To Infinity… And Beyond!! (Or, A List of the Top Ten Pieces in Avengers Infinity!!!)

Were waiting

So we’ve been waiting for an Avengers Infinity Top Ten Set Review…

So have I guys!

But since HypeFox is still working on his, I thought I’d drop mine… hmmm… how about right now!!

But first…

Some Notes About the Set:

  • The packs were more expensive, but worth it. Each one had seemingly two chances to pull something cool. In my Dune Buggy pack I pulled a chase and in a pack with 4 regular sized uncommon and common figures you’re going to get a Colossal rare or Super Rare.
  • The abstract entities are godlike in the comics, but none are very good for their cost in HeroClix. AIG023R Eternity may be the lone exception. Thankfully they are good for display purposes and people will likely seek them out for that reason.
  • Although there were only two really bad characters in this set (AI003 Black Widow, AI027 Starfox), I wasn’t real impressed by the Space Knights. They were ok, but not interesting and likely wouldn’t do well as a team. Unfortunately they were literally every Prime in the set. Which means this was another set with lackluster Prime figures. Which is a real bummer when you buy a brick and get a Prime instead of a Chase.
  • Early on I was worried that every colossal in this set would be a Colossal Retaliator. I was glad to see that wasn’t the case.
  • I love that the Infinity Watch got such nice remakes. Maxam was a great new figure. Now we just need a modern Mole Man. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Do we though? I mean, he was in like one issue of Infinity Watch! Maxam was in a ton! It was great that the GG version of him had the IW Keyword, but really, he was basically just their landlord. This is the Infinity Watch roster we really wanted!]
  • Why did we not get a Thanos with the Reality Stone? All the other Infinity Watch members made the set with their respective stone Traits. Missed opportunity. [EDITOR’S NOTE: It seems like a huge oversight. The only thing I can think of is that we might get him as a Con Exclusive next year. It’s possible that this was their intention all along, but that they were already too far down the road with the Thanos-Copter as a ConEx this year. Alternatively, Reality Gem Thanos could show up randomly in another cosmic set or cosmic-adjacent set (the only thing on the schedule that’s even remotely fits this description is Battleworld in October). Remember, Thanos is coming back in Avengers 4, so there will still be a bunch of Thanos tie-in products from Marvel licensees arriving next year.]

Okay! Now on to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Adam-Warlock

5) AI038 Adam Warlock (125 points) – With most of his stats and powers he appears to be just an average attacker. However push him to click 2 and he gains a special power that allows him to do what no one else in modern Clix can: “OUTSIDE OF ETERNITY, CHAOS AND ORDER: Outwit. FREE: Choose a target opposing character within range and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t use PROTECTED: Outwit and its powers lose Protected: Outwit.

Throw in a trait that grants steal energy for ALL attacks and then passes regular Steal Energy to another piece when KOed and I can see him being quite successful with the right support around him. If he had his special power on his first click he would be on the cusp of being Meta.

He’s also one of HypeFox’s favorite Marvel heroes, so listing him as a mere Honorable Mention will annoy him to no end.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: ]

Spider Mobile.jpg

4) AIG015 Spider-Mobile (50 points) – Don’t think of it as a vehicle, think of it as armor. It’s armor that grants another piece with (hopefully) great stats 7 extra clicks of health for just 50 points. For Example, if you use Chase Thor from this set as a pilot then all 7 clicks will have a constant 12 attack and 4 damage the whole dial. And once you get through those clicks your opponent still faces an angry Thor on click 2 or 3.  However the real reason to play this piece is the Trait: SPIDER SPOTLIGHT LOCKED ON: FREE: Improved Targeting: Hindering. Choose a character within range and line of fire. That character can’t use Shape Change or Stealth this turn.” We’ve seen characters before that allow your team to ignore stealth (JW052 Green Lantern, ADW038 Jessica Jones, WKM17-013 Dazzler, etc…), but I’ve never seen a character that will also allow others to ignore Shape Change.

Photon.jpg

3) AI049 Photon (90 Points) – The best thing she brings to the table is a Special Power that hurts opposing bystanders the likes of which the game has never seen before. Additionally she has a Trait that would be good to build a team around. “THE 5TH VIRTUE OF LIFE: DIVERSITY: Flurry. Once per turn, when Photon’s attack roll has a 5, friendly characters modify their defense +1 for every two printed keywords they have until your next turn.”

(Hint: CWSOP002 Iron Man has 6 keywords!)

She’s good up close with Traited Flurry and Pulse Wave that starts showing up on click 2. If you are planning to use her at range then you should probably bring another character with Enhancement. She also has the best Stop Clicks of any of the Chases with your choice of using Flurry or RCE to go along with her Precision Strike.

Vision.jpg

2) AI005 Vision (100 points) – Vision’s Special move power is what puts him on this list. “WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT ME: Phasing/Teleport. When Vision is given a MOVE action, after resolutions he may make an attack (close or range).”

Unfortunately, his 10 attack and three damage aren’t going to scare many people. So make sure to bring some other characters along that can help those values.

The Unseen.jpg

1) AI043 Unseen (65 points) – On the eve of NFAOS056 Nick Fury retiring from Modern they decided to include another version of him from that same “Original Sin” storyline in this set… albeit with some major focus/role changes. This new piece is similar in that they both have Probability Control, almost every form of Improved Targeting known to man and a way to turn off powers. Where the new version is better is that it’s almost exactly half the point cost of the original and can free action smoke cloud after moving. All it’s missing is offense. Like any form of offense at all. Time will tell if a 65 point support character is Meta, but I am just hesitant enough about it that it didn’t quite make the top 10.

Speaking of which… here is my…

TOP TEN PIECES IN AVENGERS INFINITY!!:

Gamora.jpg

10) AI020 Gamora (65 points) – For 65 points you get a very efficient close combat piece who is dangerous on every click. What sets her apart from other similar characters are her 12 starting attack, relatively low cost, and Traited Probability control that passes to another friendly character when she is KOed: TIME GEM CHOOSES ITS BEARER: Probability Control with minimum range value 8 // When Gamora is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, choose a friendly character. For the rest of the game, that character can use Probability Control.”

The only things keeping her from being higher on this list are a weak defense and the existence of AI030 Mantis who fills a similar roll and costs less.

Sentry 459

9) AIG013R Sentry #459 (150 points) – There is a new Trait introduced on this set that was seen on quite a few Colossal figures that shows some promise thanks to the new rules for Quake called Mass Destruction. It reads, MASS DESTRUCTION: Super Strength. When Sentry #459 is given a MOVE action, after resolutions destroy all adjacent pieces of blocking terrain, then he can use Quake at no cost.” In my opinion this 150 dial is the most efficient character to feature that Trait.

It has better combat values then all of the other similarly costed characters with “Mass Destruction” and the Green Hulk is the only other “Mass Destruction” piece that comes close to being as useful in combat.

Giant Girl.jpg

8) AIG001 Giant-Girl (70 points) – Giant Girl has roughly 250 thousand different starting lines. I feel like the 70 point line isn’t too expensive and doesn’t make it very easy for the opponent to KO her before she gets an attack off.

To be honest I’d probably vary her point value according the team I was playing with her. The best parts about her is that she can Colossal Retaliate on any click, gets bigger when she KOs someone, and she makes a great Taxi for as low as 10 points. I didn’t include her Fast Forces or title character version on this list because I felt their combat values were just not up to snuff.

Iron Man 1.jpg

7) FFAI001E Iron Man (50 points) – Nothing particularly groundbreaking here, just a really efficient piece for the points. His great movement values make him a very good Taxi. His 4 clicks of Invulnerability make him tougher than just about every other 50 point piece. And his ability to see through Stealth is just the cherry on top.

Cosmo

6) AI039 Cosmo (70 points) – This is one of the Guardians pieces in the new set with a Trait that grants Protected: Outwit or +1 to Attack and Defense. There are very few situations where I’d chose Protected: Outwit with this or any of the Guardians pieces. +1 to Attack and Defense is just too good.

Now let me tell you what’s special about Cosmo. He has Outwit and Ignores Hindering for Targeting which a great combo. He also TK and Willpower on his first click. So on turn one move everyone up and on turn 2 use TK without taking push damage. Because of his Trait he has 19 starting defense and can get up to 12 Attack with his multi-target Mind Control. But the real kicker is his unique special power starting on click two that reads “YOU HAVE LOUD BRAIN: Free: Choose an opposing character within range. Until your next turn, that character can’t be given POWER actions.” That’s a free action and doesn’t require line of fire. There are lots of Power actions in the game, but the first ones I will be looking to use this on are Charge, Running Shot, and Hypersonic Speed.

Nadia Van Wasp.jpg 5) AI044 Wasp (70 points) – While she isn’t great on offense without some help, her defenses are excellent. She has a special Traited Shape Change that reads PYM PARTICLES IN MY BLOOD, RED ROOM TRAINING IN MY MIND: Shape Change. When Wasp uses it and succeeds, after resolutions the attacker is dealt 1 penetrating damage.” It reminds me of TMT002 Loki and WF030 The Wizard. If I was facing her I would attack her last. She also gives you the option of Outwit on click 1 or a Special Perplex when you push to click 2.

Mantis

4) AI030 Mantis (50 points) – Like AI020 Gamora she is an efficient close combat piece that features a 12 starting Attack Value. The advantages that Mantis has over Gamora are a better Defense, an extra click of life, a lower point cost, and IM:Hindering. While Gamora has a better Trait, Mantis’s trait is no slouch either. It reads: I WILL HELP YOU CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS: Friendly characters within 4 squares have “FREE: This character can’t use Battle Fury or Earthbound/Neutralized this turn.” At very least that can help you carry Battle Fury characters and you could potentially build a team around it.

Quasar

3) AI037 Quasar (125 points) – Whenever Quasar hits with a ranged attack he gets to use Barrier as a few action. That can be crippling to the opposing team. If he does that more than a couple of times in a game, you’re likely going to win. So it’s up to you to do everything you can to make that happen. Run him with someone like ADW038 Jessica Jones to counter Stealth. You should also include some good close combat pieces to discourage your opponent from basing him.

Tonys car

2) AIG012 Tony Stark’s Car (10 Points) – As a 100 point vehicle this piece is Ok, but as Special Terrain it’s Meta.

Everyone knows special terrain can be useful because of the WKDP17-008 Boxing Ring. Unfortunately every Special Terrain created since then has been less powerful.

Until now.

This car has a power that reads, It’s still rolling. Use as cover:” Adjacent friendly characters can use Energy Shield/Deflection.” It also has an option to move it one square at the risk of KOing it. I would never do that. As long as your opponent can’t shoot you across the car, then they won’t be able to KO it. I would place the car within firing range of the opposing starting zone and then stand in front of the car for the whole game. You still get ESD and the opponent won’t be able to KO the car. 10 points to give your whole team ESD for the whole game is a steal. Buy this now while it’s still cheap.

Starfox.jpg

1) AI048 Starfox (80 points) – Hmm. This character has a double Perplex and the Eternal keyword. Where have I seen that before? I wonder if there is some top meta piece out there that he would work well with?

Chase Starfox is still a great piece in it’s own right. We all know that a double Perplex can be deadly, but Starfox also sports the best of the Chase Traits. it reads, THE 4TH VIRTUE OF LIFE: PASSION: Flurry. Once per turn, when Starfox’s attack roll has a 4, after resolutions heal each friendly character 1 click if they are adjacent to another friendly character.” So whenever you roll any 4 while attacking with this guy he will heal your entire team for 1 click of damage regardless of where they are on the board (as long they have a friendly piece next them.) That’s huge. I don’t ever remember seeing any other figure capable of a full team heal. And this isn’t even it’s own action, it’s just part of him attacking.

His whole dial also features Steal Energy so when he gets damaged he has an additional option to heal up. He’s not an offensive powerhouse, but with his Trait, Stop Click, Power Cosmic TA, and 12 starting attack — he’s the best character in this set.

 

Comics & More Local Tournament Report for 06/10/2015: Age of Ultron SLOP: Month One: Electric Bugaloo!!

Local Tournament Report

Did you here that? Age of Ultron hit southeastern Michigan hard last Wednesday (June 10th), and we’ve got the full report!

Wave One of the new Marvel Heroclix Storyline Organized Play set has released, and I was privileged to run Month One at Comics & More in Madison Heights, Michigan. In all, we had 10* competitors hit the tables to compete for the Month One Grandmaster LE!

Grandmaster LE

(*One competitor bought in, but had to bow out before dice started rolling. I took his place to make our numbers even, but as the Judge, I’m obviously not allowed to accumulate points.)

The Build:

For the most part, we followed the WizKids Instruction Sheet and played 300 Point Builds while allowing players to use the Hank Pym Avengers ID card as well (by paying its Point cost) if they had bought the Classic Avengers Fast Forces pack. We also decided to allow the use of the Pym Particles Light Object from the Avengers Assemble LE kit (again, by paying its Point cost), as we deemed it as a group to be thematically appropriate.

Some Observations About Age of Ultron, Month 1:

–In our Age of Ultron SLOP Preview, I mentioned that my biggest personal wants from this first Wave were Black Panther (Super Rare), Jocasta (Rare with the “Entity Possession” Trait) and the Protector ID card. Well, someone upstairs loves me, because in my two packs, I pulled… Black Panther, Jocasta and the Protector ID card. I can’t make this stuff up.

–The “Thebes, Egypt” side of the Wave One Map (remember, there is no Month Two Map, so all Month Two games will still be played on Month One Maps) seemed almost tailored to the powers of Black Panther. There were multiple tracts of Blocking Terrain to activate his Trait (CLOAKING TECH: Black Panther can use Stealth and Toughness. When it isn’t your turn, lines of fire to him are blocked if he is adjacent to blocking terrain.) and Special Attack Power (SPRING FROM THE SHADOWS: Black Panther can use Charge. When Black Panther occupies hindering terrain or is adjacent to blocking terrain, he can use Sidestep.).

Black Panther already has an awesome Dial and Power Set; the possibility of playing on the “Thebes, Egypt” Map really elevates Black Panther into a must-play if you pull him.

–For that matter, watching the players at my venue, in terms of Wave One Primary Attackers, my personal Top Five would now look like this:

She-Hulk AOU

5. AOU023 She-Hulk (Uncommon): While I was more concerned in our Preview about how she’d interact with AVAS044 Arcade in Constructed formats, I have to say that her full dial Damage Output Potential is frightening. Her top dial Attack Value is middling (it’s a 10), but there are enough supporting pieces with Perplex or Prob in this set to boost that. If you can grab a heavy object on your way, there’s not many figures in this set that She-Hulk can’t one-shot with that opening Charge/Flurry click.

In fact, I personally went 2-1, and the one game I lost was to a She-Hulk team that wrecked my Black Panther with a Heavy item hit. If I saw She-Hulk in my Uncommon slot and didn’t pull any of the next 4 pieces, I would revolve my team around Jennifer Walters.

Hercules AOU

4. AOU033 Hercules (Rare): Like She-Hulk on steroids. He can Charge and Flurry THROUGH Blocking Terrain, which almost makes him a silver bullet for Black Panther, except for his one glaring weakness: Outwit can just RUIN him, and there’s a significant amount of it in the set–including on Black Panther’s first click.

Black Panther AOU

3. AOU045 Black Panther (Super Rare): I talked at length about him already; he gives you both trickeration, solid (if not spectacular) stats and an excellent amount of avoidance (through his improved Stealth Trait and down dial Super Senses).

Quasar AOU

2. AOU047 Quasar (Super Rare): This set has so little range it’s almost ridiculous. That’s why you can revolve your team around a close combatant and do quite well in a Wave One event. But Quasar is the Outlier.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As much as I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s books, I still have no idea if I used “outlier” correctly. It’s a fun word though, and I feel like it makes me seem smarter–even if this admission confirms my stupidity.]

He gives you everything you could ask for in a Primary Attacker for a Constructed Build–in a limited environment like this, he and his 9 Range is virtually unstoppable.

Ultron Phalanx

1. AOU055A Ultron (Phalanx) (Chase):

We had competitors pull both Chases; the player who pulled Ultron from his time as leader of the Phalanx decided playing his 300 Point dial would be a little too cheesy and elected instead to play his Drone dial (he went 1-2, so he still found some success). I can’t say I would have been as charitable if I had pulled him!

Phalanx Ultron just would not work as a one-man army in Constructed. It would just be to easy to out-action him and chew through his dial, even with the back-to-back Stop Clicks.

But in Sealed? Yikes. He’s a monster with an extreme amount of survivability, and his 19 Impervious that shows up with his Stop Clicks would be EXTREMELY tough for most teams to even hit. Maybe you can play keep away with someone like Quasar, but man, it will not be easy…

— Ultron-7 (the other Chase) and Goliath (Super Rare) would probably be the sixth and seventh figures on this list in terms of best pieces to build around. So counting them, of the seven best Primary Attackers in the entire Wave, 1 is an Uncommon, 1 is a Rare, 3 are Super Rares and 2 are Chases. All of which is to say, it’s entirely possible that you won’t get one of the “Power 7” figures in your two boosters, which will make for some pretty tough sledding.

If you pull a Jocasta, you might be able to turn Victor Mancha or Tess-One or Iron Man into a Primary Attacker, but you really need to back them up with some heavy support if that’s the way you’re going. Hmmm… maybe, like, Protector and Wasp, or something. I mean, y’know, just spitballing there…

–The whole Main Dial/Drone Dial thing with the Ultron pieces (including the Chases) seems like an interesting idea that never reached it’s full potential in the design stage.

Now, we still have a bunch of Ultron dials to come (including two more Chases, I’m assuming, even though I’d prefer an alternate timeline Morgan Le Fay!), so that may make the Drones more viable in Constructed. But in Sealed, it’s still tough to do much with them unless your lucky enough to pull two.

Now, if you pull a Vision or Jocasta alongside them, it may suddenly be worth it to play some Drone dials…

The Winner:

FullSizeRender (1)

After a pitched battle of unbeatens, Darren piloted his Jocasta on Victor Mancha/Protector/Wasp Build to victory against Matt’s She-Hulk/Black Knight/Ant-Man squad to take not just the Grandmaster First Prize, but also the points lead in the Quest for the Quinjet!!

After some deliberation, it has been determined that we will follow WizKids suggested scoring scheme to determine our Quinjet winner at the end of the Storyline. That means that for the first three events, the scoring system looks like this:

1 Point for Attending;

1 Point for a Loss;

2 Points for a Win;

3 Points for Winning the Event!!

If there is a need to break ties, I will use total Victory Points accumulated during matches. If that somehow ends in a tie, I will use Fellowship votes. If things are still tied, we’ll have a roll-off after I write 4000 words for this site about the improbability of ties in Storyline OP Events.

I don’t have information yet on what–if anything–will change in terms of scoring for the fourth month. Nevertheless, here are the…

Quinjet

Quest for the Quinjet Standings:

Darren: 10 Points!!! (882 Victory Points Accumulated)

Matt: 6 Points (740)

Andrew: 6 Points (590)

Tyler: 6 Points (575)

Brian: 5 Points (525)

Roberto: 5 Points (495)

Nicholas: 5 Points (440)

Tim: 5 Points (245)

George: 4 Points (175)

Carl: 1 Point (0)

Okay! So that’s where things stand after Month One! And if you expect to find yourself somewhere near southeastern Michigan next month and want to join in on the action (even if you didn’t play Month One, if you join us for Month Two and win, you’ll be right in the thick of things!!), Month Two is currently scheduled to go down at 6:15pm on July 8th, right back at Comics & More in Madison Heights!!

And for Month Two, in addition to the Quest for the Quinjet points, competitors will also be playing for this guy:

 

Graviton!

 

Hope to see you there! And keep an eye on this space to read about the results next month!

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

“Ultron! We Would Have Words With Thee!” (Or, a Figure by Figure Preview of the Age of Ultron SLOP 1st Wave!!)

Ultron We Would Have Words With Thee

Alrighty! Welcome back!

Today we’re gonna take a look at the figure rundown for the first Wave of Age of Ultron, which will be coming to a venue near you in the next few weeks!! We’ll be looking at them mostly in the context of Sealed play, since that’s how most of you will be introduced to them, but we will offer our take on how we think a few key pieces will impact Modern Age as well.

Now that we’re this close to the event, folks have already started opening booster Bricks prematurely (and probably in violation of their vendor agreement) to sell singles on eBay and on other platforms.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview.

Nope. Not these guys. They had permission to open their Brick, and produced a mighty fine Preview for us all. 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We at Critical Missives have never opened Bricks early, and we do NOT encourage, support or condone other entities breaking vendor agreements to do so. But, since the information is now out there, we have made the editorial decision to report on it.]

Additionally, WizKids themselves have released some previews, so we now know most of the figures in Wave 1.

If you want to go into Month 1 blind and unspoiled, turn away now! Otherwise, sail on!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the Wave 1 figures are odd-numbered.]

AGE OF ULTRON: WAVE 1 FIGURE LIST:

Hank Pym AOU

AAOU001 Hank Pym100/50 PointsCommon: Not a lot needs to be said. He was already spoiled by WizKids, and you can see his whole dial and power set in the Units tab of HCRealms.com. Or, y’know, in the tiny picture above. There will be Morphing in this set. Oh yes. [Best Yoda Voice] There… will… be…

Ant-Man AOU

AAOU003 Ant-Man100/50 PointsCommon: Once again, a dial that’s already been spoiled. There will be more Hank Pym’s to come, by the way, for anyone who is, y’know, completely obsessed with Hank Pym. And whose Hank Pym love was not satiated by the Hank Pym Boxed set, which featured, like, six more Hank Pyms.

Wasp AOU

AAOU005 Wasp70 PointsCommon: So this is actually Janet, not Hank Pym. She does sport the ever popular Lady Liberators keyword to go with her expected Avengers and Celebrity keywords. No Traits, she obviously is a Flyer, and she of course has the “Tiny” Symbol. She starts with (not pictured) an 8 Movement (with Running Shot), 10 Attack Value (with Incapoopitate), 17 native Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage with a Special Power (Founding Member: Wasp can use Shape Change. When she does, she may increase the result by 1 for each adjacent friendly character with a shared keyword (a roll of 1 still fails).).

Like her, don’t love her. Super Senses and Improved Shape Change are normally a great combo, but with so much Precision Strike running around in this Wave, often times it’ll just be the Shape Change. She’s probably most useful as a tie-up piece with Incapacitate, but if you send her away from her teammates to tie-up other pieces, she’ll basically just have regular Shape Change and a very hittable 17 Defense.

In Constructed, I can see some uses for her, but I’d stay away in AOU Sealed unless she was the only fig that fit the point structure of my Build.

Yellowjacket AOU

AAOU007 Yellowjacket85 PointsCommon: This looks like the Rita DeMara version. She comes with two really good Traits. The first (Criminal Past, Reluctant Avenger, and Future Guardian: Yellowjacket can use Shape Change and is a Wild Card.) gives her some defensive options; the second (Stolen Pym Particle Technology: At the beginning of your turn, you may choose “Normal Size” or “Tiny Size.” Yellowjacket possesses the chosen combat symbol until you choose again.) lets her float between two different sizes, so she can be Carried out initially (if she’s Tiny Sized) and then spring back to Normal Size if you need to, say, block line of fire or something.

Her top dial features an 11 Movement (with Sidestep), 10 Attack (with Precision Strike), 17 Defense (with Super Senses) and 2 Damage (with Perplex!). She has a 6 Range. Plus, she’s got a truckload of great keywords, including Avengers, Masters of Evil, Guardians of the Galaxy and Scientist, one of the best generic keywords right now.

I expect to see her played a lot in AOU Sealed, especially since she’s a Common that features top dial Perplex (Perp and Outwit are gold in Sealed). She may also see a lot of house play at your local venue, too, since she fits on so many different teams.

So far, Yellowjacket is the early contender for this year’s  “White Ranger Iron Fist Memorial Commendation” award, which is given annually to the best Storyline Organized Play Common Figure.

"Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I'm not dead yet. In fact, I haven't even retired! I'm still Modern Age!"

Memorial? Uhhh, guys? I’m not dead yet. In fact, I haven’t even been retired! I’m still Modern Age!

Suuuuure you are, Danny. Sure you are.

Alexis AOU

AAOU009 Alexis65 PointsCommon: Another character I wasn’t too familiar with, Alexis is actually a newer creation that came out of the pages of AvengersAI. If ol’ Rita doesn’t win this year’s White Ranger, then Alexis almost surely will.

For 65 Points, you get an Avenger (and Robot-) keyworded figure who is a Flyer (read: Taxi), starts with 9 Movement (with Phasing), 10 Attack (and she’s another piece with Precision Strike–Heaven help you if you just have Super Senses, like most of the other Commons in this set), 17 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection and a native 3 Damage with Probability Control (uh, what I just said about Perp and Outwit in Sealed? That goes double for Prob Control)!!

Now, she has no Traits, no Improved Targeting of any kind, no Willpower/Indomitable and only a 4 Range. But securing a Taxi that also offers Prob and is a more-than-capable Tertiary Attacker for only 65 Points? You are going to be seeing a lot of her in AOU Sealed.

Monica Chang AOU

AAOU011 Monica Chang65 PointsCommon: Another AvengersA.I. character. I actually think she debuted in the Ultimate universe first, but I could be wrong. Regardless, she was an important UnClix’d S.H.I.E.L.D. character that WizKids has finally made for us.

No Traits, No Improved Targeting. Her Range is 6 with 1 Bolt. She does have the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scientist keywords, along with the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, and she starts with Stealth and the odd combination of Penetrating/Psychic Blast and Combat Reflexes. I like the Stealth/Combat Reflexes combo, but Pen/Psy won’t help her when she’s based.

Where she really earns her keep is with her Damage Special Power (SHIELD Division Chief: Counter Cyber-Terrorism: Monica Chang can use Enhancement and Perplex. When she uses Perplex, she may modify a combat value by -2 instead if the target has the Armor or Robot keyword.).

In Constructed, there are better options. In Sealed, wow!! She can shut down a LOT of pieces in this set. I personally like Alexis a little bit better for the points, but Monica will be EXTREMELY useful in AOU Sealed.

Victor Mancha AOU

AAOU013 Victor Mancha100 PointsCommon: A somewhat odd piece in the context of the whole set. Victor has Avengers, Robot and Runaways keywords, and he’s a Flyer with top dial Sidestep. He also has Indomitable and an 11 Attack with TK, which are all things that the other Commons in this set mostly lack. He can also do 3 Damage, which is never a bad thing.

But at 100 Points, there are better attackers and cheaper Taxi’s in this Wave. Down dial, he becomes both a better supporting piece with a Special Defense Power (Magnetic Bubble: Victor Mancha can use Barrier, ESD, and Toughness. Friendly characters adjacent to Victor Mancha when he uses Barrier can use Sidestep this turn.) and a better attacker, since he picks up a Running Shot/Pulse Wave combination.

He’s solid for his points, but I think there are better options in this set.

Ultron Drone AOU

AAOU015 Ultron Drone50 PointsCommon: Not much to say here. He’s your basic Swarm-bot that gets (slightly) better the closer it is to other characters with “Ultron” in their name.

Iron Man AOU

AAOU017 Iron Man90 PointsUncommon: This Iron Man comes with a lightning rod Trait (The Original Invincible Iron Man!: If the first ranged combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Iron Man, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.) that makes him somewhat compelling. Just keeping him in the back while you press the rest of your forces forward almost makes him worth his points for that alone.

He does also offer Charge, Super Strength and Outwit, so he’s an average secondary attacker as well.

Hulk AOU

AAOU019 Hulk 80 PointsUncommon: Basically the close combat version of the Iron Man above, Hulk even comes with a very similar Trait (The Original Incredible Hulk: If the first close combat attack made during an opponent’s turn doesn’t target Hulk, modify the attacker’s attack and damage values by -1.).

His combat values are outstanding for his cost (he even does 4 Damage top dial), but he’s extremely schizophrenic, due to his other Trait (With Each New Dawn, the Weakling Banner Comes Back: At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 1-2, until your next turn modify Hulk’s combat values by -2 can he can use Outwit, Perplex, and Shape Change and can’t use any other power he possesses. This ability can’t be ignored.).

So basically, you have either a phenomenally good Secondary Attacker (relative to what it costs to field him) or a PRETTY good supporting piece. The problem is, you may not know which figure you have until it’s too late.

Black Knight AOU

AAOU021 Black Knight115 PointsUncommon: Charge and Exploit Weakness are always good, and he starts with an 11 Attack Value. The problem is that he immediately loses that 11 Attack by click 2, he has no Willpower unless he’s already KO’d a character, and one of his Traits (By Sersi’s Side, From One Universe to the Next: If Black Knight is adjacent to a friendly character named Sersi, both characters modify their defense values by +1 unless already modified by this effect.) is completely useless in this set (since the only Modern Sersi we have is in Avengers Assemble. Theoretically, it is possible that your venue might give you one AOU Wave 1 Booster and one AA booster, and that you MIGHT pull both of those characters, but even then they may not be worth playing together).

He has Traited B/C/F and Steal Energy, which will help offset the fact that he doesn’t have Willpower, but it just seems like there are much better ways to spend 115 Points in this set.

She-Hulk AOU

AAOU023 She-Hulk130/75 PointsUncommon: Another figure that’s already been previewed on Heroclix.com. I love her Trait (File for Change of Venue: If She-Hulk isn’t part of a themed team, the first time this game you wouldn’t win the roll for first player, you may roll again and add +1 to the result.), especially when used on an Arcade team. It’s not clear if you would get the +1 modifier on the second roll for Map Choice, but just the ability to try for Arcade’s map a second time if you lose the first roll is huge.

Machine Man AOU

AAOU025 Machine Man120 PointsUncommon: More of a novelty attacker than anything else, Machine Man is a close combatant without Charge or a very high Damage Value. His Trait (Extendable Body Parts: When Machine Man makes a close combat attack, squares within a range of 3 and line of fire are considered adjacent.) somewhat mitigates the first problem, and Super Strength will help with the second.

120 Points seems about right for what he does, and he has some versatility to him, but if he’s your Secondary Attacker, you Damage Output Potential is probably low.

TESS-One

AAOU027 TESS-One150 PointsUncommon: Once again, we have a close combat figure with a significant cost that doesn’t have Charge. Sidestep is better than nothing, but it ain’t Charge.

The ability to move through (and destroy) Blocking Terrain is a big plus, but again we have another figure that’s saddled with yet another narrowly useful Trait (Total Elimination of Super-Soldiers: As long as an opposing character on the map is 100 or more points and named Captain America, TESS-One can use Willpower. When attacking such a character, TESS-One’s damage value is modified by +1.) that will NEVER help you in AOU Sealed. Why? Because, SPOILER ALERT: There is no Captain America in Wave 1.

Frankly, you’re paying for a lot of powers abilities in this dial that you’ll probably never get a chance to effectively use. RCE? Great! Only a 5 Range? Less great (although Sidestep actually will help here…).

The one real positive with TESS-One is that it is really hard to kill. It’s Defense actually gets better (a LOT better) down dial, and it picks up a Movement Special (Rebuilding From The Rubble: At the beginning of your turn, if TESS-One occupies a square containing a debris marker, heal TESS-One of 1 damage.) that gives it a way to (somewhat) reliably heal a click every turn.

Ultron-8 AOU

AAOU029 Ultron-8120/30 PointsUncommon: And now we have our first real Ultron. Get used to seeing his Trait (Autonomous or Drone Mode: Ultron-8 costs 120 points, or costs 30 points and begins on the click #1 after the orange KO. Until KO’d, Ultron-8 is considered 120 points.), cuz most of the Ultrons have some form of it. The idea is to play multiple versions of a single Ultron, and your opponent will really have no way of knowing which one is which, because their dials will be exact replicas of each other… except that the Drones only have 2 clicks of life.

As for the dial itself, it’s pretty solid. I’d rather play this Ultron at 120 Points than Machine Man, that’s for sure.

Vision AOU

AAOU031 Vision100 PointsRare: This is the semi-evil, fresh on the scene, son-of-Ultron version of Vision, and he’s exactly as he should be! If you pull him in Sealed, just pray that you also pull an Ultron–ANY Ultron!

His Trait (Secret Programming: When a friendly character whose name includes Ultron is given a move action and actions resolve, Vision may be given a move action as a free action.) pretty much completely makes up for the fact that he only starts with Sidestep, and his Movement Special Power (He’s Coming… Through the Wall!: Vision can use Sidestep. When Vision uses Sidestep or is given a move action, he can use Improved Movement:Ignores Blocking Terrain.) works quite gracefully with his Trait.

He also adds Indomitable, Super Senses and Shape Change to go with his Penetrating/Psychic Blast. His 10 Attack is pretty pedestrian, but in this set that’s really par for the course.

This is a much better Vision than his Age of Ultron Movie cousin, even though they cost the same amount of points.

Hercules AOU

AAOU033 Hercules220/130 PointsRare: The first real solid close combat brick of the set, with improved Charge, Traited Super Strength, Impervious or Invincible for much of his dial and a lot of CCE and Battle Fury (which will help with the surprising amount of Shape Change in this set). If you pull him, you’re probably playing him.

I like his 220 Dial in a 400 Point event, but I LOVE his 130 Point dial in just about any format. Yes, he’s a little top heavy at 130, but man, he is going to be scary to face.

He also gives us a Modern Age Herc to bring in with his Avengers ID card, which is great as well. Definitely a needed figure.

Protector AOU

AAOU035 Protector100 PointsRare: There are two big things to remember about Protector. The first is that he’s one of the few (gosh, there’s like, I dunno, 3 or 4) characters to appear in the same Set/Wave as his Avengers ID Card. So, theoretically, you COULD pull both Protector AND his ID card.

Secondly, when it comes to calling for his help via an ID card… that’s probably the best way to play him! On his own, there’s nothing very special about him. He has Sidestep, he flies, he has a 10 Attack with NO Attack powers and he does a ho-hum 3 Damage. He does offer Probability Control and an 18 Defense Value (with Defend), which is nice, but hardly game breaking.

If you could get all that for just one important turn, however, and you only had to spend 5 Points to do it… well, Protector just became very exciting, didn’t he? All of a sudden, you’re opponent has to hit an 18 Defense to hit anybody, and he probably has to do it at least twice, since Protector has that Prob at his disposal.

In Constructed, he offers another alternative for Avengers and Kree teams, but honestly, he’s one of the best ID Card Call-Ins, so that’s how I’d expect to see him used most often.

Grim Reaper AOU

AAOU037 Grim Reaper119 PointsRare: Wow. Another Trait (Deadly Sibling Rivalry: Give Grim Reaper a free action when he is within 4 squares of a character named Wonder Man and modify all of Grim Reaper’s combat values except damage by +1 until your next turn. When you do, deal Grim Reaper 1 unavoidable damage at the end of this turn.) that gives its owner NOTHING in Sealed. I’m betting we’ll probably see a Wonder Man in Wave 2, which will mean nothing to you if you happen to pull Grim Reaper here in one of your packs.

He’s basically a 119 Point gamble. While he has a tiny amount of Range (4 squares), if you play him, you’re planning on Charging folks and hitting them with his special Energy Stealing B/C/F, since his native Damage never climbs above 2. If he were, say, 79 Points, he might at least be interesting. At 119 Points, he just doesn’t do enough to effect the game (even the Prob Control they gave him doesn’t show up until his last two clicks).

We needed a new Grim Reaper, but this is the one Rare/Super Rare/Chase that I’m hoping I never see in a box that I’m opening for Sealed.

Jocasta AOU

AAOU039 Jocasta130/25 PointsRare: Jocasta was already previewed by WizKids, so there isn’t a lot more to say. Since she can work like an Entity, she’s definitely one of the “buzziest” pieces in the set, but her real talents will shine through more in Constructed that they will in Sealed.

Very solid piece, and a nice tweak of the Entity Possession Trait. This is one of my personal “big wants” from the set.

Ultron-5 AOU

AAOU041 A & B Ultron-5120/60/30 PointsRare: AAOU41A is basically a (slightly overcosted) Leadership engine for Masters of Evil teams, while the B-side is very much a swarm dial that operates as a Switch Clix with the same Autonomous or Drone Mode Trait that all the Ultrons have in this set.

Goliath AOU

AAOU043 Goliath140/100/50 PointsSuper Rare: A SR Hank Pym. Yay?

Well, you might be cheering after you see his dial. For 140 Points, he actually has one of the the best Close Combat dials in the set. The Morph power is nice, but in most cases, your better off just sticking with Goliath. His top dial Movement Special is amazing (Trample: Goliath can use Charge. When he does and moves in a direct line, after actions resolve, he may make an additional close combat attack targeting all opposing characters whose square he moved through but didn’t already target with an attack this turn. For this attack, each hit character is dealt 3 damage.), but he only keeps it for one click. He does pick it back up on clicks 3 and 4, though, and with top dial Invincible, it’ll be tough for someone to knock him all the way past those “money” clicks (God, especially in this set).

Goliath brings a lot to the table AND leaves you a bunch of room for supporting figs. If your lucky enough to pull him in Sealed, he’s a definite play.

Black Panther AOU

AAOU045 Black Panther140 PointsSuper Rare: Wow. The hits keep coming with the Super Rares! This is pretty much the quintessential version of Black Panther. He was Previewed by WizKids already, but I’m going to go through his dial anyway because I really love this T’Challa.

First of all, his keyword line is jammed pack with everything from great names like Avengers and Illuminati to the best generics like Mystical and Scientist.

He ignores Elevated and Hindering Terrain on movement, so his mobility is awesome, and he’s also going to be extremely difficult to find at range due to his fantastic Trait (Cloaking Tech: Black Panther can use Stealth and Toughness. When it isn’t your turn, lines of fire to him are blocked if he is adjacent to Blocking Terrain.). Pay very close attention to that wording–it’s very similar to the wording on IIM038 Iron Man‘s Personal Cloaking Device Trait. WizKids already ruled that Iron Man’s Trait gets around Pulse Wave, and I’d imagine they’ll rule that T’Challa’s works the same way.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On second look, Black Panther’s Trait says Lines of Fire are “BLOCKED,” while Iron Man’s says they “CAN’T BE DRAWN.” It’s a slight difference; we’ll have to wait and see what comes up in the Event System Rules Forum to know for sure.]

All of which means that if you can keep T’Challa adjacent to Blocking Terrain (maybe with a supporting character who sports Barrier?), he’s pretty much invulnerable to any sort of ranged attack.

His Movement Special Power (Spring from the Shadows: Black Panther can use Charge. When Black Panther occupies Hindering Terrain or is adjacent to Blocking Terrain, he can use Sidestep.) goes hand in hand with his Trait, and his Damage Special adds Leadership and Outwit.

On top of all that… he probably has the best sculpt in the set. Another of my biggest wants from the set.

He’s an absolute monster in Sealed, especially with the right supporting pieces behind him (or, really, the right map), and I think he even has potential in the Meta (maybe not a lot, but still) simply based on that ridiculously good Trait. You can’t KO what you can’t see.

Quasar AOU

AAOU047 Quasar225/125 PointsSuper Rare: Wow! Now this is a ranged Primary Attacker! His dial almost feels like something out of Justice League: Trinity War or Guardians of the Galaxy rather than this current cycle of Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron.

He has two dial options, and they’re both terrific. At 225 Points, he is going to be a heavy hitter that can fling 5 natural, penetrating damage up to 9 squares away. In this set, that might as well be 100 damage. He’s going to one-shot some opposing support characters, and it’s going to be tough to retaliate effectively over that distance.

Plus, his first three (of NINE!!) clicks feature Invincible, so even if your opponent retaliates heavy, it’s going to be tough to make any headway. Especially since Quasar has the Power Cosmic TA, so you can’t counter his defenses.

His 125 Point dial is great as well, but for different reasons. His Defense actually gets BETTER against ranged attacks, and he picks up a Damage Special that partially imprisons anyone he hits (Contain Standard Operating Procedure: When Quasar targets and damages a single opposing character, after action resolve, he can use Barrier as a free action, but may only place blocking terrain markers adjacent to the hit character.).

On top of all that, if your opponent does hit him, Quasar goes right into an Attack Special Power that allows him to Steal Energy even with ranged attacks!

Basically, the only piece Quasar really needs to fear in this Wave is probably Black Panther, only because T’Challa is impossible to hit from range.

If you pull Quasar and don’t play him, you’re either an idiot or you’re trying to impress someone for some reason, even though you’ll really just come off as an annoying D-bag. Don’t be either of those guys. They’re A-holes. Play Quasar if you get him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don't play him.

This is what you look like if you pull Quasar and don’t play him.

MODAM AOU

AAOU049 M.O.D.A.M. — 131 PointsSuper Rare: The latest Preview from WizKids. She’s a fun character, but she’s also limited in what she wants to do by her 5 Range.

Ultron-1 AOU

AAOU051 A & B Ultron-1120/60/30 PointsSuper Rare: Okay, so if Black Panther has the best sculpt, this is probably a close second.

The A-dial is a nifty little trickster who comes packing a couple of cool Traits, including one that really narrows your opponent’s options if you hit (Total Mind Wipe: Once per game, when Ultron-1 hits an opposing character, you may give that character a Mind-Wipe token. A character with a Mind-Wipe token can’t attack Ultron-1 unless that character and Ultron-1 are the only characters on the map.). 

His down dial Defense Special (Self-Upgrade: Ultron-1 can use Impervious and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration and the result is 5 or 6, place an Upgrade token on this card.) offers the chance to gain Upgrade tokens, each of which gives him +1 to all combat values.

He’s not the bruiser that some of the other pieces in this set are, but the longer he’s left alone, the deadlier he gets.

The B-Dial offers the normal Autonomous or Drone options and adds a fantastic Defense Special (The True Creator of Me is… Myself: When a friendly character with the Autonomous or Drone Mode trait is KO’d, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 4-6, place that character in your starting zone on its click #1 after the orange KO.) that can keep the Ultron assembly line going.

Ultron-7 AOU Chase

AAOU053 A & B Ultron-7150/125/30 PointsChase: Ultron-7 A is a close combat bruiser who turns into a ranged attacker with a Running Shot/Special Pulse Wave power in the middle of his dial. He has a top dial Damage Special that helps teammates (Hatred of the Horde: Ultron-7 can use Battle Fury and Leadership. Opposing characters that are adjacent to a character friendly to your force can’t use Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control.), but otherwise his dial is surprisingly straightforward for a Chase.

The B-dial is a surprisingly sturdy (for its points) ranged attacker, but nothing to write home about. Someone is going to find a way to break all these Drones into a great army, but it’s not going to be me.

Ultron AOU

AAOU55 A & B Ultron300/120/30 PointsChase: Here he is–Ultron himself. At 300 Points, you’d expect a lot from his A-dial, and you might end up a bit disappointed. He doesn’t even have a move-and-attack power top dial–just Phasing/Teleport. And his Attack Value never goes above an 11–until you get to his two Stop Clicks (they appear on consecutive clicks).

Once you get to his Stop Clicks, Ultron will wreck house–provided there is an opposing character within 5 squares that he can Charge (or 8 Squares if you’d rather Quake fools).

In Sealed, you can probably get away with this–especially in a 400 Point game. In Constructed, he’s so easily outmaneuvered that it’s almost comical.

The B-Dial is a glorified Robot Taxi that can moonlight as a Secondary Attacker.

So there you have it! Last year’s Storyline OP featured Chases that were so good they were broken and had to be (mildly) nerfed by a Watch List fix. This year, the Chases are confusing and almost a waste of time, in my opinion. The Super Rare slot is definitely where it’s at. Outside of, say, M.O.D.A.M., there’s not a loser in the bunch (even the Ultron was pretty unique and original).

Good luck with your Month One pulls, and we’ll see you back here soon for our traditional dueling Top Ten Set Reviews for Avengers Assemble! Those should start dropping next week!