More Avengers, Less Punctuation!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati!!)

Hello Again! Annnnnd, we’re back! Better late than never, right?

And we couldn’t have asked for a funner set with which to return to feature writing! Now we can continue our run as the most enjoyable Heroclix-focused gaming blog out there!

And our new reign is all thanks to this new expansion featuring our friend T’Challa and his Illuminati buddies!

Your Reign is Over.jpg

Okay, maybe “friend” was a strong term. Alright T’Challa, how about we just, like, surrender and go right into the article?

Then Lets Get This Started

Then it’s agreed!! So without further ado, let’s start with…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

Thor Lightning

–I really think this is the most powerful set we’ve gotten since The Mighty Thor, which came out way back in, like, August of 2017.

Just like that set, this expansion has extremely powerful Chases, Equipment and Cosmic entities.

Personally, I love this stuff. I mean, who saw an Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme coming? Moreover, who thought these pieces would be so good. Which reminds me…

Elders of the Universe Banner

–The Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme is REALLY freaking good!!

Collector, Astronomer, Champion, Gardener, Trader, Voyager, Runner, Grandmaster, Challenger, Possessor… and I’m still probably forgetting a few. But they are ALL playable and several are downright META!!

The Finder

–The packs seem to be somewhat searchable! So far I’m 11 for 13 in picking packs with Equipment (including an Ultra-Chase Thanos!!)

But this isn’t a total neckbeard disaster like Trinity War was, because 2 of the Chases and the Super Rare Prime all come sans additional elements, so if you only go looking for packs with Equipment, you’ll never pull something like the Black Panther Chase. Speaking of…

Infinity Gauntlet

–The Chases aren’t tied together by any one Theme, really, except that they’re all pretty damn good (okay, Starbrand only shines in Limited, but still). Secret Wars: Battleworld was the same way. Still, I miss Themed Chases!

Why wouldn’t they have just shifted Starbrand and Black Panther to Battleworld and put Infinity Gauntlet Black Panther Chase in this set?

Anywhozl… let’s get on to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS!!

Okay, I can go all day with Honorable Mentions (this set is REALLY deep), but, with apologies to figures like Challenger, Rune, Eitri and Prime Black Panther, I’m only going to talk about two pieces:

Voyager

2. ABPI017 Voyager — 50 Points — Common:

Okay, she should actually be higher on this list, because she is a Meta-level Taxi. But there’s so many great pieces in this set, so she’s going here!

But she starts with either Outwit or Perplex, the best Telekinesis Special (STRAINING MY POWERS OF TELEPORTATION: Telekinesis, but only to place characters. When Voyager uses it, neither she nor the target character’s square need line of fire to the destination square.) I’ve seen in a long time, Phasing/Teleport and the Power Cosmic TA.

Did I mention she only costs 50 Points?

Medusa

1. ABPI030 Medusa — 50 Points — Uncommon:

Here comes another solid Medusa dial!!

Her Trait (AN EXTENSION OF MYSELF: Living Hair has the printed combat values, and can use the standard powers, displayed on the dial of the character that generated it. Protected: Pulse Wave.) is her main reason for being here; if you play multiples of her, she can get scary in a heartbeat.

And if you have enough Empower on the board, watch out!!

 

AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…

Here are…

THE BEST TEN PIECES IN THE SET!!

 

Trader

10. ABPI05 Trader — 50 Points — Rare:

He’s cheap! He’s got Power Cosmic! He’s got Perplex!

I know, I know, 50 Points would be a bit much for JUST a Perplexer, but with Sidestep and Power Cosmic, it’s easier to move Trader where you need him each turn than some other supporting characters.

But he made the main list for one reason: his Attack Power (LET’S MAKE A TRADE: FREE: Choose an equipped character (friendly or opposing) within 3 squares and line of fire. If Trader is equipped, and both equipments have Equip: Any, those equipments are now equipped to the other character.), which can allow for all sorts of shenanigans!

Choose Pen/Psy and Outwit with a character equipped with the Infinity Gauntlet, then switch in, say, the Power Gem for even more damage! And guess what? You can then use the Infinity Gauntlet with the character who previously had the Power Gem!

And that’s just what you can do with friendly swaps! You can also use it defensively to take better stuff from your opponents! The possibilities are endless!

Yelena Belova

9. ABPI013B Black Widow — 30 Points — Common Prime:

Wow! I like her 60 Point line a lot too, but man, for 30 Points, you get an absolute toolbox of abilities at your disposal!

To wit:

She has Sidestep, she ignores Characters on movement, she has Traited Shape Change and Stealth, 10 Attack, 2 Damage and a Special Defensive Power (LETTING YOUR GUARD DOWN: Combat Reflexes. FREE: Choose an adjacent character and a standard defense power. Until your next turn, the chosen character can’t use the chosen defense power.).

That’s a lot of usability! Plus she’s a Wildcard!

Her only downside is a lack of decent keywords (Martial Artist is probably her best).

Doc Strange AbPI.jpg

8. ABPI053A Dr. Strange — 120 Points — Super Rare:

The bearer of the Soul Gem has a ton going for him.

Running Shot and Pen/Psy top dial. Mystics TA. A sweet Damage Special (WE MUST WORK TOGETHER: Perplex. When Dr. Strange uses it to target another friendly character, you may choose a standard damage power that character can use. Dr. Strange can use that power until your next turn.) that encourages thought in who you pair him with.

All in all, a really efficient supporting/Secondary Attacker piece!

Gary Frank Hulk

7. ABPI014 Hulk125 Points — Common:

This is the definitive “Peter David/Gary Frank-era” Hulk dials, and they just casually throw it on a Common Hulk?

We’ve got Charge (with Improved Movement: Blocking, so Barrier and Printed Walls mean nothing to him), 12 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Indomitable and Impervious and 5 (FIVE!) Damage top dial with Outwit!

He has one “drawback” Trait (WEAKENED BY RAGE: When Hulk takes damage from an attack, after resolutions give him a Rage token. Modify Hulk’s combat values by -X, where X is the number of Rage tokens. At the end of your turn, remove all Rage tokens and heal Hulk that many clicks.) that actually HELPS his survivability!

Yes, he doesn’t have any Outwit protection himself, and yes, he is a Close Combat piece, but man, there’s not much else you’d want. Pair him with a TK’er or a Vehicle and you’ve got a boatload of trouble for your opponent.

Black Panther incarnation

6. ABPI072 Black Panther — 85 Points– Chase:

The original Panther offers a TON of usefulness for his points. His only problem is that is top heavy and kind of a glass cannon; if you’re opponent can lay hands on him, he’s in trouble.

Luckily, that’s hard to do. If you win map, his main Trait (THE PANTHER GOD: Stealth. Opposing lines of fire can’t be drawn to Black Panther if he occupies printed hindering terrain. Protected: Pulse Wave.) should make even touching him darn near impossible (and of course he has Improved Movement: Hindering and Elevated)!

He starts with Hypersonic Speed, Precision Strike with a 12 Attack, 19 Defense with Super Senses and 3 Damage with Traited B/C/F (BEFORE HUMANS TOPPED THE FOOD CHAIN: Blades/Claws/Fangs. Opposing characters within 3 squares can’t use Blades/Claws/Fangs.) and Battle Fury to burn through Shape Change.

Yes, he’s only a close attacker, but he’s got some great potential damage output combined with some wonderful mobility and survivability!

As a special bonus, that B/C/F Trait kind of shuts down those SR Wolverine Call-Ins, too!

 

Chase Cap

5. ABPI071 Captain America — 150 Points — Chase:

This is a little bit of a cheat as well since I’m again counting the Chase Equipment that comes with him–The Infinity Gauntlet. But with his Infinity Gauntlet, Cap here has six Clicks that have to be gone through one by one since he has Power Cosmic, Invincible and a sweet defensive Trait (THE GEMS… THEY WANT TO BE TOGETHER: Barrier. Barrier as FREE, but only to generate 1 marker. Captain America can’t be healed and takes a maximum of 1 damage from an attack. Protected: Pulse Wave.) that makes it hard to target Steve, much less KO him.

His damage output isn’t huge, but if he hits, he can change the board with his Attack Special (PUSHING PLANETS AWAY: KNOCKBACK. When Captain America knocks a character back, add 10 to the amount of knock back.) that features a Knockback power like we’ve never seen (and props for being comic accurate!).

If you want an unkillable Call-In generator, call on Cap.

 

Taskmaster.jpg

4. ABPI061 Taskmaster — 100 Points — Super Rare:

100 Points for the most versatile piece in the set.

Taskmaster has the Wildcard TA, Indomitable, Sidestep, Toughness and Leadership top dial, plus his first Trait (JUST BECAUSE YOU HIRED ME, DOESN’T MAKE US FRIENDS: Taskmaster doesn’t count against themed teams.) ensures he’ll always fit on your team.

His second Trait (I MEMORIZED MOVES FROM DOZENS OF CHUMPS, TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!: FREE: Choose two: Charge, Flurry, Running Shot, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Incapacitate, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Precision Strike, Combat Reflexes, Energy Shield/Deflection, Close Combat Expert, Exploit Weakness, Ranged Combat Expert. Taskmaster can use the chosen powers until your next turn. This turn, characters targeted by Taskmaster with an attack can’t use the chosen powers until your next turn.) gives him access to almost any other power in the game that you might want. Hell, give him Iron Man’s Infinity Gauntlet and he literally WILL have access to any four powers in the game that you might want at any one time!

Someone is going to figure out how to exploit him because he’s basically designed to be exploited. He’s essentially a one-man Shifting Focus piece that plugs in to any Themed Team.

 

Kobik_(Earth-616)_from_Thunderbolts_Vol_3_1_001

3. ABPI069 Kobik — 115 Points — Chase:

If you like unkillable moving castles that let you Call-In almost any X-Men piece you want, meet your new best friend.

Outside of being hard to even hit, Kobik has a fun Trait that has the potential to wreck your opponent’s strategy so long as you construct the rest of your team correctly (REWRITE AFFILIATIONS: FREE: Choose both a friendly character and an opposing character with printed team abilities. Those characters can use the team abilities printed on the other character instead of their own printed team abilities until your next turn.).

She also has Power Cosmic, Perplex, Prob and an 8 Range, Shape Change, Super Senses and a 19 Defense on her first two Clicks. That is a LOT to get through!

On top of that, at 115 Points, she gets the best Cosmic Cube (FREE: Choose one: Place this character up to 3 squares away from its current square; -or- Until your next turn, [Improved Targeting: Elevated, Hindering] and modify range +2; –orGive an action token to an adjacent opposing character. If you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage. Light Object.) and a once-per-game Sideline shenanigans Trait [REWRITE HISTORY: POWER: Once per game, choose an adjacent friendly character on their starting line and a characters on your sideline with the same name as the chosen character. If the first character is equal or more points than the second, replace the first character with the second on their starting line. (That character can’t have the same set symbol and collector number.)].

She has already started showing up as a Supporting Character/Call-In generator, and I don’t think she’s going away any time soon!

 

Collector.jpg

2. ABPI064 Collector — 55 Points — Super Rare:

55 Points gets you the Power Cosmic TA now?! Holy crap!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Hell, 50 Points gets you PC now. Look at Voyager!]

Oh, and it also gets you (usually) six clicks of life, 11 Attack with pretty much the best version of Incapacitate the game has ever seen (I FIND YOUR HAMMER VERY… UNIQUE: Incapacitate. When Collector uses it, instead of giving action tokens, after resolutions you may choose one Equipment-Object equipped to a hit character and unequip it. // FREE: Equip an unheld and unequipped opposing Equipment-Object within range and line of fire.) and a Trait that lets him take full advantage of it (MY COLLECTION GROWS: Collector can be equipped with any number of Equipment-Objects at the same time. Protected: Pulse Wave.)!

Get used to seeing this guy on Meta teams for the next two years…

 

Thanos Annihilation

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra Chase:

Where to start with a figure that does virtually everything? First of all, he comes packing Skreet, who might be the best POG we’ve ever gotten.

Skreet

Skreet has Flying, Phasing/Teleport with 8 Movement, Pen/Psy with a 10 Attack and 4 Range, a 19 Defense (19!!) with Tiny Size and Impervious and a native 2 Damage with her lone Special Power (CHAOS MITE: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Skreet uses it, she modifies a value +2 or -2 instead, then rolls a d6. [1-2]: The modifier becomes 0 instead.).

Yep! That’s right! Thanos comes with his own Tertiary Attacker WHO ALSO HAS THE BEST PERPLEX SPECIAL IN MODERN!!

And you know what? THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ONLY GAME ELEMENT HE COMES WITH!! Whaaa… ?!

Yup!

Thanos also comes with the little-known SEVENTH Infinity Gem—The Ego Gem–for free!! This Gem allows it’s bearer to collect other gems (thus getting around the “one Equipment at a time” rule) AND let’s it’s bearer increase any Combat Value by +1. So, basically, you have a Perplex even if someone somehow Outwits your Perplex.

Okay! Now that we’re like 5 paragraphs in, we can finally talk about what is actually on Thanos’s dial!

First of all, he’s rocking both the Power Cosmic and Mystics TA. Yeah–probably the two best TA’s in the game, and Thanos has both of them.

He starts with a 12 Attack and 4 Damage top dial, along with Sidestep and an 18 Defense with Invincible. His Damage Special (THE BIOLOGICAL APPLICATION OF COSMIC POWER: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Thanos uses it to target a friendly character, that character can use [Power Cosmic] until your next turn. When Thanos uses it to target an opposing character, that character can’t use Willpower or PROTECTED: Outwit or Protected: Outwit until your next turn.) is flat-out amazing, and is one of the best Damage Specials in the game!

Starting on Click 2, Thanos’s Attack Special (GENOCIDE IS NOT WHAT MISTRESS DEATH DESIRES, BUT IT’S WHAT THE MAKER’S FOLLOWERS DESERVE: Precision Strike. FREE: Make an attack targeting an opposing character, but only if there’s another opposing character with the same name on the map. // When Thanos KO’s a character, after resolutions KO all bystanders generated by that character, then heal him 1 click for each bystander KO’d this way.) allows him to literally clear house if your opponent was careless enough to double stack characters on their team.

(And yes, if he’s your Primary Attacker, he can also bring in some heavy-hitting X-Men for Call-Ins!)

In Epic (400+) games, Thanos is an absolutely street sweeper!

But even in 300 Point games, he is an absolute force to be reckoned with.

And that’s why he’s number one on this list!

 

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The Ghost of Christmas Future Presents: Breaking News! Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati!! (Or, The Sixth Night of Clix-Mas 2018!!)

Black Panther Infinity Gauntlet.jpg

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Clix-Mas 2018, wherein we here at Critical Missives rather foolishly try to provide you with twelve different articles in twelve days, all brought to you by either the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, or the Ghost of Christmas Future! If you need to catch up with our intro to all of this, the first Night of Clix-Mas 2018 can be found in our first post of the season, and Night 2 speculated on the next Star Trek set. And Night 3 looked at some of HypeFox’s favorite Golden Age pieces! Night 4 dropped yesterday and examined the lack of Fantastic Four in Clix for the last 6 years! Finally, Night 5 brought us a look at HypeFox’s favorite Sealed sets!]

Ho ho ho!!

Welcome to Night Six of the Twelve Nights of Clix-Mas!! Sorry we’re a little late tonight, but we got some hot off the presses news!

About a year after I called for Infinity Gem Equipment in my Irresponsible Speculation!! Preview of the Avengers: Infinity expansion… we’ll actually be getting just that!

That’s right–Wizkids announced another Avengers set for next year, and it’s gonna have some big hitters in it, with sub-themes including Wakanda itself, the Illuminati, The Cabal, The Elders of the Universe and possibly even the first Malibu character in Clix, Rune (who himself once went after the gems, which would make him a perfect inclusion here).

There will be 78 total figures in the set broken down thusly:

17 Commons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Uncommons (plus 1 Prime)
17 Rares (plus 1 Prime)
16 Super Rares (plus 1 Prime)
6 Chases
1 Ultra Chase
11 Equipment Objects (included with select figures in 5-Figure Boosters)

Never before Clix’d pieces include Astronomer, Challenger, Eitri, Enigma, Everett K. Ross, Kobik, Okoye, and as mentioned before, Rune.

Some of the equipment we’ll be getting includes the Cosmic Cube, The Infinity Gems and The Infinity Gauntlet.

Obviously we don’t know much more than that, but we can make some educated guesses based upon what we know from the comics! So let’s indulge in some quick…

IRRESPONSIBLE SPECULATION!!

New_Avengers_Vol_3_2

One of the best Marvel covers of the last 10 years…

Speculation #1: The name of the set will be Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati.

Why is this important? Well, first of all, “Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati” just sounds and looks like a weird run-on sentence. It’s kind of terrible, like someone just reciting stream-of-consciousness-style everything that they remembered from the set as a title. As a title, it means nothing because it COULD mean anything.

Now, Avengers: Black Panther and the Illuminati is a different story! That could have several distinct meanings!

Firstly, during Hickman’s run on New Avengers, the Illuminati took center stage. It basically could have been called Avengers: Illuminati. Currently, Black Panther is also maybe/kinda/sort of trying to reform the Illuminati as a more inclusive organization in his capacity as Avengers chairperson. This storyline may keep developing and even reach a crescendo just before or even during this set’s release in June.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Or by then Marvel may reboot everything for a tenth time in 5 years as no one is buying their books right now. Or any books really.]

Nice. Way to bring the mood down.

Annnnnnyhow… that colon may seem small, but it’s presence makes a huge difference in my opinion. Or maybe I’m just being anal about it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Can’t both be true?]

Ahem.

Cosmic Cube

Speculation #2: There’s 11 Equipment, and we may already know what 8 of them are…

Why is this important? They’ve already told us that the Cosmic Cube is being remade. That’s 1. The Infinity Gems are in this set (see next entry for what else this may tell us). That’s six more pieces right there, folks! They’re not going to make all the gems one collective piece of equipment, right? Especially since the other piece of equipment in the set they told us about is The Infinity Gauntlet!

So that means there’s just 3 unknown pieces of equipment out there! And we have six months to guess what they are!

Illuminati Gems.jpg

Speculation #3: The Illuminati members from Hickman’s New Avengers run will be the Gem-bearers in this set (ie they will be the figures that the gems come with).

Why is this important? Because if my guess is correct, it tells us a lot about the roster for this set. That would mean new versions of Iron Man (w/ the Reality Gem), either Professor X or Beast (w/ the Mind Gem–in between the distribution of the gems and the start of the incursions, Professor X was murdered by Cyclops or something in AvX–I honestly could be conflating stories, here, but it’s not really that important), Namor (w/ the Time Gem), Black Bolt (w/ the Space Gem), Doctor Strange (w/ the Soul Gem) and… someone(?) with the Power Gem?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Honestly, the color assignment for the gems has been all screwed up ever since the MCU started, so I don’t always remember which was which when I’m reading the comics now. I’m pretty sure about the Soul, Reality and Mind; after that, I can never remember.]

See, that’s where the theory falls apart. Because in the comics, Reed Richards has the Power Gem at that point. And even though Disney’s acquisition of Fox should be finished by that point, it’s unclear (at best) whether Marvel will let Wizkids make any FF pieces by then (my best guess is no). Sooooo…

The-Elders-Of-The-Universe

Okay, the Stranger is not an Elder of the Universe, but I don’t have time to look up other art for them.

Speculation #4: Speculation #3 is pure fanboy wish fulfillment horse dookie!

Why is this important? It’s really not. But in this Scenario, Wizkids will just make new versions of the Elders of the Universe (from whom Thanos stole the gems in the first place) and have THEM come with their respective gems. Plus we’re also getting… uh… Astromancer? No, Astronomer! That’s it!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, we’re HUGE Marvel Cosmic fans, and even we forgot this guy existed. But hey, in this Scenario, we’d get a new… Runner. Guy. Dude. Yaaay! Oh, $#!t, we might even get another Gardener! Actually… I’d potentially be excited for another Champion!]

Infinity Gems

Coloring. Fail.

Speculation #5: Wizkids wants this set to sell. Also, they’re not stupid.

Why is this important? Look, I’m not trying to worry anyone here who is huge fan of the Infinity Gems (like myself) and wants Wizkids to make them accessible, but whether it’s the Illuminati that comes with the Gems or the Elders of the Universe, I mean… there’s six Gems… and six Chase slots…

You do the math.

Rune Infinity gauntlet

Speculation #6: Who is the Ultra-Chase?

Why is this important? History says it probably isn’t, as the previous two Ultra-Chases–while very powerful for their points–didn’t make a huge Meta impact. But with Black Panther wielding the Gauntlet during Secret Wars having already been Clix’d, I can think of a few possibilities:

–Captain America wielding the Infinity Gauntlet given to him by the Illuminati in New Avengers #’s 2-3 (or thereabouts).

–God Emperor Doom (also from Secret Wars–but this would be contingent on FF characters being available, which again seems unlikely)

–The aforementioned Rune, who, even as a Malibu character (Malibu comics was the independent publisher behind the Ultraverse, a pretty cool superhero universe that eventually ran out of money and was bought by Marvel in or about the late 90’s/early 2000’s) once held the Gauntlet for a brief moment before the Silver Surfer used the Power Cosmic to literally dismember Rune’s hand (as I recall–I could be misremembering something).

Rune was basically an evil space vampire who already had cosmically powered gems around his neck (the Star Stones–hey, maybe those are another piece of equipment in the set!), so of course he had to try and get a whole new set.

Look, it makes sense (kind of). He’s probably going to be the only Ultraverse character in the set, since the Ultraverse isn’t a listed sub-theme. I know Rune isn’t a popular or well-known character, but neither was the White Rabbit.

Now Wizkids could either make Rune (as he is or with the Star Stones equipment) the Ultra-Chase, or they could be reeeeeeeeeal evil and make Rune the Ultra-Chase… and have him come with the Infinity Gauntlet!

$500 Ultra-Chases anyone?

Yikes.

 

Okay, that’s it for tonight! Sorry we were a little late, but we’ll see you again tomorrow for more 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!