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!]

The Five Worst Figures in FLASH!! (Or, the Sixth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas, an ongoing Critical Missives Clix celebration wherein we’re trying to publish new content for 12 straight days. If you’ve missed anything, you can check out Night 1, Night 2, Night 3, Night 4 or Night 5 just by clicking the preceding links!]

So, Ninwashui’s already told us which Flash figures he thinks are the best. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Which figs from the new set should you avoid at all costs? I’m glad you asked! Ninwashui prepared a whole list…

 

Ninwashui’s 5 Worst Figures in Flash:

 

Central City Police Officer

5. FL204 Central City Police Captain – This guy can add all the Central City Keyword guys to those cool Police teams that were winning tournaments back in the Streets of Gotham days. That’s a huge boost, right? Wrong! Of the 17 Central City-keyworded Dials in Modern, 7 already have the Police keyword. That leaves you with mostly sub-par speedsters like FL002 Max Mercury, FL003 Jesse Quick, and FL035 Impulse. It’s true that the Prime Dark Flash is a viable option, but I don’t think that the Dark Flash along with the CC Police Captain and 150 points of police characters from the 2.5 year old Streets of Gotham set are going to get you many wins.

Amanda Waller

4. FL034 Amanda WallerFor it to be worth going to the trouble of using Waller to add a character to a the ranks of a the Suicide Squad, Suicide Squad has got to be a great keyword, right? I mean, you should be able to assemble one hell of a Themed Team right? Well… not so much. In the Flash set there are 4 other squad members and the Fast Forces has three. Some of these are good. None are great. Three of the (only) seven available Suicide Squad figures in Modern are named Captain Boomerang, but the Squad doesn’t even get his cool Black Lantern version. All of which is to say, without more Squad members to choose from, Amanda here is… pretty useless.

Steve Trevor

3. FL018 Steve Trevor For 54 points you get one good click with no Willpower. And that’s assuming you can find a good use for his Psychic Blast with a 5 Range before an opponent bases you, breathes on Trevor and gets 54 easy points. Steve also has a Special Leadership power, but that will only allow him to lead the worst characters in the set. As an added bonus, his Justice League of America keyword only appears on two other figures in Modern. I mean, it’s almost as good as the West Coast Avengers keyword!

Argus Agent

2. FL005 A.R.G.U.S. Agent – I really feel like this was a personal slap in the face by WizKids to me. We finally get a silver bullet to deal with Iron Pharaoh and it’s this guy. Sure he can remove the Falcon from the game, but he has to be on his second click and within 4 squares AND survive long enough to be given a power action. It seems pretty unlikely that this will ever happen. Even worse, if your opponent isn’t playing Iron Pharaoh or Captain Cold, then fielding this guy is just a complete waste of time.

"Ohhhh-kay. This just got awkward."

Ohhhh-kay. This just got awkward.

1. FL003 Jesse Quick – This piece isn’t worth 90 Points. Even if she started with 3 Speed Force Tokens, I’m still not sure she’d be worth 90 points. She starts with Charge and a bare bones Defense which makes it harder to get Speed Force Tokens with her than any other Speedster piece. Even if you WERE to get three Tokens, the payoff is minimal. If you somehow got five while she was still on her top click, well, sure, THEN she is worth her points. I would play the 65 point FL001A The Flash over her 10 times out of 10. I was a fan of Jesse’s original piece back in the day and I would love for more playable JSA pieces, but sadly this one is just the worst.

 

BUT WAIT!! WE CAN’T END THIS ARTICLE WITHOUT A… SECOND OPINION!!

 

HypeFox’s 2 Worst Figures in Flash:

 

Why two? Because these two “pieces” are in a class by themselves. A.R.G.U.S. Agent is not great, Amanda Waller is really limited, and Jesse Quick straight blows. But these two figures are far and away the worst in the set!!

 

"Yeah, Steve, you can go. We won't be needing your services any longer."

Yeah, Steve, you can go. We won’t be needing your services any longer.”

2. FL018 Steve Trevor54 Points – Uncommon: If anything, Ninwashui might have been too kind. Now, his first Click is not terrible. For his points. And, that’s the end of the good.

His Leadership is useless. Why? Exactly how many 53 Point or less characters can you fit on a 300 Point team? While still being able to field a proper Primary Attacker? To make good use of his Leadership Special, you need to field at least two. So your Build is at 160 or more already. Oh, you’re using Tactics? Like Entities or a Resource? Congratulations. You have less than 100 Points for your Primary Attacker. Which means, his Leadership is so bad that it’s actually affecting how you build your team. Which in turn means, he would be better off with just straight Leadership. Also, Empower is okay; Enhancement would be better.

Also, ANY OTHER LEADER would be better.

Bizarro Flash

1. FL019B Bizarro Flash111 Points – Uncommon Prime: At, like, 81 Points, Bizarro Flash would be intriguing. Unfortunately he costs 30 more Points than that. And to some people, he’s the best Prime in the set. I think those people are insane, but they’re out there (Bizarro Flash currently has a five-star rating on HCRealms.com–I repeat: 5 freaking STARS!!). Bizarro Flash takes all the drawbacks of the Speed Force mechanic and amplifies them by making them all take even longer to be earned.

He starts with Sidestep. Which means you’d better be packing some major TK support pieces to get him to where he needs to go, or you can forget about building up Speed Force tokens. It’ll be turn 4 before you get even one. His dial is set up backwards, so that his best stats and powers are at the end. Now, I’m am not the smartest man who ever lived, but just about EVERY piece that’s ever been set up in this manner NEVER lands on it’s best end-dial click–unless it has a Special Stop Click. Which Bizarro Flash doesn’t have. Which means that, even with 8 clicks, chances are he can be 2-shotted right off the map. Of course, he doesn’t have any source of Willpower either, so you can kind of push him to where you need him to get to. Eventually.

A lot of people online are making a lot of noise about how awesome his Specials are (one even shuts down Hypersonic Speed), but again, he has to have a Speed Token to make any of them work, and it’s remarkably tough for him to get those. His second Trait gives him a Speed Token if he MISSES with all of his attacks in a turn, but not until the end of turn, when you can’t do anything with it. And that also supposes that he somehow was adjacent (or within 2 squares) to someone that he could actually attack.

Now, in a Tactics environment, you can fix some of what ails him with Entities or Resources, but I could say that about most figures in this game.

With no named keywords, fitting him on a team and not breaking Theme is difficult. And worst of all, he takes up your Prime slot, so you can’t actually play a useful Prime. Don’t believe the hype; Bizarro Flash may sound like a cool concept, but field him and you’ll put yourself at a massive disadvantage.

 

And that’ll do it for the Sixth Night of Clix-Mas!! Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you tomorrow for more ‘Clix madness!

Saving People – In a Flash! (Or, A Top Ten Set Review for Flash!!) (Or, The Third Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to Night Three of the 12 NIGHTS of Clix-Mas here at Critical Missives, where we’re providing 12 straight nights of ‘Clix content! If you missed Night One, click here! The Second Night of Clix-Mas can be found here.]

"So we've had sets for  Superman, Batman and the Flash. Do I need to start a KickStarter for an all Aqua-set? Who's ready for a Piranha-man Chase?! Anyone? Hello? Is this an audience or a watercolor painting? But seriously... "

So we’ve had sets for Superman, Batman and the Flash. Do I need to start a KickStarter for an all Aqua-set? Who’s ready for a Piranha-man Chase?! Anyone? Hello? Is this an audience or a watercolor painting? But seriously…

Some General Notes About the Set:

Uh, did everyone else catch the irony of the HeroClix set centered around the fastest man alive arriving like three weeks late? Or that my Set Review is equally as late?

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Eh, this is about the elapsement of time from release to review as our GotG Top Ten Set Reviews, so I’m going to say its more of an editorial choice than pure laziness on our part.]

Some Flash Facts about the set:

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Uh… are all the italics supposed to make the words seem faster?]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yes. And it’s totally working!!]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually… that’s not a bad gimmick for this.]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thank you. Now shush!!]

  • This set brings a new “Speed Force” shared Trait, but the effectiveness of the Trait varies greatly by character. For example, FL001B Rival gains Impervious, the ability to deal Penetrating Damage, Energy Shield/Deflection and Hypersonic Speed after gaining just 3 Speed Force tokens. FL202 The Flash can literally run off the edge of the map to the other side AND BACK AGAIN by removing just a single token. Meanwhile, FL003 Jesse Quick needs three Speed Force tokens just to get Toughness and Super Strength. You can see a real difference there. Something else to consider is that by the time you’ve built up enough Speed Force tokens to use some of the bigger powers, the game might well be over. Professor Zoom has a power that requires ten freaking tokens. In a 300 point game you will probably have either lost or won before you have more than 3 tokens. Most opposing teams won’t last long enough for you to get 5 hits in with a single character.
  • Flash has some real stinkers (FL002 Max Mercury) and some real winners (FL046 Harley Quinn). Overall, most of the set is pretty playable. With only 2 characters in the 200 point range it seems like it should be great for Sealed, in particular.
  • The set delivered a bunch of Hypersonic pieces, but it also delivered a lot of anti-speedster figures as well. FL028 Tarpit and FL049R Midnighter will stop a speedster or keep him in place, respectively. FL042 Fallout and FL015 Rag Doll punish Hypersonic attackers in particular. FL044 Savitar will cripple anyone who relies on the Speed Force as a way of life and FL031 Turtle will cripple any strategy that doesn’t involve going really, really freaking slow (or using a lot of TK to move around the board).
  • On the negative side, wouldn’t it have been fun if they had more of a Black Lantern sub-theme in this set to go with FL206 Captain Boomerang and FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)? FL051 Elongated Man was already in this set. There was space at the end of his dial for a Black Lantern resurrection the similar to what Captain Boomerang has on his dial. It’s a real missed opportunity. It also would have been a great way to include several characters in the set that needed Modern versions. They could have had 2 point costs with a normal dial and then a Black Lantern dial at the end. Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Firestorm come to mind right away. These could even have filled in the “missing” chase slots. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I LOVE this idea!! A Black Lantern Chase sub-theme definitely would have had me buying more packs. I hadn’t thought of this, but now that you bring it up, it’s probably all I’ll be able to think about during my next Flash Sealed Event. Damn! I mean, did we really need more Trinity of Sin versions ONE SET BEFORE THE TRINITY WAR SET?! Man. I also like this idea because Flash was such a huge part of Blackest night. Ninwashui, this might be your best idea ever.]
"Hello! We should have been your Chases!"

Hello! We should have been your Chases!

 

5 HONORABLE MENTIONS:

 

Elongated Man: One time I disguised myself as a vase. For 3 days! Booster Gold: No you didn't. Elongated Man: Okay, maybe not. Who'd want to anyway? Booster Gold: Doesn't Plastic-Man do that all the time?

Elongated Man: “One time I disguised myself as a vase. For 3 days!
Booster Gold: “No, you didn’t.”
Elongated Man: “Okay, maybe not. Who’d want to anyway?”
Booster Gold: “Plastic-Man. Usually in a women’s bathroom.”

5. FL051 Elongated Man – This guy is surprisingly good for his points. Admittedly he won’t be on next year’s Worlds team and you may never see him KO anyone, but he can be a fun support piece. He doesn’t have Willpower, so push through his first click to get him into position. His second click is where the magic happens. That’s the click you’ll use to tie up the opposing team. He shares a power with Groot from the Guardians movie set that lets him tie up characters that aren’t adjacent to him. Combine that with his super Outwit that let’s him draw lines of fire almost anywhere and there are some close combat characters that will be completely powerless against him. For example, if you are facing FL019A The Flash, you simply have to move within one space of him and then you can continuously Outwit Hypersonic Speed. Without outside help, it’s likely Flash won’t move again for the rest of that game.

Captain Thunder

4. FL052 Captain Thunder – This guy has a long dial, lots of damage reducers, and a Stop Click, and each of those attributes go well with his Mystics TA. Unfortunately, in HeroClix it’s very difficult to field a piece that costs 200 points or more that doesn’t also have Outwit protection built-in. Zero range also makes him even more of a risky play. However, in an environment where you aren’t likely to see much Outwit (like Flash sealed), he can really shine.

"Uh, how can we miss you if you never leave?"

Uh, how can we miss you if you never leave?

3. FL025 Golden Glider – For only 60 points she makes 6 squares of hindering terrain every time she moves. These hindering markers last until this character is KOed. You can use this for your team to hide in and your opponent can never make use of these squares at all. Beyond just being normal hindering terrain, they require an opponent to break away when they are adjacent to one of these squares. In a long game your opponent’s movement options could be very limited. If you can find a way to let her ignore characters for movement she could be really nasty. Also, she gets bonus points for being Captain Cold’s brother. I’d forgotten about that.

Yup. This is what Google gave me when I asked for a picture of a S.T.A.R. Labs Technician.

Yup. This is what Google gave me when I asked for a picture of a S.T.A.R. Labs Technician.

2. FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician – Pop quiz. Who is the cheapest TK figure in Modern HeroClix? It’s this guy. Okay, now, who is the best cheap medic in modern HeroClix? That’s actually DOFP016 Moira MacTaggert, but I would say this guy on click 2 is in second place. Add to that his ability to give someone Precision Strike and we have a real winner in the support category.

Hmmm... why wasn't this the sculpt?

Hmmm… why wasn’t this the sculpt?

1. FL030 Thorn – With a first click that has Charge, Flurry, BCF, Combat Reflexes, Shape Change, and Stealth for only 65 points she was an easy inclusion on this list. The fact that her Shape Change gets better and starts healing her once she takes a hit is just gravy. The only thing keeping her out of the top 10 is that FL046 Harley Quinn is also 65 points and fills a similar role.

 

Sadly there are still some Flash characters that have yet to be clixed...  [EDITOR'S NOTE: Sadly?!]

Sadly, there are still some Flash characters that have yet to be clixed…
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sadly?]

My Top 10 Figures of the Set:

 

Apollo

10. FL048 Apollo – Any time you see a printed 19 Defense for under 300 points, you should pay attention. Apollo also brings Outwit protection that is sorely needed given his high cost. What sets him apart is that he has Hypersonic, Improved Targeting, Precision Strike, Invincible and Super Senses on his first click. The lack of Willpower on a 200 point character is frustrating, but you could do a lot worse than a team up with FL049R Midnighter.

"Boys, my ocular units are up here."

Boys, my ocular units are up here.

9. FL060R Engineer – With her ability to choose her own powers, she makes a wonderful support character. Running shot and Pulse wave or Hypersonic and Super Strength are great on offense. On defense you can still use Stealth and Shape Change to go along with her Toughness. I recommend the 90 point version over the 175 point version due solely to the existence of GOTG062 Super Skrull. At that 170+ point level Super Skrull is just better.

Kingdom COme Flash

8. FL050 The Flash – This guy can have up to a 20 Movement and he’s dangerous all the way through his dial. With Willpower and his incredibly high Movement there are characters who literally won’t be able to catch this guy. His double attack up front also helps justify his point cost. He’s good on his own, but with some Perplex to his Damage value he should end games very quickly. He’d make a real good Puddin’ for Ms. Harley Quinn.

Pssshh. Rainbow Raider was Geoff Johns REAL inspiration for the War of Light!!

Pssshh. Rainbow Raider was Geoff Johns’s REAL inspiration for the War of Light!!

7. FL026 Rainbow Raider – For a character with 7 range, a full dial of Stealth, and 7 clicks of life, he’s very cheap by today’s standards. I think he plays best by Pushing to click 2 off the bat and being a ranged sniper. An 11 Attack and 3 Damage Value is great for sub 75 points. And then there is his Trait. If I told you that he gave your best figure a mostly permanent +1 to all stats, you’d be wondering why he isn’t on the watch list. Consider that what he really does is give your opponents best figure -1 to all its stats and you’ll see that his Trait is just about as good as the crazy broken Trait I just made up. Then he really gets nuts when you realize he might affect your opponent’s whole team.

Jenny SParks

6. FL061 Jenny Sparks – She is a capable attacker for her point cost, but it’s her Trait that really gets my attention. She is the one way in this game to get past powers that “can’t be countered or ignored“. Think about how often you see that phrase on really good powers that are on really good figures. The IIM103 Absorbing Man that is made of Uru metal folds like tin foil against this piece. WOL107 Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) and WOL026 Sodam Yat might not ever see their Ion clicks when they are facing Jenny Sparks. That’s right, she disables all Stop Clicks! Think about that. I mean, really, THINK ABOUT THAT!!

"Man... why does every portal end on top of Batman?"

“Man… why does every portal I go through always end on top of Batman?”

5. FL045 Etrigan the Demon –  If you are paying 135 points for just the six Demon Clicks, he’s not that impressive. At least not until you realize the Demon’s self healing potential. Your opponent might see those 6 clicks several times over and take Mystics damage for every hit. No matter how hurt the Demon gets, if he is alive, he can be back to full health in 2 turns. When you consider that he has Invincible to start, your opponent will need to focus fire or risk not being able to KO the Demon at all. Best of all, the sculpt kicks butt.

Harley Quinn Baseball Bat

4. FL046 Harley Quinn – With Combat Reflexes, Super Senses and Stealth, she has great defensive options at her disposal. She is also the second cheapest figure in the game to start with Penetrating Poison (behind only Red Lantern Recruit). She also has Outwit with 5 Range, so you could try to stay hidden and make them come to you. Best of all she falls in love easily. Her ability to make anyone her Puddin’ turns a very good figure into an outstanding figure.

Captain Cold

3. FL038 Captain Cold – When you look at his dial without his Trait you see 10 Attack and 3 Damage and you’d think that was a pretty good 85 point dial. Then you do look at his Trait. Then you realize the Ice Block Markers don’t go away. What? I’ve played against him once where I was fielding a Hydra Team lead by DP103 Wolverine, Agent of Hydra. Captain Cold moved into Range and ice blocked Wolverine without needing to make an Attack Roll. Wolverine never moved for the rest of the game. There are a lot of characters out there who can literally be Ice Blocked and just plain ignored thereafter. Captain Cold is well worth his 100 points.

zoom-blacklantern Rival Flash

2. Prime Speedsters (FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern), FL037B Dark Flash, FL001B Rival) – Listed in order from best to worst. I cheated a little with this entry but it’s not like you can ever play them all on the same team. And if I had listed them separately they would have all made my top 10 and pushed other figures out. Here they are in a Flash:

  • FL053B Zoom (Black Lantern)– The best all around Prime. He has three ways to heal himself and Willpower for only 120 points. He also has great offense when you can remove a token. He also has the great monster and Black Lantern Keywords. His major weakness is that you’ll want to remove a Speed Token for the extra damage every attack and that will make it impossible to save them up for better Speed and Regeneration.
  •  FL037B Dark Flash- For 110 points you lose Willpower but you gain 4 top dial Damage. He has the best starting dial without Speed Tokens and only 2 tokens makes all his Damage Penetrating. He also has the best keywords with Teen Titans and Justice League. He doesn’t need to remove tokens for attacking, but he will for Regeneration. His major weakness is that if he has to Regenerate more than once he will likely lose his Penetrating Damage.
  • FL001B Rival – For 105 points he is the hardest of the Primes to get started. He has the best defensive powers, but with starting Charge he practically requires a support figure with TK to put up a good fight. Once he gets that first token things change for him quickly. Hypersonic Speed and Energy Shield/Deflection really bring up his power level. If he can make it to 3 Speed tokens then he additionally gains full Penetrating Damage and Impervious! If he’s still on his first click at that point he has Super Senses, Shape Change, Impervious, and Energy Shield/Deflection. Just to hit that guy you’ll need to plow through an 18 Defense with Energy Shield/Deflection, and Rival’s controller still gets 3 shots at rolling a 5 or a 6 to nullify your attack! Rival is the hardest of the three Primes to start with but is also the most powerful when he has Speed Tokens.

Question_Prime_Earth_0001

1. FL064 The Question – Let me compare this version of the question to the last version (WKD-008 Question), because that is still one of the best pieces in the Modern age.

One of the reasons the last version of the Question was so good was because you could sub in a power that appeared anywhere on his dial in place of one currently there. He could only use 4 powers at a time, but one of the 4 could be tailored to the situation. The new Question can’t pick powers to add, but his first click has 8 Standard Powers on it! Toughness, Charge, Shape Change, Stealth, Poison, Precision Strike, Super Senses and Outwit. Do you really need to pick more powers if you already have that many?

The Stats and cost are similar between both the old and new version of the Question. I love the older versions double Perplex that prevented the other teams from using Perplex, but the new version has the power to subtract an action token from itself every time it uses Outwit. The other team might not be playing anyone with Perplex, but most teams run at least 1 figure vulnerable to Outwit and that could let this figure act every turn! In addition, the new version has Traited Toughness, and if he is played with the Phantom Stranger he gains Quintessence as well! All this makes the new figure superior to the old figure, which should easily make it the best figure in this set.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: And that will do it for Night 3 of Clix-Mas here at Critical Missives! We’ll see you right here tomorrow for a look at some potential issues with the game and what we’d do to fix them!!]