[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… And Night 6 saw HypeFox Theory-craft his own Marvel Heroclix Core Set! Night 7 saw Ninwashui calling an audible and promising to throw his hat in the ring and finally write an article!]
“Actually, I’m not going to do much of anything in this movie! A-ha. A-ha-ha-haaa. Yeah.“
Hello again! I feel like it’s been too long since I published an article, so I think tonight is as good a night as any to pop by.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Wow. You only waited ’til Night 8 this year to actually contribute something? Welcome to the party, pal. I’ll just be over here, GENERATING THE FIRST SEVEN ARTICLES MYSELF!!]
Really? Oh, hey, great. Thank you. You really didn’t have to do that.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh no, I REALLY DID!!]
Ahem. Well… thank you?
Anyway, so as not to waste any more time, I am jumping in feet first with… a full Top Ten Set Review!! And speaking of jumping in feet first, let’s get right to it with some…
Some Notes About the Set:
- Overall Power Level of the set ? More than any other set I can remember, the power level of this set seems to vary widely. For 50 points you can get Rare JW047 Killer Croc or Rare JW033 The Joker, who just flat aren’t very good. However, for that same 50 points you can get Chase JW066 Bizarro Green Arrow who can essentially nullify ranged attacks against your entire team.
- To reiterate: for 45 Points, you can field Chase and noted turd-ka-bob JW065 Aquaman and just let your opponent know right away that you really aren’t into competing this game. Or for 5 more points, you can play an essentially unkillable JW060 Joker. Hmmm… Should I play the figure who can “make water” for one whole turn, or should I play the piece that changes how my opponent wants to come after my team? So hard to choose…
- I feel like 5 or 6 pieces in this set weren’t made with the same point system as the rest of the set just to sell it. In fact, I don’t think JW060V The Joker was made with any regard to the point system at all.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: You ain’t kidding!]
- Comic Accuracy – Overall not great. This set gave us JW034 Harley Quinn, whose top dial 10 Movement Value with Hypersonic Speed matches FL001A The Flash. JW060V The Joker can take more punishment than any Superman ever made. And JW041 The Specter only has a 4 click dial for 40 points.
- Sub Themes:
- JSA – They may not reflect the power levels in of the characters in the comics well, but if you ignore that fact you have great filler pieces for a variety of teams. The “Past” keyword gets a huge bump this set to go along with a an already good list of characters like SFSM054 Devil Dinosaur (who was possibly my biggest Top Ten article miss ever.)
- Court of Owls – It seems on the surface that this might be a good team to run, but problems that aren’t obvious right away (like JW038 Talon not having the Underworld TA) make me wonder if this keyword will ever see tournament play. Their saving grace is that they all also share the Gotham City Keyword.
- Outsiders – The Outsiders TA has always been good, but in the past it’s seemed like most of the characters with it have had point values far too high for the value the character brought to the team. This set I could see most of the outsiders being worthy of tournament play. Any outsider not named JW054 Geo-Force or JW037B Looker (Prime) in this set is worth a look (See what I did there?).
- League of Assassins – The league had 4 pieces in this set. 3 of them are okay, but they probably won’t amount to much as a team because the new JW021 Ra’s Al-Ghul is pretty useless outside of sealed play.
- Suicide Squad – The Squad got 9 pieces in this set and they are the complete opposite of the Outsiders. Most of the pieces they got are terrible except for where those pieces also have keywords for other teams like JW044 Katana, and JW034 Harley Quinn.
- Gotham Underworld, Arkham Asylum, and Gotham City – The Batman villians have a similar keyword problem to the Justice League. There is the Justice League keyword and the Justice League of America Keyword. Usually figures don’t have both. They seem to give Batman villians Gotham City or Gotham City Underworld keywords at random. For example, Rare JW034 Harley Quinn has the Gotham City keyword and not Gotham City Underworld. The Common and Uncommon versions of JW002 Harley Quinn and JW018 Harley Quinn both have the Gotham City Underworld Keyword and not the Gotham City Keyword. Other characters have both. I’m also not sure why the Arkham Asylum Keyword exists. Those should all just be Gotham City Underworld. Taking all of that into account the Gotham City Underworld keyword did the best in this set, but with few fliers and a lack of the Underworld TA these villains still lack a reliable way to get battle other than walking there individually.
My Honorable Mentions:
5. JW038 Talon — 120 Points — Rare: Talon would be much higher on this list except for three problems. At 120 points he lacks Willpower. 3 damage is low for a primary attacker (yes I am aware of his precision strike). And, finally, it’s hard to keep a good amount of JW005A Court of Owls Initiates with him unless you choose to ignore Theme.
He does have a lot of good points with this character (like Improved Movement, Traited Stealth, and conditional Mastermind) and with a lot of planning he may just work for you.
4. JW036 The Flash — 35 points — Rare: He’s the cheapest Hypersonic Speed character in Modern and almost the cheapest of all time. He’s completely a one trick pony, but at 35 points he really doesn’t need anything else to be worth playing. Beyond his Hypersonic Speed, his 12 Move, 11 Attack, and 18 Defense are great for the points.
3. JW022 The Atom — 25 points — Uncommon: This guy is the cheapest character ever printed with Close Combat Expert and 3 or more top dial Damage. He’s tied with JLTW204R The Trench for being the cheapest character to ever start with 17 Defense and Combat Reflexes. He makes a super effective team with JW025 Hawkman. He’s even somewhat pushable because he doesn’t lose any powers or Attack Value from Click 1 to 2. It’s possible this guy could start showing up as filler on tons of tournament teams the same way that FFJLTW007 Atomica does.
2. JW043 Lady Shiva — 50 points — Rare: One of the first ever figures with the Batman Enemy TA and a starting 12 Attack. She’s also the cheapest figure ever to start with a 12 Attack. Her Attack Value along with precision strike and flurry mean that she can hurt pieces well above her point cost. On defense she is eligible for the League of Assassins ATA and her special defensive power could keep her in the fight against pieces that need a help to hit her 19 defense in close combat. It reads, “I AM THE ULTIMATE TEST: Lady Shiva can use Combat Reflexes. Adjacent opposing characters can’t have their combat values increased when making close attacks.”
1. JW049 Mr. Freeze — 90 points —Super Rare: He’s somewhat similar to UXM051 Iceman. The differences are that he’s less offense and more defense. Iceman had Running Shot, two targets, and a 7 Range.
Mr. Freeze has sidestep, 1 target, and 5 range. They both give an action token and a marker to people hit from range. Both have a consistently high damage value of 3 their entire dial and Mr. Freeze’s version of the ice wall token does an additional penetrating damage. The real difference is on defense.
His last two clicks have the power, “BACK TO REFRIGERATION: Mr. Freeze can use Toughness. At the beginning of your turn, heal Mr. Freeze a number of clicks equal to 3 minus the number of adjacent opposing characters.” That means that at the beginning of your turn (assuming he isn’t next to someone) he will heal three clicks without even using an action. It’s like he has a Regeneration power that guarantees you roll a 5 and doesn’t cost you an action! Keep in mind that he has damage reducers every click, so the chance of you seeing those clicks is reasonably high and then the opponent will have to go through those damage reducers for a second time. (or a third, or a forth, or…)
The Top Ten:
10. FFJW001 Batman — 75 points – Fast Forces: His Trait “STUDENT OF ALL MARTIAL ARTS” means that lowest Attack Value will be a 10 and his first two starting clicks will be at least a 12. (he gets +1 per adjacent character and he has zero range so if you are attacking you are adjacent to at least one enemy) His Traited Toughness, 18 starting Defense, full dial Combat Reflexes, and 7 click dial make him very hardy for a 75 point figure. On offense his “HIT YOU WITH MY HANDS AND FEET” is just ripe for abuse. It lets him attack all adjacent characters at once and unlike other similar powers, each hit is dealt normal damage not just printed damage. That means Perplex and Empower can help deal additional damage. Imagine you have 2 uses of Perplex for his Damage Value and b\Batman is next to 3 people. If he hits with his boosted 14 attack value, each target would be dealt 5 damage.
9. JW059 The Joker — 140 points — Super Rare: For some reason they decided that any Super Rare or Chase version of the Joker would be really hard to KO. This version is hard to even damage. He has Mastermind that you can’t bypass with Precision Strike thanks to his MAD AS A HATTER trait. You could Outwit it if he’s not in Stealth, but you can’t Outwit his best power because it’s a Trait and it’s not even on his card. The 10 point JW003A The Joker Thug printed in the same set has a trait that states, “THE JOKER IS THE KING OF GOTHAM: When building your force, The Joker Thug does not count against a themed team if your force has a character named The Joker on it. If an adjacent friendly character named The Joker is hit with an attack, The Joker Thug may become the hit target of that attack instead, even if it would be illegal.” Because of the keyword exception there is no good reason not to run a least few Joker Thugs with this Joker on every team. When they stand next to him, pulse wave is the only power in the game that will do damage to him. And even Pulse Wave will still stop at the Joker’s last click – which is a stop click with even more Mastermind.
On offense the Joker has Traited Poison that deals Penetrating Damage to lower point characters. Then on odd clicks he has Blades/Claws/Fangs and his Special “THE KILLING JOKE!: The Joker can use Ranged Combat Expert and Improved Targeting: Ignores Characters. When The Joker hits with an attack, hit characters are each given up to 2 action tokens.” On his even numbered clicks he has the less exciting Precision Strike and Outwit, but that’s still a deadly powerset.
What keeps Joker from being higher on this list? Two things. The first is that he’s only able to KO people he can reach. By that I mean he has no move and attack ability, and as no improved movement. That means on offense you will often need to walk the Joker up to an opposing figure and wait until the following turn to attack. In the meantime you have to hope that figure hasn’t moved out of your range or you might not be able to attack anyone the next turn either. A taxi or a figure with Telekenesis helps greatly with this. The second thing is that in order to remain untouchable, you will need to have several Joker Thugs at your side. The Joker has a 10 Movement, but the thugs only have a 6. The ideal situation would be to have the Joker carry two thugs by himself via the underworld TA. The problem is that he doesn’t have the underworld TA. The best ideas I could think of without breaking up your theme team are to either play WF059R Lex Luthor & Joker or play JLTW002 Catwoman. Neither seem like ideal options.
8. JW050 The Penguin — 40 points — Super Rare: For 40 points you are getting a slowly building robot army that provides the opponent no points when killed, have no limitations on how many can be in play at once, and don’t even count against your actions unless they are attacking. Depending on what you are playing against, I would likely suggest leaving penguin in your starting area and making a JW050BTC Robo-Penguin (the ranged attacker) every other turn. He’s the new version of one of my favorite pieces AAOU007 Ultron Sentry, and he’s even easier to use. Penguin only has 4 clicks and really only Stealth to protect him, but you’ll have 260 points worth of your team left to do that job!
7. JW044 Katana — 75 points — Rare: Katana in this set is just an all around strong figure. She has Stealth and the ability to move through Hindering Terrain,. she gets stronger the first three times she KOs a character each game (which great against opposing figures that make tokens), and she has the Outsiders TA while still having a reasonable point cost. On offense her Charge and Exploit Weakness with 3 damage means that she can heavily damage almost any character. Adding the slash token to whomever she hits will make an opponent think twice about hitting her back the following turn. A real steal for the points.
6. JW052 Green Lantern — 35 points — Super Rare: At only 35 points Green Lantern is a great taxi with 10 Movement, Flight, and Willpower. But unlike a lot of low cost Taxis, when he is not using his actions to move other characters, he can help turn the tide of battle.
His Trait GREEN LANTERN’S LIGHT gives him 1 Barrier token he can place each turn as a free action. He can also use Barrier normally and then again that turn a free action to place a total of 5 blocking terrain tokens. Especially on an indoor map, that could keep the opposing team from making any attacks against you on the following turn.
What I’ve just mentioned is plenty of value for 35 points.
However, he’s got two other tricks up his sleeve. First, he can make a wall instead of one of his Barrier tokens. What good does that do? Well if you place a wall between two characters, they are no longer adjacent. You can use that wall that to prevent Poison damage, block line of fire to help friendly pulse wave be move effective, prevent an opposing character from using Mastermind, prevent an opposing character from being carried, or allow a friendly character to automatically break away. His second trick is that opposing characters adjacent to any of his Light Wall or Barrier markers can’t use Stealth and modify their defense values by -1. So he can place a free action barrier token next to a stealthy character and now not only can your entire force target that character with Ranged attacks, but that (formerly stealthy) character will be at minus 1 defense the entire time!
5. JW063 Bizarro Joker — 45 points — Chase: Bizarro Joker only has one purpose. He’s arguably the best tie up figure – ever. He has Traited Plasticity, a full dial of damage reducers, and two Stop Clicks. The trick is getting him next to at least two opposing figures before he takes too much damage from ranged attacks. If you can get him next to at least two opposing figures, then his Special Power “BIZARRO POISON” will heal him for at least two a turn. That healing, combined with his STOP clicks means that even if he is on his last click he will heal past his STOP clicks and as long as he isn’t damaged three times in a row, he can’t be KOed. Then your opponent will just be stuck. They can’t break away (Plasticity), kill Bizarro Joker (Stop Clicks and healing), or attack anyone else (because they are adjacent to Bizarro Joker). This 45 point figure may completely neutralize half of the opposing team. His only real vulnerabilities are that his healing can be Outwitted, or that he can taken out by ranged attacks (probably at least 4) before getting adjacent to enough characters. But that is totally understandable. I mean it’s not like they could make a Joker that is completely unkillable and still be in the in the 50 point range. Right? RIGHT?
4. JW003B Anarky — 75 points — Common Prime: Anarky’s dial is pretty unremarkable, but if you are looking for a way to keep opposing figures from coming to your side of the board you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to do it then with this figure. If you need time to build Robo Penguins, turn a Supreme Intelligence dial or deploy Pandora’s Box Sins – this is your guy. Bomb markers give you the option of blowing up if an opposing character is within 3 of the marker and they have a 50% chance of doing 3 Penetrating damage to everything within 3 of the marker. At the start of the game you get 6 bomb markers to place anywhere except within 4 of a starting area or another bomb marker.
That’s pretty strong by itself, but you can maximize their efficiency in two ways. First there no limit to how many bombs can be set off at the start off your turn. If an opposing figure is in range of two or more bombs you can set off all of them at once for maximum damage. The second way to maximize efficiency is to recognize that while the bombs you start with can’t be placed near other bombs, there is no such restriction on bombs brought into play via Anarky’s special attack power “LEAVING THEM A LITTLE SURPRISE: Give Anarky a power action. Place adjacent a Bomb special marker as described on this card.” You can use that power to place bombs adjacent to other bombs which should prevent an opponent from going anywhere near that area for the rest of the game.
3. JW053B Jakeem Thunder — 140 points — SR Prime: The newest figure made that allows you to pick your powers every turn. Jakeem Thunder is no Zombie GOTG062 Super Skrull, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be highly effective. With only a few restrictions, Jakeem can pick any two powers each turn to add them to his own. He can still pick a lot powerful combinations. For example, Running Shot/Pulsewave, Ranged Combat Expert/Sidestep, Plasticity/Poison, Combat Reflexes/Stealth, Hypersonic Speed/Super Strength, Perplex/Telekinesis, or Flurry/Blades/Claws/Fangs. On turns where you aren’t taking any action with him, you can choose Shape Change or Stealth and any defense power. You can even have Regeneration at any point on your dial, or choose support to heal others.
Where he really gets nuts is where he’s helped by Possession or Resources. The Wrath Sin from Pandora’s Box will make it so he doesn’t need to worry about his lack of Willpower and he’ll have Combat Reflexes to go along with the Energy Shield/Deflection already on his dial. Or you could add an entity like Eclipso so you can choose a defensive ability from Eclipso and let Jakeem choose 2 offensive abilities with his trait. Even better, you can do both!
“Me am mascot for Target!!”
2. JW066 Bizarro Green Arrow — 50 Points — Chase: Me am making entire team vulnerable to range attacks. Me no offer unprecedented protection like has been seen many times before in HeroClix. Me am not most expensive figure in set and not for good reason. Me will not let team essentially ignore the first four (or more) range attacks made against them. Me will not define the meta and will not be a piece that you need to plan around when making a tournament team. Nick Fury, Hawkeye, and Green Arrow love seeing me on opposite team. They know that they will have an easy time dealing with me.
Why is he dripping wet in this picture?
1. JW060V The Joker — 50 Points — Super Rare: So they went ahead and made a Joker that is completely unkillable in the 50 point range. I mean yeah he does take damage if you attack him, but he has 30 clicks of life. Oh and he doesn’t take pushing damage. Oh and he has traited Super Senses. Oh and he may randomly heal up to three clicks at the start of your turn without using an action. So an opponent may KO the Joker if he devotes all his actions to it over 8-10 turns, but what is the other 250 points of your team doing during that time? There is two reasons why I’m saying that the joker is unkillable during a standard time length game. The first is that with everything I just mentioned, your opponent will likely run out of time. Especially if you are weakening his team with attacks during that time. The second reason that Joker is unkillable is that by now everyone knows about him. And If your opponent knows about this figure, they won’t even bother trying to attack him.
But what about offense? This 50 point character would a take a long time to KO anyone. Well that’s actually true, but you have 250 points left to play some offense. This isn’t the best offensive figure ever, it’s arguably the best tie up figure ever. Place him next to your opponents best attacker and just sit him there. If your opponent attacks him, you win. If your opponent tries to break away and fails, you win. If your opponent breaks away for a turn, then just move right back next to him the following turn, and eventually you’ll win.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, there you have it! Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments below! And don’t go too far–Night 9 drops tomorrow!]