Local Tournament Report – 10/15/14 Comics & More

Local Tournament Report

 

Okay! Here are the results from The Build 6, the game I had been preparing for earlier in the week!

The Format: 300 points, Modern Age, Anything Goes. Although those who play too much cheese will henceforth be shunned and be nicknamed “Limburger”.

Where is a robotic fly swatter when you really need it?

“Hmmm… I see my 3D graffiti project is already ahead of schedule.”

What I Played: “A Superior Way to Die”: (Scientist Theme)

DP060 Superior Spider-Man (w/ secret Avengers ATA)

IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0

(Sideboarded) DP099A Spider-Bot (Mark 2) * 2

(Sideboarded) DP099B Spider-Bot (Mark 1) * 6

Total= 300 Points

 

The bloodiest game of basketball ever played...

The bloodiest game of basketball ever played.

Round 1: Facing DP050 Wolverine and X-23 (Magik shard) , DP007B The Professor (Emma Frost Shard), DOFP011 Destiny, AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (all shards).

An indoor map was chosen for this battle. I started this match the way I would start every match tonight:  by adding two Spiderbot Mark 1’s to Superior Spider-Man’s base on turns one and two, which gave SSM +2 to his Super Senses rolls for the remainder of the game.

Early on, it was a standoff. My opponent slowly moved up his Duo Figure and The Professor. He had no range, so he couldn’t hit me, but the Duo’s 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.) combined with the Professor’s Defense Special Power (SECRET MASTERMIND: When adjacent to a friendly character, The Professor can’t be targeted by opposing characters.) meant that I couldn’t target his figures with a ranged attack either.

As he advanced, I retreated. I tried to hold Wolverine and X-23 in place with a Plasticity-sporting Spiderbot. Poison from the Phoenix Force made that a non-issue. Finally, I saw an opportunity. He was placing his figures in such a manner that I couldn’t shoot past the two that were advancing and hit destiny. However, I was able to roll a 6 for spider-bot creation and place it so that it could move and tie up destiny the same turn. That kept Destiny out of the fight for almost the rest of the game. Unfortunately, that put me close enough to his other figures that I knew I was going to get Charged that next turn.

The Professor moved up next to me and to tried to Outwit Superior Spidey’s Super Senses. I reminded my opponent of my ATA, and he did nothing with The Professor’s Outwit at that moment. Then he Charged and used Blades/Claws/Fangs with Flurry with his duo figure. Both attacks missed! Wow! I didn’t even have to roll Super Senses. That is some bad luck for my opponent. On my turn, I struck back and hit with a heavy object I was holding and the Duo took 3 (because of the Colossus Shard) That was my second action token. Then, on his turn, Superior suffered double Poison from both The Professor and W/X-23. They missed two more attacks due to Super Senses and then also missed their healing roll with a 1! Now that Spider-Man was injured I could ignore W/X-23’s hiding trait and attack them from range. Iron Monger did just that and hit them for two more damage. I took the Action Tokens off Superior.

On my opponent’s turn, Superior took two more Poison damage and healed for one click. When control was ceded back to me, Superior Rid Himself of That Weakling Parker (RIDDING MYSELF OF THE WEAKLING PARKER: Give Superior Spider-Man a free action and roll a d6. Once per game, on a result of 3-6, for the rest of the game modify Superior Spider-Man’s attack and damage by +1 and damage dealt by him can’t be reduced below 2.) via a Special Attack Power and proceeded to Flurry W/X-23 for the KO. Unfortunately, he took Mystics damage for it and was down to his final click. Iron Monger mopped up The Professor on the next turn taking another Mystics damage in the process. He was left on click three.

Meanwhile, Destiny had finally evaded my Plasticity bot and was on the run. It took several tries but my team finally cornered her, with Iron Monger ready to attack. Superior used Perplex on Iron Monger–then my opponent reminded me of Destiny’s IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAN AGAINST THE FUTURE Trait (IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAN AGAINST THE FUTURE: After an opposing character within 8 squares uses Outwit, Perplex, or Probability Control and actions resolve, deal that character 1 damage if it has not already taken damage from this effect this turn.). Yup! I had just KOed my Superior Spider-Man by using Perplex! Smart. Veeeerrrry smart!

I KO’d Destiny shortly after that, but what should have been a rout turned out to be very close in points.

 

Who is Krampus? He destroys hopes and dreams. Especially mine it turns out...

Who is Krampus? He’s a Christmas monster who destroys hopes and dreams. Especially mine, it turns out…

Round 2: Facing WKWK-002 Krampus (w/Utility belt), SLOSH042 Helspont, DP018 Blind Al, NMLR100 Utility Belt w/NMLR101 Gas Pellets/Smoke Grenade. FYIThis was the best combo team I have ever seen.

The game started off innocently enough. I made a Spiderbot, attached it, and moved up towards my opponent. Then the combo struck…

My opponent used Blind AL to do one damage to Helspont. Helspont used his I INFILTRATED YOU LONG AGO Movement Special (I INFILTRATED YOU LONG AGO: Give Helspont a double power action and select an opposing character of a lower point value. Place Helspont and the chosen character in each other’s squares, and after actions resolve, Helspont may be given a close or ranged combat attack as a free action.) to switch places with Iron Monger 2.0. He’s now next to Superior Spider-Man and he gets to make a free attack. He misses but that’s not the bad part. Iron Monger is now next to Krampus. Krampus is obviously still in his starting area. Krampus uses Capture (with +3 to attack due to Blind Al’s Perplex, the Belt’s bonus, and a Perplex from Helspont). Iron Monger is captured. I haven’t even had my second turn yet and I’ve lost half my team…

The rest of the game plays like any normal game. It’s mostly a one-on-one with Helspont versus Spider-Man. I attached a second Spiderbot to Superior’s base. Over the next ten turns we exchanged attacks back and forth. I had a good streak going of hitting my Super Senses rolls. He wasn’t landing anything. Plus I had spawned some extra Mark I Spiderbots and at least twice they were able to use Exploit Weakness to do damage to Helspont. Unfortunately, for every attack that landed the next attack was stopped short by a Shape Change roll and when Helspont hits Shape Change, he automatically heals one click. All of my characters were only hitting for one at a time and he managed to heal as much as we were hurting him.

At one point Spider-Man lands on click 5 and it looked like he could finally turn things around by Ridding Himself of That Weakling Parker, but then Spidey missed Super Senses for the second turn in row and was KOed shortly after. Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeecccch!!!

astros-butt-slide

This is what it’s feels like to face a first turn Krampus capture.

So… that happened.

 

"Obviously, the embodiment of Will is a floating space shark fish. With crazy, shimmery fins. What the $@#& were YOU expecting?"

Giant glowing space sharks. Why does it always have to be giant glowing space sharks?

Round 3: Facing M10A009E Iron Man (Possessed by WOL068P Predator) and AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer (Possessed by WOL062P Ion).  Entity Theme Team. The entire game the Entities gave only some minor stat bumps. However, the powers they granted were ridiculous. Ion granted Lei-Kung Impervious, TK, and Outwit. Predator granted M10 Iron Man Shape Change along with the Quintessence and Mystics Team Abilities.

I started the game by attaching two Spiderbots to Superior before we closed in on each other. My opponent got in the first shot by using TK to move up Iron Man. Iron Man targeted Iron Monger 2.0 and missed. Due to elevation Iron Man had been forced to come close enough to my forces that I could make a Plasticity Spider-Bot adjacent to Iron Man. I did that and passed turn. My opponent responded by moving up Lei-Kung to Outwit Plasticity, and Iron Man tried to break away for a Running Shot. He missed the break away roll and was now double tokened. And then it was my turn.

Spider-man Charged in for a hit with a heavy item on Iron Man, but Impervious reduced the damage to just one. Iron Monger took a ranged shot and missed Iron Man. While it was still my turn I created another Spiderbot adjacent to both Lei Kung and Iron Man. My Opponent realized he was now stuck, but in short order he wisely figured out that he could use Lei-Kung’s Quake to push the bots away before they exploded, but each turn I was remaking them as fast as he could Quake.

That’s pretty much how the game went. Spider-man eventually took enough close combat damage from Iron Man (and pushing damage) to get to click 5. Once there, Doc Ock Rid Himself of That Weakling Parker and things really looked bad for my opponent. Iron Man was KOed by a Flurry the next turn. Then it was my team versus Lei Kung. At one point it looked like he would KO Spider-Man with Precision Strike, but he missed and I used Outwit to counter that power for the rest of the game. Lei Kung stuck around for a quite a while using Quake and Impervious to hold me off, but I was able to KO him just as time was being called.

The Result: My team managed to take second place out of the 6 people attending. With no Resources, Entities, or Team Bases, I was proud of that result.

What I Learned:

  • There now exists a combo that can ruin your team before your second turn. I checked and in the other two games that team played the combo didn’t quite work. In the first game Speed Demon crossed the board in two turns (which he had since Krampus had to double token to try his Capture maneuver) to KO Krampus before he could remove a Captured Iron Pharoah from the game. In the other match, Krampus actually rolled a three and missed the Capture roll. However, in my game the combo was completely deadly and unstoppable. Assuming the best Hypersonic character in the game isn’t left free on the board and your opponent can roll better than a three, I don’t know how you stop this combo. It can even take out a 200 point team base in one shot. It’s stupid and broken. Don’t get me wrong, I think my opponent was a genius  for playing it, but I am kind of bummed something like that exists in HeroClix at the moment. [Editor’s Note: I actually kind of love it. It’s creative, and there’s still a lot that can go wrong–especially if you’re up against a good Hypersonic piece, as you pointed out. And with Flash on the horizon, we’re about to get a bunch more good to great HS pieces. Also, wouldn’t Super Senses and Shape Change also potentially throw a huge monkey wrench into that combo? So, y’know… seems fair to me. Especially since it worked out for me but not for you. Ha!]
  • It thought Helspont was well worth his points during my Slosh Review, but I had never seen him in action before. It turns out I was right.
  • Superior Spider-Man was well worth his points. I want to try him again soon with some other figures on his team. Maybe with Zola next time. The one thing I would never do is play him without the Secret Avengers ATA. That is absolutely required to get the best out of him.
  • Iron Monger 2.0 was only okay for his points. The threat of exploding Spiderbots was neat, but it really happened only once the whole day. Without his Trait getting much use he’s really just not worth the points.

ROC’ing the Meta… Just like Shuma-Gorath Did!! (Or, A Look at the Top Pieces for ROC Super Qualifiers!!)

Welcome Back!

Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?

Can you smell what the ROCK is cooking?


 

So I’ve continually talked about how the ROC’s are great source of information for the current Meta. Well, on a whim (and somehow finding myself with some rare time to kill) I decided I should tally up all of the Top 4 finishing teams from the entire history of the ROC to see who the Top 10 most popular figures are. Why? Well, if you’re thinking of entering a ROC tourney near you, this might give you an idea of which army you want to build; but even if this doesn’t give you an idea of what to play, it should (perhaps even more importantly) give an idea of what you’ll be facing in the finals if you make the Top 16.

Welcome... to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that's prolly not my last).

Welcome… to the ROC! (How many ROC puns will I make today? I dunno, but that’s prolly not my last).

For the record, there are 21 tournament results posted. Four teams from each would be 84 team results to work with, but one tournament only posted the top two teams. All of which means that I’m pulling data from 82 Top 4 teams total.

In the interest of total transparency, the picture below should illuminate the primary methodology I used to determine the following results.

"Me calculating the ROC results for my article. Damn, I'm a handsome beast!"

Showing my work.

Before getting to the actual figures, here are the ranks for the most popular:

Resources

Resources:

1. FIR100C The Book of the Skull
2. NMLR100C Utility Belt
3. IIMR100C Power Plant
4. AVXR100 The Phoenix Force
5. IGR101C Infinity Gauntlet

The Book of the Skull is my favorite Resource, so this pleased me. HypeFox is more of a Phoenix Force or Infinity Gauntlet guy.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the nonexistent Great Lakes Avengers Team Base.

Actually, Gen13 came in last in terms of frequency of use, just after the Great Lakes Avengers Team Base. Which is not a real thing. Better luck next time, Fairchild!

Team Bases:

1. WXMT004 New Mutants
Tied for 2nd. TTT002R Justice League, WXMT001E X-Men: Blue Strike Force, WXMT006 Hellfire Club: Inner Circle

No other team bases have made a Top 4 table, which surprised me. Would have thought Trinity of Sin would have shown up at some point.

Bystander

Bystander Tokens:

1. FIH002 Warbot (Rocket)
2. FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot
3. FIB003 Damaged Warbot
4. FIB005 Super Fan
5. FIB018 Store Clerk

Skadi’s Warbot coming in second is the upset here.

And now without further ado here’s…

ROC

The Top 10 Figures of the ROC.

Tied for 10th place. WXM023B Cerise – Cerise is the only representative from the Wolverine and the Xmen set and one of only 2 primes to make the list. She arguably would have made it even higher on this list except for popularity of the other prime and the fact that they can’t be played together. For 60 points, she’s one of the most efficient Soldier and Police keyworded figs around.

Tied for 10th place. SLOSH008 Phantom Girl – When Phantom Girl phases through opposing characters she gets to target one of them with a close combat action. Every other figure with a similar power gets a close combat attack (like all those characters with hypersonic speed). The fact that she gets a close combat action gives her unique ability to use the bat belt and NMLR106 Handcuffs to handicap opposing figures. From SLOSH039 Bizarro to WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath, she can wrap them up tight.

Tied for 10th place. IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC) – This blog has done plenty to hype this piece (here and here) so it’s inclusion on this list is no surprise. What is surprising is that no other piece from the Invincible Iron Man set made this list.

Tied for 10th place. GG026 Mole Man – How did this make the list? WKM-G01R Shuma-Gorath is the biggest reason. He is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made DP043 Black Talon as his replacement.

9th place. JL52016R Enchantress – The 2nd best way to spend 50 points in modern. She is not only support, but a decent secondary attacker as well. Especially with a resource.

8th place. SLOSH057 Lydea Mallor – The best of the Chases from SLOSH. Lydea is one part Out-of-the-Shadows Batman and one part relic stealing Cat Woman. Her Regen stop click at the end of her dial is just icing on the cake.

7th place. M10A009E Iron Man – If you absolutely know your opponents are playing a resource, then this is their kryptonite. His dial is very efficient for it’s cost, but his trait is the only reason people ever play him.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SOGV003A GCPD Motorcycle (Autopilot) – This is never played without the GCPD ATA. If you’ve played this without the GCPD ATA, you did it wrong! Combined the cycle and ATA allow to carry two characters regardless of stat symbols 4 squares a turn as a few action. That police motorcycle is a steal for it’s point cost.

Tied for 5th and 6th place. SLOSH039 Bizarro – HypeFox once told that this should be my favorite character in the whole game. I love stop clicks and for this guy every click is a stop click. Depending on point value this is the toughest character ever made.

4th place. FFCW006 Scarlet Witch – She very similar to JL52016R Enchantress, but slightly better. She’s been a popular piece to play when she was first introduced due to her combination of perplex, probability control, and barrier on the same character. She is set to be retied by July 1 2014 and it seems like WizKids made FFDP006R Mercy as her replacement.

3rd place. GG014 Astral Dr. Strange – This is a great way to spend 13 points. The free move definitely puts it over the top. However, a lot of the play this piece has seen lately is with SLOSH048 Tellus. The combo is free move this 13 point figure into range and then have your whole team shoot through it. On your opponent’s turn the only thing in range is this 13 point figure.

2nd place. ASM017B Brother Voodoo – Brother Voodoo is the most popular prime character to date. He’s also my pick for most powerful character (for the points) ever. He’s made the top teams from the very first ROC all the way through the most current one. It seems like a lot of top 4 teams start with Brother Voodoo and fill in the rest from there. Think about this-of the 82 published top 4 ROC teams, this character was on 24 of them (EDITOR’S NOTE: DAAAAAMMMMN)!

1st place. FI301 Splitlip – With 25 total top 4 ROC appearances it’s the most popular figure. How did it get there? Of all of the teams I looked at that used the book of the skulls, all of them included Splitlip. There are a few teams out there that played him without the book, but no one played the book without him. The fact that he’s the cheapest source of enhancement in modern shouldn’t be forgotten either.

So there you go! If you go to a ROC, expect to see some–if not most–of these characters across the board from you.  Thanks for reading.

And keep on ROC'ing! Okay, that was my last pun...

And keep on ROC’ing! Okay, that was my last pun…

 

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

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

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

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

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

ROUND 1:

VERSUS: Ninwashui!

FACING:

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

“Oh look, my shirt’s off again.”

WXM038 Legion – 119

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

WXM016 Cyclops – 94

WXM045 Phoenix – 154

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

=600 (Exactly! Nice job, bro!)

FIGHT!

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

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

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

DECISION:

600-0 Victory.

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eat $#!%, Green Arrow."

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

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

ROUND 2:

VERSUS: A (Venue Regular–see below!)

FACING:

Shiny Happy Avengers.

Shiny Happy Avengers.

M10A009 Iron Man – 225

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

(Assigned a Fragment)

AvX003 Thor – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

CW039 Hawkeye – 98

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

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

FIGHT!

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

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

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

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

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

DECISION:

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

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROUND 3:

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

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

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

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

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

End of DeadPool note.)

FACING:

WXM032 Bishop -140

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX014 Magneto – 200

(Assigned a Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost – 125

WXM209 Jean Grey – 100

(Assigned a Fragment)

The Phoenix Force – 12 + 3

(With the Colossus Fragment Attached)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT I LEARNED:

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

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

–WXM Gravity Feed Jean Grey is damn good!

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

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

THE SPOILS:

"My Precioussss...."

“My Precioussss….”

And:

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

Blocky, The Forgotten Go-Bot.

 

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

Let’s Not Make This Harder Than It Has to Be!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 05/04/2014)

Roundup

Hmmm… don’t know why I keep dating these Roundups for Sundays when I keep releasing them on Tuesday. Just one of the many quirks of Critical Missives (seriously, though, I’m working on it!), I guess, as is naming this week’s column after the hook from an infectiously ear-wormy Ingrid Michaelson song that I can’t #^#)^$#^ get out of my head. Grrrrr…

Still, it’s been a good week for Southeastern Michiganders! The weather finally seems to be breaking towards an actual Spring, and my Tigers seem to have solved their bullpen issues rather simply–they just have all of their starting pitchers go 7 strong innings and score so many damn runs that it becomes physically impossible for the relievers to cough up the lead in the short amount of time they have to pitch. Mind you, they still try REALLY FREAKING hard to give it up, but this past week they just haven’t had enough time to get it done. Luckily.

Now, you might be thinking, the Tigers have won like 6 games in a row–how bad could their bullpen be? Well, despite the fact that they traded an All-Star-level pitcher who was still under club control in the off-season (Doug Fister) for a pair of tube socks and a bat bag just to save a few million bucks, they just turned around and spent a cool million on a dude whose arm fell off last year… and he’ll be the second best pitcher in the bullpen ASSUMING HE’S EVER HEALTHY ENOUGH TO JOIN THE TEAM THIS SEASON. I know a million is not a lot of money in the world of baseball salaries, but to call this a “flyer” might be generous at best. “Desperation” is a word that comes more readily to mind. Keep in mind, when you search for images of Joel Hanrahan with his most recent team before the Tigers, this is one of the first images that pops up:

"You're not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel."

“You’re not exactly inspiring confidence, Joel.”

Former skipper Jim Leyland is not impressed, either:

"Nope."

“Nope.”

(Okay, I just wanted an excuse to run my favorite Leyland picture–sue me!)

But enough moaning about my favorite baseball team–this is a Heroclix blog, ain’t it? Well of course it is, so that means it’s gotta be time for…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix has released Episode 43! This week the guys discuss more of the spoiled War of the Light dials (from Newsarama–Red Lanterns this time, and man do they look nasty!) and discuss the best of the Yu-Gi-Oh figs that were just released. Also, the first week for the May Dial Design has come and gone, and May’s Best Build page just opened up!

Clixcast

ClixCast is still dark. According to their iTunes feed, their last podcast was still February 18th. Sadly, it appears that they may have gone the way of Duo Attack, so this will probably be their last appearance here in the Podcast section until something changes.

Push to Regen

–Apparently delayed due to Easter, Push to Regen is back with the second episode of Season 2! Among other things, they discuss the Con Exclusive figs for this year and talk about War of the Light. Check their Podbean for updates!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

The Quarry’s latest episode is … Episode 17! Roundtable discussion with Patrick Yapjoco on the Hanford SQ and the Iowa SQ. Ultimate Play just keeps rolling on, b!tches!

Welcome... to the ROC!

Welcome… to the ROC!

ROC:

–Up to date upcoming tourney listings, which you can find right HERE!

–Recent tourney results seem to indicate that some of the peeps in Metaland are trying to make Experienced M10 Iron Man happen again. I have to admit that I thought his day had come and gone, but between him, Phantom Girl and Lydea Mallor, players fielding resources are putting themselves at some risk now. Not enough to not play them, in my opinion, but it’s becoming very clear now that if you’re going to compete in a ROC, you had better choose the right resource for the force you’ve constructed and–moreover–you better have a backup plan for if and when you face M10 or Lydea, cuz either one can ruin you’re day real quick if you’re not properly prepared. I don’t know what the best counter to M10 is right now, but you have a few options even if you still want to play a resource. Choosing the Phoenix Force, Outwitting his defense and basing him with your Shard-granted Poison seems like the easiest way to do it (since it would give you another way each turn to force your opponent into that 50/50 unavoidable damage d6), but there’s probably a bunch of other options as well. Outwit plus a free Hammer Quake from the Book might be another way to go, as well. I guess Outwit is the key to all these strategies, eh? All you really have to do is 2 damage and the lil’ bugger goes down to a 9 Attack and 16 Defense with Invuln.

Preview

Previews:

-New War of the Light dials seem to go up every day–Newsarama is a good place to look, but eventually all that info filters down to HCRealms, so you can always check their Units page. Too many to comment on here, but so far, most look like a lot of fun, even if they’re not quite Meta-worthy–although the Red Lanterns certainly have potential. But just how many Primes are in this set? And Chases–Gawd, Chases are gonna run $100 easy, given how hot and scarce this set is gonna be. Btw, Jerry Seinfeld wanted to pop back into this column after a few weeks away with a special message for all the ‘Clixers out there looking to collect the whole set:

Seinfeld Good Luck

-Well, after Banshee was spoiled last week, I’m not sure we even need to see any other Deadpool figures–Shaun Cassidy is probably going to be the biggest addition to the Meta from that set. He’s definitely an early contender for #1 in our upcoming Deadpool Top Ten columns. Having said that, there’s plenty of cool figures from this set on display in a brand new Unboxing video featuring Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights and what I’m told is a CW show called Heart of Dixie. He’ll always be Jason Street in my mind, but if you want to see him unbox a whole brick of Deadpool, click HERE! He’s clearly a big Heroclix fan (the funnest part of the video might have been ogling all his “trophy” figs on display behind him). SPOILER ALERT: Don’t watch the first few minutes of the video if you don’t want to know what the Chase theme is going to be–he pulls one out of the second pack (I can tell you that the Chases will all have the Gold bases that the Chaos War Chases used–they look pretty cool. He also discovers a special secret about them that I hadn’t seen guessed before in any of the various Clix forums… these could get really expensive really quickly too.)

This is NOT a spoiler!

This is NOT a spoiler!

–The other figure spoiled this week that will make AvX X-Men players cry is Moira MacTaggert. She’s a 28-Point Scientist with the X-Men keyword who shuts down the Capture ability (i.e. slightly nerfs the new Sentinels) and–oh yeah–is going to be (arguably) the BEST FREAKING MEDIC IN THE GAME! Heh. Good job delaying her, WizKids! As an Avengers player, I’d rather not have to deal with their version of Donald Blake (hell, their BETTER version of Donald Blake at that!). In addition to her starting Willpower and 11 Attack Support, she also gets Perplex down dial (she’s only 4 clix long), but c’mon–she’s 28-Points! Methinks Moira may see some Meta use.

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Entertainment News:

–Some point soon, I’m going to publish an episode guide for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so peeps can catch up if they tapped out earlier in the season. They’ve had a STRONG back half of episodes! Hopefully ABC announces a second season pickup soon (with the ratings being what they are, it’s actually weird that they haven’t announced a renewal already, but I guess ABC is waiting for the upfronts for that).

–That “Smallville” treatment of Bruce Wayne I’ve been updating you guys on? It just got ordered to series by FOX, so this one’s going to go. Intriguing cast. We’ll see if it works. I’d bet dollars to donuts that it won’t tie into either “Arrow” or the about-to-film “Superman Vs. Batman,” but it’s not entirely clear at this point. History will tell you though that while Marvel has gone to great links to establish shared universes with it’s filmed entertainment ventures (even back as far as the 80’s–remember those TV Hulk movies where Daredevil and Thor showed up?), DC (read: Warner Brothers) has gone to great lengths to SEPARATE their heroes into distinct, solo film ventures. Of course, now that Marvel’s way has proven WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more lucrative, DC is trying to throw together a Justice League movie that would essentially be the sequel to SvB. We’ll see how it goes. As a fanboy, I’m extremely excited. As a person who was entertained but kinda/sorta underwhelmed by “Man of Steel,” I remain skeptical (why in God’s name was Lois Lane–a reporter for a Metropolis newspaper–tooling around Antarctica strong-arming Generals into showing her secret military bases and classified alien ships? And thank God she was an expert at scaling icy metallic surfaces while wearing a flimsy pair of townie boots and a parka… I don’t want to rant too much on this since this is still technically a parenthetical, but Lois Lane shouldn’t have shown up in that movie until those last scenes when Clark shows up for his first day of work at the Daily Planet. Imagine if no one knew that Amy Adams had even been cast and then she shows up suddenly at the end, Sam Jackson style–people would have loved it, and they’d look forward to seeing her in the sequel. Perhaps more importantly, this would have excised pretty much every shitty scene in that movie. Lois Lane isn’t a bad character–she’s one of the coolest women in comics, actually. But shoehorning her into the plot as early as they did added nothing to the story and actually sort of damaged the whole suspension-of-disbelief pact that every movie makes with its audience. Grrrrr…. End of rant).

Critical Missives:

–Just one new article last week, which was Ninwashui’s Local Tournament Report from AvX Month Three. Some nice analysis by Ninwa in there. Check it out if you’re looking for more AvX strategy and analysis.

Back later this week with some more Build columns and–in the next few weeks–that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode Guide.

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

Local Tournament Report – 4/23/14 Comics & More

"Instant Karma's gonna get you  Gonna knock you right on the head  You better get yourself together  Pretty soon you're gonna be dead..."

“Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead…” -A spell by John Lennon

 

The Format: AvX Month 3. Must use at least 1 figure from the starter. Other figures must share a keyword with the starter figure. 500 point modern. No relics, Colossals. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops).

What I played:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

I finally did a build article and stuck to it! You can read about the strategy for my team “TK for the Win” here.

 

"Sure, I may not have Willpower, but--wait, I don't have Willpower? S#!tballs!"

“Sure, I may not have Willpower, but–wait, I don’t have Willpower? S#!tballs!”

Round 1:

Facing:

AVX001 Captain America

SLOSH005B Mon-El

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh (1500 BC)

Total = 485 Points

My opponent was new to our venue and thus didn’t know about the shared keyword being required. We played on a map similar to Wundagore Mountain [EDITOR’S NOTE: That would be the  Verkhoyansk Mountains Map]. As the armies closed in on each other I was up on elevated terrain in the center of the map. All three of his characters were grounded about a third of the way up. Iron Pharaoh’s falcon lagged behind. Captain America did a Running Shot up a stairs. He tried to target Legion, but I pointed out the stealth. He targeted Magneto and missed. He didn’t use the Pharaoh and Mon-el because they would take pushing damage. On my turn I struck back. Magneto did a Running Shot Pulse Wave for 4 penetrating damage (cap only has 5 range and was close). Then my opponent realized he hadn’t declared Energy Shield with Cap last turn. I offered to let him, but he declined. Phoenix used psychic blast for 4 damage on Cap and that was a KO.

Next turn Mon-el used Hypersonic speed and an object to attack Phoenix. She missed shape change. He hit his attack. She ignored the damage by hitting impervious. Iron Pharaoh had no move and attack so he just walked into a good shooting position. After KO-ing cap I had turned the dial once  and that granted my team sidestep. Phoenix pushed to do a Running Shot and hit Mon-el for 4. Then she used Sidestep to get back to Legion. Legion chose support and healed Phoenix back to her top click. Magneto pushed to Pulse Wave Iron Pharaoh for 4.

The remainder of his team was injured. Mon-el had no move and attack so he flew next to Legion and ended his turn. Legion choose Impervious and Phoenix was in a position to outwit Mon-el’s close combat expert. I cleared tokens. Mon-el decided not to push to have the possibility of doing 1 damage to Legion. The Pharaoh missed Magneto.

The following turn Magneto finished off the Pharaoh with another 4 damage pulse wave. Phoenix outwitted Mon-el’s defense and Legion used Close Combat Expert for the knockout punch.

My opponents team was interesting and I am sure his strategy had merits, but if I was playing that team I would have done a few things differently. I would have left the Pharaoh much farther away from the battle and waited for the Golden Falcon to be a factor. I also would have kept Mon-El directly behind Captain America as much as possible. Mon-el’s special defend along with Cap’s traited Energy Shield could have given cap a 21 defense versus range!

"I'm viable in the Meta. Y'know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And Hope Summers."

“I am VIABLE in the Meta! …Y’know, If you just give me, like, three more powers. And some slightly better stats. And a resource. And a Hope Summers. Or Rachel Summers, or any of my sisters for that matter–you know what? I’m not viable in the Meta.”

 

Round 2:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

AVX009 Cyclops (With Namor Fragment)

AVX010 Emma Frost

AVX101 Cable (With Cyclops Fragment)

IH035 Wolverine

Total = 496 Points

This opponent started the match using Flight from the Phoenix shards to carry his forces around. When I pointed out that the Phoenix Shards only granted Flight and didn’t grant Carry, he realized his mistake. At that point he called the judge over and has his first game changed from a win to a loss. That feat of awesome honesty lost him the first game, but Karma (or luck, or divine intervention) made all my rolls go sour in game two.

So we started the game over and my opponent slowly walked his characters into corner down a 2 square wide hallway created by Elevated Terrain and left them bunched together. Due to my superior movement abilities, my team got the first opportunity to strike. I had Phoenix hit wolverine for 4 penetrating damage.  Magneto was then able to swing in and hit the entire opposing team with a 1 damage Pulse Wave. That was enough to KO Wolverine. Legion used Hypersonic and missed Cyclops’s practically naked 17 defense. Missing a 17 defense on an attack was going to happen several more times this game.

My opponent struck back. He outwitted Magneto’s defense, used Cable’s RCE and +1 attack from the Phoenix Force to spice up his attack to 12 and nailed Magneto for 4 damage. The rest of his team missed Magneto. He had rolled doubles so his resource gave him Sidestep.

Magneto ran back to Legion. Legion pushed to try a support roll, but rolled a 5. Phoenix cleared. My opponent’s team cleared. The next turn he used his 3(!) Outwits to remove all of Phoenix’s Defensive powers and hit her twice for a total of four damage(due to Invuln from the Colossus shard). On my turn my team scattered and tried to use elevated for cover.

Legion eventually did successfully heal Magneto, but only for 1 damage. Cable used Sidestep to fly up to elevated and get another hit in on Magneto. Phoenix had 3 non-penetrating damage showing and I knew that with Cable and Cyclops both having shard-granted Invuln, it wasn’t going to be a fun time taking them on. Still, I had Phoenix base them to save Magneto.

On the last turn before the judge called time Phoenix’s defense was Outwitted and Cyclops hit her for 3 damage and the KO. So I lost the game 70-160. HypeFox pointed out later that this shouldn’t have been a KO. I had forgotten about Phoenix’s shard-granted Invuln and taken too much damage. Karma, you can’t fight it.

 

"Cosplayers love me."

“Cosplayers love me.”

Round 3:

Facing:

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force (with Colossus, Namor, and Cyclops fragments)

FI031 Wolverine (With Namor Fragment)

WXM031 Gambit (With Colossus Fragment)

AVX009E Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM063 Psylocke

WXM047B Jubilee

Total = 495 Points

This game was the polar opposite of game 2. I started out by taking the elevated center on the Limbo map. My opponent sent Gambit and Psylocke down the right edge of the map and the remaining characters went down the left hand side. With my move and attack advantage I realized it was going to take him two turns at least for his team from one side to help his team on the other side.

Magneto started with a Pulse Wave aimed at Gambit. Hit for 4 clicks. Phoenix pushed for a Running Shot and that KO’d Gambit. My resource switched to a pink movement power, so Phoenix was able to Sidestep back to adjacency with Legion. Legion choose Hypersonic speed and rolled a 6! He gained +1 to all stats and choose Battle Fury as his second power. He ran in, ignored Shape Change, hit Psylocke for 4 and moved next to Phoenix again.

On my opponent’s turn he cleared Psylocke, moved up Jubilee, marched Wolverine next to Magneto, and attacked Phoenix with Cyclops. She hit her Impervious roll and took one (due to Precision Strike). On my turn, every character I had was double tokened. I chose Impervious with Legion and rolled a 5, healing Phoenix of 1 damage. I cleared. Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jubilee were all double tokened. Psylocke was stuck in hindering and moved 3 steps closer to me. My opponent cleared.

On my turn Magneto executed a Running Shot Pulse Wave with which he hit all opposing characters except for Psylocke for 1. Then Phoenix hit Wolverine for 3 penetrating damage with Psychic Blast, which put the Canucklehead on his stop click. Legion finished him off with a 12 attack, 3 damage RCE (due to the Cyke Shard). After his attack Legion chose Impervious again and rolled a 5, which healed Phoenix to full.

On his last turn Cyclops attacked Phoenix and she rolled Shape Change. He switched to Magneto and missed. Psylocke cleared. On my turn Magneto used Pulse Wave on Cyclops hitting for 4. Phoenix pushed to finish him off. Legion chose Hypersonic Speed again and rolled another 6!. He chose Willpower as a second power. He used Hypersonic to range attack Psylocke and finished her off.

The match was complete blowout, but a lot of that was due to my lucky rolls as opposed to anything my opponent did wrong. I never missed, I was only hit for 1 damage, Phoenix kept making defensive rolls, and my Legion rolls of 5 and 6 were just statistically absurd. I guess Karma was swinging back the other way.

It was an unusual tournament and at the end I did take first place because everyone had at least one loss after 3 rounds.

What I learned:

"Great, I'll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this."

“Great, I’ll probably manifest, like, a dozen more personalities after this.”

  • WXM038 Legion Legion is definitely worth the points if you play him thinking that you will always be getting Battle fury, or Earthbound, or -2 attack. Until the last game those were literally the only personality quirks I got. If you can plan around those, this guy is the real deal. I ended up using Support, Perplex, Close Combat Expert, Hypersonic Speed, will power, Earthbound (so he could be carried), Battle Fury (to get around shape change) and Impervious (when I knew he was about to take a hit). The three times his savant trait (+1 to all stats AND choose a second power) came up this tournament were sweet. He was a lot of fun and I will want to use him again soon.
  • WXM045 Phoenix was extremely powerful with her running shot and psychic blast, but she seemed to miss a lot (10 starting attack). Also due to my poor rolling her defense was not as strong as it statistically should have been(until the last game). I think I hit Impervious or Shape Change twice all night. Her Outwit was key for me, but I never got to Outwit multiple powers with it. I would use her again.
  • AVX014 Magneto is still awesome. In the two tournaments I’ve used him in now he’s only been KOed once. (Damn you, Hawkeye!) He’s a defensive powerhouse. Just don’t roll low on his Running Shot Pulse Wave.
  • AVX101 Cable by himself isn’t a great figure. However if he’s given Sidestep, R.C.E., AND an opponent with a penchant for missing – he’s very good.
  • Game 2 I faced essentially naked 17 defenses and I kept rolling low. Karma…
  • The Phoenix force resource might be the most complicated game element we’ve gotten yet. Everyone who played it screwed up something about it at least once this tournament.

The Big Six-MO… nth! Anniversary!! (Or, 10 Burning Questions About Invincible Iron Man!!)

"Well, this should be interesting."

“So… what’s new with you?”

We are time traveling today, folks! We’re journeying to the distant past, waaaaay back, back before even Lydea Mallor roamed the tables and countertops of this planet we call Earth, back when bringing Shuma-Gorath and a Mole Man to a ROC was still legal (whereas now, of course, bringing Shuma and a Mole Man to a ROC will earn you 3-5 years at County). Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the distant, distant past of six months ago! Invincible Iron Man was released just before Thanksgiving of 2013 (HCRealms.com lists it as November 20th on their Units page; that’s as good a date as any), so it was six months ago that the world was introduced to pieces like the Silver Centurion, Tony Stark, Absorbing Man (the LE) and Iron Pharaoh. What did we learn from this set, and how is it affecting both casual games and the Meta today? Well, to find that out, we’re debuting a new column gimmick today that we like to call…

10 BURNING QUESTIONS!!

Here we go!

Q1. Both HypeFox AND Ninwashui weighed in on the merits of many individual pieces–Invincible Iron Man was the subject of the first set reviews published by Critical Missives, right? How did they both do? Would their personal Top 10 (and 5 Honorable Mentions) change if they were assembling those lists today?

Mistakes Were Made

Mistakes Were Made

A1: Okay, first of all, that’s like 3 questions. You’re already ruining this gimmick and it hasn’t even started yet! To review, my Top Ten IIM figs were:

10. Grey Gargoyle (Super Rare) 

9. Iron Pharaoh (Chase)

8. Crimson Cowl (Rare)

7. Rescue (Main Set Version) (Common)

6. War Machine (Rare Prime) 5. War Machine (Rare)

4. Hyperion (Veteran Super Rare Prime)

3. Count Nefaria (Super Rare)

2. Absorbing Man (LE)

1. Silver Centurion (Common Prime)

While my Honorable Mention consisted of:

5. Bulldozer (Rookie Common)

4. Tony Stark (Uncommon)

3. King Hyperion (Super Rare)

2. Iron Paladin (Chase)

1. Maggia Goon (Common)

So, would I change anything? Surprisingly, not a ton. These lists have held up fairly well. Having said that, if I were ranking IIM figs today, it would look more like this (* denotes figure who didn’t appear on previous lists):

10. Tony Stark

9. Rescue (Main Set version)

8. Count Nefaria

7. Iron Doom*

6. Iron Man* (Experienced Common version)

5. War Machine (Rare version)

4. Absorbing Man (LE)

3. Shaman* (Super Rare)

2. Iron Pharaoh

1. Silver Centurion

With an Honorable Mention of:

5. War Machine (Prime) 

4. King Hyperion

3. Iron Man* (Rare)

2. Crimson Cowl

1. Hyperion* (Experienced version!)

So, what have I learned in the six months that the set has been out and in the four months since I wrote the lists?

Well, for one thing, Iron Pharaoh is reeeeeaaaallly good.

"I could have told you that."

“I could have told you that, mortal.”

Improved Targeting of ANY kind gives you a major leg up on your competition, and the Pharaoh basically gives you Improved Targeting: Ignores the $#%@&^! Map via his Golden Falcon, Sharting (On Your Opponent’s Entire Strategy) Trait. The Dial H guys have pointed out on more than one occasion that ranged-attack based teams have an inherent advantage (all other things being equal) over close combat teams; they’re usually going to get the Alpha Strike. How do close combat teams combat this advantage? Primarily with Map choice (by choosing a map with terrain that aids what their strategy is, whether that’s advancing and hiding behind Blocking or Elevated Terrain), or with Stealth, etc. Well, Improved Targeting is an ability that specifically hoses those few options and turns what was a minor advantage into a MAJOR advantage for the ranged-attack team. And in ranged-attack versus ranged-attack matchups, if one team has Improved Targeting and the other team does not, the team that does–if it’s positioned well–will still have that same Alpha Strike advantage AS IF IT WAS FACING A CLOSE COMBAT TEAM.

And when you add resources that provide things like Sidestep (like, say, The Phoenix Force) into the mix, even common figures that people may have once overlooked (<cough>E Iron Man 001 <cough>, which, y’know, I totally meant to put on my intial list, but, uh, forgot, and stuff, and really, what had happened was…) suddenly become “breakable.”

"Careful! I'm 'breakable!'"

“Careful! I’m ‘breakable!'”

Experienced Iron Man 001 plus Sidestep (whether it’s from the Phoenix Force, or from Agent Sitwell, with whom he shares a keyword, or…) plus the right map choice [think Fear Itself Month 1 (The Raft) or AvX Month 1 (Latveria), or any map with a ton of Blocking Terrain] turns this Iron Man into a piece that can potentially Outwit an opposing character THROUGH BLOCKING TERRAIN AND HE DOESN’T CARE IF SAID OPPOSING FIGURE HAS STEALTH! Then he can attack that figure and then, in this scenario, (this is the best part) SIDESTEP BEHIND OTHER BLOCKING TERRAIN SO THAT HE CANNOT BE RETALIATED AGAINST! He’s basically Darkseid without all the “I cost at least 200 Points” drama! Hell, Sitwell is 60 Points AND provides another Perplex (and possibly a prob, assuming your other figs are also S.H.I.E.L.D. keyword figs like these two). I don’t know about you, but when you factor in the fact that this Iron Man also has top click Running Shot, Invuln and Precision Strike, I’d rather play him and Sitwell for 210 than just Darkseid for 200. Overlooking this piece was probably a bigger mistake than under-ranking Iron Pharaoh–at least the Pharaoh made the list.

Here’s a version of a Dial H Best Build I submitted this month that features this particular Iron Man:

Team Name: Nothing to See Here

Theme: S.H.I.E.L.D.

Map ChoiceFear Itself Month 1 (The Raft) or AvX Month 1 (Latveria)

IIM001AE Iron Man – 150

CATWS014 Agent Sitwell – 60

CATWS011 Maria Hill – 60

The Phoenix Force – 12

Assigned Character x2 – 6

Cyclops, Colossus, Magik & Emma Frost Fragments – 12

= 300

Nothing to See here is designed to throw Outwits from every conceivable angle on the board while IM blasts fools through walls. May not win a ROC, but if you win the Map Choice, it’ll be tons of fun to play!

I also overlooked Shaman in a major way. He, too, didn’t make either of my lists–he was one of my last eliminations for Honorable Mention as I recall–but the build possibilities that his Trait (“NO FLIGHT” SPELL: Once per game, give Shaman a free action and until he is KO’d, other characters with “wing symbol” or “transporter wing symbol” have “boot symbol” instead.) grants cannot be overstated. What often goes overlooked on Shaman however is his capability as a secondary attacker–he’s not just a support piece. His first click gives you 10 Attack with TK, 17 Defense with both ES/D AND a souped-up Barrier, and he has 3 Damage top click WITH Perplex! For less than 100 Points!

Look how annoying you can be with him:

Team Name: No Flights, No Tights

Theme: Mystical (Generic)

Map Choice: AvX Month 1 (Wundagore Mountain)

IIM040 Shaman – 92

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh – 110

FFCW006R Scarlet Witch – 50

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot – 30

The Phoenix Force – 12

1 Assigned Character – 3

Cyclops Fragment – 3

=300

This team can double Barrier to protect Iron Pharaoh while his Golden Falcon goes out and treats the map like a Seagull treats a parking lot after a big lunch. If you win Map Roll, yikes. Your opponent better have a non-flying piece equipped with Phasing/Teleport and the Carry ability–essentially, Cloak from ASM (there’s a couple others, but he’s the best). If not, he or she will have to take the long way around a freaking mountain only to be met by a double Barrier tandem who each have the Mystics TA when AND IF you can actually hit them. All the while, Iron Pharaoh will be chilling like the Boss that he is and taking pot shots of at least 5 damage (and it’s quite easy to make that even more) at your best figs after he’s Outwitted their defense. This is the definition of “a bucket of yuck” for your opponent.

"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!”

So those two figs are probably the ones I missed the mark on the most. Some other figs whose ranking I would change have gotten stronger (Iron Doom) or weaker based on subsequent releases. For example, Absorbing Man LE has taken a slight hit with the release of figs like CATWS013 Agent 13, who can just void someone’s defense completely, but  overall, Iron Pharaoh and Shaman were my biggest mistakes, I believe. Next question!

Q4. Other than Shaman, what figure hasn’t been exploited in the Meta as much as you thought they would be? And why?

A4. Hmmm… that’s a surprisingly good question. And it was just two questions! Well done! You’re getting better! Still ruining the gimmick, but you’re getting better!

Let’s see… well, to be honest, I’m surprised people didn’t find more of a use for Grey Gargoyle, the Super Rare. His trick of only letting an adjacent opponent clear one token at a time (instead of two if they’d been pushed) and having some pretty good close combat stats made me think someone would find a way to make him really nasty. If you combine him with AvX Professor X, you could really slow an opponent down, but you wouldn’t have much offense in a 300 Point game–or a Theme Team. That seems like a combo worth trying in, like, a 500 Point game. For the Meta, he may just cost too much for what he does. It may be as simple as that.

A smug French dude isn't worth what it costs to deal with him? Stop the presses!

A smug French dude isn’t worth what it costs to deal with him? Stop the presses!

Q6. What about the Silver Centurion? Is he still as good now as he was 6 months ago?

A6. Okay, I feel like you’re kind of plateauing in terms of the progress you were making with the whole “asking questions” thing. You just asked two questions again! And the first one was barely even a question–what about the Silver Centurion? Oh, you’d like to know if he’s still as good now as he was 6 months ago? WELL WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST ASK THAT INSTEAD OF WASTING YET ANOTHER QUESTION?

I suppose I should just answer both questions by answering the one THAT WAS ACTUALLY A QUESTION! Sigh…

Yes, he’s as good as he was 6 months ago. He still brings a quality secondary attacker WITH HIM, which tends to scare or, at the very least, frustrate anyone unfortunate enough to play against him. His Point cost WITHOUT the Torpedo is still very reasonable (especially since he’s immune to half of the best attack abilities in the game); and, with the Avengers keyword, he can tack on the Secret Avengers ATA to (somewhat) stymie his biggest fear–Outwit. He’s shown up at or near the top of countless ROC events, and nothing’s really come down the pike that really makes him weaker now than he was then. He’s still the best fig in the set. It’s closer now than it was before, but even without Improved Targeting of any kind, he’s still a complete badass and one of the best Primary Attackers in Modern.

I don’t even need to come up with an army to prove my point–just check out the ROC results from the past few months and you’ll see a ton of great builds featuring the Silver Centurion.

"I'm going to assume I'm in a blizzard and not surrounded by the white nothingness of entropy as it slowly consumes the universe around me.  On another note--how sweet does my armor look next to a white background?"

“I’m going to assume I’m in a blizzard and not surrounded by the white nothingness of entropy as it slowly consumes the universe around me. On another note–how sweet does my armor look next to a white background?”

Q8. Can I have more questions?

A8. No.

Q9. What is the power legacy of this set in the current Modern Age format?

A9. Finally! Two questions in a row where you actually just asked a single question! Alright! Well, in terms of power, this set had more pieces that will show up in the Meta than the Marvel set that preceded it, Wolverine and the X-Men. But that’s okay–not every set has to have pieces that are geared towards a single format (in this case, 300 Point Modern Age). WATX had plenty of pieces that are a lot of fun to play, and it introduced Team Bases to the Marvel Heroclix world. It also had some of the most popular Chase characters ever (the Phoenix Five), so loading it up with cutthroat power pieces would have given them less to do when it came time for Invincible Iron Man. Iron Pharaoh has turned up on quite a few Meta teams, but the character itself was never more than, like, an alternate cover–I don’t think there was ever even a story about him. But when he can exist in a game alongside 13 different Wolverines, I think that means that Heroclix in general is actually in good shape. There’s plenty of little things that irk me, but you can play competitive games now with a ton of different characters. That’s a huge step forward from just 14 months ago, when it was Ghost Rider and… well, and nothing else. It was just Ghost Riders as far as the eye could see, each one giving the next a Penance Stare.

This was the Meta in early 2013.

The Meta in early 2013.

Q10. Wow. What happens when Ghost Rider gives a Penance stare to Ghost Rider?

A10. That was probably your best question. I’m glad you saved it for last. Anyway, the Ghost Rider giving the Penance Stare would end up here:

Being John Malkovich

All paradoxical loops inevitably lead to John Malkovich’s head. And thank you for RUINING THE FIRST OUTING OF OUR NEW GIMMICK WITH YOUR HORRIBLE QUESTION-WASTING!!

Q11. You’re welcome?

A11. I hate you.

Back later this week with some AvX Month 3 Tourney Reports…

 

By your powers combined, I am… the Phoenix! (Or the Build 4/23/2014)

Hmm... 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

Hmm… 5 people who have powers that combine into a powerful force. Where have I seen that before?

 

Greetings true believers. (Stan Lee stole that from me.) This weeks “article” revolves around different team ideas I’m considering for this month’s AvX tournament at my local venue and copyright infringement. By which I mean, hopefully, the armies below might give you a good idea for your next tournament.

Now on with the show. (Wow that was a cool phrase. I’m an originator.)

The Format: AvX Month 3. 500 Points. You can use the Phoenix force resource and the three parts we’ve received so far (Colossus, Namor, Cyclops). If you need to know what they do look them up on HCrealms. If I told you that would take literally all the time I have to write the rest of this article. It’s not simple or easy to describe.

The Phoenix Force Resource: Through careful analysis, HypeFox and I have determined the best way to use the resource with the pieces we have. It’s the resource itself (12 points), all three fragments (3*3 = 9 points), and 2 assigned characters (2*3 = 6 points). That’s 27 total points. Why do it that way? Because if you leave the Colossus fragment on the resource the 2 assigned people get un-outwit-able (EDITOR’S NOTE: Just say “Unoutwittable.” There! I made it a word now! No more reaching for the “-” key!) poison, flight, and invulnerability! It’s the Invulnerability that makes it all worth it. There have been a lot of clix that are considered very good because of an of un-outwit-able defense on otherwise decent dials. For example SM058 Kal. This means that I have the Namor fragment (which grants nothing useful) and the Cyclops fragment (which grants RCE) to assign to each team I list below. I am also going to note this configuration of the phoenix force resource as “Standard Phoenix Force Resource“.

Now on with the teams!

 

Team 1: TK for the win.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX014 Magneto

WXM045 Phoenix (With Namor Fragment)

WXM038 Legion (With Cyclops Fragment)

Total = 500 Points

The key to success with this team are the proper uses of the TK power and Legions trait. Legion was assigned the RCE fragment so that he can make a strong attack before using his trait to select a new power. That way you can avoid having your ranged attack canceled by rolling battle fury or the -2 to attack emotions. He also gets Invulnerability over all seven clicks to cover defense. That means you should be free to chose a good supporting (Perplex, Outwit, Probability Control), or healing (Regeneration, Support) power. You may have to choose a power (like Running Shot) before you make a successful attack, but want to avoid doing that as much as possible. That’s where Magneto’s TK comes in handy. If you can attack with him first and add a second token then he can TK Legion into battle and let Legion attack without having to use his trait. Remember also that even though all of your character’s fly, Legion can choose to gain Earthbound via his trait and then be carried.

To start the battle have Magneto, Phoenix, and Legion arranged in a straight horizontal line with Legion in the middle. Try to have no tokens on Legion and on one Magneto. If your opponent gets the drop on you then have Legion gain Support on your next turn via his trait and heal up your injured guys. If you get a chance at an opening shot, use Legion to TK Magneto into battle and have Magneto use Running Shot and Pulse Wave. If that’s a second token for Magneto have him use TK to pull a teammate up into battle. If you use TK on Phoenix, she can then use Running Shot and her 8 range to hit almost anywhere on the board. You could also pull Legion up to Magneto in case you need to use Support next turn.

 

Team 2: Revenge of the Nerfed X-Force.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM042 Fantomex

WXM041 Spiral (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM018 Sunspot (With Namor Fragment)

AVX005R Wolverine

WXM010 Shatterstar

Total = 499 Points

I made an entire Revenge of the Nerfed article about the strategies for this team. You shouldn’t need any more explanation than that.

 

Team 3: I finally get to use Iron/Man Iron Patriot.

AVXR100 The Phoenix Force

AVXR101 Fragment – Cyclops

AVXR102 Fragment – Namor

AVXR100X Assigned Character

AVXR100X Assigned Character

IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot (With Cyclops Fragment)

AVX012 Colossus (With Namor Fragment)

Total = 499 Points

Note that this team couldn’t quite fit in the Standard Phoenix Force Resource configuration. (1 point too much) I’ve been looking for a good way to use IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot and this might be it. This team is pretty straightforward with a couple interesting synergies. First, when using a duo attack IM3017E Iron Man and Iron Patriot has a trait that says they get a standard attack and a ranged combat action. With their existing dial that didn’t mean too much, but add the Cyclops fragment to them and that ranged combat action is now RCE. The second interesting synergy is that both pieces in this army have 18 defense with defend. That means that while they are standing together they will each have 18 defense until after your opponent has damaged both of them.

 

Team 4: A balanced team.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

WXM046 Warlock (With Namor Fragment)

 AVX009 Cyclops (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM209 Jean Grey

M10A007 Storm

Total = 500 Points

The Idea here is simple. Warlock consistently uses his Perplex on himself to give himself 20 defense. That along with his Shape Change and Invulnerability should keep him safe as he makes a hell of a distraction for the other team up close by using Pulse Wave and Poison. Everyone else uses Jean Grey’s Enhancement to take good sized pot shots from range.

 

Team 5: The Dune Buggy of Death.

Standard Phoenix Force Resource

AVX012 Colossus(With Namor Fragment)

WXM046 Warlock (With Cyclops Fragment)

WXM033 Forge

WXM017 Jean Grey

Total = 496 Points

  • Step 1: choose Steal Energy or Precision Strike with Warlock’s “ANY SHAPE FOR ANY OCCASION” power.
  • Step 2: use Jean Grey to TK Warlock to a vertical axis containing multiple members of the opposing team within the next 11 squares. Elevated, hindering, and outdoor blocking terrain don’t matter because Warlock gets flying from the Phoenix force. If you’re indoors use Colossus to clear the walls away.
  • Step 3: transform to vehicle.
  • Step 4: Walk Forge and Colossus up to Warlock so they can be carried.
  • Step 5: Use the Perplex from Forge and Warlock to add to Warlock’s attack by 2 and his damage by 1. (you don’t want to miss)
  • Step 6: Ram! Move straight forward 11 spaces and make 1 close combat attack roll targeting everyone you pass through. Every hit person takes 5 damage!

When it’s your opponent’s turn Colossus’s 18 defend and Forge’s healing should be enough to protect Warlock from your opponents counterattack.

 

What will I play: It depends on several factors. I’m probably leaning most towards team 1 and 4. But if I sense an Iron Pharaoh, then I’ll go with team 2. Team 3 is probably more of a fun team. Team 5 would have worked as a complete surprise, but Hypefox is going to read this article before the tournament. I’ll post a my results in a week. Until then, “You stay classy San Diego.” (I swear that’s totally my phase.)

The Only Way to Fix a Fixer Upper!! (Or, The Pieces That Improve the Most When You Play Them With the Phoenix Force Resource!!)

"She was messing with the Phoenix Force, wasn't she?"

“The only way to fix a fixer upper is… to give it Running Shot?”

Well Hello there!

Today, we’re going to take a brief look at the Phoenix Force and try and pick some figures who have kind of fallen through the cracks recently and see what happens to them when you give them access to the Phoenix Force! Every time a new resource is released, some of the best minds in the game (Editor’s Note: And sometimes even we here at Critical Missives!) will reevaluate the current Meta and see who benefits from what the new resource has to offer. Granted, just about ANY figure gets better when you assign a resource to it, but, as we all know, not all dials are created equal. Similarly, not all dials benefit equally from every resource.

(FYI–While this list is hardly comprehensive, it should be noted that I’ll be sticking to Modern Age figures)

Well, that’s kinda what we’re doing today.

Who benefits?

Who benefits?

So, before we get started, I should point out that the Phoenix Force is a little complicated (I know–what resource isn’t? But it doesn’t help that the instructions have a MAJOR misprint either), so if you have any questions about the basic (and even advanced) mechanics of HOW the resource works, check out Hunter’s (from Dial H for Heroclix) YouTube explanation video. He goes over the resource from every angle, and answers most of the questions you might have about it.

What I personally like about this resource is that you assign figures Fragment Relics at the start of the game (for free) and get benefits RIGHT AWAY (no moving to pick up hammers, etc.). Yes, the resource does progress in terms of the abilities it grants like other resources, but it gives you more abilities more quickly than other resources–specifically, this resource’s first click mods can be taken advantage of much more easily than some of the other resources out there.

Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to break down some of my favorite figs based on their current HCRealms.com Unit ratings (1-5 Stars) and talk about some of their fatal flaws and how the Phoenix Force can potentially put them over the top!

Let’s start with some…

4-Star Figures!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

Now THAT is an Iron Doom!

IIM042 Iron Doom (IIM Super Rare) — 200 Points

What He Brings Himself on His 1st Click: Indomitable with 8 Range, Wildcard TA, 8 Movement with Running Shot (although that’s his ONLY click of Running Shot), Naked 12 Attack, 18 Defense with Super Senses, Master Mind and Leadership (and he prevents other figures of lower point costs from using either Master Mind OR Leadership–a proviso that is much more interesting in a world filled with CATWS005 Shield Agents!) and 4 Damage with an awesome SP (LORD OF THE WORLD: Iron Doom can use Outwit and Perplex. Give him a free action and roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled. On an result of 4-6, when he uses Outwit, he may counter a power possessed by an opposing character anywhere on the map.).

Whew! That’s a lot. So why don’t we see him more? In other words, …

What’s Wrong With Him?: Well, he’s tough to fit in on a 300 point team for a few reasons (although we’ll discuss his role in higher point games in a second). He doesn’t fly, nor does he have ANY improved movement or targeting. That’s a HUGE negative for a figure of that point cost. Also, he only has Running Shot for 1 click! That’s it! That’s actually one reason why I found this figure so cool, at least from a design standpoint–it’s like the dial designer said to himself, “If I omit virtually every standard Move and Attack power, can I get away with giving this piece EVERY OTHER SINGLE POWER IN THE GAME?!?!” Plus, it’s Tony Stark AS Doctor Doom. Just a fun concept. So I like the flavor of this guy. But when it comes to his place in the game, if your opponent gets even 1 damage through, he’s lost all efficiency.  That’s where the Phoenix Force comes in.

The Phoenix Fix: Now, you can fix SOME of what ails Iron Doom by teaming him with a 50 Point IM3006 Tony Stark, who would provide Mastermind fodder (not a great choice for Mastermind, but in a 300 Point game, that’d be all you could afford), Avengers Initiative TA (which would give Doom Improved Movement AND Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering), Enhancement and Outwit (and with the new Theme Team rules, you now have a Theme Team as they’re both Scientists). But that basic Move and Attack issue remains.

If you play the Phoenix Force with 4 Fragments (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus and Magik) and 2 Assigned Characters (Iron Doom with the Cyclops Fragment and Tony Stark with the Fragment of your choice–probably Emma Frost or Magik, unless your opponent is playing Lydea Mallor or someone of her ilk; then, you’d probably want to assign him the Colossus Fragment to keep her from getting it), you’d still have 20 points left over for either a Splitlip (who would mess up your Theme Team bonus, although that’s not a huge deal), a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. Support Horde Tokens, a KGB Horde Token (gives you a small amount of Prob) or some Warbots. Whatever you choose is probably going to be carried by Iron Doom and might be used as Master Mind fodder in a pinch, so choose wisely. But, for the purposes of this build, we’ll go with Splitlip and say screw the Theme Bonus.

Team Name: No Escaping Your DOOM!!

IIM042 Iron Doom

IM3006 Tony Stark

FI301 Splitlip

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

Cyclops Fragment, Colossus Fragment, Emma Frost Fragment, Magik Fragment

=300 Points

Now, to start the game, Iron Doom has: Indomitable with 8 Range AND Avengers Initiative TA; 8 Movement with Flight, Running Shot AND Charge; 12 Attack (or 13 or 14, depending on how you use RCE) with Blades/Claws/Fangs and Poison; 19 Defense with Leadership, Master Mind and Super Senses; 4 Damage with RCE, Empower, Perplex AND an Outwit that can potentially Outwit a power ANYWHERE ON THE BOARD. And, during the start of your turn, you can also give him Invuln, Mystics TA against ranged attacks or TK. Plus, when you can get Tony Stark to fly in next to him, you have up to +3 to Ranged Damage (from Splitlip AND Tony Stark’s Enhancement plus 1 or 2 more from the RCE that the Cyclops Fragment grants him) AND a Master Mind target who has access to either Toughness (Splitlip) or Invuln (again, Tony Stark if you can get your positioning right)! That’s a figure who’s hard to take down. This isn’t a team that will win a ROC, but it’ll be competitive in most House Games.

In Epic games (400 points or more) Iron Doom only gets better! With Wildcard TA’s, you’ll have room for even more Support, and you can add in another Fragment to get this team access to the second-to-last Power Set to start the game (Running Shot instead of Charge, +1 to Attack instead of Defense, etc.). In a serious 400 or 500 Point game, a Phoenix Force-powered Iron Doom really does become viable as the main piece on a competitive force.

"I'm not a 5-star figure, eh?"

“I’m not a 5-star figure, eh?”

AVX006E Scarlet Witch (Starter Set) — 100 Points

Yep! I was shocked too. She’s only a 4-star fig as of today. Let’s take a look!

What She Brings Herself on Her 1st Click: 8 Range! For the cost of 1 pushing damage, she can flat destroy your opponent’s strategy if they’re depending on TA’s (NO MORE MUTANTS: Once per game, give Scarlet Witch a double power action and choose a team ability. Any other character that can use that team ability must roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled and if the result is 1 – 5, that character can’t use the chosen team ability for the rest of the game.). She also has a 9 Movement with Phasing, 10 Attack with Precision Strike, 16 Defense with another awesome SP (MYSTICAL WARDS: Scarlet Witch can use Energy Shield/Deflection. When Scarlet Witch is hit with an attack, the roll is ignored and the attacker must roll again. This new roll can’t be rerolled or ignored.) and 3 Damage with possibly the best supporting SP IN THE GAME (CASTING SPELLS: Scarlet Witch can use Perplex, Probability Control, and Support.)! So, essentially, she’s the best support figure/secondary attacker in Modern right now (in my opinion, of course).

What’s Wrong With Her?: Well… not much! Like Iron Doom she doesn’t fly, but with Phasing she really doesn’t have to. She has no reducers, but that’s assuming you can hit her 18 damage from Range TWICE!! No, the main thing that she’s missing is, again, move-and-attack. She has almost every other desirable power in the game! Having said that, at some point you’ll probably want to use that No More Mutants Trait, which means that she’ll either need Willpower OR Regeneration. Let’s see if the Phoenix Force can help with that!

The Phoenix Fix: I would use her on a team with a couple Fragment users and leave 1 Fragment on the resource. Wanda would gain Charge (now we have Move-and-attack!), +1 to Attack and Toughness (we have a reducer!). So we’ve solved two of her three problems just with what the Phoenix Force gives her on its first click. You’d still need a figure with Support to heal her after she uses No More Mutants (unless you use someone like AvX  Black Panther to give her Willpower), but we’ve fixed most of what ails her already! For a basic army build featuring Scarlet Witch and the Phoenix Force, let’s try a Mystical build like this:

Team NameLife’s a Witch, and Then You DIE!!

AVX006E Scarlet Witch

IIM040 Shaman

FI007 Iron Fist

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

Cyclops Fragment

Colossus Fragment

Emma Frost Fragment

=299 Points

Wanda would be dangerous from close or from range, the Emma Frost Fragment would give you multiple TK options with her and Shaman, and if you won the map roll (granted, you’d only have +3 to map roll, but that’s not too shabby) and got to go first, you’d be able to fly into position and then zap your opponents flyers with Shaman’s “No Flights” spell, which you’re much more prepared to deal with than they are (hopefully!) with Wanda having phasing and Shaman being able to fly still and White Ranger Iron Fist ignoring both Hindering AND Elevated Terrain. If you were able to take the fight to, say, AvX’s Wundagore Mountain map, you’d have a SIGNIFICANT advantage. This is a team that wouldn’t necessarily do one thing extremely well, but it would do almost everything. Plus, the ability to take away both your opponent’s best TA AND their Flight ability is kind of nasty. If the Map roll goes your way, you can give your opponent fits. And if you assign Cyclops’s Fragment to Shaman, if you can move the resource dial even once, all of the sudden he’s got Sidestep and RCE (one of the cooler combos in the game right now) with a 10 Attack and 3 Damage, 7 range, and an 18 Defense with Barrier and ES/D with a Perplex floating around!! He’s now a Ranged Attacker TO BE FEARED, especially with Wanda backing him up with her Perplex and Prob. This team would take a minute to get going, but they’d be a nightmare to hit from range AND have a fantastic tie-up piece in White Ranger Iron Fist who can dish out healthy amounts of damage himself!

Okay, that blurb turned into a write-up of BOTH Scarlet Witch and Shaman, so consider that 2 for the price of 1 (for the record, Shaman is also a 4-star character, so it still works!)! Can’t believe I almost forgot him!

"Y'all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!"

“Y’all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!”

 

Alright, now let’s look at some…

5-Star Figures!

We’re also going to take a look at two pieces who ALREADY rate 5-stars on HCRealms,com, but with the Phoenix Force, they get downright broken!!

First up is…

"Finally, I will lead an army worthy of--dammit, it's just my infirm uncle, a midget and a bloody Troll! What mewling quim came up with this?"

“Finally, I will lead an army worthy of–dammit, it’s just my infirm uncle, a midget and a bloody Troll! What mewling quim came up with this collection of @$$holes?”

AVM211 Loki (Chase) — 220 Points

He is already a MONSTER (as he should be–he did take on the combined box office power of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg AND Samuel L. Jackson–Good God, what a cast! No wonder this thing made a billion dollars!), but as Michigan State’s own Mike Valenti likes to say, let’s do the format!

What He Brings Himself on His 1st Click: How about the Power Cosmic TA (Willpower, powers can’t be countered). How about the Mystics TA (so if you manage to penetrate his defenses, you get a click of unavoidable damage for your troubles)? How about any copyable TA’s possessed by your opponent? (Three sentences in and we’re not even done with his Team Abilities? Good Lord!)

When you get to his dial, he has 11 Movement with Phasing, 11 Attack with Pulse Wave, 18 Defense with Super Senses and Traited Toughness, and 4 Damage with Shape Change! Now THAT is a dial!

What’s Wrong With Him?: Well, again, he’s almost impossible to fit on a 300 point team because of his cost, and because of that we’re gonna discuss some higher point games with Loki. But beyond his cost, just like Iron Doom, he doesn’t fly. Phasing helps slightly with that; although it can’t be used in conjunction with Charge or Running Shot. It doesn’t matter anyway though because Loki has neither. That is his fatal flaw. But we’re going to fix that with The Phoenix Force!

The Phoenix Fix: We’re gonna run a 400 point game here. The Phoenix Force with 5 Fragments plus 2 Assigned Characters is 33 Points, so when you add Loki in we’re at 253. Add in Splitlip for Loki to carry around the map, and now we’re in business! Asgardian Troll is a fun lil’ close combat attacker, and The Serpent is your other Assigned Character, even though he’s mostly just Phasing around the map to maintain adjacency to his nephew. So, assuming that you leave the Colossus Fragment on the resource dial and have Loki use the Cyclops Fragment and carry Splitlip, his first click looks like this: 11 Movement with Phasing and Running Shot with 9 Range; 11 Attack with Pulse Wave and Energy Explosion; 18 Defense with un-Outwittable Toughness and Invuln (since you’d select that as your Phoenix Power every turn just about) and Super Senses AND Defend; and 4 Damage with Shape Change! Jerry Seinfeld has a message for your opponents while they evaluate a Phoenix-powered Loki:

Seinfeld Good Luck

 

If you don’t have a really good Pulse Wave piece who has a way to get a significant Alpha Strike in, you’re in trouble before you even sit down to play. And we haven’t even gone into everything Loki gets with all the TA’s. Plus, if the Serpent is next to Loki, The Serpent’s Leadership has the potential to take tokens off of Loki even though Loki’s more points! Shhheeeeessssh!. So it goes a lil’ something like this:

Team Name: Stay Up All Night to Get Loki!!

AVM011 Loki

FI027 The Serpent

FI301 Splitlip

FI002 Asgardian Troll

The Phoenix Force

2 Assigned Characters

All Five Fragments

=398 Points

 

And now for our last 5-Star figure! It’s none other than…

"We're in the best Phase 2 movie, right? Right?"

“We’re in the best Phase 2 movie, right? Right?”

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow (Chase) — 130 Points

Our last figure up for discussion is also the newest! Let’s take a look!

What They Bring Themselves on Their 1st Click: How about the kitchen sink? I mean, S.H.I.E.L.D. AND Avengers Initiative TA’s, 10 Movement with Sidestep and Traited Stealth, 11 Attack with Precision Strike and Duo Attack, 18 Defense with Toughness and 3 Damage that ignores the Duo Attack modifier! In a word, Awesomesauce. Which is kind of like two words that I mushed together.

What’s Wrong With Them?: Again, not much! They’re a 5-Star character. Outside of Sidestep, they have no move-and-attack though…

The Phoenix Fix: In a 300-Point game, Cap and BW are really good. But, when we give them some S.H.I.E.L.D. Movie Fig support, along with THE PHOENIX FORCE, they really shine! How about:

Team Name: I Have a Plan–Attack!! (Okay, I know that was a Iron Man line, not a Cap quote, but at least he was saying it to both Cap and Black Widow! So that kinda still counts!)

CATWS017 Captain America and Black Widow

 CATWS011 Maria Hill

AVM206 Agent Coulson

CATWSH001 SHIELD Support

The Phoenix Force

Assigned Character x2

All 5 Fragments

S.H.I.E.L.D. ATA x3

=292

Cap and BW now have Running Shot, 12 Attack, 18 Defense with Defend and RCE when you give them the Cyclops Fragment! Here’s a Heroclix formula for you: Traited Stealth + Sidestep + 6 Range + RCE + Avengers Initiative TA + DUO FREAKING ATTACK THAT IGNORES THE NEGATIVE DAMAGE MODIFIER ALL OTHER DUO ATTACKS ARE SUBJECT TO = YOUR OPPONENT DOING THIS:

Behind the scenes at the WizKids figure development lab...

Followed by his friend coming over from another game to see what’s going on:

WizKids top executives initial reaction to the reveal of Toyman's dial...

Until finally the Judge comes over to wonder what all the fuss is about and sees what the hell you’re playing for what was supposed to be a “fun build” tournament:

Triple Facepalm

Again, just for emphasis,  you’ve just made a figure who has: Un-Outwittable Stealth; the ability to move and see through Hindering (i.e., most Stealth); Flight; Running Shot; Sidestep; 6 Range with 2 Targets; RCE; Energy Explosion with two targets; Poison; 3 Damage with improved Duo Attack; 18 Defense with Defend; the Phone Book; the Kitchen Sink; and on and on…

And Maria Hill can TK them around the Map with her Fragment! They’ll each have access to Invuln via the Colossus Fragment, and at this point you’re just a really, really bad person who, as Ninwashui likes to say, probably lacks a moral compass.

So, there ya go! There’s four fun builds based around the newest Marvel Heroclix resource. Have fun! Experiment! Folks are not even close to breaking this thing’s true potential yet.

And–more importantly–I got through a 3000-word article without mentioning Iron Pharaoh!! That absolutely has to be some kind of record!!

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward...

I am STILL a thing, going forward. Ever forward…

Or, you know, at least I almost did!

So what figs do you think will benefit the most from The Phoenix Force? Post your suggestions in the Comments below, and we’ll be back again in a few days for another Weekly Roundup!