A Superior Review of the Top Ten Figures in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man!!

Hey everyone! It’s me, Ninwashui! I’m back!

Where have I been? Well, my family life (a.k.a. my kids) occupies a large chunk of my time now, but this set was simply so hot that I just… haaaaad to neglect them all for a few hours and put together my Top Ten list!

With Great Power

That’s me, Mr. Responsibility!

And look, just to be clear, I would never ACTUALLY neglect my family… unless there was a great set that had just come out. I mean, you didn’t see me wasting any father daughter time on Uncanny X-Men, did you?

(Oh, you still want an Uncanny X-Men Second Opinion? Here is what my Top Ten would have been: Iceman, Iceman, Iceman, Proteus, Common Storm, Mystique, Pixie, Quicksilver, Prime Kitty annnnd Iceman! Bleeeeccch. There were, like, three really good pieces in the whole set. Next!)

Anyway, I was very impressed with the dial designs this time around and the Sealed event at our local shop was great–lots of really close games. So let’s get right to it with…

Some Thoughts About the Set:

  • The Super Rares and Chases in this set are awesome. With the exceptions of Ares, Morlun, and Spider-Man 2211, there could be an argument made that all of them deserve to be on this list. Ares is just alright. Morlun and Spider-Man 2211 don’t have a place on any constructed team that I can think of.
  • The Primes kinda suck. There aren’t many bad pieces in this set and even the Serpent Society has their uses (I can envision a Rattler constructed team.).
Rattler

“Hmmm… should I revolve my team around Rattler this evening?

However the Primes in this set just aren’t good. A Prime is supposed to be (theoretically) extra-powerful for the points that’s why you can only ever have one on a team at a time. Even if I ignored that restriction I don’t see myself ever playing any of these guys. If they are going to keep making Primes like this they should just stop making them.

  • The Call in Help From the Spider-Verse Trait is really powerful and fun. I used it to great effect at the Pre-Release and it allows you to chain together attacks from across the map like never before.
  • They are continuing the trend from UXM: point costs are lower (with only a few 200 pointers in the SR slot), almost no one gets Indomitable, almost no Improved Targeting, and a lot less Improved Movement then they should have had in a set full of spider people. I love this new direction the game is heading. It’s nice that Willpower, Phasing, Leap/Climb, Leadership and Stealth are much more useful now.
  • The sketch variants are super cool. I will always buy or trade for a sketch piece over a standard painted one. Not sure why some people don’t like it; doesn’t hurt the game in any way. But hey, that just means more for me.

But enough thinking! Let’s get to…

My Top Five Honorable Mentions:

Miles

5. SFSM031 Spider-Man – 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes and Shape Change makes this guy a top choice for engaging the opposing team’s best figure in close combat. His special white power PARALYZING VENOM STRIKE lets him deal damage AND gives any opposing character hit and action token. That action token doesn’t deal pushing damage, but it still keeps the opposing figure from taking actions. So it’s great in my book.

When you want to tie someone up, this guy is the one you want to call in from the Spider Verse.

Scarlet

4. SFSM017 Scarlet Spider – Another character whose attack deals damage AND gives any characters hit by a ranged attack an action token. The difference is that this character has Running Shot and two targets. He also has a lot of improved movement options. A Defense of 18 with Super Senses which is just fine for his point cost. His real weakness is getting tied up in close combat. Thankfully he has the Spider-man Family keyword so any other character that you have with the CALL IN HELP FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE trait can transport him out of adjacency and safely back to ranged combat.

Cloak 2

3. SFSM036 Cloak – Sure he’s at his best when played with Dagger, but for 35 points Cloak brings enough to the table that he is worth using without her.  He has Stealth, Improved Movement of every kind, the Spider-Man TA, and the Carry ability. What really puts him over the top is his 18 Defense with Defend. Use him to carry a character into battle and then move him around as needed to keep your teams defense consistently high.

Doc Ock

2. SFSM055 Doctor Octopus – Half Superior Scientist, half Weed Whacker.  This guy is delicate in close combat and is fairly vulnerable to Outwit, but he’s still well worth his points. He has a special power up front that allows him to make far more attacks than any 80 point character should ever be able to make in one turn. It reads, “MENTALLY CONTROLLED TENTACLES: When he makes a close combat attack Doctor Octopus can use Giant Reach: 3 and Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters. Give him a power action to make 4 close combat attacks that deal 2 damage. After actions resolve modify the defense value of any character hit more than 2 times by these attacks by -2 until your next turn.” Your opponent is going to see this coming a mile away and target him first, but if you somehow get Doc Ock to make an attack in the middle of the opposing team then it will all be worth it.

SPidey 001

1. SFSM001 Spider-Man – This is a well rounded Spider-Man. 18 Defense, Charge, Super Strength, Close Combat Expert, and a better form of Super Senses are a good value for 70 points. Where he really shines is when he’s Called in from the Spider Verse. If you can call this guy in and have him appear adjacent to an opposing character, then he can combine his Close Combat Expert with a heavy object and make an attack with 12 attack value and 5 damage! It’s got to be the right circumstances, but that’s exceptional for 70 points.

Which brings us right to…

The Top Ten Figures in the set:

Speedy Demony

10. SFSM040 Speed Demon – He’s not as good as his previous version from the Deadpool set that essentially let you move opposing characters around at will, but he is still very good. He has a lower point cost, much better Defense, and Willpower. If you are playing Sinister Syndicate or Thunderbolts he is almost a lock for those teams. Try this team:

Team Name: Need for Speed

Keyword: Sinister Syndicate

  • SFSM040 Speed Demon
  • SFSM029 Overdrive
  • SFSM056 Chameleon
  • WKM16-001 Doctor Octopus
  • 35 points for ATAs, Resources, Thugs, Etc…
  • Total = 300
  • Strategy Tips: Have Chameleon disguise himself as Jester. Start an Alpha strike up to 11 squares away by having Speed Demon run in, attack, and end up one space back from the target after actions resolve. Give Doc Ock the Power Action to double Flurry. Have Overdrive carry Doc Ock and Jester next to Speed Demon. Share attack value. Give Doc Ock 4 attacks. After those resolve have Jester make Jester Bots to tie up the opposing team. Hopefully do it all again next turn.

Betty Brant

9. SFSM007 Betty Brant – It took thirteen damn years, but they have finally made a worthy replacement to the Rookie Con Artist from the X-plosion set in 2003. Anyone who played HeroClix at that time will know this piece. Betty is admittedly 4 more points than the Con Artist, but those extra points give a second useful click where she can heal your team if needed. She also gets a Trait, “I’LL PROVE MY HUSBAND WAS NOT THE HOBGOBLIN IF I HAVE TO RETRIEVE EVERY GLIDER!: UNIQUE MODIFIER. Opposing characters with “Wing Symbol” modify their speed values by -1. If that character is named Hobgoblin, instead modify all of that character’s combat values by -1.” That might not seem like much, but moving one less space can be the difference between making an attack or not.

Moon Knight.jpg

8. SFSM037 Moon Knight – This is a Secondary Attacker that continues to get more dangerous the longer he is ignored. Moon Knight has a great Special Power that helps him land hits and a Trait that essentially gives him a Stop Click at the end of his dial for every two hits that he lands. And SPOILER ALERT: the last Click on his dial is his best click with 11 attack 18 defense and 4 damage. He should have no problem finding a place with Marvel Knights, Mystical, or Soldier teams. 

 

The Battle of New York. We've seen it, and we covered it.

“The Battle of New York. We’ve seen it, and we covered it.”

7. SFSM006 J. Jonah Jameson – I wanted to come up with something witty here, but user MarcSpectre from hcrealms said it best: “He’s the Spider-man Family insurance policy. He knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two.” If you are going to play with any Spider-Man Family pieces you’re going to want him on your team even if he is going to break your Theme. +2 to Defense on the already high defenses of the spider family is just too high to hit for a lot of teams.

Spider-Man_noir

6. SFSM061 Spider-Man Noir – This is actually one the better ranged attackers in the Spider-Man Family. That and his low 75 point cost makes him one of the best for setting off the CALL IN HELP FROM THE SPIDER-VERSE Trait.

His combination of 6 Range, 11 Attack and Sidestep combine with his Stealth and Outwit to make him a well-rounded figure. He alternates between Outwit and Ranged Combat Expert so you can easily switch his function depending on your need. His 18 defense with Super Senses is perfectly acceptable for his point cost. 

Chameleon

5. SFSM056 Chameleon – HypeFox and I both love this guy. I’ll be very surprised if Chameleon is not high on his list. His flexibility is hard to beat.

Some of our favorite characters so far to use as disguises: CWSOP022 Jester, WKD15-010 Miss Arrowette, SMWW003 Batman, WF034 Batman, UXM047 Mystique, AVAS013A Triathlon, and WKD16-007 Captain Cold. That could actually probably be an article on its own.

Anyway, once he’s hit, if Chameleon’s on click 3 or 4  you could choose to be SMWW026 Clark Kent and start throwing out Hypersonic Superman tokens. Or if you are on exactly click 4, going to JLTW055 Tim Hunter can be a game breaking play. It’s going to be tough limiting this guy to just three options a game…

Spider-Gwen

4. SFSM052 Spider-Gwen – She’s got 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes, just like SFSM031 Spider-Man. But unlike him, she also gets Indomitable. Add that to her Super Strength, Improved Movement, a Traited Super Senses that is impossible to bypass with Precision Strike and her last click that may well send you back to her top dial.

There’s no secret combo with her, she’s just that good.

Thug

3. SFSM005 Thug – This guy is the best ten points you can spend on a Themed Team right now. You will be seeing him abused in multiples and en masse in tournaments very soon. Sure he doesn’t get a Themed Team Prob, but he does get to use ATAs. Pick any good ATA and build a team around that. For example, the Wonders of the World ATA which states, “Give a character using this team ability a power action to heal an adjacent friendly character 1 click. Heal 2 clicks instead if the adjacent character has the Wonders of the World keyword. Deal the character given the action 1 unavoidable damage.” Suddenly any thug you play is a heal battery for your real characters. The Sinister 12 ATA is also a good choice, “When you have more characters on the map than each opponent, modify the attack value of each character using this team ability by +1.

They are also really great to fill out keywords that don’t have enough pieces, or enough good pieces, or enough low cost pieces. Want to make an Amazon army? Here are your soldiers. The same can be said for Asgardians, Atlantians, and White Lanterns. The list is endless.

They are also great in situations where a special power on a figure affects your whole army. JLTW050E Superman’s leadership, UXM005A Emma Frost‘s perplex, and SMWW064 Green Light‘s Empower a Brigade Trait are all good examples. And certainly they are some of the best Mastermind fodder out there. You could even take someone with the Green Lantern Team Ability and fly 8 of them up to tie up the opposing team for several turns.

Try this example team:

Team Name: Thunder Thugs

Keyword: Thunderbolts

  • SFSM040 Speed Demon (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • SFSM051 Baron Zemo (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • 4* SFSM005 Thug (w/thunderbolts ATA)
  • Full Pandora’s Box
  • Total = 298
  • Strategy Tips: Set The Thunderbolts ATA to Mystics. The Thugs and Speed Demon also get +1 attack and Sidestep from Zemo. Add to that the Relics from Pandora’s Box and you’ll end up with a gaggle of Thugs with some pumped-up kicks. With 6 people on the team it should be fairly easy to distribute all of the sin relics by turn 7. Use Sidestep to edge ever closer to battle when you are low on actions.

Spider-Punk

2. SFSM062 Spider-Punk – This is the best of the Spider Chases and a pretty straight forward pick. His Improved Movement, Charge and Flurry with 3 starting Damage makes him a great choice to teleport in with the Spider-Verse Trait. In addition, his Super Senses and Shape Change along with his 18 Defense makes it hard for opponents to strike back. And if an opponent DOES manage to damage him, then he gives you your choice of Pulse Wave or Close Combat Expert to go along with his Sidestep. He’s a real steal at 75 points.

Spidey 048.jpg

1. SFSM049 Spider-Man – This guy fills a completely different role, but he is Nick Fury-level good. With the Perplex on his dial and his Super Strength, he can pick up an ultra-heavy object, pump up his Attack to 12, Hypersonic 9 spaces and hit someone for 6 Damage. This isn’t Spider-Man, it’s Superman in disguise.

He has Willpower (unlike most of the rest of the set) and the same hard to bypass Super Senses that Spider-Gwen has, but even better. The web Tokens he puts out by hitting people are even more effective here than on other figures because of his Hypersonic Speed. He has Improved Movement and the best keywords of any of the Spider-Man Family (Avengers and Reporter keywords!)

He only has Hypersonic Speed on his first 3 clicks, but on his last three clicks he has a Special Power that states, “LAST DITCH EFFORT: Spider-Man can use Precision Strike. Give Spider-Man a free action to make a close attack.” So he can still move his full movement and use Outwit! And then he can free action close attack. And then call in someone from the Spider-Verse.  And give the hit character a Web Token.  And then Side step away without having to break away (because of the Web Token).  So even his three “weaker” clicks aren’t actually that weak.

 

Okay! That’s it for me today, but keep it tuned to this space. We’ve got a lot of content in the pipeline!

See ya real soon!

 

Heat Check: Wordplay!! (Or, The Top Ten Named Keywords in Modern Age… Right Now!! PART TWO!!)

Kingdom Come Roundtable

 

Hello again! We’re back for Part 2 of our countdown of the best 10 Named Keywords in Modern Age… RIGHT NOW!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you missed numbers 10-6 and want to catch up, click here!]

 

Lego Thunderbolts

5. Thunderbolts

We Are Legion!: 32 pieces with 37 different dials (Man-Thing alone has 3!).

Uncle Sam Wants You!: None that I am aware of.

Also Known As: Yup. And, just like the Heroes for Hire ATA, it costs 8 points per character and it’s pretty awesome. Basically, at the beginning of the game, you choose any other Marvel TA (that’s not an ATA, Wild Card TA or an uncopyable TA), and everyone with the Thunderbolts keyword on your team gets that Team Ability. In most cases, this means that you’re choosing Mystics or Avengers Initiative, but you don’t have to decide until the game begins, which means you can scope out your opponent’s team and choose the TA that will be most helpful.

Is your opponent playing some short-dialed pieces that hit hard? Choose Mystics. Are you playing against a Batman Family theme team? Choose Avengers TA. Are you playing a Punisher or Deadpool-led ranged attacking team? Maybe Hydra or S.H.I.E.L.D. will do the trick. Do you want everyone on your team to have Phasing/Teleport? Well… you can’t. Cuz Serpent Society is no longer an official Team Ability–like Morlocks, it is now an ATA and, thusly, sadly ineligible to be copied. All of which just goes to prove my theory: Germans love David Hasselhoff WizKids hates the Serpent Society!

Working Together!: No team base, although, oddly, several of their pieces (Red Hulk, Deadpool) fit on the Avengers Team Base.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: None.

Straight, With Chaser: None.

Shadow of the Colossus: None (Sheessh! How ’bout some more Thunderbolts love, WizKids? We need a Colossal Atlas! Well, not really… ).

Micro Machines: A lot of great pieces under 100 Points, but only 1 dial that qualifies for this: Fast Forces Rookie Mercy, who clocks in at an even 50 Points.

Who Let You In?!: Has to be Kuurth, from Fear Itself. Sure the Juggernaut was a member of the Thunderbolts, but I don’t remember too much Thunderboltin’ around by ol’ Juggs when he was the thrall of the Serpent! Weird that this version of Juggernaut would have the Thunderbolts keyword.

Why Thunderbolts Is #5: Cuz I like them just a tiny bit better than Heroes for Hire, a group with which they share a good many key members. But after the HfH ATA nerf, you’re usually better off playing most of these pieces as Thunderbolts. Plus, you gain access to some Meta pieces like Bullseye, who’s tough to play on a Modern Age Themed Team any other way now that Entities have been nerfed (unless you want to team him with Convention Exclusive Moonstone, M10 Green Goblin or–nope, that’s it. Those are ALL your Modern Age Dark Avengers choices.).

Having played some of these pieces recently, both the Fast Forces and main set version of Elektra that we got in Deadpool were great, and Venom and Deadpool himself have their uses, but holy gawd is the main set Punisher good. Just playing him for 100 Points is a good move, but playing him on a Themed Team that allows you to give him Avengers Initiative for 8 measly point turns him into an absolutely remorseless killing machine.

Which, I suppose, is comic accurate.

Must Have Pieces: Speed Demon, Bullseye, Deadpool Fast Forces Mercy, Deadpool Main Set Punisher–hell, pretty much all of the Deadpool set.

 

Lego X-Men

4. X-Men

We Are Legion!: Whoa! 110 figures with over 134 dials between them!! Holy Schnikes, That’s even more than the Avengers.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter, although with a roster list that long, they don’t need one.

Also Known As: Until very recently, none. Now? 3 different ones from which to choose: X-Men: Gold, X-Men: Blue & X-Men (Utopia). They’re all kind of utilitarian (they all kind of revolve around positioning and or Leadership), and each one seems to work much better if you have some version of Cyclops on your team. If you want to play a non-Cyclops X-Men Themed Team, maybe don’t worry so much about the ATA’s…

Working Together!: Wow. Not 1 Team Base… not 2… how about 3 FREAKING TEAM BASES!! Good Lord! And if New Mutants wasn’t a keyword in and of itself, they’d have 4!

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yup! 2. I bet you remember good ol’ Vampire Jubilee from Wolverine and the X-Men; what you may have forgotten is that the Magneto Prime from that very same set (the Rare Prime) ALSO has the X-Men keyword.

Straight, With Chaser: 6. The Phoenix Five Chases from WXM and… Skrull Wolverine from M10!! In larger point games, the Phoenix Five start to get really broken really quickly. In 300 Point games, Rookie Magik is probably your best bet at 150 Points.

Shadow of the Colossus: Dark Phoenix Cyclops, the Grand Prize from AVX! He can be played at 3 different point levels; his 300 Point level is okay, but his 750 Point level and 1000 Point level are especially deadly.

Micro Machines: Four different members are 50 Points or less, including Prime Jubilee and Moira MacTaggert, one of the best healers in the game!

Who Let You In?!: Pretty solid roster, actually, but I’m gonna go with Husk. While she was certainly part of the official X-Men roster for awhile, she always took a back seat to her brother (Cannonball) in terms of notoriety, and her powers were just plain weird (she basically has the power to shed dead skin like a snake, which, um, allows her to, uh, do stuff). You could almost tell that the writers didn’t know what to do with her either, since they eventually just had her go crazy and, then, when she finally got better, they just had her go away.

Why X-Men Is #4: Because, right now, they have pretty much the largest roster in the game. You can go so many different ways with them and still be competitive. Plus, with so many versions, you can probably play your favorite roster and still be squarely in the Modern Age.

People always talk about the great Avengers pieces we got in AVX, but the X-Men did just as well! And Banshee (my #1 Figure from Deadpool) is ridiculously good for his points.

Must Have Pieces: Banshee is a Meta stud, Prime Jubilee, Gambit can fuel some shenanigans, AVX Cyclops, AVX Magneto, Dark Phoenix, Dark Phoenix Cyclops, DoFP Moira MacTaggert.

 

Lego SHIELD

3. S.H.I.E.L.D.

We Are Legion!: 47 pieces with 51 different dials. This is a sneaky big roster!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yes, of a sort. G.W. Bridge will add any character of 150 Points or less to an already existing force of five, provided that the first five characters all share a keyword. In 300 Point games, that’s pretty much gonna be either Soldier or S.H.I.E.L.D., but this Trait starts to get real interesting in larger point games.

Also Known As: Yup! It extends the minimum Range of Outwit, Perplex and Probability Control for just 3 Points per character. It’s incredibly useful, since S.H.I.E.L.D. characters almost always have at least one of those abilities.

Working Together!: No team base.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: You betcha! Remember Brother Voodoo? Yup. He’s also got the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword. Along with Deathlok Prime (heavy hitter from range) and War Machine Prime (heavy hitter from, well, everywhere).

Straight, With Chaser: 2 Chases. The aforementioned Captain America and Black Widow Chase from CATWS, and the, uh, also aforementioned Captain America Skrull Chase from M10.

Shadow of the Colossus: Currently none, but if and when WizKids ever wises up and creates an actual Helicarrier vehicle piece…

Micro Machines: 4. A S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldier. 2 different Agents and Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales) from ASM.

Who Let You In?!: As much as I love the character, since when is Sleepwalker an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Why S.H.I.E.L.D. Is #3: Because S.H.I.E.L.D. teams are some of the most effective teams out there, and they cater to a bunch of different play styles. From big bruisers like Iron Man 001 to War Machine Prime, to smaller, tricky pieces like Brother Voodoo and Agent Sitwell.

Speaking of the agents themselves, each one brings a different set of skills to your team. Sitwell offers a Power Action group Perplex and Sidestep to adjacent characters; Agent 13 can cancel any defensive powers used by adjacent opposing characters; Black Widow can steal opposing Themed Team Probs; Nick Fury can steal the placement of opposing objects; Maria Hill can Outwit opposing characters from across the board (under certain circumstances). And so on.

Beyond the fact that many of these figures are not only fun to play but also tourney tested, you’ll find some of the more unique powers in the game belong to pieces with the S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword.

Must Have Pieces: Brother Voodoo, Captain America and Black Widow, Agent Sitwell, Agent 13, M10 Iron Man, Living Mummy.

 

Lego Justice League

2. Justice League

We Are Legion!: 80 separate characters with 111 different dials!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter.

Also Known As: 4 separate ATA’s, although Justice League Dark is kinda obsolete (and was only “okay” to begin with).

“Justice League” is actually kind of sneaky good; for a measly 1 Point per character, it pumps up member defenses by +1 whenever they’re attacked by a character with the Wing, Sharpshooter, Indomitable or Giant combat symbols (just think about how many Meta pieces have one of those symbols for a second–almost all of them will have either Wing or Indomitable).

Working Together!: Yup! It was the original OP Team Base that dominated the tourney scene. It’s a bit obsolete now, but really only because we’re just coming off of a ROC season that banned Team Bases.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: 2. Dark Flash and The Caped Crusader. Dark Flash is perfectly respectable for his points; The Caped Crusader has seen some tourney play.

Straight, With Chaser: While there is a metric poop-ton of Super Rares on the roster, there isn’t actually a Chase piece.

Shadow of the Colossus: Believe it or not, none (The Bug is a “Giant” figure and Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet–a FREAKING JET, mind you–is considered to be normal-sized.

Micro Machines: 4. Crime Syndicate Fast Forces Atomica, Oracle, Rookie Batgirl… and Autopilot Invisible Jet. By the way… 50 Point Autopilot Invisible Jet HAS 10 CLICKS!! Sure, you say, but it’s just a glorified taxi. Uh, Invisible Jet has Pulse Wave on its last 4 Clicks (Range is 6) and a 10 Attack Value on its last 4! Whaaa… ? For 50 Points? How has this not been used more?

Who Let You In?!: I gotta be honest, I never really “got” Geo-Force. I know he has a 35 year history at this point, but I’ve never thought to myself, “Man, I really want to build a Justice League team from the Ge0-Force era!” I mean, even among his fans, he’s thought of more as an Outsider, no?

Why Justice League Is #2: Because there is elite-level quality all up and down their roster. Yeah, most of that quality is named Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, but so what? Each of those characters has no less than 3 awesome versions in Modern right now (actually, those Tab-App figures weren’t bad either–maybe that should be 4 awesome versions!).

Justice League: Trinity War alone added a 5-star Batman and a 5-star Superman. With the addition of Ultra-Heavy objects to the game, Trinity War Veteran Superman can Hypersonic 12 spaces across the board and potentially deal 8 freaking damage! And he’s backed up by a 19 Impervious. A dial like this probably would have cost 300-350 Points as recently as two years ago, but somehow WizKids thinks he’s fair at 250. I’m not saying Supes will destroy the tourney scene (figures who cost more than 200 Points and are not named “Sentry and Void” tend not to do so well at tournaments), but even with his high cost he is a VALUE for his points. Batman is probably even better (we’ll talk more in depth about both these pieces in our JL:TW Top Ten Set review).

But beyond the Trinity, Justice League has access to really special pieces like JL:TW Lex Luthor, that Team Base, and much more. Big point games simply allow you to use your pieces at full strength, but even in 300 Point games, this keyword is very competitive.

Must Have Pieces: Team Base, JL:TW Batman, JL:TW Superman, Fast Forces Atomica, JL:TW Lex Luthor, Elongated Man and The Flash from Flash.

 

Lego Green Lantern Corps

1. Green Lantern Corps

We Are Legion!: 32 different characters featuring 36 different dials.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yup–Ion is a Possessor, so you can induct any Modern Age character you want into the Corps (I’d suggest Speed Demon, but then I always suggest Speed Demon for everything).

Also Known As: 1 ATA, The Green Lantern Honor Guard. At 5 Points per member, it’s actually a pretty expensive and very situational +1 buff to Attack Value.

Working Together!: No Team Base. This could change in the future, as I’m sure fans will clamor for it, but that’s assuming that WizKids even makes Team Bases in the future.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Oh, they’ve got Primes. 4 to be exact. Laira Prime was one of the key pieces on the 2014 World Championship winning team, and she’s maybe the THIRD best prime with the keyword. Abin Sur and Tomar Tu are both better; regardless, all FOUR GLC Primes can use the extremely awesome “CONSTRUCT” Trait.

Straight, With Chaser: Ion is the lone Chase, but during his peak, he was going for over $200–he’s that good. As a Possessor, that is.

Shadow of the Colossus: None.

Micro Machines: 2 besides Ion when used as a Possessor. Green Lantern Recruit is pretty good; Abin Sur Prime is probably the best 50 Piece in Modern (although that’s deceiving, since you need to add another 8-10 Points for his Construct Trait).

Who Let You In?!: It’s not that they shouldn’t have made Simon Baz; his WOL LE was great! I just don’t need another, frankly inferior Simon Baz just two sets later.

Why Green Lantern Corps Has to Be #1: Because no other keyword has put more pieces in more high level tournament Top 8’s (ROC, World Championship, etc.). LE Kyle Rayner is almost silly he’s so good. All the WOL Primes are great; Abin Sur and Tomar Tu are ridiculously effective for their points.

The fact that the CONSTRUCT Trait is so good is really what powers their success, especially in ROC tourneys. And they have no less than 11 different pieces that can use that Trait!

Even in tournaments where Resources are allowed, the Green Power Battery interacts so well with their keyword that almost any GLC figure will be able to punch above its weight with ease. If you’re rolling into a major tournament, you better have a plan for dealing with the Corps!

Must Have Pieces: Ion, LE Kyle Rayner, Abin Sur, Tomar Tu, Laira, Parallax (Hal Jordan).

 

JUST MISSED THE CUT: Justice League of America (too top heavy–lots of quality from the best pieces, but that quality thins out pretty quickly); Justice League Dark (John Constantine is awesome, and the pieces all have synergy with each other, but the roster is simply too thin right now. There’s really only a few different ways to go if you want to be even mildly competitive. Now, if you just want to play some cool figures and have a lot of fun, they’re aces!); Kree (just missed out–again, a lot of synergy, and it’s overflowing with really good Ronan pieces from the GotG Movie Set).

 

So, there ya go! Those are your Top 10 Named Keywords in Modern Age… RIGHT NOW!! Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments below!

And look for our Justice League: Top 10 Set Review and Second Opinion articles coming later this month!

Heat Check: Wordplay!! (Or, The Top Ten Named Keywords in Modern Age… Right Now–PART ONE!!)

50 Greatest Avengers

Hello again, and welcome to a very special day at Critical Missives! We’re introducing a new recurring column gimmick! It’s called “Heat Check,” and we’re going to use this space to count down the Top Ten versions of various Heroclix game elements.

Today, as we start to analyze where the game is at now that Justice League: Trinity War has released, we’re going to take a look at the best Named keywords in Modern Age play right now. Why? Well, first, because it’s always fun to rank stuff in a blog post, and second, these rankings may help you decide what team you want to play the next time you’re getting ready for a game at your local venue–or at least give you a hint as to which Named Themed Team keywords you might run into at your next event!

We’re going to judge keywords based on a bunch of different criteria:

We Are Legion!: This one’s pretty straightforward. This is just the total number of available characters.  The higher the number of total characters, the more options you have for team building.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: This is basically asking if there’s a recruiter–that is to say, is there any way for the keyword to pull characters without the keyword into your army while still keeping Theme. Which is a complicated way of asking if there’s someone like Amanda Waller, G.W. Bridge, Duhg, etc. who has a Trait that gives a certain Named keyword to a character who doesn’t have it during army construction. Recruiters obviously open up your options quite a bit; not every Named keyword is going to have a Recruiter–most don’t–but those that do definitely have a leg up when it comes to being able to construct a competitive team for just about any gametype.

Also Known As: Is there an available ATA? This is a big one. There’s some really great ATA’s out there, and some Named keywords even have access to more than one! The presence of an ATA can vastly increase the effectiveness of your team in many cases.

Working Together!: Does this keyword have access to a Team Base? If you haven’t heard, these things are stupidly good. The presence of a Team Base also means that the keyword can support larger game types as well.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Prime characters are usually ridiculously efficient for their points. That’s why (in all but one case) you can only play one per Build. If a Named keyword doesn’t have access to at least one Prime character, they’re gonna have to work a little harder to be as effective in a competitive environment. If they have MORE than one Prime to choose from, um… damn. That usually doesn’t happen… Usually.

Straight, With Chaser: Chases are cool. But, more relevant to our purposes here, Chases are usually really effective (much less consistently than Primes, and they’re not intended to be equivalently as good, but still), primarily because they often all share at least one really good Trait (if not more) that’s often synergistic (for example, the Z-Virus Traits on the Zombie Chases from Deadpool and Guardians). Plus, they’re just that little extra bit of fun to play. If a Named keyword has access to one or more Chase characters, again, this will only give you more options while building your squad.

Shadow of the Colossus: Like Team Bases, Colossal characters are just fun as hell to play, and often overpowered (just by their very nature). Most venues only allow them for certain gametypes. Still, the presence of a Colossal within the pool of available figures often means that the Named keyword can field not just a great 300 Point team, but great teams at point levels up to 1000 and beyond for those weeks your venue is running an epic clash.

Micro Machines: The other end of the spectrum; if your putting a team together for a micro game (200 or less), does this keyword have enough good figures to make a team? Also, a larger number of smaller character would indicate that this keyword has a lot of supporting characters to choose from. Another sign of overall versatility.

Who Let You In?!: Our pick for the least likeliest figure in Modern that ACTUALLY has the keyword.

 

So, with all that said, let’s count ’em down, Dave Letterman-style!!

Here are your TOP TEN KEYWORDS IN MODERN AGE.. RIGHT NOW!!

 

Marvel ZOmbies Villains

10. Z-Virus

We Are Legion!: Pretty darn small roster, actually. 18 distinct characters with 20 different dials (17 figures plus a 3-dial Team Base). But Z-Virus makes up for its small quantity with a high amount of quality!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: In short, no, although all but two Z-Virus characters (everyone but Headpool and the Team Base) can resurrect opposing characters that they KO as new teammates, which I suppose is a roundabout way of recruiting, no? Still, this won’t help you during army construction, which is what this category is really about.

Also Known As: No ATA. Frankly, they don’t need one.

Working Together!: They do have a Team Base, and it’s pretty damn good!

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: No Primes, but…

Straight, With Chaser: … they have access to 16 DIFFERENT CHASE PIECES!! Only Headpool (Common) and the Team Base (LE) aren’t Chases. As mentioned before, all the Chase Z-Virus characters have Improved Movement: Ignores Characters AND the same two Traits in common: 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 AS WELL AS ZOMBIE INFECTION: When Super Skrull damages an opposing character, give that character a Virus token if it has less than 5 Virus tokens. When an opposing character is KO’d by this character, you may add it to your force, turn to its first KO click, remove all of its Virus tokens and heal it that many clicks.

This makes almost every character with this keyword hard as heck to kill with any finality.

Shadow of the Colossus: Shockingly, Zombie Galactus does NOT have the Z-Virus keyword. Ninwashui and I often “House Rule” him to have it; regardless, he still has the Monster keyword so he can make a generic Themed Team with any of the Z-Virus characters. Still, this really hurts–very annoying, WizKids!

Micro Machines: Not so much. Only Headpool at 38 Points is under 50, but most Zombies are actually pretty reasonably priced.

Who Let You In?!: Has got to go to GOTG061 Skrull. The Zombie Villain no one was asking for. It’s the only Zombie Chase that isn’t Unique. Even Wizkids is like, “Naw, man, go ahead and play as many as you want. Trust us, it’s not to your advantage.” For so many reasons, this should have been Zombie Thanos.

Why Z-Virus Is #10: Because of their innovative Zombie mechanics, these guys are a blast to play. The Team Base is much more effective to play than it is on paper. Now, outside of Headpool, it is a nightmare trying to cobble all these characters together (after a lengthy pursuit over two sets, I myself have Headpool, five of the Chases and the Team Base–basically 33% of the available Zombies. Sigh… ), but it can be worth it. Headpool, Electro and Super Skrull in particular are Meta-Worthy, with Super Skrull having headlined at least one ROC-winning squad (if not more).

Must Have Pieces: Headpool, Electro, Super Skrull.

 

LEgo Avengers

9. Avengers

We Are Legion!: Huge roster. Go spelunking for the Avengers keyword on HCRealms.com’s Units section and you’ll return 120 results!!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter, at least not as yet, although who knows how the Avengers Round Table Resource that’s gonna hit this summer will work…

Also Known As: Yup–four different ATA’s!! The best is probably Secret Avengers (Characters using this team ability can’t be the target of an opponent’s Outwit or Perplex unless they’ve been targeted with an attack previously in the same turn. 5 Points per character.).

Working Together!: A pretty decent Team Base from AVX that offers a ton of different cast options (more than a dozen characters to choose from).

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yup! Invincible Iron Man gave us three–Hyperion, War Machine and Silver Centurion!

Straight, With Chaser: Just a few Chases to choose from, at least until this summer. The best is probably the Cap/Black Widow duo from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Shadow of the Colossus: At the moment, none, although Phoenixbuster Iron Man is a giant… and a giant sculpt!

Micro Machines: One pretty good one (Tony Stark from Iron Man 3 is exactly 50 Points) and NOTHING ELSE. Wow!

Who Let You In?!: Gonna go with wkM-012 Firestar. I remember the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon fondly from my youth; never thought I’d see those characters made into ‘Clix with Avengers keywords. Crazy! I’d say the runner-up here is Mantis–I think of her more as a Guardian now.

Why Avengers Is #9: Just on sheer variety, Avengers has to be a part of this list. Man that’s a big roster! But they’ve also got some wickedly effective pieces, too. They’ve slid down to #9 because of all the quality they lost when Chaos War rotated (Hawkeye or Sentroid, anyone?), but I’d expect Avengers to be Top 3 (or better) by the time Nick Fury and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. releases this summer as there’s no fewer than THREE sets devoted to the Avengers coming out between April and May.

Most of the AvX pieces were quite solid, with Scarlet Witch being especially effective at her 100 Point level, but the fact is that since at least half of the Marvel Universe has been in the Avengers at some point, just about every set has a quality Avengers piece (heck, even Deadpool gave us Shang-Chi… along with a Deadpool piece that didn’t have the keyword but somehow was allowed on the Avengers Team Base!).

Must Have Pieces: AvX Scarlet Witch, Captain America and Black Widow Duo, Silver Centurion.

 

Black Lantern Lego

8. Black Lantern Corps

We Are Legion!: 17 different Modern Age characters with, like, 27 different dials.

Uncle Sam Wants You!: Yup! WOL060P Black Hand will bring any character you want over to the dark side for a measly 25 Points! Also, if you’re using the Black Lantern Resource, you can dish out the Black Lantern Corps keyword to whoever you want, but that won’t help you during force construction.

Also Known As: Uh-huh. They’ve got just one, but it’s a good’un! Only costs 1 point per character and it guarantees at least 1 click of health will be restored whenever a BLC member uses Regeneration (which, with their dials, will probably happen quite a bit)!

Working Together!: No Team Base…

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Yes! Exactly one, and he’s awesome! Zoom, the Super Rare Prime from Flash!

Straight, With Chaser: None–even Black Hand is just a SR.

Shadow of the Colossus: Two!! Nekron and Black Lantern Anti-Monitor! Nekron is a straight Boss Battle piece (which basically means he costs a ton of points and is definitely over powered in larger games) as would be expected of the Grand Prize Piece for a 6-month long OP campaign. BLAM is great in his own right; not as powerful, but he doesn’t cost as much, either.

Micro Machines: Just 2–Black Hand (as a Possessor only, so he doesn’t really count for this) and Black Lantern Reanimate, who’s not bad for his 35 Points.

Who Let You In?!: The Modern Age BLC roster is pretty tight, so we’re gonna twist this category around and complain about who HASN’T been let in yet. The biggest no shows so far (in order of “totally egregious omission” to “would have been nice to have”) are Black Lantern versions of Elongated Man, Hawkman and Hawkgirl (these two could have even been a duo!), Martian Manhunter, Sue Dibny and Jean Loring. Now, we got a pretty good Elongated Man in Flash and a very good Hawkman in JL: TW, so theoretically you could Black Hand Possess either of those pieces and be comic accurate. BL Manhunter was also a big antagonist in “Blackest Night,” so he would have been nice to have as well. At least there’s a Brave and the Bold Golden Age version of him, so at least he isn’t as yet Un-Clix’d like Ms. Dibny and Ms. Loring.

Why Black Lantern Corps Is #8: They are just hideously effective. Playing a Black Lantern Corps team isn’t entirely dissimilar than playing a Z-Virus team–both keyword families get exponentially stronger every time you KO an opposing figure. But the fact that they have both a Recruiter (Black Hand) and TWO different Colossals to choose from means that this keyword can be a contender in almost any size game. And we haven’t even mentioned the fun that is Black Lantern Firestorm or Aquaman yet!

Must Have Pieces: Zoom Prime, Black Hand, Nekron.

 

Lego GotG

7. Guardians of the Galaxy

We Are Legion!: 29 different figures with 33 distinct dials!

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiters. Bummer.

Also Known As: Two! The first basically makes team members un-Outwittable for a measly 4 Points a character. Extremely useful. The second (GotG Silver Age) is now practically useless (makes team members Wild Cards, but erases all other team abilities they possess. Which, y’know, makes being a Wild Card preeeeeeeety pointless.

Working Together!: No Team Base… this clearly needs to be remedied.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Surprisingly, none.

Straight, With Chaser: Two, and one’s a must have! The Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set gave us what has to be considered one of the best Rocket Raccoons ever!

Shadow of the Colossus: None.

Micro Machines: Not one. Mantis I think is the closest at 56.

Who Let You In?!: No actual complaints here; roster is solid, with a few classic characters (Killraven!) mixed with a heavier tilt towards the modern roster (Iron Man, Angela, etc.).

Why Guardians of the Galaxy Is #7: Because there’s barely any stinkers on the roster. Even some of the common, easily available figs like Mantis and Major Victory have turned up on Top 8 winning ROC squads. You want to get up to some shenanigans? Main set Star-Lord makes every team member’s Defense value equal to the highest native Defense value possessed by a team member (hello Chase Rocket Raccoon and his 19 D!!).

If there’s a power or game mechanic you want, you’ll probably find it on one of these folks! Consistent quality.

Must Have Pieces: A bunch. Rocket Raccoon (Movie Set Chase), Star-Lord (Movie Set Starter), Major Victory, Mantis, Yondu, Star-Lord (Main set Uncommon).

 

Lego Heroes for Hire

6. Heroes for Hire

We Are Legion!: 26 characters with 27 different dials (for those keeping score at home and wondering about my math, the Colleen Wing and Misty Knight duo fig can actually be played as separate dials that distinctly represent each character, or played as a whole dial representing both as a duo piece). Also, for those wondering why I’d choose Luke Cage to headline this section when THERE IS NO MODERN AGE LUKE CAGE, well, yeah, that’s kinda my point! We need a Modern Luke Cage, dammit! (And with Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron OP coming this year, I’m pretty sure were getting at least one, if not two or more, since we know he’ll have an ID card… )

Uncle Sam Wants You!: No recruiter.

Also Known As: Yup! Their ATA was, at one point (circa 2013) the best in the game. So good, in fact, that WizKids had to nerf it, since every tournament was being won by Ghost Rider with the HfH ATA and, well, anything else.

Working Together!: No Team Base.

Prime Time!! Prime Time!!: Two. One is a super-efficient close combatant who starts with Charge, Flurry, Stealth, Quake (with a 12 Attack!), Super Senses, CCE (and the ability to use it as a close combat action, so it pairs nicely with Charge or Flurry!) and a Trait that has a 33% chance to nerf opposing Relics and Resources if a character using one of those attacks him.

And he’s the “bad” Prime.

As good as Cat is, Brother Voodoo will go down as possibly the best Prime ever made (although we shall watch the Modern Age careers of Zoom and Captain Marvel with interest, methinks–and yes, unfortunately that was a Phantom Menace reference. Deal with it!).

Straight, With Chaser: None. Don’t really need one. That ATA turns almost any piece into a Chase-level efficient attacker!

Shadow of the Colossus: Again, none. And again, probably don’t need one.

Micro Machines: Just two–Black Cat from Deadpool and Johnny Blaze from ASM.

Who Let You In?!: So, again, just to be clear: 2 (really three, when you count the fact that you can play the Duo as separate dials) Modern Age versions of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing; 2 Modern Age versions of Black Cat; a Modern Age freakin’ Humbug… and no Modern Age Luke Cage?!?!?!?!? Suuuuuuuurrrre…

Why Heroes for Hire Is #6: Because they’re still going strong two years after they’re Modern Age reintroduction in ASM! It’s funny, everyone thinks of HfH as a ASM sub-theme, which it certainly was, but Deadpool actually gave us more than twice as many HfH figs, which really rejuvenated the keyword. Once ASM rotates out, HfH will definitely suffer, but given the roster overlap in the comics between the Avengers (who, as mentioned, have, like a bazillion sets coming this year) and the Heroes for Hire, I wouldn’t be shocked if HfH shows up on this list again in 6 months!

But you could argue that right now, they deserve to be even higher. They have Meta pieces coming out of their earholes: Ghost Rider; Speed Demon; DP Main Set Elektra; FI (White Ranger) Iron Fist; Brother Voodoo; Shang-Chi… all these pieces have made a Meta impact, whether at a ROC tourney or elsewhere.

Must Have Pieces: Pretty much the list above. Also, HfH pieces are probably the easiest to collect. Individually, there’s none that will cost more than about $20, and most are much cheaper. Kind of like the opposite of collecting Z-Virus pieces.

 

Alright! That’s the end of part one! We’ll count down all the way to number 1 in Part 2 next week! Also, later this month you can expect Ninwashui and I to give our JL: Trinity War Top Ten Set Reviews!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 2 is live! And you can find it right here!]

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!]

Feedback!! (Or, The First Night of Clix-Mas!!)

Christmas Marvel Peanuts

Hello! And welcome to the first NIGHT of Clix-Mas (the gimmick seems a little less stolen if I just change it from the 12 DAYS of Clix-mas to the 12 NIGHTS of Clix-mas! Yay! A Festivus for the rest of us!).

For today’s entry, we’re gonna talk about some direct feedback I received from local venue-goer–and fellow Nekron winner!–Matt, who pointed out that Black Talon wasn’t among the figures I highlighted when we were ROC’ing the Meta a month ago (Part 2 can be found right here).

Matt made his case that the ability to Mind Control friendly figures in general is still a viable strategy in the Meta, even with the retirement rotation of GG Mole Man.

"What?! I'm not legal in Modern Age unless I'm undead? What sense does that make?"

“What?! Retire?! But I’m in the best shape of my life!”

Also, he felt that Black Talon brought a lot to the table beyond that and, thus, was definitely a Meta-worthy fig. And you know what?

He’s not wrong.

I just don’t agree with him.

Insomuch as Black Talon being a difference maker in the current ROC formats (like many pieces, you can rapidly fix a lot of his flaws with an Entity or Resource).

But there’s many who would with Matt–including some very high-level players. Heck, the Dial H for Heroclix crew just listed Black Talon as one of the top Support pieces out there, considering everything he’s capable of.

Let’s take a quick look at him:

"Yessss! The only thing more effective than the original X-Men: actual ex-men! Cuz... cuz they're dead. Get it?  Yeah, that was a long way to go for nothing."

“Yessss! The only thing more effective than the original X-Men: actual ex-men! Cuz… cuz they’re dead. Get it? <Sigh> Yeah, that was a long way to go for nothing.”

–DP043 Black TalonRare — 60 Points

He has five clicks total, but he starts out with Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs with a 10 Attack, so he can definitely be a Tertiary Attacker or even a fringe-y Secondary Attacker (to use a baseball scouting term). But the best reasons to play him are his Trait (POWER OF THE LIVING LOA: When Black Talon uses Mind Control, you may place a KO’d opposing character in an adjacent square on its starting click, and that character becomes the target. After actions resolve, that character is removed from the game.) and his Special Damage Power (CONTROL OF THE MINDLESS UNDEAD: Black Talon can use Mind Control with a range value of 8, and when he does he may target friendly characters. If all of his targets are friendly, a lower point value, and have the Monster keyword, he may use it as if had 3 bolts.).

Forget that last part of “Control of the Mindless Undead”–you’d almost have to hamstring your Build just to have a chance to get it to go off. No, the reason people play him is for the first part of that power–the ability to target friendly characters with Mind Control (and with a very healthy Range of 8, at that!).

So, the concept behind armies that feature “friendly Mind Control” is to, essentially, cheat the batting order. Basically, you want to play your friendly Mind Control piece with a heavy hitter that you think can break the game if they get to attack more than their fair share during a turn. To continue the baseball metaphor, in other words, you’re trying to fix it so that your Triple Crown-winning All-Star first baseman best attacker(s) will attack bat twice in one inning Round.

Yup! This man is the face of our franchise (and the best hitter on the planet!).

Yup! This man is the face of our franchise (and the best hitter on the planet!).

One of the problems with this strategy is that you can most definitely miss with the Mind Control roll, and suddenly you’ve wasted an action from one of your support pieces AND a potential strike from one of your Heavy Hitters.

Also, specifically in Black Talon’s case, he doesn’t give you ANYTHING in terms of actual supporting powers such as Support, Prob, Perplex or Outwit. Not unless you outfit him with an Entity or a Resource or something.

So you REALLY need to make those Mind Control roles. Which means that you always need to make sure Black Talon is within 8 Squares and can draw a line of fire to your best attacker. And keep in mind, Mole Man IGNORED MIND CONTROL DAMAGE and pumped up his Mind Control rolls by a staggering +3! Black Talon does neither. With only 5 clicks, Mind Control damage can become a problem very quickly.

The Meta (as far as the ROC goes, I mean) has shifted away (for the most part) from this strategy recently because there are now a lot of options to get multiple attacks in one turn with a really good figure who doesn’t have to rely on a dice roll to be able to make that second attack.

Figures like:

–Anyone who can Charge or Hypersonic Speed and Flurry. Best Example: WOL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)

–Any figure who starts with or can get Duo Attack. Best Examples: WOL107 Kyle Rayner or CATWS018 Captain America and Black Widow

–Figures who have other Special Traits or Powers that let them attack or cause damage twice in one turn. Best Examples: GOTG050 Proxima MidnightDP053A Speed Demon, DP053B Whizzer or DP057 Tiamat

–Figures with Penetrating Poison (or even just Poison). Best Examples: Like, every Red Lantern.

What do most of these figures have in common? Yup! You can find most of them being used by high-level players in the latest ROC results. Now, just because serious tournament players are using the heck out of a certain piece doesn’t mean it’s necessarily awesome–sometimes people screw up, even at that level. But it usually means there’s something very efficiently exploitable about a piece.

All of which is to say, Black Talon is good. Great, even, and he IS viable in the Meta–so Matt was right.

However, if you really want to win a tourney like the ROC, leaving yourself flexible options while taking as much risk as possible OUT of your gameplan is key. That’s why I prefer figures with built-in mechanisms for multiple attacks, as opposed to having to roll for it.

"Psssh. I never gotta 'roll' for it. Heh. You know what I mean. See? This guy gets it."

“Psssh. I never gotta ‘roll’ for it. Heh. You know what I mean. See? This guy gets it.”

 

Well, that’s all for Day Night One of the Twelve Days Nights of Clix-Mas!

Join us tomorrow for a special (and long overdue!) Tourney Report!

 

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

 

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

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

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

[To Be Read In Your Best Kiefer Sutherland Voice]

Previously, on Critical Missives:

 

Bill Agent of Aim Soranik Natu Void Tomar Tu Despotellis

–‘Anakin, NO!’

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

Abin Sur Kyle Raynor ION 2 Shatterstar Helspont

–‘Hail Hydra!

–‘Highfather is a losing strategy.’

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

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

—————————————————————

 

And Now… The Conclusion.”

 

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

 

Ain’t What They Used to Be Division:

This is what a good idea poorly executed looks like.

Suuuuure you do, Sweetie…

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

Yup!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINAL TALLY: Speed Demon wins, 2-1.

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

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

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

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

"Bizarro am Meta this season!"

“Bizarro am Meta this season!”

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

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

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

 

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

 

Speed Demon

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

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

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

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

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

Maxwell_Dillon_(Earth-2149)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

And What to Expect From The Flash:

 

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

 

Turtle

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

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!

Theme: N/A

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110 Points

IIM040 Shaman92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle50

=300 (Exactly! Yay!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

A Really Long Reply: Skye’s Father and Other Random Thoughts…

This started off as a really long comment/reply to Hypefox’s last Mid-Weekly Roundup. With everything he brought up, my reply ended up being long enough to be it’s own article.

What follows is in no particular order…

Agents of Shield Title

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D:

–I read an article today theorizing that the Inhumans are coming to Agents of S.H.I. E.L.D. . The author theorized that the blue alien that healed Coulson was a Kree and that Skye was an Inhuman. That’s why Skye shared some DNA with the blue alien (being that the Inhumans were the result of Kree genetic experiments on humans). They also theorized that the obelisk is actually a Terrigan Crystal. Various characters in the series have also mentioned several times that Skye and her father were from the Himalayas. That was the original location of the home of the Inhumans (before it moved to the moon and before it blew up). Now, the author of the article thought Skye’s father would either be Mr. Hyde (retconned to now be an Inhuman), Maximus, or the Unspoken! The first one would make Skye into “Daisy” from Marvel’s Secret Warriors and the last two would actually make Skye part of the Inhuman royal family!

My guess?

I think it will turn out that Mr. Hyde will be Skye’s father. There is talk of an Inhumans movie and if that’s true then Mr. Hyde would be the least likely character that would be needed for such an endeavor, which in turn would mean that the showrunners would have free rein to do whatever they wanted to with the character. That’s why I think Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t feature more recognizable super people–they didn’t know which characters would and would not be needed for MCU films in the near future. Having a major villain debut on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much ensures that character won’t make it into the movies (at least not in any meaningful way, i.e. the primary antagonist).

Can you imagine if, say, a Hawkeye movie featured as the main villain someone that Phil Coulson’s team fought (and ostensibly beat) during an episode of MAoS? There could definitely be a feeling of ‘been there, done that’ to the proceedings, which could cause ticket sales to suffer, which is just about the last thing you would want for a tentpole flick that would cost a minimum of $150 million to produce.

However, if the MCU movies used some of the characters who were first established on TV (or, say, one of the upcoming Netflix series) to fill in the edges of some of their stories, well, that could be really cool. For example, if, say, Absorbing Man showed up as bit player in the next Avengers movie then I think that would drive the up popularity of both media, and would make the TV series “matter” in the movie universe. Can you imagine Avengers 2 opening with the already-established-on-Agents-of-S.H.I.E.L.D.-Absorbing Man fighting the Hulk in Times Square before the opening credits? Then Ultron reveals him himself after the Avengers assemble post-fight back at the tower. I don’t think they’ll do it, but it’s awesome to think about. Really, the possibilities for this sort of thing are endless…

 

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

Celebrate-Gate…

 The Detroit Lions – These guys have been known in years past (really every other year previous to now) to lead fans on and make them start to believe only to yank the football away at the last second like Lucy does with Charlie Brown. Their defense this year will be remembered as one of the best the team has ever had. The offense will likely not be remembered at all. They won their latest game in incredible fashion, or more accurately the Falcons lost their latest game in incredible fashion. On the plus side this week no major player injured themselves celebrating, and our field goal kicker proved he can actually make a field goal if you give him a free do-over. Seriously I would love it if Jason Hanson came back. I think the Lions are getting kickers from the same place that the Tigers get closers.

 

Avengers_Assemble_TV_series

Marvel Cartoon Series – I don’t have any new news here. I just wanted to bring these to your attention in case you haven’t been checking them out. When Marvel connected everything in their movie universe by releasing the Avengers, the cartoon universe made that same move. In 2013, the current (at that time) Avengers cartoon was based off of the comics. It was replaced by Avengers Assemble, which started in episode one with the events of the Avengers movie. From there it diverges wildly (like adding falcon to the team in episode 1), but it’s nice for new viewers to have the movie starting point. Being in cartoon form also allows them to do things that wouldn’t fly in the movies – like having Dracula (yes that Dracula) be a reoccurring villain.  Avengers Assemble also connects with Ultimate Spider-man and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in the same cartoon Universe. This allows them to guest star characters frequently between series and keep the same voice actors for characters regardless of show. For example, Iron Man is always voiced by Adrian Pasdar (who is also Glen Talbot on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) regardless of which of the shows he’s appearing on at the time. That inter-connectedness makes it cool.

 

redbox

On Blu-Ray this month – I’ve got kids so I miss a ton of movies in theatres. I took a chance and rented Godzilla this week. I loved Pacific Rim and I was hoping this would be similarly fun. That ended up not being the case. The director made the incomprehensible decision to shoot the movie with realistic lighting conditions. Like maybe the monsters would be a lot scarier if you couldn’t really see them. Except in other movies that do that there is something else for the viewers to watch. This was just dark and hard to see. Can you imagine if the original Star Wars used realistic lighting conditions and you could barely see the Death Star the whole movie? Ridiculous. The plot also was absurd and that’s coming from someone who thought the Mathew Brodrick version was decent. HISHE has a wonderful spoof on this movie. The part with the “let them fight” line was dead on.

I’m hoping to rent The Edge of Tomorrow and 1000 Ways to Die in the West soon. I have higher hopes for those movies.

 

The_Flash_(2014_TV_series)_logo

The Entire Flash set Versus Speed Demon – They’ve revealed five Hypersonic Speed-based character dials for The Flash set so far. While they each have some interesting powers, they all require you to hit an opponent before you can really do anything special. There are faster pieces in this set, but so far it looks like Speed Demon will remain the best Hypersonic HeroClix character [EDITOR’S NOTE: All characters get better with Entities, obviously, but he is damn near broken! Ion is great with him; Ophidian might be just as good, if not better (keep in mind, if you can find a way to give Speed Demon Sidestep, his Trait still activates! So in addition to your normal attack and first Speed Cyclone Uplift victim, if you’re careful enough with your positioning, you would have a 1 in 6 chance to do another 1 damage to an opposing figure. That’s three freaking chances to deal damage to opposing figures, and two of them don’t even need attack rolls. Sick, sick SICK!!]

On an unrelated note, FL204 Central City Police Captain has a power that reads “LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT: When building your force, all characters with the Police keyword have the Central City keyword.” With the Batman and Streets of Gotham sets still being legal, Police teams might be a thing again. As always, stay tuned…

 

Krampus

Team of the week – I’ve had reason to study the Krampus/Helspont combo recently and I’m finding the only teams truly resistant are teams that feature a tent pole that costs over 199 points (because Helspont can’t switch with them). To that end I put together this quick team.

“Deadpool is Just the Man to Teachethetheth Thee.”

  • DP055 Deadpool (w/DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?”)
  • TDW011 Fandral
  • FIR100 The Book of the Skull
  • FIR107 Angrir’s Hammer
  • Total = 299 points

If someone tries to “Krampus” this team they won’t be able to touch Deadpool due to his point cost.  That leaves Fandral. Fandral can use his perplex to raise his defense by one and then Krampus would need hit a 20 defense to get his Capture. It’s still very possible Krampus makes that roll, but it’s a certainly not a “lock”. That’s not really even the worst part for the Krampus player. If Helspont switches with Fandral, he’ll end up double tokened next to Deadpool. Deadpool has outwit, pulse wave, and an attack of 14. He’s not going to miss except on snake eyes. Helspont will be near the end of his dial very quickly.

Against non-Krampus teams, Deadpool is still a killer and Fandral is still a very competent backup attacker. If Fandral rolls low on Blades then Deadpool gets a free close combat attack via Fandrals’s Feint special power . If Fandral rolls high on Blades, then he rolls high on Blades. Isn’t that enough?

The approach on the battlefield against other teams might hurt because Deadpool only has a six range, but once you close with another team you will be incredibly deadly.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Any team using the Yellow Power Battery has the possibility to give Krampus fits as well, provided your figures are over 79 Points. The Hal Jordan Parallax team from the first “Let’s Be Lanterns” should be able to mop the floor with a Krampus/Helspont team. Having said that, yeah, there’s not a lot that effectively counters Krampus/Helspont. Props to you again, Andrew!]

Well, that’s it for now. Man, that was a lot of randomness that I just scribbled down. I feel like Larry King! Now if only I got paid like him…

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry. Not gonna happen.]

Damn.

 

 

 

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

Roundup

 

Welcome Back!!

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

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

Bossmus

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

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

Brad Ausmus's version of Sabermetrics.

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

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

 

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

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

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

“Oh, Stephen, noooo!”

 

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

Well, look no further than…

 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

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

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

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

Push to Regen

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

"We're a Thing again!"

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

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

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

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

 

Preview

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

A couple of takeaways from that video:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

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

Krampus

Team Name: Krampin’ Your Style

Theme: None

Roster:

WKWK–002 Krampus79 Points

(assigned The Utility Belt with 1 item)–8

SLOSH042 Helspont200

DP018 Blind Al13

=300 Points

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Agents of Shield Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Critical Missives:

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

 

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

Days of Past Sets Future!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 06/08/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello Again!!

(Or perhaps–as our site’s metrics indicate we’ve picked up quite a few new readers this week–hello for the first time!)

Welcome to the Critical Missives Weekly Roundup, where we recap the week in Clix, offer some news and community updates, a few random opinions on stuff, and get you caught up on life–or at least your gaming life. Or at least some of the stuff that happened. With Heroclix. It’s a low bar, but we usually manage to reach it!

So then, without further ado, here is…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix just released Episode 48! I jumped the gun a little bit in reporting host Hunter’s nuptials and honeymoon, but he sits in with the guys and discusses both a new format for their show and which important Modern Age figures will be rotating out come July when, well, a whole bunch of sets will rotate out of Modern (more on this in a little bit in the WizKids section).

Also, June’s Dial Design just finished Week 2; incidentally, I was, unfortunately, too busy to submit this month, but there have been some really cool entries.

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is done cooking up Episode 2.4!! You can also check their Podbean for updates and the first three episodes of Season 2!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 20, which sees the return of the Round Table!! Having said that, Hunter Smith announced on this week’s Dial H For Heroclix Podcast that he will be leaving as a regular on the Quarry Round Table episodes; while he didn’t rule out an occasional pop-in, Hunter is done after this month as a continual presence.


Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

-A couple new ROC’s have been announced for Kentucky and Indiana!

-Not that I’ll be able to attend, unfortunately, but local venue Gamer’s Gauntlet has a ROC event scheduled for the end of this month. I’ve heard nothing else about this from any other source; check out their website for more details (via the link above).

–If you missed it a couple weeks ago, a brief announcement was made that the recent “Watchlist 2: Electric Bugaloo” changes will go into effect, well, immediately.

–If you want to know what the most frequently used ROC figures are, check out Ninwashui’s latest article that dropped yesterday!

As far as what will be used frequently going forward, I think we’ll see:

-From War of the Light, all of the Entity Chases (but especially Parallax and Entity) will be huge (when played at their 25-point level as “Possessors”); Despotellis should also see a lot of usage;

-From Deadpool, Speed Demon (in particular) and Thunderbolts Teams (in general) should become popular as Speed Demon’s Cyclone Trait offers one of the only ways in the game right now to deal damage without making so much as an attack roll. He’s relatively cheap on eBay at the moment (plenty available around $14.00, which is basically the price of one pack), but once he starts dominating the Meta, look for that price to go up in a hurry. Especially because there’s slightly less of him than other Super Rare, since he’s a Prime;

"'Top o' the morning to ye."

“‘Top o’ the morning to ye.”

-And also from Deadpool… yeah, Banshee. Of course. And possibly Zombie Electro;

-Someone will take a shot at building an army around Phoenixbuster Iron Man, and that person will be awesome in all aspects of life (but they’ll still lose, probably, unless their match-ups fall perfectly).

-Someone will try building a Mystical team around Shaman, as I’ve previously predicted! (Hint: He teams best with Iron Pharaoh!! Also, Map Choice is really important with that type of team!)

-Mercy from the DeadPool Fast Forces is basically the next Scarlet Witch from Chaos War! Of course, at 100 points, AvX Scarlet Witch is pretty good too; but run out and get FF:DP before they’re all sold out and your paying $40 for a $17 quick set! The 75-Point Fast Forces Elektra is also really efficient for her points!

Wizkids

WIZKIDS NEWS:

–WizKids is rotating sets finally, which should juice the Meta starting July 1st!! Pretty much everything Marvel and DC BEFORE M:10 and DC:10

–A general FYI: a few weeks ago, WizKids announced a monthly New OP kit system!


Preview

Previews:

–Final War of the Light color (Black) went live on Newsarama. Black Lantern Spectre looks sweeeeeet.

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

This week, we’re gonna keep it new and simple for you guys out there:

Team Name: You’lllllll Neveeeerrrr Seeeee Me Commmmmiiiiinng

ThemeThunderbolts

DP053A Speed Demon – 110 Points

FFDP006R Mercy50 

DP036 Bullseye- 110

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force12

(with the Colossus Fragment still Attached) – 3

Cyclops, Emma Frost and Magik Fragments 9

2x Assigned Characters6

=300

Bullseye is taxi’d by Mercy, and then he simply runs amok with his 12 Attack value and triple target 8 Range Precision Strike (remember, Fragments give characters the Flight ability but NOT the Wing symbol, so Mercy can still carry them!). Speed Demon agitates everyone and uses his Trait to fling opposing figures into position for Bullseye to mutilate. Also, with 2 Assigned Characters and 2 Fragments left on the base, Bullseye and Speed Demon get the Defense pumped up +1 to 18 (or 20 against Close Combat attacks as they both have Combat Reflexes) until you KO an opposing figure or roll doubles on an attack roll and hit (the 2 ways the Phoenix Force Resource moves). Bullseye and Speed Demon also get Empower, Charge and Blades/Claws/Fangs, which opens up some interesting possibilities, especially for Speed Demon. Since he ignores characters, he can still make his Cyclone Trait go off by Charging 6 or 7 squares around a character and then he can B/C/F them for the possibility of six damage BEFORE he spins them away in his Cyclone. Then you simply rinse and repeat!!

This is a team that would be a lot of fun to play, and it uses all new characters!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Dr. Strange: The Movie may in fact have a director!

Otherwise, not a ton of Hollywood news at the moment. Well, Ben Affleck went to a Tigers game (he’s in town shooting Batman and Superman, or whatever they’re calling it right now). That was kinda cool.

Critical Missives:

–Two big articles last week: A second opinion on the DeadPool set by yours truly; and the frequency of pieces used in the ROC tournaments!

And we’ll be back this week with a special look at Six Pack possibilities in Flash Figure #2 by Ninwashui and some other goodness from me! And in two weeks… a WOL !! Wheeee!

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

 

The Merc and The Meta (Or, A Second Opinion of the Top Ten Figures in Deadpool!!)

"Good Morning!"

“Good Morning!”

So, Ninwashui has chimed in with his Top Ten list for the new Deadpool set, WITH NO REGARD TO MY OWN OPINION!! Obviously, I could not let this besmirchment stand!

Here then, for the DeadPool set, is your…

Second Opinion!!

That's high praise!!

“That’s high praise!!”

 Some General Notes About the Set:

–While there are obviously some powerful individual pieces, I thought that the overall “Power Level” of this set fell slightly below Invincible Iron Man and SL0SH… and that’s OKAY! The fact that we got a ton of weird characters that I never thought I’d see made (Grasshopper? Sweet! Now my GLA team can–wait, there was more than one Grasshopper?), plus some much-needed Modern Age updates to some figures who have been conspicuously absent until now.

–Having said that, I would still agree with Ninwashui’s assessment that this set was more consistent in terms of the usefulness of the characters; I just feel that the previous two sets both had higher ceilings in terms of the power level of their best pieces. Still, since most of the characters were consistently useful, coming up with a Top Ten (and 5 Honorable Mentions) was pretty tough; so tough, in fact, that I was forced to cheat and list a TOP TWELVE!! Even still, there are some good figures in this set that just aren’t gonna get mentioned here, cuz there’s a lot to like.

–After getting to play a couple games with WizKids’s brand new mechanic, I can say that the Word Balloon feature turned out better than I expected. I thought these were all going to be kitschy, trite add-ons that simply granted silly powers that would only be used once in a blue moon, especially after seeing the “I Never Miss With the Sheep Gun” balloon (Man, I’ve had so many theoretical conversations about the impossibly far flung, Rube Goldberg Machine-induced scenarios in which plopping a Sheep token next to an opposing figure will turn the tide of a game, and while it’s early days yet, I think I’ll be okay if that’s the one Balloon I never pull). Boy, was I wrong.

"I was wrong on this one."

“I was wrong–this is awesome.”

First of all, they’ve made it really flavorful and probably avoided themselves future headaches by creating such a small pool of eligible characters (Deadpool Corps. members and Ultimate DeadPool and ThorPool, etc.). Fewer affected characters means there’s a lot less chance to break the game. And then, within that framework, they created some Word Balloons that are good enough to make you WANT to play a DeadPool. “Hammer Time,” “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?,” “My Common Sense is Tingling” and “ ” are all really good, especially when used with DP019A DeadPool, DP019B Evil DeadPool or DP055 DeadPool. In my opinion, those three figs are already all worth their Points to begin with; throw “Hammer Time” on any one of them (for example) and I believe that you’re actually fielding more points than you’re being charged for (remember, Balloons are NOT Resources in and of themselves, so they can be used in tandem with Resources and Relics. And don’t get me started about the “Possessed” ability on the new War of the Light Chases coming this month (Y’know, just when I finish a 4600-word column on Modern Age Chases, WizKids goes ahead and releases these “Entity” Chase pieces that are probably all gonna be Meta in some way–particularly through the aforementioned “Possessed” Trait).

Remember, if there’s one thing that this site has tried to teach ‘Clixers everywhere, it’s Critical Missives Army Build Axiom #1:

CRITICAL MISSIVES ARMY BUILD AXIOM #1: DO NOT PAY “RETAIL” POINT PRICES FOR FIGURES WHEN THERE’S A VALUE-PRICED OPTION AVAILABLE!!

Now, the corollary to that is this: Free Points Are Awesome!!

Again, CRITICAL MISSIVES ARMY BUILD AXIOM COROLLARY #1A: WHEN BUILDING YOUR ARMY, FREE POINTS ARE AWESOME!!

If you accept that the 3 DeadPools from this set that I just mentioned are already worth their points, and if you accept that Resources in general are EXTREMELY under costed, then you would have to conclude that the DeadPool set–and the various Merc With a Mouth Traited characters–offer a LOT of value for opportunistic builders. I’ll get into this a little more in the individual profiles, but you can create some RIDICULOUSLY powerful characters who can get bonuses from 2 or even 3 sources that aren’t really even on the map–or at the very least, sources that your opponent can do little to nothing about.

–No ChampionPool? C’mon!! How will we ever have a complete DeadPool Corps.?!

–Probably the most useful group of Super Rares ever. Cable is probably the only Super Rare you’d be disappointed to pull in Sealed (well, maybe Kingpin, but Kingpin is really useful in Modern), and there’s a TON of awesome SR’s that people will be playing even years from now…

The Chases. Yikes! While the Z-Virus mechanic is cool, Marvel Zombies was never really my hot sauce, so I could kind of take or leave them. I think it’s cool that they’ll have their own Zombie Team Base, but… we don’t get that Team Base until August’s Guardians of the Galaxy set, and with the info that’s been released so far, it seems like that set’s gonna have ANOTHER 8 ZOMBIE CHASES!! Blleeecccch! Enough already! Guardians should have 6 Chases–all 6 of the members of the Cull Obsidian from last year’s Infinity storyline. Those are the Chases everyone wants and expects–and it’s about 99% for sure that it’s not gonna happen. It would have been so simple and so appropriate to do the Black Order figures that I have to wonder if WizKids has gone completely insane (Hunter on Dial H for Heroclix has stated that this has dimmed his enthusiasm for the set so much that he probably won’t even buy his customary Brick of GotG, much less a case–and I can’t say I blame him). Grrrr… but enough about the NEXT Marvel set! I’m here today to talk about the set that’s actually been released!

So let’s start with the…

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

"Dude... I'm'a 'bout ready to smash the $#!t out this flag over here."

“I punch flags! Then I paint them black and wear them!”

5. DP025 Flag-Smasher119 Points Uncommon: Okay, my understanding of flags as a concept is that they are generally emblems of some significance that have been made out of some sort of flexible cloth material. So how exactly does one “smash” a flag? Flag-Tearer? Okay. Flag-Ripper? Sounds menacing, unless you mumble it out loud, in which case it comes dangerously close to sounding like “Fart-Ripper.” Regardless, either name seems like it would make more sense than the perplexing “Flag-Smasher.” Although, maybe that’s why he has top dial Perplex? All I know for sure is that Flag-Puncher here has a couple of devastating abilities that get him close to my Top Ten (but not quite in it). First, his Trait (WE SHALL BE ONE PEOPLE, AND I SHALL LEAD: Flag-Smasher can use Leadership. When he does and succeeds, choose a copyable Marvel Team ability. Friendly characters with a lower point value can use that ability until your next turn.) is fantastic! You make your Leadership roll, and all of the sudden all your characters have the Mystics TA. Or Avengers Initiative, or any useful copyable TA you can think of. That’s pretty damn fantastic. And while his starting attack is a 10, he has Running Shot, Pulse Wave and Perplex to go with it, so if your opponent isn’t careful, he could be in for a world of hurt.

Even though Flag-Smasher doesn’t have Willpower, that’s okay as well since pushing him onto his second click gives him a fantastic Movement Special (THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD SHALL CRUMBLE, AND BE ONE: Opposing characters that possess or can use a team ability modify their attack and defense value by -1 unless already modified by this effect.). I mean, if he was nine points less, you could team him with Cul Borson and give most of your opponent’s figs -2 to their Attack!

But that Point total is a problem. I would have loved this character at 90-95 points, or maybe an even hundred. At 119, as great as his abilities happen to be, I think he’s a bit over-costed. If he were 20 Points less, he probably would have made my top 5. Still, his skill set is unique enough to keep him on the Honorable Mentions list.

"Man, if it just had eyeholes, this costume would be perfect!"

“Man, if it just had eyeholes, this costume would be perfect!”

4. DP053B Whizzer120 Points – Super Rare Prime: Obviously has one of the best Improved Movement abilities in the game (he ignores just about everything), especially when he can use Hypersonic Speed his whole dial. Hypersonic Speed + Flurry on his first three clicks is damn good. On his own, he’s a great piece who’s probably worthy of a Top Ten slot. But he’s an Honorable Mention instead for a few different reasons.

First, he’s got the Squadron Supreme keyword, but he still can’t team with Hyperion from IIM because they’re both Primes. That kinda sorta really sucks.

Second, as cool as his Hypersonic Speed + Flurry Special Movement Power is, his defense is predicated on being right next to the character taking a swing at him (since he has Combat Relfexes), which means that it’s almost NOT in your best interest to speed around the board, attack, and then hide. Not the worst thing in the world, and he does have Super Senses as well, but he definitely needs a different play style from how most people play HS characters to be effective.

And finally, Speed Demon’s just got a better Trait for 10 less points, so as far as speedsters go, I’m’a stick with Speed Demon. Which means this is one of the rare instances when the non-Prime actually offers more goodness for less points than the Prime…

"Rawr."

“Now this doesn’t seem safe at all.”

3. DP003 Dogpool 65 Points – Common: Love this lil’ pup. For 65 Points, you can totally nerf Stealth for one of your opponent’s pieces every turn (“BARK” WHAT’D YA FIND BOY? TIMMY IN THE WELL AGAIN?: Dogpool can use Perplex, but only to decrease a defense value. When he uses Perplex, he can use Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain and targeted characters can’t use Stealth this turn.). But what’s really neat is that with a 10 Attack and Precision Strke, he can even sneak some damage in on the biggest of foes! And he picks up Blades/Claws/Fangs further down dial–in Sealed, my opponent nailed one of my best figures twice with that. Unfortunately for him, he rolled 1 twice (and that opponent may or may not have been Ninwashui). Still, he more than proved his worth, and that’s even without a full compliment of Word Balloons (I mean, “Hammer Time” on a dog is just fun…).

Now THIS would have made an awesome Duo figure!!

Now THIS would have made an awesome Duo figure!!

2. DP019A DeadPool135 Points – Uncommon: The star of the set, Deadpool at 135 is like a nice blob of clay that you can mold into whatever sort of primary attacker you need him to be. Want to create mass causalities? Throw on “Hammer Time.” Want to make him harder to hurt? Throw on “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?!” or “Quick! Shield Me With Your Bodies!” Or turn him into a Wildcard–the possibilities are nigh endless (okay, there’s only like 12 different Word Balloons or so, so the possibilities definitely have an end), and that’s before you start adding in bonuses from Resources or Possessing Entities. The fact that there are two even crazier versions of DeadPool in this set is the only reason he’s not in the Top Ten.

I'll be honest, this could even be Cobra Commander. YOU try finding Secret Empire Number 9 images!

I’ll be honest, this might be Cobra Commander. YOU try finding Secret Empire Number 9 images!

1. DP204 Secret Empire Number 935 Points – Common: Actually, for once, the comments on HCRealms.com’s Units page explain this fig better than I ever could. A user named MrDgreen: “man, enhance and the Hydra TA, these guys are basically walking relics.” Hydra TA, Enhancement (with a respectable 2 damage), Pyschic Blast and ES/D to prolong their already pretty good 5 clicks of life… Their only drawback is that Soldier is their lone useful keyword (no one is fielding any decent Secret Empire Theme Teams, I promise you).

Alright!! We’re done with the appetizer–here’s the Main Course!

THE TOP TEN TWELVE FIGURES IN DEADPOOL!!

The next character in Sprint's "Framily" commercials.

The next character in Sprint’s “Framily” commercials.

12. DP057 Tiamat – 255 Points – Super Rare: The Beast with Two… bases. Tiamat comes on a peanut base, and he/she/it is a complete badass. 9 Clicks that are all painted, plus 1 ridiculous 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.). Besides the boatload of points it takes to field Tiamat, the only drawback is that Tiamat can’t account for Hindering or Elevated Terrain when he moves (that’s why we have Hammers though, right?). Close Combat figs are always gonna take a backseat to Ranged-Based figures, but man, this is a Monnnnnnnnster!!

"I have Stop Clicks! Sort of!"

“I have Stop Clicks! Sort of!”

11. DP057A/057B Typhoid Mary/Bloody Mary100 Points – Super Rare: One of the most unique figures WizKids has turned out in a while now, due to her Trait (I’M JUST MARY WALKER, SOAP OPERA ACTRESS/ BLOODY MARY, PSYCHOTIC BUTCHER: Each time a new click is revealed due to damage taken from an opponents attack, roll a d6. On a result of 6 stop turning the dial, and Typhoid Mary ignores all further damage dealt this turn. On a result of 4-5 you may replace her with DP #058b Bloody Mary on the same click number and then deal her the remaining damage minus 1.) and the fact that both bases come together! She’s slightly over-costed given that’s she’s mostly a supporting piece to start, but as she gets down dial she turns into a solid damage dealer as well.

WizKids's sculpts get more and more lifelike each set...

WizKids’s sculpts get more and more lifelike each set…

10. DP050 Wolverine and X-23168 Points – Super Rare: Another Close Combat figure that has been gifted with so many abilities that Ranged-based attackers won’t necessarily have the Alpha Strike advantage on them. Their best powers come from an awesome Trait (SNEAK AND KILL: Wolverine and X-Men can use Sidestep and Stealth. Unhindered lines of fire drawn to Wolverine and X-23 during an opponent’s turn are blocked unless Wolverine and X-23 have 2 action tokens or are adjacent to an opposing character not on its starting click.) that combines with their Special Attack Power (SLICE AND DICE: Wolverine and X-23 can use Blades/Claws/Fangs and Flurry. When using Blades/Claws/Fangs, their minimum d6 result is 3. If they hit a character twice during a turn, they may use Incapacitate as a free action, targeting that character.) to give them the coveted Charge, Flurry and Blades/Claws/Fangs combo. So, to review: Top dial, they can move up to 7 squares in one turn and still attack between their Sidestep and Charge, then they get to attack you twice with Flurry and–if they hit both times (not unreasonable to think they will with that 12 Attack)–they also plop an action token on their target. Easy ways for them to heal once they hit Click 3 means that their 7 Clicks of life will seem like it’s almost double that. I can’t quite say that they’ll be a Meta piece, since their Point cost is fairly high even for a Primary Attacker, but man, if I sat down at a ROC and saw this Duo in my opponent’s starting area, I wouldn’t exactly feel too comfortable either.

 

"Rawr!"

“Rawr!”

9. DP060 Superior Spider-Man160 Points – Super Rare: The most powerful Spidey since ASM’s Spider-Man 2099, Sup Spidey is basically Toyman from SL0SH done right. Depending on which Spider Bots you attach, you can either give him a 50-66.6% to evade all attacks not made by Banshee or someone with Precision Strike (and that’s assuming that they hit his 18 Defense to begin with), or you can double his Outwit and Perplex Range. Either choice makes him really hard to deal with (although I’d go with the Super Senses bonus myself). So hard, in fact, we’re gonna do a quick Flash Build with him!

Team NameA Superior Way to Die!!

Theme: Scientist

DP060 Superior Spider-Man160

(w/ the Secret Avengers ATA) – 5

IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0135

Sideline: Like a bazillion Spider-Bots (both Mark 1 and Mark 2).

=300 (Exactly! Yeah!)

This may be one of the most self-explanatory armies we’ve ever published. Iron Monger 2.0’s Trait (REWIRE YOU FOR EXPLOSIVES: When a friendly character is KO’d by an opponent’s attack, you may deal 1 penetrating damage to each opposing character adjacent to that character.) makes friendly characters (like, say, little disposable Spider-Bots) go boom when your opponent deals damage to them. Superior Spider-Man spits out a Spider-Bot as a free action (depending on your d6 roll) every turn, and if your opponent doesn’t kill them, they can start surrounding his figures and causing serious problems (like jacking up each other’s Attack Value and firing off a bunch of Incaps right in a row. A classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. It will take a minute to get everything going, so you’d want a map that slows your opponents roll out a little bit (like that crazy Fires of Apokolips map or whatever it was called from the SLoSH kit).

"Wheeeee."

“Wheeeee.”

8. DP055 DeadPool215 Points – Super Rare: Insanity in a box. He comes with the “Hammer Time” Word Balloon, which pumps his attack up to a 13 and lets him mix some Energy Explosion Marshmellows in with his Pulse Wave Lucky Charms. If you play him with a TK’er, he’s devastating on most maps. You’d want to pull him anyway just for his Word Balloon; the fact that he’s one of the best figures in the set is just gravy. 215 is a lot to sink into one figure, but damn! Keep in mind, too, that he has the Asgardian keyword, so Splitlip and the Book of the Skull sits you down at 265 with a Theme Team and 35 Points left to spend in a 300 Point game. He’s even better in Epic Games.

"The H does not stand for Hero, incidentally."

“The H does not stand for Hero, incidentally.”

7. DP103 Wolverine, Agent of Hydra90 Points – LE: This is the engine that Hand swarm teams needed. He’s less than 100 Points and enables the Hydra TA to work for Close Combat attacks as well. Since most Hand characters (even the generics) already have this TA, it basically turns your Hand swarm into a mobile meat grinder. Hook him up with the Hand ATA to make it nearly impossible to target him until its too late. One of the best Wolverines currently in Modern Age (and since there’s roughly 2000, that’s saying something!). He also has one of the best Charge Special Movement Powers in the game (especially considering his point level).

"I am not a Bruce Lee rip-off."

“I am not a Bruce Lee rip-off.”

6. DP047A Shang-Chi90 Points – Rare: Why does this entire set either cost 90, 100 or 110 Points? Weird. Anyway, Shang-Chi is a Close Combat nightmare. If sets were measured in the effectiveness of their Close Combat pieces, Deadpool would be the best set ever released! Shang-Chi is the beneficiary of another near-broken Trait (COUNTER-BLOCK: Each time an opposing character targets and misses Shag-Chi with an attack, put a Counter token on this card. Give Shang-Chi a free action and remove all Counter tokens to make that many close combat attacks with a locked damage value of 2. At the end of your turn, remove all Counter tokens.). Add in some GREAT keywords (Avengers, Martial Artist and HfH, among others), Empower, a couple of Improved Movements (including Elevated), a 12 Attack, and an 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes, and you have the Phone Book of Modern Age Close Combat abilities. His dial should be in the 120-135 Range; in reality, it’s 90. There ya go.

"Yep! I'm back!"

“Yep! Zombie Electro. Again.”

5. DP064 Electro – 90 Points – Chase: And now we start to get into the figs you can build competitive teams around. Check out my column on the most effective Chase pieces in Modern Age from last week for some suggestions on the shenanigans you can get into with Zombie Maxwell Dillon.

The cover to "Black Talon and the Ex-X-Men #1," the least selling X-book of all time.

The cover to “Ex-X-Men #1,” the least selling X-book of all time.

4. DP043 Black Talon60 Points – Rare: They should call him Black Shenanigans, except that sounds like it could be the title of a racist D.W. Griffith propaganda film from the early-1900’s. So scratch that. But the point remains–with his Damage Special Power (CONTROL OF THE MINDLESS UNDEAD: Black Talon can use Mind Control with a range value of 8, and when he does he may target friendly characters. If all of his targets are friendly, a lower point value, and have the Monster keyword, he may use it as if had 3 bolts.) & Trait (POWER OF THE LIVING LOA: When Black Talon uses Mind Control, you may place a KO’d opposing character in an adjacent square on its starting click, and that character becomes the target. After actions resolve, that character is removed from the game.) someone (as Ninwashui always likes to say) is gonna find a way to break him. One of the early episodes of the Quarry featured an interview with a ROC winner (or judge–I can’t remember) who had determined within his playgroup that the ability to Mind Control friendly characters shouldn’t appear on figures less than, like, 110 Points or something. He had all kinds of mathmatical reasoning and whatnot, I’m sure–just like I’m sure that WizKids heard that interview, chuckled, and then said “Oh yeah?” out loud and to no one in particular. Whether you agree with my half-remembered anecdote or not, giving a friendly Mind Control ability to a 60 Point figure is damn near absurd. Never mind the fact that he can also use Mind Control to target opposing characters WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN KO’D AND THUS REMOVED FROM THE GAME!! I mean, that’s almost an afterthought, and it’s also a near-gamebreaking ability. He will power some ROC Top 16 teams in the near future–count on it.

"The all-new Thunderbolts! Justice... like rainbows?"

“The all-new Thunderbolts! Justice… like rainbows?”

3. DP053A Speed Demon110 Points – Super Rare: Here’s what you need to know: 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.) is among the most broken currently in Modern and allows him to sneak in a second attack in one turn, except that you don’t even actually make an attack; assuming you can devote six squares out of your 14-square Movement to circle an opposing figure, this will go off on anything less than a roll of 6. Again, this Trait works WHILE HE’S USING HIS HYPERSONIC SPEED and it allows you to place an opposing character where you want him to be, which can really screw up your opponent’s positioning. It’s also probably the best way to go when you need to damage someone without making an attack (to get around the Mystics TA, for example). It’s sick and wrong.

Like his Prime version, the Whizzer, Speed Demon also has an 11 starting Attack with 3 damage. But unlike his Prime version, as Speedy gets down dial he only gets better, picking up a +2 Perplex (on anything but damage) and a Movement Special that keeps HS but adds in a second attack. This means that he’s actually as good–if not BETTER–on click 4 as he is top dial. That’s pretty sick on a 110 Point character. He’s another piece you should be seeing at an ROC soon, given everything that he does and the fact that his insanely good keywords (Among others, HfH, Sinister Syndicate AND Thunderbolts–plenty of options just with those!) make him eligible for a bevy of different armies. Let’s look at a basic Sinister Syndicate Build:

Team Name: Sinister Six-ish

Theme: Sinister Syndicate

DP053A Speed Demon110 Points

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

ASM031B Alyosha Kraven70

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

ASM019 Vulture 61

(w/ Sinister Twelve ATA) – 4

FIB003 Damaged Warbot10

FIB003 Damaged Warbot10

FIR100 The Book of the Skull6

(w/ 7 Hammers attached–all except Greithoth’s) – 21

=300 (Exact-a-mundo again!)

You’ll get +3 to Map Roll and 3 Theme Team Probs. So, with Gulyadkin the Lion’s token, you should have 6 characters at the start of the game, which will hopefully be at least one more than your opponent so that your Sinister Twelve ATA’s go off. Vulture can taxi Alyosha, who can give his pet a free move every turn too, and Speed Demon is, well, Speed Demon, so once you Hammer Up, mobility shouldn’t be an issue. Speed Demon in particular (with a now 12 Attack) should run amok. Not ROC-worthy, because you’re team would be too vulnerable from Range (depending on Map Choice), but this team can dish out a ton of damage!

Gotta love the backwards arm.

Gotta love the backwards arm.

2. DP019B Evil DeadPool100 Points – Uncommon Prime: Just looking at his stats and powers, you’d think his dial was made up of rejected SLoSH Bizarro clicks. But when you look closer, you’ll see an amazing damage dealer whose main flaw–low top dial defense–is easily fixable with a Resource and/or Word Balloon, and his Regeneration Special (WEIRD REGENERATION FROM LEFTOVER PARTS: Evil Deadpool can use Regeneration. Choose an opponent to roll another d6. If the opponent’s roll is higher than your d6 roll, add the two results together and subtract 2. Evil Deadpool is healed of damage equal to this amount instead. Each time Evil Deadpool would heal past his starting click in this way, modify his combat values by +1 for the rest of the game, even if this power is lost.) means that he can survive almost anything that gets thrown at him and actually come back stronger! Put him on a Book of the Skull team, give him “Hammer Time” when he attacks and suddenly you’re opponent is in for a world of hurt–and you still have 170 Points left to support him. Awesome piece!

"Get used to seeing me around, homies."

“Get used to seeing me at every ROC, homies.”

1.DP051 Banshee98 Points – Super Rare: Just stupid for his Points. His Trait (IT’S GOING TO GET A LITTLE LOUD: Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Super Senses. Opposing characters within 6 squares can’t use Impervious, Invincible, or Invulnerability but can use Toughness instead. When Banshee hits a character that can’t use a power due to this trait, increase damage dealt to that character by 1.) shuts down just about every good defensive power and in a lot of cases increases Banshee’s damage by one. I talked about how stupid broken he gets the more Resources etc. that you add to him in last week’s Weekly Roundup. At this point, you should either buy one yourself or be prepared to deal with him–a lot.

(One Final Note: Fast Forces: Deadpool is technically it’s own Micro Set; having said that, I should note that the Elektra and the Rookie Mercy figs from that set would have made my Honorable Mention and Top Ten, respectively had then been part of Deadpool proper. In other words, you’re gonna want that Fast Forces…)

Whew!! 4500 words on Deadpool, and there’s still so much we didn’t cover. But I hope this helps–now get out there and dominate!