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

Roundup

 

Welcome Back!!

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

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

Bossmus

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

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

Brad Ausmus's version of Sabermetrics.

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

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

 

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

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

"Oh, Stephen, noooo!"

“Oh, Stephen, noooo!”

 

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

Well, look no further than…

 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

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

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

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

Push to Regen

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

"We're a Thing again!"

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

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

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

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

 

Preview

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

A couple of takeaways from that video:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

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

Krampus

Team Name: Krampin’ Your Style

Theme: None

Roster:

WKWK–002 Krampus79 Points

(assigned The Utility Belt with 1 item)–8

SLOSH042 Helspont200

DP018 Blind Al13

=300 Points

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Agents of Shield Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Critical Missives:

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

 

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

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…

 

Shadow of the Colossals!! (Or, The Build–02/08/2014!!)

Colossus

[Editor’s Note: We’re back! Illness and other factors meant we had to go dark for a week, but we now return you to your regularly scheduled programmingThe Build is (hopefully) gonna be a semi-regular column wherein I discuss an upcoming tourney at my local venue and explain what I’m playing and why, and then I’ll write a follow-up entry detailing the results.]

Normally, my venue only allows Modern Age figs, ATA’s and Relics, and generally between 300 and 400 points. But for the next tourney, they’re cooking up something a little special…

So let’s get to it!

The Game:

600 Points. Modern Age. Anything Goes (Resources, Relics, Colossals, ATA’s, Team Bases & Vehicles all allowed).

The Build:

I want to build a team that’s both competitive AND fun to play. Basically, that means I’m not going to go with 5 Mole Men, The Power Plant and Shuma–I’m trying to beat my opponents, not make them hate me. And that type of army–cheap, broken, stupid–is not what I want to play. I want a team that will be pretty good UNDER the current rules and not one that will be good because it EXPLOITS the current rules.

Going in, I know I have a few fixed points for this build. I already know I want to play a Colossal (because it is so rare for my venue to allow them and, well, dammit, they’re fun to play!), and I know I want to play a resource (for the same reasons).

So I already know a little bit about what I’m going to play. Let’s start with the resource.

I own four resource dials in total. The Infinity Gauntlet (for which I own 4 of the 6 gems); The Utility Belt (with only three pouches); The Penguin (for only a slight 10 point investment, he’s sneaky good); and the Book of the Skull (7 of 8 Hammers, which is all I really need–plus Splitlip, who basically takes almost all of the drawbacks away from the book and just makes it stupid broken). AvX hasn’t happened at my venue, and may not ever happen [Editor’s Note: Bleeccch. This sucks! Stupid distributors…], so the Phoenix dial is not available to me.

–The Infinity Gauntlet is great, but without all the gems, I’m going to cross it off my list (although it would be awesome to play with the team I have in mind–more on that later).

–The Utility Belt is also a non-starter, for mostly the same reason (I don’t own enough attachments), and I never liked it as much as the Gauntlet anyway. It’s still ridiculously powerful (what resource isn’t?), but the nerfing of Prep Time really puts it at the bottom of my list.

–The Penguin is a nifty resource that can be thrown in to an army at that last minute when you find out you’ve miscalculated and you need 10 more points. Unlike the other resources in the game, the Penguin probably isn’t sticking around for the whole match, but he’s a great boon for the first four to six turns. After that, he’s probably run his course and is out of the game.

–The Book of the Skull is damn near broken. I could make a very compelling argument that two of its eight Relic components (Angrir’s Hammer and Nul’s Hammer) ARE broken. And even though I don’t have Skadi’s Hammer (only available in the Blitzkrieg USA Pack), I still have the other seven Hammers and Splitlip, which means that all four slots on the dial will be active AND I can give two Hammers to three different characters should I choose to.

I don’t have the Batcave or the Power Plant. This decision is really pretty easy–I’m going to go with the Book of the Skull and Splitlip.

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points.

Splitlip–20 Points.

Okay! So far, the Build stands at 47 Points. We’re off and running! Next, let’s talk about Colossals. Cuz I really want to play one, and I don’t have a ton of choices. The three Modern Age Colossals I currently own are:

Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet); Oatu the Watcher (Galactic Guardians); Master Mold (Galactic Guardians)

And that’s about it. This decision is going to be a little harder than choosing a resource because even though I only have 3 figures to choose from, they each can be played at multiple point levels that would fit this build.

Let’s start with The Watcher; he can be played at three different point levels: 400, 200 and 50.

–The 400 point level features 16 clicks and builds slowly (oh my stars and garters, does it ever build SLOOOOOWLY) in damage output (he starts with a stinkin’ 2 and keeps it for his FIRST FOUR CLICKS!), but he’s got a really cool defensive power (POWER NEGATING FORCE-FIELD: Uatu The Watcher can use Energy Shield/Deflection and Toughness. When an opposing character misses Uatu The Watcher with an attack, counter all powers that character possesses until that character’s next turn.) that looks even better when you remember that he has a 12 (TWELVE!!) range. So your opponent is basically going to be dealing with at least a 19 defense until he gets in close. However, with the 2 damage Uatu starts with, even with starting Outwit (and there’s no guarantee in a 600 point game that your opponent’s main striker won’t also have Power Cosmic or Quintessence, which would render the Outwit useless unless you’re also running GG Adam Warlock), you’re just not going to be doing enough damage to justify his 400 point cost.Towards the end of his dial, his damage does ramp up and he starts getting things like Pen/Psy and Mind Control, but chances are the entire rest of your team could be KO’d by then. Now, if this was, like, a 1200 point game? Well yeah, then he’d be a great supporting piece. But for this game, he’s just not the best option. As much as I like Uatu, his 400 point dial is simply a nonstarter for this build.

–200 point Uatu is just the opposite. He’s practically a DPS machine, with a little bit of range support via Enhancement thrown in. He’s only got six clicks, but there’s not a bad click in the bunch. Solid 18 Defense with either Invuln or Impervious the entire dial, and he starts out doing 4 damage with Pen/Psy on an 11 Attack (or 13, if you want to give him one of the Serpent’s Hammers!). This is a strong contender for a secondary attacker; it will just depend on which figure I go with for my main piece.

–50 point Uatu changes everything up again. He will deal no damage; in fact, he’s forbidden from attacking. But he is hard to kill with starting 18 Super Senses on Defense, and he will, depending on click number, provide you with either Outwit, Probability Control, or Perplex. The downside is, every time you use one of those powers, he’s got a 66% chance to take one unavoidable damage. Still, for 50 points, you have to view him almost like a second resource. When viewed that way, his dial goes from seeming a little overcosted to almost being undercosted, since there’s no other way in the game (that I’m aware of) to assign a second resource to your force. In a game like this, your opponent is almost doing you a favor if he bothers to actually attack Uatu–every attack directed at him is an attack directed away from your actual force, and with the Defense slot I mentioned above, there’s every chance that your opponent will miss! In a “Hammer Raining From the Sky” environment (as Ninwashui puts it) such as this, there’s also one last thing to consider: The Watcher can fling Hammers! His “unavoidable damage” Trait only kicks in when he uses Prob, Perplex or Outwit. And while he can’t use the free Quake attack that Hammer landings provide, you CAN use him to get Hammers off of the Book faster and fling them at friendly characters to let THEM Quake up a storm, if you wish! 50 Point Uatu is also a strong contender to make my team!

Now let’s look at Master Mold. He can be played at two different point levels that would fit this game: 600 and 200.

–600 Point Master Mold is pretty sick. He can churn out mini-sentinels to tie up your opponent–oh hell, who am I kidding? I’m playing Thanos.

cropped-cropped-photo-1.jpg

I mean.

It’s freaking.

THANOS!! He’s the masthead of this site. Of course I’m playing Thanos. Is Master Mold more efficient? Possibly. I don’t care. Thanos wearing the Infinity Gauntlet is right up there with Warlock wearing the Infinity Gauntlet as my favorite piece ever made (as you might be guessing, Infinity Gauntlet is my favorite story of all time).

So really, I have three choices then for my main piece in this build. Thanos has a 500, 400 and 300 Point dial, and each are appealing, but for different reasons.

–500 Point Thanos has 20 clicks and 1 weakness Trait (MAKING THE GRAB FOR THE GAUNTLET: If the result of a successful close combat attack roll made by an opposing character against Thanos is a critical hit, after actions resolve that character may make another close combat attack that deals penetrating damage targeting Thanos as a free action.) that gives me pause, even though it won’t go off very often. His other Trait (SHRINKING THE HULK: After Thanos takes damage from an opposing character’s attack, either give that character a shrink token or, if there is already a shrink token assigned, move the shrink token to that character. A character with a shrink token modifies its combat values by -1.) can be awesome in a game like this depending on how many characters your opponent is fielding. The more you whittle your opponent’s force down, the closer he gets to essentially having a permanent -1 to all his combat values on his best fig. Later in the dial, he also gets an attack power that lets him place two squares of blocking terrain after he KO’s someone, and a damage power that gives him Exploit Weakness and doesn’t allow lines of fire to be drawn to him from more than 6 squares away.

His attack never goes above a 12, but his defense stays consistently high, especially early on. Opening click Prob is nice, but at 500 Points, there’s just not much space left to build an army around him. So this Thanos gonna be a pass.

–400 Point Thanos has similar stats but only 11 clicks of life. His Trait (DISSENSION IN YOUR RANKS: Opposing characters lose all keywords. Opposing characters adjacent to Thanos can’t use team abilities.) is beyond awesome, especially in a game like this, and you get Terraxia as a free addition to your force. She’s a 100 Point character with Charge and Super Strength and, as long as you’re playing her with Thanos, Perplex. Finally, on five of his 11 clicks he gets: TORTURE MY “GRANDDAUGHTER”: Thanos can use Penetrating/Psychic Blast. When he does, if he targets a single opposing character and hits, counter all speed and attack powers the hit character possesses until your next turn. Pen/Psy is one of the best attack powers out there; Pen/Psy that Outwits Hypersonic Speed, Running Shot, Charge, Pulse Wave, Pen/Psy, Steal Energy or whatever the hell else your enemy may have in his speed or attack slots? That’s ridiculous. Btw, here’s a picture of me imagining 400 Point Thanos with Angrir’s Hammer and Mokk’s Hammer:

the_joker_smile_by_angrypig-d4k075d

Also on the plus side, I’d have 153 Points left over for support pieces (after the 47 I’m using for Booklip). That should be just enough to round out my army. This Thanos is the leader in the clubhouse, but let’s look at 300 Point Thanos.

–300 Point Thanos has one less click and about the same raw stats. His Trait (IMPRISON MY BROTHER: At the beginning of the first turn using this dial, you may choose an opposing character. Place that character in its own starting area and give it two action tokens.) is great when playing all five issues of the Infinity Gauntlet in a row; for this game, it’s merely very good. For most of his dial, his attack slot alternates between a souped-up Pulse Wave (if lines of fire are drawn to more than one opposing character, it does 2 damage instead of one) and Pen/Psy, which is pretty damn good. But he doesn’t mess with opposing keywords or Team Abilities, and he doesn’t give you Terraxia. His last damage power (UNNATURAL DISASTERS: Give Thanos a power action and roll a d6. Use the effect described by that roll below. 1-2 Earthquake; Deal each character that can’t use the Flight ability 1 damage. 3-4 Tidal Wave; Choose an edge of the map. Knock back each opposing character 2 squares, in a straight line away from the chosen edge of the map. 5-6 Tornado; Choose any 2 adjacent squares on the map not occupied by a character. Thanos can use Quake as a free action as if he occupied both the chosen squares.) is probably the most convoluted and unreliable power Thanos gets on any of his dials. If you could just choose which option you want, it would be “meh” at best. The fact that it’s random means that it’s possibly one of the worst uses of Thanos’s time that I can think of.

I’m leaning toward 400 Point Thanos. Is there a more efficient use of 100 Points than Terraxia? Almost certainly, but she works well with Thanos and fits thematically, even if I’m not fielding a Theme Team.

Alright! I have my Colossal! And it only took, like, 1200 words of prattling to make my decision! Yay!

So, to review:

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points

Splitlip–20 Points

Thanos–400 Points

That’s 447 Points. 153 Points left to round out my army. I have a few Primes I’m considering: Hannibal King, Brother Voodoo and Cerise. GG LE Iron Man would be perfect, except he’s 150 and would use up everything I have left. Still, his Colossal Mind Control power is awesome. Another problem–I don’t own him. The other main support piece I’m considering is Experienced AvX Scarlet Witch. Her 8 range is huge. I’m not as concerned about Team Abilities killing me with Thanos’s Trait, but she can definitely shut them down even more. The fact that she gets Prob, Support AND Perplex means she’s winner. Which leaves me with 53 Points!!

Aldrich Killian is most known for shutting down ATA’s (good lord, if nothing else, I will shut down TA’s in this tourney!), but he also has the Hydra TA and Support. And when he heals someone, their combat values are +1 for the next turn. If he heals Thanos even once, that could be game changing.

And finally, to support Killian, I’m throwing in a stupid Flock of Bats for 15 Points. Since Killian can use Stealth on his top clicks, the Bats will give him +1 on those Support rolls. Not to mention that they can be an annoying tie-up piece at some point too. [Editor’s Note: Whoops! Totally forgot that Support doesn’t allow modifiers! Thanks to several folks for pointing this out. Begone, Bats! I’m gonna replace them with a Warbot of some kind, methinks!]

So, my final choices look like this:

My Army:

The Book of the Skull–27 Points

Splitlip–20 Points

Thanos–400 Points

Scarlet Witch–100 Points

Aldrich Killian–35 Points

Flock of Bats–15 Points

Random Warbot–10 Points

Secret Avengers ATA-5 Points (for the Scarlet Witch)

That’s 597!! Alright! So, that’s my army. Later in February, I’ll post my results with this motley crew, and we’ll see if any of my theories about this environment held water. What would you change if this was your army? Post your choices below! Given the same restrictions, let me know how you would create…

THE BUILD!!