal (formally GOTG026)

MC17027 Piledriver (formally IIM027)

MC17028 Ebony Maw (formally GOTG025)

MC17029 War Machine (formally IIM029A–was a Rare, now Uncommon)

MC17030 Star-Lord (formally GOTG030)

MC17031 Gambit (formally WXM031–was a Rare, now Uncommon)

MC17032 Punisher (formally DP032)

 

RARES:

forge-rare

MC17033 Forge (formally WXM033)

MC17034 Legion (formally WXM038)

MC17035 Killraven (formally GOTG035)

MC17036 Bullseye (formally DP036)

MC17037 Iron Monger 2.0 (formally IIM037)

MC17038 Maximus (formally GOTG 038)

MC17039 Big Bertha (formally WXM039)

MC17040 Thunderball (formally IIM039)

MC17041 Deathurge (formally GOTG041)

MC17042 Grasshopper (formally DP042)

MC17043 Black Bolt (formally GOTG036)

MC17044 Silver Samurai (formally WXM044)

MC17045 Shriek (formally GOTG044)

MC17046 Black Dwarf (formally GOTG036)

thanos-rare

MC17047A Thanos (formally GOTG047A)

MC17047B Thanos (Another new piece, this would be our Rare Prime, and it’s… Marvel Zombies Thanos. Why he wasn’t made as a Chase piece in the original GOTG set, I don’t know. But we’ll fix that right here! He won’t be a SwitchClix, but he will have the Z-Virus keyword!)

MC17048 Supergiant (formally GOTG048)

 

SUPER RARES:

corvus-super-rare

MC17049 Corvus Glaive (formally GOTG049)

MC17050 Proxima Midnight (formally GOTG050)

nate-grey-super-rare-prime

MC17051A X-Man (formally WXM051)

MC17051B Nate Grey (The final new Prime for the set, this version of Nate would carry the Age of Apocalypse keyword and represent the character from when he debuted during the A0A event.)

MC17052 Wrecker (formally IIM050)

MC17053 Speed Demon (formally DP053A)

MC17054 Arnim Zola (formally DP054)

MC17055 Iron Man (formally GOTG055)

MC17056 Shaman (formally IIM40)

MC17057 Iron Doom (formally IIM042)

MC17058 Groot (formally GOTG051)

MC17059 Rocket Raccoon (formally GOTG052)

MC17060  Thane (formally GOTG060)

 

CHASES:

(For the Chases, there are just so many AoA characters who have either never been Clix’d, or else haven’t been Clix’d in YEARS. So I would finish the Core Set off with more AoA Chases!)

MC17061 Prelate Scott Summers (AoA version of Cyclops, missing an eye.)

MC17062 Jean Grey (AoA version.)

MC17063 Prelate Alex Summers (AoA version of Havok.)

MC17064 Dark Beast (AoA version of Beast.)

MC17065 Nemesis (AoA version of Genocide. Also known as Holocaust. Hasn’t been Clix’d since Giant-Size X-Men.)

MC17066 Apocalypse (AoA version, obviously. Sculpt would be similar in stature to Tyrant’s from GOTG.)

 

And there you have it. Now imagine a set like this being available all year long to be used with upcoming releases and tournaments! You would crack one of these and one pack of any current Marvel set–or even a new set during launch!

So do you like the idea of a Core Set yet? Sound off in the Comments below! And tune in tomorrow for a look a theoretical DC Core Set!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a New Avengers Movie Set!! (Or, A Brief Look at What We Know About the Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Set!!)

Age of Ultron Avengers

 

Well, here we are again, with news breaking just before a new set comes out. Thanks to Cool Stuff Inc. (and a few other sources), we now know plenty about the Core Hobby version of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie set!!

I’ve been looking forward to this set for several reasons, none more so than the fact that the first Mass Market Avengers Movie Set is what got me back into Clix in the first place (bought a few on a whim–pulled a Loki Chase in my first pack and was hooked!).

A few quick notes before we get into the individual figures:

–We only really know the top dial for each character so far. That’s why we’re not handing out grades yet. This is strictly a preview/spoiler.

–Most of the core Avengers from the first film have a common Trait called Avengers Assemble! The effects vary with each character, but usually it makes your opponent choose between two effects every time your Avenger hits one or more of his characters. For example, Iron Man makes your opponent choose between letting you summon an Iron Legion figure or pumping up the Defense Value of all your friendly characters by +1. Not bad. Hawkeye’s is straight filthy (borderline broken!), but we’ll get to him in due time.

So, with that in mind, here is a list of figures that we know of so far, with some armchair analysis from yours truly:

 

Age of Ultron Iron Man

001 Iron Man (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He can be played at 250 or 185 Points. This seems to essentially be another version of ol’ Shellhead circa Iron Man 3, except they were able to give him some Traits and Special Powers (like “The House Party Protocol” and “The Clean Slate Protocol”) that may have been spoilers had this piece come out in that set. This Iron Man should play a little like Chaos War Gravity Feed Ultron in that Tony Stark can summon “Iron Legion” drones pretty easily.

He’s also a Transporter, which gives the 250-point version a top dial option of either Hypersonic Speed with a 10 Attack or a 12 Attack Running Shot that can cover 13 squares. And while he has no Improved Targeting, his Avengers Initiative Team Ability will let him bust Stealth all day long!

250 Points is almost your entire squad, but if you call in a few members of the Iron Legion to start the game, suddenly it’ll be a lot harder to out action you.

 

Age of Ultron Iron Legion

002 Iron Legion (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Another holdover from Iron Man 3, this is basically one of the “empty shells” that Tony calls to his aid for the climax of that movie. It’s okay for its 50 point cost, but the fact that you can call them into play (depending on what you roll, it’ll either come in at full strength or on its yellow dial) for the cost of one power action if you’re playing Iron Man makes them an awesome bargain. His top dial has Running Shot (albeit with just a 5 Range), Toughness, 10 Attack, 3 native Damage and Enhancement. Plus Indomitable. Solid piece.

 

Age of Ultron Captain America

003 Captain America (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He’s available for 125 or 80 Points, and he’s about what you’d expect:  a competent close combatant. He has some vulnerability at range, but he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for opposing swarm teams. A solid close combat piece.

 

Age of Ultron Test Subject

004 Test Subject (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A 30-Point generic that’s comes with what are essentially 3 different dials, all of which offer at least something useful for his Points.

 

Age of Ultron Thor

005 Thor (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A brick that can pack a punch from range at either the 200 or 150 Point level. At some point on his dial he gets Energy Explosion, Pulse Wave or Penetrating/Psychic Blast. A little reminiscent of his AvX version, except with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability, this Thor can obliterate Stealthed foes as well.

 

Age of Ultron Hydra Soldier

 006 Hydra Soldier  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: 60 Point foot soldier with the always useful Hydra Team ability and absolutely no Range Value of his own. Strange. For hardcore Hydra teams only.

 

Age of Ultron Ultron Sentry

007 Ultron Sentry  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Basically the evil version of Iron Legion, this a drone that Ultron himself should be able to bring into being. Nothing too exciting.

 

Age of Ultron Hulk

008 Hulk  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: We don’t know how many clicks this Hulk has, but it’s probably a lot. He dial comes in 3 sizes too: 300, 250 or 200 Points. He’s Giant Sized with no Range, so his Avengers Initiative Team Ability is almost wasted. But as much as any figure in this set, Hulk will really be made or broken by the values and length of the rest of his dial.

 

Age of Ultron Hawkeye

009 Hawkeye  (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: The figure of the set. He’s got the best Avengers Assemble! Trait (either all hit characters are dealt an additional 1 Unavoidable Damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye doesn’t get an action token. Holy smokes, he’s good!!), he’s rocking a top dial of 8 Range with 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Sidestep, Stealth, Precision Strike, Willpower and 3 Damage! Triple Bolt Precision Strike WITH Avengers Intiative TA equals a bad day for your opponent! Plus, when he’s making a Range Combat attack, he pumps his Attack Value by +1 for each target (Yup! That means he can potentially have a 13 Attack!!). And, if he targets someone and hits them but decides to deal damage elsewhere, he can still give that hit character an action token. Genius!! All this for 94 Points!

When Chaos War Hawkeye was retired last year, I didn’t think we’d ever see his like again. Not only have we seen his like again, but it’s ANOTHER freaking Hawkeye!! Wizkids must hate Green Arrow…

This is the biggest Meta-baiting piece in the set that I have seen so far…

 

Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

010 Scarlet Witch (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: Finally an Avenger without the broken Avengers Assemble Trait. Sheesh! She’s only 55 Points, and, as you might expect, she’s a complete supporting piece, with Perplex top dial and Probability Control down dial.

 

Age of Ultron Vision

011 Vision (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: This is one of the coolest Vision sculpts ever. Having said that, he has NO Traits or Special Powers of any kind, so he’s kinda hard to judge until we get a look at his full dial.

 

Age of Ultron Mk 1

012 Ultron Mk 1 (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: A solid piece that can be played at 120 or 65, depending on circumstances. This figure also has a chance to resurrect itself once per game. 4 Damage top dial is niiiiiiiiice.

 

Age of Ultron Hulkbuster

017 Hulkbuster (Core Hobby Chase)

Analysis: Your choice of either 300 or 225 Points of ass-whoop. He’s got a cool, unique sculpt, and his Avengers Assemble! Trait is almost as good. He’s a big can of beef that’s designed to take on other kinds of beef. Against other giant characters, he’s pretty fantastic. Against ordinary characters, not as much.

 

Some Final Notes:

Based on what we know, we are expecting the Target/Mass Market Rares to include:

–Baron Strucker (90% confident on this one)

–Black Widow (95% sure on this)

–Nick Fury (60% confident)

–Ultron Prime is probably the Mass Market Chase, but there’s a chance he could merely be another Mass Market Rare and that the Red Skull will be the Chase. We shall see!

 

Well, thanks for checking in with us! We’ll revisit this set (along with the Starter, which WizKids has officially started spoiling) in April!

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

 

(P.S.: That awesome artwork of Ultron sitting on the Lincoln Memorial was created by a guy named Matt Broox, apparently on a whim. It’s awesome! Hope you enjoyed it!)

Top Ten Invincible Iron Man Figures!! (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Write Almost 4000 Words about Silver Centurion!!)

Okay! I registered this blog like two weeks ago! Might be time to actually post something, eh? For my inaugural post, we’re gonna talk about some Marvel Clix!!

IIM has been out for awhile now, and as I’ve finally gotten to play with some of the pieces, I’m finally ready to rate these figs. This set turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would; I was not excited for more armored madness so soon after what I thought was a very strong Iron Man 3 movie set. But now that I’ve seen these pieces in action, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. My list is meant as a general rating of each figure’s effectiveness across a broad range of formats, not just Sealed or 300 point Meta games. I actually prefer 400 point games myself, but these figs all have uses in just about any gametype.

Firstly, there were a host of figures that just couldn’t crack the cream of the crop, but are still quite useful in their own right. This set has some surprising depth to it, and much of that depth makes up my:

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Bulldozer (#014r) 70 points – Common: With his trait (HEAD DOWN, HEAD FIRST: At the end of your turn, choose a side of the square Bulldozer occupies. Lines of fire drawn to Bulldozer that pass through that side of the square are blocked until your next turn.), he’s basically a moving barrier that can also attack in a pinch and—probably more usefully—break through opposing barriers with his Improved Movement—Ignores Blocking Terrain and destroys blocking terrain as he moves through it. His attack is never more than pedestrian, and his defense won’t keep him around very long, but if you have time to line him up where you need him, you can cause some big headaches for your opponents. Just stay away from the Experienced version; for a whopping 75 more points, you get the SAME charge, SAME attack, 2 clicks of Invuln (granted, he defense goes up a tick to 18, but not until his second click!) and a measly one more damage. And if that somehow sounds okay to you, go look at Prime Hyperion’s dial and what 75 points gets you there. Yes, he’s a Prime, but 75 points is 75 points. Experienced Bulldozer is actually on the short list for WORST figs in the set, which makes this a very schizophrenic piece.

Tony Stark (#015) 70 points – Uncommon: A great support piece that has a lot of things going for it and only one real drawback—his most interesting ability (ARGONAUTS: Tony Stark can use Mind Control and Stealth. When he uses Mind Control, he may only target a single character with the Armor or Robot keyword, but may target friendly characters.) doesn’t show up until his second click. If he had that ability from the start, he would have most definitely made the Top Ten. Still, there’s a lot to like here. He alternates between Outwit and Perplex, he has a Stop click, so it’s really hard to one-shot him, and with his Extremis Healing Factor, he can even heal himself. And it’s all topped off by the Stark Industries keyword, which we’ll get into a little later (suffice to say it’s one of the best named keywords out there, and it doesn’t even have an ATA yet!)

King Hyperion (#041a) 266 points – Super Rare: A great piece, King Hyperion is tons of fun to play. He has a great mechanic (GENOCIDAL RAGE: Give King Hyperion a power action and make a close or ranged combat attack targeting a single friendly character with a point value of 15 or more. If he KO’s that character with this attack, after actions resolve, heal him of 1 damage, remove all action tokens from him, and modify his combat values by +1 until your next turn and he may immediately be given an action as a free action that may be used to activate this power again.), but once again, it doesn’t show up until click 2. Notice a recurring theme with these Honorable Mentions? You have to hope you can safely guide them to their second clicks! Not too hard in most cases, but if you make these pieces the focus of your army (which you’d HAVE to do in King Hyperion’s case), you’re adding an element of uncertainty to your strategy. Also, at the end of the day, Hyperion (the Prime version of this fig) is just a lil’ bit better.

Iron Paladin (#053) 110 points—Chase: He’s a Chase piece, so many folks will never get a chance to use him (although most of the Chases from this set are pretty reasonable on eBay right now—about the cost of 2 boosters). Still, he’s pretty efficient as a close combat attacker with good average AV’s and a great Attack ability (SWORD OF FAITH: Opposing characters can’t use defense powers when they are the target of Iron Paladin’s close combat attack.) that is probably the best answer right now to the “How do I take down Absorbing Man?” dilemma that’s cropping up in the Meta. The fact that he picks up Mystics in the latter part of his dial and has a roughly 55% chance to regenerate into another Chase figure AFTER HE’S K.O.’d earns him a spot just outside the Top Ten.

Maggia Goon (#004) 20 points – Common: A 20-point fodder piece almost makes the Top Ten?! Well, yeah, when you can effectively tie figs up that are 5 times your cost (or more!), you deserve a pretty good ranking. Plasticity plus a VERY interesting defensive power (PROTECTION RACKET: When targeted with an attack, Maggia Goon may use the printed defense value of the character targeting him.) make him a really annoying nuisance for anyone unlucky enough to play against him. He’s got an OK keyword (Maggia) that makes him cool to run with Count Nefaria (but doesn’t lend itself to much else), and he eventually picks up a 1-damage Exploit Weakness if he’s forced to do damage in the middle of the game, but all of that just wasn’t enough to push him from the fringes of Honorable Mention and into the Top Ten… but it was close. Did I mention he’s only 20 points?

And now, without further ado, the Top Ten figures in Invincible Iron Man!

TOP TEN:

10. Grey Gargoyle (#046) 95 points—Super Rare: This was the hardest figure for me to place on this list. I can make an argument for him not being included at all; I can also make the case that at #10, he’s not getting nearly the respect he deserves. I just don’t know. Having said that, this feels about right. When this figure appeared on the setlist, like most people I assumed he was really just an average figure with a few tricks up his sleeve that was really just meant to give folks someone to revert Mokk into. Now that I’ve seen his dial, he’s actually much more interesting than I first gave him credit for.

All three of his special abilities (GRADUAL PETRIFICATION: When an adjacent opposing character would clear action tokens, that character only clears one action token instead of two.  & STONE SWIPE: Grey Gargoyle can use Incapcitate. When he uses Incapacitate, he may give up to two action tokens to a hit target. & STONE SHATTER: Grey Gargoyle deals pentrating damage to characters with two action tokens. ) are great. I think it was Edward Shelton who pointed out on “Dial H for Heroclix” a few weeks back that putting tokens on your opponent’s figures is always good, even though it seems like players in the Meta sometimes go through cycles where they forget how devastating Incap can be and then almost have to rediscover its power. I almost equate it to card advantage in Magic: The Gathering—if you draw more cards than the person sitting across from you, you’re probably gonna win. Well, in Heroclix, if you are taking more meaningful actions than your opponents, you’re probably beating them. And so folks will come up with crazy ways to do that, whether it be with Duo Attack or crazy shenanigans with Stealth or Barrier, and sometimes they’ll forget that the easiest way to accomplish this is Incap.

Stone Swipe is as good as close combat Incap gets. But that’s also my problem with this figure. He is all about close combat, but his defense might be too chewy for him to get close enough to opposing figures to wreak havoc. He also has no Willpower of any kind to effectively take advantage of all the tokened figures he’s generating. You can give him Nul’s Hammer, but there’s a lot of figures who suddenly become tenable in a variety of formats if you give them a Hammer. He’s got great keywords in A.I.M., Masters of Evil and Scientist, but at 95 points, he almost HAS to be your secondary attacker in a 300 point game. The good news there is that he has great damage values for his point level. Still, with all the question marks hanging over Gargoyle’s role, #10 feels like the right landing spot for him on this list.

9. Iron Pharaoh (#051) 110 points – Chase: The best of the Chases, Iron Pharaoh boasts a 9 (9!!) range and a trait that should practically let you see half the freaking map at any one time (GOLDEN FALCON, SOARING: 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.) His second click is the best, as he defense stays at 18 (it goes from Invuln to Toughness, but I can live with that tradeoff) and he keeps Outwit but his attack goes up to 11 and he gains a pretty good Mind Control special power (PHARAOH’S SLAVE: Iron Pharaoh can use Mind Control, but only to target characters of fewer points that himself. When he does, after actions resolve, deal 1 unavoidable damage to the character he hit with his Mind Control.) Some late dial Pen/Psy and Prob Control means that he should be a steady damage dealer throughout his dial, and he defense against ranged attacks never goes below 17.

He’s kind of Fantomex-lite, with some distinct advantages and disadvantages. Since he produces a special Terrain token, and not a bystander token, his Falcon is a lot harder to mess with than E.V.A., who’s a Bystander. E.V.A., on the other hand, can move 8 spaces at her leisure, whereas the Falcon can only move three. The Falcon gives the Pharaoh some of the best Improved Targeting in the game, whereas as E.V.A. just gives Fantomex Toughness. Both extend their parent figures range quite a bit, with E.V.A. giving Fantomex an essentially 13 range and the Falcon only adding 3 to the Pharaoh (although, with his native 9 range, he can cover quite a bit of the board). The Pharaoh is 32 less points than Fantomex, which also helps in the grand scheme of things. To be clear, I’m NOT saying this piece is as good as Fantomex; just that he’s in the same ballpark. The fact that you don’t even have to start the game playing Iron Pharaoh and there’s still like a 55% chance that he can pay huge dividends for you is kind of mind-blowing (“Well, that does it. You killed my Stealth Suit Iron Man. Let me just make a roll here and—oh, look at that. I get to bring in Iron Pharaoh. On his best click. For free. Cool.”).

Add in some strong keywords, and you have just a solid, solid piece. I don’t think he’ll have a huge 300 Meta impact, but he really starts to shine in 400 point games, which opens up a few more shenanigan build possibilities.

8. Crimson Cowl (#031) 57 points – Rare: One of the best support pieces in the set with some more great keywords. Hammer Industries can give her limited Perplex, which is really NEVER not worth 5 points. While her attack never goes beyond “pedestrian,” attacking is one of her least efficient uses. She has arguably the best pound-for-pound Leadership ability in Modern right now, and she starts with first turn TK. And if she goes off top click, she gains a plasticity and Carry Special. A support piece under 75 points that can TK OR Carry other figs AND take action tokens off them AND Perplex any stat but damage—that’s pretty damn good. If you’re playing a Hammer OR Masters of Evil team, Crimson Cowl should be one of the first figs you reach for. Great in both 300 or 400 point games.

7. Rescue (#002) 65 points – Common: So, like a lot of people, when I’m evaluating figures and I get really excited, it’s usually because the figure falls into one of two categories. The piece will either be a heavy hitter with a hefty cost but great stats and abilities; or, as in the case of Rescue, I’ll see everything she offers and then do a double take when I see how much she costs. Perplex (on everything but damage), Flight, first-click TK, DOUBLE Incapacitate with an 11 AV and 6 range, with Force Blast and 17 Defense with Toughness thrown in just for good measure… I mean, this dial seems like it should cost 90 points or more. Then you throw in her Traited ability that lets her carry up to THREE figs if they’re not on their first click, and I start drooling. Doesn’t matter if they fly, or if they have the transporter symbol, or if they’re a Duo (as long as they are on a single base—oh look, IM3 has two Duos that occupy a single base AND share keywords with her for good measure!) Rescue is the best common in the set, and she has uses across the format board. Sealed? If I pull her, I’m playing her! 300 point Constructed? Depending on any stipulations, I’m gonna seriously think about it. 400 points? You can build a FILTHY Stark Industries team and you’d BETTER have Rescue on it. Stark Industries hasn’t had a huge impact (beyond the number one fig—we’ll get to him in a few minutes) on the Meta yet (partly because they’ve yet to receive an ATA), but in formats larger than 300, they are really sick. In 300 (if you’re using resources—my venue typically doesn’t allow it unless it’s the resource for a storyline event like Fear Itself or AvX), you could do a lot worse than something like Booklip (50 points), Rescue & Silver Centurion. You would still have 14 points left for ATA’s or whatever you want. But in addition to boosts from the book, you’d have Enhancement, TK, Double Incapacitate, Perplex (on anything but damage) AND Support backing up a constantly free-quaking Silver Centurion, who would also be backed up by his torpedo. AND you’d have 2 Theme Team Probs. That army wouldn’t dominate the Meta by any means, but you could certainly be competitive. Tony’s girl is just ridiculous.

6. War Machine (#029b) 245 points – Prime: Outside of some merely average attack values, this guy is sick. With running shot, his range is effectively 14 squares with a PRINTED 5 DAMAGE! And with his Alpha Strike ability, he can push to take two attacks in one turn. Just sick. Then you look at his trait: RETALIATORY STRIKE: Each time War Machine is targeted with an attack, put a Retaliation token on this card. Give War Machine a free action and remove 2 Retaliation tokens; he then may make a ranged combat attack against a single target. That is just silly. He doesn’t even have to take damage or even be freaking hit. This means that at some point, the designer of this piece was like, “Let’s give this 245-point tank MORE FREE ATTACKS!” And everyone else in the office was like, “Yeah, we’re cool with that. We’ll cosign that.” Whaaaa… ? I still like the IM3 War Machine with a built-in Duo Attack just a bit better for 25 less points, but man, it’s close. Sick, heavy hitter. But he’s not even the best War Machine in the set when you consider point cost…

5. War Machine (#029a) 125 points – Rare: 125 points for this? Sign me up! Just like his Stark Industries keyword-sharing sister-from-another-mister Rescue, War Machine makes you hold up and go, “Wait a minute. Is this secretly a 150-point character masquerading as 125 secondary attacker?! In addition to two great Team abilities (Avengers AND S.H.I.E.L.D. AND Stark Industries—Booklip, anyone?), and three great named keywords, this War Machine can dish out a bunch of damage and he can do it from about 14 squares away. Add in his Trait: VARIABLE THREAT ADAPTATION: At the beginning of the game, choose a standard power. When an opposing character attacking War Machine can use the chosen power, modify its attack and damage values by -1 for that attack. And suddenly your lil’ 125-point War Machine is shooting for 4 damage and isn’t taking very much in return. This is the War Machine that you’d get at a place like Costco; the other War Machines all look like you’d paid retail!!

4. Hyperion (#041b) 275 points – Prime: Whoa. Talk about beefy. 275 points, so pretty much a 1-man army in a 300-point contest, but man… Power Cosmic, 19 D with Impervious, 12 attack w/Super Strength with a printed 5 damage and—oh yeah—Hypersonic Speed with 13 movement! Has Avengers keyword (always helpful), but what I really like is that even if your opponent chews through his first four big clicks, he still has 200 points worth of dial left, and he gains the second best Improved Targeting available with an 8 range! One-man armies are usually too limited to do much in Meta, but he’d be a lot of fun to play! In a 400 point game, he’s deadly! Love this piece!

3. Count Nefaria (#048) 244 points – Super Rare: Arguably the best non-Stark Industries guy to build a 300-point army around from this set (although the next guy on the list may have something to say about that), Nefaria is 244 points and 11 clicks of flat nasty. He starts with 3 clicks of Hypersonic, and on that third click, he gains Power Cosmic (essentially), 18 D with Imperv, 12 attack and his damage goes up to 5. Oh, and right before you finally get him double chipped and surrounded, this happens: IONIC ENERGY RECHARGE: Once per game, give Count Nefaria a free action. Until your next turn, Count Nefaria ignores all damage dealt to him by opposing characters’ attacks unless it is a critical hit. Unbelievable. So, unless you’ve built your Meta around Longshot (and props to YOU, sir, if you have), you’re probably not gaining any ground on the 5-damage, 12-attacking Madman with superspeed. As the bad man said to Liam Neeson in Taken, “Good luck.“ I’m not saying Ionic Energy Recharge is broken, but I feel pretty confident in saying that I don’t think we’re gonna see another power that just spits on opposing attacks like this for quite some time…

2. Absorbing Man (#103) 153 points – LE: (URU METAL: When Absorbing Man is dealt damage or healed, roll a d6. Absorbing Man ignores the damage dealt or healed unless it is the same as the result of the d6. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) Wow. That escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand. Okay, so I stand corrected. THIS power might be kind of broken. Maybe not, but close. Good Lord, Wizkids! So this guy kind of changes things. 5 clicks for 153 points and he might be UNDERcosted. That sick gut-punch feeling you get when you maneuver things just the way you want them, and then move in for that big hit with an object only to watch helplessly as your opponent effortlessly hits his stupid Shape Change role? Yeah, prepare to feel that quite a bit against this guy. He’s almost not worth attacking unless you can do 5 damage and finish him in one shot. If you get three or four damage through, your simply helping him get to his Flurry clicks where he can start doing massive damage. His trait (ABSORBS ANYTHING: When Absorbing Man is hit with an object or is given a power action when adjacent to a heavy or light object, place that object on his character card and remove any other objects that are on it. When Absorbing Man has a light object on his character card, modify his attack and damage values by +1. When Absorbing Man has a heavy object on his character card, modify his attack and damage values by +2.) really helps out with his low AV’s, and if he gets a Hammer or the Gauntlet, forget about it. This guy should open up some really cool builds in the Meta.

1. Silver Centurion (#001b) 161 points – Prime: Now we’re talking! This piece has already made waves in the Meta, with several top 16 finishes in some of the recent ROC Qualifiers and other tourneys. There’s really nothing not to like here. Very reasonable point cost for your main attacker. He brings his own backup with his first trait (PULSE BOLT TORPEDO: Once per game, give Silver Centurion a power action to put a Torpedo special terrain marker on the map in an adjacent square. When the Torpedo is on this map, you may give Silver Centurion a free action, put an Acceleration token on this card and then move the Torpedo equal to the number of Acceleration tokens on this card as if it were a character with “wing symbol” and Improved Movement: Ignores Characters. At the beginning or end of your turn, if the marker’s square is occupied by an opposing character, you must remove the marker from the map and make a close combat attack roll against that character with an attack value of 11 and a damage value equal to the number of Acceleration tokens on this card, maximum 7.) and his second trait is stupid good as well (HEAT, ACID, AND RADIATION-SHIELDED: Silver Centurion ignores damage dealt by Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Poison, and Pulse Wave. This power can’t be ignored.). In other words, if you want to take him down (in between avoiding his errata-dodging Torpedo, mind you) you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and go right through his 18 Impervious AND Shape Change. You could try Exploit Weakness, but you have to get to him first, which won’t be easy with his 8 range and 11 Movement top dial. He has two bolts and 4 printed damage as well, so he can just pound folks before they can run up to him. This is why some of the other heavy hitters like Titanium Man and the Iron Man and War Machine duo didn’t make my list; yes, the Centurion is a Prime (so his point cost is gonna be determined a lil’ differently to begin with), but you just pay soooo much less for him than any of the other big’uns. And on top of everything else, he has the Stark Industries AND Avengers keywords. He’s the most efficient attacker in the set, and that’s why he’s number one on my list.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave your reactions—or even your own Top Ten—in the comments below.