Who Watches the Watchlist: Part Deux!! (Or, The Eighth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again, we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 6! If you missed The First Night of Clix-mas, you can catch up right here! Night 2 is here. Night 3 is here, you can find the 4th Night of Clix-Mas by clicking here, and Night 5 went down right here! Night 6 is now up, and can be found here. Night 7 showed up right about… here.]

Hot Shots Part Deux

Hello again!

Two nights ago, we reviewed the Watchlist changes from the beginning of the year. Now we’re gonna take a look at the most recent Watchlist from July 27th of this year. Did these changes make the game better? Or did they go too far in some cases? Let’s take a look!

2015 Q2 WATCHLIST:

AKA “The Felix Faust” Watchlist! Who, it so happens, is our first corrected piece to review! Let’s take a look:

Felix Faust

  • Felix Faust: There were two main changes wrought by Faust’s World Championship dominance. First, all of Faust’s nastiest d20 abilities now have a maximum effectiveness range of 7 squares. What’s that, you say? 7 squares is still pretty damn good? Well, normally I’d agree, but considering that before the Watchlist these shutdown abilities had an effective range of THE ENTIRE MAP, so I supposed I’d have to say that this was a step in the right direction. Pieces that are meant to shutdown the opponent’s pieces are always going to be hard to balance. In this case Faust was just ungodly for his measly 70 Point asking price. The second change that came in the wake of Faust running roughshod over THE WORLD is that d20 rolls can no longer be rerolled. Yup. Rerolling d20’s was a thing in the summer of 2015, since it enabled you to lock your opponent down completely. No more! Verdict: Having played against Mr. Faust since these changes came down, I can say that they probably didn’t do enough. He’s still able to dominate a game if his controller has ANY kind of dice luck!

Doc Strange

  • Doctor Strange: No changes to the good Doctor, which isn’t that surprising given that Doctor Strange here costs about 80 more points. Verdict: This was the right call. Why Faust was so much cheaper is beyond just about everyone.

Avengers Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

  • Scarlet Witch: This one’s a little harder to discuss, since her problematic ability is written like a phone book. For the record, this is how her power now reads: HEX MAGIC: Once per turn, after an attack roll has been determined, Scarlet Witch may give the attacker up to 3 Hex Magic tokens if the attacker is within range. A character may not be given Hex Magic tokens if they would have more than 3 Hex Magic tokens on their card. For each token she gives the attacker, reduce the attack total by 1. Opposing characters may be given a free action to remove a Hex Magic token and modify any friendly character’s attack value by +1 this turn. Basically, they added the “A character may not be given Hex Magic Tokens if they would have more than 3 Hex Magic tokens on their card” bit. Verdict: Her ability was worded veeerry loosely originally, so I’m not surprised it got changed. Pretty moderate change, too. And definitely necessary.

Yellow Power Battery

  • Yellow Power Battery: No change. Verdict: Nor should there have been. This Battery works just fine.
  • Orange Power Battery: Ditto. Verdict: Ditto.

And there ya go! This Watchlist wasn’t as packed as the last one. Does that mean WizKids has learned their lessons and taken the appropriate measures to make sure we’ll never have to deal with another Watchlist ever again?

Uhh… no. But that’s okay. At least WizKids is quicker to own up to a huge failure now and do whatever it takes to fix it. It seems like they’re making a concerted effort to achieve a modicum of transparency.

Having said all that, I’ll see ya tomorrow night for the 9th Night of Clix-Mas!!

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It Might Get Loud!! (Or, Critical Missives Scenario #1: MCU Heroes Versus Villains!!)

Avengers poster

Hello again!

Today we’re here to share our first scenario with you. In celebration of the May 2nd premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ninwashui and I have prepared a couple special scenarios that we’re going to play out on our own time. Our first scenario is detailed here today!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who are unaware, a scenario is any game of Heroclix with special rules that are specific to that particular game. Often times they are meant to be played with either a specific set of figures, or else they give you a much smaller range of figures with which to create your Build. Usually there is also a small bit of story context accompanying the scenario (that justifies its existence and/or explains the comic or movie-based storyline you’re about to play out). WizKids sometimes creates scenarios for added depth of play during their OP events and distributes instructions on how to play them with the OP Scenario Pack (for example, Fear Itself had 2 Scenario Pack, War of Light had 1).]

Ninwashui and I have been chomping at the bit to try out some of these new Age of Ultron Gravity Feed pieces, but this Scenario will also give us a chance to break out some of our favorite older Movie Set pieces as well.

So, without further ado, here is our first Critical Missives Scenario. Taking a page from Survivor, it’s simply titled…

 

AvU

HEROES VS. VILLAINS!!

The Scenario: It’s all out war in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!!

While inside Avengers Tower celebrating their ability to finally subdue the Hulk’s latest rampage, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers are finally able to relax. During a fun game of “Whosoever Is Worthy to Pick Up Thor’s Hammer,”all of the Tower’s computers suddenly light up. The Tesseract Thor had brought back with him from Asgard begins to spew energy, and a temporal anomaly forms in the Tower’s Quinjet hangar! For a moment, everything seems normal–until the hangar is ripped open, and the Avengers find themselves under attack from the menacing AI of Ultron and his Sentries! But things immediately go from bad to worse as almost EVERY major villain from the MCU–even some they thought they had dealt with permanently–begin flooding in from the anomaly! The fate of the world is in the hands of the Avengers, and to save it, they’ll have to fight their worst enemies or die trying. 

But the Villains aren’t the only ones back from the beyond. An ally once thought lost has returned to aid the Avengers, and he’s brought a really big gun…

The Game: Designed for 2 Players. 1600 Points. Oreo Age. One player assumes control of the “Heroes” side. The other will guide the “Villains.”

The Map: Avengers Tower (from the Age of Ultron Movie Set Starter Pack). The “Heroes” should begin in the Starting Zone located on the side with the lab, while the “Villains” should start on the side with the open hangar.

The Special Scenario Rules:

–When forces are being built, the “Heroes” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–At the beginning of each player’s first turn, that player may select a single Additional Team Ability (ATA) and assign that Team Ability to all eligible members of their team. At least one member of a player’s force must have the printed keyword required for the chosen ATA.

–There is a restriction of 5 actions per team per turn (NOT COUNTING FREE ACTIONS). This total can be increased by Leadership as per normal.

–While we’re not going to bother with declaring Sidelines or anything, the “Heroes” player should have at least 4 Iron Legions stashed off the map (as well as a Captain America and Black Widow & Iron Man and War Machine Duo Figures if available) and the “Villains” should have at least 4 Test Subjects ready to go.

Special Character Rules:

–In addition to his normal stats and powers, Agent Coulson gets the following Special Damage Power on Click number 4: “So That’s What it Does: Once per game, if this click is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing attack, stop turning the dial and select an opposing character. Agent Coulson can use Pulse Wave. When he does, the area of effect for this attack is his range value, he has a locked damage value of 3, and this attack ignores all characters except the opposing character selected for this power. After actions resolve, deal Agent Coulson 1 unavoidable damage. This power cannot be countered or ignored.”

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player may assign either Loki or Red Skull GGS102 Cosmic Cube without paying its cost. During the game, figures named “Loki,” “Red Skull” or “Captain America” automatically succeed when rolling for the Cosmic Cube.

 

THE ROSTERS:

 

Avengers 1 MCU

Heroes:

 AAOU003 Captain AmericaCommon125 Points

AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43Starter Pack150 

AAOU005 ThorCommon200

AAOU008E HulkCommon250

AAOU013 Black WidowMass Market Rare 80

AAOU009 HawkeyeCore Hobby Rare94

AAOU010 Scarlet WitchCore Hobby Rare55

AAOU014 Quicksilver Mass Market Rare63

AAOU011 VisionCore Hobby Rare100

IM3016 War MachineMass Market Rare220

CATWS006 FalconCommon105

AAOU015 Nick FuryMass Market Rare45

AVM206 Agent CoulsonCommon50

CATWS011 Maria HillCore Hobby Rare60

= 1597 (Hmmm… Heroes are apparently so confident that they’re leaving 3 Points on the board!)

 

Marvel Villains

Villains:

AVM211 LokiChase220 Points

AVM041 Red SkullChase170

IM3008 Aldrich KillianCommon35

TDW004 MalekithCommon350

CATWS008 Winter SoldierCommon100 

GOTGM106 RonanStarter Pack300

AAOU016 Baron StruckerMass Market Rare95

AAOU018 Ultron PrimeMass Market Chase250

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

= 1600 Points!! (Villains got their $#!t together!)

 

Why These Teams?: Because, as I mentioned before, this gives us a chance to really dig into the new Age of Ultron Movie Set while also providing an opportunity to dust off some old favorites. As for these specific rosters, we chose them because–between the two of us–we happen to have all these pieces and the points match pretty damn close (in a 1600 Point game, I’m prepared to deal with a variance of 3 points).

Handicapping the Squads: While we haven’t decided who will play which side, just looking at the rosters, I’d expect the “Heroes” side to have a distinct advantage. While there is certainly a ton of raw power on the “Villains” side (and Ooooo, Malekith at 350 looks like soooo much fun…), the “Heroes” side is much more synergistic with their “Avengers Assemble!” Traits and such. Still, we shall see…

The Result: Check back in this space next week. Once we play out the Scenario, we’ll post the highlights and tell you who won right here!! (And/or in the next Weekly Roundup–we’re waaaay overdue for one of those!)

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

There Are… No Strings… on Me!! (Or, a Set Review of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Set!!)

Age of Ultron Back to Us

 

Hope you all had a Happy Easter! Or a Happy Passover, or, if you’re not a person of faith, or at least not a person of a faith that celebrated this season, I hope you had, uh, a Happy Sunday!

As our belated gift to you, Ninwashui and I are teaming up to rip through the just-released Avengers: Age of Ultron Gravity Feed Movie Set! We’re gonna go figure by figure using our popular and patented [EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, it’s really neither of those things.] Oxygen Filtration Mask Numeric Scale!

It’s all part of our month-long ramp up celebrating the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st! In addition to today’s article, we’re also going to review the Starter pack and write and play a scenario based on the movie (or, y’know, what little we know about the movie since it hasn’t released yet).

But today is about the Age of Ultron Gravity Feed, so let’s get it rolling!

SOME QUICK NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

–The whole set actually gets its flavor not just from AoU but also from prior Marvel movies as well. Iron Man (Iron Man 3), Iron Legion (Iron Man 3) and Nick Fury (Avengers) all have power sets and costumes that reference previous MCU outings. Conversely, Hawkeye and Black Widow are definitely in their Age of Ultron costumes (note Hawkeye’s longer tunic, which gets him a little bit closer to his comic book look), but their power sets almost seem like they’re taken directly from the first Avengers film (going back to Hawkeye, he has Traits and Powers with names like “Rooftop Maneuvers” and “Vantage Point.” He could certainly spend a lot of time on rooftops in Age of Ultron, but these really sound like Hawkeye’s abilities taken from the Battle of Manhattan sequence in the first Avengers film).

–Meanwhile, it seems like the designers went out of their way to make the most generic Cap, Thor and Hulk pieces they could possibly imagine (I’m speaking strictly from a flavor/sculpt standpoint–see each figure’s individual entry to see how we think they stand up as Heroclix figures!). Cap gets an abilities like “Rebounding Shield” and “His Enemies Fear Him,” while Hulk has “Fueled by Anger” and “He Only Leaves Rubble.”

–For those keeping score at home, we finally have MCU Clix for: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Baron Strucker and Ultron. First time generics include Test Subject and Iron Legion (although IM3 had at least 4 Armor Shell versions from the “House Party Protocol” scene at the end of the movie).

Alright, enough notes about the set! Let’s dig into the dials!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry bro, we need one more note. As always with Movie Set Reviews, we’re saving the Starter Review for a separate article, since we’re already over 7000 words on the Main Set alone, making this our largest single article ever!]

Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man

AAOU001 Iron Man250/185 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: At 250 Points, Iron Man here is certainly beefy, starting with a 12 Attack and an 18 Defense Value with Invincible. His awesomely-named second Trait (THE HOUSE PARTY PROTOCOL, SIR?: Give Iron Man a power action if there are less than 4 friendly undefeated characters named Iron Legion. If you do, place a AAOU002 Iron Legion in your starting area from outside the game.) allows him to bring in armor shells that are two clicks deep, but they come into play in your starting area. Depending on where the action’s centered, the battle may be lost before you can even get the shells into play. This is a bit of a problem, especially since there’s another figure in this set who does the same trick better. Similarly, his Avengers Assemble Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Iron Man hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: You place a friendly AAOU #002 Iron Legion from outside the game into your starting area or, modify the defense value of your friendly characters by +1 until your next turn.) is a nifty lil’ bonus, but there are better versions of the same Trait on almost every other Avenger.

In a Modern Age environment that also includes Ultron Prime and Trinity War Superman at the 250 Point level, I just don’t know that you’re getting enough damage out of this Iron Man and his Iron Legion shells to really keep up with number of effective actions your opponent will be taking in a 300 Point game. Also, while any piece with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability is going to be a nuisance, his 7 Range is below average for a piece in his price range.

Now, at 185 Points… he’s still over costed. With five clicks of life and middling Attack Values (again, for the points), he still offers the same two Traits as his higher-costed version and the ability to target through Stealth. Still, this feels much more like a 150 or 160 Point dial. 185 is just a rip-off, frankly. Not the worst dial in the world, but not one that I would choose to play, especially with all of the other Iron Man options out there.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says:

Pretty short dials for both versions, actually. Both Traits are more fun than competitive. The Iron Legions he can bring into play hit hard enough, sure, but they’re easy to KO and award 50 Points to your opponent for each one that’s KO’d. And really, the Transport Symbol is pretty much wasted on figures that already fly and have top dial Running Shot.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Legion

AAOU002 Iron Legion50 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Mildly effective for his points, but you’re probably not playing him this way very often. He’s useable, but far from groundbreaking. Actually, he’s kind of a boring way to use 50 points, but at least he can Taxi, too.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks 

HypeFox Says: Yeah, he’s only got 4 Clicks, but for 50 Points I get Running Shot, 10 Attack and a Damage Value that never drops below 3 AND never loses Enhancement. A great Tertiary Attacker with a mild amount of support with Enhancement and the ability to Taxi. I think he’s damn effective for 50 Points–I’d put him right up there with some of the better Lantern Recruits we just got.

GRADE: 3 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Captain America

AAOU003 Captain America125/80 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: One of the most creative Caps we’ve seen in awhile. The 125 Point dial is a brutally effective mid-range piece to start. He’s actually at his most deadly when he’s at least two squares away from an opposing figure, even though Cap is normally thought of as a close combatant. His Avengers Assemble Trait is pretty one-sided (there will be very few circumstances when your opponent would rather take a -1 hit to the Attack Value of all his pieces versus letting you give one of your pieces +1 to Damage). His top dial vanilla Leadership is somewhat wasted when the majority of Avengers cost more than him (or at least the majority of Avengers who can Carry him and keep him adjacent–yes, you can sometimes end up adjacent to a friendly after a Running Shot to set up Leadership next turn, but that’s a lil’ tricky to do usually). If he ignored characters on movement (instead of or in addition to) I’d love him; as it is, I merely like this dial.

His Rookie dial, on the other hand, offers a ton of value for 80 Points–and also plays way differently than his Blue dial. Now that’s a great design! He starts with a Leadership Special Power (HIS ENEMIES FEAR HIM: Captain America can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, he may also either place an action token on a higher point opposing character within range or he may place an action token on each lower point opposing character within range. Placing this action token doesn’t deal pushing damage.) that he keeps his whole dial. He doesn’t even need line of fire to dish out tokens–opposing characters merely need to be within 4 Squares.

His Attack Value never descends below 10, and even gets up to 11 more than once. The only problem is a lack of Indomitable, but the last half of his dial features Willpower anyway. And top dial, once he gets in close on someone, they’re gonna need a 20 to hit him with a Close Combat attack.

This is a fun piece and one of my favorites from the set.

GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: Really dig his 125 Point dial. He’s difficult to hit at range, which should allow him to use his Avengers Initiative Team Ability to slowly close in on his opponents. After that first hit he magically transforms into an equally hard to hit close combat headache for your opponent.

His 80 Point dial is almost as good, but his Leadership Special–as powerful as it can potentially be–will only go off 33% of the time. And with no native damage reducers, it’s possible for a heavy hitter like AAOU005 Thor to knock him out with one lucky hit.

GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (80 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Test Subject

AAOU004 Test Subject30 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Ugh. The first real loser of the set. Don’t let the 3 separate dials fool you–even for a generic, this is a bit uninspired. Their Trait (THESE EXPERIMENTS ARE YIELDING… INTERESTING… RESULTS: When Test Subject is first placed on the map, roll a d6 and click the character to the indicated starting line: 1 – 2 red; 3 – 4 blue; 5 – 6 yellow) ensures that you’ll never know which of their dials you’ll actually be playing, which is a problem when you are, y’know, TRYING TO BUILD A COMPLEMENTARY TEAM! These guys need help to be anything more than even just a tie-up piece for a turn. But with such limited mobility, it’ll take them forever just to get next to an opposing figure to tie them up in the first place. I can’t see 4 of these pieces ever taking out any 120 Point figure I can think of.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: Okay, taken on their own merits, they’re not the best use of 30 Points. However, what if I told you there was a way to easily get them within range of an opposing figure, to the point that they’d be all but guaranteed an Alpha Strike? Then would you be interested? If you can find a way around their awful mobility, these guys suddenly become pretty dangerous–especially since they’re only 30 Points. Having said that, no one is ever going to play them for 30 Points, for reasons we will get into as we get a bit further down the list…

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Thor

AAOU005 Thor200/150 PointsCommon:

HypeFox Says: Wow. We’ve gotten a ton of 4-Star Thors in the past couple years, but this version might just be a cut above. His AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Thor hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters modify their damage values by -1 until your next turn or, opposing characters can’t make ranged combat attacks until your next turn.) is absolutely brutal.

You: “So, would you prefer to do way less damage next turn, or would you prefer to do no damage next turn?

Your Opponent: “Uhhh… is that a real power? That doesn’t sound like a real power.”

You: “It’s a Trait, not a power.”

Your Opponent: “I hate you.”

I mean, what kind of choice is that? But beyond that, he starts with 5 native Damage, an 11 Attack Value that alternates between Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion (with an 8 Range and 2 Bolts) and an 18 Defense Value that’s boosted by both Invincible and his second Trait (MJOLNIR TO CARRY ME: When Thor has one or more action tokens, he can use Energy Shield/Deflection.). And remember, he sees through Stealth via his AI Team Ability. The only thing keeping him from 5 Masks at this point is his one glaring weakness:  no Willpower.

Still, in a Tactics format, this is pretty easily fixed, and in a No Tactics format, he hits so heavy that it may not even matter. If you only push him once or twice, you’ll be fine–heck, that first push basically just puts him on Pulse Wave. He only loses one Movement and one Defense.

His Rookie dial is a little more subtle, but just as effective.

GRADE(S): 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: User UncorkedMonk on HCRealms.com said “Hes an indom symbol away from being great. As is hes alright. But theres enough ways to give him willpower I spose.” Despite his clear vendetta against apostrophes, I have to completely agree. Outside of the normal Resource/Relic route, let’s remember that Thor is an Asgardian. For 5 Points, their ATA explicitly GIVES him Willpower on his first click. That’s right. The Asgardian ATA:  it’s not just for Splitlip anymore.

His Rookie dial finds him switching from a 5 Damage Primary Attacker to a 4 Damage sniper squad leader. And while he plays differently than his higher point version, he’s just as effective. Especially if you put the right team around him, which you’ll have 50 more points to do with this version.

GRADE(S): 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (150 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hydra Soldier

AAOU006 Hydra Soldier — 40 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: I think this was the only character in the set I wasn’t looking forward to getting (so guess who I’ve pulled 4 of so far… ). Even in groups, I don’t see this guy ever lasting long enough to hit anyone. I can see what they were trying to do with his Minion power that bestows Leadership (MINION: HAIL HYDRA: When a friendly character with the HYDRA keyword and a higher point value is within 8 squares, Hydra Soldier can use Charge. When that character uses Leadership and succeeds, remove an action token from all characters named Hydra Soldier within that character’s range and line of fire unless one has already been removed this turn from that character from this effect.), but the low inherent Movement and the existence of DP006 Hand Ninja means that this guy will likely never see play from me. On the plus side, he’s got a pretty cool sculpt though.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: For the first time in this article, I think I finally agree with Ninwa. His TA only works for ranged attacks (well, unless your running him with Wolverine, Agent of Hydra) but his skill set is only viable for close combat attacks. Come to think of it, running him with Hydra Wolvie is really the only way to make him work. Even then, as Ninwashui mentioned, DP006 Hand Ninja is pretty much a better choice all the way around.

GRADE: 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Ultron Sentry

AAOU007 Ultron Sentry40Common:

HypeFox Says: 3 Clicks for 40 Points doesn’t instill a ton of confidence until you look a little closer at those three Clicks. Top dial they have Pen/Psy and Enhancement (although only a 4 Range) with a native 3 Damage. In other words, as they multiply, they can start dishing out 4-5 Penetrating Damage. That’s a huge amount of Damage output for a 40 Point figure. Yes, they can be destroyed quite easily with just a 15 Defense Value, but their Movement Special on Click 2 (THERE’S NO END IN SIGHT!: Once per turn, for all characters with this power, give Ultron Sentry a double power action. Place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry from outside the game in an adjacent square on click number 3.) means that they can replicate themselves over and over. In other words, for 40 Points, you can create a whole army INSIDE your army.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says:  It’s a 40 point character that can duplicate itself as soon as turn 4. And it can keep doing it until you run out of them on your sidelines with no outside help required. And when one dies, a double power action can put that guy right back out. Unlike Iron Legion, the duplicate figures are the exact same strength as the original. And they have two Traits that make it so they can work together to become far more powerful the more of them there are (COMBINED EFFORTS: Modify Ultron Sentry’s attack value by +1 for each adjacent friendly character named Ultron Sentry. Modify Ultron Sentry’s damage value by +1 for each 2 adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry AND CONSISTENT PROGRAMMING: When using the Carry ability, Ultron Sentry may carry any number of adjacent friendly characters named Ultron Sentry regardless of their combat symbols.).

They also have additional Trait that works well  with the other versions of Ultron: HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Sentry is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area: 

3 – 4, place AAOU #007 Ultron Sentry on its starting line;
5, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line;
6, place AAOU #012 Ultron Mk 1 on its blue starting line.” 

Try to imagine this:  Starting on Turn 4, Ultron Sentry makes another Ultron Sentry. Turn 5, the first Sentry you made makes another. Turn 6, the original makes another. You can just keep doing this in your starting area until you feel like you have enough. A 40 point investment can bring 8 more of these things into play and descend on the opponent as a cloud of nine sentries. Nothing in the game anywhere near 40 points can take that on. If you own enough of these you can bring a 900 point army to a 300 point game.

GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hulk

AAOU008 Hulk300/250/200 PointsCommon:

Ninwashui Says: Going in, you have to know a couple things. First, you’re paying a metric poop-ton of points for a character that has absolutely no range AND that has absolutely NO OUTWIT PROTECTION!! These are major issues. It’s true that if Hulk gets Outwitted, he gets the small bonus of an Anger Token via his Trait (ENORMOUS GREEN MONSTER: Hulk can use Battle Fury. Each time Hulk takes damage from an opponent’s attack or one of his powers or combat abilities is countered, put an Anger token on this card.), but that’s not really Outwit protection, is it?

His 300 Point dial has an awesome top dial, but the chances of you being able to get to swing with that top dial in a 300 or even 400 Point game is minimal. He’ll most likely be picked apart on his approach.

At 250, he runs into the same problems. While his dial is fun, one Outwit can just absolutely ruin his day.

Finally, his Rookie dial actually gets a half-mask more from me because it leaves room for supporting figs (just from this set, adding AAOU015 Nick Fury and AAOU010 Scarlet Witch will form a perfect 300 Point team) that can really help Hulk deal maximum damage.

Just make sure that whichever dial you play, you use Colossal Stamina whenever there is a meaningful action to take UNLESS that would put you on a Stop Click.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: For a Hulk dial, there is a lot going on here, most of which I like. Traited Battle Fury means that Shape Change will not help you–and with a figure that costs this much (no matter which dial you play), any ability that can eliminate the possibility of wasted actions is a very good thing. His Avengers Assemble Trait is good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Hulk hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Deal one target 1 unavoidable damage and give it an action token or, put an Anger token on this card.), but again, it’s pretty much one-sided (no opponent is going to choose to take an additional damage AND lose an action as opposed to giving Hulk a token that lets him increase a potential Regeneration roll somewhere down the line by +1 or increase the chance Hulk won’t take Colossal Stamina damage by just over 16%.).  The first choice wreaks havoc on his team right now, while the second option might subtly benefit you at some unspecified juncture down the line. Not much of a choice there. Having said that, getting the Anger Token bonus is better than not having that Trait at all, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.

I like his Rookie dial a little more than Ninwashui, since I believe that his Defense Special Stop Click (HIS ANGER SUSTAINS HIM: When this click is revealed due to taking damage, stop turning the dial and remove all actions tokens from Hulk. This power can’t be ignored.) gives him a little bit of Outwit protection (and Pulse Wave protection). And it shows up twice, in tandem with his Damage Special Power (HE ONLY LEAVES RUBBLE: Hulk can use Invincible and Regeneration. When he uses Regeneration, you may remove any number of Anger tokens from this card. If you do, the d6 roll can’t be rerolled and you may increase the result by 1 for each token removed.).

So while he doesn’t have Outwit protection, he does have some built-in survivability.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 and 1/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Hawkeye

AAOU009 Hawkeye94 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

HypeFox Says: Wow. Back in our set preview a few weeks ago, I said that this was the figure of the set. And I’m not backing off. I think he’s ridiculously good, and here’s why.

First of all, he’s got arguably the best AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Hawkeye hits one or more characters with an attack, the opposing player chooses: Hit characters are each dealt 1 unavoidable damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye isn’t given an action token for this action.). Finally, an Avengers Assemble! where both of the choices really suck for your opponent! Remember, Hawkeye has 3 Bolts and Precision Strike, so chances are he’s already dealt 1 Penetrating Damage to two or three of your opponent’s characters (and keep in mind that Stealth won’t help them, because Clint has Avengers Initiative). Now, does your opponent want each of the hit characters to each take ANOTHER Unavoidable Damage? Or do you want to keep Hawkeye from getting an action token, which means he can do the whole thing over again next turn?

This is an actual dramatization of your next opponent trying to decide which of these options to go with after 3 of his characters have been hit by Hawkeye.

Now before you start worrying about his top dial 10 Attack Value, take a look at his second Trait (VANTAGE POINT: When making a ranged combat attack, modify Hawkeye’s attack value by +1 for each target of the attack. When he hits 3 characters, he may give one hit character an action token if he doesn’t assign that character any damage.). All of which means that it shouldn’t be hard to get Hawkeye a +2 or even +3 modifier to his Attack Value. Forget Perplex–this Hawkeye takes care of his own modifiers.

Finally, Ninwashui is probably gonna come on here and trash Hawkeye’s Movement Value. Sure, it’s a bit low at just 6 Squares, but even that, too, is deceiving. When you break it down, you’ll see that his starting Movement Special (ROOFTOP MANEUVER: Hawkeye can use Sidestep and Stealth. When he uses Sidestep, he can use Improved Movement: Ignores Elevated Terrain.) means that he can actually cover 8 Squares a turn AND he can change elevation, too (AND he can make an Attack afterwards, since it’s Sidestep!)! And since he already ignores Hindering Terrain on movement (again, thanks to the AI Team Ability), you actually have a figure who’s much more nimble than a lot of other figures with higher Movement Values.

Now, I can’t quite give him 5 Masks in an environment where Banshee is still Modern (he’s even more beastly for just 4 more points), but Hawkeye here is darn close. He offers a bunch of powers and abilities that you can’t get from Resources or Relics, and what he lacks CAN be fixed by Resources and Relics (The Phoenix Force or especially the new Pandora’s Box Resource should work wonders with this Hawkeye. If you use Pandora’s Box, I’d recommend it’s first setting–the Path of the Hunter. It’s got pretty easy early access to the abilities that Clint needs the most, like Energy Explosion and Running Shot, and it’s also pretty easy to get Hawkeye permanent access to both ES/D AND Combat Reflexes).

GRADE: 4 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: Low Movement Value, no dampeners or anything to help his Defense beyond Stealth and a lack of Running Shot hurt this guy. That being said, if your opponent can’t find a way to hide two or three of his pieces (and it’s admittedly tough to hide guys from a dude who has 8 Range, Sidestep, 3 Bolts and the ability to see through Stealth), then this guy could suddenly be the star of your team. All his is missing is Energy Explosion to be the best figure ever made at taking out clusters of opponents at a time. And AAOU015 Nick Fury (who will get to in a minute) has a Special Attack Power that goes great with this guy.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

AAOU010 Scarlet Witch55 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

Ninwashui Says: Her Trait (UNCAGING THE BEAST: Give Scarlet Witch a free action when she has two action tokens and choose a friendly character within range and line of fire. Modify the chosen character’s combat values by +1 until the end of the turn, and, at the end of the turn, deal Scarlet Witch 1 unavoidable damage and don’t clear her action tokens. If the chosen character’s name is Hulk, you may modify the chosen character’s combat values by +2 instead.) seems to be begging for you to play her with some version of the Hulk to make her reach her full potential, but I think she’ll end up seeing a lot of play on a variety of tournament teams regardless of the presence of a Hulk. Even just a +1 boost to all stats is no joke, and she could technically do that for five turns in a row before being KO’d. That ability might be worth 55 Points by itself.

Factor in her 8 Range, 10 Attack and 3 Damage with Perplex top dial and you have a piece that’s useful even before her crazy-good Trait starts to kick in!

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: She has no Avengers Assemble! Trait on her own, which is a bit of a bummer. Her Point Cost is reasonable, but if Ninwashui thought that Hawkeye was too crunchy with only Stealth to protect him, I can only imagine what he thinks about a figure with one less Click of life and an even worse Defense Value. If you can get some mileage out of her Trait, she’ll make her cost worth it; if she gets destroyed before that, well… sorry.

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Vision

AAOU011 Vision100 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

HypeFox Says: First of all, this is an awesome sculpt and paint job!! Second… yeah, I have no second. At 50 Points, he’d be amazing. Unfortunately he costs double that. Somehow, a figure with no Traits or Improved Movement or Targeting of any kind and with only six Clicks of life costs 100 Points.

He does fly and he has Indomitable, but he doesn’t do enough to be a Secondary Attacker and he costs WAAAAYYY too much to be a Taxi. And he has 0 Range. I’m glad that he has the Avengers keyword, but he is a Theme play only; he’s not turning up in any sort of competitive environment. Even with Hydra Soldier’s existence, this is probably the worst piece in the set (especially since he costs so much more).

GRADE: 1 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: He’s not as bad as HypeFox makes him out to be, but I have to agree with the idea that if you are actually playing him, you’re playing him because you like the character and not because you think he’s a powerful HeroClix figure. He does have 3 Clicks of Outwit followed by 3 Clicks of Perplex, so I can tell why he’s clocking in at 100 Points. But in a world where even a 43 Point Hand Ninja has Traits and Special Powers [EDITOR’S NOTE: And a Team Ability!], it’s hard to justify a dial that costs more than double and has none of those things unless the power set is just top notch. Vision’s power set, alas, is not.

GRADE: 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Ultron MK 1

AAOU012 Ultron MK1120/65 PointsCore Hobby Rare:

Ninwashui Says: For 120 Points you get a character that hits hard, but with a low Attack Value. He also is good at absorbing damage with four clicks of Invuln, but he doesn’t match well with other figures in his point range unless you take his Trait into account (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when a friendly character named Ultron Mk 1 is KO’d by an opposing character, you may roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. Increase the result by 1 for each character named Ultron Mk 1 or Ultron Prime that began the game on your force. Based on the result, place in your starting area: (4)-(5), place 012 Ultron Mk 1 on its yellow starting line. (6), place either 012 Ultron Mk 1 or 018 Ultron Prime on its blue starting line.). Basically, if you’re running any other Age of Ultron versions of him, then you will likely get him back in your Starting Area on Click one. His stats by themselves are average, but his synergy with other Ultron pieces is the real reason to play him.

His Rookie dial is kind of more of the same. You’d play it to fit in another Ultron on your force, but this dial will never see play otherwise.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (120 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (65 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: Kind of a must have piece if you’re trying to create an Ultron swarm. On its own, it’s average, but when you start running it with Ultron Prime or Ultron Sentry, it can really start to wear your opponent down.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial)

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Black Widow

AAOU013 Black Widow80 Points Mass Market Rare:

HypeFox Says: This is one of the stranger Black Widows we’ve gotten in recent years. On the plus side, she’s got a pretty decent AA Trait (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: When Black Widow hits one or more characters with an attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Opposing characters can’t attack Black Widow until your next turn or opposing characters can’t ignore pushing damage until your next turn.) and a cool Attack Special (WIDOW’S STING: When Black Widow hits with a ranged combat attack, after actions resolve, roll a d6. On a result of 4 – 6, Black Widow can use Incapacitate twice, each as a free action, but only to target a hit character.). On the negative side, she’s pretty much set up as a ranged attacker, but she’s only got a 4 Range and no move and attack. And if she can’t attack, her special powers are all wasted.

Having said that, like her former S.H.I.E.L.D. running buddy Hawkeye, much of what ails her can be fixed with a Resource or Relic (Mokk’s Hammer would solve almost all of her top dial problems).

So she has some potential in a Tactics environment, but in a game where you can’t use Resources or Relics, she’s gonna be a tough piece to use effectively. Chances are high that you won’t get out of her what you put into her.

GRADE: 2 and 3/4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: She can really shine with an Avengers Themed Team around her, but you’re gonna have to team her up with a really effective Primary Attacker to distract the other team’s best offensive pieces and let her get a ranged attack (or two) off. Nearly full dial Stealth and intermittent Perplex make me like this version slightly more that her Starter pack counterpart (AAOU105 Black Widow, natch!). And, once again, AAOU015 Nick Fury‘s Special Power works really well with her as well.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Quicksilver

AAOU014 Quicksilver 63 PointsMass Market Rare

Ninwashui Says: He’s the cheapest character in Modern right now with top dial Hypersonic Speed. When you compare him to 65 point FL001A The Flash you’ll see that he moves much farther and has a better chance of hitting because of his ability to use Probability Control on himself. This is also one of the few instances where I think it’s really nice for this character to have Force Blast. I can just imagine him flinging opposing support figures off rooftops or into walls. And let’s be honest, 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection is pretty damn impressive for someone at his point level.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: He’s been growing on me. I still don’t like that his Attack Value never exceeds “meh,” but his Damage Special (FAST ENOUGH TO TRY AGAIN: Quicksilver can use Probability Control, but only to reroll his own rolls.) means that he gets two shots at every attack roll. And an 18 Defense with ES/D is EXTREMELY good for any figure under 80 Points. He’s never going to do much damage, but at 63 Points he’s always going to be a Secondary Attacker at most. But depending on how you construct your army, he might even just be a third attacker on a 300 Point squad. And he’s perfect for that.

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Nick Fury

AAOU015 Nick Fury45 PointsMass Market Rare:

HypeFox Says: So, we’ve already mentioned this guy three or four times, so you probably had an inkling that he’d be good. I think he’s possibly Meta, although he necessitates building an Avengers Themed Team around him. His Trait is great (I STILL BELIEVE IN HEROES: If Nick Fury is part of an Avengers Themed Team and has the lowest point value character on your starting force, he can use Leadership and Outwit. When he uses Leadership, he is considered 300 points.), since at 45 Points he will almost ALWAYS be the lowest point value character on an Avengers Themed Team. So you don’t even really need to alter your team any to fit him in, and in a 300 Point game his Leadership is guaranteed to work on whoever he’s next to as long as you make the roll. On top of that, since he has Avengers Initiative, his Outwit sees through Hindering Terrain!!

Oh, and speaking of rolls, Fury Attack Special (I RECOGNIZE THE COUNCIL HAS MADE A DECISION…: When an opponent makes a choice from an Avengers Assemble! Trait, you may roll a d6. On a result of 5 or 6, change the effect to the other option.) gives him a 33% chance to just completely wreck your opponent’s day. Remember how we mentioned how one-sided some of the Avengers Assemble! Traits were on the figures in this set? Well, if YOU suddenly get to make the choice for your opponent, those AA Traits become stratospherically better!

On top of all that, he has Willpower, Shape Change, Stealth and a native 3 Damage. This is a great package for just 45 Points.

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

Ninwashui Says: He is really only viable on an Avengers Themed Team, but if you’re playing one, he is almost an auto-include if you have the points. Even if your not using his Attack Special because you’re running him with non-AoU Avengers, just the fact that he gives you a working Leadership and Outwit while also being a competent Tertiary Attacker is pretty amazing.  I’m not sure if Avengers Themed Teams will start showing up at major tournaments, but if they do, I’m pretty sure they’ll be running this Nick Fury.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Avengers Age of Ultron Baron Strucker

AAOU016 Baron Strucker95 PointsMass Market Rare:

Ninwashui Says: And finally we come to my top Want from this set. Sporting a creative and efficient dial, Baron Strucker is capable of changing a game just by himself. Like AAOU001 Iron Man, he can make himself a small army with just a few power actions via his Special Attack Power (WE LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM…: Give Baron Strucker a power action if there are less than 4 friendly characters with the Test Subject keyword on the map. When you do, place a friendly AAOU004 Test Subject from outside the game on the map within 6 squares of him.). Unlike Iron Man, when Baron Strucker’s army dies, his Trait (THEIR SACRIFICE ENSURES OUR FUTURE: When a friendly character with the Test Subject keyword is KO’d put an Evolution token on Baron Strucker’s card. Modify Baron Strucker’s combat values +1 for every two Evolution tokens on his card.) ensures that the Baron gets stronger! Keep in mind that for a 95 Point piece, he was already sitting on some pretty good stats to begin with. Several of his Clicks sport a 10 Attack Value with 4 Damage. Now imagine if that got pumped up to a 13 Attack and 7 Damage–those are Hulk Smash numbers!

And he has Mastermind, so, depending on how you place your Test Subjects, it’ll be damn near impossible for most of your opponents NOT to KO some Test Subjects along the way to Baron Strucker, unless their pieces are just dripping with Precision Strike. And you get all this for just 1/3 of your 300 Point Build!!

I am already dreaming of playing this guy with DP054 Arnim Zola for some friendly Mind Control shenanigans or IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0 to turn those Test Subjects into Claymore mines. Oh, the destruction I’ll wreak…

GRADE: 5 Oxygen Filtration Masks

HypeFox Says: This is the piece I was referencing in my AAOU001 Iron Man writeup. Whereas the Iron Legion pieces have to come into play all the way back at your Starting Zone, Strucker here can place his Test Subjects wherever the hell he likes within a 6-Square radius! Think about how useful that is! Can’t get through that wall and into the room where your opponent is trying to heal his Primary Attacker back to full? Boom–now there’s a Test Subject adjacent to his healer. Who can make an attack on that same healer THIS TURN!! This ability is kind of like Deadpool’s Sheep Gun Word Balloon, only it’s about a thousand times more useful.

If Strucker’s Dial was crap except for that power, he’d still be good. But he’s got a great dial, and he gets stronger for every Test Subject that’s killed! You just need to get this man some Willpower!

I hate to say it again, but this is another near-Meta piece for me. More importantly, he’s going to be poop-tons of fun at house games…

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Hulkbuster GiF

AAOU017 Hulkbuster300/225 PointsCore Hobby Chase:

HypeFox Says: Sort of a disappointing Chase, especially since we know we’re getting a comic version of the Hulkbuster armor one piece at a time in the Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. boosters this summer. But beyond that, his dial seems much more like a 200-250 Point character; at 300, you’re really only playing him in fun, epic games where you think you’re gonna run into other big’uns.

His AA Trait is actually pretty good (AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!: Once per turn, when Hulkbuster hits one or more characters with a close combat attack and actions resolve, the opposing player chooses: Modify Hulkbuster’s defense value by +2 until your next turn or Hulkbuster may make a close combat attack as a free action against a hit target, modifying his attack value by -2 for the attack.), but his other Trait (DESIGNED TO PUT YOU DOWN, BRUCE: At the beginning of the game for all characters with this trait, choose an opposing character with :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:. That character can’t ignore pushing damage or have its combat values increased.) and his Defense Special Power (SHE IS BUILT TO FIGHT THE BIG ONES: Hulkbuster can use Invincible. When Hulkbuster is hit by an attack from a character with the :g-giant:, :g-colossal:, :a-team:, or :d-wheel:, modify that’s character’s damage value by -1 for the attack.) are geared specifically towards putting down Giant-sized or Colossal figures, Team Bases or Vehicles. If you’re playing 1000 Point Brawl where those figures are allowed, he’s well worth his Points. If you’re playing almost any other format, you probably overpayed for this dial by at least 50 Points.

His Rookie version is a little bit better, if only because it’s 75 Points cheaper. You lose two really good Clicks, but you’re also closer to his Hypersonic slots.

These pieces are slight misfires for me.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)

Ninwashui Says: I have to agree. You should only play this guy if you know in advance that you have a good shot at facing Giants or Team Bases–and even then I’m not sure that he’ll win that fight. Against Colossals, you’d do much better playing AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man.

It’s not that this guy can’t win; it’s just that he’s a close combat piece that’s likely to get shot crossing the board and his combat values don’t hold up like they do with AAOU008 Hulk. He is also yet another figure above 200 points with no Outwit protection of any kind.

GRADE(S): 2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 2 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (225 Point Dial)

 

Ultron No Strings On Me

AAOU018 Ultron Prime250/125 PointsMass Market Chase:

Ninwashui Says: At 250 points there won’t be much room for support (other than maybe an AAOU007 Ultron Sentry) He can use Energy Explosion with 3 Bolts, but he doesn’t have Running Shot until his third Click. Until then, he’s stuck with Charge or Hypersonic Speed with a 9 Attack. Not horrible, but not worth 250 Points, either.

He’s meant to be a close combat figure and just like AAOU008 Hulk he will have a hard time crossing the board without being weakened (this seems to be a Chase theme this set!). And he’s 250 Points with no Outwit protection (another Chase theme!), only an 18 starting Defense Value and no Stop Clicks. Again, Transport Symbol is really wasted points here, unless you’re in love with low Attack Values for some reason.

His Experienced dial is a little better just by virtue of being able to pack in a lot more compatible supporting figs. His actual power set is still mostly incompatible (and, again, no Running Shot ’til Click 3), and Transport Symbol is still wasted here.

GRADE(S): 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)

HypeFox Says: I think I like him a little better than you do. Yes, he does not have an efficient power mix, but he’s not a pushover, either, and his Trait (HIDDEN PROGRAMMING: Once per game, when Ultron Prime is KO’d, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On a result of 5 – 6 place this character in your starting area on its blue starting line.) gives him a 33% chance to come back and haunt your opponent all over again.

That Trait works even better on his Experienced dial, since it brings him back all the way to his Starting Line.

GRADE(S): 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (250 Point Dial); 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (125 Point Dial)

 

Alrighty! There you have it–the longest article (by word count) we’ve ever published! We hope you enjoyed this look into Avengers: Age of Ultron, and make sure to come back for our Starter Review!

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

 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a New Avengers Movie Set!! (Or, A Brief Look at What We Know About the Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Set!!)

Age of Ultron Avengers

 

Well, here we are again, with news breaking just before a new set comes out. Thanks to Cool Stuff Inc. (and a few other sources), we now know plenty about the Core Hobby version of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie set!!

I’ve been looking forward to this set for several reasons, none more so than the fact that the first Mass Market Avengers Movie Set is what got me back into Clix in the first place (bought a few on a whim–pulled a Loki Chase in my first pack and was hooked!).

A few quick notes before we get into the individual figures:

–We only really know the top dial for each character so far. That’s why we’re not handing out grades yet. This is strictly a preview/spoiler.

–Most of the core Avengers from the first film have a common Trait called Avengers Assemble! The effects vary with each character, but usually it makes your opponent choose between two effects every time your Avenger hits one or more of his characters. For example, Iron Man makes your opponent choose between letting you summon an Iron Legion figure or pumping up the Defense Value of all your friendly characters by +1. Not bad. Hawkeye’s is straight filthy (borderline broken!), but we’ll get to him in due time.

So, with that in mind, here is a list of figures that we know of so far, with some armchair analysis from yours truly:

 

Age of Ultron Iron Man

001 Iron Man (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He can be played at 250 or 185 Points. This seems to essentially be another version of ol’ Shellhead circa Iron Man 3, except they were able to give him some Traits and Special Powers (like “The House Party Protocol” and “The Clean Slate Protocol”) that may have been spoilers had this piece come out in that set. This Iron Man should play a little like Chaos War Gravity Feed Ultron in that Tony Stark can summon “Iron Legion” drones pretty easily.

He’s also a Transporter, which gives the 250-point version a top dial option of either Hypersonic Speed with a 10 Attack or a 12 Attack Running Shot that can cover 13 squares. And while he has no Improved Targeting, his Avengers Initiative Team Ability will let him bust Stealth all day long!

250 Points is almost your entire squad, but if you call in a few members of the Iron Legion to start the game, suddenly it’ll be a lot harder to out action you.

 

Age of Ultron Iron Legion

002 Iron Legion (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Another holdover from Iron Man 3, this is basically one of the “empty shells” that Tony calls to his aid for the climax of that movie. It’s okay for its 50 point cost, but the fact that you can call them into play (depending on what you roll, it’ll either come in at full strength or on its yellow dial) for the cost of one power action if you’re playing Iron Man makes them an awesome bargain. His top dial has Running Shot (albeit with just a 5 Range), Toughness, 10 Attack, 3 native Damage and Enhancement. Plus Indomitable. Solid piece.

 

Age of Ultron Captain America

003 Captain America (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: He’s available for 125 or 80 Points, and he’s about what you’d expect:  a competent close combatant. He has some vulnerability at range, but he’s got some tricks up his sleeve for opposing swarm teams. A solid close combat piece.

 

Age of Ultron Test Subject

004 Test Subject (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A 30-Point generic that’s comes with what are essentially 3 different dials, all of which offer at least something useful for his Points.

 

Age of Ultron Thor

005 Thor (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: A brick that can pack a punch from range at either the 200 or 150 Point level. At some point on his dial he gets Energy Explosion, Pulse Wave or Penetrating/Psychic Blast. A little reminiscent of his AvX version, except with the Avengers Initiative Team Ability, this Thor can obliterate Stealthed foes as well.

 

Age of Ultron Hydra Soldier

 006 Hydra Soldier  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: 60 Point foot soldier with the always useful Hydra Team ability and absolutely no Range Value of his own. Strange. For hardcore Hydra teams only.

 

Age of Ultron Ultron Sentry

007 Ultron Sentry  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: Basically the evil version of Iron Legion, this a drone that Ultron himself should be able to bring into being. Nothing too exciting.

 

Age of Ultron Hulk

008 Hulk  (Common to Core Hobby and Mass Market)

Analysis: We don’t know how many clicks this Hulk has, but it’s probably a lot. He dial comes in 3 sizes too: 300, 250 or 200 Points. He’s Giant Sized with no Range, so his Avengers Initiative Team Ability is almost wasted. But as much as any figure in this set, Hulk will really be made or broken by the values and length of the rest of his dial.

 

Age of Ultron Hawkeye

009 Hawkeye  (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: The figure of the set. He’s got the best Avengers Assemble! Trait (either all hit characters are dealt an additional 1 Unavoidable Damage after actions resolve, or Hawkeye doesn’t get an action token. Holy smokes, he’s good!!), he’s rocking a top dial of 8 Range with 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Sidestep, Stealth, Precision Strike, Willpower and 3 Damage! Triple Bolt Precision Strike WITH Avengers Intiative TA equals a bad day for your opponent! Plus, when he’s making a Range Combat attack, he pumps his Attack Value by +1 for each target (Yup! That means he can potentially have a 13 Attack!!). And, if he targets someone and hits them but decides to deal damage elsewhere, he can still give that hit character an action token. Genius!! All this for 94 Points!

When Chaos War Hawkeye was retired last year, I didn’t think we’d ever see his like again. Not only have we seen his like again, but it’s ANOTHER freaking Hawkeye!! Wizkids must hate Green Arrow…

This is the biggest Meta-baiting piece in the set that I have seen so far…

 

Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch

010 Scarlet Witch (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: Finally an Avenger without the broken Avengers Assemble Trait. Sheesh! She’s only 55 Points, and, as you might expect, she’s a complete supporting piece, with Perplex top dial and Probability Control down dial.

 

Age of Ultron Vision

011 Vision (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: This is one of the coolest Vision sculpts ever. Having said that, he has NO Traits or Special Powers of any kind, so he’s kinda hard to judge until we get a look at his full dial.

 

Age of Ultron Mk 1

012 Ultron Mk 1 (Rare to Core Hobby)

Analysis: A solid piece that can be played at 120 or 65, depending on circumstances. This figure also has a chance to resurrect itself once per game. 4 Damage top dial is niiiiiiiiice.

 

Age of Ultron Hulkbuster

017 Hulkbuster (Core Hobby Chase)

Analysis: Your choice of either 300 or 225 Points of ass-whoop. He’s got a cool, unique sculpt, and his Avengers Assemble! Trait is almost as good. He’s a big can of beef that’s designed to take on other kinds of beef. Against other giant characters, he’s pretty fantastic. Against ordinary characters, not as much.

 

Some Final Notes:

Based on what we know, we are expecting the Target/Mass Market Rares to include:

–Baron Strucker (90% confident on this one)

–Black Widow (95% sure on this)

–Nick Fury (60% confident)

–Ultron Prime is probably the Mass Market Chase, but there’s a chance he could merely be another Mass Market Rare and that the Red Skull will be the Chase. We shall see!

 

Well, thanks for checking in with us! We’ll revisit this set (along with the Starter, which WizKids has officially started spoiling) in April!

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

 

(P.S.: That awesome artwork of Ultron sitting on the Lincoln Memorial was created by a guy named Matt Broox, apparently on a whim. It’s awesome! Hope you enjoyed it!)

All Work and No Play Makes Shuma a Dull… Uh, Horror-Creature. Thing!! (Or, The Build 2/11/15–1000 Point Rampage)

So on 2/11 Comics’n More is having a 1000 Colossal Rampage. I have a family thing that I need to attend and can’t make it. However, I didn’t realize that until I had already designed 3 teams (eh, it happens). So here is what I would have been playing…

The Format: 1000 point Rampage! Oreo Age. (Which includes Superman and any sets which came out later – except for Star trek and Yu! Gi! Oh! Because having Iron Fist knock out the Enterprise is too weird and because Yu! Gi! Oh! has always sucked.) Each team should have a Colossal, if possible. Otherwise, bring your best giant slayers.

My Team (s): (One of which I would have played at the event)

Medieval Dentistry.

Medieval Dentistry.

“There Is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself… and This Team.” (Asgardian Themed Team)

  • FI026 Kuurth
  • FI024 Greithoth
  • FI107D The Serpent
  • ATA072 The Mighty
  • Total= 1000 points

How it works: Greithoth will want to try and hit someone with Invincible or Impervious (like an opposing Colossal) right away so that his trait EXTREME ABSORPTION will let him use that power on all 8 of his clicks. He’s got Running Shot so he has a 9 square attack range. (move 5 shoot 4) If he lands exactly on click 5 you should Revert him to IIM103 Absorbing Man. On click 6 or 7 revert to IIM033 Absorbing Man. Being a giant he is also the taxi that carries Kuurth in battle. Try and picture that in your head.

Kuurth is great against smaller, squishy characters that can be carried. His opening Movement lets him charge 6 squares and still attack. That can surprise some people–especially if Kuurth is running through a wall to do it. If he lands on click or 6 or 7 you can consider Reverting to IIM032 Juggernaut, but Kuurth has a 10 click dial so you may not want to Revert at all.

The Serpent needs to build up Fear Counters as fast as possible. To best way to do this is to use Running Shot along with his printed 3 Bolts to target your opponents weakest pieces 3 at a time. Divide up your 7 damage to do at least 1 to everyone. That’s 3 Fear Counters a turn. It will only take 2 turns of that to build up a enough Fear to take multiple actions every turn. While rolling all those attacks with the Serpent you could roll doubles to activate the Mighty ATA. If you do, then your force will have a serious advantage. You will gain 10 counters which you can use to modify the next 10 attacks against your team by -1. That should be a serious advantage.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Only a person with a dark, dark soul would even think to play The Mighty ATA during an event like this...]

 

The best game of Hollywood Squares ever.

The best game of Hollywood Squares – ever.

“Pop Quiz”  (Cosmic Themed Team)

  •  GOTG047AE Thanos
  • GGG002C Ziran the Tester
  • Total= 1000 points

How It works: If you’ve ever played (or played against) Ziran the Tester then you know about his (her? its?) TESTING Trait. For those of you who are new to this figure, the TESTING Trait allows you to do up to 6 damage to an opposing force before the game even starts. Thanos brings a lesser version of that with his CHOOSE – THE GAUNTLET OR THE TRIBUTE Trait. Both of these Traits can be used to damage an opposing character like a Colossal without needing to make an attack roll and before the game even starts.

Once the game does start your opponent’s attention should be focused entirely on the 12 range, 13 attack, 6 damage, Psychic Blasting, Multi-Attacking Ziran the Tester. That distraction will let Thanos make the most of his A BLOODY PATH TO FIND MY SON Trait. People largely panned this character when he came out, but I believe they were wrong. At the 200 point level he can lead himself and if he’s not the opponents main target, he can use Outwit to dish out a bunch of damage.

 

Having given up their dreams of destroying the universe Shuma Gorath and Dormammu make the natural transition to - gangster rap.

Having given up their dreams of destroying our universe, Shuma Gorath and Dormammu make the natural transition to  gangster rap.

“Welcome to the Defenders – Shuma Gorath!” (Mystical Theme Team)

  • ASM005 Dr. Strange
  • ATA088 Midnight Sons
  • AVX006E Scarlet Witch
  • WXM034 Magik
  • ASM008 Doctor Druid
  • WKM-G001E Shuma-Gorath
  • Total= 1000 points

How It works: In a game where you know the other team is most likely going to be centered around a large point character, Shuma Gorath’s EMERGE THROUGH YOUR GREATEST CHAMPION should go a long way towards keeping him healthy and in the game. The last thing you want to face is someone with the Mystics TA that can automatically heal. Do your best to put Shuma within 5 spaces of the enemy team so that you can use Flurry (and later, his Special Incapacitate)

Dr. Strange will use his GATHER THEM: SECRET DEFENDERS OR MIDNIGHT SONS Trait give everyone the Defenders Team Ability. That will let Shuma Gorath share his 19 Defense Value with the rest of your team who (except for Doctor Strange) can add their Energy Shields for a total Defense of 21 against ranged attacks. The team all need to stay adjacent to make this work, so line them up in front of Shuma. Further complicating your opponents attack strategy is the Mystics TA and the fact that your team has 4 Probability Controls!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Including “No More Mutants” Scarlet Witch in this team is just sick and wrong. You are a troubled, troubled man…]

 

Team Ideas!! (Or, The Immortal Super Skrull)

Idea

So it’s been quite a while since I posted a column. It’s been pretty busy in my life. My kids thought it would be funny to start sleeping in alternating shifts and I didn’t get to write earlier in the week because the Arrow and Flash teamed up on CW and it was must see TV [EDITOR’S NOTE: Have you seen S.H.I.E.L.D. lately? They’re about to find Attilan! Maybe! And poor SPOILER REDACTED! Man, next Tuesday can’t come fast enough!]. The days are just packed.

Todays article features two different takes the same idea in both a tactics and non-tactics environment. The idea being to make your team completely un-killable. I’m not a mathematician by trade, but zero points for your opponent should make it a lot easier to beat them on points.

"Zombie Kl'rt you have shown great love for... eating other people. Welcome to the Star Sapphires."

Zombie Kl’rt, you have shown great love for… uh, eating other people. Which, y’know, still counts. As love. I’m not gonna lie, we’re desperate. Welcome to the Star Sapphires!

Team Name: Zombie Super Skrull, Agent of Love

Theme: Z-virus

Roster:

GOTG062 Super Skrull

DP064 Electro

WOLR106 Power Battery (Star Sapphires)

WOLR306 Star Sapphire Ring

WOLR206.04 Wall (Violet)

WOLR206.05 Crossbow (Violet)

WOLR206.09 Nurse (Violet)

Total = 300 Points

How it Works:

This is a team that needs tactics to work. It’s based off an idea I read on the Realms. A guy [EDITOR’S NOTE: Knak12 on the Realms.] preparing for Worlds figured out that any Chase Zombies are effectively immortal when given the Mystics TA. He ended up going in another direction in preparing a Build for Worlds, but I think that was a mistake–his Zombie idea was awesome!Here’s how it works:

All the chase zombies have the same great Trait(ZOMBIE HUNGER: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, place a Food token on this card if there are less than 5 Food tokens. When Super Skrull would be KO’d by an opponent’s attack, turn to its first KO click, remove all Food tokens from this card, and heal it that many clicks.). Now, the Trait doesn’t specify that the damage you do has to be from an attack to get the Food counter. If an opponent attacks you, he takes an unavoidable damage back via the Star Sapphire Ring-granted Mystics TA. Even if you are KOed in a single hit they will take 1 damage and you’re Zombie will thus resurrect on its last click.

While it’s not foolproof, there really aren’t many ways past this combo. Outwit is useless, but Pulse Wave can be successfully used for the killing blow on a Zombie and not trigger Mystics. This team is also vulnerable to being killed via damage that isn’t from an attack (like Penetrating Poison or Incapacitate-generated pushing damage). Your pieces can also be Captured (so be very careful with that stupid Krampus/Helspont combo team that is the absolute bane of my existence). Scarlet Witch or Iron Monger can interfere with your TA. Finally, Lydea Mallor or Catwoman can interfere with the Resource and ruin your nefarious plans. However, if your opponent didn’t come packing one of those answers, congratulations–it’s almost impossible for you to earn anything less than a tie.

 

Wait 'til you get a load of my little... tree.

“Say hello to my little… tree.”

Team Name: Zombie Super Skrull, Monster Mastermind

Theme: Monster

Roster:

GOTG062 Super Skrull

GOTG051 Groot

Total = 270 Points

How it Works:

This is a No Tactics team that I developed on my own a few months back. It’s only 270 points instead of 300. You could add a 1 click Bizarro to use up the extra points, but I wouldn’t recommend it because that would be something your opponent could actually KO and get points for. Here’s how you play it:  Groot has a Trait that says “REGROW FROM A RESCUED SPRIG: Each time Groot would be KO’d, if he’s adjacent to a friendly character that shares a keyword with him, instead turn him to click #9.” Super Skrull shares the Monster keyword with him. So as long as Groot is next to Super Skrull, he can never be KOed. He can take any amount of damage and survive. Super Skrull can use any defensive power in the game via his “IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS” Trait. So he’ll chose Mastermind every turn. If the opponent hits Groot then Groot goes to click 9 (eventually), but he can’t be KOed. If the opponent chooses to focus on Super Skrull then all the damage is Masterminded over to Groot and it’s basically the same as if he was shooting at Groot in the first place.

The resource team I listed above is more powerful on offense, but this team is actually tougher on defense. Penetrating poison, Lydea Mallor, Cat Woman, Scarlet Witch, and Iron Monger don’t bother this team. It’s real enemy is Precision Strike. Try giving Super Skrull Outwit to counter it. There is also a small chance that Groot can be knocked back on click nine and thus KOed when he moves away from Super Skrull. You can stop that by keeping Groot off his last few earthbound clicks so he’ll be a Giant and immune to Knockback.

Beyond that you’ll only need to worry about Pulse Wave and pushing damage. Like I said when I wrote The Unstoppable Force, tell your opponent…

Seinfeld Good Luck

Modern Is the New Silver!! (Or, The Best Replacement Figures for Recently Retired Meta Staples!!)

For some pieces, it's just time to retire...

For some pieces, it’s just time to retire…

So, WizKids announced recently that they will be rotating (read: RETIRING) a whole chunk of recent sets from being Modern Age eligible. Why? For starters, they do it to promote the idea that we who play Heroclix need to keep buying new Clix products to compete in Modern Age games (although getting us to buy new Clix hasn’t been much of an issue so far, I’d wager…), and two, they need to keep new pieces away from unintended and possibly Meta-breaking interactions with older figures. Okay, there’s waaaay more reasons than that, but those are two big ones. Two other reasons, however, are a little bit more subtle.

Before we get into the meat of this article (the figure comparisons), we need some context, so we’re going to look at game design for just a few paragraphs here. Now, every time a game like Heroclix releases new products, it evolves just a little bit. And it does so in two interesting ways. First, collectible games of all types–if they stick around long enough–all go through phases where they deal with “Power Creep,” where each successive set release brings with it elements which, on average, are slightly more powerful than those released in the previous set or expansion, which in turn was just a little more powerful than its predecessor, and so on. For example, you can compare almost any Modern Age figure with a similar figure from Infinity Challenge, the first ever set, and see that things have changed drastically. Back then, an Attack Value of 8 was a fairly common top dial stat. Now, 8 AV’s are reserved for the deep end of cheap support figure dials. And so on and so on.

This should explain everything...

This should explain everything.

Power Creep is just a natural by-product of game designers trying new and different things with the intention of making their game better with each release. The very much missed WoW TCG from Cryptozoic was constantly dealing with Power Creep, and at one point they actively made it known that they were consciously lowering the power of Quests (a card type that’s kinda like Lands in Magic) in future sets because that particular card type had crept to absurdly powerful levels at that point in the game’s life cycle.

Sometimes, the opposite can also be true. Occasionally, the designers look back at some of the early cards/figures/whatever and realize that they drastically under costed certain tropes in the past. They may like a certain mechanic or effect of a particular piece, but there not about to reprint it as is, since they now know its effects to cost ratio is to high as is. To solve this, the designers basically create a new version of that element that contains almost the exact same effect yet costs slightly more to play. I call this “Cost Correction.” Magic: The Gathering is constantly doing this.

One of the famous early examples of Cost Correction in gaming was when Magic’s R&D department took a look at many of the staples from the early Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Revised era as they started preparing a rotating block of “Core” sets from which players could draw familiar cards to combine with the current expansion set inventory to create Type II (read “Modern Age”) decks. The folks in charge of balancing the game quickly decided that a card like Lightning Bolt, for example, was too powerful (3 Red Damage for 1 Red Mana) to stay in the Type II environment, so it was replaced with the Ice Age common Incinerate (3 Damage and the prevention of Regeneration for 1 Red Mana and 1 Colorless Mana) by the time Magic published its “Fifth Edition.”

Great...

This is great…

... but just about as good!

… but this is still pretty damn good!

This was awesome, because it allowed the folks in charge of Magic to fix an under costed staple (quick Red damage dealing) with something that would still effectively to the job for a little more cost. Incinerate was still a great card and was widely adopted. Problem solved (well, until it was deemed that Incinerate was too good, and it was replaced with a different staple, and so it goes).

The savvy tournament players in Magic weren’t just the players who came up with “killer combos” by exploiting certain card interactions; they were actually usually the ones who could spot both the Power Creep cards AND the Cost Correction cards that were still extremely efficient for their cost. See, a lot of times, players can smell Cost Correction pieces a mile away, and they don’t want any part of them. Incinerate wasn’t universally accepted when Fifth Edition rolled around.

Sometimes they’re right; but sometimes, the Cost Correction version of something is still really powerful and should still be used regardless of the cost.

"Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o' lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if'n ya had a Mana Flare, ya got change!!"

“Back in my day, if you wanted to shoot a bolt o’ lightning at a feller, it cost ya just 1 red mana, and if’n ya had a Mana Flare out, ya got change!!”

Okay! Enough amateur game theory lecture! Let’s apply our discussion to Heroclix! We’re going to be looking at some of the retiring staples and theorize about which–if any–Modern Age piece can take the place of the retiring figure. Then after we review the replacement candidate, we’ll decide if the new figure is better than its forebear (Power Creep), worse (Cost Correction) or about the same (uh… Static?).

SUPERMAN:

"Fly away, Superman. Fly free."

“Fly away, Superman. Fly free.”

SM001R Superman150 PointsCommon: Supes was a Meta staple waaaay back in the Dark Ages of 2011, because his base stats and mix of powers were so great. Flight, 9 Movement with Hypersonic, 11 Attack with Super Strength, 17 Defense with Impervious and 4 Damage with Outwit. One of the all-time great top clicks, especially for a Common 150 piece! Superman Team Ability means he can see through Stealth, too. Bonus! His keywords are quite pedestrian by today’s standards (no JLA?), but there was a time when Scientist teams were a thing!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM001AE Iron Man150 Points – Common: Hmmm, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Flight, 9 Movement, 11 Attack, 17 Defense and 4 Damage with Outwit! His move-and-attack ability is Running Shot where Supes had Hypersonic; I’ll actually take Iron Man’s Precision Strike over Supes’s Super Strength, but whatever. You’re mileage may vary. Finally, Iron Man has Invuln where Supes has Impervious. But Iron Man can see through Hindering Terrain AND Blocking Terrain; Supes’s X-Ray vision doesn’t work on walls like Tony’s Thermal Imaging Array does, so Mr. Stark can get up to all sorts of see-through shenanigans. Kind of a bummer for Superman. Iron Man also has much better keywords (Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Scientist, Armor and Stark Industries are all great) and he has the S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, so he can help your support guys do damage in a pinch as well. With resources and Entities, Iron Man here gets pretty filthy pretty fast….

 The Verdict: A Static replacement that features just a tiny touch of Power Creep. The Meta has become much more sophisticated since Supes was a major player, but Iron Man 001 is just as good; maybe even a lil’ better!

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

Pink is the new nuclear fallout.

SM035 Magog172 Points – Rare: A close combat beatstick who turns into a mid-dial mid-range sniper and a back dial healer (how’s that for a powers mix?), Magog left team builders enough points to still be an effective Primary Attacker; his lack of Willpower wasn’t great, but his Trait (EXCESSIVE FORCE: Once per turn, when Magog KO’s an opposing character, after actions resolve Magog may take one action as a free action.) meant that his teams were very tough to out-action, particularly if opposing teams ran several small support figures or Bystander tokens that Magog could snipe in one shot.

Replacement Candidate:

DP057 Tiamat 255 Points – Super Rare: Tiamat cannot be stopped. He cannot be reasoned with. He’s a double-based son of a gun whose extra-action Trait (CHAMPION AND STEED: Once per turn, when an opposing character has taken damage from his attack, give Tiamat any action as a free action. When you do, after action resolve, remove an action token from Tiamat.) is as good as any they’ve ever made. With Power Cosmic, he’s all but impossible to Outwit, too, so the opposition will have to chew through his 4 clicks of Invincible–if they’re able to hit his 18 Defense!

The Verdict: Even with the dramatic increase in cost, there’s still some Power Creep going on with Tiamat. His Trait is just sick. Like Magog though, this is still more of a fringe Meta piece. But he’s a lot of fun to field.

An old movie poster for the 70's exploitation flick "Black Adam... White Lighting!"

An old movie poster for the 70’s exploitation flick “Black Adam… White Lighting!”

SM054E Black Adam – 200 Points – Super Rare: An out and out beast, Black Adam was nigh unstoppable. He had no Range, but he made up for that with a ridiculous Charge Special that let him move up to 10 spaces for a close combat attack, and when he lost that, he gained Hypersonic Speed! Not a bad backup plan! 18 Defense with a Special that lets him reduce 3 damage with his Imperious instead of 2 and an end 0f dial Regeneration that does 1 Penetrating damage to adjacent opposing figures!

Replacement Candidate:

IIM041BE Hyperion – 200 Points – Prime Super Rare: Top dial Hypersonic, same Attack (11) as Black Adam only with Precision Strike, 18 Defense with merely Invuln and 4 Damage instead of Black Adam’s 5. Also his keywords are fine (Avengers is very useful, Squadron Supreme is useless, as the only other Modern Ager with that keyword is also Prime), but Black Adam’s are great. Having said all that, Hyperion has two things going for him that Black Adam doesn’t. Power Cosmic TA and 8 Range! Also, Hyperion picks up almost every good Improved Targeting ability in the game on his second click, which actually makes the Marvel man more versatile than the heavy duty dude who sometimes runs with Captain Marvel.

The Verdict: Again, a fairly Static replacement with a hint of Power Creep. What you lose in top end damage, you more than make up for with the 8 Range and Power Cosmic TA. The Improved Targeting shenanigans are where the Power Creep creeps in.

INCREDIBLE HULK:

Now that... is a creeper 'stache.

Now that… is a creeper ‘stache!

IH102 Major Glenn Talbot33 Points – LE: The good Major here powered up Soldier teams for the last couple of years. His top dial Enhancement for only 33 Points was a bigger deal pre-Fear Itself (Splitlip now gives you top dial Enhancement for a measly 20 #$#@ing points), but even post-FI, if you wanted to play a Soldier Theme Team and you wanted a top dial Enhancer, he was still your best option. The S.H.I.E.L.D. TA he carries also has proven to be quite useful in a pinch, and if you play him on the right team, his Mastermind top dial will keep him around for a while longer than he should.

Replacement Candidate:

DP204 Secret Empire Number 9 35 Points – Common (Gravity Feed): Stop laughing! This robed menace is the real deal, and one of the best figs in the Deadpool Gravity Feed assortment. Everyone so far has focused on the fact that he has the Secret Empire keyword, and how useless that is. Well, they’re right. You can’t do much with that. But look at his SECOND KEYWORD–that’s right, it’s “Soldier!” Which means you have your Soldier Theme Team support figure back–and he can even do some damage of him own if you get into trouble. A 9 Attack isn’t great, but Penetrating/Psychic Blast means that his two damage will get through. And while he has no S.H.I.E.L.D. TA, he does have the Hydra TA, which is almost as useful for ranged attacks.

The Verdict: Even at three more points, I’m still gonna classify SE#9 as a Power Creeper! He just gives you more bang for your buck, and you still have the one keyword you need to keep it Theme!

GALACTIC GUARDIANS:

Noted Detroit Pistons fan Mole Man watching the NBA Draft Lottery last month...

Noted Prince Oberyn Martell fan Mole Man immediately after watching the Trial By Combat scene on his DVR from the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

GG026 Mole Man47 Points – Uncommon: Now, you want to talk about a Meta staple? Here is a Meta STAPLE!! Hans Moleman here was the engine that powered the Shuma-Gorath monstrosities that ruled the ROC for awhile at the end of last year and early this year. How important was his souped-up, I-can-Mind-Control-a-friendly-Monster Special Power? So important that everyone’s predicting the end of Shuma as a viable Meta piece, simply because Mole Man’s going Golden Age, which would imply that Mole Man was doing the heavy lifting all along. The fact that he was a top dial Outwitter and had some close combat applications down dial was just icing on the cake.

Replacement Candidate:

DP043 Black Talon 60 Points – Rare: There really wasn’t a replacement candidate until Deadpool was released. Black Talon allows you to Mind Control a friendly character from up to 8 squares away, and he also lets you Mind Control opposing figures that have already been KO’d! Still… his keywords are incongruent with most of the teams with which you’d like to play him. I mean, Masters of Evil is okay, and Mystical has slipped a lil’ bit but is certainly still viable, but that’s it for useful keywords, unless you’re looking to dominate the Meta with a Lethal Legion team. And hey, if you are, good luck to you. Here’s the last guy to try that at a big tournament:

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

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

The Verdict: This is a Cost Correction piece. But it’s a First Generation Cost Correction piece; you could argue that WizKids still is not valuing the ability to Mind Control your own characters highly enough (in one of the early episodes of The Quarry, one high level player who was an early Mole Man/Shuma adopter said that after playtesting those two together with his friends, they all came to the conclusion that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters–even with a keyword restriction–should not appear on pieces less than, like, 100 or 125 Points. Thus, Black Talon is still extremely good and he’s definitely Meta-worthy. He’s just not as balls to the wall insane as Mole Man. Jumping from 47 to 60 may not seem like much, but that 13 Point hike could possibly cost you the space you need for a resource or the exact right support piece. That’s another reason it was so key for Mole Man to be under 50 Points. He left you plenty of room to get creative–or to run a full Booklip, if you didn’t care about Theme. Black Talon, not so much…

 CHAOS WAR:

"Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you."

“Go ahead. Try and look this good in purple. I dare you.”

CW039 Hawkeye98 Points – Rare: This is one of the most discussed pieces in the history of Critical Missives (NINWASHUI NOTE: Iron Pharaoh would beg to differ.), but we’re gonna have to talk about him at least one more time! His top dial 12 Attack with an INSANE 9 Range w/ 3 Bolts, Sharpshooter, Wildcard TA (and Thunderbolts keyword, which means that between the two you can give him almost any TA in the game), Stealth and Running Shot and 3 Damage with Leadership. If this dial cost 130 Points, it’d be worth it. He costs 98!! Insane. Great keywords (Thunderbolts, Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. with GLA just thrown in for fun). Just stupidly good.

Replacement Candidate:

DP036 Bullseye110 Points – Rare: Right down to rarity, Bullseye is almost a clone of that silly Hawkeye piece. Running Shot with 8 Range and 3 Bolts, 12 Attack with Precision Strike instead of Sharpshooter, 17 Defense with Combat Reflexes instead of Willpower, 3 Damage with Probability Control instead of Leadership (I’ll take that deal everyday!) and some okay keywords (Thunderbolts, Assassin) mean Bullseye is gonna show up in the Meta SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!! Oh, and his Improved Targeting: The Phone Book makes it really hard to hide from him…

The Verdict: Even with all the goodness on Bullseye’s dial, this is a Cost Correction dial. Just 12 Points more than Hawkeye, but you also lose the Avengers keyword, the Spidey (Wildcard) TA and 1 Range. I think WizKids knows that they undervalued that Hawkeye by a significant amount. Bullseye they only underestimated by a less significant amount. Which, as always, means you should play Bullseye as much as you can.

FAST FORCES: CHAOS WAR:

"Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you're happy."

“Hey! My eyes are up here! What? You pig! You know what? No more mutants! There! I said it. I hope you’re happy.”

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): You know what she does; Mystics TA, Pen/Psy, Barrier, Perplex and Prob Control with an 8 Range. With Avengers and Mystical keywords (among others). One of the most used figures in ROC history, I’m sure.

Replacement Candidate:

FFDP006R Mercy50 Points – Fast Forces (Fixed Rarity): 7 Range, Wing Symbol (so she can Carry!) with Phasing, TK, Barrier and Prob top dial with Support on her second click. Her lone keyword (Thunderbolts) is also where she’ll see the most play–on a Thunderbolts team.

The Verdict: Another Cost Correction piece. We won’t see the like of FFCW Scarlet Witch again, methinks. Mercy is missing the Mystics TA AND the Mystical keyword, but she is still very playable. Thunderbolts is probably the keyword that gained the most from this set, so if you’re fielding such a squad, pick up a Mercy for some support in a bottle!

There were also several other figures you could use in this role, but none of them were as good as Mercy (Sister Sercy, I’m looking at you with your 66 Point Cost and your measly lone keyword: Blue Lantern Corps. But hey, at least her name RHYMES with Mercy’s!).

Before we finish, one final note about keywords in general. We’re coming out of an era where Avengers, GCPD and S.H.I.E.L.D. were some of the dominant named keywords, and Mystical, Armor and Monster fueled some of the best generic keyworded teams. Those keywords still offer a lot of options, but Chaos War (an EXTREMELY Avengers-heavy set) rotating out does hurt Avengers teams a little bit. New keywords that have recently become a lot stronger include Thunderbolts, Heroes for Hire and Sinestro Corps. (with Guardians of the Galaxy about to get a double boost from the movie set that just dropped and the upcoming 5-figure booster full set in due in August!). Mystical and Armor are still great generics, but Martial Artist has gotten a big boost between AvX, Days of Future Past and Deadpool, and Cosmic is set to explode with the 4 Entities that have been released in War of Light already (with 4 more to come) and, again, the Guardians of the Galaxy set that’s just around the corner (and the Collector from the GotG Target Exclusive set already offers some intriguing possibilities for Cosmic teams with his unique win condition–but more about that set later this week!)!

"I know it's hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I've collected my tokens--y'know what? We'll talk about this later."

“I know it’s hard to believe, but all I do is win! If, you know, several specific conditions are met, and I’ve collected my tokens–y’know what? We’ll talk about this later.”

 

So there ya go! What important retired figures do YOU think WizKids has already published replacements for? Sound of in the Comments section below!

 

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

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

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

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

 

THE 6 BEST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Name: Ech0-Disintegration

Theme: X-Men

DP051 Banshee98 Points

(Assigned the Colossus Fragment) – 3

AVX009E Cyclops100

(Assigned the Cyclops Fragment) – 3

WXM204 Shadowcat70

(Assigned the Magik Fragment) – 3

AVXR100 Phoenix Force – 12

3x Assigned Characters – 9

= 298 

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

"I assure you, that WAS your card!"

“I assure you, that WAS your card!”

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

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

"Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!"

“Mooooooortalllllll Kombat!”

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

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

Team Name: Thunderer Cats!!

Theme: Martial Artist

AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer100 Points

DP047B The Cat81

(w/ Complete Utility Belt) –14

DOFP009 Nightcrawler86

=300 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just look at these Team Base powers:

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

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

AVX003 Thor: This team character can use Energy Explosion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Name: Busted Lips

Theme: Armor

AVX104 Phoenixbuster Iron Man175 Points

(w/ Secret Avengers ATA) – 5

FI301 Splitlip20 

IIM015 Tony Stark70

FIB018 Store Clerk3

FIR100 Book of the Skull6

(w/ 7 Hammers) – 21

 =300 (Exactly! Yay!)

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

 

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

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

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

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

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

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

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

The Sculpted Facepalm.

The Sculpted Facepalm.

THE 4 WORST!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

Probably more effective than AvX Cable.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

ROUND 1:

VERSUS: Ninwashui!

FACING:

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

“Oh look, my shirt’s off again.”

WXM038 Legion – 119

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

WXM016 Cyclops – 94

WXM045 Phoenix – 154

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Nice job, bro!)

FIGHT!

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

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

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

DECISION:

600-0 Victory.

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eat $#!%, Green Arrow."

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

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

ROUND 2:

VERSUS: A (Venue Regular–see below!)

FACING:

Shiny Happy Avengers.

Shiny Happy Avengers.

M10A009 Iron Man – 225

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

(Assigned a Fragment)

AvX003 Thor – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

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

FIGHT!

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

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

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

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

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

DECISION:

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

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROUND 3:

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

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

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

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

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

End of DeadPool note.)

FACING:

WXM032 Bishop -140

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost – 125

WXM209 Jean Grey – 100

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

–WXM Gravity Feed Jean Grey is damn good!

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

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

THE SPOILS:

"My Precioussss...."

“My Precioussss….”

And:

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

 

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

I Can’t Let You Do This, Scott!! (Or, The Build 4!!)

"RIght then. Who's next?"

“WHO’S behind me? Psh. Yeah, like I’d fall for that again.”

 

Annnnnnnd, welcome back! This is the Build 4, where I run down my options for a specific game build, choose one, and then take you through how my choices turned out during the event itself! As you might have guessed from the picture above, today we’ll be talking about Avengers Versus X-Men: Month 4, where Phoenixbuster Iron Man and Dark Phoenix Cyclops will be up for grabs!!

Prep:

Okay!! Leading into the last month of AvX, I’ve finished 2nd, 1st (click here and here for Build coverage of Month 2!) and 2nd respectively at the first three AvX tourneys, so I’m in the running for the Dark Phoenix Cyclops overall grand prize along with Ninwashui and a couple others at my venue! So I’ve got to come up with something awesome! Here we go!

The Game: AvX Month 4

The Stipulations: 600 Points, Modern Age. Must use at least one figure from an AvX starter; the rest of your army must share a keyword with that figure (I have the Avengers starter). Only Phoenix Force Relics and Resources are allowed (but we don’t yet have access to the Magik Fragment; that final piece is one of the participation prizes for this month, so the Phoenix Force can have a maximum of 4 Fragments).

The Build:

My first idea was to go back to what won me Month 2 (which was really Month 1, yadayadayada)–a “Mystical” Theme Team:

"I'd like your resource better if it glowed blue, but I'll take it all the same."

“I’d like your resource better if it glowed blue, but I’ll take it all the same.”

Team: Loki Charms

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh – 110

AVM211 Loki – 201

(Assigned Cyclops Fragment)

AVX006E Scarlet Witch – 100

IIM040 Shaman – 92

(with Alpha Flight ATA)

Thule Society Priest – 21

Astral Dr. Strange – 13

(Smoke Cloud version)

Astral Dr. Strange – 13

(Smoke Cloud Version)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 9

(With the Colossus, Namor & Emma Frost Fragments Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Woo-hoo!)

What I Like About This Team:

I love playing Iron Pharaoh. I almost always have good results with him, and I need a good result this month. And I really like playing the Pharaoh with Shaman, even when many of Shaman’s potential “No Flight” victims will still fly just fine with the Phoenix Force, at least I’d take away their ability to Carry. Plus, I’m bound to run into some flyers who won’t be assigned a Fragment, right? Additionally, with the Alpha Flight ATA, there are matchups (against a team of, say, X-Men) where Shaman is going to sport an 11 Attack, 3 Damage and 7 Range top dial before he evens decides on what he wants to do with his Perplex. That’s not a bad tertiary attacker.

AVM Loki is a beast. He just needs a little help with finding a way to move and attack in the same turn (for just how beastly he gets with the Phoenix Force, click here). The Priest is just there for tie-up fodder/Prob Control, and the Astral Dr. Stranges are ridiculously meddlesome for just 13 points apiece. Plus, every attack my opponent wastes on one of them is one not directed at the Pharaoh or Loki.

With a +7 (!) to Map Roll, this team was pretty well rounded with two big hitters and a TON of trickeration. With 2 different characters (the Pharaoh and Loki) possessing some sort of special Mind Control and 6 Theme Probs to go with the Scarlet Witch’s native Prob (and with Shaman, Loki and Thule Society Priest all able to pick up Prob down dial), my opponents will probably be rerolling a LOT. Loki charms, indeed.

What I Don’t Like About This Team:

Not much. It’s pretty well-rounded, and even if Loki goes down I’ve still got some decent damage dealing pieces left. One thing that irked me with this build is not being able to give the Cyke Fragment to Iron Pharaoh. I’d like this army a whole lot better if I had access to all 5 Fragments. I’d dump the Alpha Flight ATA and add in Iron Pharaoh as an Assigned Character. Then he’d be able to shoot for at least 5 damage through his Falcon AND Loki could still have Running Shot (because the Phoenix Force would still start on the “3 Attached Fragments” tier of its dial). This may be a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, but the thought of Iron Pharaoh with that Cyclops Fragment teaming with a Running Shot-capable Loki would haunt me every game. It’s a little, stupid thought, but it would have the potential to linger in my mind and nag and distract me during each game–and I’m not nearly a good enough player to win against good players while I’m distracted.

So I was kind of uneasy about this army until my prep for this Build took a dramatic turn on Easter. My brother presented me with a special gift (yeah, me and my bro still do a small gift exchange–we’re dorks like that, but, since you’re reading a blog dedicated to ‘Clixin’, you probably already surmised that) in the monstrous form of…

"Hello, tasties..."

“Hello, tasties…”

 

… The Chaos War Chase piece Sentry and Void!!

In addition to being probably my favorite character created in the Modern era of comics, the Sentry is also usually an Avenger, so I’d been dying to play him in some form during this tournament. Well, when I received Sentry and Void, I knew I’d have to go out of my way to include him somehow. I grabbed his card praying that he’d have a keyword in common with one of the AvX Starter figures. I knew he’d probably have the Dark Avengers keyword, which wouldn’t really help me, but maybe he’d have a Mystical keyword too. It was a long shot, but then I turned his card over to its front side and had a look. There it was!! The very first keyword:

Avengers.

A selfie I took the second I found out that Sentry and Void has the Avengers keyword.

A selfie I took the second I found out that Sentry and Void has the Avengers keyword.

Not only does Rob Reynolds and his Dark Half have Hypersonic Speed and Multi-attack, but he also has… the AVENGERS keyword! This is both Awe and Some!!

And, somehow fitting, I think. Forget these namby-pamby generic keywords! This is Avengers Vs. X-Men–and come hell or high water, I’m gonna play an Avengers Theme Team, dammit (EDITOR’S NOTE: This sort of pretentiously righteous team-building bravado is made MUCH easier by being able to field a 300-point monster like Sentry and Void. At the event itself, when I turned in my Build card, the Judge casually wondered if I’d left my soul at home when he saw Sentry and Void on the list. And really, it was a fair question.) !

No more bad thoughts tugging at my brain of what could have been; I’m building everything around Sentry and Void!

"Go home, Void! You're drunk!"

“Calm down, bud! Hawkeye’s actually on your team!”

Team: A Void and the Noid

CW057 Sentry and Void – 300 (A Void)

(Assigned the Cyclops Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98 (The Noid)

(Assigned the Emma Frost Fragment)

AVX006E Scarlet Witch – 100

FFCW005R Mockingbird – 25

IM3006 Tony Stark – 50

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Again! Woo-hoo!)

What I Like About This Team:

Hmmm… well, I like that I get to play a ridiculously overpowered Chase piece AND assign the Phoenix Force to him. Annnnnnd I like that I get to back him up with that Chaos War Hawkeye, who has ridiculous offensive potential when you combine him with that rookie Mockingbird and the Phoenix Force resource (if I position my team correctly, when the time comes for him to take his first shot every game, he’ll take it with a 14 Attack–that’s AWESOME!). Scarlet Witch provides a ton of Support herself, and Tony Stark gives the team an Outwit that can see through Hindering Terrain, Enhancement and the Avengers Initiative Team Ability so that Hawkeye can see through Hindering himself! Plus, I’ll get a +5 to Map Roll AND five Theme Probs. Not bad!

What I Don’t Like About This Team:

Even with the Theme Probs, I don’t have a ton of trickeration (ie support powers), so if Hawkeye and Sentry and Void start missing, I could be in trouble. Additionally, Experienced AvX Scarlet Witch is no slouch in the attack department, but as a tertiary attacker in a 600 point game, she makes me nervous (her Precision Strike should help that though). Still, though… I’d get to play Sentry and Void!!

Alrighty then! I have my team, and everything is up for grabs! To find out how this team performed, what I learned and what I earned (if anything)…

Little known Keanu Reeves movie. You can find more info on Keanu's IMDB page under the heading "Oh, God, this was actually a thing?"

Little known Keanu Reeves movie. You can find more info on Keanu’s IMDB page under the heading “Oh, God, this was actually a thing?”

 

TUNE IN TOMORROW for The Build 4: Part 2!!

(Yeah, I’m a #$%^ like that. But you won’t have to wait long, I promise!)

See ya’ll tomorrow!