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

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

Tina Turner STB 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIMPLY THE BEST!!

 

Simply The Best… Primary Attacker of 2019:

Thanos UC

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra Chase:

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

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

Runners Up:

2. XDPSG007R Juggernaut — 100 Points — Uncommon

The best version of Mr. Unstoppable ever.

3. XDPSG006R Onslaught — 125 Points — Uncommon

4. CMM021 Captain Marvel — 150 Points — Chase

5. RE068 Barbatos — 200 Points — Chase

 

Simply The Best… Sub-Theme of 2019:

Elders of the Universe Banner

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

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

One of the most unexpected delights of the year!

Runners Up:

2. Brotherhood of MutantsXDPS

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

3. Batman: Metal ChasesDC Rebirth

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

 

Simply The Best… Supporting Characters of 2019:

Kobik 616

Yep. Another article about Kobik…

1. ABPI069 Kobik — 115 Points — Chase:

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

Runners Up:

2. Q — 30 Points — Super Rare Prime:

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

3. Q– 50 Points — Super Rare:

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

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

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

Nope.

 

Simply The Best… Sets of 2019:

ABPI boxes

1. Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati:

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

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

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

Rare: Astronomer, Gardener

Super Rare: Taskmaster, Collector

Chase: Kobik

Ultra-Chase: Thanos 

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

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

 

Runners Up:

2. XDPS:

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

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

3. Star Trek Away Team: Resistance is Futile: 

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

4. Earth X: 

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

 

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

Until then… Merry Clix-Mas!

 

The Ghost of Clix-Mas Past Presents: The Ten Best Chases of 2019!! (Or, the Third Day of Clix-Mas 2019!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTEWelcome to Night Three of the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas 2019!! First, we reviewed the ground rules; yesterday, we hit the ground running with an in-depth review of Call-In Cards from friend of the blog, Roberto Ty!]

Chase Stein Image

Ironically NOT a Chase…

Every time a set is announced, the most intense speculation always surrounds the same question… What are the Chases going to be?

In some cases, the speculation is justified. Elseworlds’s DKR Chases were all great; the World’s Finest Kingdom Come Chases almost all ended up in the Modern Age Meta of their day. In other sets, though, the Chases end up being a huge letdown. And yes, I’m looking at you, Joker’s Wild, and your crappy, no-good Bizarro Chases. Even the best of the bunch, Bizarro Green Arrow, only showed up in the Meta to essentially make games take forever. And What If’s Chases only became moderately useful in Modern AFTER Earth X released earlier this year, nearly two years after they debuted!

With that said, let’s take a look at which Chases from this year’s sets hit the mark and etched a spot in Heroclix history!

These are the best 10 Chases from 2019!!

 

Kobik

Thanos

 

Mirror Bev

10. TREKRF033 Mirror Beverly Crusher100 PointsChase: 100 Points is a lot to pay for a support piece. Like, a LOT a lot, which is why I can’t put her higher on this list than 10. But… if you ARE going to put 1/3 of your points into a supporting figure, you’re going to want that figure to have a Special Damage Power kind of like Bev’s (USE MY SON’S GENIUS TO ADVANCE MY CAREER: Outwit, Perplex, Probability Control, Support.)

That is literally EVERY support power you could ever want. And you can use them all, every turn. None of this Alex Wilder “I can only use two support powers at a time and my opponent gets to pick which two” horse puckey.

Pitch Meeting 2

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You know Alex Wilder only costs, like, a fourth of what ol’ Bev costs, right?]

Pitch Meeting 1.jpg

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: What?]

Pitch Meeting 2

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Yeah, he’s only like 25 points.]

Pitch Meeting 3.jpg

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Okay, but Mirror Beverly has more powers I haven’t mentioned yet.]

Pitch Meeting 2

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, please continue then.]

She’s also got Poison, Mystics (via her Mirror Universe TA), Sidestep and a not-insignificant 3 Damage showing top dial if an opposing fig tries to base her, and her special Shape Change Trait [MIRROR, MIRROR: Shape Change. When Mirror Beverly Crusher uses Shape Change and succeeds, give her a Mirror token, and if she fails, remove all Mirror tokens. When she uses Shape Change, increase the result by +1 for each Mirror token (a roll of 1 always fails).] makes her even harder to pin down. There’s actually a lot of risk associated in opposing characters targeting her.

Pitch Meeting 2

[EDITOR’S NOTE: So Outwit, Perp, Prob, Sidestep, Shape Change… yeah, Alex Wilder has access to all of those powers. Plus, y’know, Stealth.]

Pitch Meeting 4.jpg

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Oh really? Well, Alex Wilder isn’t a Chase, so if you want me to ever finish this article and post it,  I’m going to need you to get alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way off my back about this pick.]

Pitch Meeting 2

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Well okay then! Lemme just go ahead and get off of that thing!]

 

Venom Iron Man.jpg

9. EAX064 Venom Iron Man — 100 Points — Chase: Short 6-Clix dial. Only a 6 Range. Buuuuut… he’s also got a laundry list of powers a mile long on his top dial. To wit:

Running Shot; Pen/Psy; Invincible; Shape Change; Plasticity; he also Auto breaks AND sees through Hindering. Plus, if you’re attacking a piece with two action tokens, he’s a 12/4 on offense. If you can roll a 6, you can potentially one-shot a Meta support piece like Unseen.

 

Black Panther incarnation

8. ABPI072 Black Panther — 85 Points — Chase: Hypersonic Speed with sky-high Attack (12) and Defense (19) values. Plus, your opponent won’t even be able to target him if you play him on the right map due to his first Trait (THE PANTHER GOD: Stealth. Opposing lines of fire can’t be drawn to Black Panther if he occupies printed hindering terrain. Protected: Pulse Wave.).

His only downside is that his damage output is heavily dependent on Blades/Claws/Fangs, which is obviously unreliable.

PRO TIP: Pay the extra 30 points for Kobik’s Cosmic Cube and equip it on Black Panther for all sorts of fun shenanigans.

 

Jean Grey Chase.jpg

7. XDPS047 Jean Grey — 75 Points — Chase: There’s her normal dial, with Sidestep, a Pen/Psy, 11 Attack and 4 Damage top dial with a 7 Range–all in all, pretty solid for 75 Points. But when you dig into her Traits, a really cool, subversive shadow dial emerges that lets you play her in a totally different way.

Her first Trait [INNER CIRCLE CLUB: BLACK QUEEN: Outwit, but only to choose a black power or a special power. // Mind Control. When Jean Grey uses it as RANGE, modify attack +1 and she may instead target any number of characters of lower point value. (Must still be opposing and within range and line of fire.)] gives her the ability to mentally stomp the entire freaking yard with Mind Control and then Outwit your opponent’s most potent Special Power.

Jean’s Special Movement Power (JASON WYNGARDE HAS SHOWN US THE WAY: Sidestep. Other friendly characters can target Jean Grey when using Mind Control.) offers you a way to get her into position and make more attacks than she should normally be allowed to make.

Her dial finishes off with a Stop Click that gives you the opportunity to morph her into the Colossal Dark Phoenix, which is one of the best Colossals in the game.

This is one of those pieces that needs a really skilled player to maximize her effectiveness, but if you can master her abilities, she’ll be darn near broken!

 

Barbatos 2.jpg

6. RE068E Barbatos — 100 Points — Chase: Both of his dials are great, but for 100 Points, you get a piece with the Batman TA, Batman Enemy TA, 8 Range, Pen/Psy, Impervious and the ability to Phase 4 squares and still attack.

He also has the Quintessence TA and the ability to shut down Ranged Attacks by giving Battle Fury to opposing figures within six squares. Being able to shoot opposing characters while they can’t shoot you has ALWAYS been good in Heroclix.

All of these powers combine to give you a high-ceiling Secondary Attacker who can help you control your positioning on the board.

 

Jason Wyngarde

5. XDPS048 Jason Wyngarde — 75 Points — Chase: His stats aren’t as good as Jean Grey’s, but he does have two Traits that make up for that fact. First, his Mind Control Trait (DON’T LET THE DREAMS OF ANOTHER LIFE TROUBLE YOU: Mind Control. When Jason Wyngarde uses it as RANGE, he may count range and draw line of fire from any character he hit this turn and if he hits, after resolutions he can use Mind Control at no cost, but only to target a character he hasn’t targeted with Mind Control this turn. (He may repeat this.)] lets you potentially Mind Control the whole opposing team. Which, y’know, is pretty good. It’s the MC version of Chase Movie Yondu’s “Whistling Arrow Attack” or Chase HawkGuy’s “Rapid-Fire Trick Shooting.”

It’s just got a waaaaay cooler name.

Wyngarde’s Second Trait (PSIONIC ILLUSION: FREE: Choose a character on your sideline of 150 points or less (on their highest-point line). Generate a bystander printed on that character’s card. Each bystander generated this way has [MAX 1]. You may activate this ability only twice per game.) lets you pop out some of the best Bystander Tokens in the game as long as you had the foresight to put those pieces on your Sideline. Want some Iron Avengers on your Hellfire Club team? Now you can!

 

CaptainMarvel_06.png

4. CMM021 Captain Marvel — 150 Points — Chase: When you absolutely have to murder the entire opposing team, accept no substitutes. Where to begin?

She’s got great stats, a high Threat Range (14 Squares before any Perplexes, plus the Avengers Initiative Team Ability lets her target through Hindering), a Special that lets her attack twice in one turn (STRAFING RUN: [Improved Movement: Characters], Running Shot. When Captain Marvel uses it, after resolutions she may use Charge at no cost, but can’t target the same character.) and a Trait that grants her and certain buddies both Prob AND an immunity to opposing Prob!

And if your opponent manages to deal her two or more damage, she supercharges into a Hypersonic, Pulse Wave, 12 Attack and 5 Damage demon-woman who can neither be stopped nor reasoned with.

The only reason she’s not Top 3 on this list is her vulnerability to Outwit in certain circumstances. In a Meta or tournament environment, 150 Points is a lot to sink into a piece that doesn’t have some form of “Protected: Outwit” for the entire dial, so it’s a little dicey building around her (although certainly not impossible).

But for friendly games, she’s a powerhouse!

 

Captain Venom

3. EAX062E Captain Venom — 50 Points — Chase: Just a boatload of stats and powers for 50 Points. Top dial, we’re talking Charge, Quake, Combat Reflexes, Plasticity, Shape Change and a Special Leadership (READY TO SERVE MY SPECIES: Leadership. When another friendly character with the Monster keyword attacks, modify its attack +1 if Captain Venom attacked this turn.) that improves his entire team on offense WHETHER OR NOT HE ACTUALLY HITS THE LEADERSHIP!

He has the “Call in Help from the Venom-Verse” Trait and also ignores Hindering and Elevated Terrain on movement and Auto breaks from opposing characters.

But the craziest thing about him is that all those powers I just listed are really just icing on the cake! He’s almost completely earned his points before the game actually begins, thanks to his Build Trait (EDDIE, YOU’RE JUST THE MAN WE NEED: During game setup when establishing themed teams, you may treat the Monster keyword as a named keyword.).

Now, for 50 Points, you can group any amount of disparate Monster-keyworded characters together and get not just a Map bonus but also a bunch of free Themed Team Probs!

 

Kobik 616.jpg

2. ABPI069 Kobik (w/”Hi, I’m Kobik) — 115 Points — Chase: Pretty much the best support character in the game, with Mind Control, Super Senses (with a 19 Defense) and a great Special Damage Power (DO YOU WANT TO PLAY?: Perplex, Probability Control, Shape Change.) that makes her a nightmare for opponents.

And then she adds in a pretty filthy Trait (REWRITE AFFILIATIONS: FREE: Choose both a friendly character and an opposing character with printed team abilities. Those characters can use the team abilities printed on the other character instead of their own printed team abilities until your next turn.) that lets you steal opposing Power Cosmic TA’s.

She also starts with one of the best Equipments in the game (ABPIS008 Cosmic Cube: FREE: Choose one: Place this character up to 3 squares away from its current square; -or- Until your next turn, [Improved Targeting: Elevated, Hindering] and modify range +2; -or- Give an action token to an adjacent opposing character. If you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage.)

And her 100 Point cost actually serves as an advantage in a Call-In Meta environment, since she can Call-In heavy hitters and still pull off her other tricks as Free Actions.

There’s a reason she’s shown up on so many Top 8 teams in pro tournaments already!

 

Thanos UC

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra-Chase: I mean, his 110 Point level is arguably even better, but holy cow! Hands down the best Ultra-Chase Wizkids has ever made.

His stats are great, he’s got one of the best Perplex Specials they’ve ever thought up (THE BIOLOGICAL APPLICATION OF COSMIC POWER: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Thanos uses it to target a friendly character, that character can use [Power Cosmic] until your next turn. When Thanos uses it to target an opposing character, that character can’t use Willpower or PROTECTED: Outwit or Protected: Outwit until your next turn.), and then he spits out a Skreet Bystander Token that’s nearly impossible to kill (20 Defense with Impervious at Range) and who possesses arguably an EVEN BETTER Perplex (CHAOS MITE: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Skreet uses it, she modifies a value +2 or -2 instead, then rolls a d6. [1-2]: The modifier becomes 0 instead.) than Thanos’s Perplex, which you just thought was the best Perp ever.

I mean, seriously, when else does Wizkids let you use a +2 Perp on Damage? Almost never.

And the Ego Gem he starts with is probably the second best piece of Equipment they’ve ever made, since it not only gives you a second Perplex-style source, but it allows Thanos to go out and collect more gems!

I could go on and on about how much I love this piece, but we’ve already passed 2000 words, so I just leave it right here.

 

Which were your favorite Chases? Let us know in the Comments below, and we’ll see your right here for the Fourth Night of Clix-Mas real soon!

META Diary: December ROC Win-A-Map!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Roberto Ty is back with another META Diary including a breakdown of the team he used and the detailed planning he put into the role of every piece on his team! Roberto’s already on some other column ideas, so if you like what you see, let him know in the Comments below!]

By Roberto Ty

December 1, 2019

RoC November 2019.jpg

Garden City, MI — What qualifies as a great attendance for a Heroclix event? Looking at the numbers from the various ROC States Championship, a great turnout is 12 players (Michigan had 26). It’s reasonable to expect a smaller crowd for a less prestigious event like a ROC Win-A-Map. Today’s competition drew a great crowd of 13 players.

Restricted Win-A-Map

The local shop hosting the Win-A-Map prefers to run major events with restrictions. Usually they  ban Colossal Retaliators (cannot start on their lower-point retaliation-click) and ID cards along with one-man-army Uni-mind and the annoying Q Prime.

WIN-A-MAP FORMAT

  • 500-point Modern
  • Highlander Rule (Primes are primes, all other characters are considered to be silver ring)
  • Ban List: ID cards, Special Terrain, Colossal Retaliators starting on their lower-point retaliation-click, Uni-mind, and Q Prime.

After brainstorming some builds, I gravitated toward a monster team with Onslaught. There was little time to practice with Thanksgiving, but I managed to put in four hours of testing on Black Friday. I tried a couple Onslaught-based teams and a Cosmic team nested around Dark Phoenix. Woefully under-practiced and feeling my usual stress before a competitive meta event, I rolled the dice and stuck with Onslaught.

Breaking Down My Monster Mash Team

MY MONSTER TEAM
200 RE068 Barbatos
125 XDPSG006R Onslaught
50 EAX062E Captain Venom
– 5 WKMP19-S105 Nightbringer (Mandarin Ring)
75 XDPSG022R Mojo
35 RE014 Prez Rickard
– 5 WKMP19-s103 Spin (Mandarin Ring)
5 EAXLB-ST Iron Avengers, Assemble
500

Suffering the Onslaught

Onslaught images

By now most meta players (which I’m not) have experienced just how annoyingly good Onslaught is (I have), but in case you’re not as lucky, I will highlight his abilities:

  1. (☆TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Onslaught can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆TRAIT) PSYCHIC JUGGERNAUT: Onslaught has PROTECTED: Mind Control, Outwit, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast. Once per turn, Onslaught can use Incapacitate as FREE -or- Mind Control as FREE -or- Telekinesis as FREE.
  3. (SPECIAL ATTACK) “KILL YOU, CAIN MARKO? WHAT A SPLENDID IDEA!”: Onslaught can knock back characters that can use Charge or Combat Reflexes. // When Onslaught hits with a close attack, a hit character unequips all equipment and drops any held objects and after resolutions, Onslaught knocks back a hit character 9 squares.
  4. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) RESHAPING REALITY: Probability Control, Shape Change. When Onslaught uses Probability Control to reroll an opposing character’s attack roll and the final result is a miss, after resolutions you may place that opposing character up to 3 squares away from their current square.
  5. Improved Targeting: Hindering and Characters with nine range and three targets.
  6. Brotherhood of Mutants and X-Men Team Ability

Having seen enough of this guy in the X-Men Animated Series pre-release and release day events and in the ROC States Championship, I wanted to build around his strengths. With the format being 500-modern, I would have plenty of room to include more formidable attackers and complementary support.

The Bad Mofo

Barbatos.jpg

Barbatos is exactly that: one bad Mofo. He is the must-have of the Rebirth chases. At 100-points he is more of a secondary attacker with some unique abilities that can be useful on the right build. However, the correct move was to use him at the full 200-points as the primary attacker on my monster team. What makes him such a bad-ass:

  1. (☆TRAIT) ASSEMBLE AN ARMY OF NIGHTMARES: Friendly characters with the Monster keyword can use the Batman Enemy team ability. Friendly characters with the Dark Knights keyword can use the Batman Ally team ability.
  2. (☆TRAIT) DRAG YOU INTO THE DARK MULTIVERSE: Phasing/Teleport. Phasing/Teleport as FREE, but only to move up to 4 squares and when he does, after resolutions adjacent opposing characters have Immobile until your next turn.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) SO FALLS THE REALM OF LIGHT: Opposing characters within 6 squares that can use Outwit, Perplex or Support can use Battle Fury.
  4. Improved Targeting: Hindering
  5. Quintessence Team Ability
  6. Giant

On top click he has a 12 movement, 8 range, 12 Penetrating Psychic Blast, 19 Invincible, and 4 Damage. The idea was to free phase 4 squares, immobilize adjacent opposing characters and/or attack with Penetrating Psychic Blast. Then I could use Onslaught’s FREE Telekinesis to place him in hindering terrain for his Stealth via the Batman Ally team ability. Additionally, Barbatos gave monster keyword friendlies, the Batman Enemy team ability. With his top attack of 12, my entire team got a bump to their attack when they were adjacent to Barbatos.

The Director

aug180908__82487.1538762497

Now that I had my bad Mofo, it was time for a behind-the-scenes maestro and what better director than the Electrifyin’ Mojo? What he brings to the team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) BEHIND THE SCENES: Mojo can’t be targeted by opposing characters 5 or more squares away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) MORE ACTION!…RATINGS ARE DROPPING!: Whenever a character misses all targets of their attack, give Mojo a Bored token. FREE: Remove 2 Bored tokens to either place Mojo anywhere on the map -or- make an attack.
  3. (SPECIAL MOVEMENT) KEEP THE CAMERAS ON THEM!: Sidestep. When an opposing characters uses Sidestep, after resolutions Mojo may move up to 2 squares.

You can begin to see that my team doesn’t have the traditional move and attack capability (i.e. Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, or Charge), but there’s a lot of mobility inherent to each monster’s special trait. With the prevalence of Sidestep in the game, Mojo takes incredible advantage of this fact by being able to move after the resolution of my opponent’s Sidestep. A subtle, but very effective special damage power that could help control positioning. Additionally, Mojo would help place Barbatos through his own Telekinesis. Like a good director, Mojo sets the battle scene.

Oh Captain, My Captain

Venom Cap

The minute Captain Venom was introduced, the monster keyword got a huge bump. Let’s breakdown why:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) ALIEN SYMBIOTE: Plasticity, Shape Change. Captain Venom automatically breaks away.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) EDDIE, YOU’RE JUST THE MAN WE NEED: During game setup when establishing themed teams, you may treat the Monster keyword as a named keyword.
  3. (SPECIAL DAMAGE) READY TO SERVE MY SPECIES: Leadership. When another friendly character with the Monster keyword attacks, modify its attack +1 if Captain Venom attacked this turn.

Captain Venom is the natural leader for my monster band. He makes the generic monster keyword into a named one. This would provide me with additional sources of Probability Control through Theme Team Probability Control. It also gave me a fighting chance to win the map and gain control of the environment my team would battle on. As I mentioned in the previous Meta Diary, a good map can neutralize an advantage your opponent’s team possesses (i.e. XDPSG007 Juggernaut is incredibly weak on a map like Galador Promenade that has no blocking terrain). Captain Venom’s role wouldn’t be on the front lines, but as a commander providing the support for a victory. I decided to play him at his 50-point level, where he’s only four clicks long. My foot soldiers would have to rally around him to keep him alive. Despite his short dial, most of my opponents never thought to target him for a quick kill. This often was to my advantage because Captain Venom just needed to attack in a turn and all monster keyword friendlies would get a +1 to their attack.

The Human

Prez Rickard.jpg

In monster movies, there’s always one human that sympathizes with the monster’s plight. By playing Captain Venom at his lower point value, I was able to include my version of the human monster sympathizer: Prez Rickard. Kudos to Jose Rodrigo Rosales Guerrero, the 2016 Mexican Heroclix Champion,  for designing such a capable figure. At 35-points Prez Rickard has the best Leadership in the game. His two traits and low point cost make him an easy addition to any team:

  1. (☆ TRAIT) EVERYONE’S FAVORITE TEENAGE PRESIDENT: Prez Rickard doesn’t count for or against themed teams.
  2. (☆ TRAIT) THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICA: Leadership, but succeeds on [4-6]. When Prez Rickard uses it and succeeds, instead you may remove one action token each from any number of opposing characters. For each one removed, remove an action token from a friendly character within 6 squares. In all my games, he was well-worth his points.

Final Team Building Thoughts

The strategy would be to attack my opponent from range while not being able to be targeted at distances greater than four squares away. To further help control the battlefield, I added the following game elements:

  1. IRON AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE MAP LOCATION BONUS FROM EARTH X STAR TOWER INDOOR MAP. With only a +4 to map roll, there was a good chance I wouldn’t win map since all the teams had to be themed. Including this map location bonus meant that at the very least I could generate a Crimson Sage bystander for her Probability Control if I didn’t win the map roll. If I won map, then I would use Captain Venom’s Indomitable to POWER action in consecutive turns to roll a d6 to potentially generate a bystander (d6 result: 1-Tank, 3-Crimson Sage, or 5-Bolt).
  2. NIGHTBRINGER (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Captain Venom to give him Stealth and the ability to generate 2 Smoke Cloud markers for FREE.
  3. ZERO (MANDARIN RING). I would equip this to Prez Rickard to give him Barrier. He could generate 1 Barrier marker for FREE.

Swiss Rounds

Phoenix Mags.jpg

GAME 1 — My first round opponent was a regular at the venue. He thought that we were required to bring a named theme team and therefore had built an X-Men team that consisted of the Convention Exclusive WKMP19-002 Phoenix Force Magneto, which he would equip with the Red Skull’s s007 Cosmic Cube, OP WKM19-013 Wakanda Queen Storm, XDPS003 Beast, XXS053E Wolverine at the 50-point starting line, XXS007A Moira MacTaggart, ABPIS001 Reality Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKMP19-S101 Remaker (Mandarin Ring). He won map and chose X-Men Regenesis Lombard Street Outdoor Map. I generated a Crimson Sage bystander for my consolation. I chose the side with the higher elevation 3. In all my games, my first turn is usually spent using Onslaught’s and Mojo’s Telekinesis to equip the Mandarin Rings to Captain Venom and Prez Rickard. His team was pretty scary with a lot of Perplex abilities to boot. Magento would present the greatest challenge with his Running Shot 11 Movement and 8 Range with 2 Targets. He could easily get into the radius necessary to target Onslaught with a few Perplex modifications to his movement. The Storm is also a nice addition to his team because she gives Stealth to characters within three squares that share a keyword with her. Unfortunately for him, both Onslaught and Barabatos has Improved Targeting: Hindering. We both positioned conservatively at first, but once he moved his team midway I went after his Wolverine with Barbatos hitting him to his STOP click. I tried to follow that up with Onslaught’s Mind Control, but Wolverine had Battle Fury. I had to choose a different target, Storm, but failed to hit due to her defense being Perplexed up. He would try to retaliate using his Magneto, but I successfully rolled for Shape Change with Onslaught. I then would KO his Wolverine with Barbatos and move my team away from the Magneto threat. I won 50-0. Record: 1-0.

Loki.jpg

GAME 2 — Game 1 was a low-scoring affair and was proof that I hadn’t practiced enough with my team. Despite this I learned a few things that I hoped to correct in my Game 2 matchup with a well-known Clix player. He has an incredible track record locally, winning several major events and usually placing in the Top 4. Most recently he placed 2nd in the Michigan ROC States Championship. He brought a mystical swarm team in the form of TMT002 Loki with TMT002T God of Trickery that allowed him to generate two faux Lokis, TMT053A Hela, EW040 Al Jhor Dan, SWB031 Alex Wilder, RE026E Billy Batson, TMNT4024 Shredder with TMNT4024A ILLUSIONARY DOUBLE, RE014 Prez Rickard, and WKMP19-S107 Incandescence (Mandarin Ring). He was a +8 to map roll, a net of +4. I rolled a 12! Quickly looking at his team I knew that he would definitely force the action by basing me with his Lokis. They are really annoying tie-up pieces that generate more Lokis if they successfully hit their Shape Change rolls. Then if I managed to KO them, Hela would bring out a Warrior Soul in their place. After first turn positioning and equipping, the action started with his Loki basing my Onslaught. This was definitely a faux Loki and I spent a couple actions killing it, not realizing that I didn’t score the points for them. Once that was explained to me, I decided to simply avoid them. He managed to land some damage on Captain Venom and I knew I would have to carry him away with Onslaught. I really used the map to my advantage to isolate his swarming ability and placed Captain Venom in a safe location protected by a wall and Onslaught. At this point, he had moved Al Jhor Dan into position where he could choose Telekinesis through his pick-a-power ability to place Hela within 4 of Onslaught. Unfortunately, his rolls were terrible. When he needed a 5, he would roll a 4. This allowed me to come in with Barbatos and immobilize his Hela. Because of her Mystics Team Ability I didn’t necessarily feel a need to attack and instead one-shot his Alex Wilder, killing him, and because he’s a traitor figure, he was now friendly to my force. This gave me two of the following powers: Perplex, Probability Control, or Outwit, depending on the power my opponent chose that I couldn’t use. He gave me Perplex and Probability Control. This allowed me to modify Onslaught with all my Perplexes and kill Al Jhor Dan in a single shot. Win 115-0. Record: 2-0.

Thanos UC

GAME 3 — Another matchup with a well-known and highly-skilled player. Because of my low point total, I knew I had to win this game to make Top 4. His Cosmic team consisted of full-point Ultra Chase ABPI074 Thanos equipped with the Ego Gem (Infinity Gem) and ABPIS002 Time Gem (Infinity Gem), Chase CMM021 Captain Marvel with the TMTS005 Enchanted Crowbar, ABPI048 Astronomer with ABPIT006 Bearer of the Power Gem, ABPI064 Collector with ABPIT003 Bearer of the Reality Gem and ABPIS003 Power Gem (Infinity Gem), and WKD17-B003 Ape Green Lantern bystander. I win map roll. Much of the game was positioning and I knew he had excellent sources of Telekinesis in Astronomer and Collector with the Reality Gem. I would have to use the walls to prevent line of sight and use Prez Rickard’s Barrier through the Zero ring to prevent him taking a running shot with Captain Marvel. Ultimately I made a couple errors that cost me the game. The first error was not anticipating that Captain Marvel’s ability to Charge at no cost after using Running Shot was not dependent on hitting. He used Telekinesis to position Captain Marvel to Running Shot and destroy my Barrier. She then Charged on Barbatos landing a huge hit. This forced me to retreat to keep him alive. I decided to retaliate and Mind Control his Thanos to attack his own team, which I did successfully, but not enough to KO anyone. He then placed Thanos into position with Telekinesis where he could Sidestep within Onslaught’s radius. Having used Thanos only once myself, I forgot about his awesome Perplex, which essentially neutralizes PROTECTED: Outwit when he uses it on an opponent. He Perplexed Onslaught’s defense down then proceeded to Outwit my Shape Change and defense. He then modified Thanos’ damage and hit Onslaught, killing him  in one shot as last action was called. Loss 0-125. Record: 2-1. Final placement was 6 of 13 players.

Twilight of the Monsters

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I really enjoyed my team and felt it mostly performed as I had anticipated. My strategy was sound. I do believe that if I had practiced more I could have possibly placed even higher. I forgot a few other items that could have helped my team. Particularly Mojo’s bored tokens that he accrues when any characters miss an attack, including my own team. Mojo then can remove two bored tokens to either be placed anywhere on the map or to make a close attack. I had utilized this in practice, but forgot it on my own missed attacks on game day. Overall, I’m not sure I would change much to my team since each element served a purpose and all my pieces worked well together. About the only adjustment I could make was to the equipment, but even then I thought they did well. I did forget to use normal Barrier from the Zero Ring and not just the free 1 Barrier marker. This definitely could have helped in my third game, where I could have put up a Barrier that was 2 squares deep. I would like to possibly consider adding the Pym Pocket Tank, but that would force me to either drop both Mandarin rings or the map location bonus and a ring. Overall, it wasn’t the day for Monsters, but then again you never know when they might return to rule the day.

Thanks for reading another Meta Diary installment.

More Avengers, Less Punctuation!! (Or, The Top Ten Figures in Avengers Black Panther and the Illuminati!!)

Hello Again! Annnnnd, we’re back! Better late than never, right?

And we couldn’t have asked for a funner set with which to return to feature writing! Now we can continue our run as the most enjoyable Heroclix-focused gaming blog out there!

And our new reign is all thanks to this new expansion featuring our friend T’Challa and his Illuminati buddies!

Your Reign is Over.jpg

Okay, maybe “friend” was a strong term. Alright T’Challa, how about we just, like, surrender and go right into the article?

Then Lets Get This Started

Then it’s agreed!! So without further ado, let’s start with…

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE SET:

Thor Lightning

–I really think this is the most powerful set we’ve gotten since The Mighty Thor, which came out way back in, like, August of 2017.

Just like that set, this expansion has extremely powerful Chases, Equipment and Cosmic entities.

Personally, I love this stuff. I mean, who saw an Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme coming? Moreover, who thought these pieces would be so good. Which reminds me…

Elders of the Universe Banner

–The Elders of the Universe Sub-Theme is REALLY freaking good!!

Collector, Astronomer, Champion, Gardener, Trader, Voyager, Runner, Grandmaster, Challenger, Possessor… and I’m still probably forgetting a few. But they are ALL playable and several are downright META!!

The Finder

–The packs seem to be somewhat searchable! So far I’m 11 for 13 in picking packs with Equipment (including an Ultra-Chase Thanos!!)

But this isn’t a total neckbeard disaster like Trinity War was, because 2 of the Chases and the Super Rare Prime all come sans additional elements, so if you only go looking for packs with Equipment, you’ll never pull something like the Black Panther Chase. Speaking of…

Infinity Gauntlet

–The Chases aren’t tied together by any one Theme, really, except that they’re all pretty damn good (okay, Starbrand only shines in Limited, but still). Secret Wars: Battleworld was the same way. Still, I miss Themed Chases!

Why wouldn’t they have just shifted Starbrand and Black Panther to Battleworld and put Infinity Gauntlet Black Panther Chase in this set?

Anywhozl… let’s get on to some…

HONORABLE MENTIONS!!

Okay, I can go all day with Honorable Mentions (this set is REALLY deep), but, with apologies to figures like Challenger, Rune, Eitri and Prime Black Panther, I’m only going to talk about two pieces:

Voyager

2. ABPI017 Voyager — 50 Points — Common:

Okay, she should actually be higher on this list, because she is a Meta-level Taxi. But there’s so many great pieces in this set, so she’s going here!

But she starts with either Outwit or Perplex, the best Telekinesis Special (STRAINING MY POWERS OF TELEPORTATION: Telekinesis, but only to place characters. When Voyager uses it, neither she nor the target character’s square need line of fire to the destination square.) I’ve seen in a long time, Phasing/Teleport and the Power Cosmic TA.

Did I mention she only costs 50 Points?

Medusa

1. ABPI030 Medusa — 50 Points — Uncommon:

Here comes another solid Medusa dial!!

Her Trait (AN EXTENSION OF MYSELF: Living Hair has the printed combat values, and can use the standard powers, displayed on the dial of the character that generated it. Protected: Pulse Wave.) is her main reason for being here; if you play multiples of her, she can get scary in a heartbeat.

And if you have enough Empower on the board, watch out!!

 

AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…

Here are…

THE BEST TEN PIECES IN THE SET!!

 

Trader

10. ABPI05 Trader — 50 Points — Rare:

He’s cheap! He’s got Power Cosmic! He’s got Perplex!

I know, I know, 50 Points would be a bit much for JUST a Perplexer, but with Sidestep and Power Cosmic, it’s easier to move Trader where you need him each turn than some other supporting characters.

But he made the main list for one reason: his Attack Power (LET’S MAKE A TRADE: FREE: Choose an equipped character (friendly or opposing) within 3 squares and line of fire. If Trader is equipped, and both equipments have Equip: Any, those equipments are now equipped to the other character.), which can allow for all sorts of shenanigans!

Choose Pen/Psy and Outwit with a character equipped with the Infinity Gauntlet, then switch in, say, the Power Gem for even more damage! And guess what? You can then use the Infinity Gauntlet with the character who previously had the Power Gem!

And that’s just what you can do with friendly swaps! You can also use it defensively to take better stuff from your opponents! The possibilities are endless!

Yelena Belova

9. ABPI013B Black Widow — 30 Points — Common Prime:

Wow! I like her 60 Point line a lot too, but man, for 30 Points, you get an absolute toolbox of abilities at your disposal!

To wit:

She has Sidestep, she ignores Characters on movement, she has Traited Shape Change and Stealth, 10 Attack, 2 Damage and a Special Defensive Power (LETTING YOUR GUARD DOWN: Combat Reflexes. FREE: Choose an adjacent character and a standard defense power. Until your next turn, the chosen character can’t use the chosen defense power.).

That’s a lot of usability! Plus she’s a Wildcard!

Her only downside is a lack of decent keywords (Martial Artist is probably her best).

Doc Strange AbPI.jpg

8. ABPI053A Dr. Strange — 120 Points — Super Rare:

The bearer of the Soul Gem has a ton going for him.

Running Shot and Pen/Psy top dial. Mystics TA. A sweet Damage Special (WE MUST WORK TOGETHER: Perplex. When Dr. Strange uses it to target another friendly character, you may choose a standard damage power that character can use. Dr. Strange can use that power until your next turn.) that encourages thought in who you pair him with.

All in all, a really efficient supporting/Secondary Attacker piece!

Gary Frank Hulk

7. ABPI014 Hulk125 Points — Common:

This is the definitive “Peter David/Gary Frank-era” Hulk dials, and they just casually throw it on a Common Hulk?

We’ve got Charge (with Improved Movement: Blocking, so Barrier and Printed Walls mean nothing to him), 12 Attack with Super Strength, 18 Defense with Indomitable and Impervious and 5 (FIVE!) Damage top dial with Outwit!

He has one “drawback” Trait (WEAKENED BY RAGE: When Hulk takes damage from an attack, after resolutions give him a Rage token. Modify Hulk’s combat values by -X, where X is the number of Rage tokens. At the end of your turn, remove all Rage tokens and heal Hulk that many clicks.) that actually HELPS his survivability!

Yes, he doesn’t have any Outwit protection himself, and yes, he is a Close Combat piece, but man, there’s not much else you’d want. Pair him with a TK’er or a Vehicle and you’ve got a boatload of trouble for your opponent.

Black Panther incarnation

6. ABPI072 Black Panther — 85 Points– Chase:

The original Panther offers a TON of usefulness for his points. His only problem is that is top heavy and kind of a glass cannon; if you’re opponent can lay hands on him, he’s in trouble.

Luckily, that’s hard to do. If you win map, his main Trait (THE PANTHER GOD: Stealth. Opposing lines of fire can’t be drawn to Black Panther if he occupies printed hindering terrain. Protected: Pulse Wave.) should make even touching him darn near impossible (and of course he has Improved Movement: Hindering and Elevated)!

He starts with Hypersonic Speed, Precision Strike with a 12 Attack, 19 Defense with Super Senses and 3 Damage with Traited B/C/F (BEFORE HUMANS TOPPED THE FOOD CHAIN: Blades/Claws/Fangs. Opposing characters within 3 squares can’t use Blades/Claws/Fangs.) and Battle Fury to burn through Shape Change.

Yes, he’s only a close attacker, but he’s got some great potential damage output combined with some wonderful mobility and survivability!

As a special bonus, that B/C/F Trait kind of shuts down those SR Wolverine Call-Ins, too!

 

Chase Cap

5. ABPI071 Captain America — 150 Points — Chase:

This is a little bit of a cheat as well since I’m again counting the Chase Equipment that comes with him–The Infinity Gauntlet. But with his Infinity Gauntlet, Cap here has six Clicks that have to be gone through one by one since he has Power Cosmic, Invincible and a sweet defensive Trait (THE GEMS… THEY WANT TO BE TOGETHER: Barrier. Barrier as FREE, but only to generate 1 marker. Captain America can’t be healed and takes a maximum of 1 damage from an attack. Protected: Pulse Wave.) that makes it hard to target Steve, much less KO him.

His damage output isn’t huge, but if he hits, he can change the board with his Attack Special (PUSHING PLANETS AWAY: KNOCKBACK. When Captain America knocks a character back, add 10 to the amount of knock back.) that features a Knockback power like we’ve never seen (and props for being comic accurate!).

If you want an unkillable Call-In generator, call on Cap.

 

Taskmaster.jpg

4. ABPI061 Taskmaster — 100 Points — Super Rare:

100 Points for the most versatile piece in the set.

Taskmaster has the Wildcard TA, Indomitable, Sidestep, Toughness and Leadership top dial, plus his first Trait (JUST BECAUSE YOU HIRED ME, DOESN’T MAKE US FRIENDS: Taskmaster doesn’t count against themed teams.) ensures he’ll always fit on your team.

His second Trait (I MEMORIZED MOVES FROM DOZENS OF CHUMPS, TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!: FREE: Choose two: Charge, Flurry, Running Shot, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Incapacitate, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Precision Strike, Combat Reflexes, Energy Shield/Deflection, Close Combat Expert, Exploit Weakness, Ranged Combat Expert. Taskmaster can use the chosen powers until your next turn. This turn, characters targeted by Taskmaster with an attack can’t use the chosen powers until your next turn.) gives him access to almost any other power in the game that you might want. Hell, give him Iron Man’s Infinity Gauntlet and he literally WILL have access to any four powers in the game that you might want at any one time!

Someone is going to figure out how to exploit him because he’s basically designed to be exploited. He’s essentially a one-man Shifting Focus piece that plugs in to any Themed Team.

 

Kobik_(Earth-616)_from_Thunderbolts_Vol_3_1_001

3. ABPI069 Kobik — 115 Points — Chase:

If you like unkillable moving castles that let you Call-In almost any X-Men piece you want, meet your new best friend.

Outside of being hard to even hit, Kobik has a fun Trait that has the potential to wreck your opponent’s strategy so long as you construct the rest of your team correctly (REWRITE AFFILIATIONS: FREE: Choose both a friendly character and an opposing character with printed team abilities. Those characters can use the team abilities printed on the other character instead of their own printed team abilities until your next turn.).

She also has Power Cosmic, Perplex, Prob and an 8 Range, Shape Change, Super Senses and a 19 Defense on her first two Clicks. That is a LOT to get through!

On top of that, at 115 Points, she gets the best Cosmic Cube (FREE: Choose one: Place this character up to 3 squares away from its current square; -or- Until your next turn, [Improved Targeting: Elevated, Hindering] and modify range +2; –orGive an action token to an adjacent opposing character. If you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage. Light Object.) and a once-per-game Sideline shenanigans Trait [REWRITE HISTORY: POWER: Once per game, choose an adjacent friendly character on their starting line and a characters on your sideline with the same name as the chosen character. If the first character is equal or more points than the second, replace the first character with the second on their starting line. (That character can’t have the same set symbol and collector number.)].

She has already started showing up as a Supporting Character/Call-In generator, and I don’t think she’s going away any time soon!

 

Collector.jpg

2. ABPI064 Collector — 55 Points — Super Rare:

55 Points gets you the Power Cosmic TA now?! Holy crap!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Hell, 50 Points gets you PC now. Look at Voyager!]

Oh, and it also gets you (usually) six clicks of life, 11 Attack with pretty much the best version of Incapacitate the game has ever seen (I FIND YOUR HAMMER VERY… UNIQUE: Incapacitate. When Collector uses it, instead of giving action tokens, after resolutions you may choose one Equipment-Object equipped to a hit character and unequip it. // FREE: Equip an unheld and unequipped opposing Equipment-Object within range and line of fire.) and a Trait that lets him take full advantage of it (MY COLLECTION GROWS: Collector can be equipped with any number of Equipment-Objects at the same time. Protected: Pulse Wave.)!

Get used to seeing this guy on Meta teams for the next two years…

 

Thanos Annihilation

1. ABPI074 Thanos — 160 Points — Ultra Chase:

Where to start with a figure that does virtually everything? First of all, he comes packing Skreet, who might be the best POG we’ve ever gotten.

Skreet

Skreet has Flying, Phasing/Teleport with 8 Movement, Pen/Psy with a 10 Attack and 4 Range, a 19 Defense (19!!) with Tiny Size and Impervious and a native 2 Damage with her lone Special Power (CHAOS MITE: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Skreet uses it, she modifies a value +2 or -2 instead, then rolls a d6. [1-2]: The modifier becomes 0 instead.).

Yep! That’s right! Thanos comes with his own Tertiary Attacker WHO ALSO HAS THE BEST PERPLEX SPECIAL IN MODERN!!

And you know what? THAT’S NOT EVEN THE ONLY GAME ELEMENT HE COMES WITH!! Whaaa… ?!

Yup!

Thanos also comes with the little-known SEVENTH Infinity Gem—The Ego Gem–for free!! This Gem allows it’s bearer to collect other gems (thus getting around the “one Equipment at a time” rule) AND let’s it’s bearer increase any Combat Value by +1. So, basically, you have a Perplex even if someone somehow Outwits your Perplex.

Okay! Now that we’re like 5 paragraphs in, we can finally talk about what is actually on Thanos’s dial!

First of all, he’s rocking both the Power Cosmic and Mystics TA. Yeah–probably the two best TA’s in the game, and Thanos has both of them.

He starts with a 12 Attack and 4 Damage top dial, along with Sidestep and an 18 Defense with Invincible. His Damage Special (THE BIOLOGICAL APPLICATION OF COSMIC POWER: Perplex, but only to target other characters. When Thanos uses it to target a friendly character, that character can use [Power Cosmic] until your next turn. When Thanos uses it to target an opposing character, that character can’t use Willpower or PROTECTED: Outwit or Protected: Outwit until your next turn.) is flat-out amazing, and is one of the best Damage Specials in the game!

Starting on Click 2, Thanos’s Attack Special (GENOCIDE IS NOT WHAT MISTRESS DEATH DESIRES, BUT IT’S WHAT THE MAKER’S FOLLOWERS DESERVE: Precision Strike. FREE: Make an attack targeting an opposing character, but only if there’s another opposing character with the same name on the map. // When Thanos KO’s a character, after resolutions KO all bystanders generated by that character, then heal him 1 click for each bystander KO’d this way.) allows him to literally clear house if your opponent was careless enough to double stack characters on their team.

(And yes, if he’s your Primary Attacker, he can also bring in some heavy-hitting X-Men for Call-Ins!)

In Epic (400+) games, Thanos is an absolutely street sweeper!

But even in 300 Point games, he is an absolute force to be reckoned with.

And that’s why he’s number one on this list!