Fast Five: The Five Worst Figures in Uncanny X-Men!!

FAST FIVE

So, we just talked about the 10 best pieces in Uncanny X-Men. But who are the worst?

Yep, we’re giving the cream of the dreck their own article today! Let’s count them down from worst to even worst-ier to most worst-est!

Wolverine Star Trek

Oh wow! So this happened once…

5. UXM006 Wolverine — 50 Points — Common: Uncanny X-Men actually doesn’t have a ton of crap. The Common slots are much better comparatively than, say, World’s Finest.

Having said that, this is not a great Wolverine. The designers tried to shove everything the character can do in the comics into a tiny, 50 Point blended drink of a dial, but it doesn’t quite taste right.

With no Willpower, no top dial reducers and a survival Trait (HEALING FACTOR: When Wolverine clears action tokens, you may heal him 1 click.) that definitely ISN’T the best there is at what it does (at most, it MIGHT go off once or twice in a game for one Click of healing at a time), this version of Logan is entirely dependent on basing someone and praying that the opposition has no way of dealing with his Combat Reflexes (such as Outwit, or, y’know, just sniping him). His 10 Attack Value is fine for his point level, but it’s still nothing to write home about.

Now, I’ve seen some chatter about his last Click, and it is a monster: Flurry with B/C/F, Battle Fury to ignore Shape Change and a 13 Attack Value! Yay!! Except you’ll rarely if ever get to it. And even if you do, that Flurry means that he better already be basing someone, otherwise he’s probably not going to survive long enough to ever use his last Click abilities.

(*Finding a way to give him JLTWS106 Wrath for 8 Points would go a long way towards fixing much of what ails this iteration of Wolverine. But his native dial on its own is not very good.)

Blockbuster

That awkward moment when you think you just made a dramatic entrance by punching through a wall but you suddenly realize that the exertion involved in doing so actually made you crap your pants.

4. UXM010 Blockbuster — 65 Points — Common: 65 Points of slow-moving molasses. He can Charge up to a (measly) three squares on his top dial (only); after that, he’s entirely dependent on the grace of friendly taxis or a TK’er.

By the time he finally gets to someone, the game could be half over. And even if you do drop everything and focus the rest of your team on getting Blockbuster where he needs to go, his 10 Attack Value still has a great chance of missing.

Honestly, I didn’t love that Wolverine we just talked about at 50 Points, but that dial was still clearly better than Blockbuster’s–for 15 LESS points.

Super_Sabre_2

3. UXM032 Super Sabre70 PointsUncommon: At 70 Points, you’re paying Secondary Attacker money for a character who’s more like a Tertiary Attacker. And that first click is just brutal: 10 Attack with Hypersonic Speed, Force Blast, a native 2 Damage and a Defense Value of just 17 with ES/D.

If you can get him down dial (not easy to do without getting him KO’d), he finally picks up some Precision Strike, but that’s about the only power on his dial that will allow you to cut though dampeners.

Basically, if you are choosing to use Super Sabre, you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Cameron_Hodge_(Earth-616)

2. UXM058 Cameron Hodge200 PointsSuper Rare: He’s got a long(-ish) dial… a couple of survivability Traits (MYSTICAL TELEPATHIC IMMUNITY: Cameron Hodge can’t be targeted by Mind Control or Penetrating/Psychic Blast.)(PHENOMENAL REPAIR RATE AND PHASING MODULE: When Cameron Hodge has two action tokens, he can use Super Senses. At the beginning of your turn, if Cameron Hodge has two action tokens, he can use Regeneration as a free action. ) that actually work… and that’s about it.

Do you want your 200 Point tentpole to start with Stealth top dial? I really don’t, unless the piece also has some sort of Traited Sidestep or something. The middle of his dial is actually somewhat useful, with a limited Charge of up to four squares and an Attack Special Power (IMPALE: Give Cameron Hodge a close action to make a close attack targeting a character within 3 squares and line of fire. Damage dealt from this attack is penetrating and the hit character may be placed in a square within 3 squares and line of fire of Cameron Hodge.) that augments his Threat Range another three squares.

But his limited mobility (his starting Movement Value is 7 and it NEVER goes higher, and since he’s a peanut base he can’t be TK’d) is a real issue, and with only 100 points left to support him, there’s very little you can do about it. The fact that he starts out as a ranged attacker with no move and attack, no Improved Targeting and only a 6 Range isn’t helping his case as a Primary Attacker, either.

If you pull a Cameron and decide to play him at some point, you really have to get comfortable living in the middle of his dial, where his mobility and damage are at their highest. But if I’m paying 200 Points for a piece, I really expect more bang for my theoretical buck.

Phoenix

Okay… gonna use Ranged Combat Expert and, uh, I’ll put everything into Attack. Again.

1. UXM053B Phoenix250 Points — Super Rare PRIME: Yup. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, I hate, hate HATED this version of Phoenix… at least in 300 Point games. In UXM Sealed, she would probably wreck face, just because most of the rest of that set is filled with little 50 Point facehuggers that she can one-shot… if she can see them, that is.

And that’s one of her main problems, especially in 300 Point Constructed. She has no Improved Targeting, so even with a native 9 Range she can be completely defeated by something as simple as basic Stealth on an opposing figure. Even Energy Shield/Deflection poses a big problem for her when she’s on her top dial, since she’s rocking just a 10 Attack.

She does have a Stop Click at the end of her dial, and she has Pulse Wave on her last two clicks along with a 19 Defense. But if you’re playing an opponent with access to Prob and/or Perplex at that point, she’s really quite beatable. Honestly, 60 Point Peggy Carter would actually be a nightmare for this piece to face.

(Yes, I know, every piece has bad matchups, but still…)

The other thing I really dislike about this piece is that her non-Prime version (UXM053A Phoenix) is 140-150 Points of bonkers fun with a dial that’s constantly changing… but you need the Prime version on your sideboard to get the most out of her. So even if you just want to play the better, funner version of this piece, you still need to get really lucky OR shell out about $50 or so just to play the A-side the way you want to. Lame.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was originally $75-$80 right after the set came out. Most Heroclix figures depreciate a healthy amount after a month or so post-release, but Phoenix Prime has lost almost half of her value on the open market. Looks like the word is out about her dial… ]

But hey–at least her sculpt is pretty cool.

 

 

 

 

 

The Three Wars!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 07/13/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Annnnnnd welcome to another week of Heroclix coverage!!

We’ve been busy these last couple weeks, and we actually had some Heroclix news break recently as well! That wait is partially why you’re getting another Mid-Weekly Roundup a couple days off from the normal release. So let’s just dive right in to…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has finally released Episode 52!! Check their Podbean for details, but you can finally see the guys on YouTube in addition to downloading the audio version like normal! Congratulations to them on their first year anniversary show!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen’s newest episode is… still Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is Episode 22!! It features some new Tryout Commentators analyzing the Oregon ROC!!…


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-You can catch up with most of the recent ROC upcoming tourney announcements right here!

-The recent HCRealms.com contest to create ROC standard objects has come to an end! Click here for the winning Objects!

Preview

Again, no official Previews this week, but check out the WizKids section for some upcoming set news…

Wizkids

-There will be a 5-figure booster set next February, and it will be based on… DC’s Trinity War!! So we’ll be getting 2 DC sets in a row, and–in addition to normal Chases–there will be a new “Ultra-Chase” rarity (uh, yay?). With the set being based on Trinity War (and the Crime Syndicate), early bets on the identity of the Ultra-Chase all seem to be landing on either alt-Alfred Pennyworth or, more literally, Ultra-Man of the Crime Syndicate. There will also be TWO new Brick-Incentive Exclusive Resource Dials!! How will it all play?!

We shall see next February…


Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week, in honor of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set, we’re going to build a Ravagers team!!

"We may be the 18th team named Ravagers, but at least we're not Zombies."

“At least we’re not Zombies.”

Team Name: Blam! Murdered You!

Theme: Ravagers

Roster:

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon100 Points

GOTGM012 Yondu82

GOTGM102 Star-Lord75

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

2x Assigned Character6

All 5 Phoenix Fragments15

ATA011 Guardians of the Galaxy ATA x28

=298 Points

So, in addition to their dials (which are all awesome!!), Rocket (Magik Frag) and Yondu (Cyke Frag) will get Running Shot, Energy Explosion, Defend and +1 to Damage from the Phoenix Force (and keep in mind that Rocket can be carried by either of his teammates WITH NO PENALTY TO MOVEMENT, since he’s got Tiny Size. I’d highly recommend Yondu though, for reasons I’m about to get into.). Now let’s look at the individual dials: Rocket has a native 19 Defense, which means whoever carries him also has a 19 Defense since Defend is granted by the Phoenix Force. Also, Rocket Raccoon’s Trait (HOW ABOUT “ROCKET RACCOON AND HIS HUMAN HANGERS-ON”?: Friendly characters adjacent to Rocket Raccoon with the Guardians of the Galaxy or Ravagers keyword modify their attack values by +1.) and Damage Special (SMARTEST MAMMAL IN THE D’AST GALAXY: Rocket Raccoon can use Enhancement and Outwit.) also boost Attack and Damage by +1 for whoever’s carrying the lil’ mammal. Now let’s look at Yondu. His Trait (HIGHER GROUND: Yondu can use Energy Shield/Deflection.) gives him a 21 FREAKING DEFENSE AGAINST RANGED ATTACKS (not counting any Hindering bonuses), and his Damage Special is great, too: ONE. LITTLE. WHISTLE.: When making a ranged combat attack against a single target, modify Yondu’s attack by +2.

So, to review: Just by having Yondu carry Rocket, Yondu’s top dial when attacking one opposing character at range becomes (in addition to the fact that he now flies and has Poison) 7 Movement (w/Running Shot), 13 Attack with Precision Strike AND Three Bolt Energy Explosion, 21 Defense (at least) against ranged retaliation and 5 Damage (3 Native Damage + Rocket’s Enhancement + 1 from the Phoenix Force). Annnnnnd you still have Star-Lord waiting in the wings (and if you push him just once, Star-Lord gets Empower, Enhancement and Perplex).

The only real flaw this team has is the lack of Willpower, but if you need to take that second or third action, you can (particularly if the Phoenix Force is still on its first click and the character that’s pushing is adjacent to Rocket, since his Defend would still be tough to overcome.). This team should be a lot of fun to play AND pretty competitive!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–No big Hollywood news this week, but next week will have a Roundup Report on the statuses of Gotham (TV), Superman/Batman: Dawn of Justice (Film) and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)!!

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

Critical Missives:

–Bunch of new articles in the last two weeks since we lasted ‘Rounded Up! We took a look at which pieces in the current Modern Age could replace the Meta staples that have recently gone Golden Age, we did a review of every figure (except those in the Starter) from the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set and, finally, Ninwashui took an in-depth look at Arnim Zola armies!!

–Once again… we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

 

And that’s it for this week!! Look for a review of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Starter Set later this week!!

 

 

 

The AvX Postmortem!! (Or, 4000 Words on Why Cyclops Was Wrong!!)

"Son, unless the category is convoluted character back stories, you gonna lose this one."

“Scott! Unless this conflict is decided by which side has the most convoluted back stories, your X-Men will lose!”

AvX has come and gone, and outside of some Local Tourney Reports and a few article mentions of Scarlet Witch, we really didn’t cover the actual pieces too much. Well, that changes today. Today, we’ll go through the best and the worst pieces and talk about which ones will be relevant in the Meta six months from now and which ones you won’t even pull out to complete a Theme Team. We’ve talked at length before about what the Phoenix Force Resource can do for your squad, so today we’ll focus on the individual characters in this set. Before we begin with the individual spotlights, you should probably be aware that there are (including all the different Team Base Dials) 42 different dials in this set (pretty much every starter fig comes with at least a V and E dial). So it’s actually a bit bigger than most people realize. And with that, we’ll get on to:

 

THE 6 BEST:

"Let's see Elizabeth Olsen pull off this costume!"

“Let’s see Elizabeth Olsen pull off this costume!”

AVX006E Scarlet Witch 100 Points: She’s support in a bottle, with Perplex, Prob and Support all contained in her Damage Special Power. She can virtually eliminate your opponent’s best TA with her Trait (NO MORE MUTANTS: Once per game, give Scarlet Witch a double power action and choose a team ability. Any other character that can use that team ability must roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and if the result is 1 – 5, that character can’t use the chosen team ability for the rest of the game.), which is one of the coolest Traits in the game in terms of function and flavor. Her Defense Special is also one of the best in the game (MYSTICAL WARDS: Scarlet Witch can use Energy Shield/Deflection. When Scarlet Witch is hit with an attack, the roll is ignored and the attacker must roll again. This new roll can’t be rerolled or ignored.), and she has both the Avengers and the Mystics TA on top of that! With a top dial 3 damage with Precision Strike and 8 Range, she’s that rare support piece that’s actually a useful tertiary attacker too! FFCW006R Scarlet Witch and JL52016R Enchantress both offer similar powers for 50 less points, so there hasn’t been an overwhelming need for this Wanda on the Meta scene yet. But with those pieces retiring and with only FFDP006R Mercy available as a replacement in the same point range (it should be noted that War of the Light is bringing us WOL033 Sister Sercy, who has a similar dial to the pieces I mentioned and costs 66 Points; however, her only keyword is Blue Lantern Corps., which means she’d probably break theme on any Meta team she’s included on, since I don’t see Blue Lantern Corps. as being viable in a tournament environment; Map Choice can become so important at that level, so I don’t think she’ll get used a ton, but I guess we’ll see), I wouldn’t be surprised to see people take another look at this Scarlet Witch, since she fills so many role for such a reasonable cost (and has great keywords; Mercy has Thunderbolts and that’s it. That’s better than just having BLC, but it still narrows your build options). And if you play her with the Phoenix Force, you can give her TK, too (with the Emma Fragment).

Cyclops, right before he turned into Magneto. CYCLOPS WAS WRONG!

Cyclops, right before he turned into Magneto. CYCLOPS WAS WRONG!

 AVX009E Cyclops – 100 Points: He has enough offense (Running Shot and 4 top dial damage with an awesome 8 Range and Improved Targeting: Ignores Blocking Terrain and, when he does, blow up that blocking terrain after actions resolve) to be considered a primary attacker, but you get him at secondary attacker prices! He offers a bit of support as well with Outwit and Leadership; as of Watchlist 2, however, he’s lost some of his luster. His defense at this point level is a mere 17 with Toughness and only 5 clicks of life, so he represents a big risk that was greatly mitigated by firing from the other end of the map when used in conjunction with SLOSH048 Tellus. Now that Tellus’s Link Telepathically Trait (LINK TELEPATHICALLY: Friendly characters within 4 squares can draw lines of fire and count range and squares from the square of any one friendly character within 4 squares of Tellus.) only works with other LoSH keyworded figures, I’d expect that this version of Scott Summers is a little to chewy to stay in the ranks of the Meta.

Buuuuuut, having said that, if Cyclops does stick around the tourney scene, it’ll be because of his good buddy Sean Cassidy. We know DP051 Banshee is going to be a Meta piece, and it just so happens that this particular Cyclops makes an awesome running buddy for him. Banshee is 98 points; unlike Scott Summers’s WXM version (94 Points), Cyke here clocks in at an even 100, which means his Leadership can pull tokens off of Banshee (which is huge, since the lack of Indomitable is one of the only drawbacks to playing Banshee). Banshee’s Police TA will help Cyclops’s 10 Attack; Cyclops’s Outwit can counter (even through Blocking Terrain!) opposing Precision Strike or any other ability your opponent might use to get around Sean’s 18 Defense with Super Senses. And they each have the X-Men TA, so they can each heal the other of one damage if there’s a click you just need them to stay on (like Cyke’s Top Dial–or Banshee’s second click). That’s a fairly formidable pair, there, and you still have 102 points left for more X-Men and Resources. Let’s see what that might look like real quick:

Team Name: Ech0-Disintegration

Theme: X-Men

DP051 Banshee98 Points

(Assigned the Colossus Fragment) – 3

AVX009E Cyclops100

(Assigned the Cyclops Fragment) – 3

WXM204 Shadowcat70

(Assigned the Magik Fragment) – 3

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

3x Assigned Characters – 9

= 298 

As described above, this team is designed for all sorts of synergistic shenanigans between Banshee and Cyclops. If you win Map Roll, you want something with a lot of Elevated, Hindering AND Blocking Terrain. Wundagore Mountain is just one example of a map that should work for you, with a top level of elevation that also has plenty of walls for Cyclops to blow through. There’s several from FEAR ITSELF that will work just fine too. Also, with the Phoenix Force and this setup, Banshee has an 18 Defense with Super Senses and Invuln–not too shabby. If your opponent has any bystander tokens (likely if it’s a Hammer team) or any figure that you think you can pick off early, it’s in your best interest to do so. Once you either roll doubles and hit or KO an opposing character with an attack, the Phoenix dial turns to Click 2, where all of your team would get Force Blast, +1 to their Attack, ES/D AND Perplex!! Shadowcat is simply there to Carry Cyclops if need be and to keep Incapping M10 Iron Man if he ever shows his face–plus she’s a great Outwit source and tie-up piece.

"I assure you, that WAS your card!"

“I assure you, that WAS your card!”

AVX008 Professor X – 150 Points: The main reason I have Xavier on here is his awesome Movement Special (I CAN’T LET YOU DO THIS: Professor X can use Mind Control and is not dealt unavoidable damage from it. Opposing characters within range must be given double power actions instead of power actions.). Giving opposing figs 2 chips instead of one, or just plain preventing them from doing what they want in the first place is a great power. In effect it is similar to Mokk’s main Trait from Fear Itself (ADVANCED PETRIFICATION: Opposing characters with a lower point value within 4 squares of Mokk can’t be given non-free actions if they already have one action token.), except the good Professor here only stops power actions. On the surface, Xavier’s power may not seem quite as good, but the Prof doesn’t care about other characters point cost, if effective out to 8 squares instead of 4… and–oh yeah!–he gives you that stopping power for 90 less points!! And he comes with both the Avengers and X-Men keywords (and can attach to either base!). Lot to like here.

150 Points is too much for a non-Primary attacker in 300 Point Meta games, but if you find yourself in a 400 Point tourney (or more), he’s a strong choice. In AvX months three and four, he showed up quite a bit, and for good reason (or REASONS, as we just discussed above!).

"Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!"

“Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!”

AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer125 Points: His Trait is fine if you’re pairing him with Iron Fist or Shang-Chi (TEACHER & PUPIL: During the beginning of your turn, give Lei-Kung the Thunderer a free action and choose a friendly character within 3 squares, with the Martial Artist keyword, and with a lower point value. The chosen character may modify either their attack or defense value by +1 until your next turn.), but his special Movement and Damage powers are what make him really efficient, giving him Charge, Flurry, Plasticity and a special version of Quake that gives hit characters action tokens.

Let’s take a look at another Flash Build with Lei-Kung!

Team Name: Thunderer Cats!!

Theme: Martial Artist

AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer100 Points

DP047B The Cat81

(w/ Complete Utility Belt) –14

DOFP009 Nightcrawler86

=300 

Martial Artist teams are in a weird spot right now. With the new Theme Team rules, they don’t really have any easy access to Probability Control. They’ve actually got a few pretty decent Taxi options now, however, which used to be an issue. I’ve gone with Nightcrawler because he’s so hard to hit AND can make a Close Combat attack if he carries someone 6 squares or less. The Cat is quite dangerous on his own, but he’s especially deadly with the Belt, and if you keep him close to Lei-Kung, you can pump his Attack to 13 or his Defense to 18, depending on the situation. And then, of course, Lei-Kung himself can come and bring the Thunder (read: action tokens) to break up any of your opponent’s formations. If you can win Map Roll and find a map with enough hiding spots (Hindering Terrain), you’d have a good chance of getting to your opponent before he can get too many shots off at your team. Alternatively, if you wanted to use the Phoenix Force, you could sub in Colleen Wing for The Cat.

"I am the Lord... of this hollowed out rubble!"

“I am the Lord… of this hollowed out rubble!”

AVX014 Magneto200 Points: Again, an awesome Trait (ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THIS, SCOTT?: Magneto can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Telekinesis. During the beginning of your turn, if Magneto has two action tokens, he can use Telekinesis as a free action, but may only use it to place friendly characters.) that makes him so hard to hit with a ranged attack (plop him in Hindering and it’s a 21 to hit for most characters!), especially now that Chaos War Hawkeye is rotating out in 3 weeks. Invincible means that even if you hit him, you’re not doing much damage, and after his top dial 4 damage he stays at 3 for most of the rest of his dial and even picks up Outwit. Rare was the X-Men team I played against during AvX that didn’t feature Magneto. He’s not 300 Points Meta, but in 400 or more, he should get a lot of consideration.

"Wait, is it safe for Thor to channel lightning this close to Iron Man's suit?"

“Wait, is it safe for Thor to channel lightning this close to Iron Man’s suit?”

AVXT001R Avengers200 Points: Their attack value is looooooow (9 to start though, like Spinal Tap’s amps, eventually it goes to 11–I’ll steal the .gif Ninwashui found for his last article to illustrate that).

This is actually what it looks like to turn a Green Lantern ring up to 11...

They have top dial Perplex and Running Shot with 3 Bolts, but otherwise, every power you would want them to have they get down dial. So patience is a key. But the real reason they’re here in the Top 5 Best instead of the Top 5 Worst is because they can get just about EVERY power under the sun via the Asset Dial depending on which Avengers roster you choose to field.

Just look at these Team Base powers:

AVX001 Captain America: This team character can use Combat Reflexes and Defend.

AVX002 Iron Man: This team character can use Perplex. When they do and Black Panther is also attached, you may modify an opposing character’s combat value by -2 instead.

AVX003 Thor: This team character can use Energy Explosion.

AVX004 Spider-Man: This team character can use Super Senses.

AVX005 Wolverine: This team character Blades/Claws/Fangs and Regeneration.

AVX006 Scarlet Witch: This team character can use Probability Control.

AVX007 Black Panther: This team character can use Outwit. When they do and Iron Man is also attached, you may counter a team ability as if it were a power.

AVX008 Professor X: When this team character uses Solo Adventure to place Professor X on the map, he may immediately use Mind Control as a free action.

AVX016 Hope Summers: Give this team character a free action and choose the asset ability of any character that could be attached to the team base but isn’t. This team character can use that asset ability until your next turn.

DP015 Daredevil: This team character ignores opposing characters’ Stealth.

DP019 Deadpool: When this team character is attached, opposing characters can’t use the Avengers or X-Men team abilities.

DP033 Red Hulk: This team character can use Poison. They can use it normally, or damage dealt from it can be penetrating damage. If damage dealt from Poison is penetrating damage, at the end of your turn you must roll the d6 and turn the asset dial that many times clockwise.

That is a WIDE array of choices, and you can put them in whatever order you choose! This team base offers the most customization of any 200 point character in the game! The X-Men Team Base is also good at the same point level; I just prefer the (at least currently) superior variety of the Avengers abilities.

Turbo from Go-Bots, twenty years past his prime and with a heavy drinking problem...

Turbo from Go-Bots, twenty years past his prime and with a heavy drinking problem…

AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man175 Points: People made a lot of noise at first about how “narrow” his Trait was in terms of characters he could actually deal penetrating damage to (HERE GOES NUTHIN’: Phoenixbuster Iron Man’s attacks deal penetrating damage if the target character is assigned a relic or a resource or possesses any of the following: “Giant damage symbol”, “Colossal damage symbol”, the Power Cosmic team ability, the Cosmic or Phoenix Force keyword, or the word Phoenix in its name as a separate word.), but I actually think his Trait is great! First, if you’re playing a ROC event or even a local tourney, unless Relics and Resources are banned, lotsa folks are gonna be playing them, and most (pretty much all of them except the Utility Belt, Penguin and the Bat Cave, although, to be honest, I forgot how the Bat Cave even works since it’s so rarely played…) affect either the entire team or a good portion of it. Second, even if you’re opponent isn’t playing a Relic or Resource, the “Cosmic” keyword is more prevalent then ever, considering we just saw DC Heroclix get a space-based set in SLoSH (11 characters with the Cosmic keyword, including Highfather), they’re about to get another one in War of the Light, and Marvel’s about to get a couple in the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie set along with the Guardians of the Galaxy set proper!

Third… his dial is actually really good! Running Shot with 10 Movement and a 10 Range means he can swing 15 squares in a single attack. That’s pretty damn good. Top dial 11 Attack with Pulse Wave is also pretty nasty. Let’s take a look at what Tony can do for you:

Team Name: Busted Lips

Theme: Armor

AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man175 Points

(w/ Secret Avengers ATA) – 5

FI301 Splitlip20 

IIM015 Tony Stark70

FIB018 Store Clerk3

FIR100 Book of the Skull6

(w/ 7 Hammers) – 21

 =300 (Exactly! Yay!)

So, this is probably a pretty obvious build, but you Hammer up Tony Stark and Phoenixbuster Iron Man as quick as possible with Splitlip’s ability, then you start going to town. Tony Stark should only need a 6 at that point to Mind Control–well, himself, really. Then you try and destroy your opponent’s best figure with a couple doses of Running Shot/Pulse Wave via a 13 Attack (with a Hammer) and 10 Range! Yes, this is a variation on Ninwashui’s Tony Stark/Iron Pharaoh team from a few months ago. And that’s fine, cuz it’s not a bad idea at all, especially with a fig that has a chance to do penetrating damage each time he attacks! Remember, even if his Trait doesn’t help you, PB Iron Man still has Pulse Wave for 4 Clicks and Pen/Psy for his last three–you’ll have chances to get damage through, I promise you.

 

And we're sure she's not talking about the source of her marital problems with Bill?

And we’re sure she’s not talking about the source of her marital problems with Bill?

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

AVX003R Thor100 Points: Great scuplt with a great Trait (CALL THE STORM & TEAR OPEN THE SKY: Thor can use Super Strength. When Thor targets and hits more than 1 opposing character with an attack, targets of the attack are dealt penetrating damage.) that really makes him into a sort of mini-Phoenixbuster Iron Man. For 75 less points.

AVX004 Spider-Man125 Points: Extremely effective for his points, and definitely worth fielding depending on the build. He’d be the best Spidey out there if WizKids hadn’t just released DP060 Superior Spider-Man, who is an absolute beast.

 -AVX007 Black Panther100 Points: A Swiss Army knife of close combat abilities, T’Challa’s Damage Special Power (KING OF WAKANDA: Black Panther can use Empower, Leadership, and Outwit. When he uses Leadership and the result is 6, in addition to the normal effects he may remove an action token from himself.) makes him another “support in a bottle” type of character, only he can deal some melee damage as well. He actually makes a great teammate for the previously discussed AVX006E Scarlet Witch because of his Trait (YOU DON’T GET TO GIVE UP: Once during your turn, another friendly character within 4 squares that shares a keyword with Black Panther can use Willpower.), which allows Wanda to use her “No More Mutants” Trait without taking pushing damage. Wild Card TA, top dial Stealth, the ability to ignore Hindering Terrain and Characters while moving and a bevy of good keywords (Avengers, Illuminati, Scientist, etc.) make him a solid choice for a bunch of different builds. He’s probably the best Panther they’ve ever made, although AV024 Black Panther from Avengers is close.

-AVXG001 Dark Phoenix Cyclops1000 Points: If 1000 Point tourneys were more common, this dial would have made the Top 6. He’s insane for his points (mostly because of his Special Pulse Wave, which can hit multiple characters for up to 5 damage the first time it appears on his dial), but he’ll rarely see play because most venues only do large enough builds for him every 3 months or so. Incidentally, Cyke’s 300 Point dial actually made a Top 16 at a ROC recently, but didn’t go any further because it’s too easy for him to get out-actioned at that point level. Still, all three of his dials are solid, and he’s a rare piece that you need to be aware of in Epic games.

The Sculpted Facepalm.

The Sculpted Facepalm.

THE 4 WORST!!

And finally, a few mentions about the pieces I think should be avoided… AT ALL COSTS!

A visual comparison of IIM001AE Iron Man and AVX002 Iron Man.

A visual comparison of IIM001AE Iron Man and AVX002 Iron Man.

AVX002 Iron Man150 Points: The worst Modern Age Iron Man, this exercise in frustration only saw play in AvX from those desperate souls who fielded him in Month 1 hoping to take advantage of his Trait (ENHANCED REPULSORS: All of Iron Man’s attacks generate knock back.) on a map that featured a mountain in the middle. Which was fine, except that you better hope you win Map Roll and that your opponent decides that it’s a good idea to engage you on the top of said mountain. Even then, you still have to actually hit, which–with a dial that sports only a few 10’s and 9’s for Attack Value–might be fairly difficult. His Damage Special is just annoying (INVENTING ON THE FLY: Once per turn, Iron Man can use Outwit or Perplex.) since it’s an either/or proposition AND it doesn’t appear top dial. Just compare what you get here with what you get with IIM001AE Iron Man for the exact same amount of points. It’s not even close. One final note: His keywords suck (No Stark Industries? Really?!).

"Uh, sure, Illyana, you, uh, you definitely made the list."

“Uh, sure, Illyana, you, uh, you definitely made the list.”

AVX013E Magik75 Points: She looks like she should be really good. She’s got a cool sculpt, 2 Team Abilities (Mystics and X-Men) and a vast array of powers like top dial TK, ES/D and a Special Movement Power that lets her deal penetrating damage to characters with the Mystical keyword. All backed up by her Taxi Trait (TELEPORTATION DISKS: Give Magik a power action and choose an adjacent character. Place Magik in any square within range, place the chosen character in an adjacent square, and roll a d6. On a result of 1-4, the chosen character can’t be given a non-free action until your next turn.). So why is she on this list?

Let’s start with her Trait. It’s basically a very fancy way of saying “I can carry someone 5 squares.” Yes, one third of the time, you might be able to do something after that, and she’s not restricted by any symbols or the size of the base of the chosen character, so her Trait is slightly useful from that regard. But if you’re not playing her with a Colossal or peanut base fig, or having her carry a flier or something like that, then she’s pretty useless as a Taxi service with a route of only 5 squares (Ironically, one of the best figures for her to carry would probably be Phoenixbuster Iron Man, who would then have a 33% chance to make a Running Shot that would cover another 15 squares for a 20 square swing).

Well, what about her Movement Special? All of her attacks deal penetrating damage to other Mystical characters! Okay, that’s fine–certainly a popular keyword. But in this era of Power Creep, somehow Magik got stuck with a bunch of 9’s and 8’s for her Attack Values like she’s straight out of Infinity Challenge or something. Which makes her B/C/F and–to a slightly lesser extent–Pulse Wave almost useless. Ah, but she’s got top dial TK! Lots of people played 75 Point FFCW006 Scarlet Witch just for her top dial TK! Well, that’s not nearly the only reason they played her, but if you’re using Magik’s TK, then her Trait is really useless, isn’t it? Neither is a free action, which means you can only choose one or the other. Which means you’re paying “Taxi” points twice for her.

Basically, for almost everything she does, there are better options. Oh, and if you thought Iron Man’s keywords sucked, you should probably know that he looks like DP101 Deadpool compared to Magik (X-Men, Mystical and–wait, that’s it.)

Build your army around Hope Summers and you'll end up in a corner with your head down too.

Build your army around Hope Summers and you’ll end up in a corner with your head down too.

AVX016 Hope Summers122 Points: Her Trait makes her interesting (POWER MIMIC: Give Hope Summers a free action. Choose a standard power possessed by any character within 4 squares. Hope Summers can use that power until your next turn as if she had a range value of 6.); her point cost makes her almost unusable. For 3 more points, I’ll take Lei-Kung every time. The only reason she’s a must own is because she has the best Asset Dial power for both Team Bases (see above).

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

AVX101 Cable124 Points: The same issues as his sister, although they both get slightly better when played together (although not nearly better enough to, y’know, ACTUALLY PLAY THEM TOGETHER). If you know you’re gonna play against some Avengers, he’s passable. Now that AvX is over, however, I don’t see him being useful in life.

 

Okay, that’s just about everything I can think to say about AvX! Thanks for checking out the AvX Postmortem! Back Monday for the Weekly Roundup!! Until then, as always, stay safe and watch those lines of fire!

 

 

 

 

 

ROC’ing the Meta… Just like Shuma-Gorath Did!! (Or, A Look at the Top Pieces for ROC Super Qualifiers!!)

Welcome Back!

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

Can you smell what the ROCK is cooking?


 

So I’ve continually talked about how the ROC’s are great source of information for the current Meta. Well, on a whim (and somehow finding myself with some rare time to kill) I decided I should tally up all of the Top 4 finishing teams from the entire history of the ROC to see who the Top 10 most popular figures are. Why? Well, if you’re thinking of entering a ROC tourney near you, this might give you an idea of which army you want to build; but even if this doesn’t give you an idea of what to play, it should (perhaps even more importantly) give an idea of what you’ll be facing in the finals if you make the Top 16.

Welcome... to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that's prolly not my last).

Welcome… to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that’s prolly not my last).

For the record, there are 21 tournament results posted. Four teams from each would be 84 team results to work with, but one tournament only posted the top two teams. All of which means that I’m pulling data from 82 Top 4 teams total.

In the interest of total transparency, the picture below should illuminate the primary methodology I used to determine the following results.

"Me calculating the ROC results for my article. Damn, I'm a handsome beast!"

Showing my work.

Before getting to the actual figures, here are the ranks for the most popular:

Resources

Resources:

1. FIR100C The Book of the Skull
2. NMLR100C Utility Belt
3. IIMR100C Power Plant
4. AVXR100 The Phoenix Force
5. IGR101C Infinity Gauntlet

The Book of the Skull is my favorite Resource, so this pleased me. HypeFox is more of a Phoenix Force or Infinity Gauntlet guy.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the nonexistent Great Lakes Avengers Team Base.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the Great Lakes Avengers Team Base. Which is not a real thing. Better luck next time, Fairchild!

Team Bases:

1. WXMT004 New Mutants
Tied for 2nd. TTT002R Justice League, WXMT001E X-Men: Blue Strike Force, WXMT006 Hellfire Club: Inner Circle

No other team bases have made a Top 4 table, which surprised me. Would have thought Trinity of Sin would have shown up at some point.

Bystander

Bystander Tokens:

1. FIH002 Warbot (Rocket)
2. FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot
3. FIB003 Damaged Warbot
4. FIB005 Super Fan
5. FIB018 Store Clerk

Skadi’s Warbot coming in second is the upset here.

And now without further ado here’s…

ROC

The Top 10 Figures of the ROC.

Tied for 10th place. WXM023B Cerise – Cerise is the only representative from the Wolverine and the Xmen set and one of only 2 primes to make the list. She arguably would have made it even higher on this list except for popularity of the other prime and the fact that they can’t be played together. For 60 points, she’s one of the most efficient Soldier and Police keyworded figs around.

Tied for 10th place. SLOSH008 Phantom Girl – When Phantom Girl phases through opposing characters she gets to target one of them with a close combat action. Every other figure with a similar power gets a close combat attack (like all those characters with hypersonic speed). The fact that she gets a close combat action gives her unique ability to use the bat belt and NMLR106 Handcuffs to handicap opposing figures. From SLOSH039 Bizarro to WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath, she can wrap them up tight.

Tied for 10th place. IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC) – This blog has done plenty to hype this piece (here and here) so it’s inclusion on this list is no surprise. What is surprising is that no other piece from the Invincible Iron Man set made this list.

Tied for 10th place. GG026 Mole Man – How did this make the list? WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath is the biggest reason. He is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made DP043 Black Talon as his replacement.

9th place. JL52016R Enchantress – The 2nd best way to spend 50 points in modern. She is not only support, but a decent secondary attacker as well. Especially with a resource.

8th place. SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor – The best of the Chases from SLOSH. Lydea is one part Out-of-the-Shadows Batman and one part relic stealing Cat Woman. Her Regen stop click at the end of her dial is just icing on the cake.

7th place. M10A009E Iron Man – If you absolutely know your opponents are playing a resource, then this is their kryptonite. His dial is very efficient for it’s cost, but his trait is the only reason people ever play him.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SOGV003A GCPD Motorcycle (Autopilot) – This is never played without the GCPD ATA. If you’ve played this without the GCPD ATA, you did it wrong! Combined the cycle and ATA allow to carry two characters regardless of stat symbols 4 squares a turn as a few action. That police motorcycle is a steal for it’s point cost.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SLOSH039 Bizarro – HypeFox once told that this should be my favorite character in the whole game. I love stop clicks and for this guy every click is a stop click. Depending on point value this is the toughest character ever made.

4th place. FFCW006 Scarlet Witch – She very similar to JL52016R Enchantress, but slightly better. She’s been a popular piece to play when she was first introduced due to her combination of perplex, probability control, and barrier on the same character. She is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made FFDP006R Mercy as her replacement.

3rd place. GG014 Astral Dr. Strange – This is a great way to spend 13 points. The free move definitely puts it over the top. However, a lot of the play this piece has seen lately is with SLOSH048 Tellus. The combo is free move this 13 point figure into range and then have your whole team shoot through it. On your opponent’s turn the only thing in range is this 13 point figure.

2nd place. ASM017B Brother Voodoo – Brother Voodoo is the most popular prime character to date. He’s also my pick for most powerful character (for the points) ever. He’s made the top teams from the very first ROC all the way through the most current one. It seems like a lot of top 4 teams start with Brother Voodoo and fill in the rest from there. Think about this-of the 82 published top 4 ROC teams, this character was on 24 of them (EDITOR’S NOTE: DAAAAAMMMMN)!

1st place. FI301 Splitlip – With 25 total top 4 ROC appearances it’s the most popular figure. How did it get there? Of all of the teams I looked at that used the book of the skulls, all of them included Splitlip. There are a few teams out there that played him without the book, but no one played the book without him. The fact that he’s the cheapest source of enhancement in modern shouldn’t be forgotten either.

So there you go! If you go to a ROC, expect to see some–if not most–of these characters across the board from you.  Thanks for reading.

And keep on ROC'ing! Okay, that was my last pun...

And keep on ROC’ing! Okay, that was my last pun…

 

Let’s Not Make This Harder Than It Has to Be!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 05/04/2014)

Roundup

Hmmm… don’t know why I keep dating these Roundups for Sundays when I keep releasing them on Tuesday. Just one of the many quirks of Critical Missives (seriously, though, I’m working on it!), I guess, as is naming this week’s column after the hook from an infectiously ear-wormy Ingrid Michaelson song that I can’t #^#)^$#^ get out of my head. Grrrrr…

Still, it’s been a good week for Southeastern Michiganders! The weather finally seems to be breaking towards an actual Spring, and my Tigers seem to have solved their bullpen issues rather simply–they just have all of their starting pitchers go 7 strong innings and score so many damn runs that it becomes physically impossible for the relievers to cough up the lead in the short amount of time they have to pitch. Mind you, they still try REALLY FREAKING hard to give it up, but this past week they just haven’t had enough time to get it done. Luckily.

Now, you might be thinking, the Tigers have won like 6 games in a row–how bad could their bullpen be? Well, despite the fact that they traded an All-Star-level pitcher who was still under club control in the off-season (Doug Fister) for a pair of tube socks and a bat bag just to save a few million bucks, they just turned around and spent a cool million on a dude whose arm fell off last year… and he’ll be the second best pitcher in the bullpen ASSUMING HE’S EVER HEALTHY ENOUGH TO JOIN THE TEAM THIS SEASON. I know a million is not a lot of money in the world of baseball salaries, but to call this a “flyer” might be generous at best. “Desperation” is a word that comes more readily to mind. Keep in mind, when you search for images of Joel Hanrahan with his most recent team before the Tigers, this is one of the first images that pops up:

"You're not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel."

“You’re not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel.”

Former skipper Jim Leyland is not impressed, either:

"Nope."

“Nope.”

(Okay, I just wanted an excuse to run my favorite Leyland picture–sue me!)

But enough moaning about my favorite baseball team–this is a Heroclix blog, ain’t it? Well of course it is, so that means it’s gotta be time for…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has released Episode 43! This week the guys discuss more of the spoiled War of the Light dials (from Newsarama–Red Lanterns this time, and man do they look nasty!) and discuss the best of the Yu-Gi-Oh figs that were just released. Also, the first week for the May Dial Design has come and gone, and May’s Best Build page just opened up!

Clixcast

ClixCast is still dark. According to their iTunes feed, their last podcast was still February 18th. Sadly, it appears that they may have gone the way of Duo Attack, so this will probably be their last appearance here in the Podcast section until something changes.

Push to Regen

–Apparently delayed due to Easter, Push to Regen is back with the second episode of Season 2! Among other things, they discuss the Con Exclusive figs for this year and talk about War of the Light. Check their Podbean for updates!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 17! Roundtable discussion with Patrick Yapjoco on the Hanford SQ and the Iowa SQ. Ultimate Play just keeps rolling on, b!tches!

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–Up to date upcoming tourney listings, which you can find right HERE!

–Recent tourney results seem to indicate that some of the peeps in Metaland are trying to make Experienced M10 Iron Man happen again. I have to admit that I thought his day had come and gone, but between him, Phantom Girl and Lydea Mallor, players fielding resources are putting themselves at some risk now. Not enough to not play them, in my opinion, but it’s becoming very clear now that if you’re going to compete in a ROC, you had better choose the right resource for the force you’ve constructed and–moreover–you better have a backup plan for if and when you face M10 or Lydea, cuz either one can ruin you’re day real quick if you’re not properly prepared. I don’t know what the best counter to M10 is right now, but you have a few options even if you still want to play a resource. Choosing the Phoenix Force, Outwitting his defense and basing him with your Shard-granted Poison seems like the easiest way to do it (since it would give you another way each turn to force your opponent into that 50/50 unavoidable damage d6), but there’s probably a bunch of other options as well. Outwit plus a free Hammer Quake from the Book might be another way to go, as well. I guess Outwit is the key to all these strategies, eh? All you really have to do is 2 damage and the lil’ bugger goes down to a 9 Attack and 16 Defense with Invuln.

Preview

Previews:

-New War of the Light dials seem to go up every day–Newsarama is a good place to look, but eventually all that info filters down to HCRealms, so you can always check their Units page. Too many to comment on here, but so far, most look like a lot of fun, even if they’re not quite Meta-worthy–although the Red Lanterns certainly have potential. But just how many Primes are in this set? And Chases–Gawd, Chases are gonna run $100 easy, given how hot and scarce this set is gonna be. Btw, Jerry Seinfeld wanted to pop back into this column after a few weeks away with a special message for all the ‘Clixers out there looking to collect the whole set:

Seinfeld Good Luck

-Well, after Banshee was spoiled last week, I’m not sure we even need to see any other Deadpool figures–Shaun Cassidy is probably going to be the biggest addition to the Meta from that set. He’s definitely an early contender for #1 in our upcoming Deadpool Top Ten columns. Having said that, there’s plenty of cool figures from this set on display in a brand new Unboxing video featuring Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights and what I’m told is a CW show called Heart of Dixie. He’ll always be Jason Street in my mind, but if you want to see him unbox a whole brick of Deadpool, click HERE! He’s clearly a big Heroclix fan (the funnest part of the video might have been ogling all his “trophy” figs on display behind him). SPOILER ALERT: Don’t watch the first few minutes of the video if you don’t want to know what the Chase theme is going to be–he pulls one out of the second pack (I can tell you that the Chases will all have the Gold bases that the Chaos War Chases used–they look pretty cool. He also discovers a special secret about them that I hadn’t seen guessed before in any of the various Clix forums… these could get really expensive really quickly too.)

This is NOT a spoiler!

This is NOT a spoiler!

–The other figure spoiled this week that will make AvX X-Men players cry is Moira MacTaggert. She’s a 28-Point Scientist with the X-Men keyword who shuts down the Capture ability (i.e. slightly nerfs the new Sentinels) and–oh yeah–is going to be (arguably) the BEST FREAKING MEDIC IN THE GAME! Heh. Good job delaying her, WizKids! As an Avengers player, I’d rather not have to deal with their version of Donald Blake (hell, their BETTER version of Donald Blake at that!). In addition to her starting Willpower and 11 Attack Support, she also gets Perplex down dial (she’s only 4 clix long), but c’mon–she’s 28-Points! Methinks Moira may see some Meta use.

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Entertainment News:

–Some point soon, I’m going to publish an episode guide for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so peeps can catch up if they tapped out earlier in the season. They’ve had a STRONG back half of episodes! Hopefully ABC announces a second season pickup soon (with the ratings being what they are, it’s actually weird that they haven’t announced a renewal already, but I guess ABC is waiting for the upfronts for that).

–That “Smallville” treatment of Bruce Wayne I’ve been updating you guys on? It just got ordered to series by FOX, so this one’s going to go. Intriguing cast. We’ll see if it works. I’d bet dollars to donuts that it won’t tie into either “Arrow” or the about-to-film “Superman Vs. Batman,” but it’s not entirely clear at this point. History will tell you though that while Marvel has gone to great links to establish shared universes with it’s filmed entertainment ventures (even back as far as the 80’s–remember those TV Hulk movies where Daredevil and Thor showed up?), DC (read: Warner Brothers) has gone to great lengths to SEPARATE their heroes into distinct, solo film ventures. Of course, now that Marvel’s way has proven WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more lucrative, DC is trying to throw together a Justice League movie that would essentially be the sequel to SvB. We’ll see how it goes. As a fanboy, I’m extremely excited. As a person who was entertained but kinda/sorta underwhelmed by “Man of Steel,” I remain skeptical (why in God’s name was Lois Lane–a reporter for a Metropolis newspaper–tooling around Antarctica strong-arming Generals into showing her secret military bases and classified alien ships? And thank God she was an expert at scaling icy metallic surfaces while wearing a flimsy pair of townie boots and a parka… I don’t want to rant too much on this since this is still technically a parenthetical, but Lois Lane shouldn’t have shown up in that movie until those last scenes when Clark shows up for his first day of work at the Daily Planet. Imagine if no one knew that Amy Adams had even been cast and then she shows up suddenly at the end, Sam Jackson style–people would have loved it, and they’d look forward to seeing her in the sequel. Perhaps more importantly, this would have excised pretty much every shitty scene in that movie. Lois Lane isn’t a bad character–she’s one of the coolest women in comics, actually. But shoehorning her into the plot as early as they did added nothing to the story and actually sort of damaged the whole suspension-of-disbelief pact that every movie makes with its audience. Grrrrr…. End of rant).

Critical Missives:

–Just one new article last week, which was Ninwashui’s Local Tournament Report from AvX Month Three. Some nice analysis by Ninwa in there. Check it out if you’re looking for more AvX strategy and analysis.

Back later this week with some more Build columns and–in the next few weeks–that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode Guide.

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

By your powers combined, I am… the Phoenix! (Or the Build 4/23/2014)

Hmm... 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

Hmm… 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

 

Greetings true believers. (Stan Lee stole that from me.) This weeks “article” revolves around different team ideas I’m considering for this month’s AvX tournament at my local venue and copyright infringement. By which I mean, hopefully, the armies below might give you a good idea for your next tournament.

Now on with the show. (Wow that was a cool phrase. I’m an originator.)

The Format: AvX Month 3. 500 Points. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops). If you need to know what they do look them up on HCrealms. If I told you that would take literally all the time I have to write the rest of this article. It’s not simple or easy to describe.

The Phoenix Force Resource: Through careful analysis, HypeFox and I have determined the best way to use the resource with the pieces we have. It’s the resource itself (12 points), all three fragments (3*3 = 9 points), and 2 assigned characters (2*3 = 6 points). That’s 27 total points. Why do it that way? Because if you leave the Colossus fragment on the resource the 2 assigned people get un-outwit-able (EDITOR’S NOTE: Just say “Unoutwittable.” There! I made it a word now! No more reaching for the “-” key!) poison, flight, and invulnerability! It’s the Invulnerability that makes it all worth it. There have been a lot of clix that are considered very good because of an of un-outwit-able defense on otherwise decent dials. For example SM058 Kal. This means that I have the Namor fragment (which grants nothing useful) and the Cyclops fragment (which grants RCE) to assign to each team I list below. I am also going to note this configuration of the phoenix force resource as “Standard Phoenix Force Resource“.

Now on with the teams!

 

Team 1: TK for the win.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

The key to success with this team are the proper uses of the TK power and Legions trait. Legion was assigned the RCE fragment so that he can make a strong attack before using his trait to select a new power. That way you can avoid having your ranged attack canceled by rolling battle fury or the -2 to attack emotions. He also gets Invulnerability over all seven clicks to cover defense. That means you should be free to chose a good supporting (Perplex, Outwit, Probability Control), or healing (Regeneration, Support) power. You may have to choose a power (like Running Shot) before you make a successful attack, but want to avoid doing that as much as possible. That’s where Magneto’s TK comes in handy. If you can attack with him first and add a second token then he can TK Legion into battle and let Legion attack without having to use his trait. Remember also that even though all of your character’s fly, Legion can choose to gain Earthbound via his trait and then be carried.

To start the battle have Magneto, Phoenix, and Legion arranged in a straight horizontal line with Legion in the middle. Try to have no tokens on Legion and on one Magneto. If your opponent gets the drop on you then have Legion gain Support on your next turn via his trait and heal up your injured guys. If you get a chance at an opening shot, use Legion to TK Magneto into battle and have Magneto use Running Shot and Pulse Wave. If that’s a second token for Magneto have him use TK to pull a teammate up into battle. If you use TK on Phoenix, she can then use Running Shot and her 8 range to hit almost anywhere on the board. You could also pull Legion up to Magneto in case you need to use Support next turn.

 

Team 2: Revenge of the Nerfed X-Force.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM042 Fantomex

WXM041 Spiral (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM018 Sunspot (With Namor Fragment)

AVX005R Wolverine

WXM010 Shatterstar

Total = 499 Points

I made an entire Revenge of the Nerfed article about the strategies for this team. You shouldn’t need any more explanation than that.

 

Team 3: I finally get to use Iron/Man Iron Patriot.

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force

AVXR101 Fragment – Cyclops

AVXR102 Fragment – Namor

AVXR100X Assigned Character

AVXR100X Assigned Character

IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot (With Cyclops Fragment)

AVX012 Colossus (With Namor Fragment)

Total = 499 Points

Note that this team couldn’t quite fit in the Standard Phoenix Force Resource configuration. (1 point too much) I’ve been looking for a good way to use IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot and this might be it. This team is pretty straightforward with a couple interesting synergies. First, when using a duo attack IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot has a trait that says they get a standard attack and a ranged combat action. With their existing dial that didn’t mean too much, but add the Cyclops fragment to them and that ranged combat action is now RCE. The second interesting synergy is that both pieces in this army have 18 defense with defend. That means that while they are standing together they will each have 18 defense until after your opponent has damaged both of them.

 

Team 4: A balanced team.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM046 Warlock (With Namor Fragment)

 AVX009 Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM209 Jean Grey

M10A007 Storm

Total = 500 Points

The Idea here is simple. Warlock consistently uses his Perplex on himself to give himself 20 defense. That along with his Shape Change and Invulnerability should keep him safe as he makes a hell of a distraction for the other team up close by using Pulse Wave and Poison. Everyone else uses Jean Grey’s Enhancement to take good sized pot shots from range.

 

Team 5: The Dune Buggy of Death.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX012 Colossus(With Namor Fragment)

WXM046 Warlock (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM033 Forge

WXM017 Jean Grey

Total = 496 Points

  • Step 1: choose Steal Energy or Precision Strike with Warlock’s “ANY SHAPE FOR ANY OCCASION” power.
  • Step 2: use Jean Grey to TK Warlock to a vertical axis containing multiple members of the opposing team within the next 11 squares. Elevated, hindering, and outdoor blocking terrain don’t matter because Warlock gets flying from the Phoenix force. If you’re indoors use Colossus to clear the walls away.
  • Step 3: transform to vehicle.
  • Step 4: Walk Forge and Colossus up to Warlock so they can be carried.
  • Step 5: Use the Perplex from Forge and Warlock to add to Warlock’s attack by 2 and his damage by 1. (you don’t want to miss)
  • Step 6: Ram! Move straight forward 11 spaces and make 1 close combat attack roll targeting everyone you pass through. Every hit person takes 5 damage!

When it’s your opponent’s turn Colossus’s 18 defend and Forge’s healing should be enough to protect Warlock from your opponents counterattack.

 

What will I play: It depends on several factors. I’m probably leaning most towards team 1 and 4. But if I sense an Iron Pharaoh, then I’ll go with team 2. Team 3 is probably more of a fun team. Team 5 would have worked as a complete surprise, but Hypefox is going to read this article before the tournament. I’ll post a my results in a week. Until then, “You stay classy San Diego.” (I swear that’s totally my phase.)

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

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

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

Well Hello there!

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

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

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

Who benefits?

Who benefits?

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

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

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

Let’s start with some…

4-Star Figures!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

IIM042 Iron Doom (IIM Super Rare) — 200 Points

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

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

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

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

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

Team Name: No Escaping Your DOOM!!

IIM042 Iron Doom

IM3006 Tony Stark

FI301 Splitlip

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

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

=300 Points

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

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

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

“I’m not a 5-star figure, eh?”

AVX006E Scarlet Witch (Starter Set) — 100 Points

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

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

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

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

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

AVX006E Scarlet Witch

IIM040 Shaman

FI007 Iron Fist

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

Cyclops Fragment

Colossus Fragment

Emma Frost Fragment

=299 Points

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

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

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

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

 

Alright, now let’s look at some…

5-Star Figures!

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

First up is…

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

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

AVM211 Loki (Chase) — 220 Points

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

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

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

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

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

Seinfeld Good Luck

 

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

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

AVM011 Loki

FI027 The Serpent

FI301 Splitlip

FI002 Asgardian Troll

The Phoenix Force

2 Assigned Characters

All Five Fragments

=398 Points

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow

 CATWS011 Maria Hill

AVM206 Agent Coulson

CATWSH001 SHIELD Support

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

All 5 Fragments

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

=292

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

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

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

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

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

Triple Facepalm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, you know, at least I almost did!

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

The Build 2, Part 2!! (Or, The Results Are In!!)

Let's... GET IT ON!

Let’s… GET IT ON! For REALS this time!

 

Okay! So… that happened!

Click here if you need to be refreshed on the game type and stipulations! Once you’re caught up, head right back here, cuz the results… are in!

 

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil' older version of ol' Shellhead...

Essentially, this is what it came down to. Except I used a lil’ older version of ol’ Shellhead…

ROUND 1! FIGHT!

My first match was against Ninwashui. He was using AVX009e Cyclops, AVX010e Emma Frost & AVX014 Magneto. Oh, Magneto… I’d forgotten about you and your 20 Defense against ranged attacks. Eeeshh. When rolling for map, we actually tied. On the second roll, I beat him with my superior Theme bonus and took the battle to Wundagore, which ended up being a sizable advantage for me, since his characters had to walk around the long way. Cyclops was, frankly, toast, although in fairness, this was a terrible matchup for that figure. With no taxi, he was tokened by the time he got into the fight, and the Golden Falcon Special Terrain marker was right there to meet him. With the bonuses the Pharaoh gets because Cyke is a “Ruler,” the X-Men’s Fearless Leader went down like a sack of hot, moist and delicious potatoes.

I was able to get one Mind Control through with Brother Voodoo on Magneto, but it ended up being an odd play. I blasted Emma Frost for a healthy amount of damage, but to do so, I had to move Magneto on a Running Shot to the place where Ninwashui probably would have wanted him anyway, so he could start going crazy with Pulse Wave. Luckily for me, my defenses were still pretty high, and even though Mags eventually whittled down Voodoo, Scarlet Witch and Astral Doc Strange, I still had a full Shaman and half an Iron Pharaoh left while Mags was double chipped with no other friendlies to TK anywhere (I think Mags was a couple clicks in, but I could be wrong). Time was called at that point, but it would have been interesting if the match had continued. I believe I still would have won based on where Magneto was at on his dial and the fact that I would have gotten in another Pharaoh attack or two before Magneto could go again (Magneto also buffs the Pharaoh since he too is a “Ruler”).

What I Learned From This Round:

–My strategy for why I built the team I built seems sound at this point. The movement advantage I enjoyed this round certainly paid off in delaying any confrontations until the Golden Falcon soared into the enemy.

–Full dial AvX Magneto is redonkulous. His defense against ranged attacks borders on insane, especially when its combined with Invincible. No matter what angle of attack you take… he’s gonna be around for awhile. The fact that he can run a limited TK for free when he has two action tokens means that even when Mags couldn’t fly or carry, Ninwashui still had a half-decent taxi on his force. He’s got all that PLUS 11 Attack with Pulse Wave and an 8 Range on his first click. He’s a figure I should have been more prepared to face, given that he’s from the freaking AvX Starters. Still, I was taken a bit by surprise by just how powerful he was, particularly in a game that was designed to limit the usefulness of any figure that flies.

–Oh yeah–Iron Pharaoh is really good. You probably know that, but I just thought I’d repeat it in case you’d forgotten.

–Shaman’s “No Flights” spell is a FREE ACTION! Wow. Completely changes the game and it’s not even a power action. Unbelievable! While his no flying shenanigans were the inspiration for this team, his 7 range Perp along with his high defense against ranged attacks were just as important this round.

–Brother Voodoo is Brother Voodoo. He’s sick and wrong. He’s also the first figure that Ninwashui tried to kill. Eventually, he succeeded, but not until the rest of my army had basically taken out the rest of his army. Using Brother Voodoo as bait would be a recurring theme on the night…

 

What's that Wanda? No, not--it's no more "flights!" Wait, which spell did YOU cast?

Wanda, what was that? No, not–it’s “no more FLIGHTS!” Wait, which “no more” spell did you cast?

ROUND 2! FIGHT!!

For the second round, I played R, a player who’s just gotten back into the game after a long hiatus. Even though he’s still gaining familiarity with the new rules and pieces, he’s extremely adept at positioning his pieces and he learns very quickly. Last month, at the venue’s first AvX event, R defeated me soundly in the championship match. I missed some rolls (doesn’t everyone when they lose?), but, to be frank, R outmaneuvered me at every turn that game. His tactics were simply better.

This time, he was playing AVX003E Thor, WXM040 Hope Summers, AVX008 Professor X & AVX005R Wolverine. So how’d it go?

As good a player as R is, this was an absolute nightmare matchup for him. We ended up marching on Wundagore Mountain again, and after another quick spellcasting by Shaman, R’s entire force was stuck on foot. To make matters worse, my two main attack pieces–Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo–could either attack Professor X from more than 8 squares away or could use a billion different FREE actions so that the good Professor’s fantastically good Movement Special Power (I CAN’T LET YOU DO THIS: Professor X can use Mind Control and is not dealt unavoidable damage from it. Opposing characters within range must be given double power actions instead of power actions.) never went off. He killed Astral Dr. Strange and got Brother Voodoo down to his last click, but by that point the Pharaoh had run amok and Shaman had gotten into the fight (he can sling 3 damage with a range of 7 plus a Perplex he can float around to whoever needs it).

What I Learned From This Round:

–Once again, the strategy behind my build paid off. R’s team was solidly constructed; on most other maps, he would have been competitive and Professor X would have caused his opponent a LOT of problems. But the fact that a flier (Thor) was his main taxi and my team was stacked with a lot of Free Actions ultimately lead to his downfall in this match.

–Shaman can do some damage! He’s great to set up your positioning, but he’s not afraid to mix it up himself.

–Iron Pharaoh? Still good. FYI.

This win put me straight into the finals and…

Wait, you're not Cyclops!

Wait, you’re not Cyclops!

ROUND 3!! FIGHT!!

This time I played B., another local regular. He’s a very skilled player who knows about the current Meta but actively prefers to come up with his own creative twists on what he plays. Today was no different. As we sat down to play, B revealed his force:  AVX009 Cyclops, Tab-M004 Wolverine, WXM023A Deathbird and ASM022 Cloak. Can you guess which one of those four blew up my strategy?

It was Cloak! Hadn’t even considered the possibility of facing him (even though he’s got the X-Men keyword!). But his Phasing Movement PLUS Traited Stealth and Carry were a giant headache to deal with for me. He’s only 55 points, but he has 6 (SIX!!) clicks and useful powers all the way down his dial.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our match started with me finally LOSING map roll and B. choosing to take us right to the Savage Land side of the map. This side of the map had plenty of Hindering Terrain and Water but not much Elevated Terrain, which was really what slows people down after “No Flights” goes off. The other crappy part (for me, I mean) about losing Map Roll is that my opponent got to go first after choosing which side of the map we’d play on, which meant he’d get a taxi turn out of Deathbird before I could hit the NF button.

That ended up being exactly what happened, as he used Cloak and Deathbird to ferry Cyke and Wolverine over to a four-square patch of hindering terrain to keep them safe. This wasn’t a very far advance at all, and it took them over to the other side of the map.

On my first turn, I moved out my Falcon 3 squares, perplexed up Brother Voodoo Attack value with Scarlet Witch and Shaman and sent him out to take Cyke with his Traited Free Action Mind Control (I wanted Cloak, so I could separate him from the group, but his Stealth made him untargetable). With ES/D, Cyclops had a 20 Defense, but Brother Voodoo had a 12 or 13 Attack at this point with all the modifiers plus his own Prob Control, and I ended up hitting with the MC. In turn, Cyclops blasted Cloak for four (which, at the time, I thought would either kill Cloak or at least get him out of Phasing. WRONG!). So I got the Alpha Strike, but boy, would I pay for it in the next couple turns. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering. Astral Dr. Strange was also sent into the fray, although it’d take a couple turns to get to his grouping. My last action of the turn was to bust off “No Flights,” which was able to catch everyone in Hindering.

On his turn, he mostly de-chipped and/or got his forces out of Hindering (so that when he was ready to Run Shot or Charge, he wouldn’t also have to pay the Hindering Movement bonus). On turn 2, I moved the Falcon out a little more (although he had been careful with his positioning, so Pharaoh still couldn’t touch any of his figs) and tried to Incapacitate Cloak so that B. would have to push him if he wanted to Carry anyone. Even with Strange’s 8 attack I hit–and Cloak promptly hit his Super Senses roll. Tried to use free action MC again with Voodoo but missed.

My opponent retaliated the next turn by blasting Voodoo with Cyke for four. He then offed Strange’s Astral Projection with a Charge/Blades from Wolverine.

My turn. I pushed Voodoo back to Scarlet Witch for a quick heal. The push sent Voodoo to his last click. I moved Wanda into position for a heal next turn. On B.’s turn, he looked at the map 10 different ways before he had to concede that he wasn’t going to be able to base Voodoo and Witch or Outwit Witch’s Support in such a manner that the Falcon couldn’t just swoop over and Outwit his Outwit.

Back to my turn, and I make my Support roll. I need a 6, but I rolled a 3. No problem. Prob it–and I Prob myself right into a Critical Miss–the Nightmare Scenario. The Crit Miss means Voodoo takes 1 damage… and he’s done. So now my opponent has a Cloak who’s down dial quite a bit, but I’m down 2 whole figs–Voodoo and Astral Dr. Strange. My reckless opening gambit that appeared to have paid off actually didn’t, and my opponent presses his advantage on his next turn. I believe he needed a 9 or 10 to hit Scarlet Witch with Cyke–he nails the first roll, and after her defensive Prob ability, he nails a 10 on the second roll. Wanda hits him back for 1 Mystics damage, but she’s toast. Things are looking bad.

My only advantage was that Cyke was now in range of the Golden Falcon. With his “Ruler” keyword (as we’ve discussed before) and the Pharaoh’s Outwit, this is definitely not a fair fight, and within 2 turns, the Pharaoh wipes Cyclops off of the board AND pushes to his superior second click (Iron Pharaoh loses Invuln on his second click for Toughness, but his Attack goes from 10 to 11 and he gains PHARAOH’S SLAVE: Iron Pharaoh can use Mind Control, but only to target characters of fewer points that himself. When he does, after actions resolve, deal 1 unavoidable damage to the character he hit with his Mind Control.) This was huge, because with Cyclops off the board, all of my opponent’s figs were could be targeted by this ability.

The next couple turns were mostly about dechipping and positioning the Falcon (for me) and positioning and advancing with Cloak carrying Deathbird (for him). Yep! B. was using my own spell against me by having his remaining taxi carry his other taxi since I had given her the “Boot” symbol instead of her normal “Flight” icon.

Eventually he was ready (I believe it was right after I dechipped the Pharaoh) and he had Cloak carry Deathbird right up to my Elevated Terrain perch and set Cloak right between Iron Pharaoh and Shaman, my two remaining figs, and he walked Wolvie right up to the staircase, a point from which the Canucklehead could Charage next turn.

On my turn, I attacked Cloak with the Pharaoh and took him out, albeit a turn too late. As my opponent noted, “He did his job.” I’ll say! I debated attacking Deathbird with Shaman, but I decided to Barrier instead to cut off Wolverine from the fray. This was a mistake that ended up being a blessing.

My opponent’s turn. He Outwits the Barrier with Deathbird (Whoops!! Totally forgot about that!) AND marches Wolvie up to hit Shaman for 3. He dechips Deathbird and it’s my turn. Pharaoh has survived (relatively) intact.

This was the break I needed.  I hit Wolvie (who was now on Click 3 I believe) with Pharaoh’s Slave and use him to Flurry/Exploit Deathbird and do a Slave damage to Wolverine. Within 2 turns, Deathbird is dead and both my characters have evacuated the high ground. I miss a Support roll from Shaman on Iron Pharaoh, but it doesn’t matter. Wolverine is essentially immobile, I can start shooting at him from a safe distance with the Golden Falcon, and time is soon called.

This was a grueling game, and there were several moments where I think I was really outplayed. I’m proud of myself for refocusing and getting myself out of said holes, but B. designed a great team and played a great game. He actually ended up with more overall points than me for this particular tournament. But, because of my win here, I went 3-0 and won the whole thing.

What I Learned From This Round:

–Well well well, my map exploitation strategy had one glaring hole–I wasn’t always going win the Map Roll and get Map Choice! Seems like a pretty big oversight, but the Savage Land map wasn’t entirely incompatible with my strategy anyway. Still, worth noting.

–That Cloak is a monster for his points. I’m definitely going to work him into a team of my own at some point. He was useful the whole game; even when surrounded by Wolverine and Deathbird, I still had to attack him because his down dial Poison would have wrecked Shaman. Just a great piece.

–Both Shaman and Iron Pharaoh took a licking and kept on ticking. These are both 5-star pieces in my book. The versatility of this team saw me through in the end. Four of the five pieces I fielded had a way to modify either their own attack values (Iron Pharaoh and Brother Voodoo) or anyone’s values (Shaman and Scarlet Witch with their Top Dial Perplex).

–As proud of this team as I was, I think I learned as much or more about them by watching the way my opponents chose to attack them. 3 different opponents used 3 different strategies. A fun night.

The SPOILS!!

photo (14)

 

AVX101 Cable!!

 

Well, all’s well that ends well! For Ninwashui’s take on the night’s events, click here.

To see what Ninwashui wishes he would have played (and how he would attack the Pharaoh, Tellus and other Modern Age Meta figures), click here!

See you tomorrow for the Weekly Roundup!