Let’s Make (Nick Fury’s) America Great Again!! (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prob!!)

nick-furys-america

I’m gonna build a wall of Probs, and I’m gonna make Hydra pay for it!!

Hello Again!! I know we’ve been radio silent for a little while, but today we’re back with another brief Team Idea article before we delve into some TMNT 2 Top Ten love!

So it’s not a secret to point out that Nick (Balls of) Fury is, well, really freaking good. We’re not breaking new ground there.

But with so many Call-In teams dominating the Meta, folks have gotten away from Nick in recent months. Well, this is just completely unacceptable to us PATRIOTS who were enjoying the Howling Commando’s time in the (Meta) sun!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, we are aware of the irony in referring to NFAOS056 Nick Fury as a Howling Commando when it’s one of the only comic-based Nick Fury pieces in the game that DOESN’T have that keyword. Carry on.]

So we came up with a team designed to leverage the temporary, all-in nature of a Call-In team to your advantage. The theory behind this build is to make actually hitting your characters as obnoxious as possible for your opponent. How do we do that? By stacking this team with a bunch of high defense values and evasion abilities and A METRIC TON OF PROBABILITY CONTROL!!

And not just any Probability Control. CHEESY Probability Control. And not just any cheesy Probability Control. We’re talking about the overly processed, double-stuffed, chewy-melty-Taco-Bell-Nachos-Bell-Grande sort of cheese here. We’ve just slathered it all over this roster.

To wit:

cheesy

Team Name: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prob!!

Theme: None

Roster:

NFAOS056 Nick Fury          — 120 Points

(w/ JLTWR101B Sloth Relic)  — 4 Points

SMWW060 Mr. Mxyzptlk 70 Points

TMNT2029 Renet Tilley    — 55 Points

(w/ JLTWR101F Wrath Relic) — 4 Points

WF066R Spectre                   — 35 Points

JLTWR101 Pandora’s Box   — 12 Points

Total:                                         300 Points

Builder’s Notes: This team uses Pandora’s Box, so I’ve noted in parenthetical which Sins I would suggest playing on each character–your mileage may vary. And since timing is always crucial when using Pandora, I would start the game with Fury next to Renet Tilley (pretty obvious), give Fury a power action to equip the Sloth Relic and THEN have Renet ‘port everyone to where you want to set up camp.

Pushing Renet onto Click 2 to equip Wrath will give her Willpower, Combat Reflexes and put her on her best Click (the one that lets her Prob from anywhere on the Map).

And you’re off!

But enough about starting moves. Let’s go over this roster in a little more detail, and really dig in to why it can be so frustrating for your opponent, shall we?

Nick Fury Original Sin

Nick Fury is your Primary Attacker, obviously. He sports an 18 Defense, Stealth, Shape Change and a Prob that can be used from 9 Squares away and sees through Elevated and Hindering Terrain and also Characters. So, for someone to take him out or even significantly damage Fury with a Call-In piece, that figure would have to be able to see through Stealth or be placed adjacent to Fury, hope Fury misses his SC roll and then hit an 18 Defense twice.

Except–

Fury’s gonna have the Sloth Relic, so now you’ve got to hit a 19 Defense Value TWICE

Except–

Spectre 2

Tower Defense Mode Spectre is ALSO on this team, and his Damage Special (I SET THIS WORLD ON A DIFFERENT PATH: Spectre can use Probability Control to target a character regardless of line of fire.) along with his 12 Range means that as long as you place him correctly at the start of the game (i.e., somewhere near the middle of the map), he can cover pretty much the entire board with his Prob.

So now you have to hit Nick Fury’s 19 Defense THREE times. Which would start to get silly…

Except–

renet-tilley

Renet Tilley is ALSO on this team, and once you get her to her second Click (which should take you til all of turn 2 to accomplish) she picks up a Damage Special of her own (SCEPTER OF THE SANDS OF TIME: Renet Tilley can use Probability Control regardless of range and line of fire.) that ALSO lets you Prob anyone from ANYWHERE ON THE MAP!

So now you have to hit Nick Fury’s 19 Defense a completely unreasonable FOUR times!!

Except–

MrMxyzptlk

Mr. Mxyzptlk is also on this team, so it is entirely conceivable that even IF you manage to get through Fury’s Stealth, Shape Change and FOUR different Probs to actually hit his 19 Defense, Mr. Mxy can still make it all go away… (stop me if you’ve heard this before… ) FROM ANYWHERE ON THE MAP!!

Now, we haven’t even delved into the fact that if you let Mxy loose on his second Click, he can conceivably tie up your opponent’s entire team with his Special Pulse Wave (ZEROING THE PLAYING FIELD: Mr. Mxyzptlk can use Pulse Wave, but deals no damage when doing so. Instead, give each hit character up to 2 action tokens.).

Or the fact that Renet Tilley is actually a pretty darn good Tertiary Attacker!

But what if my opponent looks at all the odds and decides to attack someone else? Good question!

The Spectre has an 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and the KC TA, so hitting him (again with all the Probs floating around) isn’t exactly easy. And because of the nature of his special, you can often times tuck him behind some Blocking Terrain that makes him extra hard to get to for your opponent (depending on what Map you end up on, that is).

Mr. Mxyzptlk has a 18 Defense Value with Tiny Size and Super Senses, so he’s no walk in the park either.

And Renet Tilley (once she has the Wrath Relic) is also a 19 Defense no matter how your opponent chooses to attack her (unless they can get close enough for a Pulse Wave, that is).

Now, there are also a few variant versions of this build worth talking about.

First, if you choose to put, say, Greed on Mxyzptlk instead of putting Wrath on Renet Tilley, and then choose Path of the Hunter at the start of the game, you can actually add a FOURTH Prob to your arsenal for roughly 50% of your turns once both Sin Relics are in place. And since Mr. Mxy has a native 9 Range, that’s huge!!

 

But there are probably some of you who think that that’s too much Prob and want to pump up your damage output a tiny bit…

Team Name: Stop Worrying 2: Electric Bugaloo!!

Theme: None

Roster:

NFAOS056 Nick Fury                   — 120 Points

(w/ JLTWR101B Sloth Relic)           — 4 Points

SMWW060 Mr. Mxyzptlk          70 Points

(w/ JLTWR101D Greed Relic)          — 4 Points

TMNT2029 Renet Tilley              — 55 Points

(w/ JLTWR101F Wrath Relic)          — 4 Points

FFNFAOS099 H.E.N.R.Y.            — 15 Points

(w/ JLTWR101G Gluttony Relic)  — 4 Points

JLTWR101 Pandora’s Box            — 12 Points

(w/ remaining 3 Relics)                 — 12 Points

Total:                                         300 Points

This allows you to get all Relics out, although it costs you one Prob. And lil’ H.E.N.R.Y. with Sidestep, Combat Reflexes and a 17 Defense w/ Super Senses (before the CR) can either pump up your Damage Output OR act as a pretty damn reliable tie-up piece!

So while none of these teams are perfect against every Meta build out there (what build really is), you should at least have at least a puncher’s chance in every round!!

Okay, that’s all for today, but we’ll be back soon with a TMNT 2 Top Ten, along with the beginning of our Joker’s Wild coverage!!

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

 

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Team Ideas: Let’s Kill Nick Fury!! (Or, How to Deal With the Most Dominant Meta Piece in the Game Right Now!!)

Lets Kill Nick Fury

Greetings once more, friends of the blog!!

Today we’re going to discuss the heaviest hitter in the Meta right now… Nick “Balls of” Fury!

Why? Because we’re coming up on WizKids Open Weekend, and if you’re going, you’ll be seeing a lot of him!

(And probably a lot of Mary Marvel, but one problem at a time!)

I checked in with Ninwashui to see what he would play this weekend if he was going (he’s not–family obligations), and I thought what he had to say was interesting and creative enough that it should really be it’s own article! So take it away, Ninwa!

Ninwashui

Before you take his advice, just know that this is the last known photograph of Ninwashui…

NINWASHUI:

“Okay, so I would go with a team that had extreme mobility, so I could bum rush Nick Fury (or whoever the Primary Attacker is) at a time and place of my choosing. To do so, I’d run a little team I like to call…

We're back!

Team Name: Revenge of the Nerfed 3.0Hit and Rann

Theme: None

Roster:

WKD-025 Adam Strange100 Points

(w/WOL063 Ophidian Possessing) — 25 Points

DP018 Blind Al13 Points

WF046 Klarion the Witch Boy70 Points

WXM010 Shatterstar73 Points

WOLR103 Power Battery (Orange Lantern Corps) — 2 Points

WOLR303 Orange Lantern Ring6 Points

WOLR203.03 Mallet (Orange) — 4 Points

WOLR203.12 Spotlight (Orange) — 6 Points

Total:                                                  299 Points

 

Why I’d Play This: If you’re a longtime fan of the blog, you know that sometimes I get on a kick where I like to “rehabilitate” nerfed characters from the Heroclix Watchlist, just like this article and this article show.

Now, for this Saturday’s Wizkids Open,  it’s come to my attention that a lot of people are planning to run teams where the pieces just move across the map one square at a time and from one side to the other. Those players will in fact have to spend time counting spaces, deciding their route and remembering to subtract two when they carry someone. So boring!

What they need is a real change of pace! Why move your figures in the manner dictated by rules and conventional thinking when you can simply just have them appear where you want them to appear and attack that same turn? Hindering terrain? So what. Elevated terrain? No problem. Walls? This team doesn’t even notice them.

How does it work? First, since Ophidian is Possessing Adam Strange, you can pump up either his Attack or Damage Value by one and also give him Sidestep or Pulse Wave. Your first move on the Map is to use Blind Al’s power to deal one damage to Strange and push him out of your starting area.

Adam Strange

If I were a Thor character, I’d be Zeta Ray Bill! Geddit?!”

Now look at Adam Strange’s Trait (ZETA-BEAM: Give Adam Strange a power action. Place a Zeta Beam marker in the square that Adam Strange currently occupies, removing any other of these markers from the map. When you do, place Adam Strange in any legal square on the map and he may then make a ranged combat attack as a free action. After actions resolve, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 4-6, immediately place Adam Strange in the square with the Zeta Beam marker and remove it from the map. During the beginning of your turn, if the marker is on the map, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and on a result of 4-6, place Adam Square in the square with the Zeta Beam marker and remove it from the map.).

This means that you can easily deploy Adam Strange to pick off your opponent’s best supporting pieces OR take a potshot at your opponent’s Primary Attacker, then have a 50% chance to return Adam Strange to the relative safety of your side of the board.

But since that’s not always gonna happen, we’re pairing Adam up with Shatterstar and Klarion the Witch Boy. If you send Adam out and he gets stuck on the other side of the universe board, simply activate Shatterstar’s Trait and escort Klarion to the other side of the Map, where Klarion can unleash Teekl (as a free action!) for some righteous Charge/Blades action!!

(And I haven’t even gotten to the fact that your Orange Battery can be used to take away annoying opposing powers that get in your way!)

Imagine taking out an opposing Fitz or Jason of Sparta before you opponent can use them to properly place a Nick Fury (or two). All of the sudden, Nick becomes a bit of a sitting duck (and his Stealth won’t help him against an Orange Spotlight-wielding Adam Strange!), and you are well on your way to a Match Win!!

HYPEFOX:

I have to say, I was a bit skeptical of this Build until I piloted it against Ninwashui himself in one of our house games. He wasn’t even playing Nick Fury and I still tore his KC Chase Captain Marvel AND 75-Point World’s Finest to shreds (I wiped him pretty quickly while only losing Klarion)! This is a legit team–if you pilot it right!

That’s all for now–I hope everyone has a great Open weekend! Come back here soon for some dueling Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Reviews!!

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

 

 

Wait… That’s Not Superman!! Actually, It’s More Like 16 of Them… (Or, a Top Ten Set Review for Superman/Wonder Woman!!)

Oh, so you didn’t think there were enough versions of Superman in SLoSH, eh?

Oooooh, it’s good to be back. Today, we’re going to dive into the just released Superman/Wonder Woman DC Heroclix set! We haven’t seen much from the DC side of things in a little while (even for a huge Avengers fan like myself, this summer featured perhaps a bit too much face time for the ever-assembling heroes), but that’s about to change as the first of two straight DC-focused sets has just dropped!

Before we get into the individual pieces, though, let’s discuss…

Some Notes About the Set

Some General Notes About the Set:

–While there are some individual standout pieces (who we’ll obviously get to in a moment), Superman/Wonder Woman is definitely a step backwards in terms of overall power level. Not that this really comes as a big surprise–I think WizKids has been deliberately doing this for a while now, starting all the way back in May with Avengers Assemble. It seems like WizKids has been making a concentrated effort to dial back the game’s Power Creep, and with that in mind, Avengers Assemble featured a ton of 9 and 10 Attack Values, as did the Limited Edition Age of Ultron Organized Play set that proceeded it this summer.

(Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the outlier–that set was absolutely LOADED with Meta power pieces. Holy $#!t was that a dynamic set.)

Superman/Wonder Woman goes about containing Power Creep in a different way, I think. You see Attack Values of 10 or 11 quite often, and many pieces start with 4 or even 5 Damage top dial (I mean, it’s called Superman/Wonder Woman, so you’d expect some decent Damage Values). But if you look closely, many of the best pieces have simple Standard Power sets on their first click, and don’t get any elaborate, gamechanging Special Powers until Click 2 or Click 3.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Less Special Powers on Common & Uncommon pieces is another conscious design decision by WizKids, and it’s something we should see more of going forward–but they’re doing that to sort of clean the game up a little bit and make it less complicated, not so much as a counter to Power Creep.]

Let’s do a quick case study with NFAOS056 Nick Fury (a Super Rare from the last set) and SMWW064 Green Light (a brand new Red Son Chase from Superman/Wonder Woman).

Nick Fury SR

Nick Fury’s got great stats for his cost (120 Points), every sort of Improved Targeting you could realistically expect and an absolutely killer Trait. Beyond that, his Special Damage Power (WATCHER’S EYES TO SEE SECRETS: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.) appears right there on his top Click. Fury is already a Meta staple and will stay that way until he rotates out in two years (assuming WizKids doesn’t find a way to nerf him between now and then).

Green Light

Green Light has decent stats for his cost (90 Points) and a somewhat useless Trait unless you are planning on putting together the swarm team to end all swarm teams, but he’s also been blessed with an unbelievably powerful Special Attack Power (Box Within A Box Within An Infinite Number Of Boxes: Green Light can use Barrier. When he does, instead of placing markers normally, you may choose a single base opposing character within range and line of fire and place a blocking terrain marker in each unoccupied square adjacent to the character. That character gains earthbound/neutralized until your next turn. At the beginning of your next turn before removing the markers, give the chosen character an action token if it’s adjacent to at least three of these markers.).

That’s a power that could quickly eat someone’s lunch; it’s a power that’s so useful that apparently WizKids had to make sure that you can’t access it until Green Light’s 3rd Click. Keep in mind, Green Light has a 17 Defense with just Toughness top dial, so it’s not impossible for someone to hit him so hard that never really gets a chance to use it.

This is a common theme throughout this expansion. If you look at a character’s card from this set and see an awesome Special Power, I’ll guarantee that that character doesn’t get to use said power until they’re at least halfway to being KO’d.

–In that same vein, there’s a lot of great Common dials in Superman/Wonder Woman that look great when examined as a whole, but when you look at that starting Click, they give you kind of a sick feeling in your stomach. What?! Common Superman has an 11 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Invincible and the JSA Team Ability and 4 native Damage top dial?! AND he has 8 clicks for just 100 Points?! Sign me up!!

Well… he also just has Leap/Climb for Movement (doesn’t even have the Wing Symbol) and no Willpower of any kind. He also doesn’t have the Justice League keyword, either, so he’s not the easiest guy to throw in a Build.

It seems like some of the recent rules overhauls are trending towards making it very difficult to play both an Entity and a Resource Attachment on one character (although your guess is as good as ours at this point as to what WizKids really intends to do there), so fixing things like “no move-and-attack top dial” are going to be a little more difficult going forward.

–Or not. Did I mention that NO ONE IS QUITE SURE EXACTLY HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME AT THE MOMENT?! I actually tried explicitly asking whether Entities and Resource Attachments could be used by the same character at the same time on the WizKids Event System Rules Forum, and instead of posting an answer, their rules folks just e-mailed this:

Morpheus 2

Seriously, someone might want to get on that.

–From an aesthetic point of view, the sculpts are more subtle in this set. It doesn’t have the abundance of translucent flash that, say, Flash had, but the articulation is phenomenal. It seems like WizKids gets better every set at depicting motion–just look at Krypto’s lil’ cape if you don’t believe me!

Alright! Enough notations. Let’s get into the…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

This seems excessive...

The fire seems excessive…

5. SMWW019B BrutaalUncommon Prime175 Points: Very much a “does what it says on the box” sort of figure. His top Click is absolutely murderous (Running Shot, Pen/Psy, Invincible AND Shape Change), but he only has conditional Willpower via a Trait (basically, you have to be on your opponent’s side of the map–not always easy, but hardly impossible). His Attack Value also stays consistently high throughout his entire dial (once the game gets going, it’s not hard to keep him at a 12 Attack unless your playing against Nighthawk Prime), and his third Trait makes him really tough to Outwit (SPAWN OF APOKOLIPS: Brutaal can use Super Strength. Opposing characters can’t target him with Outwit unless it is granted by the Superman Enemy team ability.).

The only thing I really don’t like here is that even at 175 Points, Brutaal is REALLY top-heavy; pushing him to Click 2 is fine, and Click 3 is still misery for your opponent, but if Brutaal ends up on anything after that, his effectiveness goes way down unless you are very close to your quarry–there is a HARD transition from heavy ranged hitter to close combat beatstick when you get to Click 4. There’s things you can do to compensate for this when building your team of course, but it’s something you will have to be mindful of as you’re playing him. Having said that, his nigh-unOutwittable top dial Invincible should help keep him in that first-3-Clicks-sweet spot long enough to put a serious hurt on whoever you’re playing.

Yes, occasionally Green Lanterns sneeze, and no, it's not pretty...

Yes, occasionally Green Lanterns sneeze in space, and no, it’s not pretty…

4. SMWW035 Green LanternRare180 Points: His dial is actually somewhat similar to Brutaal’s, except Green Lantern turns into more of a gunner down dial. His main advantage over pieces like Brutaal is that he can resurrect himself via his awesomely-named Trait (THE GREEN WILL NOT LET ME DIE: The first time each game that Green Lantern would be KO’d, instead turn him to click #5, then for the rest of the game when Green Lantern clears action tokens, you may heal him 1 click. This ability can’t be ignored.).

Lana Lang

3. SMWW029 Lana LangUncommon50 Points: Lana makes this list just for her sheer value. You get three Clicks of support-y powers like Empower and her Special Attack (THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW: ALL THE SHOCKING DETAILS… FULL COVERAGE AT 8: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose an opposing character within 4 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character’s combat values can’t be increased or replaced with a value higher than its printed values.) THAT IS EVEN BETTER THAN NIGHTHAWK PRIME’S TRAIT*, since it also stops replacement values!!

(*This statement assumes that Lana Lang starts her turn within four squares of the opposing character you wish to shut down. Oh, and it also assumes the targeted character doesn’t have Stealth, and isn’t hiding behind another character, or a wall, or is sitting on a different elevation, since Lana needs line of sight, and–oh, wait a minute. Lana can only do this to one opposing character, whereas Nighthawk stops your opponent’s entire force from increasing stats… SIGH. Okay, I guess it’s not nearly as good as Nighthawk Prime’s Trait. But it’s still pretty damn useful.)

So that’s a decent amount of supporting abilities–maybe not entirely enough to justify her 50 Points, but not bad. But then, if she takes just three damage (whether through pushing damage or just absorbing enemy attacks, which would be even better), she morphs into a pretty good tertiary attacker with Wing Symbol, Charge, B/C/F, Super Senses and Toughness, which she keeps FOR FOUR MORE CLICKS!! That’s right, you get 7 quality Clicks for the low, low cost of 50 Points! It’s like they pulled a dial from Hypertime into the future, made it more useful but kept the point cost the same.

"Yep. Just out here in deep space... posing."

Yep. Just out here in deep space… posing.

2. SMWW013B Captain AtomCommon Prime130 Points: The good Captain here offers a top Click that is almost identical to Brutaal’s (the Movement Value and Damage Value for Captain Atom is 1 less) first Click, except that Captain Atom adds in Indomitable and he costs 45 Points less!! Brutaal does have some built-in Outwit protection, but not 45 Points worth. I mean, before you get too wrapped up in the fact that Brutaal does 1 more Damage than Captain Atom, remember that you could actually play, say, Captain Atom and Fast Forces Fitz (who brings lil’ H.E.N.R.Y. with him) for just about the same amount of points!

Clark Kent

1. SMWW026 Clark KentUncommon55 Points: One of my favorite pieces from the set. Clark has a pretty good Reporter Trait (THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW: YOUR PLANS: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose an opposing character within 4 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t be given power actions.)–and remember, he has the Superman Team Ability so he can see through Stealth–he starts with Stealth and Prob and, on his back half, has the ability to summon a Superman Token with Hypersonic Speed and Super Strength.

WizKids has done an awesome job designing these “Token Creator” pieces, and I hope this is a sub-theme they continue in the future!!

Okay! That’s a solid group of honorable mentions, which can only mean that it’s time to start counting down the…

Top Ten Twelve Figures in SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN:

So, while there isn’t necessarily as many Meta pieces in this set as there were in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., there are twelve more figures worth spotlighting. And hell, it seems like I can never just narrow it down to ten anyway. So like Tony Stark likes to say… here goes nuthin’!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Wrong universe, moron.]

Concept art from Peter Jackson’s studio-thwarted ‘King Kong 2: Electric Bugaloo.'”

12. SMWWG005R TitanoSuper Booster75 Points: On a different character, Leap/Climb and Close Combat Expert would be a pretty sub-standard power mix. But with the new Giant Reach rules established just a few days ago by WizKids in their DesignInsight column, Titano here now has the ability to make a close combat attack from 3 squares away. Which means he can activate Close Combat Expert from three squares away. Suddenly your 75-Point investment essentially has the equivalent of the ability to Charge 4 Squares with a 10 Attack and 3 Damage AND activate CCE on top of it.

But we’re not done. Throw Lois Lane on your team (she’s only 45 Points, shares the Metropolis keyword with Titano, brings a Stealth-busting Outwit, a 6 native Movement Value, is REALLY tough to target at range AND has a Stop Click if you’re also playing a Superman) and suddenly, because of Titano’s first Trait (MONKEY SEE LOIS, MONKEY DO: When a friendly character named Lois Lane moves, after actions resolve Titano can be given a move action as a free action to move up to the same number of squares. When a friendly character named Lois Lane makes an attack targeting an opposing character, after actions resolve Titano can make a close combat attack as a free action.), you have a Colossal Robot Gorilla who can cover up to 9 Squares in a turn and STILL activate Close Combat Expert!!

Let’s see what this looks like as a Build:

Titano 2

Team Name: Metropo-lease Put Me Down!!

Theme: Metropolis

Map Choice Preference: Nothing specific, although the easier it is for Lois to actually move around on her own–remember, she can’t have lines of fire drawn to her by opposing characters unless they’re within 2 Squares or she’s adjacent to a friendly character, so you don’t have to worry about ranged attacks picking her off–the easier it will be for Titano to move and attack.

Roster:

SMWWG005R Titano – 75 Points

SMWW047 Lois Lane 45

SMWW049 Superman 175

=295 Points

What This Build Does: In a no-Resource environment, this should be a pretty competitive Build. You can actually split Lois and Superman up and be fairly confidant nothing will happen to Lois. Just make sure that when Lois grants Titano a free movement, DO NOT finish Titano’s move action with him adjacent to Lois if you can help it. Other than that, feel free to move Lois up, Outwit any bothersome dampeners on opposing figures and then bring the boom with Titano, all in the same turn.

The SR Superman from the same set is a close combat beast with one problem (well, one main problem, at least. There are several others that combined to keep him off of this list.)–he only has Sidestep for move and attack on his top Click. After you split him off just a bit from Titano and Lois, if your opponent choses to come after Supes, no problem–he possesses  a long dial, great stats and the “Odds Are Against Me” running Trait that lets him build up tokens he can cash in for free attacks. Plus, as we stated, Lois and Titano can cross a map in a hurry.

If they come after Lois first, assuming they can even get close enough to hit her, her dial ends on a Stop Click that lets you physically place Superman in any adjacent Square AND lets that Superman use Defend.

As far as Lois goes, she just barely missed the cut on my list, particularly since this was the only Build I really liked her for. I know, the same could be said about Titano–they kind of need each other–but Titano’s really doing the heavy lifting here between the two of them, and his Stop Click (COLOSSAL INDIFFERENCE: Titano can use Toughness. If Titano began the game on the 20-point starting line, he can’t attack smaller characters except via Colossal Retaliation. When this power is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing character’s attack, stop turning the dial. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) can’t be countered or Ignored AND his Attack Special grants you at least one last smackdown (COLOSSAL RETALIATION: TWO-FIST PUNCH: Give Titano a free action if no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn and choose an opposing character that attacked Titano or damaged a friendly character since your last turn. Place Titano such that he can make a close combat attack targeting the chosen character, then make two separate close combat attacks targeting the chosen character each with an area of effect that includes all other characters within 2 squares of the target. Hit characters are each dealt 3 damage instead of normal damage.).

(Btw, if you actually have Chase Red Son Superman, go ahead and disregard everything I said about the SR Superman and just use him.)

I can NOT believe our Tommy Guns are not taking down this gigantic tank!

11. SMWWG006P War WheelSuper Booster15 Points: War Wheel is here because it has my favorite Colossal Retaliation power, which just happens to be it’s only Trait: (COLOSSAL RETALIATION: CRUSH WITH GIANT SPIKES: Give War Wheel a power action if no other Colossal Retaliation power has been activated this turn and choose an opposing character that attacked War Wheel or damaged a friendly character since your last turn and occupies the same row or column as War Wheel. Place War Wheel in any 4 squares in the same rows or columns that contain both all of War Wheel and the chosen character. Make a close combat attack whose area of effect is all characters in those rows or columns between where War Wheel began this action and the squares it currently occupies. Hit characters are each dealt 2 penetrating damage instead of normal damage.) It’s also here because it costs just 15 Points. 15 freaking Points!! But beyond the Trait, hell, just try finding a Bystander Pog with Indomitable and a 10 Attack Value for 15 Points. Now find one with Sidestep, Toughness, 3 Damage and a 7 Range!! Go ahead, find one. I’ll wait.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, I will not wait. We’re like 2500 words in and still have a lot of ground to cover. On to Blazing Atomic Skull!]

Atomic Skull

10. SMWW054 Atomic SkullSuper Rare150 Points: For 150 Points, you kind of get exactly the sort of stats and power mix you might expect. Running Shot with a mediocre Range (6). 11 Attack, which is fine, but nothing you haven’t seen before. 18 Defense with a dampener. Pretty standard. 4 Damage top dial is nice, but certainly not unheard of. Then you read his one Special Power, which sits in his Attack slot for his first four Clicks (IONIZING RADIATION: Atomic Skull can use Energy Explosion, Poison, and deals penetrating damage.). Wow! He’s the first character I can think of that deals Penetrating Damage with no ifs, ands or buts.

You want to give him a Bulldozer Construct and have him blow someone with Impervious off a rooftop? All of his Knockback damage is penetrating. That vanilla Poison his Special grants him? He might as well be a Red Lantern, cuz that’s all Penetrating damage. Any attack or effect you can think of with him deals Penetrating damage, which basically means he doesn’t have to be afraid of anyone.

Krypto

9. SMWW050 KryptoSuper Rare50 Points: Possibly the most efficient character in the set for his cost (#2 on this list might have an argument, but we’ll see). Need to bust some opposing Stealth? Krypto has the Superman Ally. Super Senses? He comes packing Precision Strike. Shape Change? His Special Damage power sniffs that out (KRYPTONIAN NOSE: Krypto ignores opposing character’s Shape Change.).

His Trait (LOYAL COMPANION: When a friendly character named Superman, Superboy, or Supergirl within 8 squares takes damage from an attack, after actions resolve you may place Krypto in a square adjacent to the attacking character.) is mildly helpful depending on whether or not you’re building a literal Super-team around him, but his Movement Special (SIC ‘EM, BOY!: Krypto can use Charge and Plasticity.) not only allows him to go on the attack when you need him to, but it also adds Hypersonic Speed to the list of opposing abilities that Krypto takes a bite out of.

No, I’m not ‘Apokolips Bane!’ I’m Brimstone, dammit!

8. SMWWG003R Brimstone Super Booster75 Points: 7 Clicks, Sidestep, 6 Range with an incredible top dial Pulse Wave Special Attack Power (THROWING FIREBALLS: Brimstone can use Pulse Wave. When he does you may choose an unoccupied square within 6 squares and line of fire and he can use Pulse Wave as if he occupied that square.), Penetrating Poison and the obligatory Colossal Retaliation and Indifference powers.

The Pulse Wave is what earns him this spot though; we’ve seen similar versions of this sort of Pulse Wave before (the GOTG Movie Starter comes to mind), but it’s always been limited in some way (usually it’s only usable once per game). The fact that he can do it every turn puts him at #8.

The least

The least “creeper-ish” image of Vartox. Yes, I said the least.

8.  SMWW052E Vartox Super Rare150 Points: This is where the Meta-relevant pieces really start. At 150 Points, Varty gives you Hypersonic Speed, Probability Control and the chance to do a boatload of damage (7) with his Super Strength. His Trait (THE REST OF THE HYPER-POWERS: Give Vartox a free action and choose a standard speed, attack, or defense power that you didn’t choose during your last turn. Until your next turn Vartox can use that power instead of the power in that slot on his dial.) also gives him a wide amount of sneaky versatility. Oh, your opponent just got three damage through on him and thinks he doesn’t have to worry about Hypersonic Speed anymore? Sorry, Vartox can get it back whenever he wants. And so on.

He’s not Zombie Super Skrull, but he’s not far off either, and he saves you 20 Points in your Build, which could be the difference in a Meta-Build between playing a Resource and not playing a Resource. If you can manage to keep him top dial, he will be a nightmare for your opponent.

No, seriously, any second now, I’m totally gonna fly!

6. SMWW065E SupermanChase175 Points: Hypersonic Speed, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage top dial. His Trait (CRIMINALS BECOME “SUPERMAN ROBOTS”: When Superman hits an opposing character with a close combat attack, put a Lobotomy token on its card. Give Superman a power action and remove any number of his Lobotomy tokens to have Superman use Mind Control as a free action targeting those characters that had at least 1 token removed, regardless of range or line of fire.) lets him Mind Control characters he’s hit FOR FREE and, if none of that works, he has TWO Stop Click Specials (WINTER PALACE: Superman can use Barrier, Regeneration, and Super Senses. When this click is revealed due to damage from an opponent’s attack, stop turning the dial, and after actions resolve give the attacker an action token. If you can’t, deal that character 1 penetrating damage.) that actually token the attacker that hit you, which should give you time to actually USE your Regeneration.

Unless your opponent is able to finish Supes off with Pulse Wave, the Red Son is almost impossible to kill.

First Born

5. SMWW037 First BornRare200 Points: So all article we’ve been talking about all the great changes WizKids made to Giant and Colossal characters, and the fact that First Born is Giant-Sized helps him out immensely. He doesn’t fly, but he’ll still have no problem with elevation.

He Charges up to 6 Squares on his first Click, and his Giant Reach gives him the ability to cover two more. He starts with 4 Damage and both Super Strength AND Exploit Weakness, so now he has a Threat Range of 8 Squares and up to 7 Penetrating Damage (assuming he picks up an Ultra-Heavy on the way).

First Born is also the beneficiary of the Divine Aura running Trait (DIVINE AURA: First Born can’t be targeted by Outwit or Probability Control from opposing characters unless the targeting character has a higher point value or has the Deity keyword.) that many of the Deity-keyworded figures in this have, which means that unless your opponent built their team around NFAOS050 Thor (the only Meta-worthy Deity piece I can think of at the moment, although I’m sure I’m forgetting a few) AND found a way to give her Outwit, First Born’s powers aren’t going anywhere (trust me, your opponent isn’t crazy enough to play a piece that costs more than 200 Points, unless he’s going with a Team Base or something, so the first clause of First Born’s Trait isn’t really gonna matter most of the time). And with two Clicks of Invincible right at the top, First Born can soak up Damage like nobody’s business.

His second Trait (SCION OF HATE: All characters within 3 squares can use Battle Fury. Friendly characters adjacent to First Born modify their attack values by +1.) is interesting as well. He becomes even MORE intriguing when you play him with a Resource like, oh, I dunno, the Indigo Power Battery. If you give First Born the Indigo Wall Construct, depending on what Map your using, you can make it almost impossible for First Born to be shot at from range. Which makes it that much more likely that the 8-Square, 7 Penetrating Damage Charge I mentioned earlier might just be an Alpha Strike. It’ll be like playing Ghost Rider  in the Meta of mid-2013 all over again, only First Born might even be BETTER.

Eclipso

4. SMWW055P EclipsoSuper Rare25 Points: Even with the new Equip rules and all the chaos that has caused, Possession is still a Meta-worthy enhancement. And of the two Possessors in the set (Red Son Brainiac also Possesses), Eclipso is the best.

Right off the bat you have access to Stealth, Precision Strike, Impervious or Shape Change. Those are all great powers. Eclipso’s stats are also pretty good, as you might expect, since you’re gaining access to a 250 Point dial. Down dial, turning onto some Pen/Psy or Probability Control could be the difference in a game that’s running long.

Red Son Wonder Woman

3. SMWW066 Wonder Woman Chase165 Points: Quite simply, Chase Red Son Wonder Woman is Point-for-Point the best Primary Attacker in the set. For only 165 Points you get Hypersonic Speed, Super Strength, a 19 freaking Defense Value with Invincible and she deals at least 4 Damage when she hits.

She also has a Stop Click and a Trait (COMMUNISM IS SOCIAL JUSTICE: When a friendly character with a lower point value than Wonder Woman is targeted with an attack, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that’ll do wonders in terms of keeping supporting characters alive.

A brutally efficient package.

The 90's are back, and they brought their Superman with them. (Artwork by Sassophilaco sassophiliaco.deviantart.com)

The 90’s are back, and they brought their Superman with them. (Artwork by Sassophilaco sassophiliaco.deviantart.com)

2. SMWW041AE Superman BlueRare 50 Points: Oh boy, do I love me some 50 Point Taxi/Supporting Characters. Supes Blue is definitely that, but he has Secondary Attacker power sets and stats, too. He also can protect anyone he Carries from Pulse Wave, which is not nothing in the Meta.

While your opponent will need a 20 to hit him from range top dial, Supes Blue can always be pushed onto his second Click, where he has Hypersonic Speed, 3 Damage and Perplex!

He very much reminds me of a slightly more expensive Fear Itself Loki. Sometimes, big things come in small (mostly white and blue) packages, and this 50-Pointer is a gem.

Oh look–you missed another roll! Guess I’m only giving out Tricks this year, which is a Treat. For me.

1. SMWW060 Mr. MxyzptlkSuper Rare70 Points: I know. You thought WizKids learned their lesson about making pieces that offer ridiculous levels of board control for under 100 Points. Well… they didn’t.

Mxy here is not as broken as Felix Faust was this summer, but that doesn’t exactly mean he’s fair, either. His ridiculously useful Trait (MESSING AROUND WITH THE ODDS: At the beginning of the game, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and place the rolled result on this card. Give Mr. Mxyzptlk a power action if there is no d6 on this card, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and place the rolled result on this card. Whenever any dice that can be rerolled are rolled (including as part of a 2d6 roll), you may remove the d6 from this card and replace one of those die results with the rolled result from the d6 removed from this card.) essentially means that every d6 or 2d6 roll goes through you. I cannot emphasize how much paralyzing stress this puts on your opponent’s decision making, particularly if you’re sitting on a 1, 5 or 6.

With a 5 or 6 showing, anyone on your team with either Shape Change or Super Senses has a backup d6 roll that will automatically allow that ability to succeed. Need to really hit that Leadership this turn? You’re golden. Roll a six and a one and just miss? Sub in that 6 sitting on Mxy’s card and all of the sudden you have a Critical Hit.

Conversely, your opponent will be DEATHLY afraid of attacking anyone if you have a 1 showing. Normally, you would have about a 1 in 36 chance (roughly 2.78%) of rolling a Critical Miss. But if you are able to change either of the d6 rolls to a 1 with Mxy, suddenly those odds shoot up dramatically (each d6 your opponent rolls has roughly a 16.6% chance of ending up on 1),

And these are just the most basic and obvious uses. Even a 3 or a 4 can be gamechanging if it guarantees your opponent misses that Super Senses roll or subs in for a 1 to make sure you hit with an attack. There’s really a bunch of sneaky plays you can make with this guy–and we haven’t even talked about his 18 Defense with Super Senses, his Quintessence Team Ability or any of his 3 Specials, including his Pulse Wave Special Attack Power on Click 2 that allows you to completely incapacitate any opposing characters you hit while avoiding giving any damage or tokens to your own folks.

This is the best figure in the set, and it’s not close.

 

Agree? Disagree? Post your opinion by leaving a comment, and let us know which pieces are in your Top Ten!

Mr. Furious Gets Angry!! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!!)

mr furious

Don’t mess with the volcano my man, ’cause I will go Pompeii on your… butt.

[WRITER’S NOTE: So the set is about Nick Fury and not Mr. Furious, but a guy can dream.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You have strange dreams.]

Some General Notes About the Set:

  • There are a lot of good figures in this set. I know it sounds like I say that every time, but seriously, there just aren’t many losers when you factor in their point value.  I listened to the Dial H for HeroClix Podcast today and one of the hosts joked that there are so many good figures in this set that when you do Sealed you don’t really need to think too hard. Just make sure the total point value is near 300 and the actual characters you select don’t matter that much. It will be a good team.
  • The Dial H guys also warned that this set is awful for Battle Royales. I would definitely agree with that. Your whole 5 member team might not add up to 300 points and someone else might start off by pulling the 300 point SR NFAOS006A Hulk. Or you might get a Hulkbuster torso in the rare slot of the pack you just opened.

Secret Warriors

  • I would have liked to have seen more Secret Warriors then just Quake and Druid. Most of this set seems to come from the pages of their series and all of the rest of Team White has rotated out of Modern.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Last I checked, Eden Fesi, aka Manifold, was a very important character in that run and arguably–at least before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blew up Daisy Johnson’s profile–the most recognizable member of Nick’s Caterpillar team, since he graduated to the Avengers when Hickman took that book over. And he was just Clix’d in Avengers Assemble!!]
  • Okay, yeah, I meant besides him.
  • [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure you did.]
  • Anyway… some of the Invaders are individually powerful, but I don’t see myself ever playing that team. Maybe because they were before my time? It would have been cool to give Spitfire a Trait that shows she is now Blade’s girlfriend. Like +1 to defense when adjacent or something. Missed opportunity.
  • How can Wizkids not have made a “Watcher Eyeball” Special Object for the OP kit? Why would they include a Winter Soldier in that prize kit and not have him be the new “Man on the Wall” version of that character from the final panels of Original Sin? Where are all the villians from the Original Sin series? I want an intelligent “Mindless One” figure! More missed thematic opportunities–and this is coming from someone who really digs this set!
Uhhh... maybe not.

Uhhh… on second thought, maybe not.

  • Continuing that line of thought, everyone knows about the Fantastic Four/X-Men pseudo-ban that Marvel has imposed, so it would have been nice to see Wizkids really properly exploit some of the best Nick Fury stories of the last 6 years. Nick Fury “The Unseen” needs a whole dial–not just a final click. While the Invaders–old and new–are all fine and dandy, this set needed to pull more pieces from “Secret Warriors” and “Original Sin.” I realize we were probably never going to see a new Gorgon (part of his convoluted history involves him being a mutant), but instead of all those Invaders, I would have rather seen: JT James, Alexander, Ares (at this point, he almost HAS to be a Con Exclusive next year, right?), Norman Osborn, Jerry Sledge and, hmmm… oh yeah: Leviathan!! Two or three figures plus some Generics. And I haven’t even gotten to the members of The Great Wheel!! MISSED. OPPORTUNITY!

Alright. Enough moping. Time to get into some…

Top Five HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn't mean you can refer to us as 'Generics.'"

Just because we all look the same in these uniforms doesn’t mean you can refer to us as ‘Generics.’

5. NFAOS006A S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard – Here’s a quote from my appraisal of Iron Man’s blue-dial from my Avengers Assemble Top Ten article: “18 Defense with Defend is nothing to sneeze at. It was awesome when they released CT043 Invisible Girl and it’s almost as good now.” That applies double to S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard who, instead of costing 125 points like Iron Man, costs 35 points. That happens to also be two points less than CT043 Invisible Girl and with a much better dial. You’re going to want to push the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard to Click 2 where he sports his 18 Defend along with Sidestep and Close Combat Expert (a skill he undoubtedly likes to keep handy for close encounters). If you then push him again onto Clicks 3 and 4 he becomes your team’s medic. So he’s at first protecting your team from damage and then he switches gears to heal your team if they get damaged. That’s a lot of usefulness for just 35 points.

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

Will the real Nick Fury please stand up?

4. NFAOS001 Nick Fury – Nick Fury for 65 points is just average. 10 Attack, 3 Damage, Stealth, Precision Strike, Toughness and Shape Change, and Indomitable. There are lots of guys like him in this set. However, his 65 point dial is hiding the best S.H.I.E.L.D generic in the set. The 25 point generic dial starts with the same exact first two clicks as the 65 point version, but for 40 points less! Once you pay for the 65 point leader, you can add as many of the 25 point version as you want. With all of those little guys you’ve added it’s a good thing they all have the rally trait which states, “Rally: Whenever Nick Fury hits one or more opposing characters, add one action to your action total this turn.” That means that even if you have ten of this guy on your team you won’t run out of actions as long as your attacks keep hitting. If you decide that you want to be “that guy” for one event and just run a metric poop-ton of generics, you could do worse than fielding one Fury and a bunch of his L.M.D.’s…

Imperial Hydra

3. NFAOS046 Imperial Hydra – I like him because he enhances a lot of other pieces rather than just being a powerful piece himself. The main reason to play this guy is his Trait that states, “TWO HEADS SHALL TAKE THEIR PLACE!: When another friendly character with the Hydra keyword is KO’d and actions resolve, you may give Imperial Hydra an action token. If you do, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. 4 – 5: Place a character from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra. 6: Place up to two characters from outside the game with the Hydra keyword of 40 points or less adjacent to Imperial Hydra.

So keep him in your Starting Area and let him constantly re-spawn  more Hydra units for you all game. If you get even one 40 point Hydra unit out of him then you’ve broken even. He works way better on teams with a lot of Hydra units rather than teams with just a few figures.

"No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!"

No I will NOT look behind me! You fools think you can outwit Demonicus with the oldest trick in the book?!

2. NFAOS047 Dr. Demonicus – What a cool idea for a figure. He’s a Kaiju summoning mad scientist. “GIANT MONSTER SUMMON!: Give Dr. Demonicus a power action if no friendly bystander token named on this card is on the map. You may choose one you haven’t chosen this game and place it on the map adjacent to him.”

While each of his Bystander Tokens probably isn’t worth 80 points by itself, if you get most of them out over the course of a game then I’d say you definitely got value for his 80 points. Remember to keep the good doctor close to his creations. He has Perplex and the Special Power  “LIFESTONE DEFENSE: Adjacent friendly characters with “colossal damage symbol” modify their defense values by +1.” Those two powers together can raise any of his monster token’s Defense Value to 20 or more!

Shine bright like a diamond.

Shine bright like a diamond.

1. NFAOS041 Radiance – For 65 points you get a character with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that has the Wing Symbol and gives all adjacent S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces Shape Change. There are a lot of good S.H.I.E.L.D. pieces in this set and many that I would argue were great who came out even before this set. Radiance is the best low point Taxi for S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword that is not named AVAS037 Manifold. But, unlike Manifold, her duel target Incapacitate lets her also assist her teammates in battle. She reminds me a lot of one of Hypefox’s favorite pieces, IIM002 Rescue.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Probably one of my most-played Common pieces.]

Top Ten Figures of the Set:

"Need... more... arms... with guns!!"

Need… more… arms… with guns!!”

10. NFAOS022 Winter Soldier – This Winter Soldier shares a keyword with Steve Rogers and actually lets them make a Themed Team again. That warms my heart. On the other hand, seeing this guy across the table should chill your opponent’s heart.

Now, he doesn’t have opening Running Shot or any sort of native move and attack. Instead, he just sits in Stealth and bides his time. He sports Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters AND he’s rocking a crazy-good Special Damage Power that reads like this: “Deadly Sniper: Winter Soldier can use Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert, both with a locked range value of 10. If he uses both in a turn, he must target the same character.

When you put it all together, he can Outwit right through Stealth from 10 squares away and then attack that same character for up to five damage. To paraphrase my earlier thoughts on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bodyguard, having Steath and Outwit together on one dial was good all the way back in Infinity Challenge (Why, it’s Infinity Challenge Experienced Black Panther! Hello again, old friend!), and it’s still good now. And when you add Winter Soldier’s Improved Targeting twist, it gets even better.

Ooooookay, that does not look safe...

Ooooookay, this does not look safe…

9. NFAOS061 Avengers Sky-Cycle – Hawkeye has been getting a lot of love lately in HeroClix. He’s got three good-to-great options in Modern (AAOU009 Hawkeye, AVAS002 Hawkeye, and AAOU106 Hawkeye.). He’s got two specialized Revert figures (AVAS066 Goliath, and AVAS052 Ronin). And now he has the best vehicle in this set printed for him.

Of all of the Chases in this set, this is the only vehicle that can actually carry more than just the pilot.  That’s a big thing. It will also let Hawkeye take a huge hit that might otherwise have KO’d him (seriously, this thing has six Clicks of life–with Toughness on the first three!).

But the best part about this vehicle is it’s printed power, “Unbelievable Upside-Down Shot: When Avengers Sky-Cycle makes an attack, you may modify its attack value by +2. If you do and actions resolve, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and on a result of 1, place the pilot in an adjacent square, dealing it and all passengers 2 unavoidable damage.” Keep in mind that with the new vehicle rules, the Sky-Cycle will be making attacks with its Pilot’s printed stats. So this power allows almost any Pilot to raise the Sky-Cycle’s Attack Value to a very “Hawkeye-like” 12 or 13 with only a very small chance of catastrophe.

Note to other comic artists: this is how you design and introduce a new look for an established character.

This piece is called “Killing It” by Stuart Immonen. And if it’s not, it should be. 

8NFAOS049 Captain America – The new Falcon as Captain America has a better then expected range of 7 along with Precision Strike, 11 Attack, and 3 Damage. But his defense is where he really shines. He has a Defense Special Power that contain the most standard powers I’ve ever seen combined into one white box. It reads, “How Did I Ever Survive Without a Shield?: Captain America can use Energy Shield/Deflection, Invulnerability, Super Senses, and Willpower.” That’s four standard powers in one! Apparently, Sam is able to use that shield better than Cap ever did (at least in HeroClix).

Being that he’s the artist formerly known as Falcon, this Captain America also gets help from his birds via 3 pigeon tokens and a Redwing token. Redwing’s use is obvious, but the pigeons will need a bit more strategic planning to get the most out of them. Being that they are tiny size I believe that their best use is to be Carried and then dropped into adjacency with opposing figures while your figures stay at least one square back. You opponent will hopefully have to waste an attack on each pigeon token.

I’m just picturing it in my head now:

"Hulk hate puny pigeons!"

Hulk hate puny pigeons!”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: By the way, has there been a better “new look” for an established character in the last ten years than Falcon’s Captain America costume? It’s like they took the best bits of Falcon’s original costume, Cap’s normal suit, and Cap’s “Winter Soldier” movie costume, blended it all together, and somehow the result is even greater than the sum of its substantial parts.

Also, I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but of all the diversity initiatives Marvel has undertaken with their topline, A-list  characters lately (Thor is a woman! Spider-Man is black! Ms. Marvel is a Muslim!), Sam Wilson becoming Cap has always made the most sense to me, story-wise. If anything, Falcon should have been promoted to replace Steve a few years ago when the Winter Soldier ended up taking over as Captain America. Cap and Falcon had been friends and fellow Avengers for years; at the time, Bucky Barnes had only recently gotten his mind right after being brainwashed into becoming a Communist killing machine for decades! Which of those two would YOU choose to inspire millions of Americans and carry on your legacy if you were Cap?

Now don’t get me wrong; while I thought most of these storylines were bad ideas at the time (mostly because they seemed forced and contrived, as if they existed solely to round out some sort of character diversity quota instead of coming about naturally as each character’s story progressed), Marvel’s implementation of these stories has been nearly flawless, especially when you consider how easy it would be to screw these twists up and alienate your core readers.

Jane Foster Thor 1

As much as I didn’t understand replacing Thor with a woman called “Thor” (isn’t Thor Odinson Thor’s actual name, and not a title like “Captain America?” That’s like if everyone started calling the Falcon “Steve” after he took over the mantle of Captain America, which wouldn’t make any sense at all, right? Or am I just completely overthinking this?), the way that story has evolved (especially with the reveal of who this new Thor actually is) has kind of grown on me.

Miles Morales

And while I’m not a huge Ultimate Spider-Man fan, Miles Morales actually seems to work better when he exists in stories WITH Peter Parker interacting with/sort of guiding him. Peter’s traditionally portrayed as just barely having his own life together, so the idea of someone like that mentoring a kid with similar powers like Miles is actually pretty interesting to me, and I look forward to the upcoming post-Secret Wars merging where they will both exist in the same universe.

Kamala Khan

Finally, Ms. Marvel has become a wonderful book about a young girl trying to balance the power and responsibility of being a latent Inhuman with her Muslim faith while still trying to survive life as a normal American high-schooler (and not just in her own book–check out her delightful guest appearance in the second issue of Mark Waid’s wonderful new “S.H.I.E.L.D.” series from a few months ago). Also, her hero worship of Carol Danvers offers a unique window into what Kamala Khan values and plants a very compelling reason as to why she would consciously choose to fight for justice under the name “Ms. Marvel.” In other words, Ms. Marvel might be the most Spider-Man-like character Marvel’s published in a decade.

This is why I always loved that Marvel as a whole is called “The House of Ideas.” I love plenty of DC characters, and there are many wonderful stories in that universe. But I just can’t see DC pulling off something this crazy on paper and actually having it all work.

Alright, with all that said, let’s get back to Ninwashui’s Top Ten already!!]

Peggy Carter

7. NFAOS007B Peggy Carter – Ho-hum. Another set, another VERY good Common Prime. For 60 points, this bargain Batman piece Peggy Carter figure brings a lot to the table. First, her Improved Movement: Ignores Hindering Terrain helps her get to enemy territory and her Trait protects her when she gets there: “Behind Enemy Lines If Peggy Carter is closer to an opponent’s starting area than she is to her own, she can use Stealth and Shape Change.

If your opponent can’t see through Stealth, then she can keeping running between Hindering Terrain patches while she puts her Energy Explosion to work. If the opponent tries to engage her in close combat he faces the wrath of her exceptionally good Damage Special, “Saboteur At the beginning of your turn, choose a standard power or team ability. Opposing characters within 3 squares of Peggy Carter can’t use it until your next turn. ” If your opponent brings his whole team after her… well, she is only 60 points. Your other 240 points of team should be able to flank your opponent and easily take advantage of that.

Fitz and Henry

6. FFNFAOS004 Fitz (and FFNFAOS099 H.E.N.R.Y.)  If you’ve read any of our Top Tens before, you know that whenever I see a character cost exactly 50 points in a Fast Forces set, I tend to pay attention. 50 points is the magical point value for good support characters in HeroClix Fast Forces releases. It’s a trend that started way back with FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and continued on with pieces like FFDP006R Mercy and most recently FFOA006R Captain America. In the long tradition of 50 Point Fast Forces support pieces, Fitz does not disappoint.

Starting on click two, Fitz has Perplex, the Shield TA, Field Team Backup Trait and an extremely mobile Empower/Enhancement effect via Henry. Then he also has the choice to use a power action for Telekenisis or to grant another character an additional Perplex. That’s a ton of support for just 50 points, and that’s why he’s on this list at #6!

So... I'm thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

So… I’m thinking this is the image they referenced for her sculpt.

5NFAOS050 Thor – For 145 points this may be the best version of Thor ever printed. She has the damage reducers normally associated with Thor, but she also has the Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters, Elevation, and Hindering that seems more like it would be at home on DP036 Bullseye. She starts defensively with Impervious and Shape Change. Offensively, she has Running Shot and Energy Explosion. Once she takes some damage she switches to Super Strength and full move Charge! He dial finishes strong with Pulse Wave and then finally regeneration. She doesn’t have a bad click amongst her eight clicks of life and she gets a bonus against resource users: “If She Be Worthy: Modify Thor’s attack and damage values by +1 when targeting a single character that is assigned a relic or resource with an attack.”  A real steal for the points. 

This is a Primary Attacker that we’ll be seeing in ROC’s and other tournies for the next two years!

"Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?"

Of course I use a gun! Who am I, Batman?

4NFAOS051 Steve Rogers – In HeroClix this is the best director that S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had. You’ll notice the high Attack Values right away with the opening 12, but the surprising part is how consistent those values are. Only on his final Click does he get as low as a 10 Attack. While his Running Shot, Improved Targeting and dual target Energy Explosion make him look like a solo Primary Attacker, he is just as good at supporting his team. He has Leadership, Enhancement, the ability to grant other pieces Energy Shield/Deflection, and every time he hits with an attack anyone with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword can use Probability Control while attacking that turn. 

So you may not have a ton of room left after fielding Steve for 150 Points, but you won’t need it, since he gets the most out of his 40-60 Point S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddies!

"No, I'm not a vampire. I know, I get that a lot. I think it's the cape. And the constant brooding."

I am called Nighthawk. Mostly because it is scarier than ‘Kyle.”

3NFAOS059b Nighthawk (Prime) – Think of how much you enjoy powers like Ranged Combat Expert, Traits that grant stat bonuses, or Resources that give +1 to all stats. For 65 points this guy shuts all of that down and much, much more. His Trait reads, “The People Must Think For Themselves: Friendly characters can’t be targeted by Mind Control. Opposing characters’ combat values can’t be increased unless they are adjacent to Nighthawk.” Offensively this guy is nothing too special, but he shines defensively. He defensive power reads, “President of the United States (of Earth-712): Nighthawk can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Shape Change. When he uses Shape Change, increase the result by +1 for each adjacent friendly character.” It’s kind funny that he gets energy Shield/Deflection himself  because that power is useless on opposing characters. But hey, what good is an unfair advantage if you can’t take advantage of it?

"What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!"

What do you mean you think I look like a rejected monster from Resident Evil 4?!

2NFAOS048 Iron Nail – Hypefox and I played a Sealed game with 2 packs each of this set. He pulled Iron Nail and SR Nighthawk. The truth is that he could have beaten my whole team with just this guy. His powers and stats are about average for a character of his point cost, but his Trait is borderline broken. It reads “Rapid Power Drain At the end of your turn, place a Drain token on the cards of all adjacent opposing characters. Opposing characters modify their combat values by -1 for each Drain token placed by him. An opposing character may be given a power action to remove all Drain tokens from that character’s card.

In our sealed game he just walked Iron Nail next to my Baron Blood prime and that was pretty much all he needed to do to win that match. Baron Blood had a 10 attack that became a 9 and of course he missed that attack roll the following turn. Even if he hit, he would have needed a good Blades/Claws/Fangs roll to even do damage. Iron Nail’s dial is 8 clicks long with damage reducers all the way and it has this Trait the whole dial, obviously. He could easily KO any of the 14 figures I have named so far. Even 300 point SR Hulk in this set would have a good chance of losing to this guy in a 1 on 1 fight. In Sealed he’s an auto play and I bet he’ll see a lot of constructed play as well. Especially when you consider he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Which leads me to my next thought: He has the freaking S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword! So you’re not even that limited in what teams you can build around him! Sheeesh.

Nick Fury Original Sin

1NFAOS056 Nick Fury – In the Original Sin storyline it was revealed that Nick Fury was secretly a cosmic assassin (called “The Man on the Wall”) that spent all his free time killing entities that were going to threaten the earth before anyone else even knew about it. If you were a mystical demon overlord, cosmic alien warlord, or a monster from the center of the earth, chances are that Nick and his frankly awesome-beyond-words-Gamma- bullet- sniper- rifle had you in his crosshairs.

They’ve translated this character into HeroClix extremely well. He doesn’t have Running Shot; like the Winter Soldier, Nick will just sit and wait for you to come into his (extremely long) range. When you do, you’re toast He accomplishes this with a Trait and Special Power. His Trait reads “Cosmic Assassin, Guardian of Earth: Nick Fury can use Shape Change. When Nick Fury targets only the highest point opposing character with an attack, modify his attack and damage values by +1 and he deals penetrating damage.

His special power reads, “Watcher’s Eyes to See Secrets: Nick Fury can use Probability Control. Give Nick Fury a free action and choose a power that an opposing character within range and line of fire can use. That character can’t use that power until your next turn.

Because of his Trait, the highest point opposing character is always dealt Penetrating damage on any attack (even close combat). If you are someone like IIM103 Absorbing Man who doesn’t fear Penetrating damage, then Nick Fury will just use his Special Power on you and take away your defense anyway. Think about that for a moment. He would deal Penetrating damage to 1000 point Shuma-Gorath and if Invincible showed up, Nick would just take that power away too. With an 11 Attack likely changing to 12 and Probability Control built in, he is not missing often and with his various Improved Targeting Traits, literally only Blocking Terrain is safe to hide behind. Defensively he has Stealth, Toughness, 18 Defense, Probability Control, and Shape Change! If an opponent wants to try and take Nick out, that’s far from a sure thing.

He reminds me a lot of DP036 Bullseye back when Bullseye and DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M. were the Meta team to beat. Nick is far superior to Bullseye for just 10 more points and he should see a bunch of Constructed play. Heck, the Meta might soon be  playing either him or playing a team designed to beat him (whatever that might be). That’s why he’s the best figure in this set.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We also have a special announcement!! We’re teaming with Heroclix Underground to help provide content for their new venture! Look for versions of this article, a Top Ten Second Opinion and more to show up soon on their site. As for Critical Missives, we’re not going anywhere, and we’ll soon return with “Straight, With CHASEr 4” (where we take a special look at the new vehicles) and the aforementioned Second Opinion on Nick Fury!!]

Team Ideas–Special Gen Con Edition!!

Idea

Okay! Annnnnd, we’re back with a very special Team Ideas column!

Gen Con is coming up, and we’re going to be publishing a series of team-building teams for several of the Gen Con-exclusive WizKids events that were recently announced! While it wasn’t clear for a while if WizKids would even BE at Gen Con, their recent announcements not only confirmed their appearance but also delineated several new game types that players could prepare for.

Many of these games are great because their Build possibilities are nearly endless. Regardless, Ninwashui and I are going to posit several Builds and then choose the one we like best to take to Gen Con!

Today, I’m gonna focus on the Rumbles! We’ll start with the…

MARVEL HEROCLIX CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE RUMBLE:

Wizkids

WizKids Says: “All players bring 5 Marvel Comics HeroClix Modern Age figures with them; one for each of the following point values: 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, and 201-250. Players begin the game with only the lowest point value figure on their force. Every 5 minutes after the beginning of the game, players place the next highest point value figure on the map next to one of their figures or in their starting area. Players must play in the complete event in order to get their participation prizes.

What We Assume That Means: So, we’re going to take these Build rules at face value. We’re going to assume this means that you’re not building a FORCE per se, but rather taking 5 individual figures that will be played together with the 5-minute timing caveat. Which means no Themed Team rules (so no Themed Team probs, etc.), no Relics and no Resources. Also, only your 0-50 Point character will actually BEGIN THE GAME on the map, so characters with effects that go off at the beginning of the game (Chase Rick Jones and his supporting POG’s, for example) are going to be neutered some.

Also, while I see nothing in here disallowing Colossals (provided you play them at an eligible point level), I’m also going to assume that Team Bases are disallowed, since it seems that you add team members to the base during Force Construction and, again, you’re not constructing a Force here. And if you can’t add team members to your team base, then you have ZERO team members, and it’s pretty much automatically removed from the map (unless an effect specifies otherwise, team bases MUST have a minimum of three team members attached to it at all times). Further–and this is where the wording gets a little murky–team bases are (at least originally–I know there’s been some wording updates) defined thusly: “Characters with the new Team combat icon symbol are Teams.  A Team has locations on it where figures from corresponding SwitchClix bases can be placed.  Each such character is called a team member.” So, if we parse through WizKids’s wording there, even they seem to define Team Bases as “Teams” and individual team members as “figures.” And, going back to the original game posting, only “figures” are allowed, which means Team Bases should be ineligible. Right?

(Honestly, there are so many interpretations of Team Base rules out there, it’s hard to figure out what’s legit and what’s not–so we’re going to operate on the premise that they are not allowed for this game)

Okay! With all that legalese disseminated, let’s look at some Builds!!

Legalese

First up:

Lilandra

Team Name: So Long As My Lilandra Survives

Roster:
1-50: WXM005 Oracle49 Points

51-100: WXM052 Lilandra93 Points

101-150: WKM-013R Gladiator150 Points

151-200: WXM048 Warstar177 Points

201-250: GOTG065 Gladiator250 Points

Total Points Used: 719 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This is a pretty fun Build. You’re basically playing a “Best-of” Shi’ar team. But wait, you say, you just wrote a billion words on why Themed Teams don’t matter for this game. Yup. They don’t. You won’t get any Themed Team probs for fielding an all-Shi’ar squad. But what you will get is +1 to both Attack and Damage to every character on this team that stays within 8 squares of Lilandra, thanks to her Trait (DEFEND ME, SHI’AR WARRIORS!: Other friendly characters with the Shi’ar keyword and within 8 squares modify their attack values +1. Other friendly characters with the Imperial Guard keyword and within 8 squares modify their damage values +1.). That’s like 8 free Perplexes a turn.

Oracle, you’re starting character, offers Probability Control and Barrier, which you may need early on to keep Lilandra unharmed when she shows up after five minutes. You’re basically playing a keepaway game for the first ten minutes of the match, until Rookie Gladiator shows up. For those who haven’t seen this particular Gladiator, he heats up in a hurry. Provided that he hits the board within 8 squares of Lilandra (probable, since you can bring him in adjacent to her), you’re looking at a character who has Hypersonic Speed, a 13 Attack, 18 Defense with Invincible and 6 freaking Damage. He can start one-shotting your opponent’s characters IMMEDIATELY upon arrival.

Warstar and B’Nee are also capable of ruining your opponent’s day very quickly. Warstar can essentially Charge about 8 squares with his B’Nee shenanigans, and if he ends up attacking from within  8 squares of Lilandra, he’ll be rocking a 12 Attack and 5 Damage (and that’s if you DON’T use his Super Strength). He features an 18 Defense with Invincible, and if he still has B’Nee attached, his powers can’t be countered. All of which means he’ll be extremely tough to retaliate against. And, if your opponent does try to focus fire on Warstar, he gets Pulse Wave down dial, so he really only gets MORE dangerous.

Finally, Zombie Chase Gladiator from Guardians of the Galaxy is a great 250 Point option. Again, if you can keep Lilandra alive, you’re looking at a character that can come in with a Running Shot Pulse Wave that features a 12 Attack and 6 Damage!

Despite the fact that Themed Teams don’t matter in this sort of Build, it’s so synergistic that you’ll have a significant advantage over many of your opponents when it comes to buffs. Just remember to keep Lilandra as far back as possible while still allowing for her influence to reach the rest of your team. She is the key to your success.

 

When are we getting a Miguel Herrera Clix?

Actually, Miguel Herrera will not be appearing in this Build. But I think we’ve proved that we love this meme so much that we’ll run it for no reason whatsoever.

Team Name: Enormous Green Free Movement Monster!!

Roster:

1-50: FFOA006R Captain America50 Points

51-100: AVAS013B 3-D Man90 Points

101-150: FFOA003 Iron Man150 Points

151-200: AVX003 Thor200 Points

201-250: AAOU104 Hulk250 Points

Total Points Used: 740 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This one is pretty straight-forward. You’re using your first character, Cap, to give free movement to your other characters via his top dial Damage Special (AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE: Give Captain America a power action and choose another friendly character that shares a keyword with him and doesn’t have 2 action tokens. That character is immediately given a move action as a free action with their speed value halved for this action.). This should give you a leg up on board control, and given the firepower of your next four figures, you should be able to Alpha Strike your opponent’s pieces into oblivion.

 

Avengers Assemble Top Image

Team Name: Avengers Assemble!!

Roster:

1-50: AAOU015 Nick Fury45 Points

51-100: AAOU009 Hawkeye95 Points

101-150: AAOU005R Thor150 Points

151-200: AAOU008R Hulk200 Points

201-250: AAOU001 Iron Man250 Points

Total Points Used: 740 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Another Build where we’re using our starting piece–in this case, Nick Fury–to make all the pieces that come into play after him more efficient. The Avengers Assemble! Traits are all very good, but they have the possibility of completely ruining your opponent’s day if you’re allowed to pick the effect. That’s just what Fury’s Attack Special (I RECOGNIZE THE COUNCIL HAS MADE A DECISION…: When an opponent makes a choice from an Avengers Assemble! trait, you may roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, change the effect to the other option.) does 33% of the time.

Movie Hawkeye (from Age of Ultron) is an absolute beast for his points, and all the other members of the team, like Hawkeye, sport an easily exploitable Avengers Assemble! Trait. Oh, and if your opponent was counting on using any form of Stealth, he’s gonna be pretty pissed when he realizes that your entire team ignores it…

 

Zombie Villains

Team Name: Z-Virus Will See You Now

Roster:

1-50: FFDP006R Mercy50 Points

51-100: DP064 Electro90 Points

101-150: GOTG066 Red Skull120 Points

151-200: GOTG062 Super Skrull170 Points

201-250: GOTG065 Gladiator 250 Points

Total Points Used: 680 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Zombies, zombies everywhere! We’re running four Zombies with a rookie Mercy for support. She brings Flying, Phasing/Teleport, Telekinesis AND Probability Control, which are all things the Zombie pieces usually need.

Electro is, well, lightning in a bottle. He is straight offense and great at dishing out damage to multiple parties at once.

Red Skull is actually a slightly overcosted support-y type piece who also offers a decent amount of Penetrating close combat damage. But his Special Leadership Power (THE UBER-SCHEUSAL RACE: Red Skull can use Leadership as if he were 300 points. If he removes a token from a friendly character with the Hydra or Z-Virus keyword, modify that character’s combat values by +1 until your next turn.) is really useful for your final two hitters, and his third Trait (COLONEL AMERICA’S BRAINS WERE SO DELICIOUS…: When Red Skull uses Zombie Infection to add an opposing character to your force, Red Skull can use any standard powers that character possesses while it is on the map.) actually has the potential to make the Skull a very dangerous piece indeed.

Super Skrull is one of the most dominant tournament pieces in Modern right now, so he needs little explanation. And we just discussed Gladiator in the first entry.

Zombies as a group have decent values, but their true power lies in their ability to corrupt your opponent’s forces onto your side. Even if the early rolls don’t go your way, keep an open mind, because all it takes is one quick KO of any of your opponent’s pieces to turn the tide of the game to your favor in a hurry. Plus, their Zombie healing Trait means you don’t have to pack a dedicated healer. Having said that, Mercy might be able to help with that in a pinch, even though that’s not really her role on this team.

Incidentally, if you wanted to change the feel of this Build a little bit, you could substitute Zombie Magneto (13o Points) for Zombie Red Skull and/or Zombie Galactus for Super Skrull. Just keep in mind that Zombie Galactus doesn’t actually HAVE the Z-Virus keyword, so he doesn’t work with the other three Zombie characters in terms of building up Infection tokens and such.

So, personally, I would stick with Zombie Super Skrull since he’s, y’know, pretty good.

"Oh, so you're telling me Super Skrull is a good piece?"

Oh, so you’re telling me Super Skrull is a good piece?

So those are four possibilities for the Marvel Rumble (again, there are almost LIMITLESS combinations); now let’s take a look at the…

DC HEROCLIX CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE RUMBLE:

Wizkids

WizKids Says: “All players bring 5 DC Comics HeroClix Modern Age figures with them; one for each of the following point values: 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, and 201-250. Players begin the game with only the lowest point value figure on their force. Every 5 minutes after the beginning of the game, players place the next highest point value figure on the map next to one of their figures or in their starting area. Players must play in the complete event in order to get their participation prizes.

What We Assume That Means: Pretty much the same as we noted above, with the Marvel version. This game works exactly the same, only with DC characters.

Look, the easy way to go with the DC Rumble is to just field, like, three or four Bizarros and a Felix Faust. We’re not doing that here. We’re gonna try and be a little more creative. Having said that, don’t be surprised if you run into more than a few copies of those two characters.

With that said, here we go…

Secret Society of SUpervillains

Team Name: Mind Your Manners

Roster:

1-50: JLTW016 Signalman50 Points

51-100: JLTW032 Dr. Sivana83 Points

101-150: FL047 Zoom150 Points

151-200: FL056 Gorilla Grodd175 Points

201-250: JLTW059 Despero235 Points

Total Points Used: 693 out of a possible 750

How It Works: This team checks in closer to the “fun” side of the fun/competitive Heroclix Build Venn Diagram, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win with it. Signalman (yes, that Signalman) takes to the map first, and he’s there solely to help enable Mind Control shenanigans. His sole Trait (SYMBOLS AND SIGNS CONTROL OUR LIVES: At the beginning of the game, choose a combat symbol other than “boot symbol”, “fist symbol”, “shield symbol”, or “starburst symbol”. When an opposing character with the chosen symbol is targeted by Mind Control, modify that character’s defense value by -1 or, if Signalman is the attacker, by -2.) basically acts as a walking Perplex for any Mind Control attack you choose to launch at an opposing figure.

Your second piece to drop will be Dr. Sivana (yes, that Dr. Sivana), who offers an awesome Outwit Damage Special (EYE SEE YOUR MAGIC: Dr. Sivana can use Outwit. Dr. Sivana may activate Outwit with a power action and when he does, the countered power or ability is also countered on all opposing characters within 8 squares of Dr. Sivana that share a keyword with the target.) and protects everyone on the team from any possibility of Mystics damage with his only Trait (MAGIC AVOIDANCE: Friendly characters with the Secret Society of Super Villains keyword ignore the Mystics team ability.). He also offers down dial Mind Control, so he can eventually take advantage of Signalman’s Trait if Signalman is still around by that point.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, everyone and their mother will probably play Felix Faust in this slot; he is unquestionably a better choice, given that he’s the most broken character in the game–even more so when teamed with his Secret Society of Super Villains teammate Zoom and his multiple Probs. Well, we’re not going to be those people. Screw Felix Faust!!]

Zoom is, simply put, a pain in the backside to deal with. He gives you a great Hypersonic attacker who also offers some solid support.

Grodd is your first heavy hitter. Signalman’s Trait actually means that Grodd effectively has a 12 Attack for Mind Control, and if he hits with that, after actions resolve, he can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast as a Free Action AND takes no damage from Mind Control! He also has a 50% chance to be untargetable when he’s targeted with Mind Control, Outwit, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, or Perplex.

Finally, Despero’s Trait (PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Despero can’t be the target of Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, or Penetrating/Psychic Blast by characters of a lower point value.) also makes him hard to pin down with a plethora of attacks, and he packs a huge wallop on his own.

 

Sinestro Corps

Team Name: The Pieces You Have Come to Fear the Most

Roster:

1-50: WOL099 Despotellis30 Points

51-100: WOL021 Lyssa Drak91 Points

101-150: FLo53B Zoom (Black Lantern) — 120 Points

151-200: JLTW049 Sinestro200 Points

201-250: WOL041 Parallax (Hal Jordan) — 250 Points 

Total Points Used: 691 out of a possible 750

How It Works: When you choose Despotellis, you’re basically punting on first down with your first character, but in a way, so is your opponent. Look, it’s not impossible that your opponent will field someone at 50 Points who can hit Despotellis and his 20 Defense top dial (Bizarro at 50 Points with some dice luck would have a fighting chance), but it’s unlikely. Then Lyssa Drak comes in, and you suddenly have not just a Sidestepping Taxi for Despotellis but also a Barrier-laying supporting piece that can Prob opposing attacks from anywhere on the map (since she shares a keyword with everyone on this team!) thanks to her Trait (BOOK OF PARALLAX/BOOK OF THE BLACK: Lyssa Drak can use Probability Control regardless of range and line of fire, but can only target opposing characters with it, and only when they attack a character with a keyword she possesses.).

Black Lantern Zoom comes in with instant mobility, and given that your opponent will almost certainly have two lower costed figures still on the board, he’ll have plenty of fodder to pick off. Even if Zoom takes 3-4 Damage right from jumpstreet, he’s still amazing. His Damage Special (DEATH: WILL MAKE YOU BETTER: Zoom can use Steal Energy. When an opposing character is KO’d, heal Zoom of 1 damage and place a Speed token on this card.) makes it super easy to not only heal but to also build Speed Force tokens in a hurry. Heck, on click 3, it’s quite possible for him to nail your opponent’s 1-50 slot character for 3 damage and heal all the way to top dial (if the 3 damage KO’s that figure). Even though he’s under the points threshold for his slot, he works beautifully with the rest of this team (and Lyssa can Prob any attack aimed at him from anywhere on the board!!).

Trinity War Sinestro is a Quintessence-blessed behemoth with a wicked Attack Special (DEATH TO THE GUARDIANS: Sinestro can use Pulse Wave. Opposing characters that can use the Quintessence team ability instead can’t use it and modify their combat values by -1.) that can wreck pieces by itself if your opponents were also feeling frisky enough to field some Quintessence-wielders of their own. His Damage Special (FEAR THE SINESTRO CORP: Sinestro can use Perplex, but only to decrease combat values. Until your next turn, a character targeted by this Perplex can’t target Sinestro unless the targeted character or Sinestro are the only characters on their force on the map.) also means that you can essentially make Sinestro immune to an opposing figure of your choice.

Imagine that Black Lantern Zoom has done his job and eliminated one or even two of your opponents lower-point characters. Well, if Sinestro Perplexes down ANY combat value on their 151-200 slot big’gun, your opponent will be left with only one character who can even target Sinestro. And this scenario becomes even more dire for them if Despotellis is still around Poisoning his best guys.

Finally, Hal Jordan Parallax is just sick and wrong. Running Shot, Pulse Wave and Probability Control with a 12 Attack Value and 5 top dial damage? Again, he could start one-shotting folks as soon as he hits the board!

 

Justice League

Team Name: Justice… Like Lightning!! (Wait a minute, that’s a Marvel tagline!! Oh Hell No!)

Roster:

1-50: FL046E Harley Quinn50 Points

51-100: JLTW034 Element Woman88 Points

101-150: JLTW051 Batman150 Points

151-200: JLTW052 Wonder Woman200 Points

201-250: JLTW050 Superman250 Points

Total Points Used: 738 out of a possible 750

How It Works: Harley is really just there to start the game and see if she can stick around to really make dealing with the Trinity even that much harder. Element Woman is a little undercosted for her slot, but man, pick a supporting power, and she’s got it. No really, that’s her Trait–pick a supporting power: ELEMENTAL ARTISTE: At the beginning of your turn, choose one: Earth, Fire, or Ice. Element Woman can use the associated powers until your next turn.

Earth Barrier and Impervious
Fire Energy Explosion and Penetrating/Psychic Blast
Ice Incapacitate and Perplex

Batman is an absolute stud who will be public enemy number one as soon as he hits the board. Not only are his stats fantastic for his points, but his Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use the Batman Ally team ability. Friendly characters named Superman or Wonder Woman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) also makes dealing with what’s coming an absolute nightmare.

Wonder Woman’s Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use Support. Friendly characters named Batman or Superman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) gives Bats and Supes Support, and she can shut down opposing supporting pieces with one hit with her second Trait (LASSO OF TRUTH: Adjacent opposing characters that have been hit by Wonder Woman since the beginning of your last turn can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.). And that’s assuming that her 4 top dial damage didn’t straight up KO said figure.

Finally, Superman is everything you want in your 250 point-slot selection. 12 Attack, 19 Defense and 5 Damage top dial to go along with his starting Hypersonic Speed and Invincible. His Trait (A NEW KIND OF JUSTICE LEAGUE: Adjacent friendly characters with a lower point value and the Justice League keyword can use the Superman Ally team ability. Friendly characters named Batman or Wonder Woman don’t have to be adjacent or a lower point value.) gives Bats the ability to see through Stealth and move through Hindering (really the only thing that Batman is missing!). If your opponent hasn’t taken out at least one of your other two Trinity pieces by the time Supes hits the board, it’s probably goodnight Gracie.

 

Well, what do you think? Which Marvel and DC Builds are your favorites? Which ones should I take to Gen Con? Sound off in the comments below!

Check back soon for more Gen Con Builds, and until next time, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!

 

Patriotic Nick Fury!! (Or, Happy Memorial Day 2015!!)

Patriotic Nick Fury

Once again, I would like to wish a Happy Memorial Day weekend to our American readers!

For our international audience, as we mentioned last year, Memorial Day is an American Holiday wherein we celebrate the sacrifice of those who have fallen in defense of our country and the many freedoms we enjoy here–like nerding out over comic plotlines or playing ‘Clix whenever we want!

And given that I’m a huge fan of “Secret Warriors,” AND that Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is our next set (out this July, I believe), the ol’ warhorse himself (on one of his classic Steranko covers!) seemed like the best choice for our cover art!

I’ll be back tomorrow with an article about Assembling Armies for the Avengers Assemble Chases! That’s right, it’s “Straight, With CHASEr 3!”

Until then, Thank a Veteran or Active-Duty Serviceman, Stay Safe and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!

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

Avengers poster

Hello again!

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

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

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

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

 

AvU

HEROES VS. VILLAINS!!

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

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

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

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

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

The Special Scenario Rules:

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

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

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

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

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

Special Character Rules:

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

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

 

THE ROSTERS:

 

Avengers 1 MCU

Heroes:

 AAOU003 Captain AmericaCommon125 Points

AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43Starter Pack150 

AAOU005 ThorCommon200

AAOU008E HulkCommon250

AAOU013 Black WidowMass Market Rare 80

AAOU009 HawkeyeCore Hobby Rare94

AAOU010 Scarlet WitchCore Hobby Rare55

AAOU014 Quicksilver Mass Market Rare63

AAOU011 VisionCore Hobby Rare100

IM3016 War MachineMass Market Rare220

CATWS006 FalconCommon105

AAOU015 Nick FuryMass Market Rare45

AVM206 Agent CoulsonCommon50

CATWS011 Maria HillCore Hobby Rare60

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

 

Marvel Villains

Villains:

AVM211 LokiChase220 Points

AVM041 Red SkullChase170

IM3008 Aldrich KillianCommon35

TDW004 MalekithCommon350

CATWS008 Winter SoldierCommon100 

GOTGM106 RonanStarter Pack300

AAOU016 Baron StruckerMass Market Rare95

AAOU018 Ultron PrimeMass Market Chase250

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

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

 

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

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

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

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

There Are… No Strings… on Me!! (Or, a Set Review of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Set!!)

Age of Ultron Back to Us

 

Hope you all had a Happy Easter! Or a Happy Passover, or, if you’re not a person of faith, or at least not a person of a faith that celebrated this season, I hope you had, uh, a Happy Sunday!

As our belated gift to you, Ninwashui and I are teaming up to rip through the just-released Avengers: Age of Ultron Gravity Feed Movie Set! We’re gonna go figure by figure using our popular and patented [EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, it’s really neither of those things.] Oxygen Filtration Mask Numeric Scale!

It’s all part of our month-long ramp up celebrating the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st! In addition to today’s article, we’re also going to review the Starter pack and write and play a scenario based on the movie (or, y’know, what little we know about the movie since it hasn’t released yet).

But today is about the Age of Ultron Gravity Feed, so let’s get it rolling!

SOME QUICK NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

–The whole set actually gets its flavor not just from AoU but also from prior Marvel movies as well. Iron Man (Iron Man 3), Iron Legion (Iron Man 3) and Nick Fury (Avengers) all have power sets and costumes that reference previous MCU outings. Conversely, Hawkeye and Black Widow are definitely in their Age of Ultron costumes (note Hawkeye’s longer tunic, which gets him a little bit closer to his comic book look), but their power sets almost seem like they’re taken directly from the first Avengers film (going back to Hawkeye, he has Traits and Powers with names like “Rooftop Maneuvers” and “Vantage Point.” He could certainly spend a lot of time on rooftops in Age of Ultron, but these really sound like Hawkeye’s abilities taken from the Battle of Manhattan sequence in the first Avengers film).

–Meanwhile, it seems like the designers went out of their way to make the most generic Cap, Thor and Hulk pieces they could possibly imagine (I’m speaking strictly from a flavor/sculpt standpoint–see each figure’s individual entry to see how we think they stand up as Heroclix figures!). Cap gets an abilities like “Rebounding Shield” and “His Enemies Fear Him,” while Hulk has “Fueled by Anger” and “He Only Leaves Rubble.”

–For those keeping score at home, we finally have MCU Clix for: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Baron Strucker and Ultron. First time generics include Test Subject and Iron Legion (although IM3 had at least 4 Armor Shell versions from the “House Party Protocol” scene at the end of the movie).

Alright, enough notes about the set! Let’s dig into the dials!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry bro, we need one more note. As always with Movie Set Reviews, we’re saving the Starter Review for a separate article, since we’re already over 7000 words on the Main Set alone, making this our largest single article ever!]

Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man

AAOU001 Iron Man250/185 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: At 250 Points, Iron Man here is certainly beefy, starting with a 12 Attack and an 18 Defense Value with Invincible. His awesomely-named second Trait (THE HOUSE PARTY PROTOCOL, SIR?: Give Iron Man a power action if there are less than 4 friendly undefeated characters named Iron Legion. If you do, place a AAOU002 Iron Legion in your starting area from outside the game.) allows him to bring in armor shells that are two clicks deep, but they come into play in your starting area. Depending on where the action’s centered, the battle may be lost before you can even get the shells into play. This is a bit of a problem, especially since there’s another figure in this set who does the same trick better. Similarly, his Avengers Assemble Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Iron Man hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: You place a friendly AAOU #002 Iron Legion from outside the game into your starting area or, modify the defense value of your friendly characters by +1 until your next turn.) is a nifty lil’ bonus, but there are better versions of the same Trait on almost every other Avenger.

In a Modern Age environment that also includes Ultron Prime and Trinity War Superman at the 250 Point level, I just don’t know that you’re getting enough damage out of this Iron Man and his Iron Legion shells to really keep up with number of effective actions your opponent will be taking in a 300 Point game. Also, while any piece with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability is going to be a nuisance, his 7 Range is below average for a piece in his price range.

Now, at 185 Points… he’s still over costed. With five clicks of life and middling Attack Values (again, for the points), he still offers the same two Traits as his higher-costed version and the ability to target through Stealth. Still, this feels much more like a 150 or 160 Point dial. 185 is just a rip-off, frankly. Not the worst dial in the world, but not one that I would choose to play, especially with all of the other Iron Man options out there.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says:

Pretty short dials for both versions, actually. Both Traits are more fun than competitive. The Iron Legions he can bring into play hit hard enough, sure, but they’re easy to KO and award 50 Points to your opponent for each one that’s KO’d. And really, the Transport Symbol is pretty much wasted on figures that already fly and have top dial Running Shot.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Legion

AAOU002 Iron Legion50 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Mildly effective for his points, but you’re probably not playing him this way very often. He’s useable, but far from groundbreaking. Actually, he’s kind of a boring way to use 50 points, but at least he can Taxi, too.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks 

HypeFox Says: Yeah, he’s only got 4 Clicks, but for 50 Points I get Running Shot, 10 Attack and a Damage Value that never drops below 3 AND never loses Enhancement. A great Tertiary Attacker with a mild amount of support with Enhancement and the ability to Taxi. I think he’s damn effective for 50 Points–I’d put him right up there with some of the better Lantern Recruits we just got.

GRADE: 3 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Captain America

AAOU003 Captain America125/80 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: One of the most creative Caps we’ve seen in awhile. The 125 Point dial is a brutally effective mid-range piece to start. He’s actually at his most deadly when he’s at least two squares away from an opposing figure, even though Cap is normally thought of as a close combatant. His Avengers Assemble Trait is pretty one-sided (there will be very few circumstances when your opponent would rather take a -1 hit to the Attack Value of all his pieces versus letting you give one of your pieces +1 to Damage). His top dial vanilla Leadership is somewhat wasted when the majority of Avengers cost more than him (or at least the majority of Avengers who can Carry him and keep him adjacent–yes, you can sometimes end up adjacent to a friendly after a Running Shot to set up Leadership next turn, but that’s a lil’ tricky to do usually). If he ignored characters on movement (instead of or in addition to) I’d love him; as it is, I merely like this dial.

His Rookie dial, on the other hand, offers a ton of value for 80 Points–and also plays way differently than his Blue dial. Now that’s a great design! He starts with a Leadership Special Power (HIS ENEMIES FEAR HIM: Captain America can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, he may also either place an action token on a higher point opposing character within range or he may place an action token on each lower point opposing character within range. Placing this action token doesn’t deal pushing damage.) that he keeps his whole dial. He doesn’t even need line of fire to dish out tokens–opposing characters merely need to be within 4 Squares.

His Attack Value never descends below 10, and even gets up to 11 more than once. The only problem is a lack of Indomitable, but the last half of his dial features Willpower anyway. And top dial, once he gets in close on someone, they’re gonna need a 20 to hit him with a Close Combat attack.

This is a fun piece and one of my favorites from the set.

GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: Really dig his 125 Point dial. He’s difficult to hit at range, which should allow him to use his Avengers Initiative Team Ability to slowly close in on his opponents. After that first hit he magically transforms into an equally hard to hit close combat headache for your opponent.

His 80 Point dial is almost as good, but his Leadership Special–as powerful as it can potentially be–will only go off 33% of the time. And with no native damage reducers, it’s possible for a heavy hitter like AAOU005 Thor to knock him out with one lucky hit.

GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Test Subject

AAOU004 Test Subject30 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Ugh. The first real loser of the set. Don’t let the 3 separate dials fool you–even for a generic, this is a bit uninspired. Their Trait (THESE EXPERIMENTS ARE YIELDING… INTERESTING… RESULTS: When Test Subject is first placed on the map, roll a d6 and click the character to the indicated starting line: 1 – 2 red; 3 – 4 blue; 5 – 6 yellow) ensures that you’ll never know which of their dials you’ll actually be playing, which is a problem when you are, y’know, TRYING TO BUILD A COMPLEMENTARY TEAM! These guys need help to be anything more than even just a tie-up piece for a turn. But with such limited mobility, it’ll take them forever just to get next to an opposing figure to tie them up in the first place. I can’t see 4 of these pieces ever taking out any 120 Point figure I can think of.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: Okay, taken on their own merits, they’re not the best use of 30 Points. However, what if I told you there was a way to easily get them within range of an opposing figure, to the point that they’d be all but guaranteed an Alpha Strike? Then would you be interested? If you can find a way around their awful mobility, these guys suddenly become pretty dangerous–especially since they’re only 30 Points. Having said that, no one is ever going to play them for 30 Points, for reasons we will get into as we get a bit further down the list…

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Thor

AAOU005 Thor200/150 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: Wow. We’ve gotten a ton of 4-Star Thors in the past couple years, but this version might just be a cut above. His AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Thor hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters modify their damage values by -1 until your next turn or, opposing characters can’t make ranged combat attacks until your next turn.) is absolutely brutal.

You: “So, would you prefer to do way less damage next turn, or would you prefer to do no damage next turn?

Your Opponent: “Uhhh… is that a real power? That doesn’t sound like a real power.”

You: “It’s a Trait, not a power.”

Your Opponent: “I hate you.”

I mean, what kind of choice is that? But beyond that, he starts with 5 native Damage, an 11 Attack Value that alternates between Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion (with an 8 Range and 2 Bolts) and an 18 Defense Value that’s boosted by both Invincible and his second Trait (MJOLNIR TO CARRY ME: When Thor has one or more action tokens, he can use Energy Shield/Deflection.). And remember, he sees through Stealth via his AI Team Ability. The only thing keeping him from 5 Masks at this point is his one glaring weakness:  no Willpower.

Still, in a Tactics format, this is pretty easily fixed, and in a No Tactics format, he hits so heavy that it may not even matter. If you only push him once or twice, you’ll be fine–heck, that first push basically just puts him on Pulse Wave. He only loses one Movement and one Defense.

His Rookie dial is a little more subtle, but just as effective.

GRADE(S): 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: User UncorkedMonk on HCRealms.com said “Hes an indom symbol away from being great. As is hes alright. But theres enough ways to give him willpower I spose.” Despite his clear vendetta against apostrophes, I have to completely agree. Outside of the normal Resource/Relic route, let’s remember that Thor is an Asgardian. For 5 Points, their ATA explicitly GIVES him Willpower on his first click. That’s right. The Asgardian ATA:  it’s not just for Splitlip anymore.

His Rookie dial finds him switching from a 5 Damage Primary Attacker to a 4 Damage sniper squad leader. And while he plays differently than his higher point version, he’s just as effective. Especially if you put the right team around him, which you’ll have 50 more points to do with this version.

GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hydra Soldier

AAOU006 Hydra Soldier — 40 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: I think this was the only character in the set I wasn’t looking forward to getting (so guess who I’ve pulled 4 of so far… ). Even in groups, I don’t see this guy ever lasting long enough to hit anyone. I can see what they were trying to do with his Minion power that bestows Leadership (MINION: HAIL HYDRA: When a friendly character with the HYDRA keyword and a higher point value is within 8 squares, Hydra Soldier can use Charge. When that character uses Leadership and succeeds, remove an action token from all characters named Hydra Soldier within that character’s range and line of fire unless one has already been removed this turn from that character from this effect.), but the low inherent Movement and the existence of DP006 Hand Ninja means that this guy will likely never see play from me. On the plus side, he’s got a pretty cool sculpt though.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: For the first time in this article, I think I finally agree with Ninwa. His TA only works for ranged attacks (well, unless your running him with Wolverine, Agent of Hydra) but his skill set is only viable for close combat attacks. Come to think of it, running him with Hydra Wolvie is really the only way to make him work. Even then, as Ninwashui mentioned, DP006 Hand Ninja is pretty much a better choice all the way around.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Ultron Sentry

AAOU007 Ultron Sentry40Common:

HypeFox Says: 3 Clicks for 40 Points doesn’t instill a ton of confidence until you look a little closer at those three Clicks. Top dial they have Pen/Psy and Enhancement (although only a 4 Range) with a native 3 Damage. In other words, as they multiply, they can start dishing out 4-5 Penetrating Damage. That’s a huge amount of Damage output for a 40 Point figure. Yes, they can be destroyed quite easily with just a 15 Defense Value, but their Movement Special on Click 2 (THERE’S NO END IN SIGHT!: Once per turn, for all characters with this power, give Ultron Sentry a double power action. Place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry from outside the game in an adjacent square on click number 3.) means that they can replicate themselves over and over. In other words, for 40 Points, you can create a whole army INSIDE your army.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says:  It’s a 40 point character that can duplicate itself as soon as turn 4. And it can keep doing it until you run out of them on your sidelines with no outside help required. And when one dies, a double power action can put that guy right back out. Unlike Iron Legion, the duplicate figures are the exact same strength as the original. And they have two Traits that make it so they can work together to become far more powerful the more of them there are (COMBINED EFFORTS: Modify Ultron Sentry’s attack value by +1 for each adjacent friendly character named Ultron Sentry. Modify Ultron Sentry’s damage value by +1 for each 2 adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry AND CONSISTENT PROGRAMMING: When using the Carry ability, Ultron Sentry may carry any number of adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry regardless of their combat symbols.).

They also have additional Trait that works well  with the other versions of Ultron: HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Sentry is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area: 

3 – 4, place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry on its starting line;
5, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line;
6, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its blue starting line.” 

Try to imagine this:  Starting on Turn 4, Ultron Sentry makes another Ultron Sentry. Turn 5, the first Sentry you made makes another. Turn 6, the original makes another. You can just keep doing this in your starting area until you feel like you have enough. A 40 point investment can bring 8 more of these things into play and descend on the opponent as a cloud of nine sentries. Nothing in the game anywhere near 40 points can take that on. If you own enough of these you can bring a 900 point army to a 300 point game.

GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hulk

AAOU008 Hulk300/250/200 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Going in, you have to know a couple things. First, you’re paying a metric poop-ton of points for a character that has absolutely no range AND that has absolutely NO OUTWIT PROTECTION!! These are major issues. It’s true that if Hulk gets Outwitted, he gets the small bonus of an Anger Token via his Trait (ENORMOUS GREEN MONSTER: Hulk can use Battle Fury. Each time Hulk takes damage from an opponent’s attack or one of his powers or combat abilities is countered, put an Anger token on this card.), but that’s not really Outwit protection, is it?

His 300 Point dial has an awesome top dial, but the chances of you being able to get to swing with that top dial in a 300 or even 400 Point game is minimal. He’ll most likely be picked apart on his approach.

At 250, he runs into the same problems. While his dial is fun, one Outwit can just absolutely ruin his day.

Finally, his Rookie dial actually gets a half-mask more from me because it leaves room for supporting figs (just from this set, adding AAOU015 Nick Fury and AAOU010 Scarlet Witch will form a perfect 300 Point team) that can really help Hulk deal maximum damage.

Just make sure that whichever dial you play, you use Colossal Stamina whenever there is a meaningful action to take UNLESS that would put you on a Stop Click.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: For a Hulk dial, there is a lot going on here, most of which I like. Traited Battle Fury means that Shape Change will not help you–and with a figure that costs this much (no matter which dial you play), any ability that can eliminate the possibility of wasted actions is a very good thing. His Avengers Assemble Trait is good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Hulk hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Deal one target 1 unavoidable damage and give it an action token or, put an Anger token on this card.), but again, it’s pretty much one-sided (no opponent is going to choose to take an additional damage AND lose an action as opposed to giving Hulk a token that lets him increase a potential Regeneration roll somewhere down the line by +1 or increase the chance Hulk won’t take Colossal Stamina damage by just over 16%.).  The first choice wreaks havoc on his team right now, while the second option might subtly benefit you at some unspecified juncture down the line. Not much of a choice there. Having said that, getting the Anger Token bonus is better than not having that Trait at all, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.

I like his Rookie dial a little more than Ninwashui, since I believe that his Defense Special Stop Click (HIS ANGER SUSTAINS HIM: When this click is revealed due to taking damage, stop turning the dial and remove all actions tokens from Hulk. This power can’t be ignored.) gives him a little bit of Outwit protection (and Pulse Wave protection). And it shows up twice, in tandem with his Damage Special Power (HE ONLY LEAVES RUBBLE: Hulk can use Invincible and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration, you may remove any number of Anger tokens from this card. If you do, the d6 roll can’t be rerolled and you may increase the result by 1 for each token removed.).

So while he doesn’t have Outwit protection, he does have some built-in survivability.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 and 1/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hawkeye

AAOU009 Hawkeye94 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

HypeFox Says: Wow. Back in our set preview a few weeks ago, I said that this was the figure of the set. And I’m not backing off. I think he’s ridiculously good, and here’s why.

First of all, he’s got arguably the best AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Hawkeye hits one or more characters with an attack, the opposing player chooses: Hit characters are each dealt 1 unavoidable damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye isn’t given an action token for this action.). Finally, an Avengers Assemble! where both of the choices really suck for your opponent! Remember, Hawkeye has 3 Bolts and Precision Strike, so chances are he’s already dealt 1 Penetrating Damage to two or three of your opponent’s characters (and keep in mind that Stealth won’t help them, because Clint has Avengers Initiative). Now, does your opponent want each of the hit characters to each take ANOTHER Unavoidable Damage? Or do you want to keep Hawkeye from getting an action token, which means he can do the whole thing over again next turn?

This is an actual dramatization of your next opponent trying to decide which of these options to go with after 3 of his characters have been hit by Hawkeye.

Now before you start worrying about his top dial 10 Attack Value, take a look at his second Trait (VANTAGE POINT: When making a ranged combat attack, modify Hawkeye’s attack value by +1 for each target of the attack. When he hits 3 characters, he may give one hit character an action token if he doesn’t assign that character any damage.). All of which means that it shouldn’t be hard to get Hawkeye a +2 or even +3 modifier to his Attack Value. Forget Perplex–this Hawkeye takes care of his own modifiers.

Finally, Ninwashui is probably gonna come on here and trash Hawkeye’s Movement Value. Sure, it’s a bit low at just 6 Squares, but even that, too, is deceiving. When you break it down, you’ll see that his starting Movement Special (ROOFTOP MANEUVER: Hawkeye can use Sidestep and Stealth. When he uses Sidestep, he can use Improved Movement: Ignores Elevated Terrain.) means that he can actually cover 8 Squares a turn AND he can change elevation, too (AND he can make an Attack afterwards, since it’s Sidestep!)! And since he already ignores Hindering Terrain on movement (again, thanks to the AI Team Ability), you actually have a figure who’s much more nimble than a lot of other figures with higher Movement Values.

Now, I can’t quite give him 5 Masks in an environment where Banshee is still Modern (he’s even more beastly for just 4 more points), but Hawkeye here is darn close. He offers a bunch of powers and abilities that you can’t get from Resources or Relics, and what he lacks CAN be fixed by Resources and Relics (The Phoenix Force or especially the new Pandora’s Box Resource should work wonders with this Hawkeye. If you use Pandora’s Box, I’d recommend it’s first setting–the Path of the Hunter. It’s got pretty easy early access to the abilities that Clint needs the most, like Energy Explosion and Running Shot, and it’s also pretty easy to get Hawkeye permanent access to both ES/D AND Combat Reflexes).

GRADE: 4 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: Low Movement Value, no dampeners or anything to help his Defense beyond Stealth and a lack of Running Shot hurt this guy. That being said, if your opponent can’t find a way to hide two or three of his pieces (and it’s admittedly tough to hide guys from a dude who has 8 Range, Sidestep, 3 Bolts and the ability to see through Stealth), then this guy could suddenly be the star of your team. All his is missing is Energy Explosion to be the best figure ever made at taking out clusters of opponents at a time. And AAOU015 Nick Fury (who will get to in a minute) has a Special Attack Power that goes great with this guy.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

AAOU010 Scarlet Witch55 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

Ninwashui Says: Her Trait (UNCAGING THE BEAST: Give Scarlet Witch a free action when she has two action tokens and choose a friendly character within range and line of fire. Modify the chosen character’s combat values by +1 until the end of the turn, and, at the end of the turn, deal Scarlet Witch 1 unavoidable damage and don’t clear her action tokens. If the chosen character’s name is Hulk, you may modify the chosen character’s combat values by +2 instead.) seems to be begging for you to play her with some version of the Hulk to make her reach her full potential, but I think she’ll end up seeing a lot of play on a variety of tournament teams regardless of the presence of a Hulk. Even just a +1 boost to all stats is no joke, and she could technically do that for five turns in a row before being KO’d. That ability might be worth 55 Points by itself.

Factor in her 8 Range, 10 Attack and 3 Damage with Perplex top dial and you have a piece that’s useful even before her crazy-good Trait starts to kick in!

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: She has no Avengers Assemble! Trait on her own, which is a bit of a bummer. Her Point Cost is reasonable, but if Ninwashui thought that Hawkeye was too crunchy with only Stealth to protect him, I can only imagine what he thinks about a figure with one less Click of life and an even worse Defense Value. If you can get some mileage out of her Trait, she’ll make her cost worth it; if she gets destroyed before that, well… sorry.

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Vision

AAOU011 Vision100 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

HypeFox Says: First of all, this is an awesome sculpt and paint job!! Second… yeah, I have no second. At 50 Points, he’d be amazing. Unfortunately he costs double that. Somehow, a figure with no Traits or Improved Movement or Targeting of any kind and with only six Clicks of life costs 100 Points.

He does fly and he has Indomitable, but he doesn’t do enough to be a Secondary Attacker and he costs WAAAAYYY too much to be a Taxi. And he has 0 Range. I’m glad that he has the Avengers keyword, but he is a Theme play only; he’s not turning up in any sort of competitive environment. Even with Hydra Soldier’s existence, this is probably the worst piece in the set (especially since he costs so much more).

GRADE: 1 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: He’s not as bad as HypeFox makes him out to be, but I have to agree with the idea that if you are actually playing him, you’re playing him because you like the character and not because you think he’s a powerful HeroClix figure. He does have 3 Clicks of Outwit followed by 3 Clicks of Perplex, so I can tell why he’s clocking in at 100 Points. But in a world where even a 43 Point Hand Ninja has Traits and Special Powers [EDITOR’S NOTE: And a Team Ability!], it’s hard to justify a dial that costs more than double and has none of those things unless the power set is just top notch. Vision’s power set, alas, is not.

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Ultron MK 1

AAOU012 Ultron MK1120/65 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

Ninwashui Says: For 120 Points you get a character that hits hard, but with a low Attack Value. He also is good at absorbing damage with four clicks of Invuln, but he doesn’t match well with other figures in his point range unless you take his Trait into account (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Mk 1 is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area: (4)-(5), place 012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line. (6), place either 012 Ultron Mk 1 or 018 Ultron Prime on its blue starting line.). Basically, if you’re running any other Age of Ultron versions of him, then you will likely get him back in your Starting Area on Click one. His stats by themselves are average, but his synergy with other Ultron pieces is the real reason to play him.

His Rookie dial is kind of more of the same. You’d play it to fit in another Ultron on your force, but this dial will never see play otherwise.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (120 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (65 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: Kind of a must have piece if you’re trying to create an Ultron swarm. On its own, it’s average, but when you start running it with Ultron Prime or Ultron Sentry, it can really start to wear your opponent down.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Black Widow

AAOU013 Black Widow80 Points Mass Market Rare:

HypeFox Says: This is one of the stranger Black Widows we’ve gotten in recent years. On the plus side, she’s got a pretty decent AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Black Widow hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters can’t attack Black Widow until your next turn or opposing characters can’t ignore pushing damage until your next turn.) and a cool Attack Special (WIDOW’S STING: When Black Widow hits with a ranged combat attack, after actions resolve, roll a d6. On a result of 4 – 6, Black Widow can use Incapacitate twice, each as a free action, but only to target a hit character.). On the negative side, she’s pretty much set up as a ranged attacker, but she’s only got a 4 Range and no move and attack. And if she can’t attack, her special powers are all wasted.

Having said that, like her former S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddy Hawkeye, much of what ails her can be fixed with a Resource or Relic (Mokk’s Hammer would solve almost all of her top dial problems).

So she has some potential in a Tactics environment, but in a game where you can’t use Resources or Relics, she’s gonna be a tough piece to use effectively. Chances are high that you won’t get out of her what you put into her.

GRADE: 2 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: She can really shine with an Avengers Themed Team around her, but you’re gonna have to team her up with a really effective Primary Attacker to distract the other team’s best offensive pieces and let her get a ranged attack (or two) off. Nearly full dial Stealth and intermittent Perplex make me like this version slightly more that her Starter pack counterpart (AAOU105 Black Widow, natch!). And, once again, AAOU015 Nick Fury‘s Special Power works really well with her as well.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Quicksilver

AAOU014 Quicksilver 63 PointsMass Market Rare

Ninwashui Says: He’s the cheapest character in Modern right now with top dial Hypersonic Speed. When you compare him to 65 point FL001A The Flash you’ll see that he moves much farther and has a better chance of hitting because of his ability to use Probability Control on himself. This is also one of the few instances where I think it’s really nice for this character to have Force Blast. I can just imagine him flinging opposing support figures off rooftops or into walls. And let’s be honest, 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection is pretty damn impressive for someone at his point level.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: He’s been growing on me. I still don’t like that his Attack Value never exceeds “meh,” but his Damage Special (FAST ENOUGH TO TRY AGAIN: Quicksilver can use Probability Control, but only to reroll his own rolls.) means that he gets two shots at every attack roll. And an 18 Defense with ES/D is EXTREMELY good for any figure under 80 Points. He’s never going to do much damage, but at 63 Points he’s always going to be a Secondary Attacker at most. But depending on how you construct your army, he might even just be a third attacker on a 300 Point squad. And he’s perfect for that.

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Nick Fury

AAOU015 Nick Fury45 PointsMass Market Rare:

HypeFox Says: So, we’ve already mentioned this guy three or four times, so you probably had an inkling that he’d be good. I think he’s possibly Meta, although he necessitates building an Avengers Themed Team around him. His Trait is great (I STILL BELIEVE IN HEROES: If Nick Fury is part of an Avengers Themed Team and has the lowest point value character on your starting force, he can use Leadership and Outwit. When he uses Leadership, he is considered 300 points.), since at 45 Points he will almost ALWAYS be the lowest point value character on an Avengers Themed Team. So you don’t even really need to alter your team any to fit him in, and in a 300 Point game his Leadership is guaranteed to work on whoever he’s next to as long as you make the roll. On top of that, since he has Avengers Initiative, his Outwit sees through Hindering Terrain!!

Oh, and speaking of rolls, Fury Attack Special (I RECOGNIZE THE COUNCIL HAS MADE A DECISION…: When an opponent makes a choice from an Avengers Assemble! Trait, you may roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, change the effect to the other option.) gives him a 33% chance to just completely wreck your opponent’s day. Remember how we mentioned how one-sided some of the Avengers Assemble! Traits were on the figures in this set? Well, if YOU suddenly get to make the choice for your opponent, those AA Traits become stratospherically better!

On top of all that, he has Willpower, Shape Change, Stealth and a native 3 Damage. This is a great package for just 45 Points.

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: He is really only viable on an Avengers Themed Team, but if you’re playing one, he is almost an auto-include if you have the points. Even if your not using his Attack Special because you’re running him with non-AoU Avengers, just the fact that he gives you a working Leadership and Outwit while also being a competent Tertiary Attacker is pretty amazing.  I’m not sure if Avengers Themed Teams will start showing up at major tournaments, but if they do, I’m pretty sure they’ll be running this Nick Fury.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Baron Strucker

AAOU016 Baron Strucker95 PointsMass Market Rare:

Ninwashui Says: And finally we come to my top Want from this set. Sporting a creative and efficient dial, Baron Strucker is capable of changing a game just by himself. Like AAOU001 Iron Man, he can make himself a small army with just a few power actions via his Special Attack Power (WE LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM…: Give Baron Strucker a power action if there are less than 4 friendly characters with the Test Subject keyword on the map. When you do, place a friendly AAOU004 Test Subject from outside the game on the map within 6 squares of him.). Unlike Iron Man, when Baron Strucker’s army dies, his Trait (THEIR SACRIFICE ENSURES OUR FUTURE: When a friendly character with the Test Subject keyword is KO’d put an Evolution token on Baron Strucker’s card. Modify Baron Strucker’s combat values +1 for every two Evolution tokens on his card.) ensures that the Baron gets stronger! Keep in mind that for a 95 Point piece, he was already sitting on some pretty good stats to begin with. Several of his Clicks sport a 10 Attack Value with 4 Damage. Now imagine if that got pumped up to a 13 Attack and 7 Damage–those are Hulk Smash numbers!

And he has Mastermind, so, depending on how you place your Test Subjects, it’ll be damn near impossible for most of your opponents NOT to KO some Test Subjects along the way to Baron Strucker, unless their pieces are just dripping with Precision Strike. And you get all this for just 1/3 of your 300 Point Build!!

I am already dreaming of playing this guy with DP054 Arnim Zola for some friendly Mind Control shenanigans or IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0 to turn those Test Subjects into Claymore mines. Oh, the destruction I’ll wreak…

GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: This is the piece I was referencing in my AAOU001 Iron Man writeup. Whereas the Iron Legion pieces have to come into play all the way back at your Starting Zone, Strucker here can place his Test Subjects wherever the hell he likes within a 6-Square radius! Think about how useful that is! Can’t get through that wall and into the room where your opponent is trying to heal his Primary Attacker back to full? Boom–now there’s a Test Subject adjacent to his healer. Who can make an attack on that same healer THIS TURN!! This ability is kind of like Deadpool’s Sheep Gun Word Balloon, only it’s about a thousand times more useful.

If Strucker’s Dial was crap except for that power, he’d still be good. But he’s got a great dial, and he gets stronger for every Test Subject that’s killed! You just need to get this man some Willpower!

I hate to say it again, but this is another near-Meta piece for me. More importantly, he’s going to be poop-tons of fun at house games…

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Hulkbuster GiF

AAOU017 Hulkbuster300/225 PointsCore Hobby Chase:

HypeFox Says: Sort of a disappointing Chase, especially since we know we’re getting a comic version of the Hulkbuster armor one piece at a time in the Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. boosters this summer. But beyond that, his dial seems much more like a 200-250 Point character; at 300, you’re really only playing him in fun, epic games where you think you’re gonna run into other big’uns.

His AA Trait is actually pretty good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: Once per turn, when Hulkbuster hits one or more characters with a close combat attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Modify Hulkbuster’s defense value by +2 until your next turn or Hulkbuster may make a close combat attack as a free action against a hit target, modifying his attack value by -2 for the attack.), but his other Trait (DESIGNED TO PUT YOU DOWN, BRUCE: At the beginning of the game for all characters with this trait, choose an opposing character with :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:. That character can’t ignore pushing damage or have its combat values increased.) and his Defense Special Power (SHE IS BUILT TO FIGHT THE BIG ONES: Hulkbuster can use Invincible. When Hulkbuster is hit by an attack from a character with the :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:, modify that’s character’s damage value by -1 for the attack.) are geared specifically towards putting down Giant-sized or Colossal figures, Team Bases or Vehicles. If you’re playing 1000 Point Brawl where those figures are allowed, he’s well worth his Points. If you’re playing almost any other format, you probably overpayed for this dial by at least 50 Points.

His Rookie version is a little bit better, if only because it’s 75 Points cheaper. You lose two really good Clicks, but you’re also closer to his Hypersonic slots.

These pieces are slight misfires for me.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: I have to agree. You should only play this guy if you know in advance that you have a good shot at facing Giants or Team Bases–and even then I’m not sure that he’ll win that fight. Against Colossals, you’d do much better playing AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man.

It’s not that this guy can’t win; it’s just that he’s a close combat piece that’s likely to get shot crossing the board and his combat values don’t hold up like they do with AAOU008 Hulk. He is also yet another figure above 200 points with no Outwit protection of any kind.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)

 

Ultron No Strings On Me

AAOU018 Ultron Prime250/125 PointsMass Market Chase:

Ninwashui Says: At 250 points there won’t be much room for support (other than maybe an AAOU007 Ultron Sentry) He can use Energy Explosion with 3 Bolts, but he doesn’t have Running Shot until his third Click. Until then, he’s stuck with Charge or Hypersonic Speed with a 9 Attack. Not horrible, but not worth 250 Points, either.

He’s meant to be a close combat figure and just like AAOU008 Hulk he will have a hard time crossing the board without being weakened (this seems to be a Chase theme this set!). And he’s 250 Points with no Outwit protection (another Chase theme!), only an 18 starting Defense Value and no Stop Clicks. Again, Transport Symbol is really wasted points here, unless you’re in love with low Attack Values for some reason.

His Experienced dial is a little better just by virtue of being able to pack in a lot more compatible supporting figs. His actual power set is still mostly incompatible (and, again, no Running Shot ’til Click 3), and Transport Symbol is still wasted here.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: I think I like him a little better than you do. Yes, he does not have an efficient power mix, but he’s not a pushover, either, and his Trait (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when Ultron Prime is KO’d, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 5 – 6 place this character in your starting area on its blue starting line.) gives him a 33% chance to come back and haunt your opponent all over again.

That Trait works even better on his Experienced dial, since it brings him back all the way to his Starting Line.

GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)

 

Alrighty! There you have it–the longest article (by word count) we’ve ever published! We hope you enjoyed this look into Avengers: Age of Ultron, and make sure to come back for our Starter Review!

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

 

Nick Fury and the Agents of Roundup!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 02/01/2015!!)

Roundup

 

Ooooooooooooohhhhh, it’s good to be back! With the Critters* now behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to 2015!! There’s already been a ton of releases announced–Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Age of Ultron and now Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.–and that just takes us to July!! There’s also been a slew of Previews that just hit the street, including the entire 2015 Convention Exclusive line!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Well get to all that in…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; this past week brought us Episode 81, wherein the guys discuss the recent Con-Exclusives announcement for 2015, among other things!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The latest episodes are Eps 30 & 31! In Episode 30, the Roundtable is back with analysis on the Tulsa and British Columbia ROC’s, as well as their takes on the recent Watchlist rulings and changes. Haven’t listened to 31 yet, so I don’t have a synopsis for you…

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an episode since their September offering, so I’m removing them from the Podcast rundown until we get some sort of activity from the guys!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

–A slight rules clarification has dropped that essentially mirrors standard protocol for WizKids-sponsored tournaments. It basically means that sets aren’t legal for ROC events until they’ve been out for a week or more. You can read the full announcement right here.

 

Preview

 

Justice League Heroclix Trinity War

–Justice League: Trinity War just keeps getting spoiled left and right!

As of today, 50 different figures (including the Gravity Feed) have been spoiled, plus two members of the CSA Fast Forces Pack (By the way, both of the spoiled Fast Force-ers are pretty damn good, so I’d order early if you want to get these guys. Fast Forces usually sell out pretty quick. Atomica alone will provide a 19 Defense character with the CSA Team Ability for just 25 Points!!).

The Super Rares seem extremely effective so far. Highlights include John Constantine, his Prime version (Nick Necro) and Despero (Oooooo, he’s gonna be fun to play).

Also, the 7 Deadly Sin 3D Objects seem almost as good as Hammers. Plus, you don’t actually need a Resource to play them IF you’re running the objects Chase piece (this will all make more sense once the set releases, trust me).

Check out the HCRealms.com Units page to look over all the spoiled dials.

 

nick_fury_agent_of_shield_booster

–We have a new set announcement! Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be out in July, and it’ll bring with it a Fast Forces that features the TV versions of Agent Coulson, Skye, Fitzsimmons and Agent May!! The proper set will also feature random inserts like more Avengers Roundtable ID cards and the first ever Assembl-A-Fig (or somesuch spelling) wherein you combine different 3D objects to make Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Mk. 2 Armor!

You can read ICv2’s article about the release right here!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–No Army of the Week, Local Games or Hollywood News this week–look for those sections to return next time. Especially Army of the Week, where we’ll look at how the new JL:TW Chases work with Resources and Entities (Hint: Very well.).

–Ninwashui built another Build column, and of course we gave out some Critters* in our second annual “Simply the Best” Awards article!

–We’ll be back later this week with a look from Ninwashui at some of the Justice League: Trinity War Gravity Feed figures, as well as in in-depth look at comic books on TV.

 

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch where you draw you Lines of Fire!!

 

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.