META Diary: Michigan ROC State Championship!!

Danger Room Dice Masters

Right concept, wrong game. Hmmm…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We have a guest columnist today! This is a firsthand account of Southeastern Michigan Meta player Roberto Ty and his run last week at the Michigan ROC State Championship! We’re hoping to feature Roberto semi-regularly on this site, so if you like what you see, let him know in the Comments below!]

Michigan ROC State Championship

November 9, 2019

By Roberto Ty

Warren, MI – Twenty-six players brought a wide range of teams for the ROC Michigan State Championship at Eternal Games. There was a lot of mystery in the days leading up to this event in part due to the new Pauper format where players are restricted to using game elements of a common or uncommon rarity level. Convention exclusives and OP figures are excluded and a Highlander rule is in effect. The most impactful rule, however, was not a restriction, but rather the inclusion of the WWE Universe figures. Released only two weeks earlier, the WWE characters brought their own multiverse abilities (such as Grand Entrance) and an even greater X-Factor–the WWE Ring–to the event that rivaled the latest Pauper meta contenders from the X-Men The Animated Series: Dark Phoenix Saga set like Juggernaut, Danger Room Constructs, Nimrod, and Onslaught.

 

Brotherhood Pauper

It’s A Team Decision

A month before the event, I practiced several teams to gain insight both for my final build and to become familiar with character dials. The latter became moot as WizKids made a controversial decision: players were allowed to look at the back of an opponent’s card. This would go into effect on November 6, just three days before the event.

Juggernaut Pauper

Juggernaut, The… Quite Stoppable One-Man Army

What looks good on paper (for Pauper)… maybe should just stay on paper. Nothing exemplified this more than XDPS-G007 Juggernaut. He dominated many pre-release and release events and was the one-man army that seemed likely to dominate the Pauper format…until you practiced with him. At 300-points, he may be unstoppable, but he certainly wasn’t unbeatable. And just like the comics, he is easily overwhelmed by a team… and that team didn’t even have to be the X-Men. I lost to a Star Trek team that won map roll and placed us on a map without blocking terrain. Juggernaut needs blocking terrain to win because of his two synchronous Traits:

CITY-WIDE RAMPAGE: If Juggernaut destroyed 3 or more pieces of blocking terrain during one of his actions, after resolutions remove an action token from him.

MY MUTANT BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Once per turn when an effect other than clearing removes an action token from Juggernaut, after resolutions heal him 1 click.

Juggernaut can’t win map–certainly not consistently. So I shelved him and formed a new plan.

Nimrod Animated

Nimrod and My Dice

While map matters, so does a plan. The Juggernaut practice emphasized the importance of winning map and to win map I needed a Themed Team. I gravitated toward 175-point XDPS-G003 Nimrod and supported him with XDPS011b Magneto and XDPS-G002 Sentinel Squad One or XDPS011b Magneto,  XDPS023b Sabretooth, and XDPS-G001 Sentinel. While Magneto and Sabretooth were hard to kill due to their Danger Room Construct Traits, they also didn’t have the offensive output I typically like on my builds. 

DANGER ROOM CONSTRUCT TRAIT: When Magneto makes an attack, after resolutions give him an Error token for each [1] in the attack roll (maximum 3). // If Magneto has 2 or less Error tokens, characters take a maximum of 1 damage from Magneto’s attacks, Magneto takes a maximum of 1 damage from opponent’s attacks, and he can’t be healed or chosen for Mastermind. Protected: Pulse Wave.

Using Magneto as the pilot circumvented the damage restriction and allowed Sentinel Squad One to use the pilot’s offensive values (8 range, 12 attack, and 4 damage). Despite this, I didn’t feel the team was very strong: Nimrod didn’t have a move and attack, the team was only a +3 or a +4 (depending on the build) map roll, and there was no Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control. Without these support powers, a lot was left to my dice rolls. Nimrod’s Running Comparative Evaluation Of Reference Data trait offered him additional protection when being attacked…but only if I could roll higher than my opponent. The trait reads:

RUNNING COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF REFERENCE DATA: When Nimrod is attacked and would be hit, you may roll 2d6. If your roll is equal or higher than the attacker’s attack roll, Nimrod evades that attack and after resolutions deal the attacker damage equal to their printed damage value.

I didn’t roll higher than my opponent’s attack roll in my practice games. I couldn’t even roll a 1 to get Error Tokens on my Constructs either. Leaving it to chance was risky and I needed to come up with another plan.

Phoenix Rise and Fall

Rachel Summers Phoenix

More lessons on paper. On paper, I didn’t like XDPS-G010 Phoenix because she had a short dial for 175 points, only had a move and attack on her top click, and a very hittable 17 defense up close (she has Energy Shield Deflection). Even with a STOP click, I wasn’t that impressed…until I played against my friend, who used her to great effect on a non-theme team. His team had a lot of options that centered on supporting her effectiveness and her incredible 10 range. Another practice friend use the XDPS Fast Forces X-Men, which also opened my eyes on their usefulness as main force characters and not just as Call-In options. I decided to go with Phoenix, XDPS03 Beast, FFXDPS005 Gambit, and XXS007 Moira McTaggert. This build offered the ability to Perplex by +4 (+2 from Beast, +1 Moira McTaggert, +1 Phoenix), +4 Named Theme Team Probability Control, X-Men Team Ability for healing, Leadership, and decent secondary attackers. Additionally, Gambit’s trait gave the entire team Probability Control against attacks from Great Size characters. His trait:

HUNTED AND ON THE RUN: Friendly characters that are adjacent or have the X-Men keyword can use Probability Control when attacked by characters with [Giant symbol] or [Colossal symbol].

The team proved quite effective and won a lot of the practice matches, but despite this I was hesitant after playing a 300-point modern game that was restricted to non-Marvel and non-DC characters. My build was: TREKRF028r Q, TREKOS044 Trelane, TREKBG016 Miles O’Brien, WWE012 Asuka, and WWE017 Eddie Guerrero. This team exposed me to the effectiveness of the WWE characters and it gnawed on me up to the week of the event.

Brotherhood TWO

The Return of Juggernaut in The Brotherhood of Mutants

I had a competitive Pauper event prior to the ROC that was essentially a practice run. My friend, who couldn’t attend the ROC, offered me his team, which was 100-point Juggernaut, Danger Room Constructs Magneto and Sabretooth, Blob, and Amelia Vought for a Brotherhood of Mutants named theme team.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yup! This friend was indeed our own Ninwashui.]

This team build was a hard-to -kill and point-denial team. I went 1-1, losing the first game 0-0 in a roll off and winning the second game 13-0. These results didn’t offer me the certainty I needed. In fact, going into Saturday, I found myself returning back to the Phoenix team.

Juggernaut Bitch

“I’m the Juggernaut, B****”

Game Time Decision

Be prepared. I brought my Phoenix and Brotherhood teams and it wasn’t until I filled out my build sheet that I decided to go with Juggernaut. I was seeing enough WWE characters that I was concerned that Phoenix wouldn’t be able to target them because of the WWE rules:

WWE Rules: This character can’t be the target of range attacks or Outwit if: they’re on click #1, they’re on a click with a blue click #, -or- they’ve already been targeted by a ranged attack this turn. Protected: Pulse Wave.

So, then this was my…

FINAL TEAM:

100 XDPSG007R Juggernaut
50 XDPS011B Magneto
45 XDPS023B Sabretooth
60 XDPS021 Blob
45 XDPS019 Amelia Voght
300 (Brotherhood of Mutants, +5 map initiative roll, +5 Theme Team Probability Control)

Maps: Star Trek Original Series Away Team Underground Caverns, Earth X Stark Tower Indoor Map, The Mighty Thor Jotunheim Lake

Having a plan. Based on the two games I played on Thursday, I would engage my opponent primarily with Magneto and Sabretooth, forcing the action. Blob would be a tie-up piece and a tertiary attacker. Juggernaut would break grouped formations with Quake and Amelia Vought would provide him support through her Mutant Messiah trait and her special defense power, Transmute Out of Danger.

MUTANT MESSIAH: At the beginning of the game, for all characters with this trait, choose a friendly character with the Acolytes or Brotherhood of Mutants or X-Men keyword. That character can use Mastermind, but only to choose characters with this trait.

TRANSMUTE OUT OF DANGER: Super Senses. Once per turn, when Amelia Voghtor an adjacent friendly character would take 3 or more damage, you may give that character two action tokens to take 1 unavoidable damage instead. If you do, after resolutions you may place that character in a square adjacent to her current square.

Swiss Rounds

Giant-Girl images.jpg

GAME 1—The matchup was with a friend and judge at a local venue I play at. I actually played him at the Thursday Pauper event and beat him 13-0. This was a nice first-round pairing since it would be a fun, low-stress, and friendly match that would allow me to ease into a potentially intense, strategic-thinking kind of day. He won map roll with his Avengers team—Voyager, Hulk, Medusa, Crystal, AIM White and Red, 2 Giant-Girls, several IDs, WWE Ring, and Iron Avenger Assemble (Stark Tower Location Bonus). We did a lot of positioning for the first few turns. I initially was going to engage him with one of my Constructs, but he left his Giant-Girl partly exposed and I took advantage with Magneto’s incredible range. Knocking her out. He then called in Kitty to generate Lockheed for an Energy Explosion, which missed. The game ended 13-0. Record:1-0.

Deathstroke images.png

GAME 2—Because of my low points, I was placed at one of the lower tables and was matched up against my brother-in-law, who ran a non-theme team that consisted of ABPI010 S.H.I.E.L.D. Diplomat, RE001 Deathstroke, EAX030 The Skull, AI004 Hawkeye, AIG001-20 Giant-Girl, and HQ029 Batman. It was an atypical build and I wasn’t sure initially what the main threat was, outside of Deathstroke. I didn’t worry about The Skull’s across the map Mind Control because I knew I would win map and put us on Underground Caverns. I positioned conservatively and managed to siphon his team in the middle of the map. The blocking terrain really hindered his team and I took advantage by targeting his Giant-Girl with Magneto. I then set to work on Deathstroke and took him out in a couple turns. His team really got locked down and he wasn’t able to really make a dent in my hard-to-damage team. Record: 2-0

Onslaught images.jpg

GAME 3—My next opponent was someone I played before at the major events. He ran one of the teams that I didn’t want to see, an Onslaught team that included Danger Room Constructs Magneto and Sabretooth, TREKRF014 Ensign Crusher, HQ004 Big Tony, BTAS007 Leslie Thompkins, and XDPSG004p Proteus. What I feared about Onslaught was his trait:

PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Onslaught has PROTECTED: Mind Control, Outwit, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. // Once per turn, Onslaught can use Incapacitate as FREE -or- Mind Control as FREE -or- Telekinesis as FREE.

While Juggernaut could potentially charge right in on Onslaught, it was risky if he hit his Shape Change roll. If Onslaught failed his Shape Change roll, then Ensign Crusher’s special attack power allowed Onslaught the ability to reroll it once per turn. Crusher’s power:

I GOT IT, CAPTAIN!: Once per turn, when a friendly character that’s adjacent or has the Starfleet keyword rolls for Leadership, Shape Change, Super Senses, or Impervious they may re-roll that roll.

Onslaught could then attack and get Juggernaut off his top click and his special defense power:

SHIELDED BY MY HELMET: Colossal Stamina, Invincible. Juggernaut has PROTECTED: Incapacitate, Mind Control, Outwit, Pulse Wave.

This would have made Juggernaut susceptible to Onslaught’s Mind Control. With all this in mind, we both used the first few turns to position, until I made what could have been a fatal error. He blew out a piece of blocking terrain with Magneto that allowed him to hit Juggernaut with Onslaught. I forgot to Mastermind the damage to Amelia Voght. This forced me to retreat so I could heal by destroying blocking terrain and removing an action token from Juggernaut.

My Magneto then struck back on Onslaught, getting him off his top click, which was important so that he no longer had Shape Change. He was still formidable since he now had Super Senses, which Ensign Crusher allowed him to also reroll once per turn. I knew I had to take out his support out and I largely used Juggernaut to do this with:

MASS DESTRUCTION:  Super Strength. When Juggernaut is given a MOVE action, after resolutions destroy all adjacent pieces of blocking terrain, then he can use Quake at no cost.

I won, killing Ensign Crusher, Big Tony, Leslie Thompkins, and Proteus. Record: 3-0.

Mirror Match

GAME 4—The Mirror Match. I faced the brother of my friend who had built our Brotherhood teams.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yup! This was our own HypeFox!]

He initially was playing a very good Onslaught team during the week and like me, decided to go Brotherhood. I won map roll and decided to change the map to Stark Tower because I wanted to limit the amount of healing either of us could do. I took out his Amelia Voght early and thought I had gained the advantage, but he quickly turned the game around thanks to me missing the first attack with Juggernaut. This was par for the course all day unfortunately. In each of my matches, Juggernaut missed his very first attack when it would have done the most damage. I battled, but he was able to make several Impervious rolls in a row and that cost me the win. Record: 3-1.

Top 16

Wakanda images.jpg

GAME 5—This was the 8-9 matchup. I was 8th due to my low point total and my opponent was 2-2 with a lot of points. He rocked a very cool Wakanda team: FFABPI003 Shuri, ABPI027 Everett K. Ross, ABPI007 Wakandan Scientist, ABPI029A Black Panther, 75 FFABPI006 Okoye, and 30 ABPI021 Ayo. He won map and chose Rebirth Metal Arena with no blocking terrain! Juggernaut would be severely handicapped and I would need to use him judiciously.

This type of team is built to take you by surprise and I was really surprised. First, Shuri’s trait:

SCIENTIST OF WAKANDA: UNIQUE MODIFIER-Friendly characters with the Wakanda keyword modify defense +1 if they are closer to your starting area than any other starting area.

We of course battled closer to his starting area. I positioned midway on the map while he placed Okoye next to the Dune Buggy for added protection. I had to be wary not to get within her full charge special power:

THE DORA MILAJE ARE FIRST TO FIGHT: Charge, but do not halve speed.

Magneto would use Ranged Combat Expert to modify his attack to a 14 so he could hit Okoye’s high defense, dealing his 1 maximum damage. He knew this would be a problem because I wasn’t going to move my team in to be swarmed. His team had a ton of Perplex on his team that could do serious damage to Juggernaut. With the ability to look at the back of the cards, I knew that Black Panther and Okoye had middle-dial Outwit, which would be dangerous if Juggernaut was knocked off his special defense power that gave him PROTECTED: Outwit.

I knew I would have to move my team around to force him to come chase me. He approached my team with Black Panther and Okoye—his main attackers—but they didn’t have the reach to get there in one turn. Next turn I moved my team away and tried to hit his support and KO them with Juggernaut, but I missed badly. Again.

He then came back with Black Panther, but made a positioning error that allowed me to pummel him with Juggernaut rolling a critical hit with a heavy object. I followed up with a range attack from Magneto. I was up 95-0 and won. Record: 4-1.

Top 8

Wesley-Crusher-3.jpg

GAME 6—My opponent was another player I knew from a local venue. I was impressed by his performance. He was a new player and it was his first major event. Despite being new, he had gone undefeated for the day. His practice and diligence was paying off. 

I knew this was going to be a difficult matchup. It was another Onslaught build, but this time it consisted of TREKRF014 Ensign Crusher, XDPS023A Sabretooth, RE024 Veronica Cale, ABPI027 Everett K. Ross, AIG005 Dune Buggy Special Terrain, and EAXLB-SC I Keep The Trains Running (Location Bonus).

I won map and chose Star Trek Original Series Away Team Underground Caverns Indoor Map. A good portion of this game was positioning, with neither of us willing to overextend our teams to get swarmed.

I had left my Blob exposed to Onslaught’s Mind Control, which he made. He used Blob to attack Sabretooth, but missed. Since Blob wasn’t friendly to my force, he was not Immobile from his trait and rolled for a breakaway that he was successful on.

NOTHING MOVES THE BLOB: Immobile, but only if it’s not your turn. // At the end of your turn, if the Blob was not moved or placed this turn, give him a Stability token. Blob modifies defense +1 for each Stability token. When he moves or is placed, remove his Stability tokens.

He was able to kill my Amelia Voght, which put me down on points. I had to get more aggressive and kill his support with Juggernaut’s move and quake. I moved and last action was called. I made my free Quake and was able to kill off a couple of support pieces for the win. It was a low-scoring affair that I won. Record: 5-1.

Top 4

Crystal

GAME 7—This matchup was against a well-known player and former World Champion. His team was Avengers: AIG001-10 Giant-Girl, FFAIG001P Giant-Girl, ABPI012 Crystal, ABPI017 Voyager, TMT106E Hulk, ABPI030 Medusa, TMT023 Eric Masterson, FFAI001E Iron Man, TMTS001 Bloodaxe, and 5 EAXLB-ST Iron Avengers, Assemble  (Location Bonus).

My opponent won map and placed us on Earth X Stark Tower Indoor Map. As I mentioned earlier, I was worried about this match up because the build has so many options for dealing with different teams. It also has multiple ways to hurt you with free attacks either from Crystal’s free Quakes or through multiple attacks from Medusa’s Living Hair. If that weren’t enough then Hulk comes in with a 12 attack and 4 damage.

I tried to position strategically again, but in hindsight should have been more aggressive from the opening bell. I took out his Giant-Girls early, but failed to make critical attacks with Juggernaut when I needed to in order to change the outcome of the game. Once he was able to get Juggernaut off his top defense power, he quickly pressed his advantage and Outwitted his defense. Once he took out Juggernaut, it was pretty much an uphill battle for my Danger Room Constructs and Blob. I got 1 Error Token the entire game and was never ever able to deal enough damage to his team while in contrast he was whittling me down with all his free attacks. Final Record: 5-2, 4th Place Finish.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ninwashui’s design finished the day at 10-3. Not a bad record for a Meta-rich environment!]

Final Thoughts

My 4th Place was not my highest finish in a major event, but it was my highest in constructed. While the Pauper format, did introduce a variety of interesting builds, there were still clear archetypes that were followed (Avengers, Nimrod, and Onslaught). It will be interesting to see what other winning builds will show up in other states. I wouldn’t be surprised if a WWE team winds up winning. They are that good, especially in this format.

Will Pauper catch on? I hope so, it can offer a more affordable game to newer players. I still think it could use more tweaking so that we see more creative and unique builds, but overall the format reinvigorated the game from my perspective. It really was fun to sit down across a team that wasn’t Cosmic with Colossal Retaliators and equipment.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Eh… On Second Thought, What the Heck? Go Ahead and Do This, Scott!! (Or, The Build 4, Part 2!!)

"And this is just from indigestion. Imagine what'll happen when I'm really mad."

“THIS is what can happen when you ‘Imagine Dragons!'”

Welcome to Part 2 of our fourth “The Build” column! For information on the game I was building for and the thought process behind why I chose the army I did, click here.

And now that you’re all caught up, Let’s Get Fightin’!!

ROUND 1:

VERSUS: Ninwashui!

FACING:

"Oh look, my shirt's off again."

“Oh look, my shirt’s off again.”

WXM038 Legion – 119

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

WXM016 Cyclops – 94

WXM045 Phoenix – 154

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Nice job, bro!)

FIGHT!

I honestly don’t remember how Ninwashui had his Frags arranged; as it would turn out, it didn’t really matter.

We began by tying on map roll; we rerolled, and I took it. I chose the K’un Lun map. We each advanced slightly on our first turns; on turn two, I unleashed Sentry and Void and Hawkeye (with Mockingbird backing him up for the additional +1 to Attack), and Cyclops was pretty much dead in short order. Ninwa retaliated by having Legion choose good supporting powers like Perplex with his Trait (HIDDEN PERSONALITIES: Give Legion a free action and choose a standard power, then roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. He acquires a “Personality Quirk” from the table below, and uses that and the standard power until your next turn.1: “Cowardly” Legion modifies his attack value by -2.2: “Confused” Legion modifies his speed and defense values by -1.3: “Grounded” Legion can use Earthbound/Neutralized.4: “Enraged” Legion can use Battle Fury.5: “Compassionate” Immediately heal all adjacent characters 1 click.6: “Savant” Legion modifies his combat values by +1. Choose another standard power and he can also use that power.), and then he hit a Running Shot on Sentry and Void for 5 damage straight through (via her Penetrating/Psychic Blast)! Ouch! After this, though, 2 things happened.

First, I got slightly more conservative with my Sentry and Void placement. Second… poor Ninwashui never hit another roll (at least not after one of my Theme Team Probs or Scarlet Witch’s native Prob). The biggest insult to Ninwa came when he sent Legion on a Hypersonic run at Rookie Mockingbird just to pick up SOME points from the match. I believe at that point he needed a 7 to just straight up KO her; instead, he rolled yet another 3. This ended up as a 600-0 squash, which was not at all where I thought we were headed after the first couple turns.

DECISION:

600-0 Victory.

WHAT I LEARNED:

–I went to the trouble of assigning the Cyclops Fragment to Sentry and Void, and then NEVER used it the whole day. That was a major mistake. It didn’t really cost me, but it wasn’t until the whole tournament was over that I realized that I could have been using RCE IN ADDITION to the bonuses provided by the Phoenix Dial, of which I was much more mindful. Don’t know if it would have made a difference in the grand scheme of things, but I’m sure I took a few second actions with Sentry and Void’s Multi-attack where I was just firing away without using any of the RCE bonuses. Boo hiss on me.

Phoenix was potent offensively, especially in her first 3 clicks, but when she missed her Shape Change roll, Sentry and Void pretty much vaporized her over the course of the next couple turns. Her dial feels like it should be more in the 14o or so point range, which may not seem like a huge difference from the 154 she costs now, but those extra few points actually close of a lot of different build possibilities. I really like this piece, but I’ve never seen her take over a game to the extent that it seems like she should be able to (whether I was playing her or playing against her).

Legion was a real surprise for me. He was extremely useful, even if Ninwashui rolled Battle Fury about 7 out of 10 times. He’s a figure I enjoyed playing against, even if he was really hard to plan for from turn to turn.

WXM016 Cyclops is not a bad figure–he just got eaten up in this environment. For the extra six points, I’d probably prefer the Experienced AvX version, but I know Ninwashui has had terrible luck with that fig, so it didn’t surprise me that he went with a different Cyclops this month.

–200 Point AvX Magneto is good… unless he’s facing a 98 Point Chaos War Hawkeye. With the Phoenix Force slot I was starting on, Hawkeye basically had a 13 Attack, and if I could maneuver Mockingbird into a square adjacent to the one I wanted Hawkeye to end up in during a Running Shot, his attack zoomed up to a 14. This was huge in a couple games, because Magneto’s Defense is really hard to crack. It’s 18 with ES/D to start, and most people who played him gave him a Fragment and left the Colossus Fragment on the resource base, which meant that even if you hit him, Mags had access to BOTH Invuln and his native Invincible (while you can’t use two reducers at the same time, that meant that even if you Outwitted Invincible, he’d still be subtracting 2 from any non-penetrating damage). But after 3 damage, that defense drops from 18 to 16, which is much easier to touch (even with his Traited ES/D still in effect). So I had basically planned on using Hawkeye as a “bunker-buster” this tournament, Perplexing his Damage to 4 and hitting Mags for 2 on Hawkeye’s first attack and 2 more on his second in any game where I saw Buckethead. Didn’t QUITE work out that way this game (ending up targeting Cyclops first), but Hawkeye was still a straight beast. As the build total went up each month, Hawkeye only got better. His Wildcard TA (Spider-Man) meant that his effectiveness would grow as his supporting cast grew. In this build, AvX Scarlet Witch gave him Mystics TA on my opponent’s turns and IM3 Tony Stark gave him Avengers Initiative, one of the best TA’s in the game, which essentially let him target Stealthed figures.

"Eat $#!%, Green Arrow."

“Eat $#!%, Green Arrow. If anyone deserves a show on the CW, it’s–wait, the CW? I don’t want a show on the CW! You know what? Eat you heart out, Oliver.”

All in all, CW039 Hawkeye was pound-for-pound my best performer in Month 4. He’s a 5-Star figure on HCRealms, and he was worth every point I spent to play him. He’s that rare figure who’s really damn good in a multitude of point builds.

ROUND 2:

VERSUS: A (Venue Regular–see below!)

FACING:

Shiny Happy Avengers.

Shiny Happy Avengers.

M10A009 Iron Man – 225

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

(Assigned a Fragment)

AvX003 Thor – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (I believe that’s how Andrew had his Fragments set–if I’m wrong, I apologize Andrew. A smart man might have taken better notes, but here we are…)

FIGHT!

My second opponent is A, a regular at our venue, Comics & More, and he is a high-level player. While he’s certainly capable of putting together some killer team builds, what he really excels at in my opinion is in-game strategy–specifically, adapting what his team does best to the conditions and positioning on the battlefield. I’ve gone against him several times with what I thought (at least at the time) were better teams only to watch as he picked me apart piece by piece. He also seems to enjoy finding some of the quirkier corners of the game and is a master at using Perplex to get most of his key pieces up to absurdly high Defense levels.

I was very nervous going into this game because A had defeated me with a similar version of this team (he added Hawkeye and the resource, and powered down Scarlet Witch from 75 to 50 Points) in Month 3. I just did not know what I was going to do about M10 Iron Man–I had been praying that I wouldn’t play against one, as both my main AND secondary attacker were using Phoenix Fragments.

I seem to recall that A won Map Roll; regardless of who did, we ended up fighting on the surface of the Moon. A brought his fully powered M10 Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye to the center of the map, setting Hawkeye down in Hindering Terrain. On my turn, I used “No More Mutants” to get rid of his Scarlet Witch’s Mystics TA (so that his Hawkeye couldn’t copy it anymore), then I ran my standard Hawkeye/Mockingbird play and–after Wildcarding Avengers Initiative–smacked his Hawkeye for 3, even though he was Stealthed. Sentry and Void then went to work–and missed twice, after A used up half of his Theme Team probs. Dang.

He countered back by taking out Tony Stark (bye-bye AI TA), but I came right back with Sentry and Void and used Multi-attack to finish off his Hawkeye and get a big blast in on Thor (at that point, I believe my dial had turned to the +1 to Damage, so that hit was about 6 damage straight through). Meanwhile, Mockingbird had tied up M10 Iron Man and even got a hit in with her CCE. Looking at the board, A actually used his Scarlet Witch to attack Sentry and Void–and hit! Then Thor went for the Pulse Wave against Sentry and Void. He needed an 8 at that point I believe to do 5-6 damage, which would have put Sentry and Void on one of its last clicks. He rolled the dice… and he missed! Whew.  M10 Iron Man hit his own Pulse Wave, but with both Mockingbird and Hawkeye within range, he only did 1 damage to each.

On my next turn, Sentry and Void finished off his Thor and Scarlet Witch. A took out Mockingbird, but at this point the match simply became about whittling M10 Iron Man’s Adaptive Armor (ADAPTIVE ARMOR: When Iron Man would take damage from a character assigned a relic or resource, Iron Man ignores that damage and rolls a d6. On a result of 1-3, deal Iron Man 1 unavoidable damage. This ability can’t be ignored.) down with Sentry and Void, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye. M10 Iron Man lasted FOREVER, but couldn’t really muster any offense, and eventually Andrew missed enough rolls that he was KO’d–he just got out-actioned too badly at that point since it was 3-1. Still, it took forever–A made enough rolls to really flummox my troops with that Trait for a while there.

DECISION:

600-175 (I want to say that he killed Scarlet Witch, and I know he KO’d Tony Stark and Mockingbird. So we’ll go with 175. Yes, I know, a smarter man would have taken better notes!!)

WHAT I LEARNED:

–M10 Iron Man can be dealt with even by figures assigned Resources or Relics, but you need to be EXTREMELY patient and you REALLY need to take out his supporting figs first. Just like Silver Centurion brings his own secondary attacker with his Pulse Bolt Torpedo, M10 Iron Man really sort of brings his own Support team with top dial Perplex and Mid-Dial Outwit to go with his Adaptive Armor Trait.

The scariest gently-swaying -in-the-jetstream piece in the whole tournament!

The scariest “gently-swaying -in-the-jetstream” piece in the whole tournament!

–AvX Thor is great… until he gets hit. Outwit and Pen/Psy are his main weaknesses (aren’t they everyone’s main weakness?). His attack and damage output are great, but his native defense never rises over a 17. A Psychic Blast for even 3 damage can burn through 100 Points of clicks in one hit. That’s why I like his 100 Point dial better than his 200 Point Dial, incidentally.

–A assigned the Emma Frost Fragment to the Scarlet Witch, which was very clever. Most people play the 75-Point version just for her Telekinesis; A realized he could get that TK just by paying about 6 additional Points (3 for the Fragment and 3 for assigning that Fragment to her).

–A brief note about IM3 Tony Stark. For 50 Points, just the fact that he gives you Outwit and Enhancement with 17 Defense and Willpower is pretty damn good. That he can be promoted AND the fact that he provides Avengers Initiative to all your Wildcards is just gravy. One of my favorite pieces from the IM3 set, definitely.

ROUND 3:

VERSUS: B, (another Venue regular and my nemesis from Month 2!)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Nemesis is used rather loosely here, as Comics & More is a pretty friendly environment. Just thought I’d throw that out there.)

(DEADPOOL NOTE: Regarding the Editor’s Note above:

"We've waited 2 extra days already for this recap. How about you GET ON WITH IT?!"

“We’ve waited 2 extra days already for this recap. How about you GET ON WITH IT?!”

End of DeadPool note.)

FACING:

WXM032 Bishop -140

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost – 125

WXM209 Jean Grey – 100

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=598 (I wish I could remember who had what Fragment; alas, this is my best guess recreation–B, if you’re reading this, go ahead and let me know what I screwed up in the Comments!)

B is another great local player who’d done well in previous AvX tourneys, so I knew I’d have my work cut out for me. His teams are usually pretty innovative, and like A, he enjoys exploring some of the weirder sides of team building. Having said that, this was a downright normal team for him, and after Map Choice was decided (he won, and we ended up back in K’un Lun), he moved his force up and sat Magneto in one of the printed Hindering Terrain squares on the first level. I countered with my “Hawkeye” bunker buster strategy and conglomerated around the other bit of printed Hindering Terrain that was just a few squares away from the one Mags was in and hit (albeit only for a small amount–only 1-2 damage) to open up the attacking, and we were off and running! On his turn, he started maneuvering the rest of his team into the fray, and I followed that by continuing to chip away at Magneto with Hawkeye and Sentry and Void. Soon I scored the KO on Mags (along with the early advantage), but it cost me Tony Stark (who I’d moved forward to counter Mags’s Invincible).

The tables started to turn my opponents way, and soon he had KO’d Scarlet Witch and Mockingbird as well, and while I had damaged just about everyone but Bishop, I hadn’t KO’d anyone else. Jean Grey was showing Support at that point, so I took her out with Sentry and Void, but it left him in a precarious position, and B. took advantage of that by plugging him for a decent chunk of damage. Eventually I managed to take out Emma Frost, but it cost me Sentry and Void when B. countered with a pretty Phoenix’d out Bishop. At that point the dial was showing +2 to all stats plus Hypersonic Speed.

The end of the game came down to Hawkeye still on first click and the Phoenix Force providing him with +2 to Attack and Hypersonic Speed, which was perfect because Bishop was down to either his last click or his second to last click, and trying to hit him from range was just asking for trouble. My opponent moved Bishop to temporary safety, and I had to move across the map to get into position for a Hypersonic strike, which I did… right as the Judge called time. As I went second to start the game, that meant that the game ended with my last move that turn. B. almost didn’t realize he had won, and announced that he was clearing Bishop. I almost had to shake him to tell him he’d won.

It was an extremely close match, and I can’t say for certain I would have come out on top even if time hadn’t ended. The way things sat, I would have needed about a 5 to KO Bishop with a close combat HSS strike (Hawkeye’s modified attack at that point was 14 while Bishop’s modified Defense was 19 (16 +2 from the resource plus resource granted Perplex +1 =19). Certainly not impossible, but not a gimme either.

I came close, but B’s team (or more accurately, his skilled play) turned out to be too much for me. He won the tourney; with about 1658 points (out of a possible 1798 or something like that), I finished 2nd, leaving me with finishes of 2, 1, 2 and 2 for the whole event. The Judge assigned Player Points to every competitor each month based on attendance, points earned and final place.

With the Month Four win, B… finished ONE Player Point behind me. It really could not have been any closer. He played a great game, had a great four months, and had he taken the top prize, he certainly would have been worthy. Congrats to him for winning the month and go home with a Phoenixbuster Iron Man (who may make some noise at a ROC–this isn’t the last you’ll here of Peanut Butter PB Iron Man).

"Hey, HypeFox--you missed me, @$$hole."

“Hey, HypeFox–you missed me, @$$hole.”

WHAT I LEARNED:

–Bishop plus the Phoenix Force is pretty damn formidable. His Trait (TIMESLIDE: Once per game, give Bishop a double power action to use Phasing/Teleport. When you do, he can use Probability Control until your next turn, and after actions resolve, you may give him a close or ranged combat attack as a free action.) can completely shift the balance of power in a game if used judiciously.

–Sentry and Void is sick and wrong, especially in a Build format where he has enough points left to field a pretty good support squad. Multi-attack has been slightly nerfed in the last year or so, but it’s still so powerful that you ONLY TEND TO SEE IT ON COLOSSALS WHO ARE MORE THAN 500 POINTS! A regular fig who’s 300 even? That’s still really good. Even Dark Phoenix Cyclops at 300 Points doesn’t have Multi-attack!

–WXM Gravity Feed Jean Grey is damn good!

–Going in, I thought Emma Frost would be a pain to deal with, but she ended up being beatable every month I played her. While she could be a pest with her Mind Control and Outwit, I mostly left her alone whenever I played her until most of her teammates were gone. She didn’t wasn’t as formidable as I thought she would be going in.

And now, after four months of blood sweat and tears of playing Heroclix:

THE SPOILS:

"My Precioussss...."

“My Precioussss….”

And:

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

 

Take it easy everyone, and thanks for your patience. Back next week with some new stuff, including a final wrap-up of AvX wherein we’ll rate the best and worst pieces (now that we finally know the whole set), and keep an eye out for the Top 1o Deadpool figures, which should definitely drop before the end of the month!

Local Tournament Report – 4/23/14 Comics & More

"Instant Karma's gonna get you  Gonna knock you right on the head  You better get yourself together  Pretty soon you're gonna be dead..."

“Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…” -A spell by John Lennon

 

The Format: AvX Month 3. Must use at least 1 figure from the starter. Other figures must share a keyword with the starter figure. 500 point modern. No relics, Colossals. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops).

What I played:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

I finally did a build article and stuck to it! You can read about the strategy for my team “TK for the Win” here.

 

"Sure, I may not have Willpower, but--wait, I don't have Willpower? S#!tballs!"

“Sure, I may not have Willpower, but–wait, I don’t have Willpower? S#!tballs!”

Round 1:

Facing:

AVX001 Captain America

SLOSH005B Mon-El

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC)

Total = 485 Points

My opponent was new to our venue and thus didn’t know about the shared keyword being required. We played on a map similar to Wundagore Mountain [EDITOR’S NOTE: That would be the  Verkhoyansk Mountains Map]. As the armies closed in on each other I was up on elevated terrain in the center of the map. All three of his characters were grounded about a third of the way up. Iron Pharaoh’s falcon lagged behind. Captain America did a Running Shot up a stairs. He tried to target Legion, but I pointed out the stealth. He targeted Magneto and missed. He didn’t use the Pharaoh and Mon-el because they would take pushing damage. On my turn I struck back. Magneto did a Running Shot Pulse Wave for 4 penetrating damage (cap only has 5 range and was close). Then my opponent realized he hadn’t declared Energy Shield with Cap last turn. I offered to let him, but he declined. Phoenix used psychic blast for 4 damage on Cap and that was a KO.

Next turn Mon-el used Hypersonic speed and an object to attack Phoenix. She missed shape change. He hit his attack. She ignored the damage by hitting impervious. Iron Pharaoh had no move and attack so he just walked into a good shooting position. After KO-ing cap I had turned the dial once  and that granted my team sidestep. Phoenix pushed to do a Running Shot and hit Mon-el for 4. Then she used Sidestep to get back to Legion. Legion chose support and healed Phoenix back to her top click. Magneto pushed to Pulse Wave Iron Pharaoh for 4.

The remainder of his team was injured. Mon-el had no move and attack so he flew next to Legion and ended his turn. Legion choose Impervious and Phoenix was in a position to outwit Mon-el’s close combat expert. I cleared tokens. Mon-el decided not to push to have the possibility of doing 1 damage to Legion. The Pharaoh missed Magneto.

The following turn Magneto finished off the Pharaoh with another 4 damage pulse wave. Phoenix outwitted Mon-el’s defense and Legion used Close Combat Expert for the knockout punch.

My opponents team was interesting and I am sure his strategy had merits, but if I was playing that team I would have done a few things differently. I would have left the Pharaoh much farther away from the battle and waited for the Golden Falcon to be a factor. I also would have kept Mon-El directly behind Captain America as much as possible. Mon-el’s special defend along with Cap’s traited Energy Shield could have given cap a 21 defense versus range!

"I'm viable in the Meta. Y'know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And Hope Summers."

“I am VIABLE in the Meta! …Y’know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And a Hope Summers. Or Rachel Summers, or any of my sisters for that matter–you know what? I’m not viable in the Meta.”

 

Round 2:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX009 Cyclops (With Namor Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost

AVX101 Cable (With Cyclops Fragment)

IH035 Wolverine

Total = 496 Points

This opponent started the match using Flight from the Phoenix shards to carry his forces around. When I pointed out that the Phoenix Shards only granted Flight and didn’t grant Carry, he realized his mistake. At that point he called the judge over and has his first game changed from a win to a loss. That feat of awesome honesty lost him the first game, but Karma (or luck, or divine intervention) made all my rolls go sour in game two.

So we started the game over and my opponent slowly walked his characters into corner down a 2 square wide hallway created by Elevated Terrain and left them bunched together. Due to my superior movement abilities, my team got the first opportunity to strike. I had Phoenix hit wolverine for 4 penetrating damage.  Magneto was then able to swing in and hit the entire opposing team with a 1 damage Pulse Wave. That was enough to KO Wolverine. Legion used Hypersonic and missed Cyclops’s practically naked 17 defense. Missing a 17 defense on an attack was going to happen several more times this game.

My opponent struck back. He outwitted Magneto’s defense, used Cable’s RCE and +1 attack from the Phoenix Force to spice up his attack to 12 and nailed Magneto for 4 damage. The rest of his team missed Magneto. He had rolled doubles so his resource gave him Sidestep.

Magneto ran back to Legion. Legion pushed to try a support roll, but rolled a 5. Phoenix cleared. My opponent’s team cleared. The next turn he used his 3(!) Outwits to remove all of Phoenix’s Defensive powers and hit her twice for a total of four damage(due to Invuln from the Colossus shard). On my turn my team scattered and tried to use elevated for cover.

Legion eventually did successfully heal Magneto, but only for 1 damage. Cable used Sidestep to fly up to elevated and get another hit in on Magneto. Phoenix had 3 non-penetrating damage showing and I knew that with Cable and Cyclops both having shard-granted Invuln, it wasn’t going to be a fun time taking them on. Still, I had Phoenix base them to save Magneto.

On the last turn before the judge called time Phoenix’s defense was Outwitted and Cyclops hit her for 3 damage and the KO. So I lost the game 70-160. HypeFox pointed out later that this shouldn’t have been a KO. I had forgotten about Phoenix’s shard-granted Invuln and taken too much damage. Karma, you can’t fight it.

 

"Cosplayers love me."

“Cosplayers love me.”

Round 3:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

FI031 Wolverine (With Namor Fragment)

WXM031 Gambit (With Colossus Fragment)

AVX009E Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM063 Psylocke

WXM047B Jubilee

Total = 495 Points

This game was the polar opposite of game 2. I started out by taking the elevated center on the Limbo map. My opponent sent Gambit and Psylocke down the right edge of the map and the remaining characters went down the left hand side. With my move and attack advantage I realized it was going to take him two turns at least for his team from one side to help his team on the other side.

Magneto started with a Pulse Wave aimed at Gambit. Hit for 4 clicks. Phoenix pushed for a Running Shot and that KO’d Gambit. My resource switched to a pink movement power, so Phoenix was able to Sidestep back to adjacency with Legion. Legion choose Hypersonic speed and rolled a 6! He gained +1 to all stats and choose Battle Fury as his second power. He ran in, ignored Shape Change, hit Psylocke for 4 and moved next to Phoenix again.

On my opponent’s turn he cleared Psylocke, moved up Jubilee, marched Wolverine next to Magneto, and attacked Phoenix with Cyclops. She hit her Impervious roll and took one (due to Precision Strike). On my turn, every character I had was double tokened. I chose Impervious with Legion and rolled a 5, healing Phoenix of 1 damage. I cleared. Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jubilee were all double tokened. Psylocke was stuck in hindering and moved 3 steps closer to me. My opponent cleared.

On my turn Magneto executed a Running Shot Pulse Wave with which he hit all opposing characters except for Psylocke for 1. Then Phoenix hit Wolverine for 3 penetrating damage with Psychic Blast, which put the Canucklehead on his stop click. Legion finished him off with a 12 attack, 3 damage RCE (due to the Cyke Shard). After his attack Legion chose Impervious again and rolled a 5, which healed Phoenix to full.

On his last turn Cyclops attacked Phoenix and she rolled Shape Change. He switched to Magneto and missed. Psylocke cleared. On my turn Magneto used Pulse Wave on Cyclops hitting for 4. Phoenix pushed to finish him off. Legion chose Hypersonic Speed again and rolled another 6!. He chose Willpower as a second power. He used Hypersonic to range attack Psylocke and finished her off.

The match was complete blowout, but a lot of that was due to my lucky rolls as opposed to anything my opponent did wrong. I never missed, I was only hit for 1 damage, Phoenix kept making defensive rolls, and my Legion rolls of 5 and 6 were just statistically absurd. I guess Karma was swinging back the other way.

It was an unusual tournament and at the end I did take first place because everyone had at least one loss after 3 rounds.

What I learned:

"Great, I'll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this."

“Great, I’ll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this.”

  • WXM038 Legion Legion is definitely worth the points if you play him thinking that you will always be getting Battle fury, or Earthbound, or -2 attack. Until the last game those were literally the only personality quirks I got. If you can plan around those, this guy is the real deal. I ended up using Support, Perplex, Close Combat Expert, Hypersonic Speed, will power, Earthbound (so he could be carried), Battle Fury (to get around shape change) and Impervious (when I knew he was about to take a hit). The three times his savant trait (+1 to all stats AND choose a second power) came up this tournament were sweet. He was a lot of fun and I will want to use him again soon.
  • WXM045 Phoenix was extremely powerful with her running shot and psychic blast, but she seemed to miss a lot (10 starting attack). Also due to my poor rolling her defense was not as strong as it statistically should have been(until the last game). I think I hit Impervious or Shape Change twice all night. Her Outwit was key for me, but I never got to Outwit multiple powers with it. I would use her again.
  • AVX014 Magneto is still awesome. In the two tournaments I’ve used him in now he’s only been KOed once. (Damn you, Hawkeye!) He’s a defensive powerhouse. Just don’t roll low on his Running Shot Pulse Wave.
  • AVX101 Cable by himself isn’t a great figure. However if he’s given Sidestep, R.C.E., AND an opponent with a penchant for missing – he’s very good.
  • Game 2 I faced essentially naked 17 defenses and I kept rolling low. Karma…
  • The Phoenix force resource might be the most complicated game element we’ve gotten yet. Everyone who played it screwed up something about it at least once this tournament.

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.)