Say Geronimo! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 11/23/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello again! It’s been a solid month since we last rounded up everything there is to, y’know, round up! And, given that Thanksgiving is just about here, I figured everyone could use a Turkey Day Roundup!

So what’s been going on this last 30 days? Well, War of Light is finally done (at least at most venues); The Flash has finally released (after just a one week delay); and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies should finally be out now at a Target or hobby store near you (or be coming very soon–depends on where you live, it seems).

All of which means we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going with…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; last week, in Episode 71, they opened up their Meta Toolbox to talk about all the Modern Age resources in the context of the Meta! And as a special Holiday bonus, they’ve ALREADY released Episode 72!

Yours truly was lucky enough to finish in the Top 4 of their Dial Design contest this month; if you want to get in on the action, December’s Dial Design should start around November 30th.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27 is still the most recent ep of The Quarry. The ROC tab on HCRealms has a link to upcoming events and vaguely mentions an Episode 28, but damned if I can find it!

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an October or November ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

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

 

Preview

–Just announced on the Heroclix.com Downloads tab: there is going to be a “Spider-Man Symbiotes” Monthly Op Kit in May of next year! Looks like there’ll be 3 different versions of Venom!

–No other current Previews, but that’s to be expected as they JUST released Flash. I’d expect no real previews until WizKids’s annual 12 Days of Clix-Mas promotion, where we’ll get a look at next year’s offerings like Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble and both Avengers: Age of Ultron offerings!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

So, we’ve gone on and on about the new R.O.C. Format, but sometimes I think we don’t put enough emphasis on choosing the best supporting characters for the Primary Attacker that you’ve chosen. Let’s take a look at how adding or subtracting a single supporting character can drastically alter a Build in this environment!

First, let’s look at the Iron Pharaoh Build from ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!

"Oh! Golden Falcon, no! I just polished this armor!"

“NO! Golden Falcon, I just polished this armor!”

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle 50

=300 Points

What This Build Does:

It slows everything down!! Which, as everyone knows by now, is fantastic for pieces like Iron Pharaoh and Fantomex (who can’t really be played in the current format because E.V.A. is a bystander token, which is illegal in “No Tactics” formats). But the fact that Shaman disables flying and Turtle limits people to moving just 4 squares or less (unless they want to take an additional action token) is just an insane combo. And if you win Map Roll (which will happen roughly 50% of the time, since there are no Themed Team Bonuses), Ryut should be a nightmare for most teams you’ll face. Weasel is the best supporting piece (offers a very limited Prob, +1 to Attack and Range and Enhancement) in the game for Ranged-based attackers, and Thule Society Priest is just there to get pushed into another Prob’r.

Okay, now that we know what the default Build does, let’s change the roster a bit!

This is what's known as a 'Dark Future.' (See what I did there?)

This is what’s known as a ‘Dark Future.’ (See what I did there?)

Team Name: “She Blinded Me With Science!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

FL031 Turtle 50

SLOSH004 Science Police Officer 45

=297 Points

What This Build Does (Differently): This is a Ninwashui variant. Okay, so we lost our main supporting piece (Weasel) and our secondary supporting/tie-up piece (Thule Society Priest), but we added Science Police Officer. What does this do? Well, it slows down the damage Iron Pharaoh can do by about 20%-25% (basically 3 instead of 4). You can make up for this a little bit by constantly keeping Shaman within range and line of fire of Iron Pharaoh, so he can use his Perplex there. But Science Police Officer combos really brutally with Turtle. Science Police Officer’s top dial Damage Special (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) means that your opponents best attackers are at risk of shutting themselves down before you even attack them!

Let’s run down everything your opponent has to deal with BEFORE you’ve even attacked them (assuming they don’t Copycat away Shaman–which is an unlikely matchup, but not an impossible one):

1. They can’t fly (after Shaman’s “No Flights” ability goes off);

2. They can’t move more than 4 squares at a time UNLESS they want to take a second action token or take 1 Penetrating Damage.

3. If they do try and burst through with one big move and attack (via Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, etc.), they take an UNAVOIDABLE DAMAGE in addition to the extra action token/penetrating damage from Turtle!

With all this SLOWNESS going on, you should have plenty of time to get your Golden Falcon into position to start dropping 3 Damage Outwit Bombs!

 

What We’ve Learned:

While both Builds should be competitive no matter who you play, the first Build is fairly aggressive in terms of lining up its shots (with Weasel, Shaman and the available Probs, you’re trying to line up a 4-5 Damage shot that won’t miss after Outwitting a character’s Defense slot).

The second Build is more of a “take the opportunities that my opponent gives me” sort of army, where you’re basically turning the whole map into a spider’s web and waiting for your opponent to get themselves “stuck” (double-tokened and damaged).

That’s two nearly identical Builds with two significantly different styles of play based solely on which supporting character you choose to use!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Just in case May 2015 wasn’t going to be a busy enough month for Marvel fans (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; a ton of different Marvel Heroclix sets), that’s also the month that is currently set to be the premiere month for Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s new Netflix shows.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats!

Show: Daredevil

Showrunner: Drew Goddard (first two episodes); Steven S. DeKnight (current showrunner)

Known Regular Cast:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock: Charlie Cox

Karen Page: Deborah Ann Wolf

Foggy Nelson: Elden Hensen

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin: Vincent D’Onofrio

Claire Temple/Night Nurse (?): Rosario Dawson

Vanessa Marianna: Ayelet Zurer

Known Notable Guest Stars/Recurring Cast:

Stick: Scott Glenn

Ben Urich: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Leland Owlsley: Bob Gunton

Hachiro: Peter Shinkoda

Daredevil will go for at least one season of 13 episodes, with the character currently expected to play a major role in a planned “Defenders” mini-series which would feature all of Marvel’s Hells Kitchen-based heroes teaming up in an Avengers-like fashion.

It is entirely too early to know whether we’ll get a second season of Daredevil and/or when that would premiere. As of now, even the “Defenders” show is somewhat theoretical; if they four lead-up series bomb, you can bet Marvel and Netflix will find a way to can the mini-series.

On the other hand, if Daredevil is wildly successful (and only Netflix and Disney will really have any idea, since digital distribution success is almost impossible for folks outside the industry to determine), I’d expect Marvel to go ahead with both “The Defenders” AND a second season of Daredevil. And possibly even start added some mystical heroes to the Netflix slate, starting with Blade and Ghost Rider.

–The second Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil will be the as-yet-unofficially-titled Jessica Jones series. Casting has begun, with rumors swirling around who will play both Jessica Jones AND recurring guest star (and star of Marvel’s third Netflix series) Luke Cage!!

For the next Weekly Roundup, I’m going to start compiling season-long episode guides of current genre TV shows, starting with…

 

Gotham Title

 

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Annnnd, welcome back to the latest feature category for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

For any who have forgotten, this is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about interesting upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–RIW Hobbies in Livonia is hosting a Sealed Draft of War of Light on 12/05!!

–If you’re looking to try D&D Attack Wing, Month One of the Tyranny of Dragons OP is happening at Eternal Games in Warren on 12/06.

–Annnd, one week later, Eternal Games is running a really cool event that they’re calling War of Light: Month 7! This will happen on 12/13 @ 1pm, and will feature a 600-Point Constructed tournament as well as Battle Royal side events throughout the day!

 

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

Critical Missives:

–We were ROC’ing the Meta this past couple weeks. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here!

Coming up in the next week, we should have a Comics & More War of Light: Month 6 Battle Report PLUS both my AND Ninwashui’s Flash Top Ten Reviews!

And that’s it for this week!! Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo… PART 2!! (Or, a Look at Where the Meta Might Be Heading!!)

"Hmmm... well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday... "

“Hmmm… well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday… “

[To Be Read In Your Best Kiefer Sutherland Voice]

Previously, on Critical Missives:

 

Bill Agent of Aim Soranik Natu Void Tomar Tu Despotellis

–‘Anakin, NO!’

–‘Iron Pharaoh is still a thing, going forward.’

Abin Sur Kyle Raynor ION 2 Shatterstar Helspont

–‘Hail Hydra!

–‘Highfather is a losing strategy.’

ROC  "I;m back?! My dear, I never left!" Krampus 2

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

—————————————————————

 

And Now… The Conclusion.”

 

Whew!! Okay! Now that we’re all caught up, let’s look at some figs that ain’t what they used to be when it comes to the ROC, and some figs that people should be looking really closely at that haven’t yet had their day in the sun. Finally, we’ll talk a bit about what we can expect to show up in the Meta now that FLASH has been released!

 

Ain’t What They Used to Be Division:

This is what a good idea poorly executed looks like.

Suuuuure you do, Sweetie…

–DP038 Copycat: Wow. Some idiot was predicting doom and gloom for this ROC season because Copycat would dominate in an environment without Resources and Entities. What’s that? Oh, it was me? And what’s happened (at least so far)? Copycat is nowhere to be seen? Oh. And the lesson, as always? I’m an idiot?

Yup!

So, every now and then, some jackass will Copycat in a ROC now, but they won’t advance even into the Top 8. Why? Well, it’s because of the Construct ability that lets you start with the Nurse on a piece like Abin Sur or Tomar Tu. And Construct pieces are EVERYWHERE! And because of this, if you’re running a Copycat, it’s useless to switch, because your opponent will just put her in a horrible position and then Regenerate (remember, any attachments or effects on the targeted character transfer to Copycat), thus ending the effect. And if you don’t switch, you’ve got 90 Points (basically a third of your force) that’s next to useless. 90 Points that’s so bad that you thought giving it to your opponent for almost ANY qualifying figure they had was a winning strategy.

It doesn’t help her either that the New Mutants Team Base–her best running buddy–is disallowed in the current format.

So yeah, you may run into one or two teams that you can wreck with Copycat, but more often than not you’re cutting your own throat by playing her in this format. I couldn’t have been more mistaken in where I thought this Meta was heading, and I’ve never been happier to be so wrong!

"He's better than me?Wait, doesn't Speed Demon know that I'M supposed to be the Prime?"

He’s better than me? Wait, doesn’t Speed Demon know that I’M supposed to be the Prime?

–DP053B Whizzer: Hell of a dial. Hell of a power set. Hell of a piece! It’s just that Speed Demon does everything Whizzer does, but better. And without taking up that valuable Prime slot that most folks are using for Brother Voodoo, Tomar Tu or Abin Sur.

Just as a refresher for those of you keeping score at home, let’s talk for a minute about the differences between Whizzer and Speed Demon (you can follow along at HCRealms.com):

–Whizzer ignores Elevated, Water and Blocking Terrain (and Characters, but so does Speed Demon); Speed Demon ignores Hindering Terrain. This is pretty much a wash; you’ll certainly encounter more Hindering Terrain than anything else, but the ability to run up walls or through them, or over water in a pinch with Whizzer is pretty cool. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

–Whizzer can make TWO attacks during his Hypersonic movement, but only during his first two clicks. Speed Demon knows the same trick ON HIS LAST FOUR CLICKS. ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON.

–Whizzer has Indomitable. Speed Demon doesn’t. ADVANTAGE: WHIZZER

–Speed Demon has the Speed Cyclone Uplift Trait, arguably one of the ten best Traits Wizkids has ever made. Whizzer has no Traits. MASSIVE ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON

Whizzer here gets a lil’ closer to his non-Prime brother in a format where keywords don’t matter (Speed Demon’s are waaaay better), but otherwise, save the 10 Points and go with Speed Demon.

FINAL TALLY: Speed Demon wins, 2-1.

And that is why Whizzer is in this category. He was great when the ROC was just starting to roll out, but–especially with almost every team running some sort of Prime secondary figure–Whizzer is just too expensive at the moment, especially since we know how good Speed Demon is now.

"No, I've not seen the Earthen cinema classic 'Basic Instinct.' Why do you ask?"

No, I’ve not seen the Earthen cinema classic ‘Basic Instinct.’ Why do you ask?”

–SLOSH052 Highfather: Actually, I think we discussed him in Part 1! But he’s kind of in the same boat as Copycat for me; if you’re playing a Highfather team, you’re hoping to face one specific kind of team the whole tournament (any Build that revolves around a big bruiser–the more points, the better) that you can basically screw over before the game begins. If you run into a balanced team or really any team with a solid secondary attacker, you’re probably gonna lose. That’s why I think Highfather and Copycat are losing strategies; it’s not that you’ll lose every game, but you have almost no shot to actually win the tournament (or even make a Top 4). And if you’re not playing to win, you’re playing to lose–Ricky Bobby taught us this!

"Bizarro am Meta this season!"

“Bizarro am Meta this season!”

–SLOSH039X Bizarro: Unfortunately, no, Bizarro is not Meta right now. And no, that’s not me saying the reverse of what I actually mean. Bizarro’s still got his un-ignorable Stop Click-y goodness Trait, but without access to Resources, Relics or Entities, he’s a bit more inconsistent in terms of the stats on his dial, and he can’t heal as easily. There’s also been an increase in the number of Meta-Worthy figures who can do damage to him twice in one turn (Speed Demon, Proxima Midnight, etc.).

Now, when Resources, Entities and everything else returns in the second half season, Bizarro will once again be Meta, but until then, he just isn’t going to be a consistent enough performer to structure a team around.

(Having said that, you WILL occasionally see 25 Point Bizarro included in some Builds as a Taxi/Tertiary Attacker. I never loved Bizarro at 25 Points simply because with only 1 Orrazib Token on his card, Bizarro can’t take advantage of his best power–that Traited, un-ignorable Stop Click! But at 25 Points, he’s kinda like a pull on a slot machine–if you roll him onto one of his best clicks, you can do some serious damage for very little Build cost.)

 

Modern Age Figures That Have So Far Been Ignored in the ROC:

 

Speed Demon

DP053A Speed Demon: So far, ROC results indicate that strong ranged-base pieces are at the center of the Meta right now. But Hypersonic Speed came back in a big way this year (more on that later), and as of yet seems really untapped! And of all the great speedsters WizKids released this year, Speed Demon is pound for pound the best of the lot! He’s placed in ROC Top 8’s before, and even in this format, I don’t see why he can’t be dominant again. As always, it’s his awesome Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.) that lets him potentially deal damage twice in one turn (or up to three times a turn down dial!). The fact that his Trait can go off without having to make an attack roll is just awesome, and it’s a great way to deal with potentially problematic figs like Despotellis who have Defense Values that are really tough to reach.

Also, at 110 Points, he can be used as either a Primary Attacker or a Secondary Attacker, depending on which way you want to go with your build.

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

–007B Captain Marvel: So, this was kind of an omission from Part One, since he has shown up on multiple ROC teams, but we’ll talk about him here. Captain Marvel Prime is stupidly, ridiculously good. He was #1 on my GotG Top Ten Review, and he’s only gonna grow in popularity. His usefulness knows almost no bounds; he offers taxi services, Running Shot, 6 Range, Energy Explosion, Pen/Psy and Incapacitate, and if he hits with any of those attacks, the hit character CANNOT ATTACK during the next turn. He also has an 18 Defense with uncounterable Defend and Super Senses, and he adds +1 to the Defense of any non-Kree. Whew!! That’s a ton of stuff for only 82 Points!

His only drawback is his RELATIVELY short Range of 6 and his lack of Indomitable. That’s it. Try teaming him with AVX007 Black Panther and some other supporting folks to grant him Willpower to unleash his full potential!

Maxwell_Dillon_(Earth-2149)

–DP064 Electro: Zombie Chase Electro! Yay! In addition to being fun to play, Zombie Electro here has the potential to deal boatloads of damage. His attack isn’t necessarily consistently high enough to to be a Primary Attacker, but he’s damn dangerous as a secondary attacker. Try teaming him with Meta staples Super-Skrull and Headpool to get the most out of him. Either one will gives Virus tokens to any opposing character they hit, and once that happens, Electro can zap them from any square on the map as long as they’re within his Range–line of fire is no longer required! Also, Zombie Super-Skrull, Zombie Electro and Headpool is 298 Points, so they all fit together!

"I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate... Y'all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!"

“I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate… Y’all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!”

–IIM040 Shaman: Okay, I’ve been pitching this guy as a Secondary Attacker/Support piece for over a year now, but he is still REALLY good. And his “No Flights” ability can really screw over some Builds, especially on certain maps. We’ll have a Build featuring this guy, Iron Pharaoh and some NEW blood a little bit later!

"Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!"

“Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!”

–CATWS Captain America and Black Widow: Get this Duo some TK and Perplex and let them go to work. They have Traited Stealth and can see and move through Hindering themselves. Duo attack plus Precision Strike is nice. Sidestep + Improved Movement: Ignores Characters is also awesome! The best part about these two is that they only cost you 130 Points, which is really low for everything they offer. With the right supporting pieces, they can be straight deadly!

 

And What to Expect From The Flash:

 

Well, I don’t want to step on our Flash Top Ten Reviews coming later this month, but this is a really solid set, and there’s more than a few figures you’re going to have to know if you have hopes of competing in the ROC!

 

Turtle

–FL031 Turtle: I love this figure! His Trait is so flavorful, and I love that his name is Turtle and that he, y’know, helps your team “turtle.” He gives you a Stealthy Outwitter for 50 Points, but the best reason to play him is his Trait (Slowness as a Way of Life: Turtle can use plasticity. when another character moves at least 5 squares and actions resolve, give them an action token. if you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage.), which pairs absolutely PERFECTLY with that Iron Pharaoh/Shaman team I mentioned earlier:

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!

Theme: N/A

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110 Points

IIM040 Shaman92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle50

=300 (Exactly! Yay!)

How to Play: This works like any other Pharaoh team. If you win Map Roll, you want to choose Wundagore Mountain (from AvX) or any other map that is a bear to cross. Hole up in your Starting Area, send out your Falcon, stop anyone else from flying with Shaman and destroy any who would oppose you. And with Turtle’s Trait, the faster they try and get to you, the longer it will actually take.

You’ll have 2 Outwits (IP, Turtle), 1 Perplex (Shaman), Enhancement (Weasel) and the possibility of a Prob Control (Thule Society Priest on his last click). Weasel will also pump up Iron Pharaoh’s Attack by 1 and let him reroll if Iron Pharaoh misses by 1! When the enemy closes in, Shaman makes a decent Secondary Attacker. Alternatively, his Defense Special (GLACIAL WALL: Shaman can use Barrier and Energy Shield/Deflection. When he uses Barrier, the blocking terrain markers can’t be targeted with an attack by characters marked with one or more action tokens.) lets him pump out an improved Barrier. Thule Society Priest can also be used as a tie-up/annoyance piece, especially since he can copy Mystics from Shaman and deal an unavoidable damage to whichever opposing figure has to spend an action killing him.

Now, Flash has also seen the release of Jack Hawksmoor, an Authority character who has a Trait that deals 1 Penetrating Damage to any character still in a Starting Area during Turn 3 or later. To me, though, this is hardly a deterrent to playing a Pharaoh team. Moving Pharaoh (especially with Shaman as a Taxi) and the rest of the team just outside their own starting area in the first couple turns is child’s play, and sometimes it leads to even better positioning for “turtling” (depending on the Map). At the end of the day, all Jack Hawksmoor is really going to stop is Blind Al.

So there ya go! The Slowest Team Ever Devised!! And its main flaw–it’s not a Themed Team–doesn’t matter in the current ROC format because Themed Team rules are not in effect!

–Finally, keep an eye out for FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician (possibly the best pure all around support piece in the game right now!); FL202 Flash (once he gets going, there’s almost no safe place on the map for your opponent!); FL053B Zoom (the Prime; he’s a beast who can use Blades/Claws/Fangs AND either Flurry OR Exploit Weakness WHILE HE’S USING HYPERSONIC SPEED! Yup! Another piece who can attack twice in a turn. AND he’s a Black Lantern!); and FL050 Flash (aka Kingdom Come Flash; once he gets some Speed Force tokens going, he can absolutely END even some of the hardiest figures IN ONE TURN!).

Kingdom Come Flash's KO rate when using his "Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?" special Attack Power.

Kingdom Come Flash’s KO rate when using his “Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?” special Attack Power.

For more specifics on exactly why you need to be ready for these pieces and more, check out our Flash Top Ten Review coming later this month!

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

 

 

 

ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!! (Or, a Look at the Top Meta Figures for the 2014-2015 ROC Season!)

ROC

Okay! So it’s been awhile since I wrote anything that wasn’t a Weekly Roundup (or that had the “Electric Boogaloo” subtitle!), and I noticed that we really haven’t addressed the new ROC season format in any real detail yet. Well, that changes today!!

In this article, we’re going to look at which figures are doing well–basically, what you can expect to see at the next few ROC’s. In part 2, we’ll discuss which figures are not working like they use to in the Meta, and which figures might yet have their day in sun!

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

 

First, let’s take a look at the format the ROC is using this year. I mean, you can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is, right?

From HCRealms, here is the current format:

1.2.1: The first half of this season the format will be “300 Points, Modern Age, and “No Tactics” “No Entity Possession”.

No figure with a base larger than a double base (peanut). Runs Sep 2014-Mar 2015.

What is “No Tactics?” Again, from the rules:

“Part 4: TACTICS
Tactics are optional elements of HeroClix that you can choose to play in your HeroClix games. Each brings new strategic depth and exciting opportunities to the game, but also additional rules and complexity.
Tactics should be added to your game only when you feel you’ve mastered all other aspects of the HeroClix rules. Even then, you and those you play with might want to add only one Tactic at a time, learning each in turn. Tactics covered in this section include:

• Special Objects
• Resources
• Feats
• Battlefield Conditions
• Event Dials
• Bystanders Tokens
• Themed Teams

That’s right. No Resources, Relics, Colossals or Entities. No Bystander Tokens! No ATA’s, even! Yikes! Annnnd, you have to declare three maps on your Build sheet to choose from if you win Map Roll, so it’s a lot harder to hose teams simply via Map Choice. So what does that leave you? Well, quite a bit, actually, with one mechanic rising above the rest–at least so far. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Looking at the results of the few ROC’s that have been run so far under these rules (you can see the results of the FAT OGRE ROC right here, and the Dial H guys have talked at length about the ROC they ran in their last couple episodes), here is what you can expect to see.

SUPPORTING CAST:

Ranged figures are at such an advantage in this format. Probably because of that, everyone is looking for supporting figures that aid in targeting and pump up Range, Attack and/or Damage. Also, TK and Support are two KEY abilities that almost every team needs to have or needs to deal with. Healing, especially, is hard to come by in today’s Meta without a Power Battery. As such, these are the solutions some high level players have turned to in order to solve for X so far in this early part of the ROC season:

The Dead Set:

Deadpool Supporting Cast

DP018 Blind Al: She’s cheap (just 13 Points) and she enables shenanigans. She’s only got 2 clicks, but that doesn’t matter. Do you need to get a figure to its second click in a hurry? Do you want the cheapest Perplex in the game for your turtle (read: Iron Pharaoh) team? One of her main drawbacks–her keywords–doesn’t matter a lick in this format, since Theme Teams are disallowed.

DP020 Weasel: Now we’re up to 27 Points and 3 clicks of life! Again, his dial is so useful it doesn’t matter. He’s got 2 specials that just make him the best supporting piece for ranged attackers in the game (Well, a case could be made for the next fig on this list, but I’m getting ahead of myself). Weasel’s Tech-Guru to the Underworld Damage Special essentially allows him to give an adjacent friendly attacker +1 to their Range, Attack AND Damage. His top dial Attack Special is slightly less useful, but it will let you reroll a nearby friendly character’s missed range attack roll if you miss by 1 (unless it’s a critical miss). As a nice little bonus, Weasel has Pulse Wave on the last two clicks of his dial. He only has an 8 Attack to go with his 5 Range (3 on the Pulse Wave), but when you remember that Pulse Wave ignores opposing Shape Change, Super Senses, Energy Shield/Deflection and Probability Control (if the Prob’er is in the area of effect), it’s not inconceivable that  Weasel could actually hit someone with it.

Bill Agent of Aim

DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M.: 3 clicks of life for 30 Points! Bill does just about everything Blind Al does, only better! His Defense Special (I’M NOT ACTUALLY A QUALIFIED BLIMP PILOT, IT TURNS OUT: Bill, Agent of A.I.M. can use the Carry ability to carry any number of characters. After he carries a character and actions resolve, roll a d6. On a result of 3-6, deal him and the carried characters 1 damage.) will actually let you move most of your figures into place, and it also gets Bill to his two back clicks, which are absurdly useful for the points. He has the Hydra TA, Sidestep, Willpower and Outwit, but it’s his Attack Special that makes him a must play for a lot of folks (MY HIGH-ENERGY FINDER THING: Give Bill, Agent of A.I.M. a power action and choose the highest-point opposing character. Until your next turn, that character can be targeted with a ranged combat attack by one friendly character without line of fire to that opposing character.). Bascially, as long as your Primary Attacker is in range, he can attack your opponent’s best figure regardless of Terrain or Stealth or whatever, which is never not useful.

Again, Bill’s keywords aren’t the greatest (his best is probably Scientist), but that doesn’t matter a lick in this format.

The War Veterans:

War of Light is one of the largest sets they’ve ever made (actually, it’s gotta be the largest, right?), so just on shear numbers, it would have to offer a ton of great pieces for every role in a Build. As far as supporting pieces go, there’s definitely a few that you will run into again and again:

Soranik Natu

–WOL016 Soranik Natu: This is neither here nor there, but man, as I was looking for Soranik Natu images to put at the top of this entry, I noticed that half of what I found were Cosplay photos. I guess Soranik and her rather boobilicious uniform hit the Cosplay target right in the Bullseye. She’s alien, yet she basically looks like a sunburnt human; her costume wouldn’t be too hard to throw together, and dressing up as Ms. Natu offers the chance to display a lot o’ cleavage. There ya go–I think we just worked out a Cosplay algorithm that solves for the basic elements that need to be satisfied when choosing a character to Cosplay! Well done, us!

Anyway, Soranik Natu is a 70-Point Lantern from Wave 2 offers decent stats for her cost; what makes her Meta-worthy is the back half of her Trait (TANGLED LIVES: Opposing characters named Sinestro modify their combat values by -1 if not already modified by this effect. When Soranik Natu is adjacent to a character named Kyle Rayner, they both modify their attack values by +1 if not already modified by this effect.) and her top dial Attack Special (BATTLEFIELD MEDIC: Soranik Natu can use Telekinesis and Support. When she uses Telekinesis and places a friendly character next to her, she can use Support as a free action, but only to heal that character.). Please believe me when I say that there are very few good characters with Support in this format. Many teams in the normal Meta rely on the Power Battery for Support, or use Agrir’s Hammer for some Steal Energy/Quake shenanigans. Well, you can’t use either of those in the ROC right now. But Soranik here can fit right in with what a lot of Meta teams are already doing, and a 10 Attack Support as a FREE ACTION is a Godsend. Her TK also opens up a lot of doors in terms of your plan of attack.

As far as her Trait goes, we’ll see why that matters (if only a little) a little further on in this article.

Brother Hymn

–WOL029 Brother Hymn: He’s a bit pricey at 85 Points, but he will have just about every supporting power in the game (except maybe Empower, which doesn’t do much for you in the current environment anyway) somewhere on his dial. Top dial, he can use Perplex (only to increase values, but still), Enhancement (that also gives +1 to Range, not unlike Weasel), Barrier and Probability Control. Down dial he also morphs into a warrior monk with Running Shot and 3 damage along with Support (that he can occasionally use as–you guessed it–a Free Action!). He also flies, which means he’s a decent taxi, too.

Sister Sercy

–WOL033 Sister Sercy: She costs less than Brother Hymn (66 Points to his 85), but you get less, too. 1 less click of life, 2 less range, and less damage output throughout her whole dial. What you do get, however, is a phenomenal top click. Flight with 9 Movement and the Blue Lantern Perplex (can only Perplex values UP), 10 Attack with TK (so useful in this format), 17 Defense with Willpower and Prob with 2 Damage. She does pick up the same Support Special at the end of her dial that Brother Hymn has, but with an essentially naked 17 Defense and only 5 clicks, it is very possible someone can one shot her. Still, she is someone that you may see at a ROC.

The Old School:

Void

–SOG035 Void: At 70 Points with Flight and Phasing on all five of her clicks, along with the ability to Carry up to four friendly characters (with no keyword requirement, which, again, works brilliantly in a no Themed Teams environment), she’s one of the best Taxis in the game. She also gives you a (all together now!) Free Action Support after she resolves a move action. If her attack wasn’t stuck at 8 for her whole dial, she’d be nearly broken. She also possesses a wonderful Damage Special (PRECOGNITION: Void can use Outwit, Probability Control, and Super Senses; when an action resolves after she uses any of these powers, roll a d6 that cannot be rerolled and on a result of ‘one’ deal Void 1 unavoidable damage.) that might eat away at her over time, but chances are the game will already be decided before that damage really hurts her enough to matter.

SECONDARY ATTACKERS:

Modern Age currently has a good number of figures (thanks primarily to War of Light) that can act as very efficient Secondary Attackers who cost a pittance compared to what you used to have to pay. Most are Primes, but not all. If you’re going to a ROC soon, expect to see one of these pieces backing up the Primary Attacker:

The Lanterns:

Abin Sur

–WOL046B Abin Sur (Prime): Okay! Now we get to that mechanic I was talking about earlier–the one that’s been rising above the rest. It’s the Construct mechanic (CONSTRUCT: When building your force, you may attach a construct to this character by paying its point cost. Give this character a power action and replace the construct with any other construct, up to 2 points higher than the original construct. If this character has no action tokens and the new construct is a lower point value than the original construct, this is a free action instead.)! And Abin Sur here has it! He also has Running Shot, Energy Explosion, an 8 Range, 3 native Damage and some down dial Support (so useful!) and Perplex. Now, all that might seem pedestrian enough, but there are two MAJOR things to think about with Abin Sur here.

First, consider the WIDE range of abilities Abin’s Construct ability grants him (RCE, ES/D, Free Action Barrier, Free Action Smoke Cloud, Regen, CCE, Exploit Weakness, Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, etc., etc. … ). He can evolve with the game for the low, low price of 10 extra points when building your force (that’s the cost of the most expensive Construct, and he can switch them out at will by using a Power Action or a Free Action depending on which Construct you’re attaching.

Second, you’ll have that extra 10 Points (and more) to spend since Abin Sur ONLY COSTS 50 FREAKING POINTS!! Whaaa… ?!?!? Yep. He’s INSANELY good for his points. The other Construct pieces from War of Light are really good for their points, but 50 Points for everything Abin Sur brings you is just stupid.

Tomar Tu

–WOL013B Tomar Tu (Prime): 99 Points of awesome. He has the Construct ability, a mid-dial mini-Highfather-esque shenanigans-baiting Movement Special (FINAL STAND AGAINST HAL JORDAN: Give Tomar Tu a power action and choose an opposing character within 6 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t target any friendly character with an attack.), an absurd 9 Range, 18 Defense with Super Senses and Running Shot/Pulse Wave top dial. He can also use Willpower and has a conditional Outwit! You will be seeing this piece QUITE a lot in future ROC’s.

The Lil’ Guys:

Despotellis

–WOL099 Despotellis: Despotellis is sometimes referred to as a supporting piece, but make no mistake–his only purpose is dealing damage. Now, a 30-Point Hockey Puck with a 20 Defense is hard to deal with in the normal Meta; take away Resources and Relics, and his 20-Defense becomes ridiculously difficult to deal with. His Penetrating Poison is a great way to bust through particularly tough to deal with defensive abilities like Super Senses, Shape Change, Impervious, and so on. Additionally, some of the Construct-sporting Lanterns can get up to a 20+ Defense from Range with the Shield, so having a way to knock them through their clicks without having to roll attack dice is key.

Headpool

–DP002 Headpool: Okay, he’s more of a tertiary attacker/tie-up piece, but he makes this list because you’re going to see him a lot. While he doesn’t have the Construct ability, he does have the Merc With a Mouth ability, which lets him attach Word Balloons (not as good as Constructs, but useful in and of themselves). He’s easy to get into the fray, and his Exploit Weakness should allow him to get through most defenses. Plus, his Defense Special (IMMORTAL ZOMBIE HEAD THAT EVERYONE WANTS: Headpool ignores other characters’ Poison and all but 1 damage that would be dealt to him. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) will keep him around far longer than his 3 clicks of life might suggest he would stay. The fact that he has the ability to dish out Virus tokens as well is something that might also be exploited, but we’ll touch on that a little more next time in Part 2…

PRIMARY PIECES:

These are the main pieces to watch out for. Not every army will feature one of these, but most will. They’re also not all Primary Attackers–there’s a couple Meta Builds that revolve around pieces that change the game without attacking. Either way, whatever Build you come up with, you are gonna need a way to deal with these guys (and gal) if and when you encounter them.

Yup. More Lanterns:

Kyle Raynor ION 2

–WOL107 Kyle Raynor (Green Lantern): They finally made a good Kyle Raynor?! Yup. His 180 Point cost is worth it, especially since Kyle can use the Construct ability. He can deal a ton of damage his first two clicks, but then a Stop Click (ION: When this click is revealed due to an opponent’s attack, stop turning the dial. Kyle Rayner can use Impervious and the Quintessence team ability. This power can’t be ignored.) on Click 3 kicks things into overdrive. It bumps Kyle up to a 19 native Defense along with 5 Damage and Outwit. But it’s his Movement Special that’s really bonkers (I CAN BE EVERYWHERE I NEED TO BE: Kyle Rayner can use the Duo Attack Ability. When he does, before making each attack, you may place him in a legal square up to half his speed value away.). Read that ability again. It’s stupid, it’s so good. And you still have 110-ish Points (depending on what Construct you buy Kyle) left for supporting pieces. He is fully capable of doing 9 Damage or more while using that crazy Duo Attack of his, and there’s next to nothing that your opponent can do to tie him down!

John Stewart

–WOL105 John Stewart: A more traditional from-range beatstick who becomes more interesting in this format since he has the Construct ability. His top dial includes Running Shot, Precision Strike, RCE and the ability to use RCE as a ranged combat action instead of a power action. He also naturally sees through Hindering Terrain and other characters. For those reasons, he’s better than the 160 Point Hal Jordan that came with the Scenario Pack. He doesn’t have the crazy movement powers that Kyle Raynor does, but he’s damn good in his own right and he still packs a serious punch.

The Kool-Aid Kult Member:

Proxima Midnight

–GOTG050 Proxima Midnight: First of all, how awesome is her sculpt? It’s the exact image above, including the fallen victim at her feet. But I digress. Proxima is 100 points of aggression; her dial has 7 Clicks that start out range-based, then turn to close combat before finishing with some clicks that are somewhere in between. Top dial she has 10 Movement with Running Shot, 11 Attack with Pen/Psy (and Sharpshooter), 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes and 3 native damage. Her Range is dependent on her first Trait (THREE TRACERS OF BLACK LIGHT: Proxima Midnight begins the game with 3 Tracer tokens on this card. Proxima Midnight has a range value equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card times 3, and has a number of bolts equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card.), but it’s her second Trait that makes her so useful against foes with strong defensive abilities (THE SPEAR OF PROXIMA MIDNIGHT: When Proxima Midnight hits with a ranged combat attack, remove a Tracer token from this card and place it on a hit character’s card if it doesn’t already have one. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for each of her Tracer tokens on other character’s cards, and on a result of 3-6 deal 1 penetrating damage to the character with that Tracer token on its card. When a character with her Tracer token on its card is KO’d, place the Tracer token on Proxima Midnight’s card.). Yup. Depending on that Spear roll, you could potentially do two separate packets of penetrating damage to a character. For pieces with Stop Clicks or other shenanigans (Bizarro, the Kyle Raynor from above that we just talked about), this is a huge headache.

With her combination of Sharpshooter, Pen/Psy and Combat Reflexes, sometimes your best move is to simply Running Shot right next to your target and stay there–if they don’t have an available Outwit, it’s going to be very tough for most pieces to hit a 20 Defense–especially if Proxima hits them first and they’re mid-dial.

Lots of folks have been teaming her with Bill, Agent of A.I.M. to get that first shot in from a safe place where it’s hard or even impossible for the enemy to return fire. This is certainly a valid strategy; just be ever mindful of your positioning with her, because she can get chewed up from range real quick. Her native 18 Defense isn’t bad by any stretch, but she has no reducers of any kind. Of course, even if she does go down hard, she still has her final Trait (CULL OBSIDIAN: When Proxima Midnight is KO’d by an opposing character’s attack, deal damage to that character equal to the last amount of damage dealt to Proxima Midnight. This damage can’t be reduced below 1.) to leave as a parting gift. Oh, and Ninwashui is kind of a fan.

The Shapeshifter:

Zombie Super Skrull

GOTG062 Super Skrull: This was the winning Primary Piece at the Dial H ROC event, I believe. He’s 170 Points and possesses all the same Zombie Traits that every other Zombie Chase has. Those alone make him pretty good, but what he’s really good at is mimicking that Green Lantern Construct ability! Super Skrull’s Trait (IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS: Give Super Skrull a free action and choose up to one each of standard speed, attack, defense, and damage powers. Super Skrull can use the chosen powers until your next turn. For each power chosen this way, place a Power token on his card. At the end of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1 for each Power token on his card and remove all Power tokens from his card. On a result of 1 or less, deal Super Skrull 1 unavoidable damage.) lets him actually choose up to FOUR standard abilities to pick up on the fly, and he does it all AS A FREE ACTION (not every Construct flip with the Lanterns is gonna be a Free Action). He’s a multi-tool for every occasion! And with his Zombie Traits, you frankly don’t care about taking one measly damage, since you have multiple ways to get it back!

And he teams very well with Headpool and some of the other Z-Virus figs like–well, we’ll get into that in Part 2 when we talk about some possibly overlooked figures!

The Ol’ Standards:

"I;m back?! My dear, I never left!"

“I’m back?! My dear, I never left!”

–IIM051 Iron Pharaoh: He is still a thing, going forward. I don’t know if there’s a piece I’ve discussed more on this site. He’s one of my favorites to use, and he’s not going anywhere until he’s rotated out. There’s not really a format that he’s not at least above average in. Krampus/Helspont teams (and, to a lesser extent, Shatterstar teams) are probably his main weakness at the moment, but even then, he probably still has a 40%-50% of coming out on top. I’ll take those odds if I’m matched up against a team designed to exploit my fatal flaw. And while he keywords are actually pretty good, the fact that you can play whoever you want with him in this environment only makes him better–he doesn’t have any NAMED keywords, so he was never gonna get those Theme Team probs anyway!

Shatterstar

–WXM010 Shatterstar: At 73 Points, he seems like he should be considered a Secondary Attacker. And on many builds, he probably will be. However, there’s a good chance that his team is going to revolve around him anyway thanks to his easily exploitable Trait (X PORTAL: Once per game, give Shatterstar a power action. Place Shatterstar and an adjacent friendly character of a lower point value in any adjacent squares on the map.) and the fact that, top dial, he can Charge 5 squares, has an 11 Attack with both Flurry AND B/C/F (Yup. If the rolls go your way, a 73 Point character can dish out 12 Clicks of raw damage on the second freaking turn no matter where your opponent is on the map. And once he’s up close and personal with an opposing figure, they’ll have to hit a 19 to Damage him (17 native Defense plus Combat Reflexes). Hell, you can run two of him and still have almost 150 Points leftover for the rest of your army. He’s that good. And just like the comics, he pairs really well with Rictor, especially since they both have top dial Charge (and Rictor pumps up their Attack values).

Highfather

–SLOSH052 Highfather: Yes, he’s still hanging around. He’s a supporting piece masquerading as a primary figure. His top dial TK , Prob and Support are somewhat useful, but the only reason he’s really played is his Trait (THE PACT: At the beginning of the game, you may announce a pact. If you do, the highest point character on your force and the highest point character on your opponent’s force (300 points or less) can’t target opposing characters with an attack until one of them has taken damage from an attack or they are the only 2 characters on the map. This ability can’t be ignored.). He can shut down Tentpole pieces, but it’s very rare in this environment that you’re going to find yourself facing a really heavy-costed piece outside of Kyle or Zombie Super Skrull. And even then, it’s not inconceivable that they won’t have a supporting piece who can get a shot in on Highfather.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I think Highfather is a losing strategy at this point. If you go this route, you will run into a few games where he guides you to an easy win. You may even make Top 8, but usually by then you’re gonna face some really well-put-together teams that will have not one but MULTIPLE answers for Highfather, and your day will be done right quick. But I have to include him on this list because he is still out there and you may run into him.

Helspont Krampus 2

WK002 Krampus/SLOSH042 Helspont: These guys come as a pair. An unlikely one, I grant you, but they’re pretty effective. The basic idea here is to use these two along with Blind Al. You Perplex Krampus twice with Blind Al and Helspont (who also has Perplex) to get Krampus to a 12 Attack, then you give Blind Al a power action to activate her Booby Trap power and expel Helspont from the starting area and deal him one unavoidable damage. The tricky part here is to find a spot to place Helspont that’s outside of your starting area yet adjacent to Krampus (not all maps will have a good spot, so winning Map Roll will definitely help you here). Then you activate Helspont’s Movement Special (I INFILTRATED YOU LONG AGO: Give Helspont a double power action and select an opposing character of a lower point value. Place Helspont and the chosen character in each other’s squares, and after actions resolve, Helspont may be given a close or ranged combat attack as a free action.) to trade places with a key member of your opponent’s force who’s 199 Points or less. If at all possible, you want to choose someone who doesn’t have Shape Change, Super Senses or Probability Control (again, with no Themed Teams, Probability Control will be a lil’ easier to avoid) to take as many variables out of the equation as you can.

Then you activate Krampus’s special Capture Trait (NAUGHTY CHILDREN ARE MY HOLIDAY FEAST: Krampus can use the Capture ability. He can use it normally or, if the target is a higher point value, he must be given a double power action instead of a power action. When Krampus releases a captured character in his starting area, in addition to the normal effects, heal Krampus to his starting line.) and hope to all that is holy (or maybe unholy) that you hit. Krampus’s Attack Special gives him +1 to hit as well for each token on the target, so that will help you as well. With a 12-13 Attack, you should have a fighting chance against most figures.

You’ll probably have to wait through one round of clearing before you can release your Captive, but if you can succeed at all those steps, there’s a high probability that the game will be effectively over, especially if you were also able to take a Free Action shot with Helspont at another figure on your opponent’s team (and since there’s no chance of a Colossal-Sized Power Battery being in the way in their starting area in this environment, you should be good to go). Because Krampus never left his starting area, he’s still there, and he can release his Captive as soon as he has the ability to take a Power Action.

Now, if you miss with Krampus, you’re not doomed, since his Plasticity will keep most figures right where they’re at and he other Special Powers that grant him Super Senses and the ability to Perplex Attack Values down by -2, but you’ll also be giving your opponent a LOT more time to react, which is never good with this sort of combo team. There was also a ruling recently in the WizKids rules forum where they basically expanded the first turn Immunity rule to prevent you from doing this on your first turn; waiting until turn two isn’t exactly a dealbreaker, though–if you hit your rolls, crippling your opponent on turn two is just as effective as crippling him on turn one.

Hypersonic Speed is also a horrible matchup for this team (Speed Demon in particular, who people seem to have forgotten about so soon after his domination last season. But with his ability to cross the map in two turns, attack Krampus for 3 Damage AND also catch the creature in a Speed Cyclone Uplift, it’s possible he can KO Krampus in that token-clearing turn after he Captures someone but before he can release them.), but so far, we haven’t seen a ton of those figs show up in this specific Meta (outside of Super Skrull, who can gain it if he wants it). Having said all that, this is still a wickedly viable Build. I’d suspect you’d have much better results playing this than Highfather, at the very least.

The Best of the Rest:

Briefly, IIM001B Silver Centurion, ASM017B Brother Voodoo and WOL104 & WOL104R Guy Gardner are a few other figures you may run into in your ROC travels that are definitely still viable in the Meta.

Okay! So there you have it. Almost 5000 words on what you can expect to run into if you attend a ROC this season. Next time, we’ll discuss which former Meta figures you should avoid, and which figures and Builds you can try that haven’t really shown up yet this season.

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

Flash Forward!! (Or, The Mid-Weekly Roundup for 10/19/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Welcome Back!!

So what’s happened since our last Roundup? Well, let’s see….

–The Tigers flamed out of the playoffs in just three short games. Joba Chamberlain and the bullpen were characteristically awful (seriously, it seemed like they were filming a sequel to “Firestarter” there EVERY FREAKING NIGHT!), as was manager Brad Ausmus, who–when it came to making pitching changes–made the wrong choice just about every time:

Bossmus

What’s that? Anibal Sanchez is available? No thanks! Joba just blew an inning last game, so, mathematically, there’s no possible way he can blow a 4-run lead today! It’s science!”

I get that the number of good bullpen options he had were limited, but to not use virtually ANY of them is just idiotic. Even Blaine Hardy would have inspired more confidence than the Pu-Pu Platter of Joba Chamberlain and Joaquin Soria that he kept shoveling out there night after night.

Brad Ausmus's version of Sabermetrics.

While demonstrating his mastery of Sabermetrics, Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus delivers the results of his statistical analysis of using Joe Nathan as his closer.

Overall, I actually thought Ausmus was fairly solid as a manager during the regular season. We’ll see how Year 2 goes. I can’t imagine that the leash is long for him after such a playoff debacle. We shall see, though. Bring on the Hot Stove league!

 

–The Lions have tricked everyone into thinking they’re respectable again. Spoiler Alert: They’re not. They’ve beaten up on a Murderer’s Row of awful quarterbacks , and they still managed to find a way to lose at home to Kyle Orton. That’s not easy. Now, they are 5-2, and they still have 3 games against Minnesota and Chicago, who are terrible, so getting to 10+ wins should be fairly straightforward. Of course, with this team, things are never straightforward.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but after last year’s swoon, I’m gonna need to see a lot more than what they’ve shown me so far before I get my hopes up. Remember, we’re not even, like, a month removed from this highlight yet:

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

“Oh, Stephen, noooo!”

 

But enough about sports! What you’re really here for is a Heroclix recap, right?

Well, look no further than…

 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix was back with an episode near and dear to my heart! Episode 66, “Lantern Team Building Advice,” was a shortie but a goodie. Similar in premise to the “Let’s Be Lanterns” series that we ran right here in August (but with much more of a “Dial H” spin, of course, and a much more thorough analysis of each color’s Power Battery), there’s no shortage of good advice for players contained within (FYI–the Blue Lantern actually does NOT work with LE Absorbing Man–that’s a pending errata right from Wizkids’s own rules forum–but the rest of the advice they give is spot on!).

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27, which covers the end of the ROC’s first season, is still the most recent entry!

Push to Regen

–In case you missed it last time, in somewhat sad news, Push to Regen has announced on Reddit that they have released their final episode. Their Facebook page is still up, and still posting the occasional news item, but for now, the show has reached its final destination.

"We're a Thing again!"

–ClixCast is back! They have yet to release an October ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–While I haven’t seen any recent results, you can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

–Having said that, I know I went on a big rant last time about the possibility of Copycat screwing up the ROC’s current format. Until I get some hard results that will either back up or destroy my argument, I’m going to back off a little bit… but I will definitely be watching these next few ROC’s with great interest!

 

Preview

–Want to know what it’ll be like tearing into a case of FLASH boosters next month? Well, wonder no longer, because Friday Night Lights alum and celebrity Heroclix fan Scott Porter (Iceman425 on the Realms) has teamed with DC VP of Creative Sciences Kevin Kiniry to do just that–and they recorded it all!

A couple of takeaways from that video:

-There are only 3 Chases (unofficially, they will be The Question, Pandora and Phantom Stranger)

-If you buy a case of The Flash, well… you are NOT guaranteed to pull one of them!! That’s right, Scott and Kevin pulled 2 Primes (the Common and Uncommon Prime, I believe). This means that the Chases will probably be REALLY expensive on the secondary market, especially initially. And if they’re actually good… yikes! Will they even be able to replace the Trinity of Sin Team Base figures? That is a dark horse rumor. That I just started.

-Some of the sculpts are amazing. Or at least they look amazing on film.

-I don’t know much about any of the Flash characters beyond Wally West, Barry Allen and Jay Garrick. I know virtually nothing about their Rogues’ Gallery. Having said that, a lot of people who do seem to be really, REALLY excited for this set. Basically, this seems like the DC version of the DeadPool set we got back in May. The characters I’d probably be most excited for are the Trinity of Sin characters, and they’re gonna be some really hard to pull Chases. And maybe a Kingdom Come Flash (He’s rumored to be a Super Rare. I loved that story, and all of the initial Kingdom Come characters were so overpowered it was ridiculous!). So while I may not grab nearly as much of this set as, say, Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m glad all the folks who really love these characters are finally getting a set!

-Finally, Deadpool kind of set the bar for how broken/awesome a Hypersonic Speed character can be with Speed Demon (and, to a lesser extent, Whizzer), so we’ll see if any of the characters in Flash can hang with the most recent Marvel speedsters!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week, we’re gonna spotlight local player Andrew’s team from Ninwashui’s most recent Local Tourney Report!

Krampus

Team Name: Krampin’ Your Style

Theme: None

Roster:

WKWK–002 Krampus79 Points

(assigned The Utility Belt with 1 item)–8

SLOSH042 Helspont200

DP018 Blind Al13

=300 Points

 

What We Liked About This Build: Holy crap, this was pretty fun to play against! Krampus with a 13 Attack and Capture is just devastating, and Helspont’s ability–and Andrew’s creative way of getting Helspont to the correct click–was just some awesome out-of-the-box thinking! Ninwashui mentioned in his report that while he admired the creativity of the Build, he didn’t have a great time losing half of his army by Turn 2. I had a different experience.

Playing the Orange Power Battery with Iron Pharaoh (Possessed by Ophidian) and Speed Demon (Possessed by Ion), I saw Andrew capture Iron Pharaoh on Andrew’s first turn (using a double power action) and had to spend my next two turns racing across the board to try and free the Pharaoh. Speed Demon ended up rolling a 12, which did enough damage to KO Krampus in one hit. Had I not gotten that stroke of luck, I still would have had about a 66% chance to do the last two damage that I needed via Speed Demon’s Cyclone Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.), but had I rolled a 1 or a 2, I would have been in a world of hurt; Krampus would have scored Iron Pharaoh on his next turn, which would have healed him back up to full, Speed Demon would be on his second click, and Andrew could just trade places with Speed Demon again using Helspont and sent my last piece all the way across the map (while double-tokened!).

In other words, the game would almost be over at that point. I’d have needed an extraordinary amount of luck to get back in the match, so it all came down to that initial push with Speed Demon to try and get Iron Pharaoh back. At the risk of coming across as the biggest nerd to ever pick up a pair of dice, it was probably my most dramatic Heroclix moment so far!

But that’s mostly a recap. What I want to focus on is Andrew’s army! Ninwashui and I spent probably 15 minutes after that tournament discussing Andrew’s Build and how it affected every decision each of us made in our respective matches. We also looked at it from Andrew’s perspective; after I described our match, Ninwashui was absolutely sure that Andrew should have grabbed Speed Demon instead of Iron Pharaoh. But I pointed out that Andrew then would have had a double tokened Helspont in a prime position (roughly 3 squares away) to get 2-shotted by Iron Pharaoh (who was sporting the Orange Crossbow and would have basically had a 13 Attack of his own and would have been sporting 5-6 Damage against Helspont at that point). So if Andrew takes Speed Demon, he scores around 185 Points, but he’d probably lose a 200 Point character immediately after! That would leave him Krampus and Blind Al, who, frankly, would have had no shot against the Pharaoh.

And that was just a small snippet of the dozens of scenarios Ninwashui and I were running through A HALF HOUR AFTER THE TOURNAMENT ENDED! I can’t remember the last Build that got us talking so much. Ninwashui was right in his report insomuch as there ARE several team types that will have next to no shot against Andrew’s team IF HIS CAPTURE GOES TO PLAN. But there are also plenty of Meta Builds that still match up well against Andrew’s squad! I was simply lucky in that I was playing just such a team (although, as I stated above, I still needed one really lucky roll!).

At the end of the day, I think Heroclix is actually a better game for having a team like Andrew’s in it. It was different and creative, and that’s why it’s this week’s Army of the Week! Great job, Andrew!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Agents of Shield Title

–So last time, I talked about what was wrong with Gotham, and some things they could do to fix the show. The last two episodes weren’t fabulous, but they were a step in the right direction. So this week, I want to focus on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

If you gave up on this show last year, you are really missing something this year. These episodes have a raw momentum that was missing from many of the initial offerings last season. The creators have somehow also managed to introduce a TON of new characters while still remembering to give each of the main characters a share of the spotlight in every episode so far. More than that, the villains this year have been much more formidable (and, y’know, actually INTERESTING in their own right!).

As opposed to the Mort of the Month C-list roster fodder that the writers seemed to shuffle into every episode last year, this year started with a bang with an impressively realized Absorbing Man, Kraken (aka Daniel Whitehall) and Skye’s Evil Father (Mr. Hyde? A Kree? An original creation? We don’t know exactly who he is yet!).

This week’s episode also introduced Mockingbird into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it looks like things are just picking up.

Alan Sepinwall at Hitfix has been all over M.A.o.S.’s resurgence this year, and you can read his latest recap right here!

I have a lot of thoughts regarding S.H.I.E.L.D. specifically, and the MCU as a whole, that are probably best saved for a separate post. For now, I’ll just say that if you’ve been off the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bandwagon for awhile, now is a great time to climb back on!

 

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

Critical Missives:

–Okay, we’ve already linked to Ninwashui’s articles from the last couple weeks, and we’ve got more content planned for the next couple weeks as well. Remember to Follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates (and random thoughts) as soon as they happen! You can Follow us at @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

 

And that’s it for this week!! See ya next time, and until then, stay safe (and DRY!!), and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

Blam!! Murdered You!! (Or, 5000+ Words About The Top 10 Figures in Guardians of the Galaxy!!)

"And remember, cool guys don't look at explosions."

“And remember Annihilators, cool guys don’t look at explosions. I’m mostly talking to you, Quasar.”

Okay! And we’re back to business as usual! War of Light is still going hot and heavy as we head into Month 4, but methinks we’ve got that set covered and then some! I mean, really.

Besides, we have a whole new set of cosmic goodness to talk about. Guardians of the Galaxy (not to be confused with the awesome GotG Movie Set that released in July) came out in August; it’s high time we had a Top Ten review!!

But first, as usual…

Some General Notes About the Set:

–There is a metric Poop-Ton of generic figures in this set… which, for once, is actually awesome! Taking a page from War of Light, there are a bunch of non-Prime A and B sides to most of the low-numbered sculpts. I know a lot of folks hate repaints, but doing the Common figures this way allowed WizKids to sneak a bunch of different races and characters into the set than they normally would have (like Brother Royal, Jason of Sparta, Ikon, etc.). And these aren’t just cheapies that you’ll never use–many of these are legitimate pieces to build an army around. For example, while the Spaceknight generic is cool, the B-side Ikon is a brick with two different dials that can power an Annihilators Theme Team with free action attacks and (with the Annihilators ATA) remove tokens from her brethren whenever she KO’s an opposing figure. Recorder #451 can enhance Scientist teams (especially those featuring Iron Man) to a lethal degree while being an attacker to reckon with on his own. And so on; if this is a new trend going forward, I’m on board. It really cuts down on the legions of useless Common dupes that you normally end up with each time a new set comes out.

–In terms of Overall Power Level, Guardians is NOT Deadpool (if you saw this coming last January, you’re a better man than me; I thought for sure it’d be the other way around). Of course, you might remember that when Deadpool came out in May, I said that Deadpool was not as strong as Iron Man or SLoSH. Well… I was an idiot!

Deadpool has proven to be almost annoyingly strong, although maybe not entirely in the way that the designers intended; I think Copycat is still a MAJOR problem that we have not seen the last of. While I applaud almost all of the ROC’s latest rules changes, their decision to ban Entities for half of their season is possibly short-sighted and is almost certainly going to make Copycat worse in terms of her ability to COMPLETELY disrupt a player’s strategy before the game has even started. But from a simple design standpoint, I don’t see how it makes any sense to reward the player who didn’t put any thought into their Build because they know Copycat will just completely screw with their opponent’s plan over the player who took the time to come up with an actual strategy. Of course, she was designed to be used in an environment that has Angrir’s Hammer and Nurse Constructs aplenty; it’s not WizKids’s fault (or their problem, really) that the ROC has a Tactics-less, Entity-less season. So now, instead of being dominated by a select few pieces, the ROC has created a season that could possibly be dominated by one. But, as this is really a Deadpool set issue, we’ll table it for the moment. More on all this in the next Weekly Roundup.

"How exactly is it that you've managed to almost single-handedly corrupt one of the funnest parts of Heroclix--army building?!"

“Copycat, how exactly is it that you’ve managed to almost single-handedly corrupt one of the funnest parts of Heroclix–army building?!”

Anyway, where Guardians as a set excels is in the breadth of its top to bottom roster. It’s also cool how many characters from recent storylines are finally making their Heroclix debut. This is one of the funner rosters that WizKids has put together in recent memory (so long as your a fan of Marvel’s cosmic heroes, I suppose, but since I am and this is my column, there ya go!).

–While I’ve been on record as saying that the Chases in this set SHOULD have been the Black Order, at least we got decent versions of all of those villains in other rarity slots. That a Thanos Prime exists in the game (his Prime is Thanosi, and it’s really stinking good) makes me smile–until I remember that we didn’t get a Zombie Thanos, which might have saved the Chases this go around. While half of them are solid (Magneto, Dr. Doom, Red Skull), there are no Damage Fountains like Zombie Electro this time around and there’s only one that made Top Ten (we’ll get to him in a lil’ bit!). And Zombie Skrull is really just a waste of everyone’s time (seriously? This slot couldn’t have been Zombie Thanos? Blccch).

–Speaking of the sub-themes of the set, I was pretty happy with the roster selections. The Inhumans didn’t turn out so hot, in my opinion, but we needed Modern versions of all of them, really, so I didn’t mind that they were in the set. We’ve talked about how cool the Black Order is, and I was glad to see all the different cosmic races featured, with a focus on the Kree. Again, outside of no Zombie Thanos, they did a great job of selecting who should or should not be in this set.

"There's a Chase inside! I guarantee it or your money back!" [EDITOR'S NOTE: Fictional characters have no money and thus cannot make binding money-back guarantees.

Star-Lord says: “There’s a Chase inside! I guarantee it or your money back!”
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Fictional characters have no real money and thus cannot make binding money-back guarantees.]

–I think I mentioned this during the last Weekly Roundup, but for whatever reason, all the Primes (all 4), Chases (3) and most of the Super Rares (lost count at this point–I know, #FirstWorldProblems) that I’ve either pulled myself or witnessed be pulled by someone else have EXCLUSIVELY come out of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” front box art packs (as opposed to the “Thanos” bedecked boxes). If a small sample size of anecdotal evidence is enough to convince you that all Chases and Primes only come out of the GotG boxes, well, then, there ya go!!

(Somehow I suspect that your mileage will vary; still, thought it was an odd enough phenomenon to warrant mentioning).

–The Zombies Team Base is technically a character, and a very good one at that (I love Zombie Miasma!); I’ve precluded it from this list, however, for a couple of reasons. First, most of our readers will never own enough Zombies to make it work. It stinks, but it’s true–that’s what happens when you make a Team Base that can only be filled by some really pricey Chases. Second, just like the Avengers and X-Men Team Bases from the AvX set, the characters you choose to use with your Team Base and the order that you place them in can have a HUGE effect on how effective the piece is overall.

With all that said, I think it’s time we talked about:

FIVE SIX HONORABLE MENTIONS!!!!!!

 

So, last time out (for Deadpool’s Top Ten) I cheated and gave you a Top Twelve. Well, I’m not going to do that today, because I don’t need to, but there were six solid candidates at the Honorable Mention level, so you’re getting one bonus entry here. And it’s a doozy:

 

Thanos

6. GOTG047AE Thanos – 200 Points – Rare: Thanos is tough to field in a 300 Point game; let’s just get that out of the way first. He had no move-and-attack, and his Third Trait prohibits him from using Relics or Resources, so that doesn’t help. But these lists aren’t just about the effectiveness of these figures in 300 Point matches, and in Epic games (400 Points or more), Thanos is a MONSTER! His first Trait (CHOOSE – THE GAUNTLET OR THE TRIBUTE: At the beginning of your first turn, each opponent chooses one: Deal 1 damage to each character on his or her force 100 points or less; or choose a character on his or her force 101 points or more and deal that character 3 damage. Opponents can’t choose an option for which they have no characters.) is the only way in Modern that I know of to deal damage to your opponent’s force on your first turn–and you don’t even have to roll dice!!

But what this Thanos is really intended for is leading the Black Order into battle, as evidenced by his Attack Special (THE BLACK ORDER OBEYS: Thanos can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, he may remove the action token from any character with the Black Order keyword anywhere on the map.). Now, have you seen the rest of the Black Order? Actress Milana Vayntrub from the AT&T Mobile commercials has. I casually slipped her a copy of the entire Black Order roster and asked for her assessment:

AT&T GIRL

Yep. They ARE terrifying in large point games, and I bet we’ll be hearing from a few more of their number before the rest of this article is finished. Is your venue running a 600 Point Modern game this week? Play a Black Order team with Thanos and watch your opponent’s lip quiver when you start taking tokens off of Proxima Midnight or Corvus Glaive FROM ACROSS THE DAMN MAP!

Thanos’s lack of move-and-attack (beyond Sidestep) can be fixed with Entities (he even shares a Cosmic keyword with them), but honestly, he’s still a heavy hitter even without it. If he was better in 300 Point games, he might have cracked the Top Ten. But he’s still really good in larger point contests.

 

Dr Minerva

5. GOTG019B Dr. Minerva – 125 Points Uncommon PRIME: The worst of the Primes, Dr. Minerva is still useful in her own right–just narrowly so because of her Trait (IDEAL GENETIC MATE: When Dr. Minerva is adjacent to a friendly character named Captain Atlas or Captain Marvel, modify all of their combat values by +1.). When teamed with GOTG101 Captain Atlas, GOTG019A Captain Marvel or GOTG207R Captain Marvel, she becomes the engine of a pretty good offensive matrix. As a Prime, though, for what she brings to the table (and particularly with her relatively low Damage values), I’d have expected her to be in the 100-110 point area. Still, her second Trait (EXPERIMENT ON YOU TO IMPROVE OUR SPECIES: Once per game before an adjacent opposing character with one or two action tokens takes damage from Dr. Minerva’s attack, you may choose a standard power that character can use. Until the end of the game, friendly characters with the Kree keyword can use that power.) gives her the power to copy any standard power possessed by an opposing figure and give it to anyone on your side with the Kree keyword–that’s pretty cool. Outside of an all-Kree team that includes one of her two ideal genetic mates, she’s almost not playable at her point cost; that’s what keeps her from getting into the Top Ten.

 

"What do you mean 'Longmire' has been cancelled? Only on a backwater planet like Earth would a network like A&E cancel its second highest rated show simply because it didn't come from their own production company!"

“What do you mean ‘Longmire’ has been cancelled? Only on a backwater planet like Earth would a network like A&E cancel its second highest rated show simply because it didn’t come from their own production company. Now I’ll NEVER know if Branch is dead or alive!”

4. GOTG014B Brother Royal70 Points – Common: Look, it’s tough nowadays just finding a figure with 6 clicks of life and a couple of standard powers for 70 points. But the good Brother here gets Phasing, Psychic Blast, Toughness and a Special Damage power that grants either Outwit or Perplex. Then, if you play 2 of these guys (which puts you at 140 Points–10 less than HALF your Build in a standard point game), you get to bump up EACH of their Combat Values by +1 AND they each get Shape Change and Stealth! That’s a pretty badass 140 point figure there, but, since they’re actually two different characters, you get to attack twice a turn! Brother Royal rates a tick ahead of Dr. Minerva because the Brothers don’t need to be adjacent to each other for their +1 bonus to work (just need to be on the same map–ie, not KO’d). For just 15 more points, two Brother Royals provide so much more than Dr. Minerva, which is why the Brothers are two spots ahead on this list.

 

recorder 451

3. GOTG013B Recorder #451100 Points – Uncommon: Solid support piece who is also a very capable attacker top dial. His Trait is kind of bonkers, but really useful if you build your team around it (ENGINEERED YOU FROM BIRTH: At the beginning of the game, choose another friendly character with the Scientist keyword. Modify that character’s speed and range values by +1 for the rest of the game, even if this ability is lost. If that character is also named Iron Man or Tony Stark, modify all of that character’s combat values except damage by +1 instead.).

I just love pieces that suggest Builds right on their card that you might not normally play. If you’re using him purely as a support piece/secondary attacker, he’s fine, but not great for his points. But if you plan on taking full advantage of his Trait and his last Click Attack Special (GODKILLER: Give Recorder #451 a power action. Deal Recorder #451 1 unavoidable damage and for the rest of the game, the character chosen for his trait has “colossal damage symbol”, “Power Cosmic team ability symbol”, can use Impervious and modifies all of its combat values by +1.), you can really come up with some cool AND effective Builds!

So while the rogue Recorder is useful, and his dial is undeniably creative, his point cost is still a little high. Otherwise, he’d be in the Top Ten!

 

"She's a space pirate, Of course she drinks Captain Morgan."

“She’s a space pirate, Of course she’s got a lil’ Captain in her.”

2. GOTG016 Nebula87 Points – Common: Okay, if you’re a regular reader, you probably know that I’ve been pushing IIM040 Shaman on people for the better part of a year now, simply because his “No Flights” power makes it so hard to cross certain maps to get into attack position. Which means that if your playing a “stall” Build (Iron Pharoah, Fantomex, etc.), you’ll have a lot of time to prepare, which is exactly what those sorts of teams need to be effective.

Well, Nebula’s 5 points less and starts with a Damage Special Ability that straight out forbids your opponent from Carrying (STEAL YOUR TRANSPORT: Opposing characters can’t use the Carry ability. If there is an opposing character possessing the Carry ability, Nebula modifies her speed value by +3 and can use the Carry ability.). Moreover, if they have pieces that started with the Carry ability, she gains Carry AND gets to add 3 to her Movement Value.

SICK, SICK, SICK!! You want board control? Play Nebula and you’re almost guaranteed it. She also has the Robot keyword, which grants her access to their ATA (a special form of Perplex). She also starts with Running Shot, Pen/Psy, Sharpshooter, the ability to target through Hindering Terrain, Toughness, Willpower and 3 Damage.

Did I mention she’s only 87 Points?!

The once and future bearer of the Infinity Gauntlet was just a quick blink away from cracking the proper Top Ten!

 

"Let's see Hawkeye do THIS!"

“Let’s see Hawkeye do THIS–around Thanos, past the Badoon, nothing but target!!”

1. GOTG023 Yondu76 Points – Uncommon: His stats and power mix aren’t QUITE good enough to crack the Top Ten, but man, he has SUCH an exploitable Trait (YAKA ARROWS: Give Yondu a power action. Make a ranged combat attack targeting a single opposing character regardless of line of fire.), especially top dial when he has Precision Strike and 3 Damage showing! He only has the Mystical and Guardians of the Galaxy keywords, but GotG is obviously huge now, especially when paired with some of the folks coming up on this list (and it gives you access to a couple of different ATA’s, one of which is extremely good).

Everyone plays slightly differently, but if you’re the type of player who’s great at positioning, Yondu is a blessing. On the right map, he’s arguably the best secondary attacker in the game right now because of how much raw area he can cover with his Trait. And at the end of the day, he’s priced right and won’t cost you a Prime slot.

So Yondu gets the “Close… But No Cigar” Award!!

Okay! Enough with the also-rans!! That’s not why you clicked on this post! What you want to know is simply who are…

THE TOP TEN FIGURES IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!!

 

Ebony Maw

10. GOTG025 Ebony Maw65 Points – Uncommon: Well, I said there’d be more Black Order on here, didn’t I? One of the creepiest characters from last year’s Infinity story arc is now one of the tricksy-ist supporting pieces in the set. Both of his Traits are fantastic; the first (WORDS, WORDS, WORDS: Whenever an opposing character uses Outwit, Perplex or Probability Control, place a Whisper token on this card. Give Ebony Maw a free action and remove a Whisper token to use either Outwit, Perplex or Probability Control until your next turn if he can’t already. He may be given this free action up to three times each turn.) helps you react to all of your opponent’s board control abilities with one piece. The second (CULL OBSIDIAN: When Ebony Maw is KO’d by an opposing character’s attack, deal damage to that character equal to the last amount of damage dealt to Ebony Maw. This damage can’t be reduced below 1.) is common to every member of the Black Order except Thanos (don’t worry–the Mad Titan has even meaner tricks of his own!) and acts like a snake in the mailbox for whoever finally KO’s the Maw.

But before they can KO Ebony Maw, they have to find a way around his Attack Special (TWIST YOU INTO BETRAYAL: Whenever Ebony Maw is targeted with an attack from an opposing character, you may choose an adjacent opposing character that isn’t the attacker to be the target of that attack even if that character couldn’t normally be targeted.). That is incredibly good, and it makes the Maw one of the best tie-up figures in Modern at the moment because he actually gets BETTER when you tie-up more than one figure at a time with him! When Ebony Maw is on the board, your opponent needs to make sure that either all of his characters have at least two squares between them (which means bye-bye to any standard Enhancement, Empower or Leadership powers they have, and makes Hydra, Police and a multitude of other TA’s useless) or he needs to make sure that he has enough Outwitters who can actually see Ebony Maw (remember, he also has top dial Stealth) to take away that Attack Special (of course, Outwitting Ebony Maw also GIVES Ebony Maw the ability to use a Whisper Token the next turn, so you better make your shots count!) long enough to off him.

This is one of the peskiest pieces they’ve designed in awhile.

 

"I will not have my opinions questioned by a penny-ante quick-change artist!" And if you remember that episode of G.I.Joe, well... you're a nut.

“Got a Ma-chine head. Better than the rest…  “

9. GOTG045 I.S.A.A.C. 88 Points – Rare: I’ll be honest–I have no idea who this guy is or why he looks like Destro from G.I.Joe. But a figure who can Outwit through just about anything AND THEN launch a 3 Bolt, 3 Damage Energy Explosion bomb from 10 freaking squares away can look like Rainbow Brite for all I care, especially when that character costs well under 100 Points.

"I will rain fire and death over any who would attack Titan. Tee-hee!"

“I will rain fire and death over any who would attack Titan. Tee-hee!”

Top dial, I.S.A.A.C. can also use Phasing/Teleport, Indomitable, Stealth and Carry, so he can get your other pieces into play before he turns his attention to blowing stuff up. But this is not a one-trick pony! I.S.A.A.C. ‘s back dial turns into an 11 Attack Value Support-sporting healer. Yep! That’s right–he’s a secondary attacker/supporting figure hybrid. And he’s even got the Robot keyword, so he can gain Perplex through their ATA. One of the more efficient pieces in the set–and, of course, like every other piece, he starts getting frightening when you equip him with Hammers. I would not be shocked if this guy makes a ROC Top 16 or two in the near future.

 

Zombie Super Skrull

8. GOTG062 Super Skrull170 Points – Chase: An 8-Click-long Primary Attacker who has the ability to become whoever–or whatever–you want him to be. Like all the other Zombie Chases, Super Skrull ignores characters for movement purposes and can gain Food Tokens while giving Virus Tokens whenever he deals damage. But his other Trait is where he really makes his money (IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS: Give Super Skrull a free action and choose up to one each of standard speed, attack, defense, and damage powers. Super Skrull can use the chosen powers until your next turn. For each power chosen this way, place a Power token on his card. At the end of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1 for each Power token on his card and remove all Power tokens from his card. On a result of 1 or less, deal Super Skrull 1 unavoidable damage.).

I know that’s a lot of text, but here’s what it really says: Pick up to any four standard powers in the game that you want (choosing only ONE power for each combat slot); Super Skrull can use ALL of those powers until your next turn. Then, at the end of your turn, there’s a roughly 83% chance that he’ll take 1 Unavoidable Damage. That’s a small price to pay for being able to choose, say, Hypersonic Speed, Impervious, Precision Strike and Shape Change. Or Willpower if you don’t want to take pushing damage. Or whatever you want! There’s plenty of ways to heal one damage in the game right now, too. Black Lantern Ring, Angrir’s Hammer (Super Skrull gets REALLY sick when he gets a Hammer)… the point is, Super Skrull is like a Swiss Army Knife. When he’s on your side, you just need to figure out which tools you need for each situation as it comes up, and then Super Skrull can instantly use them.

(And in Golden Age games, considering his Monster keyword, teaming Super Skrull with GG026 Mole Man, where you can get TWO uses out of the chosen abilities instead of one… yikes!)

This is the one Chase I think they really got right.

 

"I totally just found a Power Ring. High Five bro!"

“I totally just found a Power Ring at the bottom of my Cracker Jack box! High Five bro!”

7. GOTG059B Doctor Spectrum110 Points – Super Rare (Prime):  I like him better than his A-Side, Non-Prime version simply because he costs significantly less (like 27 Points less). The good Doctor here starts with the Wing Symbol, Running Shot, 3 Bolt Energy Explosion with an 11 Attack and a sick Trait (POWER PRISM: When targeting a single character with an attack, modify Doctor Spectrum’s attack value by the number of different-colored standard powers on the dial of his target(s).) to go with an even sicker Defense Special (TOUGHENED ENERGY CONSTRUCTS: Doctor Spectrum can use Barrier and Toughness. Give Doctor Spectrum a free action, choose a standard attack power, and he can use that power this turn.).

To review, this guy can pick ANY standard attack power (like, say, Penetrating/Psychic Blast), graft a 3 Bolt Energy Explosion on top of it, and–oh, by the way–against most characters, he’s going to have a 12-13 Attack Value. In a Meta environment where Defense Values can routinely climb to 19, 20 or even higher, the ability to “Bunker Bust” a character in a Defense-ball squad with Spectrum’s high Attack Value AND splash 3 Damage to all his adjacent compadres is pretty huge!

 

"Wait, which one of us is in command again? I can never tell!"

“Wait, which one of us is in charge again? I can never tell!”

 6. GOTG017A Kree Lieutenant45 Points – Uncommon: The best generic in the set is a great supporting piece with top dial Enhancement, Sidestep and a 17 Defense with ES/D (thus making him very hard to splash with Energy Explosion Damage while he’s doing his Enhancement thing), but he’s actually a great tertiary attacker on his own as well! On his second click he keeps Sidestep and ES/D, but he actually GAINS Penetrating/Psychic Blast at that point (with 5 Range). Then, at the back end of his dial, he morphs into a close combatant and picks up Charge, Empower and Combat Reflexes!

Did I mention that this guy is a stupidly cheap 45 Points? And his Trait–yes, he has a Trait on top of all the rest of the powers on his dial–gives +1 to the Attack Value of all friendly adjacent Kree. With all the great Kree figures we’ve gotten in the past couple months, that’s awesome! While I’m sure a ton of different Kree Build possibilities will present themselves moving forward, my favorite thing to do with the good Lieutenant is to team him with GOTGM106R Ronan the Accuser, which turns Ronan into a 10 Range, 12 Attack and 4 Damage-sporting monstrosity… and oh, by the way, you’d still have 155 Points to spend. Play a second Lieutenant to bump Ronan’s damage to 5, and you’d still have 110 leftover. All because someone thought the Kree Lieutenant’s 70 Point dial should only cost 45. Nice calculating, WizKids!

 

Supergiant

5. GOTG048 Supergiant120 Points – Rare: 7 Clicks of brutal, dirty nastiness. Supergiant has the standard Cull Obsidian Trait, but she also has three Special Powers that are worth mentioning, too. First, her Movement Special (MENTAL POSSESSION: Supergiant can use Mind Control. When she does, she isn’t dealt unavoidable damage from it and modifies her attack value by +1. At the beginning of your turn, she can use Mind Control as a free action to target a character she hit with Mind Control during your last turn.) gives her a free Mind Control every turn (after the first one hits, of course). That’s awesome.

Second, her Attack Special (OMNIPATH: Supergiant can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When she does, she may target any number of characters.) lets her Multi-target with Pen/Psy.

Finally, her Damage Special Ability (MENTAL PARASITE: Supergiant can use Outwit. When she does, the target character modifies its combat values by -1 until your next turn.) is damn near broken. Not just an Outwit, but an Outwit that really hobbles whichever piece she targets.

Playing against Supergiant is a bad day. Take it from me…

 

Star-Lord Comic

4. GOTG030 Star-Lord110 Points – Uncommon: Oh look, another Uncommon! The Uncommons in this set are just stacked!

Star-Lord’s dial is very fair for 110 Points. Running Shot 2 Bolt Energy Explosion with 6 Range and an 11 Attack Value. 17 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection. Pretty standard, right? Well, he’s got 3 more tricks up his sleeve that put him over the top.

First, his Improved Targeting ignores Hindering Terrain. That’s always handy. Second, he has a Damage Special (TACTICAL MANEUVER: Star-Lord can use Outwit. When he does, he can count range and draw lines of fire from any friendly character that shares a keyword with him.) that’s really cool, especially when used with his Improved Targeting. Oh, Rocket Raccoon wants to shoot at Batman but he can’t because Bats has Stealth? Well, Peter Quill here can Outwit through Stealth FROM ROCKET’S POSITION ON THE BOARD!! I believe the industry term for a figure that can Outwit Stealth from across the map is “F#@king Awesomesauce!!

Obviously, this Star-Lord was designed to sort of quarterback GotG-keyworded teams, and he’s great at it. But his third trick–a Trait–is probably his best ability (GUARD THE WHOLE GALAXY: Friendly characters with the Guardians of the Galaxy keyword may replace their defense values with the highest printed defense values among friendly characters with that keyword.). Obviously, this was meant to be used with GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon and his printed 19 Defense.

So in addition to being a solid secondary attacker, Star-Lord is also gonna run some major support by Outwitting stuff other people can’t see AND by pumping everyone’s base Defense up to 19 (when played with Rocket, of course)! Which means that his 110 Point dial just went from “pretty solid” to “really damn good” in just four paragraphs!!

 

Proxima Midnight

3. GOTG050 Proxima Midnight 100 Points – Super Rare: Well, well well. Another great Black Order piece. If you just looked at her starting values and standard powers, she’d be worth her 100 Points without further explanation (although her Running Shot with Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Sharpshooter and ZERO Range would still seem like a pretty weird combo). But the designers gave her THREE awesome Traits on top of what’s already there on her dial. Her first Trait (THREE TRACERS OF BLACK LIGHT: Proxima Midnight begins the game with 3 Tracer tokens on this card. Proxima Midnight has a range value equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card times 3, and has a number of bolts equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card.) gives her 9 Range to start! How’s that Running Shot/Psychic Blast looking now?

Her next Trait basically makes her Tracer Tokens pretty damn ridiculous (THE SPEAR OF PROXIMA MIDNIGHT: When Proxima Midnight hits with a ranged combat attack, remove a Tracer token from this card and place it on a hit character’s card if it doesn’t already have one. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for each of her Tracer tokens on other character’s cards, and on a result of 3-6 deal 1 penetrating damage to the character with that Tracer token on its card. When a character with her Tracer token on its card is KO’d, place the Tracer token on Proxima Midnight’s card.). Yep. She’s basically got a 66.66% chance to (essentially) deal penetrating Poison from ANYWHERE ON THE MAP to up to three different characters that she’s previously hit. That’s a little bit good, no?

Finally, she also has the Cull Obsidian Trait (CULL OBSIDIAN: When Proxima Midnight is KO’d by an opposing character’s attack, deal damage to that character equal to the last amount of damage dealt to Proxima Midnight. This damage can’t be reduced below 1.) that all of her peers in the Black Order possess except Thanos.

She also has the Minions of Thanos and Warrior keywords, in case you wanted to team her up with some Guardians Movie villain pieces or enlist her in Duhg’s Army. She’s another piece that would not surprise me if she showed up on a few ROC Top 16 Teams, especially since she can possibly remove more than one token a turn from current Meta-staple Bizarro.

This is a sick piece.

 

Thanosi

2. GOTG047BR Thanosi 100 Points – Rare (Prime): Lots of folks like his 200 Point dial. That’s fine. It’s awesome. Frankly, Thanosi could have made this list 3 different times. But I like his 100 Point version the best. Power Cosmic TA, Running Shot with 2 Bolt Energy Explosion, 4 Damage with Probability Control… Oh, and this Trait ([100 PTS] BUILT TO TEST MY FOES: KA-ZAR: Opposing characters within range can’t ignore terrain for movement purposes.).

Yikes! And he’s got the Robot keyword, so he can gain a special version of Perplex as well! But can you imagine playing someone on, say, Wundagore Mountain with Nebula and Thanosi and plopping Thanosi near the center of the map on Turn 1? Your opponent would have to take the long way ’round with each and every character!

So, yeah, at 100 Points, Thanosi’s kind of a one trick pony, but damn, it’s one hell of a trick!

 

Another Prime Common hits the #1 spot.

Another Prime Common hits the #1 spot.

1. GOTG007B Captain Marvel 82 Points – Common (Prime): Yep! All 4 Primes from the set made this list in some form or another. They’re that good. But Captain Marvel beats them all, hands down. Running Shot with an 11 Attack and 6 Range to go with an 18 Defense and 3 Printed Damage is pretty good for 82 Points. But then you get to his Attack Special:

UNI-BEAM: Captain Marvel can use Energy Explosion, Incapacitate, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When Captain Marvel hits with a ranged combat attack, hit targets can’t make attacks during their next turn.

As far as Special Abilities go for the Attack slot, that’s arguably the best in the game. Certainly in Modern. The ability to prevent attacks is disgustingly good. But then you look at his Defense Special Ability:

DEFEND HUMANITY FROM MY PEOPLE: Captain Marvel can use Defend and Super Senses. Modify the defense values of adjacent friendly characters without the Kree keyword by +1. This power can’t be countered.

And that’s ALSO insane! So insane that Ninwashui used him as Superior Spidey’s sidekick in Let’s Be Lanterns, Too!

Marvel can be a Primary Attacker AND he can support your support pieces by raising their Defense to 19! That makes him a pretty damn efficient use of points, I’d say.

Kree, Soldier, Spy and Scientist keywords (and man, has the Scientist keyword made a comeback or what?!? All the best pieces from this set seem to be Scientists or Robots!) mean you can use him in a bunch of different Builds!

 

Okay! Soooo, that’s my list! You know what I think now! But who do you think is the best piece from this set? Sound off in the Comments below!

Age of Ul… timate Play!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 09/14/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Welcome back my friend, to the game that never ends! Step inside, step inside!

Has it really been three weeks since we updated the week that was in Heroclix? I believe it has! Well, it’s time that ended! My Tigers have regained first place, I can’t stop pulling Zombie Chases from the new set (always choose the “Guardians” artwork over the Thanos artwork when you’re pulling packs–just trust me, this is clearly a thing–and you’re almost guaranteed a Super Rare at least, and an increased shot at a Zombie Chase or Prime. Flash Fact!), and they just announced three new Marvel sets for next year (but we’ll get to that in a lil’ bit)!!

Yep. This is what first place looks like here in the Central. Oy.

Yep. This is what first place looks like here in the Central. Oy.

 

So after digesting… that, we’re back this week with a Weekly Roundup to catch you up on everything that’s been going on in the world of Heroclix for the last 3 weeks! Here is your…

 

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–Oh, look who’s back again! Of course Dial H for Heroclix was new once more! They’re now up to Episode 62, I believe, wherein they talk about all the new Avengers goodness for next year that’s just been announced at the Alliance Tradeshow.

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is still working on 2.07. In the meantime, you can give a listen to Season 2, Episode 6 right here!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry has released Episode 25 & Episode 26! 25 covers the Owensboro ROC with winner Zachery Brazier; 26 features a roundtable dissection of everything that went on at GenCon & World’s!

Welcome... to the ROC!

–Meet the new boss, same as the old boss; Patrick Yapjoco has won the ROC Championship. This just in: he is good at Heroclix. Despite the logo I used for this segment, I believe that brings an end to the 2014 ROC season; everything from here on out should feature the 2015 ROC logo.

–Speaking of, you can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Oh my sweet gravy and biscuits, we have an honest to God preview! It’s from the Flash set, and it features the Uncommon Flash (very good) and his Prime–Bizarro Flash (uh… not so good. Amazing down dial, but there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get there…

–We also have previews for some of the OP Team Base replacement figs! Here’s Angel (who fits onto the X-Men: Gold Team Base) and John Lynch (who can replace Grunge on the Gen 13 base). I actually love that in addition to alternate versions of some of the Team Base characters they’ve already published, WizKids is offering 1 new figure sculpt (or in some cases, like with John Lynch, a totally new figure) in each kit who wasn’t part of the team originally and who can replace a member of that team. Really cool. And for the record, both of these figs are good in their own right (although Lynch is a bit more of a subtle piece that takes some finesse to play). Oh, and if you want to know what the new Psylocke will be bringing, click here!

Other new figures/sculpts that will arrive later this year or early next year include a brand new Pete Wisdom for the already awesome Excalibur Team Base and a Black Canary for the JLA Team Base! Really liking this new OP program!

 

Wizkids

–Oh boy, did we ever get some announcements!! We are getting an Avengers Assemble set with 25 never-before-Clix’d characters along with next year’s OP set: Age of Ultron!! Oh, and we’re getting an Age of Ultron Movie Set as well. In addition, it appears that BOTH sets will use Avengers ID cards (randomly inserted in boosters?) that will work with the Avengers Roundtable Resource. How this will all play out, I don’t know. But what I do know is that somewhere along the way (probably but not definitely as the main prize from Age of Ultron) we will finally get… a Quinjet! Yep, Marvel’s finally getting a vehicle (at least one that didn’t start as a figure like Warlock)!

Avengers Assemble should hit around May, and will be a normal 5-figure Booster set. Age of Ultron will come in two different waves of 5-Figure boosters. Wheeee!

You can find a link to the Alliance pictures HERE!!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week,  we’re gonna look at… another Patrick Yapjoco army! Since he won the whole damn ROC at DragonCon, I figure he deserves one more shout-out here! Here’s his winning Build Sheet:

 

Patrick Yapjoco Dragoncon ROC

 

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Comics are invading your small screen again real soon!

Here are the Fall premiere dates for:

 

Gotham Title

Gotham (Fox): Monday, September 22nd (Debut!)

Agents of Shield Title

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC): Tuesday, September 23rd (Second Season Premiere)

The_Flash_(2014_TV_series)_logo

The Flash (CW): Tuesday, October 7th (Debut!)

Arrow-logo

Arrow (CW): Wednesday, October 8th (Third Season Premiere)

Constantine_TV_show_logo

Constantine (NBC): Friday, October 24th (Debut!)

Agent Carter

Agent Carter (ABC): Sometime in January, 2015 (Debut!)

Happy viewing! Which comic book-based show are you most excited for?

 

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

Critical Missives:

–Ninwashui and I finished our Magnum Opus!! Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 of “Let’s Be Lanterns!!” can be viewed at your leisure! Keep an eye out for next week’s Roundup to find out who won our little bet (see Part 3 for more details!).

–Ninwashui also published a Local Tournament Report for Month 4 of War of Light at local venue Gamer’s Gauntlet AND a new team idea article for a Meta Build he calls “The Unstoppable Force.” It features Grasshopper. From Deadpool. And no, I’m not making that up. It must be read to be believed!

–As always, here’s another reminder that we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles and get the occasional preview of things to come, or even the occasional tip or two!

 

And that’s it for this week’s Weekly Roundup!! We’ll be back later this week with a Top Ten Set Review for Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ninwashui will be back soon with a Build idea he calls “The Immovable Objects!”

Until then, once again, stay safe (and DRY!!), and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

Team Ideas – The Unstoppable Force

Idea

See that? Lightning shoots right out of my hand. You should give up now.

See that? Lightning just shoots right out of my hand. You can’t beat that.

So it’s been quite a while since I posted a team ideas column, but I think the wait was worth it. I’ve got a great team idea for today’s article that is completely original to this blog right now and very tournament worthy. Without further ado here’s the team:

The Unstoppable Force

IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0

DP042 Grasshopper * 4

WOLR102 Power Battery (Red Lantern Corps) [Writers Note: Battery color and construct color don’t matter that much, just make sure the ring is red.]

WOLR302 Red Lantern Ring

WOLR202.03 Mallet (Red)

WOLR202.06 Decoy (Red)

WOLR202.11 Bulldozer (Red)

WOLR202.13 Stop Sign (Red)

Total= 299 points

The most powerful character ever is a Great Lakes Avenger? You bet it is! This team works much better than you might think it does because of timing rules. When multiple effects happen at the start of your turn, you choose the order in which they happen. So the idea is to put a Red Construct on each of your Grasshoppers, which–in addition to the normal effects of the Construct–grants penetrating poison to each character. Once everyone is equipped, use all three actions to Maximum Jump and remove three grasshoppers from the board. They will be double tokened and they will each take a pushing damage. That sounds bad, but stick with me.

Maximum Napalm!

Maximum Napalm!

On your next turn the Grasshoppers hit the board like virtual napalm. Because of beginning of turn timing rules they can land and then do penetrating poison damage to every adjacent opposing figure immediately. That’s 3 penetrating damage dropped out of the sky with no attack rolls and probably hitting multiple opposing pieces at once. The Grasshoppers are still double tokened, but they haven’t taken an action this turn so they will clear at the end of the turn. And then if you need them to they can maximum jump again next turn with the same bad effect for your opponent. Since you’ve done all that damage on your turn but haven’t taken any actions you can use Maximum Jump on your last unused Grasshopper and even get a standard attack in with Iron Monger. But who likes rolling attack dice? Boring. Just keep doing automatic penetrating damage. That’s so much easier.

Then comes the hard part for your opponent. Every turn a Grasshopper survives next to an opposing character is another Penetrating Poison damage it will do the following turn. Depending on tokens, the number characters he’s playing, and positioning your opponent may not be capable of eliminating them all in one turn. Which means more Poison damage next turn. Just to make it harder on your opponent I’ve included Iron Monger 2.0 on this team. Iron Monger 2.0’s trait says that if your opponent kills a Grasshopper he’ll avoid taking a penetrating poison damage to every adjacent opposing figure next turn, but he’ll trade that for a penetrating explosion damage to every adjacent opposing figure right now! It’s a real lose-lose situation. Don’t knock out a Grasshopper? Take penetrating one damage for every one left alive. Knock out a Grasshopper? Take penetrating one damage for each one you kill.

Star-Lord Gif

After your opponent figures out what’s going on, this could be his response.

Something else to keep in mind is that the first Grasshopper that gets KOed resurrects itself for free in your starting area due to it’s Trait. Being in your starting area doesn’t really matter when you are moving around with Maximum Jump and the construct that was on the KOed figure simply returns to the battery to be redeployed on the resurrected figure. It’s really like you are playing 5 Grasshopper napalm bombs, but only paying for 4.

You’ll need a few turns for deploying constructs to get maximum effectiveness out of this team. Waiting until turn 4 is ideal. You can use the fact that this is a theme team to win map roll and make it a map that’s hard to traverse from one side to another. Wundagore Mountain anyone? Then if you need to you can use Iron Monger and any Grasshoppers that are ready to engage the other team for a turn or two from a distance. After taking all those Battery actions early, it should be pretty easy to get to the end of the dial. Which means that if all Grasshoppers are eliminated your opponent will likely still have to face down an Iron Monger 2.0 with Shape Change, Penetrating Poison, Plasticity, and +3 to all stats.

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

Artist’s rendition of what it looks like when Iron Monger 2.0 gets plus three to all stats.

If you surprise people with this team by taking it to you next constructed tournament, there is really only one thing to say to someone trying to beat it.

Seinfeld Good Luck

The Price to Play!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 08/10/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd… we’re back!

Sooooo much has happened in the last two weeks in the world of ‘Clix and sports. My Tigers traded at the deadline for one Mr. David Price! Yay! Then they squandered a pretty decent second outing from the Cy Young’er before going on to lose in 19 FREAKING INNINGS! Good gosh.  To be honest, I can’t believe our bullpen held up that long. Even Joe Nathan came through.

Still, it was tense, especially with the Blue Jays constantly on the bases.

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield could barely stand to watch!

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield during Sunday’s 19-inning marathon.

What else… what else… Oh, yeah, THIS HAPPENED!!

Cars were floating away down streets. BUT THOSE STUPID ORANGE CONSTRUCTION CONES DIDN'T EVEN BUDGE. WHAAAA....????

During Michigan floods, orange construction barrels become road buoys.

THE RAIN APOCALYPSE CAME AND WENT!! My Lord, that was a lot of water. In the 35 years I’ve been on this Earth, I have never seen Southeastern Michigan flooded before like it was today. Dogs sleeping with cats, cars being swept along streets BY THE TIDE (BUT NOT THE HOLLOW ORANGE CONSTRUCTION BARRELS–OH NO!! APPARENTLY THOSE NEVER MOVE!!)!! Just total insanity!

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like.

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like as well.

After a crazy day like this, I need something normal in my life. Something to restore the balance; something familiar, that’ll let me know life is getting back to normal. You know what? You know what I need? I could really use a…

 

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

(Whew! Okay! I can already feel things normalizing! Here we go!)

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–As always, Dial H for Heroclix was new for the past two weeks! Episode 55 dealt with some Sealed advice for War of Light Wave 2, and Episode 56 is a sort of survival guide for anyone going to GenCon!

Push to Regen

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

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is now… Episode 24!! It features an interview with Patrick Yapjoco-slayer recent ROC winner Kevin Afrooz as well as coverage of the Tulsa ROC.

Welcome... to the ROC!

–The ROC continues to streamline their system; they just offered a new breakdown (including costs and prize structure) to stores thinking about holding an ROC event.

–Weaponer of Qward has taken a ROC! Read all about the Bluegrass Mafia’s Super Qualifier (from Lexington, Kentucky) right here!

–A token team backed up by the Power Plant; Bill, Agent of A.I.M.; and a fistful of Weasels and Blind Als has taken the Tulsa Heroclix Group Road to DragonCon 2014 Super Qualifier!

–Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

 

Preview

–Still no official Previews from WizKids, which, again, is weird since GotG releases THIS WEEK! Still, we know a few things:

-The Rares are great! Thanos, like Darkseid in SL0SH, is just a Rare (and he’s got a “Thanosi” Prime as well). Gorr the God-Butcher also looks pretty powerful from the Rare slot. You can see a pretty good list of the expected figures (including ANOTHER Squadron Supreme Super Rare Prime) in the Forums at HCRealms.com.

–The Zombie Chases are, well… SEVERELY UNDERWHELMING at this point. Magneto (who I thought was just murdered by the Zombie hordes in that storyline–I don’t recall him actually becoming a Zombie, but whatever) and Mole Man have me a lil’ excited (more on them in a sec), but not much else. Many of the Chases have been at least partially spoiled. You can find an eBay auction for Zombie Skrull (not Zombie Super-Skrull–just Zombie regular Skrull) that shows part of his card; the other Chases we know about (Zombie Mole Man, Zombie Red Skull, Zombie Gladiator, Zombie Magneto and Zombie Morbius) don’t really move the needle too much.

Zombie Magneto seems decently useful; I’ve heard Zombie Gladiator is, frankly, hot garbage–a (maybe) 150 point character that somehow costs you 250 to field. Zombie Morbius doesn’t seem a heck of a lot different from his ASM version–pretty weak for his points until you get him back to Click 1 via Steal Energy, if you can. Zombie Mole Man seems like an 80-Point Zombie Taxi, although it’s hard to tell exactly what he does from that eBay picture. Finally, Zombie Red Skull is a fairly effective (although slightly expensive) Close Combat piece with some decent supporting powers if his teammates are Zombies or Hydra agents.

 

Wizkids

–Speaking of GotG, (surprise, surprise) it may not release quite on schedule due to shipping delays from China. And stuff.

(Honestly, with GenCon going on this week as well as many venues running War of Light Month 3, a one-week delay shouldn’t raise nearly the amount of complaints as it would have had there been nothing else going on.)

–In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, WizKids has finally responded to the popularity of the ROC, and it’s THIS!! If any of those seven locations was within three hours of Detroit (Chicago is like 4 and 1/2 on a GOOD traffic day), I’d be a little more excited about this…

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Okay, for this week’s Army of the Week, we’re gonna spotlight Joshua Earnest’s team from the Tulsa ROC we mentioned above.

Agency X

Team NameCall Us Whatever You Want, As Long As You Call Us Winners!

ThemeAgency X

Roster:

DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M.30 Points

DP020 Weasel27

DP020 Weasel27

DP018 Blind Al13

DP018 Blind Al13

DOFPH002 Sentinel Sentry x 342 

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot30

FIH002 Warbot (Rocket) x345

FIH003 Warbot (Machine Gun) x345

IIMR100 Power Plant (everything but Ice Blast)28

=300 Points

 

What We Like: The creativity! Joshua constructed a team where all of his primary, secondary AND tertiary attackers are Horde Tokens/Stacks! The actual figures he chose are the support pieces, an inverse of what we often see. Skadi’s Warbot can be devastatingly effective, particularly with Weasel backing him up. Since he’s Carry ability would most likely kill Skadi’s Warbot, I assume Bill, Agent of A.I.M. is there to move all the support pieces and the other Warbots (who have Toughness) into place and then make sure that they can all open up on their target regardless of line of fire. Because it’s technically a Theme team, each of those support pieces could use Theme Prob as well.

This is an army that would require a Master’s Degree in Positioning and Action Management to run effectively, but clearly Joshua was up to the task! This is definitely one of the most unique ROC-winning teams I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Bill and his High-Energy Finder Thing at the ROC or the Sentinel Sentry tokens, either. Well done, Joshua!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Guardians of the Galaxy lived up to the hype! Great flick, even greater box office. Highly recommended, although why we didn’t get a [EDITOR’S NOTE: Name redacted.] Clix in the GotG Movie Set from his appearance at the end of the post-credits scene is beyond me! I mean, he’s a Marvel character, he’s carried his own movie before, and he’s popular enough that he’s already had SEVERAL Clix in the past. Oh well–missed opportunity!

–How successful was this movie? Successful enough that Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Electric Bugaloo already has a release date! By the way, if I could buy stock in Chris Pratt’s career or the popularity of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, I would. Like, now.

 

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

Critical Missives:

–Okay, there was only one major article that dropped since the last Weekly Roundup, but it was a doozy! 4000+ words about ranking the Entity Chases from War of Light!

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

 

And that’s it for this week!! We’ll be back later this week with more and better coverage of War of Light (now that we’re knee deep in Wave 2), and we’ll be posting a Top 10 Review of Guardians of the Galaxy just a bit after that set releases!

Until then, stay safe (and DRY!!), and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

Preparing For Launch!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 07/27/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Another day, another dollar, another week, another… Wait, is it Tuesday already? Good Lord, nevermind the intro, before I lose my train of thought with another Tigers rant, let’s just get straight into the…

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–As always, Dial H for Heroclix is back with another new episode! Episode 54 is an extended length podcast that delves into what the guys want/expect from Yu-Gi-Oh! Wave 2!

Push to Regen

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

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is still Episode 22!! It features some new Tryout Commentators analyzing the Oregon ROC!!… Hopefully we’ll get some more content soon, as no one covers the Meta like DarkLogos.

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

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

-Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

 

Preview

-Still no official Previews from WizKids, which, again, is weird since GotG releases IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS!! I mean, the title of this week’s Weekly Rounup is PREPARING FOR LAUNCH!! C’mon, WizKids!! For what it’s worth, the Gravity Feed dials are all up in the Units section of HCRealms.com, as are the dials from the Justice League Strategy Game that released earlier this month (Hint: They’re freaking good!!). And yes, all four of those Justice League dials are SwitchClix that can be put on the JLA Team Base.

 

Wizkids

-WizKids has finally responded to the popularity of the ROC, and it’s THIS!! If any of those seven locations was within three hours of Detroit (Chicago is like 4 and 1/2 on a GOOD traffic day), I’d be a little more excited about this…

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

We shall see next February…

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Okay, for this week’s Army of the Week, we’re gonna take a look at… the Army of the Week from 2 weeks ago. Why? Well, sometimes there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and sometimes, there’s more than one way to build an army! We’ll keep the same basic engine (Yondu and Rocket), but we’ll take out Star-Lord and sub in some Entities to go with the Resource, and see which army we like better!

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

“Once more… with FEELING!”

Team Name: Blam! Murdered You! AGAIN!!

ThemeEntity

Roster:

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon100 Points

WOL067P Adara25

GOTGM012 Yondu82

WOL065P Parallax – 25

WOLH002 Black Lantern Risen13

WOLH002 Black Lantern Risen13

ATA098 Ravagers x2 – 8

The Phoenix Force – 12

All 5 Fragments – 15

Assigned Character x 2 – 6

=299 Points

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

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

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

What the New Version Brings: All that and more! Star-Lord is great backup, but the fact is we now have 4 characters (6 if you include the Bystander Tokens, but they count towards Theme) instead of 3, so we have a slightly better chance to win Map Roll and choose where we fight.

With this team, you’ll be going around in a mini-Defense Ball with Yondu Carrying Rocket. Try to have the Black Lanterns stay close, so that they are just as hard to hit. There will be times when your opponent will need to hit a 22 to hit Yondu with a Ranged Attack (Remember, Rocket’s using Defend with a native 19, Yondu’s Trait gives him ES/D, and if he’s in Hindering and his assailant doesn’t see through that Terrain, they’ll need a 22).

As always, even Jerry Seinfeld thinks that’ll be unlikely:

Seinfeld Good Luck

Yondu can increase Damage or Range via Parallax every turn, and he’ll of course have Running Shot with both Precision Strike and 3 Bolt Energy Explosion (thanks to the Phoenix Force). If he’s targeting just one character (while he’s Carrying Rocket), when you add up all the buffs (and assuming he pumped up Damage with Parallax), Yondu would have a 13 Attack with 5 Damage, Precision Strike AND that 3 Bolt Energy Explosion. AND he can also choose every turn to gain a Yellow Lantern Perplex and the Quintessence Team Ability, which would solve his lack of Willpower dilemma.

Essentially, we’re taking 82 Point Yondu, who’s already pretty good, and giving him +3 to Attack and +2 to Damage at virtually all times. And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that the Phoenix Force can hook him up with the Magik Fragment, Poison, Flight, Invuln (since that’s what you’d choose every turn and much, much more if you can start turning that Resource Dial. With native Sharpshooter and the Ravagers TA which lets him automatically break away, basing him does almost no good at all. The only thing he fears even a little is Pulse Wave.

Rocket would get the Cyke Fragment and wreck face every other turn (if an opposing figure is within Rocket’s Range, he can nail them for 5 Damage!). Oh, and since–at least for the first few turns–Rocket gets Defend from the Phoenix Force, he’s free to choose Prob Control from Adara every turn. Y’know, just in case Yondu somehow misses with his 13 Attack.

There are two Meta figures who can mess this team up before it gets going.

The first, of course, is Copycat (God, this figure is going to wreck the game. Just ban it already!!). She can take either part of your engine; neither choice works out well for you. You would reeeeeeaaaaallly have to slow your roll and basically just send out Copycat as a solo attacker and hope she gets whacked quickly or that she can carve off some meaningful clicks from the other side (not likely, but not impossible either, since she’ll have access to both Adara and a Resource in this scenario).

And the second figure to look out for is Lydea Mallor, but only because she can take Colossus’s Fragment from the Phoenix Force. This wouldn’t be a game ender, but it would suddenly open up both of your engine parts to Poison.

Of the two, Copycat is FAR more lethal to your plans that Lydea Mallor, but both are annoying.

So go forth and try this army out; you’ll only need three expensive Chases, the Complete Phoenix Force Resource, and a hard to find Rare from a CTD set that’s all but sold out most places.

Good Luck!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Movie Wonder Woman is officially a thing!

–Guardians of the Galaxy opens on Friday (really Thursday night). As of Sunday night, over 25 reviews were in and it still had a 100% Fresh rating on Rottentomatoes.com. Color me “excited.” UPDATE: It is now at 97%, as something called Jeff Coyle (an AP critic) has decided the movie was not his cup of tea. And now, in keeping with tradition, I will now go on a brief but ill-informed rant against this Jeff Coyle guy, and how little he clearly knows about this film, even though he’s seen the movie and I haven’t. Screw you, random movie reviewer I’ve never met, let alone read, and your negative opinion about a movie I’ve yet to see but really want to! What do you know about anything, anyway, except that you will die alone, bitter and unloved? 

Okay! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest… oh, yeah, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already has a release date!

–Speaking of release dates, Gotham has a premiere date on FOX, and it is September 22nd!

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

Critical Missives:

–Okay, there were a couple of articles that dropped since the last Weekly Roundup! First, we finished our look at the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set by diving into a Starter Set Review! Secondly, Ninwashui recapped War of Light Month 2 at our local venue in his Local Tournament Report!

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

–Finally, this site has actually been growing by leaps and bounds these past 2 months, so I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s stopped by to check us out!

 

And that’s it for this week!! I’ll be back next week with a deeper look at War of Light, and in a few weeks we’ll be back with a Top 10 Review of Guardians of the Galaxy once that set releases!

The Week When Nothing Ever Happened! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 06/29/2014!!)

Roundup

Well hello again! Another week has passed in Clix land, and we’re here to catch you up on anything you may have missed!

 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix just released Episode 51! Not a ton happened this week (as they themselves discuss), but they do talk at length about Nekron’s newly spoiled dials!!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is back with Episode 2.5!! They discuss the recent Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is … still Episode 20.


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

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

-There will be some format changes coming to the ROC and also some upcoming prize opportunities! Read the announcement about the upcoming announcement right here!

Preview

No official previews this week, but Nekron’s dial has been spoiled on HCRealms.com (he’s the Black Entity; he seems to have 2 different 300 Point dials, and he is definitely going to be tough to take down at his higher point levels). More interestingly, the Core Hobby (read: Comic Shop Version) Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set got spoiled as well! The Nova Corps keyword is gonna get a lot of use…

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Gonna spotlight Ninwashui’s woulda-been ROC army ‘cuz I love it so much! Check it out right here!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–No big Hollywood news to speak of this past week.

Critical Missives:

–Three articles this past week. Two Local Tournament reports (Here and here), and the ROC Build article that we spotlighted in our Army of the Week section!

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

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

Wait–it’s already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

We should have another couple articles this week, including a look at some replacement options for some newly retired Meta pieces!

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