Feedback!! (Or, The First Night of Clix-Mas!!)

Christmas Marvel Peanuts

Hello! And welcome to the first NIGHT of Clix-Mas (the gimmick seems a little less stolen if I just change it from the 12 DAYS of Clix-mas to the 12 NIGHTS of Clix-mas! Yay! A Festivus for the rest of us!).

For today’s entry, we’re gonna talk about some direct feedback I received from local venue-goer–and fellow Nekron winner!–Matt, who pointed out that Black Talon wasn’t among the figures I highlighted when we were ROC’ing the Meta a month ago (Part 2 can be found right here).

Matt made his case that the ability to Mind Control friendly figures in general is still a viable strategy in the Meta, even with the retirement rotation of GG Mole Man.

"What?! I'm not legal in Modern Age unless I'm undead? What sense does that make?"

“What?! Retire?! But I’m in the best shape of my life!”

Also, he felt that Black Talon brought a lot to the table beyond that and, thus, was definitely a Meta-worthy fig. And you know what?

He’s not wrong.

I just don’t agree with him.

Insomuch as Black Talon being a difference maker in the current ROC formats (like many pieces, you can rapidly fix a lot of his flaws with an Entity or Resource).

But there’s many who would with Matt–including some very high-level players. Heck, the Dial H for Heroclix crew just listed Black Talon as one of the top Support pieces out there, considering everything he’s capable of.

Let’s take a quick look at him:

"Yessss! The only thing more effective than the original X-Men: actual ex-men! Cuz... cuz they're dead. Get it?  Yeah, that was a long way to go for nothing."

“Yessss! The only thing more effective than the original X-Men: actual ex-men! Cuz… cuz they’re dead. Get it? <Sigh> Yeah, that was a long way to go for nothing.”

–DP043 Black TalonRare — 60 Points

He has five clicks total, but he starts out with Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs with a 10 Attack, so he can definitely be a Tertiary Attacker or even a fringe-y Secondary Attacker (to use a baseball scouting term). But the best reasons to play him are his Trait (POWER OF THE LIVING LOA: When Black Talon uses Mind Control, you may place a KO’d opposing character in an adjacent square on its starting click, and that character becomes the target. After actions resolve, that character is removed from the game.) and his Special Damage Power (CONTROL OF THE MINDLESS UNDEAD: Black Talon can use Mind Control with a range value of 8, and when he does he may target friendly characters. If all of his targets are friendly, a lower point value, and have the Monster keyword, he may use it as if had 3 bolts.).

Forget that last part of “Control of the Mindless Undead”–you’d almost have to hamstring your Build just to have a chance to get it to go off. No, the reason people play him is for the first part of that power–the ability to target friendly characters with Mind Control (and with a very healthy Range of 8, at that!).

So, the concept behind armies that feature “friendly Mind Control” is to, essentially, cheat the batting order. Basically, you want to play your friendly Mind Control piece with a heavy hitter that you think can break the game if they get to attack more than their fair share during a turn. To continue the baseball metaphor, in other words, you’re trying to fix it so that your Triple Crown-winning All-Star first baseman best attacker(s) will attack bat twice in one inning Round.

Yup! This man is the face of our franchise (and the best hitter on the planet!).

Yup! This man is the face of our franchise (and the best hitter on the planet!).

One of the problems with this strategy is that you can most definitely miss with the Mind Control roll, and suddenly you’ve wasted an action from one of your support pieces AND a potential strike from one of your Heavy Hitters.

Also, specifically in Black Talon’s case, he doesn’t give you ANYTHING in terms of actual supporting powers such as Support, Prob, Perplex or Outwit. Not unless you outfit him with an Entity or a Resource or something.

So you REALLY need to make those Mind Control roles. Which means that you always need to make sure Black Talon is within 8 Squares and can draw a line of fire to your best attacker. And keep in mind, Mole Man IGNORED MIND CONTROL DAMAGE and pumped up his Mind Control rolls by a staggering +3! Black Talon does neither. With only 5 clicks, Mind Control damage can become a problem very quickly.

The Meta (as far as the ROC goes, I mean) has shifted away (for the most part) from this strategy recently because there are now a lot of options to get multiple attacks in one turn with a really good figure who doesn’t have to rely on a dice roll to be able to make that second attack.

Figures like:

–Anyone who can Charge or Hypersonic Speed and Flurry. Best Example: WOL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)

–Any figure who starts with or can get Duo Attack. Best Examples: WOL107 Kyle Rayner or CATWS018 Captain America and Black Widow

–Figures who have other Special Traits or Powers that let them attack or cause damage twice in one turn. Best Examples: GOTG050 Proxima MidnightDP053A Speed Demon, DP053B Whizzer or DP057 Tiamat

–Figures with Penetrating Poison (or even just Poison). Best Examples: Like, every Red Lantern.

What do most of these figures have in common? Yup! You can find most of them being used by high-level players in the latest ROC results. Now, just because serious tournament players are using the heck out of a certain piece doesn’t mean it’s necessarily awesome–sometimes people screw up, even at that level. But it usually means there’s something very efficiently exploitable about a piece.

All of which is to say, Black Talon is good. Great, even, and he IS viable in the Meta–so Matt was right.

However, if you really want to win a tourney like the ROC, leaving yourself flexible options while taking as much risk as possible OUT of your gameplan is key. That’s why I prefer figures with built-in mechanisms for multiple attacks, as opposed to having to roll for it.

"Psssh. I never gotta 'roll' for it. Heh. You know what I mean. See? This guy gets it."

“Psssh. I never gotta ‘roll’ for it. Heh. You know what I mean. See? This guy gets it.”

 

Well, that’s all for Day Night One of the Twelve Days Nights of Clix-Mas!

Join us tomorrow for a special (and long overdue!) Tourney Report!

 

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!!

 

Modern Is the New Silver!! (Or, The Best Replacement Figures for Recently Retired Meta Staples!!)

For some pieces, it's just time to retire...

For some pieces, it’s just time to retire…

So, WizKids announced recently that they will be rotating (read: RETIRING) a whole chunk of recent sets from being Modern Age eligible. Why? For starters, they do it to promote the idea that we who play Heroclix need to keep buying new Clix products to compete in Modern Age games (although getting us to buy new Clix hasn’t been much of an issue so far, I’d wager…), and two, they need to keep new pieces away from unintended and possibly Meta-breaking interactions with older figures. Okay, there’s waaaay more reasons than that, but those are two big ones. Two other reasons, however, are a little bit more subtle.

Before we get into the meat of this article (the figure comparisons), we need some context, so we’re going to look at game design for just a few paragraphs here. Now, every time a game like Heroclix releases new products, it evolves just a little bit. And it does so in two interesting ways. First, collectible games of all types–if they stick around long enough–all go through phases where they deal with “Power Creep,” where each successive set release brings with it elements which, on average, are slightly more powerful than those released in the previous set or expansion, which in turn was just a little more powerful than its predecessor, and so on. For example, you can compare almost any Modern Age figure with a similar figure from Infinity Challenge, the first ever set, and see that things have changed drastically. Back then, an Attack Value of 8 was a fairly common top dial stat. Now, 8 AV’s are reserved for the deep end of cheap support figure dials. And so on and so on.

This should explain everything...

This should explain everything.

Power Creep is just a natural by-product of game designers trying new and different things with the intention of making their game better with each release. The very much missed WoW TCG from Cryptozoic was constantly dealing with Power Creep, and at one point they actively made it known that they were consciously lowering the power of Quests (a card type that’s kinda like Lands in Magic) in future sets because that particular card type had crept to absurdly powerful levels at that point in the game’s life cycle.

Sometimes, the opposite can also be true. Occasionally, the designers look back at some of the early cards/figures/whatever and realize that they drastically under costed certain tropes in the past. They may like a certain mechanic or effect of a particular piece, but there not about to reprint it as is, since they now know its effects to cost ratio is to high as is. To solve this, the designers basically create a new version of that element that contains almost the exact same effect yet costs slightly more to play. I call this “Cost Correction.” Magic: The Gathering is constantly doing this.

One of the famous early examples of Cost Correction in gaming was when Magic’s R&D department took a look at many of the staples from the early Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Revised era as they started preparing a rotating block of “Core” sets from which players could draw familiar cards to combine with the current expansion set inventory to create Type II (read “Modern Age”) decks. The folks in charge of balancing the game quickly decided that a card like Lightning Bolt, for example, was too powerful (3 Red Damage for 1 Red Mana) to stay in the Type II environment, so it was replaced with the Ice Age common Incinerate (3 Damage and the prevention of Regeneration for 1 Red Mana and 1 Colorless Mana) by the time Magic published its “Fifth Edition.”

Great...

This is great…

... but just about as good!

… but this is still pretty damn good!

This was awesome, because it allowed the folks in charge of Magic to fix an under costed staple (quick Red damage dealing) with something that would still effectively to the job for a little more cost. Incinerate was still a great card and was widely adopted. Problem solved (well, until it was deemed that Incinerate was too good, and it was replaced with a different staple, and so it goes).

The savvy tournament players in Magic weren’t just the players who came up with “killer combos” by exploiting certain card interactions; they were actually usually the ones who could spot both the Power Creep cards AND the Cost Correction cards that were still extremely efficient for their cost. See, a lot of times, players can smell Cost Correction pieces a mile away, and they don’t want any part of them. Incinerate wasn’t universally accepted when Fifth Edition rolled around.

Sometimes they’re right; but sometimes, the Cost Correction version of something is still really powerful and should still be used regardless of the cost.

"Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o' lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if'n ya had a Mana Flare, ya got change!!"

“Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o’ lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if’n ya had a Mana Flare out, ya got change!!”

Okay! Enough amateur game theory lecture! Let’s apply our discussion to Heroclix! We’re going to be looking at some of the retiring staples and theorize about which–if any–Modern Age piece can take the place of the retiring figure. Then after we review the replacement candidate, we’ll decide if the new figure is better than its forebear (Power Creep), worse (Cost Correction) or about the same (uh… Static?).

SUPERMAN:

"Fly away, Superman. Fly free."

“Fly away, Superman. Fly free.”

SM001R Superman150 PointsCommon: Supes was a Meta staple waaaay back in the Dark Ages of 2011, because his base stats and mix of powers were so great. Flight, 9 Movement with Hypersonic, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 17 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage with Outwit. One of the all-time great top clicks, especially for a Common 150 piece! Superman Team Ability means he can see through Stealth, too. Bonus! His keywords are quite pedestrian by today’s standards (no JLA?), but there was a time when Scientist teams were a thing!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM001AE Iron Man150 Points – Common: Hmmm, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Flight, 9 Movement, 11 Attack, 17 Defense and 4 Damage with Outwit! His move-and-attack ability is Running Shot where Supes had Hypersonic; I’ll actually take Iron Man’s Precision Strike over Supes’s Super Strength, but whatever. You’re mileage may vary. Finally, Iron Man has Invuln where Supes has Impervious. But Iron Man can see through Hindering Terrain AND Blocking Terrain; Supes’s X-Ray vision doesn’t work on walls like Tony’s Thermal Imaging Array does, so Mr. Stark can get up to all sorts of see-through shenanigans. Kind of a bummer for Superman. Iron Man also has much better keywords (Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Scientist, Armor and Stark Industries are all great) and he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, so he can help your support guys do damage in a pinch as well. With resources and Entities, Iron Man here gets pretty filthy pretty fast….

 The Verdict: A Static replacement that features just a tiny touch of Power Creep. The Meta has become much more sophisticated since Supes was a major player, but Iron Man 001 is just as good; maybe even a lil’ better!

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

SM035 Magog172 Points – Rare: A close combat beatstick who turns into a mid-dial mid-range sniper and a back dial healer (how’s that for a powers mix?), Magog left team builders enough points to still be an effective Primary Attacker; his lack of Willpower wasn’t great, but his Trait (EXCESSIVE FORCE: Once per turn, when Magog KO’s an opposing character, after actions resolve Magog may take one action as a free action.) meant that his teams were very tough to out-action, particularly if opposing teams ran several small support figures or Bystander tokens that Magog could snipe in one shot.

Replacement Candidate:

DP057 Tiamat 255 Points – Super Rare: Tiamat cannot be stopped. He cannot be reasoned with. He’s a double-based son of a gun whose extra-action Trait (CHAMPION AND STEED: Once per turn, when an opposing character has taken damage from his attack, give Tiamat any action as a free action. When you do, after action resolve, remove an action token from Tiamat.) is as good as any they’ve ever made. With Power Cosmic, he’s all but impossible to Outwit, too, so the opposition will have to chew through his 4 clicks of Invincible–if they’re able to hit his 18 Defense!

The Verdict: Even with the dramatic increase in cost, there’s still some Power Creep going on with Tiamat. His Trait is just sick. Like Magog though, this is still more of a fringe Meta piece. But he’s a lot of fun to field.

An old movie poster for the 70's exploitation flick "Black Adam... White Lighting!"

An old movie poster for the 70’s exploitation flick “Black Adam… White Lighting!”

SM054E Black Adam – 200 Points – Super Rare: An out and out beast, Black Adam was nigh unstoppable. He had no Range, but he made up for that with a ridiculous Charge Special that let him move up to 10 spaces for a close combat attack, and when he lost that, he gained Hypersonic Speed! Not a bad backup plan! 18 Defense with a Special that lets him reduce 3 damage with his Imperious instead of 2 and an end 0f dial Regeneration that does 1 Penetrating damage to adjacent opposing figures!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM041BE Hyperion – 200 Points – Prime Super Rare: Top dial Hypersonic, same Attack (11) as Black Adam only with Precision Strike, 18 Defense with merely Invuln and 4 Damage instead of Black Adam’s 5. Also his keywords are fine (Avengers is very useful, Squadron Supreme is useless, as the only other Modern Ager with that keyword is also Prime), but Black Adam’s are great. Having said all that, Hyperion has two things going for him that Black Adam doesn’t. Power Cosmic TA and 8 Range! Also, Hyperion picks up almost every good Improved Targeting ability in the game on his second click, which actually makes the Marvel man more versatile than the heavy duty dude who sometimes runs with Captain Marvel.

The Verdict: Again, a fairly Static replacement with a hint of Power Creep. What you lose in top end damage, you more than make up for with the 8 Range and Power Cosmic TA. The Improved Targeting shenanigans are where the Power Creep creeps in.

INCREDIBLE HULK:

Now that... is a creeper 'stache.

Now that… is a creeper ‘stache!

IH102 Major Glenn Talbot33 Points – LE: The good Major here powered up Soldier teams for the last couple of years. His top dial Enhancement for only 33 Points was a bigger deal pre-Fear Itself (Splitlip now gives you top dial Enhancement for a measly 20 #$#@ing points), but even post-FI, if you wanted to play a Soldier Theme Team and you wanted a top dial Enhancer, he was still your best option. The S.H.I.E.L.D. TA he carries also has proven to be quite useful in a pinch, and if you play him on the right team, his Mastermind top dial will keep him around for a while longer than he should.

Replacement Candidate:

DP204 Secret Empire Number 9 35 Points – Common (Gravity Feed): Stop laughing! This robed menace is the real deal, and one of the best figs in the Deadpool Gravity Feed assortment. Everyone so far has focused on the fact that he has the Secret Empire keyword, and how useless that is. Well, they’re right. You can’t do much with that. But look at his SECOND KEYWORD–that’s right, it’s “Soldier!” Which means you have your Soldier Theme Team support figure back–and he can even do some damage of him own if you get into trouble. A 9 Attack isn’t great, but Penetrating/Psychic Blast means that his two damage will get through. And while he has no S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, he does have the Hydra TA, which is almost as useful for ranged attacks.

The Verdict: Even at three more points, I’m still gonna classify SE#9 as a Power Creeper! He just gives you more bang for your buck, and you still have the one keyword you need to keep it Theme!

GALACTIC GUARDIANS:

Noted Detroit Pistons fan Mole Man watching the NBA Draft Lottery last month...

Noted Prince Oberyn Martell fan Mole Man immediately after watching the Trial By Combat scene on his DVR from the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

GG026 Mole Man47 Points – Uncommon: Now, you want to talk about a Meta staple? Here is a Meta STAPLE!! Hans Moleman here was the engine that powered the Shuma-Gorath monstrosities that ruled the ROC for awhile at the end of last year and early this year. How important was his souped-up, I-can-Mind-Control-a-friendly-Monster Special Power? So important that everyone’s predicting the end of Shuma as a viable Meta piece, simply because Mole Man’s going Golden Age, which would imply that Mole Man was doing the heavy lifting all along. The fact that he was a top dial Outwitter and had some close combat applications down dial was just icing on the cake.

Replacement Candidate:

DP043 Black Talon 60 Points – Rare: There really wasn’t a replacement candidate until Deadpool was released. Black Talon allows you to Mind Control a friendly character from up to 8 squares away, and he also lets you Mind Control opposing figures that have already been KO’d! Still… his keywords are incongruent with most of the teams with which you’d like to play him. I mean, Masters of Evil is okay, and Mystical has slipped a lil’ bit but is certainly still viable, but that’s it for useful keywords, unless you’re looking to dominate the Meta with a Lethal Legion team. And hey, if you are, good luck to you. Here’s the last guy to try that at a big tournament:

It takes a special kind of crazy to run Lethal Legion at a ROC...

It takes a special kind of crazy to run a Lethal Legion at a ROC…

The Verdict: This is a Cost Correction piece. But it’s a First Generation Cost Correction piece; you could argue that WizKids still is not valuing the ability to Mind Control your own characters highly enough (in one of the early episodes of The Quarry, one high level player who was an early Mole Man/Shuma adopter said that after playtesting those two together with his friends, they all came to the conclusion that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters–even with a keyword restriction–should not appear on pieces less than, like, 100 or 125 Points. Thus, Black Talon is still extremely good and he’s definitely Meta-worthy. He’s just not as balls to the wall insane as Mole Man. Jumping from 47 to 60 may not seem like much, but that 13 Point hike could possibly cost you the space you need for a resource or the exact right support piece. That’s another reason it was so key for Mole Man to be under 50 Points. He left you plenty of room to get creative–or to run a full Booklip, if you didn’t care about Theme. Black Talon, not so much…

 CHAOS WAR:

"Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you."

“Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you.”

CW039 Hawkeye98 Points – Rare: This is one of the most discussed pieces in the history of Critical Missives (NINWASHUI NOTE: Iron Pharaoh would beg to differ.), but we’re gonna have to talk about him at least one more time! His top dial 12 Attack with an INSANE 9 Range w/ 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Wildcard TA (and Thunderbolts keyword, which means that between the two you can give him almost any TA in the game), Stealth and Running Shot and 3 Damage with Leadership. If this dial cost 130 Points, it’d be worth it. He costs 98!! Insane. Great keywords (Thunderbolts, Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. with GLA just thrown in for fun). Just stupidly good.

Replacement Candidate:

DP036 Bullseye110 Points – Rare: Right down to rarity, Bullseye is almost a clone of that silly Hawkeye piece. Running Shot with 8 Range and 3 Bolts, 12 Attack with Precision Strike instead of Sharpshooter, 17 Defense with Combat Reflexes instead of Willpower, 3 Damage with Probability Control instead of Leadership (I’ll take that deal everyday!) and some okay keywords (Thunderbolts, Assassin) mean Bullseye is gonna show up in the Meta SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!! Oh, and his Improved Targeting: The Phone Book makes it really hard to hide from him…

The Verdict: Even with all the goodness on Bullseye’s dial, this is a Cost Correction dial. Just 12 Points more than Hawkeye, but you also lose the Avengers keyword, the Spidey (Wildcard) TA and 1 Range. I think WizKids knows that they undervalued that Hawkeye by a significant amount. Bullseye they only underestimated by a less significant amount. Which, as always, means you should play Bullseye as much as you can.

FAST FORCES: CHAOS WAR:

"Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you're happy."

“Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you’re happy.”

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): You know what she does; Mystics TA, Pen/Psy, Barrier, Perplex and Prob Control with an 8 Range. With Avengers and Mystical keywords (among others). One of the most used figures in ROC history, I’m sure.

Replacement Candidate:

FFDP006R Mercy50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): 7 Range, Wing Symbol (so she can Carry!) with Phasing, TK, Barrier and Prob top dial with Support on her second click. Her lone keyword (Thunderbolts) is also where she’ll see the most play–on a Thunderbolts team.

The Verdict: Another Cost Correction piece. We won’t see the like of FFCW Scarlet Witch again, methinks. Mercy is missing the Mystics TA AND the Mystical keyword, but she is still very playable. Thunderbolts is probably the keyword that gained the most from this set, so if you’re fielding such a squad, pick up a Mercy for some support in a bottle!

There were also several other figures you could use in this role, but none of them were as good as Mercy (Sister Sercy, I’m looking at you with your 66 Point Cost and your measly lone keyword: Blue Lantern Corps. But hey, at least her name RHYMES with Mercy’s!).

Before we finish, one final note about keywords in general. We’re coming out of an era where Avengers, GCPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. were some of the dominant named keywords, and Mystical, Armor and Monster fueled some of the best generic keyworded teams. Those keywords still offer a lot of options, but Chaos War (an EXTREMELY Avengers-heavy set) rotating out does hurt Avengers teams a little bit. New keywords that have recently become a lot stronger include Thunderbolts, Heroes for Hire and Sinestro Corps. (with Guardians of the Galaxy about to get a double boost from the movie set that just dropped and the upcoming 5-figure booster full set in due in August!). Mystical and Armor are still great generics, but Martial Artist has gotten a big boost between AvX, Days of Future Past and Deadpool, and Cosmic is set to explode with the 4 Entities that have been released in War of Light already (with 4 more to come) and, again, the Guardians of the Galaxy set that’s just around the corner (and the Collector from the GotG Target Exclusive set already offers some intriguing possibilities for Cosmic teams with his unique win condition–but more about that set later this week!)!

"I know it's hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I've collected my tokens--y'know what? We'll talk about this later."

“I know it’s hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I’ve collected my tokens–y’know what? We’ll talk about this later.”

 

So there ya go! What important retired figures do YOU think WizKids has already published replacements for? Sound of in the Comments section below!

 

Local Tournament Report – 5/07/14 Comics & More

Local Tournament Report

The Format:  (Directly from the judge’s post on HCrealms) 300 point Modern Age, no relics/resources/team bases/colossals. There are a couple of newbies showing up next Wednesday, so let’s try not to be too “Smashmouth” with our teams (EDITOR’S NOTE: At our venue, not constructing teams who are too “Smashmouth” is a somewhat odd yet surprisingly common build stipulation. Essentially, it means that you can’t use any characters who, in the comics upon which the figure is based, are powerful enough to walk on the actual sun, since, of course, “Walkin’ on the Sun” was the first hit single of the American Ska Punk band Smashmouth. This condition would preclude the inclusion of characters such as virtually any version of Superman, Hyperion, or even someone like, say, King Hyperion–hmm? What? Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Wait are you sure? No, you’re right, that makes sense. I guess. Uh, gimme a second. I’ll be right back–).

(EDITOR’S NOTE REGARDING THE PREVIOUS EDITOR’S NOTE: Please, y’know, disregard it. I’ve just been informed that not only is that NOT what the Judge meant when he used the term Smashmouth, that’s actually NEVER been what ANYONE has ever meant when they used the term “Smashmouth.” Informed in a rather rude manner, by the way. Just throwing that out there. Not looking for sympathy, just wondering why everyone here at Critical Missives can’t show each other just a little bit more respect. People make mistakes. Please Keep Calm and Carry On.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE REGARDING THE END OF THE PREVIOUS EDITOR’S NOTE THAT CLARIFIED THE FIRST EDITOR’S NOTE: I was referring to ninwashui with my general plea to Keep Calm and Carry On, because he gets pretty crabby when I “ruin” his columns with my wonderful EDITOR’S NOTES. He was the rude person I was referring to, in case it wasn’t clear. Not trying to throw him under the bus, but–

(WRITER’S NOTE ABOUT THESE #&$^%#$% EDITOR’S NOTES: GOOD GOD, WE GET IT!! OKAY? CAN I CONTINUE? OR DO I NEED TO INVENT A NEW AND BIGGER CAPS LOCK BUTTON SO YOU CAN TELL HOW LOUDLY I’M SHOUTING AT YOU?)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Carry on.)

(WRITER’S NOTE: Thank you! Good Lord.)

Anyway:

 

The Builds I Considered:

DC Trinity: FFJL004 Wonder Woman, D10A001 Batman, D10A021 Superman, ATA080 Justice League *3 (Three 5 star figures on one team!)

Movie Avengers big three: AVM204 Captain America, IM3001R Iron Man Mk 7, TDW018 Thor (Thor next to Cap has 19 defense!)

Captain America TWS Movie inspired: CATWS003 Black Widow, CATWS015 Nick Fury, FI201 Captain America (Cap takes Mastermind damage and dies. Makes another figure better.)

Marvel Soldiers: IM3005 Extremis Soldier *2, CATWS006 Falcon, CATWS012 Captain America (Pretty balanced team. Push Extremis Soldiers to click 2 and they are awesome!)

Assassins: SOG038 David Cain, SOG039 Lady Shiva, SOG040 Deathstroke, ATA078 Birds of Prey *1 (Deathstroke can copy the Birds of Prey ATA. It’s one of the best in the game. This team was a real contender.)

Servants of the great Darkness: SLOSH058 Kalibak, SLOSH005A Daxamite (Was in the running until I realized I didn’t actually own the common Daxamite!)

Welcome to the Legion…Splitlip: FI301 Splitlip, SLOSH047B Black Witch, SLOSH202 Saturn Girl (Use Black Witch’s trait to add FIS106 Nul’s Hammer and GGS102 Cosmic Cube to the game in a no relic format!)

Quadruplicate Girl: SLOSH006 Triplicate Girl * 4, ATA038 Legion Lost * 4 (She is very powerful when there are three or more of her. If there are less than 3 she is almost useless.)

Just Plain Wrong: GG026 Mole Man * 2, SLOSH060 Orion (This would likely have gotten me kicked out of the venue.)

The Exact Team My Second Round Opponent Played: (And I thought I was being original.)

The Exact Team My Third Round Opponent Played: (I’m apparently very suggestible.)

 

What I Actually Played (Minus the Captain America Photobomb):

Pretty sure this isn't too "Smashmouth."

Pretty sure this team isn’t too “Smashmouth.”

IIM001AE Iron Man

CATWS003 Black Widow

CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

Total = 300 Points

 

Round 1:

New Deathstroke! Now, with 100% more assassin-y goodness!

New Deathstroke! Now, with 100% more assassin-y goodness!

Facing:

SOG040 Deathstroke

DP201 Deadpool (With “Single File, Its Polka Time!” word balloon)

Total = 296 Points

Aww… generic theme means no theme probs for Black Widow to steal. Each of us made our three objects into a wall to hide behind in the center. We both move in to the center to start off the game. Deathstroke got the first shot off by doing a Running Shot from an object. He Perplexed the damage up to four, targeted Iron Man, and hit. That meant 4 damage went straight to… the generic S.H.I.E.L.D. agent! My opponent stopped to read the Agent’s card. Yep it worked like that. I had lost a 36 point character and Deathstroke was now double tokened in front of my team. Deadpool’s Sidestep wasn’t enough for him to get a shot in around Stealthy Black Widow.

It was my turn. Outwit defense. Iron Man Hits for Deathstroke for four. A second Attack from Black Widow scores the KO. On His turn he was side step over enough to get a shot off on Iron Man. Iron Man is hit for 4 damage (takes two after Invuln). My team clears. On his turn Deadpool clears his own token via the trait. He attacks Iron Man, but missed due to a theme team Prob from the Widow. On my Turn Widow Hit for 3 (2 after toughness). Iron Man misses. On my opponents turn he heals one.

Between some bad dice roles and another theme team prob, my opponent doesn’t get in any more damage this game. However it still ends up being a long game due to Deadpool’s 8 clicks and his healing ability. It probably took me at least 13 clicks of damage to get all the way through that 8 click dial because of all the healing.

Deathstroke was the weak link here. That sounded weird saying that.

But hey, at least Deadpool liked my recap:

Cool Story Bro

 

Round 2:

Kinda unladylike to fart out a whole Legion of superheroes. Like, one or two is fine, but not a whole legion.

The Quest for Cosmic Boy? How about figuring out why space is suddenly ORANGE first?!

Facing:

SM010R Supergirl

SLOSH001 Cosmic Boy

SLOSH003 Lightning Lad

ATA009 Legionnaires * 3

Total = 300 Points

To start off this battle I moved about a 3rd of the way up the map behind some blocking terrain. That was enough for my opponent to use his Cosmic Boy’s double TK to get the alpha strike on me. Supergirl hit Iron Man for four and it was all transferred to the CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent for a KO. Luckily Lightning Lad misses his attack. One my turn Iron Man outwits Lightning Lad’s defense and hit’s him for four. A follow up running shot from the Widow gets the KO on Lightning Lad. Both of my characters are pushed. The death of Lightning Lad untokens both of my opponent’s characters due to their ATA.

Supergirl hits Black Widow for 4 with knock back despite a theme team prob and a shape change roll. Cosmic boy flies up to join her. On my turn Widow sidesteps out of range and I clear tokens. On his turn my opponent flies Cosmic Boy up to some elevated terrain and Then uses a free action TK to bring Supergirl next to him.

On my turn Iron Man gets off a 4 damage hit (two after Invuln) with Knockback on Supergirl. Cosmic Boy removes actions tokens and Supergirl grabs an object and hides behind Blocking Terrain waiting for a chance to charge next turn. On my turn I remind my opponent that Iron Man shoots through Blocking Terrain. I outwit Super Girl’s defense and 4 damage scores a KO. Black Widow attacks Cosmic Boy and misses.

One my opponent’s turn he KOs Black Widow with an attack from Cosmic Boy. I clear Iron Man. He clears Cosmic Boy. I Outwit his defense and score a hit for 4. He misses. I finish off Cosmic boy with another hit for 4.

 

Round 3:

"Wait, didn't we just do this?"

“Wait, didn’t we just do this?”

Facing:

SLOSH001 Cosmic Boy

SLOSH002 Saturn Girl

SLOSH003 Lightning Lad

ATA038 Legion Lost * 3 (set to mystics TA)

Total = 300 Points

My opponent is near the center of the map. I’m a third of the way up in hindering. No one has tokens on them. My opponent starts with a double TK. He sets up Saturn Girl with a clear line of fire to Iron Man. Lightning Lad has to use Running Shot. At this point my opponent stopped to consider whether he should use his Mind Control or Psychic Blast first. I was afraid he was going to Mind Control Iron Man and KO my Agent. Instead he did the Running Shot first doing three to the Agent via Mastermind. The Agent lost his Mastermind power, but was still alive on his last click. Then he used Mind Control on Iron Man. Iron Man did a close combat attack on Widow that hit for 4.

On my turn I started by having Widow try to Incapacitate Lightning Lad. She missed. I had Iron Man Outwit his defense. The Agent used a power action from his TA to increase damage and combined that with his Enhancement to send Iron Man’s damage to 6! He shot at Lightning Lad and KOed him in one hit. Iron Man took a Mystics damage in the process. The next turn Saturn Girl KOed the Widow, but during her time alive Widow was able to use all three of my opponent’s theme Probs!

We each needed some time to clear tokens. The next action was Saturn Girl using Psychic Blast on Iron Man for 2 damage. Iron Man used Perplex to up his defense and cleared. Saturn Girl pushed and missed. Iron Man rolled Regen and got a 6! Full Health! Saturn Girl cleared. The Agent was still alive and used Enhancement on Iron Man. Precision Strike ignored Saturn Girl’s Super Senses and it was another 1 hit KO. He took 1 Mystics damage in return. Next turn Cosmic Boy KOed the Agent while Iron Man had to clear. Cosmic Boy then hit Iron Man for 3 (2 damage after toughness). Iron Man was back on Regen. On my turn I tried Regen and rolled a 1 to get no health back. Cosmic Boy missed on his turn. I opted to not push to Regen. Cosmic Boy had to clear. I tried Regen again and got another 6! Cosmic Boy hit me for 1 damage (after Invuln). I hit him for 3 and took 1 back. He hit me for 2 more (after Toughness). I was back on Regen again, but this time I shot Cosmic boy instead of using Regen and that scored the KO.

I originally thought it was a mistake not to use Mind Control to KO the Agent and then have that damage done to Iron Man instead, but the more I think about it – I think my opponent was right. The stealthy Black Widow was far more dangerous to his team of three ranged attackers.

Learning

What I Learned:

  • IIM001AE Iron Man is a paper tiger. Great on offense, but his defense is poor for a character of his point range. I would hesitate to play him again without a CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent (or two) on my team.
  • CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent was my M.V.P. He absorbed my opponent’s alpha strike every game for my higher value pieces. In the last game he only took 3 damage and his Enhancement and TA were letting him contribute even on his last click. I would use him again any time I was playing a Shield character over 75 points.
  • CATWS003 Black Widow was good but not great. When she could steal theme probs she was great. Without that she was only good. Her attack value was low. Her ability to Outwit a stealthy figure is very good, but didn’t help me much this tournament. I would like to use her again to see if I can get better results.
  • SLOSH001 Cosmic Boy is the real deal. His double TK all but guarantees you a double first strike.
  • DP201 Deadpool was extremely tough, but his offense wasn’t great. My opponent kept getting stuck on clicks 3 and 4 that have a natural 2 damage showing. That’s not good on a 149 point character.