The Ghost of Clix-Mas Past Presents… Simply the Best: 2019: Part One!! (Or, The Seventh Night of Clix-Mas 2019!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Night Five of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas 2019!! First, we reviewed the ground rules; for Night 2, we hit the ground running with an in-depth review of Call-In Cards from friend of the blog, Roberto Ty! Night Three brought us HypeFox’s look at the 10 best Chases of the year. And then we had a rare holiday appearance from writer/co-founder of the blog Ninwashui. It’s a Clix-Mas Miracle!! Then, we talked about the Five Things Wizkids Did Right This Year! And yesterday, The Ghost of Clix-Mas Future took us through a preview of just about every Heroclix release that’s been announced for 2020 so far!]

Tina Turner STB 2

Welcome to Night Seven of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas!!

Tonight, I thought it’d be fun to bring back one of our more popular features from a few years ago… the year end “Simply the Best” review!!

It goes like this: I come up with random (sometimes even arbitrary) categories and then tell you which piece or pieces were the best in category out of everything released this year!

We haven’t done it in awhile, because I used to try to cover everything–and I mean everything–in one column, which would then balloon to almost 4000 words.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: He’s not kidding. It’s been about 5 years since we tried this, and that feature came in at over 3300 words. We (sort of) revived the idea again at the end of 2016 for the Ninth Night of Clix-Mas that year in a two-part parody called “Simply the Rest,” wherein we talked about the worst Clix of the year.]

Well, we’re not going to get quite that in-depth tonight, and we’re actually gonna break this gimmick into a couple parts to make it more manageable.

So, without further ado, here was 2019’s…

SIMPLY THE BEST!!

 

Simply The Best… Primary Attacker of 2019:

Thanos UC

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra Chase:

Okay, I’ve devoted enough ink to how much I love this piece. But this was a weird year for Primary Attackers.

The whole role was almost rendered moot by the ubiquity of overpowered Call-Ins. I mean, you could make an argument that Kobik was a great Primary Attacker since she’s impossible to kill and can Call-In pieces to do her damage for her. But that would be a little too cynical, even for me.

Runners Up:

2. XDPSG007R Juggernaut — 100 Points — Uncommon

The best version of Mr. Unstoppable ever.

3. XDPSG006R Onslaught — 125 Points — Uncommon

4. CMM021 Captain Marvel — 150 Points — Chase

5. RE068 Barbatos — 200 Points — Chase

 

Simply The Best… Sub-Theme of 2019:

Elders of the Universe Banner

1. Elders of the Universe — Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati

These pieces were better than they had any right to be. Collector, Astronomer, Trader… even Voyager and the freaking Gardener showed up in the Meta! Champion had a great dial and he wasn’t even one of the five best Elders in the set!

One of the most unexpected delights of the year!

Runners Up:

2. Brotherhood of MutantsXDPS

This was a close one. Wizkids has done the Brotherhood so many times, and yet with this set, they reinvented so many of the key players that I was blown away. Best Juggernaut ever. Best Blob ever. The Danger Room constructs were creatively designed and were a big part of the new Pauper Meta.

3. Batman: Metal ChasesDC Rebirth

Barbatos is borderline Meta, Red Death and The Batman Who Laughs are both really good, but they’re most notable for their cool sculpts and cohesive theme.

 

Simply The Best… Supporting Characters of 2019:

Kobik 616

Yep. Another article about Kobik…

1. ABPI069 Kobik — 115 Points — Chase:

Once again, I’ve talked her to death this Clix-Mas, but yeah, she’s that good. Mainstay of the current Meta.

Runners Up:

2. Q — 30 Points — Super Rare Prime:

There’s a reason he’s $300. The premier dice manipulator in the Meta right now.

3. Q– 50 Points — Super Rare:

Same as the Prime, except he’s 20 more Points BUT he doesn’t take up your lone Prime spot.

4. RE052E Mister Oz — 40 Points — Super Rare:

The DC version of Unseen. TK plus Prob across most of the board. At the beginning of the year, I would have thought he’d have the #1 Supporting Piece spot locked up.

Nope.

 

Simply The Best… Sets of 2019:

ABPI boxes

1. Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati:

Hands down, the best set of 2019. This set gave us Meta pieces at every rarity level:

Common: A.I.M. Red Squad, Voyager

Uncommon: A.I.M. White Squad, Medusa

Rare: Astronomer, Gardener

Super Rare: Taskmaster, Collector

Chase: Kobik

Ultra-Chase: Thanos 

And that’s just pieces that have shown up in Top 8’s. I’ve probably even missed a few. There’s also a ton more pieces that are just plain fun to play.

Add in all the great Equipment like the Infinity Gems, Gauntlets and Cosmic Cubes, and you have a set for players, collectors and everyone in-between. Worked on every level.

 

Runners Up:

2. XDPS:

Nostalgia for the old cartoon meets really innovative Colossal Design. Pieces like Onslaught and Juggernaut are Meta-relevant while being really fun to play. The Danger Room Construct pieces (read: Primes) were a creative new paradigm. And Chase Jean Grey and Chase Jason Wyngarde were extremely memorable.

The only thing holding this set back is how forgettable most of the regular-sized pieces were.

3. Star Trek Away Team: Resistance is Futile: 

Not just for the Q’s, but for the designers’ interpretation on the Bridge Crew of the Enterprise as well. Gets knocked down a few pegs for not fully fleshing out the Borg or Klingon factions.

4. Earth X: 

Loved the comic; this set was a very faithful adaptation. The Venom Chases were memorable as well!

 

Okay That’s all I have for tonight! Tune back in to this space tomorrow for Part 2!

Until then… Merry Clix-Mas!

 

Simply The REST, Part 1!! (Or, With Apologies to Tina Turner… Again!!)(Or OR, the Ninth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, lemme see if I can remember all this: Ahem! Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… And Night 6 saw HypeFox Theory-craft his own Marvel Heroclix Core Set! Night 7 saw Ninwashui calling an audible and promising to throw his hat in the ring and finally write an article! Night 8 featured Ninwashui ACTUALLY writing an article, although, strangely, not the one he promised… ]

simply-the-rest-gif

You pulled Bizarro Aquaman?

Longtime readers may remember “Simply the Best,” our year-end best-of gimmick wherein we hand out some Oscar-like “Critters” to the best Heroclix figures and concepts of the previous year, as well as recognize the best in genre entertainment and–most especially–memes.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As noted in the above link“Critters” is (still) the current short name for the annual “Simply the Best” awards handing out by Critical Missives. It’s creepy. We know it’s creepy. We’re working on it. We’ve accepted it.]

While we skipped last year, we hope to hand out some 2016 “Critters” next month some time (invites to the nominees are currently in the mail).

Still, it occurred to us that you can’t have the Academy Awards without holding a Golden Raspberry Ceremony. That’s right–tonight, Critical Missives is proud to present our own version of the Razzies! It’s time for…

THE CRIT MISSES!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes I amuse even myself. Although skeptical readers might wonder why it took us the better part of three years to realize we had the perfect name for our own Razzies. To those readers, I can only say–hey, what’s that over there?!]

Without further ado…

 

worst-chases

WORST SET OF CHASES

The Nominees:

Age of Apocalypse Chases (Uncanny X-Men)

Bizarro Chases (Joker’s Wild)

First Marvel or DC Movie Set With No Chases (Batman V Superman)

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

age-of-apocalypse-banner

Sorry X-Folk. But the truth is, you guys managed to take a beloved chapter of X-Men history and turn it into some of the most boring Chases we’ve ever gotten. I mean, Sunfire was fine, except that was, roughly estimating, the 18th version of Sunfire we got JUST IN THAT SET!!

Wolverine was okay; Ninwashui swore up and down that Magneto was the best piece in that set, surpassing the likes of Iceman and Proteus. Then he reread Mags’s card AND LEFT HIM ENTIRELY OUT OF HIS TOP TEN.

But Colossus. Oh, sleepy, boring, crappy Colossus. Even the great Scott Porter was completely underwhelmed when he was just drooling to pull a Chase for his unboxing video and ended up with this doorstop.

Sure, Joker’s Wild gave us the walking poop-ka-bob that some folks call Bizarro Aquaman, but the truth is, most of the Bizarros are pretty good; Bizarro Joker is downright useful; and Bizarro Green Arrow is a straight Meta monster who can force your opponent to CHANGE THEIR ENTIRE STRATEGY WHEN THEY ATTACK YOU!!

And as much as it sucked that BvS didn’t have any official Chases, the Hobby Exclusive Bats and Target Exclusive Supes felt close enough to Chases anyway.

 

worst-prime-rib

WORST PRIME

The Nominees:

SFSM053B Kraven (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)

JW037B Looker (Joker’s Wild)

UXM053B Phoenix (Uncanny X-Men)

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

phoenix-2

The only upset here is that it wasn’t even that close.

Oh, you played Phoenix here? Well, she’s pretty much your whole team since she costs 250 Points, so enjoy that top dial 10 Attack. And heaven help you if your opponent has Stealth!

Phoenix is the type of tentpole that did well in, like, 2007. Unfortunately, she was created in the wrong era.

 

batman-and-robin

WORST COMIC-BOOK MOVIE

The Nominees:

Batman v Superman

Suicide Squad

X-Men: Apocalypse

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

suicide-squad-2

Wow was this bad. Batman v Superman gets killed a lot, but there were at least a few watchable scenes in that movie.

And X-Men Apocalypse had another cool(-ish) Quicksilver scene, which is more than I can say for our “winning” film.

Suicide Squad is just straight up bonkers. Not in a good way; no, it’s bonkers in more of a “What the #%$* were they thinking here?” And Will Smith was TRYING!! He was doing everything he could to charisma this movie into something watchable, but even he couldn’t save it.

I remember sitting in the theater when the group finally gears up, we’re finally (FINALLY) done with Act 1, except we’re not, because then freaking Katana shows up out of the blue for the first time in the movie seemingly so Joel Kinnaman can deliver one of the worst lines in modern movie history about her stupid sword that never really does anything.

Honestly, every scene feels like they shot the first draft of the script and then only used first takes.

This should have been so much better…

 

Okay!! Well, that’s enough for tonight! Sometime after Clix-Mas, we’ll revisit the Crit Misses and hand out a few more awards!

And remember to park it back here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas goodness!!

 

Nick Fury and the Agents of Roundup!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 02/01/2015!!)

Roundup

 

Ooooooooooooohhhhh, it’s good to be back! With the Critters* now behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to 2015!! There’s already been a ton of releases announced–Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Age of Ultron and now Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.–and that just takes us to July!! There’s also been a slew of Previews that just hit the street, including the entire 2015 Convention Exclusive line!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Well get to all that in…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; this past week brought us Episode 81, wherein the guys discuss the recent Con-Exclusives announcement for 2015, among other things!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The latest episodes are Eps 30 & 31! In Episode 30, the Roundtable is back with analysis on the Tulsa and British Columbia ROC’s, as well as their takes on the recent Watchlist rulings and changes. Haven’t listened to 31 yet, so I don’t have a synopsis for you…

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an episode since their September offering, so I’m removing them from the Podcast rundown until we get some sort of activity from the guys!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

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

–A slight rules clarification has dropped that essentially mirrors standard protocol for WizKids-sponsored tournaments. It basically means that sets aren’t legal for ROC events until they’ve been out for a week or more. You can read the full announcement right here.

 

Preview

 

Justice League Heroclix Trinity War

–Justice League: Trinity War just keeps getting spoiled left and right!

As of today, 50 different figures (including the Gravity Feed) have been spoiled, plus two members of the CSA Fast Forces Pack (By the way, both of the spoiled Fast Force-ers are pretty damn good, so I’d order early if you want to get these guys. Fast Forces usually sell out pretty quick. Atomica alone will provide a 19 Defense character with the CSA Team Ability for just 25 Points!!).

The Super Rares seem extremely effective so far. Highlights include John Constantine, his Prime version (Nick Necro) and Despero (Oooooo, he’s gonna be fun to play).

Also, the 7 Deadly Sin 3D Objects seem almost as good as Hammers. Plus, you don’t actually need a Resource to play them IF you’re running the objects Chase piece (this will all make more sense once the set releases, trust me).

Check out the HCRealms.com Units page to look over all the spoiled dials.

 

nick_fury_agent_of_shield_booster

–We have a new set announcement! Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be out in July, and it’ll bring with it a Fast Forces that features the TV versions of Agent Coulson, Skye, Fitzsimmons and Agent May!! The proper set will also feature random inserts like more Avengers Roundtable ID cards and the first ever Assembl-A-Fig (or somesuch spelling) wherein you combine different 3D objects to make Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Mk. 2 Armor!

You can read ICv2’s article about the release right here!

 

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

Critical Missives:

–No Army of the Week, Local Games or Hollywood News this week–look for those sections to return next time. Especially Army of the Week, where we’ll look at how the new JL:TW Chases work with Resources and Entities (Hint: Very well.).

–Ninwashui built another Build column, and of course we gave out some Critters* in our second annual “Simply the Best” Awards article!

–We’ll be back later this week with a look from Ninwashui at some of the Justice League: Trinity War Gravity Feed figures, as well as in in-depth look at comic books on TV.

 

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch where you draw you Lines of Fire!!

 

You’re Simply the Best 2: Electric Boogaloo!! (Or, The Best Everything of 2014!!) (Or, Let’s Hand Out Some Critters*!!)

Tina Turner

(As always, with apologies to Tina Turner for stealing her gimmick…)

Is it 2015 already? Yes. Yes, Timmy, it is. Which means another year of Heroclix has come and gone. And since it’s January, it also means that it’s time to look back at the year that was and pick out the best, coolest and weirdest pieces!

In other words… IT’S TIME FOR A YEAR-END REVIEW!!

But first, let’s look at all the Heroclix releases from 2014:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re gonna leave AvX out of it, since it technically started in 2013, although many of the participating venues didn’t finish up until January or February.]

–Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix: Series One (01/08/2014)

–Fast Forces: Legion of Doom (02/26/2014)

–Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes (02/26/2014)

–Captain America: The Winter Soldier (03/12/2014)

–Batman: Arkham Origins Quick-Start Kit (05/03/2014) [EDITOR’S NOTE: While technically a release, this was given out at certain venues on Free Comic Book Day. The figures are actually kind of interesting, but they’re Purple Ringed and, therefore, not tourney legal. Still, this is a cool lil’ setup.]

–Fast Forces: Thunderbolts (05/14/2014)

–Deadpool (05/14/2014)

–X-Men: Days of Future Past (05/31/2014)

–War of Light (06/01/2014)

–Return of the King (06/04/2014)

–Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set (07/02/2014)

Star-Lord Gif

–Justice League Strategy Game (07/09/2014)

–Fast Forces: The Inhumans (08/13/2014)

–Guardians of the Galaxy (08/13/2014)

–The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (11/05/2014)

–Fast Forces: Rogues (11/12/2014)

–The Flash (11/12/2014)

Whew!! Okay! So we had 17 major releases in 2014. And that’s not including the various Convention Exclusives that also released this year. Plus, War of Light came in two Waves and therefore almost counts as two sets on it’s own. A major success, War of Light also birthed the Entity Chases, which were probably the most sought after Chases of all-time.

Speaking of Entity-fueled successes, here is the publicly released third quarter earnings statement put out by Heroclix makers WizKids/NECA, LLC:

Gold Swimming Pool

In response to the secondary market frenzy created by the Entity Chases, WizKids/NECA, LLC submitted this follow-up statement:

the_joker_smile_by_angrypig-d4k075d

So, in other words, the game did okay this year. But enough about the games finances!

Time to dole out some Critters*!! As always, these categories are chosen and (ill-)defined by yours truly!

[*EDITOR’S NOTE: “Critters” is the current short name for the annual “Simply the Best” awards handing out by Critical Missives. It’s creepy. We know it’s creepy. We’re working on it.]

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… PRIMARY ATTACKER (Vaguely defined as the best attacking piece to build an army around):

SLOSH039X Bizarro

DP051 Banshee

DP057 Tiamat

WOL025 The Weaponer of Qward

WOL107 Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern)

GOTG062 Super Skrull

FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)

FL050 The Flash

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Zombie Super Skrull

Why Super Skrull Won: Versatility. Pure and simple. No matter which Clix your opponent sets down in front of you when you start the game, if you’re running Super Skrull, you know you’ve got a chance. His Trait (IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS: Give Super Skrull a free action and choose up to one each of standard speed, attack, defense, and damage powers. Super Skrull can use the chosen powers until your next turn. For each power chosen this way, place a Power token on his card. At the end of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1 for each Power token on his card and remove all Power tokens from his card. On a result of 1 or less, deal Super Skrull 1 unavoidable damage.) is simply ridiculous, and that’s before you remember he’s got the standard Z-Virus powers that let him bank healing for the future while also having the ability to resurrect your opponent’s KO’d pieces… on your side!

Notable Runners-Up:

Kyle Rayner just missed out on this for me. The fact that a guy used Super Skrull to take out a buncha Kyle teams (among others) in a recent ROC was the deciding factor for me.!

Banshee is almost as good with his strong stats and his ability to target through both Hindering and Elevated Terrain, but he’s stymied by the existence of Copycat. The fact that there’s a piece out there that simply let’s your opponent take Banshee and leave you with a walking Pu-Pu Platter is intolerable to me… and makes playing Banshee somewhat risky.

Black Lantern Zoom is extremely good for his points, but he does take up your Prime slot, which sometimes makes it harder to field great supporting figs around him.

And finally, the Kingdom Come Flash just hasn’t been around long enough to truly flex his muscles in the Meta. Once Resources rotate back in, expect to see a bunch of Sinestro Corps Batteries powering the Flash here to victory!

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… SECONDARY ATTACKER (Vaguely defined as figures who can reliably damage the enemy but cost less than the Primary Attacker in your Build):

SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor

DP053A Speed Demon

WOL010 Controller [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, got my lists confused. Controller belongs in the “Most Embarrassing Piece to Pull in a War Of Light OP Event” category.]

WOL013B Tomar Tu

GOTGM012 Yondu

SLOSH039X Bizarro

DP064 Electro

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

Actual video of me using Zombie Electro against Ninwashui in a house game. For the 43rd time.

GOTGM101 Star-Lord

GOTGM106R Ronan

GOTG007B Captain Marvel

GOTG023 Yondu (Yep! They both made this list!)

GOTG059B Doctor Spectrum

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Speed Demon

Why Speed Demon Won: My Lord, this was a packed category, and it really came down to Speed Demon and Captain Marvel at the end. Either one would have walked away with this category in 2013, but damn, how do you choose here? I give Speed Demon the nod for two reasons. One, he’s not a Prime (actually, he’s better than Whizzer, his Prime version), so you can still run a Prime character in your Build. And two, his Trait (SPEED CYCLONE UPLIFT: When Speed Demon moves, after actions resolve, choose an opposing character and roll a d6. If the result is less than the number of distinct squares that Speed Demon moved into or through that are adjacent to that character during the move, you may place that character within line of fire of its square and up to the result away in squares and deal that character half of the result in damage.) was the best Trait I read this year. It can be gamechanging on its own, but when you start to combine it with things like Entities or The Phoenix Force, Speed Demon can get out of hand in a hurry.

Notable Runners-Up:

Captain Marvel (the Prime) was a close second. His ability to completely shut down the attacks of anyone he hits is stupid good. He’s a little crunchy himself, but his Special Defend power lets him boost the Defense Value of most adjacent friendlies to 19!!

Both Yondu figures are great; much has already been said about the main set Uncommon from GOTG. But I really think folks need to take another look at the GotG Movie Set version. He’s a different kind of ridiculousness.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far and not mentioned Lydea Mallor. There was a time when she ruled ROC’s all across the country. Now, she’s kind of old news. Still, she may have burned through her usefulness quickly, but she also burned quite brightly for that short while, too. With the new ROC season allowing Resources again, I’d expect her business to pick back up a bit.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… SUPPORTING FIGURE (Vaguely Defined as those pieces that round out your force by providing those important non-damage dealing abilities, like Perplex, Probability Control or Outwit; Support; or TK, or Taxi Service, or something else entirely):

FFDP006R Mercy 

SLOSH001 Cosmic Boy

CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

CATWS014 Agent Sitwell

DP018 Blind Al

DP020 Weasel

DOFP008 Senator Robert Kelly

DOFP011 Destiny

WOL007 Blue Lantern Recruit

WOL010 Controller [EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, got my lists confused again. This Controller nomination belongs in the “Most Exciting Piece to open during War Of Light: Month 1… Until You Realize That He Isn’t a Poorly Scuplted Superboy Prime Like You Were Hoping.” category.]

WOL033 Sister Sercy

WOL029 Brother Hymn

GOTGM018 Rocket Raccoon

GOTG003 Mantis

GOTG017A Kree Lieutenant

FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Rocket Raccoon Gif

Why Rocket Raccoon Won: So, while the 300 Point Meta game probably exerts the greatest influence on a lot of these awards, I chose Rocket because he offers so many great supporting abilities PLUS he’s the lynchpin to so many different cool Guardian of the Galaxy Builds (if you’re playing Star-Lord from the comic set, you almost HAVE to play the Movie Chase Rocket with him!). He’s also a decent Secondary Attacker (not great, but decent) and certainly could have been nominated in that category as well.

But I view him more as a Supporting Figure. He lends adjacent snipers Enhancement, he has Outwit with a 7 Range AND he buffs the Attack Values of adjacent friendlies that share at least one of his two main keywords (Ravagers or Guardians of the Galaxy). Now, there are certainly other figures in the game who can buff both Attack and Damage (Rocket’s fellow nominee Weasel can do that trick too), but you can very easily run into positioning issues where you find it extremely difficult to keep the Enhancer next to the Attacker that your trying to buff. Not with Rocket! He’s Tiny-sized, which means he can be carried by just about any attacker, whether or not they fly! And, being tiny, Rocket doesn’t make the carrier subtract two from their movement (VEEEERRRY helpful during Running Shot/Carry maneuvers.)

Notable Runners-Up:

Blue Lantern Recruit packs about every starting ability you’d want into one tiny, 50-Point shell. He probably would have won this if not for Rocket.

Ditto for Mercy, except I like Blue Lantern Recruit just a tad better.

Agent Sitwell is an AWESOME supporting piece… as long as you’re playing a S.H.I.E.L.D. team.

Finally, S.T.A.R. Labs Technician has already started to show up in the Meta. Great package of abilities for the point cost.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… WORST FIGURE OF THE YEAR (Vaguely defined as, well, the worst figure of the year, which would technically make that piece the best at sucking):

FL018 Steve Trevor

FL019B Bizarro Flash

SLOSH050 Toyman

SLOSH047A White Witch

DOFP002 Sprite & DOFP020 Ariel (A RARE DUAL DISAPPOINTMENT!!)

WOL010 Controller (FINALLY!! A category he’s SUPPOSED to be nominated in!)

WOL039 Kryb

WOL051 Krona

GOTGM010 Nebula

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

"Yes. And don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

Yes. And don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Why Steve Trevor Won: So, at only 54 Points, you could argue that there are much worse figures out there who, by virtue of the higher Point cost, would be a bigger detriment to your team because you’d have to sink more of your Build’s Resources (i.e. Build Points) into fielding them.

And you’d be wrong. As I argued during the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, Steve Trevor is so bad that you’ve probably already lost the game just by fielding him, since you probably thought you could successfully find a way to use his Leadership Special Power. And you were wrong. Because while Steve Trevor has a bevy of keywords to chose from, he makes an awful Leader no matter which squad you choose to run.

“But HypeFox,” I can already hear you saying, “Running Shot and Psychic/Blast is an awesome combo, and he has that top click!” Sure he does. He also has a 5 (not 6) Range and only a 16 ES/D for Defense. Look, you could play two more Entities for that price; it’d be cheesy, but you could. Instead, you chose the worst dial released this year.

Are you going against Steve Trevor? Oh, I have some advice. Here’s the secret to taking down Steve Trevor: deal him one damage (I promise it will go through). At that point, on Click 2, Steve Trevor gets Willpower, a 9 Attack and he keeps his craptastic Empower/Leadership Special Power.

And don’t think that it’s that hard to get Steve here to his second Click. All you need is one character with Poison and some patience. Oh, did Steve Trevor just move? Well, go ahead and plop your Poisoner adjacent to him. Whether Steve stays and takes the Poison or he Pushes to vacate the premises, your job is done, since that Willpower only shows up on Click 2!!

Notable Runners-Up:

Krona is 245 Points with a Trait that can’t be legally activated in a 300 Point game unless your running an Entity on a figure 30 Points or less. The benefit to Krona if you do all that? Probably a +2 to his Range or Speed Value. Lame. This character was a universe-imperiling badass in the comics; in Clix, the only thing he’ll imperil is your chance to win if you field him.

White Witch is impossible to promote, even though Battlefield Promotion is one of the only reasons to play her.

Controller is, well, Controller. He has the capability of dealing 4 Penetrating Damage to any character within his Range… provided that he’s already hit with EIGHT FREAKING ATTACKS!! And if he’s already done that, well, you’ve probably already won the game.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… GRAVITY FEED SET (Marvel or DC):

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set

Days of Future Past

Deadpool

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

CATWS

Why CATWS Won: Top to bottom, it had the best pieces. It added a metric POOP-TON of S.H.I.E.L.D.-keyworded figs and gave us a very solid Chase (Cap and Bucky) and a damn near broken one (Captain America and Black Widow). We now have a very useful Nick Fury, and Agent Sitwell is one of the best S.H.I.E.L.D. supporting figs we’ve seen since… well, since the CATWS005 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent THAT’S ALSO IN THIS SET!!

Notable Runners-Up:

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set gave us a fantastic Chase Rocket, probably the best Drax we’ve seen yet along with the best version of The Collector we’ve ever received. Having said that, most of the pieces I keep reaching for from this set (Star-Lord, Ronan) are actually from the STARTER, not the Gravity Feed.

Days of Future Past had some neat ideas, but top to bottom it can’t compare with CATWS. Professor X is great until you see that he’s overcosted by at least 30 Points. Sprite and Ariel pose that time-honored riddle: when you have the opportunity to eat the Chicken Salad you didn’t want OR the Egg Salad you didn’t want, which do you chose?

And finally, Deadpool was probably about the best main set Gravity Feed we got all year. It was worth seeking out the Deadpool dial that comes in the Gravity Feed just for his Word Bubble alone. Daredevil in that same Feed is a SwitchClix, which is a really cool thing to pull from a Gravity Feed pack. Also, Secret Empire Number 9 is one of the best Ranged supporting pieces in Modern right now that no one ever talks about.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… PRIME FIGURE (Vaguely defined as… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory, actually):

SLOSH005B Mon-El

DP019B Evil Deadpool

DP047B Cat

DP053B Whizzer

WOL013B Tomar Tu

WOL020B Laira

WOL046B Abin Sur

GOTG007B Captain Marvel

GOTG047B Thanosi

FL037B Dark Flash

FL053B Zoom

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

Why Captain Marvel Won: Wow! This was probably the deepest and most competitive category this year. Captain Marvel wins because he does so many different things to help your team win, yet at 81 Points he’s on the low-end of what most Secondary Attackers cost. Plus, his Attack Special ability that–among other things–allows him to shut down opposing figures counter-attacks when he hits them (UNI-BEAM: Captain Marvel can use Energy Explosion, Incapacitate, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When Captain Marvel hits with a ranged combat attack, hit targets can’t make attacks during their next turn.) is damn near broken!

Notable Runners-Up:

Abin Sur is just ridiculously cheap, and he has the Construct ability. He finished second for me.

Whizzer is a great figure, but I can’t vote for a figure for “Best Prime” when it’s NON-PRIME (Speed Demon) is both cheaper to field AND more effective.

Zoom would have finished third; he’s fantastic, but he’s almost a Primary Attacker. Nothing wrong with that, except that many of the best Modern Age Supporting Figures happen to be Primes themselves right now, which means that you can’t use them in a Build with Zoom.

Finally, Cat still has a lot of room to grow in the Meta. Now that ROC is switching back to a format where Relics and Resources are allowed, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see him turn up a little more often.

 

SIMPLY THE BEST… 5-FIGURE SET (Vaguely defined as THE SET OF THE YEAR!!):

Guardians of the Galaxy

War of Light

Deadpool

Flash

Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes

 

AND THE CRITTER GOES TO…

 

"We're number one!"

Guardians… pull my finger.

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Won: The Critical Missives version of Best Picture goes to… Guardians of the Galaxy?! Hmmm… Before I sat down to write this article, I thought for sure War of Light would capture this, but when I look back over this past year, I have to say that, top to bottom, Guardians was the best set. The fact that every generic had a “soldier” version and a “royal” version is freaking awesome. It actually cut down so much on the normal clusterglut (a term I just coined) of generic Commons that you accumulate every time you buy packs.

War of Light did this too, to an extent, but that was mostly different versions of the same character (“Kyle Rayner as a White Lantern. Kyle Rayner as a Blue Lantern. And on and on…”). War of Light was also WAAAAAY harder to initially collect. But Guardians also gave us almost as many Meta pieces as WOL without all the headaches (Entities). Even now, I still feel like there’s TONS of undiscovered GOTG pieces just waiting to be tried out. Heck, Ninwashui finally beat me for once just the other day using a Brother Royal team. It was ridiculously effective–and you never even see those guys. At least, not yet. But GOTG’s top to bottom depth is what put it over the top for me!

Notable Runners-Up:

War of Light obviously finished second. It was everything DC fans seemed to want and more. Uh, way more. It was actually like 3 or 4 separate Lantern stories rolled into one set. Still, it gave us a lot of previously Un-Clix’d figures, and two MAJOR new mechanics with the Construct Trait (found on the Primes and Participation Prizes) and the Entities (with their “Possessed” Traits). The Entities were extremely powerful; they’re recent slight-nerfing probably has them in the right place, power-wise. The Construct Trait is the next thing that may need to get looked at; I’ve seen so many players going out of their way to play, like, 4 Wall-bearing figures in larger point games (“If no one can target any of my figures ever, I’ll win!” Uh, yeah, Timmy, maybe, but it’s the antithesis of what the game is about. It’s basically the strategy of people who don’t trust their own ability to orchestrate a strategy.). So War of Light was second for me, if only because it caused so many issues in the Meta and beyond; but as we end 2014 and roll into 2015, I’m pretty happy with where we’re at Rulings-wise with the set, and I think it’ll be an important source of Builds for the next couple years.

Deadpool was awesome. It gave us Speed Demon and Banshee and a TON of great Hand figures. It also gave us Copycat, who was just as big of a problem (in her own way) for a while as the Entities were.

Flash had some of the best sculpts of the year. The Speed Force mechanic isn’t as cool as the two mechanics put forth by War of Light, but it’s still a solid addition to the game.

Finally, SLoSH will primarily just be remembered for Lydea Mallor, I think. It wasn’t a bad set; it just wasn’t as much fun as the other big sets we got this year.

 

Well, there you have it!! That’s all for this year’s Critters*!!

Join us next month as we dive into Justice League: Trinity War and start a new Page for this site that’s devoted to Comics on TV!!

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

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, no really, we are still working on it! We’ll have it sorted for next year!]

You’re Simply the Best!! (Or, The Best Everything of 2013!! )

Tina Turner

With apologies to Tina Turner, now that we’ve wrapped up January and are preparing for the REAL start of the Heroclix year in February (with the exception of many venues across the country who are FINALLY catching up on Month One of AvX–although, God help me, not mine–January has been a Dead Zone for Heroclix), it’s time for our final list of, well, lists, to wrap up the year that was.

2013 saw more figures released than any year previous. No, I don’t have mountains of data to back that up, but holy Lord, look at everything we got this year:

Amazing Spider-Man (February)

Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game (March)

TabApp Elites for Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel (Various)

No Man’s Land (Various)

Iron Man 3 (April, although I don’t think the Target stuff hit ’til May)

Teen Titans (May)

Man of Steel (June)

Wolverine and the X-Men (August)

Batman Classic TV (September)

Superman Quick Start Kit (September)

Thor: The Dark World (October)

Fear Itself (All Summer, wrapped in November for most venues)

Batman: Arkham Origins (November)

Invincible Iron Man (November)

That’s quite a bit, eh? Oh, but wait–we’re not done yet. Not even close!!

Star Trek: Tactics 2 (January)

Star Trek: Mini-Game (April)

Iron Maiden (May)

The Fellowship of the Ring (June)

Pacific Rim (July)

Bioshock Infinite (July)

Kick Ass 2 (July–man, they love July releases, don’t they?)

The Lone Ranger (August)

Star Trek: Tactics III (October)

The Hobbit: Journey to the Lonely Mountain Strategy Game (October)

The Two Towers (November)

Mage Knight: Resurrection (November)

DOTA 2 (November)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (November)

WizKids's projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

An internal company diagram of WizKids’s projected revenue from their 2013 Heroclix releases.

I mean, are you kidding me?! 28 releases in 2013 alone?! No one has time to sort through all those figures, much less collect them! Well, that’s where we come in. Pull up a chair, find something fruity to drink, and let’s get to it. These… were the best Heroclix of 2013!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bolded entries were the winner in their respective category; any other entries were the runners up. Which is why they weren’t bolded. Cuz I only break out the Bolding Stick… for Simply the Best!! Ahem.]

BEST 5-FIGURE SET (Marvel or DC):

And this still isn't every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

And this still isn’t every Spidey from Amazing Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man

Wolverine and the X-Men

Fear Itself

This was very close. Fear Itself broke ground as the first 5-Figure Set that could only be obtained through tourney play, and it was the hottest thing going the first two months it was played; Teen Titans gave us the first Team Bases (some would argue that this was a huge debacle, but whatever) and some really underrated figures (Omen, Psimon, 81-Point Wonder Girl); Wolverine and the X-Men gave us Phoenix 5 Chases, some cool Primes and some even cooler Team Bases (Side Note–C’mon, the Shi’ar?! How cool is that? Never thought I’d see WizKids make a full-0n Shi’ar Team Base! And Lilandra doesn’t even go on it! I mean, she makes it totally broken, but she doesn’t actually go on it! Outside of Gladiator, I knew, like, zero of these figures, and I LOVE the cosmic Marvel stuff. Props to WizKids for having the guts to not only make a Team Base full of figures that many players probably didn’t know about, but to then also make that piece overpowered as–well, it’s overpowered.); and Invincible Iron Man kind of snuck up on everyone and ended up being waaaaaay more powerful than folks expected:

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

Well hello there, Mr. Silver Centurion!

But Amazing Spider-Man was the first set we got in 2013, and it was the best by just about every measure. I don’t know if WizKids has every produced such a well-rounded group of figures. You want power pieces for the Meta? Brother Voodoo and Ghost Rider ate up the Meta to the point that, outside of Spiral and the JLA Team Base–who, let’s remember, might have been a couple of the most broken pieces not just in Heroclix history but in the last 25 years of gaming– they were singled out in the Watchlist as needing immediate change lest they ruin all of Heroclix with their unstoppable nature. (Side Note 2–How did Brother Voodoo escape the Watch List? He was one of the most broken things on there!! All they did that even SLIGHTLY affected Brother Voodoo was alter the HfH ATA, and that was only so Ghost Rider couldn’t kill entire armies by himself whenever he felt the need for vengeance! Brother Voodoo don’t care about that! His Spirit Brother is still going to possess the shit out of you! For free. Go read those Watch List changes again. It spits on a dozen different figures and strategies until it comes to Brother Voodoo, but then it almost apologizes for having him on the list in the first place. So the question must be asked… Just what does Brother Voodoo have on WizKids?) And fast forward 3 months after the Watchlist, and Alyosha Kraven (the rare Prime) is now powering Animal teams in the Meta with Lizard. It gave Spidey book fans plenty of supporting characters they’ve been waiting for (Kaine! Madame Web!) along with a ton of fantastic options for Sinister Syndicate teams.

Alas... still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

Alas… still no Alfred Molina Doc Ock for some reason.

And we finally got some damn Monsters!! Dracula, Living Mummy (ridiculous for his points), Werewolves, Vampires and Morbius, oh my! We even got some Maximum Carnage pieces! Thematically, this set just hit it out of the park. And just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be any more new versions of Spider-Man to make, WizKids goes and gives us EIGHT freaking Chases, all with the Morph ability! And top to bottom, there are almost no duds in the set. Good gosh, I’m two paragraphs deep talking about the great figures of this set and I still haven’t mentioned Hannibal King, Doctor Druid, Shocker, Carrion, Terrax, Nightmare, Spider-Man 2099–all these figs would be the highlights of most releases, and they’re practically an afterthought here. And Franken-Castle! We have a freaking Franken-Castle! How is the world–and how are we as a species–not better for having a Franken-Castle?!

No matter what format you play, there was something cool for you in ASM. And that’s why it wins this category.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Marvel or DC):

The real Man of Steel.

The real Man of Steel.

Iron Man 3 (Target Exclusive)

Batman: Arkham Origins

Thor: The Dark World (Target Exclusive)

This was also pretty close. The movie sets tend to be a little bit larger, with a variant Target-exclusive version, so they have a distinct advantage over the regular set Gravity Feeds. ASM’s Gravity Feed is filled with above-average pieces, but nothing that I would call truly great; Teen Titans had Rose Wilson and nothing else worth writing home about; WXM had a few great pieces like Jean Grey and Shi’ar Guard, but not much else, and the IIM Gravity Feed actually featured an entire run of crappier versions of the some of the main set staples (I’m not gonna go on a rant again about Gravity Feed Rescue, but, man, she sucked so hard!). Batman: Arkham Origins was pretty awesome, except good luck pulling a rare. Distribution definitely seemed off. Still, Deadshot, Shiva, Deathstroke, Joker… there were some great figs here. Deadshot and Shiva especially are great for their points.

Among the three movie sets (well, six if you want to split each one into the Target Exclusive/Non-Target Exclusive versions) we got, the Target Exclusive Iron Man 3 set was the best top to bottom. The rares were all good–actually, War Machine is great, and the Chase (Iron Man and War Machine duo fig on single base) is severely underrated. Especially now that 125 Point War Machine exists as a thing for Splitting and Merging (and is pretty great in its own right). Moreover, the Commons were spectacular; Tony Stark & Aldrich Killian have factored into the Meta at various points through their run. Hell, even 75 Point Rookie Iron Man is beastly for his points! Simply put, this is the Gravity Feed set with the most figs that I’ll still be playing 12 months from now.

BEST GRAVITY FEED (Non-Marvel or DC):

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

This is what Colossals are supposed to look like.

Pacific Rim

The Fellowship of the Ring

Iron Maiden

If you’re gonna release a Gravity Feed set where there’s only, like, 11 0r 12 different figures, you could do far worse than to release an all-Colossal set where GIANT FREAKING ROBOTS BATTLE GIANT FREAKING MONSTERS! We’ve talked about Slattern before; but the other figs in this set are just plain cool. Great sculpts, and this set opens up so many Epic Game options. You can fill out a 400, 500 or 600 Point Build in no time. And while, outside of 600 Point Slattern, I wouldn’t say that any of these figs are ridiculously good, they’re all fun to play.

The Fellowship of the Ring is a good set with one broken fig–Saruman. His Mind Control special rivals Omen’s for its reach and scope; it can’t really be defended against. He’s already made some impact in ROC, I believe. As has Iron Maiden, which, despite being another short set, is filled with interesting power sets. ROC has really shown a spotlight on a lot of these crazier sets–you really need to be prepared for almost anything when you play one of those.

BEST INNOVATION:

The Worthy

OP Exclusive Sets (Fear Itself)

Team Bases

The Mandarin’s Rings

The excitement generated by the first few months of Fear Itself trumps the dominance of the Team Bases, which I’m not sure WizKids has perfected yet. Fear Itself got a ton of players who normally wouldn’t participate in Organized Play into their local venues, since they’d be missing out on an entire set otherwise. That means a lot. Team Bases are a cool concept that were so initially overpowered that there was no point in playing a Modern Age tournament without one (specifically the JLA). They’re in a better place now, with several worth playing but none that are head and shoulders above the others (although Shi’ar and Hellfire Club are close).

Plus, that excitement you got when opening that month’s allotment of FI boosters was second to none. Once everyone had most of the set (by Month 4 or 5, usually), yeah, it became a bit tedious, but Fear Itself was the hottest thing going for a while.

The Mandarin’s Rings are the first Resource components distributed through regular boosters (at least that I’m aware of). They’re fun to collect, and are great Relics in their own right, but you still need a Power Plant to get them to their full potential.

BEST TEAM BASE:

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Okay, what was in her stupid box again? All of the Crime Syndicate or something? And how did they send her box back in time 8000 years?

Trinity of Sin

Shi’ar

Hellfire Club/New Mutants (tie)

This was a close one, and my final selections are taking the Watchlist nerfs into account (otherwise, this would have been the JLA all day. That base is still powerful–Edward Shelton recently piloted it to a second-place finish at a ROC event–but these other bases didn’t lose as much as JLA did to the Watchlist changes.). But the Trinity of Sin is just all kinds of wrong. Plus, each one of its pop-offs can shut down a specific staple–Prob, Outwit or Perplex (although with Quintessence, you’re probably only worried about Prob or Perp). And, if you have the Trinity of Sin, that means you also have access to The Question and Pandora for any Modern Age Mystical builds you want to compete with–those are two of the strongest pieces with that keyword right now (particularly the Question–he’s already shown up on some major tournament Top 16 teams).

The Shi’ar Team Base is almost as disgusting, with great stats, one of the best pop-offs in the game in Warstar and the fact that it possesses a plethora of ways to decimate your opponent’s strategy. Does your opponent have really efficient taxis to ferry his big hitters around? Manta turns all fliers into non-carrying walkers. Did they stack their team with a ton of cheap figs in an attempt to overwhelm you? Just get the Assest Dial to Starbolt and his three target Energy Explosion. And so on. There just aren’t a lot of great ways to go at this piece, because it has so many options available to defend itself.

Hellfire Club and New Mutants also feature a bunch of trickeration backed up by some sneaky damage potential (and the Black King may actually be a BETTER pop-off than Warstar, if that’s possible).

BEST VEHICLE:

Unsafe at any speed.

Hey Warlock, maybe next time we morph some seat belts, eh? You just killed all of Self’s Friends.

Warlock

Batmobile (Batman Classic TV)

I’m mainly doing this category to highlight the fact that WE GOT NO FREAKING VEHICLES this year! After introducing a promising new mechanic, WizKids just rolled right on into Team Bases. Will we ever get Marvel vehicles? Who knows, but I want a damn S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, dammit! And the Winter Soldier movie set coming in late March would be perfect. Everyone keeps asking for a Colossal Helicarrier, which makes sense, but if they can fit an entire castle on a single base, I don’t see why we can’t get some sort of single base Chase Helicarrier or something to tie in with the movie. End of rant.

BEST NEW BUILD ENABLER:

This static photo is actually more screen time than Duhg got in the actual film.

Two-toned pants are all the rage on Duhg’s world.

Duhg (Thor: The Dark World)

Absorbing Man LE (Invincible Iron Man)

Shuma-Gorath (Convention LE)

Shuma and Absorbing Man have affected the Meta way more, but y’know what? Duhg teams are just more fun to build. They just are. When you’re bored at work, just pick a Build Total, pull out your smart phone and start building a Duhg team. You’ll look up and it’ll be at least ten minutes later. It’s like time traveling, I swear.

BEST MAIN ATTACKER PIECE (for the 300 Point Meta):

The difference is... I make this look gooooood.

The difference is… I make this look gooooood.

Silver Centurion (IIM Prime)

War Machine (IIM Prime)

Fantomex (WXM)

Silver Centurion is among the best main attack pieces WizKids has ever made, especially considering that you have your choice of augmenting him with the Power Plant or The Book of the Skull. He’s basically immune to Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy and Poison–basically everything you would realistically use to take him down. He brings his own secondary attacker. His Keywords are awesome. And you have 139 points left over for support figs. Or 89 Points after paying for Booklip.

War Machine Prime is only worse in that he costs more points. But he has the possibility of doing insane amounts of damage every three turns or so (depending on how many times he’s attacked and such). Fantomex is just rude. Coldly efficient, especially when teamed with some Barrier pieces.

BEST SUPPORT PIECE:

70's fashion... for the win!

70’s fashion… for the win!

Brother Voodoo (ASM Prime)

E Scarlet Witch (AvX)

Cerise (WXM Prime)

Whew. This was the closest call of the night, but Brother Voodoo is simply the best. Free Mind Control & Smoke Cloud PLUS Prob that rotates into Perplex… and oh, you say you think you can hit an 18 Defense with Super Senses while maneuvering around Smoke Cloud and Prob? Incidentally, this was a great year for support figs. I didn’t even mention Raven or Omen, two of my favorites from Teen Titans, or that little turd Bat-Mite. And that AvX Scarlet Witch is gonna have to pull some Brother Voodoo type intimidation tactics to avoid Watch List 2: Electric Boogaloo.

 

Well, that about covers it. Or maybe not, but we’ve already cruised right past the 2500 word barrier, which usually means I’ve outstayed my welcome. But let me know what you think in the Comments section. Did I get it right? Were there any categories I should have considered but didn’t? Post your picks below!!