Team Ideas – Test Subjects… of Love!

Idea

So, the Lantern Batteries I own are Red, Green, and Violet (Star Sapphire). Of those three, Green has been done to death by everyone and Red lacks a fun factor (except when used like this), but I’m always trying to dream up teams for the Star Sapphire battery. Sure I had some fun with it in Sealed. I think I also came up with something nice for it in our Lantern article. But, I feel like I’m not quite there yet.

So lately I’ve been looking at the pieces I like to call “Summoners.” That’s not an official term, but what I am referring to are pieces that bring an unlimited amount of pieces into play during a game (although they may have a limit of how many pieces can be put into play at one time). To clarify further, AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43 brings in an AAOU002 Iron Legion once per game. If you kill that piece, he can’t summon another. On the other hand, AAOU001 Iron Man can summon an unlimited amount of AAOU002 Iron Legions per game, but he can only have 4 in play at a time. I would consider AAOU001 Iron Man a Summoner, while AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43 is not a Summoner. He’s just, I dunno, friendly.

Anyway, Summoners are probably my favorite kind of piece and the newest set (Avengers: Age of Ultron) brought us three new summoning pieces. Those three pieces are AAOU007 Ultron Sentry, AAOU001 Iron Man, and AAOU016 Baron Strucker. The Sentry is best on Ultron teams and I think Iron Man is a bit overcosted, but I have been looking for a team for Baron von Strucker since I first got him. I originally thought of running him with his Hydra buddy (and fellow Summoner) DP054 Arnim Zola because I remembered him fondly from this article. But, Strucker and Zola together just lacked an offensive punch. Sure they could flood the map with people, but to what end? Even Mind Controlling Gwens or Test Subjects to attack three at a time just isn’t that effective, and the two pieces together didn’t leave enough room for a primary attacker (especially not a Hydra themed one – sorry Hydra Wolverine). So I scrapped that Idea and I’ve moved on to what you see below:

Avengers Age of Ultron Baron Strucker

“This is the Age of Miracles and there is nothing more terrifying than a miracle. Especially one that can explode for two unavoidable damage.”

Team Name: Test Subjects… of Love!

Keyword Theme: Scientist

Roster: IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0 (with ATA103 Hammer Industries), AAOU016 Baron Strucker, DP020 Weasel, WOLR106 Power Battery (Star Sapphires)WOLR306 Star Sapphire RingWOLR206.03 Mallet (Violet), WOLR206.14 Sniper Rifle (Violet), WOLR206.12 Spotlight (Violet), WOLR206.13 Stop Sign (Violet)

Total = 300 Points

How it Works: IIM037 Iron Monger 2.0 is an average ranged attacker. But if you add in DP020 Weasel, Hammer ATA, and a Spotlight he becomes a very formidable ranged attacker. The Star Sapphire Battery helps him both on offense by boosting his Range via it’s emotional power and on defense by granting him Shape Change. Weasel is there because he is the number one way (outside of GOTG058 Mentor) to make a ranged attacker more dangerous. He gives +1 range,+1 damage, +1 attack, and evens offers the possibility of a reroll if you happen to juuuust miss. If your name isn’t WKM-015 Doop, JLTW068 Gluttony, or IIM038 Iron Man – you are going to be taking a ton of ranged damage.

AAOU016 Baron Strucker will eventually be an offensive monster, but for most of the game his role will be an entirely different one. He is there to produce AAOU004 Test Subjects that will run forward and tie up opposing characters. That way Iron Monger 2.0 can take shots all day without having to worry about the opponent shooting back. The idea is that Baron Strucker’s special power (WE LEARN SO MUCH FROM THEM… ) lets you put a new Test Subject into play anywhere within 6 range. It doesn’t have to even be within line of fire. Then they each have 6 Movement and can move immediately.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As a former Magic: The Gathering player, no Summoning Sickness for the Test Subjects just makes me giggle with glee… ]

That means if an opposing figure is anywhere within 12 spaces of Baron Strucker, he should be able to base them with a Test Subject. Just remember to put a Construct on that new figure. Also, make sure that Iron Monger 2.0 carries Baron Strucker (and not Weasel) so that he is always ready to create a Test Subject without pushing. You should also try to keep an extra Test Subject next to Baron Strucker for Mastermind purposes.

So what are an opponents choices when based by a Test Subject?

He can:

  1. Do nothing, or
  2. Try to break away, or
  3. Try to kill the Test Subject.

Option 1 won’t hurt the opponent directly, but if he’s just sitting there then you can just sit back and pick him off with Iron Monger 2.0. Option 2 may fail – especially if that Test Subject has plasticity or the WOLR206.13 Stop Sign (Violet). So that may end up being like doing nothing and giving your character an action token to boot. That leaves option 3. Here’s some reasons why option 3 is the worst of the three options.

  • The Test Subject might hit shape change and you’ll have wasted an action. This is probably the best case scenario.
  • If the Test Subject takes damage, then the attacker gets a Mystic TA unavoidable damage back because of the battery.
  • If the Test Subject dies after taking damage from an attack then every opposing character it’s adjacent to will take an unavoidable damage because of Iron Monger 2.0
  • After Test Subject Dies and does it’s unavoidable damage, Baron Stucker may get a stat increase. Then he can simply recreate that same test subject with a power action the next turn and it will be able to run right back to where the last one died. You won’t even lose the construct. Those go back to the Battery ready to be redeployed when the figure they are on is KOed.

When he or she is considering those those three options, I like to remind my opponent of my favorite Jerry Seinfeld MEME:

Seinfeld Good Luck

Say Geronimo! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 11/23/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello again! It’s been a solid month since we last rounded up everything there is to, y’know, round up! And, given that Thanksgiving is just about here, I figured everyone could use a Turkey Day Roundup!

So what’s been going on this last 30 days? Well, War of Light is finally done (at least at most venues); The Flash has finally released (after just a one week delay); and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies should finally be out now at a Target or hobby store near you (or be coming very soon–depends on where you live, it seems).

All of which means we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going with…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; last week, in Episode 71, they opened up their Meta Toolbox to talk about all the Modern Age resources in the context of the Meta! And as a special Holiday bonus, they’ve ALREADY released Episode 72!

Yours truly was lucky enough to finish in the Top 4 of their Dial Design contest this month; if you want to get in on the action, December’s Dial Design should start around November 30th.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27 is still the most recent ep of The Quarry. The ROC tab on HCRealms has a link to upcoming events and vaguely mentions an Episode 28, but damned if I can find it!

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an October or November ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Just announced on the Heroclix.com Downloads tab: there is going to be a “Spider-Man Symbiotes” Monthly Op Kit in May of next year! Looks like there’ll be 3 different versions of Venom!

–No other current Previews, but that’s to be expected as they JUST released Flash. I’d expect no real previews until WizKids’s annual 12 Days of Clix-Mas promotion, where we’ll get a look at next year’s offerings like Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble and both Avengers: Age of Ultron offerings!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

So, we’ve gone on and on about the new R.O.C. Format, but sometimes I think we don’t put enough emphasis on choosing the best supporting characters for the Primary Attacker that you’ve chosen. Let’s take a look at how adding or subtracting a single supporting character can drastically alter a Build in this environment!

First, let’s look at the Iron Pharaoh Build from ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!

"Oh! Golden Falcon, no! I just polished this armor!"

“NO! Golden Falcon, I just polished this armor!”

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle 50

=300 Points

What This Build Does:

It slows everything down!! Which, as everyone knows by now, is fantastic for pieces like Iron Pharaoh and Fantomex (who can’t really be played in the current format because E.V.A. is a bystander token, which is illegal in “No Tactics” formats). But the fact that Shaman disables flying and Turtle limits people to moving just 4 squares or less (unless they want to take an additional action token) is just an insane combo. And if you win Map Roll (which will happen roughly 50% of the time, since there are no Themed Team Bonuses), Ryut should be a nightmare for most teams you’ll face. Weasel is the best supporting piece (offers a very limited Prob, +1 to Attack and Range and Enhancement) in the game for Ranged-based attackers, and Thule Society Priest is just there to get pushed into another Prob’r.

Okay, now that we know what the default Build does, let’s change the roster a bit!

This is what's known as a 'Dark Future.' (See what I did there?)

This is what’s known as a ‘Dark Future.’ (See what I did there?)

Team Name: “She Blinded Me With Science!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

FL031 Turtle 50

SLOSH004 Science Police Officer 45

=297 Points

What This Build Does (Differently): This is a Ninwashui variant. Okay, so we lost our main supporting piece (Weasel) and our secondary supporting/tie-up piece (Thule Society Priest), but we added Science Police Officer. What does this do? Well, it slows down the damage Iron Pharaoh can do by about 20%-25% (basically 3 instead of 4). You can make up for this a little bit by constantly keeping Shaman within range and line of fire of Iron Pharaoh, so he can use his Perplex there. But Science Police Officer combos really brutally with Turtle. Science Police Officer’s top dial Damage Special (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) means that your opponents best attackers are at risk of shutting themselves down before you even attack them!

Let’s run down everything your opponent has to deal with BEFORE you’ve even attacked them (assuming they don’t Copycat away Shaman–which is an unlikely matchup, but not an impossible one):

1. They can’t fly (after Shaman’s “No Flights” ability goes off);

2. They can’t move more than 4 squares at a time UNLESS they want to take a second action token or take 1 Penetrating Damage.

3. If they do try and burst through with one big move and attack (via Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, etc.), they take an UNAVOIDABLE DAMAGE in addition to the extra action token/penetrating damage from Turtle!

With all this SLOWNESS going on, you should have plenty of time to get your Golden Falcon into position to start dropping 3 Damage Outwit Bombs!

 

What We’ve Learned:

While both Builds should be competitive no matter who you play, the first Build is fairly aggressive in terms of lining up its shots (with Weasel, Shaman and the available Probs, you’re trying to line up a 4-5 Damage shot that won’t miss after Outwitting a character’s Defense slot).

The second Build is more of a “take the opportunities that my opponent gives me” sort of army, where you’re basically turning the whole map into a spider’s web and waiting for your opponent to get themselves “stuck” (double-tokened and damaged).

That’s two nearly identical Builds with two significantly different styles of play based solely on which supporting character you choose to use!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Just in case May 2015 wasn’t going to be a busy enough month for Marvel fans (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; a ton of different Marvel Heroclix sets), that’s also the month that is currently set to be the premiere month for Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s new Netflix shows.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats!

Show: Daredevil

Showrunner: Drew Goddard (first two episodes); Steven S. DeKnight (current showrunner)

Known Regular Cast:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock: Charlie Cox

Karen Page: Deborah Ann Wolf

Foggy Nelson: Elden Hensen

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin: Vincent D’Onofrio

Claire Temple/Night Nurse (?): Rosario Dawson

Vanessa Marianna: Ayelet Zurer

Known Notable Guest Stars/Recurring Cast:

Stick: Scott Glenn

Ben Urich: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Leland Owlsley: Bob Gunton

Hachiro: Peter Shinkoda

Daredevil will go for at least one season of 13 episodes, with the character currently expected to play a major role in a planned “Defenders” mini-series which would feature all of Marvel’s Hells Kitchen-based heroes teaming up in an Avengers-like fashion.

It is entirely too early to know whether we’ll get a second season of Daredevil and/or when that would premiere. As of now, even the “Defenders” show is somewhat theoretical; if they four lead-up series bomb, you can bet Marvel and Netflix will find a way to can the mini-series.

On the other hand, if Daredevil is wildly successful (and only Netflix and Disney will really have any idea, since digital distribution success is almost impossible for folks outside the industry to determine), I’d expect Marvel to go ahead with both “The Defenders” AND a second season of Daredevil. And possibly even start added some mystical heroes to the Netflix slate, starting with Blade and Ghost Rider.

–The second Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil will be the as-yet-unofficially-titled Jessica Jones series. Casting has begun, with rumors swirling around who will play both Jessica Jones AND recurring guest star (and star of Marvel’s third Netflix series) Luke Cage!!

For the next Weekly Roundup, I’m going to start compiling season-long episode guides of current genre TV shows, starting with…

 

Gotham Title

 

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Annnnd, welcome back to the latest feature category for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

For any who have forgotten, this is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about interesting upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–RIW Hobbies in Livonia is hosting a Sealed Draft of War of Light on 12/05!!

–If you’re looking to try D&D Attack Wing, Month One of the Tyranny of Dragons OP is happening at Eternal Games in Warren on 12/06.

–Annnd, one week later, Eternal Games is running a really cool event that they’re calling War of Light: Month 7! This will happen on 12/13 @ 1pm, and will feature a 600-Point Constructed tournament as well as Battle Royal side events throughout the day!

 

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

Critical Missives:

–We were ROC’ing the Meta this past couple weeks. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here!

Coming up in the next week, we should have a Comics & More War of Light: Month 6 Battle Report PLUS both my AND Ninwashui’s Flash Top Ten Reviews!

And that’s it for this week!! Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo… PART 2!! (Or, a Look at Where the Meta Might Be Heading!!)

"Hmmm... well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday... "

“Hmmm… well, 1 or 2 of these guys might be Meta. Someday… “

[To Be Read In Your Best Kiefer Sutherland Voice]

Previously, on Critical Missives:

 

Bill Agent of Aim Soranik Natu Void Tomar Tu Despotellis

–‘Anakin, NO!’

–‘Iron Pharaoh is still a thing, going forward.’

Abin Sur Kyle Raynor ION 2 Shatterstar Helspont

–‘Hail Hydra!

–‘Highfather is a losing strategy.’

ROC  "I;m back?! My dear, I never left!" Krampus 2

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

—————————————————————

 

And Now… The Conclusion.”

 

Whew!! Okay! Now that we’re all caught up, let’s look at some figs that ain’t what they used to be when it comes to the ROC, and some figs that people should be looking really closely at that haven’t yet had their day in the sun. Finally, we’ll talk a bit about what we can expect to show up in the Meta now that FLASH has been released!

 

Ain’t What They Used to Be Division:

This is what a good idea poorly executed looks like.

Suuuuure you do, Sweetie…

–DP038 Copycat: Wow. Some idiot was predicting doom and gloom for this ROC season because Copycat would dominate in an environment without Resources and Entities. What’s that? Oh, it was me? And what’s happened (at least so far)? Copycat is nowhere to be seen? Oh. And the lesson, as always? I’m an idiot?

Yup!

So, every now and then, some jackass will Copycat in a ROC now, but they won’t advance even into the Top 8. Why? Well, it’s because of the Construct ability that lets you start with the Nurse on a piece like Abin Sur or Tomar Tu. And Construct pieces are EVERYWHERE! And because of this, if you’re running a Copycat, it’s useless to switch, because your opponent will just put her in a horrible position and then Regenerate (remember, any attachments or effects on the targeted character transfer to Copycat), thus ending the effect. And if you don’t switch, you’ve got 90 Points (basically a third of your force) that’s next to useless. 90 Points that’s so bad that you thought giving it to your opponent for almost ANY qualifying figure they had was a winning strategy.

It doesn’t help her either that the New Mutants Team Base–her best running buddy–is disallowed in the current format.

So yeah, you may run into one or two teams that you can wreck with Copycat, but more often than not you’re cutting your own throat by playing her in this format. I couldn’t have been more mistaken in where I thought this Meta was heading, and I’ve never been happier to be so wrong!

"He's better than me?Wait, doesn't Speed Demon know that I'M supposed to be the Prime?"

He’s better than me? Wait, doesn’t Speed Demon know that I’M supposed to be the Prime?

–DP053B Whizzer: Hell of a dial. Hell of a power set. Hell of a piece! It’s just that Speed Demon does everything Whizzer does, but better. And without taking up that valuable Prime slot that most folks are using for Brother Voodoo, Tomar Tu or Abin Sur.

Just as a refresher for those of you keeping score at home, let’s talk for a minute about the differences between Whizzer and Speed Demon (you can follow along at HCRealms.com):

–Whizzer ignores Elevated, Water and Blocking Terrain (and Characters, but so does Speed Demon); Speed Demon ignores Hindering Terrain. This is pretty much a wash; you’ll certainly encounter more Hindering Terrain than anything else, but the ability to run up walls or through them, or over water in a pinch with Whizzer is pretty cool. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

–Whizzer can make TWO attacks during his Hypersonic movement, but only during his first two clicks. Speed Demon knows the same trick ON HIS LAST FOUR CLICKS. ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON.

–Whizzer has Indomitable. Speed Demon doesn’t. ADVANTAGE: WHIZZER

–Speed Demon has the Speed Cyclone Uplift Trait, arguably one of the ten best Traits Wizkids has ever made. Whizzer has no Traits. MASSIVE ADVANTAGE: SPEED DEMON

Whizzer here gets a lil’ closer to his non-Prime brother in a format where keywords don’t matter (Speed Demon’s are waaaay better), but otherwise, save the 10 Points and go with Speed Demon.

FINAL TALLY: Speed Demon wins, 2-1.

And that is why Whizzer is in this category. He was great when the ROC was just starting to roll out, but–especially with almost every team running some sort of Prime secondary figure–Whizzer is just too expensive at the moment, especially since we know how good Speed Demon is now.

"No, I've not seen the Earthen cinema classic 'Basic Instinct.' Why do you ask?"

No, I’ve not seen the Earthen cinema classic ‘Basic Instinct.’ Why do you ask?”

–SLOSH052 Highfather: Actually, I think we discussed him in Part 1! But he’s kind of in the same boat as Copycat for me; if you’re playing a Highfather team, you’re hoping to face one specific kind of team the whole tournament (any Build that revolves around a big bruiser–the more points, the better) that you can basically screw over before the game begins. If you run into a balanced team or really any team with a solid secondary attacker, you’re probably gonna lose. That’s why I think Highfather and Copycat are losing strategies; it’s not that you’ll lose every game, but you have almost no shot to actually win the tournament (or even make a Top 4). And if you’re not playing to win, you’re playing to lose–Ricky Bobby taught us this!

"Bizarro am Meta this season!"

“Bizarro am Meta this season!”

–SLOSH039X Bizarro: Unfortunately, no, Bizarro is not Meta right now. And no, that’s not me saying the reverse of what I actually mean. Bizarro’s still got his un-ignorable Stop Click-y goodness Trait, but without access to Resources, Relics or Entities, he’s a bit more inconsistent in terms of the stats on his dial, and he can’t heal as easily. There’s also been an increase in the number of Meta-Worthy figures who can do damage to him twice in one turn (Speed Demon, Proxima Midnight, etc.).

Now, when Resources, Entities and everything else returns in the second half season, Bizarro will once again be Meta, but until then, he just isn’t going to be a consistent enough performer to structure a team around.

(Having said that, you WILL occasionally see 25 Point Bizarro included in some Builds as a Taxi/Tertiary Attacker. I never loved Bizarro at 25 Points simply because with only 1 Orrazib Token on his card, Bizarro can’t take advantage of his best power–that Traited, un-ignorable Stop Click! But at 25 Points, he’s kinda like a pull on a slot machine–if you roll him onto one of his best clicks, you can do some serious damage for very little Build cost.)

 

Modern Age Figures That Have So Far Been Ignored in the ROC:

 

Speed Demon

DP053A Speed Demon: So far, ROC results indicate that strong ranged-base pieces are at the center of the Meta right now. But Hypersonic Speed came back in a big way this year (more on that later), and as of yet seems really untapped! And of all the great speedsters WizKids released this year, Speed Demon is pound for pound the best of the lot! He’s placed in ROC Top 8’s before, and even in this format, I don’t see why he can’t be dominant again. As always, it’s his awesome 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.) that lets him potentially deal damage twice in one turn (or up to three times a turn down dial!). The fact that his Trait can go off without having to make an attack roll is just awesome, and it’s a great way to deal with potentially problematic figs like Despotellis who have Defense Values that are really tough to reach.

Also, at 110 Points, he can be used as either a Primary Attacker or a Secondary Attacker, depending on which way you want to go with your build.

Captain Marvel Marvel 2

–007B Captain Marvel: So, this was kind of an omission from Part One, since he has shown up on multiple ROC teams, but we’ll talk about him here. Captain Marvel Prime is stupidly, ridiculously good. He was #1 on my GotG Top Ten Review, and he’s only gonna grow in popularity. His usefulness knows almost no bounds; he offers taxi services, Running Shot, 6 Range, Energy Explosion, Pen/Psy and Incapacitate, and if he hits with any of those attacks, the hit character CANNOT ATTACK during the next turn. He also has an 18 Defense with uncounterable Defend and Super Senses, and he adds +1 to the Defense of any non-Kree. Whew!! That’s a ton of stuff for only 82 Points!

His only drawback is his RELATIVELY short Range of 6 and his lack of Indomitable. That’s it. Try teaming him with AVX007 Black Panther and some other supporting folks to grant him Willpower to unleash his full potential!

Maxwell_Dillon_(Earth-2149)

–DP064 Electro: Zombie Chase Electro! Yay! In addition to being fun to play, Zombie Electro here has the potential to deal boatloads of damage. His attack isn’t necessarily consistently high enough to to be a Primary Attacker, but he’s damn dangerous as a secondary attacker. Try teaming him with Meta staples Super-Skrull and Headpool to get the most out of him. Either one will gives Virus tokens to any opposing character they hit, and once that happens, Electro can zap them from any square on the map as long as they’re within his Range–line of fire is no longer required! Also, Zombie Super-Skrull, Zombie Electro and Headpool is 298 Points, so they all fit together!

"I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate... Y'all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!"

“I thought I was clear before, but, to reiterate… Y’all mother$@#%&!$ forgot about Dre!”

–IIM040 Shaman: Okay, I’ve been pitching this guy as a Secondary Attacker/Support piece for over a year now, but he is still REALLY good. And his “No Flights” ability can really screw over some Builds, especially on certain maps. We’ll have a Build featuring this guy, Iron Pharaoh and some NEW blood a little bit later!

"Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!"

“Oh man, look at those lines! Maybe coming to San Diego in character was a bad idea!”

–CATWS Captain America and Black Widow: Get this Duo some TK and Perplex and let them go to work. They have Traited Stealth and can see and move through Hindering themselves. Duo attack plus Precision Strike is nice. Sidestep + Improved Movement: Ignores Characters is also awesome! The best part about these two is that they only cost you 130 Points, which is really low for everything they offer. With the right supporting pieces, they can be straight deadly!

 

And What to Expect From The Flash:

 

Well, I don’t want to step on our Flash Top Ten Reviews coming later this month, but this is a really solid set, and there’s more than a few figures you’re going to have to know if you have hopes of competing in the ROC!

 

Turtle

–FL031 Turtle: I love this figure! His Trait is so flavorful, and I love that his name is Turtle and that he, y’know, helps your team “turtle.” He gives you a Stealthy Outwitter for 50 Points, but the best reason to play him is his Trait (Slowness as a Way of Life: Turtle can use plasticity. when another character moves at least 5 squares and actions resolve, give them an action token. if you can’t, deal them 1 penetrating damage.), which pairs absolutely PERFECTLY with that Iron Pharaoh/Shaman team I mentioned earlier:

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!

Theme: N/A

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh110 Points

IIM040 Shaman92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle50

=300 (Exactly! Yay!)

How to Play: This works like any other Pharaoh team. If you win Map Roll, you want to choose Wundagore Mountain (from AvX) or any other map that is a bear to cross. Hole up in your Starting Area, send out your Falcon, stop anyone else from flying with Shaman and destroy any who would oppose you. And with Turtle’s Trait, the faster they try and get to you, the longer it will actually take.

You’ll have 2 Outwits (IP, Turtle), 1 Perplex (Shaman), Enhancement (Weasel) and the possibility of a Prob Control (Thule Society Priest on his last click). Weasel will also pump up Iron Pharaoh’s Attack by 1 and let him reroll if Iron Pharaoh misses by 1! When the enemy closes in, Shaman makes a decent Secondary Attacker. Alternatively, his Defense Special (GLACIAL WALL: Shaman can use Barrier and Energy Shield/Deflection. When he uses Barrier, the blocking terrain markers can’t be targeted with an attack by characters marked with one or more action tokens.) lets him pump out an improved Barrier. Thule Society Priest can also be used as a tie-up/annoyance piece, especially since he can copy Mystics from Shaman and deal an unavoidable damage to whichever opposing figure has to spend an action killing him.

Now, Flash has also seen the release of Jack Hawksmoor, an Authority character who has a Trait that deals 1 Penetrating Damage to any character still in a Starting Area during Turn 3 or later. To me, though, this is hardly a deterrent to playing a Pharaoh team. Moving Pharaoh (especially with Shaman as a Taxi) and the rest of the team just outside their own starting area in the first couple turns is child’s play, and sometimes it leads to even better positioning for “turtling” (depending on the Map). At the end of the day, all Jack Hawksmoor is really going to stop is Blind Al.

So there ya go! The Slowest Team Ever Devised!! And its main flaw–it’s not a Themed Team–doesn’t matter in the current ROC format because Themed Team rules are not in effect!

–Finally, keep an eye out for FL007 S.T.A.R. Labs Technician (possibly the best pure all around support piece in the game right now!); FL202 Flash (once he gets going, there’s almost no safe place on the map for your opponent!); FL053B Zoom (the Prime; he’s a beast who can use Blades/Claws/Fangs AND either Flurry OR Exploit Weakness WHILE HE’S USING HYPERSONIC SPEED! Yup! Another piece who can attack twice in a turn. AND he’s a Black Lantern!); and FL050 Flash (aka Kingdom Come Flash; once he gets some Speed Force tokens going, he can absolutely END even some of the hardiest figures IN ONE TURN!).

Kingdom Come Flash's KO rate when using his "Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?" special Attack Power.

Kingdom Come Flash’s KO rate when using his “Who Would Dare Be A Criminal in this City?” special Attack Power.

For more specifics on exactly why you need to be ready for these pieces and more, check out our Flash Top Ten Review coming later this month!

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

 

 

 

ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!! (Or, a Look at the Top Meta Figures for the 2014-2015 ROC Season!)

ROC

Okay! So it’s been awhile since I wrote anything that wasn’t a Weekly Roundup (or that had the “Electric Boogaloo” subtitle!), and I noticed that we really haven’t addressed the new ROC season format in any real detail yet. Well, that changes today!!

In this article, we’re going to look at which figures are doing well–basically, what you can expect to see at the next few ROC’s. In part 2, we’ll discuss which figures are not working like they use to in the Meta, and which figures might yet have their day in sun!

This should explain everything.

This should explain everything.

 

First, let’s take a look at the format the ROC is using this year. I mean, you can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is, right?

From HCRealms, here is the current format:

1.2.1: The first half of this season the format will be “300 Points, Modern Age, and “No Tactics” “No Entity Possession”.

No figure with a base larger than a double base (peanut). Runs Sep 2014-Mar 2015.

What is “No Tactics?” Again, from the rules:

“Part 4: TACTICS
Tactics are optional elements of HeroClix that you can choose to play in your HeroClix games. Each brings new strategic depth and exciting opportunities to the game, but also additional rules and complexity.
Tactics should be added to your game only when you feel you’ve mastered all other aspects of the HeroClix rules. Even then, you and those you play with might want to add only one Tactic at a time, learning each in turn. Tactics covered in this section include:

• Special Objects
• Resources
• Feats
• Battlefield Conditions
• Event Dials
• Bystanders Tokens
• Themed Teams

That’s right. No Resources, Relics, Colossals or Entities. No Bystander Tokens! No ATA’s, even! Yikes! Annnnd, you have to declare three maps on your Build sheet to choose from if you win Map Roll, so it’s a lot harder to hose teams simply via Map Choice. So what does that leave you? Well, quite a bit, actually, with one mechanic rising above the rest–at least so far. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Looking at the results of the few ROC’s that have been run so far under these rules (you can see the results of the FAT OGRE ROC right here, and the Dial H guys have talked at length about the ROC they ran in their last couple episodes), here is what you can expect to see.

SUPPORTING CAST:

Ranged figures are at such an advantage in this format. Probably because of that, everyone is looking for supporting figures that aid in targeting and pump up Range, Attack and/or Damage. Also, TK and Support are two KEY abilities that almost every team needs to have or needs to deal with. Healing, especially, is hard to come by in today’s Meta without a Power Battery. As such, these are the solutions some high level players have turned to in order to solve for X so far in this early part of the ROC season:

The Dead Set:

Deadpool Supporting Cast

DP018 Blind Al: She’s cheap (just 13 Points) and she enables shenanigans. She’s only got 2 clicks, but that doesn’t matter. Do you need to get a figure to its second click in a hurry? Do you want the cheapest Perplex in the game for your turtle (read: Iron Pharaoh) team? One of her main drawbacks–her keywords–doesn’t matter a lick in this format, since Theme Teams are disallowed.

DP020 Weasel: Now we’re up to 27 Points and 3 clicks of life! Again, his dial is so useful it doesn’t matter. He’s got 2 specials that just make him the best supporting piece for ranged attackers in the game (Well, a case could be made for the next fig on this list, but I’m getting ahead of myself). Weasel’s Tech-Guru to the Underworld Damage Special essentially allows him to give an adjacent friendly attacker +1 to their Range, Attack AND Damage. His top dial Attack Special is slightly less useful, but it will let you reroll a nearby friendly character’s missed range attack roll if you miss by 1 (unless it’s a critical miss). As a nice little bonus, Weasel has Pulse Wave on the last two clicks of his dial. He only has an 8 Attack to go with his 5 Range (3 on the Pulse Wave), but when you remember that Pulse Wave ignores opposing Shape Change, Super Senses, Energy Shield/Deflection and Probability Control (if the Prob’er is in the area of effect), it’s not inconceivable that  Weasel could actually hit someone with it.

Bill Agent of Aim

DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M.: 3 clicks of life for 30 Points! Bill does just about everything Blind Al does, only better! His Defense Special (I’M NOT ACTUALLY A QUALIFIED BLIMP PILOT, IT TURNS OUT: Bill, Agent of A.I.M. can use the Carry ability to carry any number of characters. After he carries a character and actions resolve, roll a d6. On a result of 3-6, deal him and the carried characters 1 damage.) will actually let you move most of your figures into place, and it also gets Bill to his two back clicks, which are absurdly useful for the points. He has the Hydra TA, Sidestep, Willpower and Outwit, but it’s his Attack Special that makes him a must play for a lot of folks (MY HIGH-ENERGY FINDER THING: Give Bill, Agent of A.I.M. a power action and choose the highest-point opposing character. Until your next turn, that character can be targeted with a ranged combat attack by one friendly character without line of fire to that opposing character.). Bascially, as long as your Primary Attacker is in range, he can attack your opponent’s best figure regardless of Terrain or Stealth or whatever, which is never not useful.

Again, Bill’s keywords aren’t the greatest (his best is probably Scientist), but that doesn’t matter a lick in this format.

The War Veterans:

War of Light is one of the largest sets they’ve ever made (actually, it’s gotta be the largest, right?), so just on shear numbers, it would have to offer a ton of great pieces for every role in a Build. As far as supporting pieces go, there’s definitely a few that you will run into again and again:

Soranik Natu

–WOL016 Soranik Natu: This is neither here nor there, but man, as I was looking for Soranik Natu images to put at the top of this entry, I noticed that half of what I found were Cosplay photos. I guess Soranik and her rather boobilicious uniform hit the Cosplay target right in the Bullseye. She’s alien, yet she basically looks like a sunburnt human; her costume wouldn’t be too hard to throw together, and dressing up as Ms. Natu offers the chance to display a lot o’ cleavage. There ya go–I think we just worked out a Cosplay algorithm that solves for the basic elements that need to be satisfied when choosing a character to Cosplay! Well done, us!

Anyway, Soranik Natu is a 70-Point Lantern from Wave 2 offers decent stats for her cost; what makes her Meta-worthy is the back half of her Trait (TANGLED LIVES: Opposing characters named Sinestro modify their combat values by -1 if not already modified by this effect. When Soranik Natu is adjacent to a character named Kyle Rayner, they both modify their attack values by +1 if not already modified by this effect.) and her top dial Attack Special (BATTLEFIELD MEDIC: Soranik Natu can use Telekinesis and Support. When she uses Telekinesis and places a friendly character next to her, she can use Support as a free action, but only to heal that character.). Please believe me when I say that there are very few good characters with Support in this format. Many teams in the normal Meta rely on the Power Battery for Support, or use Agrir’s Hammer for some Steal Energy/Quake shenanigans. Well, you can’t use either of those in the ROC right now. But Soranik here can fit right in with what a lot of Meta teams are already doing, and a 10 Attack Support as a FREE ACTION is a Godsend. Her TK also opens up a lot of doors in terms of your plan of attack.

As far as her Trait goes, we’ll see why that matters (if only a little) a little further on in this article.

Brother Hymn

–WOL029 Brother Hymn: He’s a bit pricey at 85 Points, but he will have just about every supporting power in the game (except maybe Empower, which doesn’t do much for you in the current environment anyway) somewhere on his dial. Top dial, he can use Perplex (only to increase values, but still), Enhancement (that also gives +1 to Range, not unlike Weasel), Barrier and Probability Control. Down dial he also morphs into a warrior monk with Running Shot and 3 damage along with Support (that he can occasionally use as–you guessed it–a Free Action!). He also flies, which means he’s a decent taxi, too.

Sister Sercy

–WOL033 Sister Sercy: She costs less than Brother Hymn (66 Points to his 85), but you get less, too. 1 less click of life, 2 less range, and less damage output throughout her whole dial. What you do get, however, is a phenomenal top click. Flight with 9 Movement and the Blue Lantern Perplex (can only Perplex values UP), 10 Attack with TK (so useful in this format), 17 Defense with Willpower and Prob with 2 Damage. She does pick up the same Support Special at the end of her dial that Brother Hymn has, but with an essentially naked 17 Defense and only 5 clicks, it is very possible someone can one shot her. Still, she is someone that you may see at a ROC.

The Old School:

Void

–SOG035 Void: At 70 Points with Flight and Phasing on all five of her clicks, along with the ability to Carry up to four friendly characters (with no keyword requirement, which, again, works brilliantly in a no Themed Teams environment), she’s one of the best Taxis in the game. She also gives you a (all together now!) Free Action Support after she resolves a move action. If her attack wasn’t stuck at 8 for her whole dial, she’d be nearly broken. She also possesses a wonderful Damage Special (PRECOGNITION: Void can use Outwit, Probability Control, and Super Senses; when an action resolves after she uses any of these powers, roll a d6 that cannot be rerolled and on a result of ‘one’ deal Void 1 unavoidable damage.) that might eat away at her over time, but chances are the game will already be decided before that damage really hurts her enough to matter.

SECONDARY ATTACKERS:

Modern Age currently has a good number of figures (thanks primarily to War of Light) that can act as very efficient Secondary Attackers who cost a pittance compared to what you used to have to pay. Most are Primes, but not all. If you’re going to a ROC soon, expect to see one of these pieces backing up the Primary Attacker:

The Lanterns:

Abin Sur

–WOL046B Abin Sur (Prime): Okay! Now we get to that mechanic I was talking about earlier–the one that’s been rising above the rest. It’s the Construct mechanic (CONSTRUCT: When building your force, you may attach a construct to this character by paying its point cost. Give this character a power action and replace the construct with any other construct, up to 2 points higher than the original construct. If this character has no action tokens and the new construct is a lower point value than the original construct, this is a free action instead.)! And Abin Sur here has it! He also has Running Shot, Energy Explosion, an 8 Range, 3 native Damage and some down dial Support (so useful!) and Perplex. Now, all that might seem pedestrian enough, but there are two MAJOR things to think about with Abin Sur here.

First, consider the WIDE range of abilities Abin’s Construct ability grants him (RCE, ES/D, Free Action Barrier, Free Action Smoke Cloud, Regen, CCE, Exploit Weakness, Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, etc., etc. … ). He can evolve with the game for the low, low price of 10 extra points when building your force (that’s the cost of the most expensive Construct, and he can switch them out at will by using a Power Action or a Free Action depending on which Construct you’re attaching.

Second, you’ll have that extra 10 Points (and more) to spend since Abin Sur ONLY COSTS 50 FREAKING POINTS!! Whaaa… ?!?!? Yep. He’s INSANELY good for his points. The other Construct pieces from War of Light are really good for their points, but 50 Points for everything Abin Sur brings you is just stupid.

Tomar Tu

–WOL013B Tomar Tu (Prime): 99 Points of awesome. He has the Construct ability, a mid-dial mini-Highfather-esque shenanigans-baiting Movement Special (FINAL STAND AGAINST HAL JORDAN: Give Tomar Tu a power action and choose an opposing character within 6 squares and line of fire. Until your next turn, that character can’t target any friendly character with an attack.), an absurd 9 Range, 18 Defense with Super Senses and Running Shot/Pulse Wave top dial. He can also use Willpower and has a conditional Outwit! You will be seeing this piece QUITE a lot in future ROC’s.

The Lil’ Guys:

Despotellis

–WOL099 Despotellis: Despotellis is sometimes referred to as a supporting piece, but make no mistake–his only purpose is dealing damage. Now, a 30-Point Hockey Puck with a 20 Defense is hard to deal with in the normal Meta; take away Resources and Relics, and his 20-Defense becomes ridiculously difficult to deal with. His Penetrating Poison is a great way to bust through particularly tough to deal with defensive abilities like Super Senses, Shape Change, Impervious, and so on. Additionally, some of the Construct-sporting Lanterns can get up to a 20+ Defense from Range with the Shield, so having a way to knock them through their clicks without having to roll attack dice is key.

Headpool

–DP002 Headpool: Okay, he’s more of a tertiary attacker/tie-up piece, but he makes this list because you’re going to see him a lot. While he doesn’t have the Construct ability, he does have the Merc With a Mouth ability, which lets him attach Word Balloons (not as good as Constructs, but useful in and of themselves). He’s easy to get into the fray, and his Exploit Weakness should allow him to get through most defenses. Plus, his Defense Special (IMMORTAL ZOMBIE HEAD THAT EVERYONE WANTS: Headpool ignores other characters’ Poison and all but 1 damage that would be dealt to him. This power can’t be countered or ignored.) will keep him around far longer than his 3 clicks of life might suggest he would stay. The fact that he has the ability to dish out Virus tokens as well is something that might also be exploited, but we’ll touch on that a little more next time in Part 2…

PRIMARY PIECES:

These are the main pieces to watch out for. Not every army will feature one of these, but most will. They’re also not all Primary Attackers–there’s a couple Meta Builds that revolve around pieces that change the game without attacking. Either way, whatever Build you come up with, you are gonna need a way to deal with these guys (and gal) if and when you encounter them.

Yup. More Lanterns:

Kyle Raynor ION 2

–WOL107 Kyle Raynor (Green Lantern): They finally made a good Kyle Raynor?! Yup. His 180 Point cost is worth it, especially since Kyle can use the Construct ability. He can deal a ton of damage his first two clicks, but then a Stop Click (ION: When this click is revealed due to an opponent’s attack, stop turning the dial. Kyle Rayner can use Impervious and the Quintessence team ability. This power can’t be ignored.) on Click 3 kicks things into overdrive. It bumps Kyle up to a 19 native Defense along with 5 Damage and Outwit. But it’s his Movement Special that’s really bonkers (I CAN BE EVERYWHERE I NEED TO BE: Kyle Rayner can use the Duo Attack Ability. When he does, before making each attack, you may place him in a legal square up to half his speed value away.). Read that ability again. It’s stupid, it’s so good. And you still have 110-ish Points (depending on what Construct you buy Kyle) left for supporting pieces. He is fully capable of doing 9 Damage or more while using that crazy Duo Attack of his, and there’s next to nothing that your opponent can do to tie him down!

John Stewart

–WOL105 John Stewart: A more traditional from-range beatstick who becomes more interesting in this format since he has the Construct ability. His top dial includes Running Shot, Precision Strike, RCE and the ability to use RCE as a ranged combat action instead of a power action. He also naturally sees through Hindering Terrain and other characters. For those reasons, he’s better than the 160 Point Hal Jordan that came with the Scenario Pack. He doesn’t have the crazy movement powers that Kyle Raynor does, but he’s damn good in his own right and he still packs a serious punch.

The Kool-Aid Kult Member:

Proxima Midnight

–GOTG050 Proxima Midnight: First of all, how awesome is her sculpt? It’s the exact image above, including the fallen victim at her feet. But I digress. Proxima is 100 points of aggression; her dial has 7 Clicks that start out range-based, then turn to close combat before finishing with some clicks that are somewhere in between. Top dial she has 10 Movement with Running Shot, 11 Attack with Pen/Psy (and Sharpshooter), 18 Defense with Combat Reflexes and 3 native damage. Her Range is dependent on her first Trait (THREE TRACERS OF BLACK LIGHT: Proxima Midnight begins the game with 3 Tracer tokens on this card. Proxima Midnight has a range value equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card times 3, and has a number of bolts equal to the number of Tracer tokens on this card.), but it’s her second Trait that makes her so useful against foes with strong defensive abilities (THE SPEAR OF PROXIMA MIDNIGHT: When Proxima Midnight hits with a ranged combat attack, remove a Tracer token from this card and place it on a hit character’s card if it doesn’t already have one. At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for each of her Tracer tokens on other character’s cards, and on a result of 3-6 deal 1 penetrating damage to the character with that Tracer token on its card. When a character with her Tracer token on its card is KO’d, place the Tracer token on Proxima Midnight’s card.). Yup. Depending on that Spear roll, you could potentially do two separate packets of penetrating damage to a character. For pieces with Stop Clicks or other shenanigans (Bizarro, the Kyle Raynor from above that we just talked about), this is a huge headache.

With her combination of Sharpshooter, Pen/Psy and Combat Reflexes, sometimes your best move is to simply Running Shot right next to your target and stay there–if they don’t have an available Outwit, it’s going to be very tough for most pieces to hit a 20 Defense–especially if Proxima hits them first and they’re mid-dial.

Lots of folks have been teaming her with Bill, Agent of A.I.M. to get that first shot in from a safe place where it’s hard or even impossible for the enemy to return fire. This is certainly a valid strategy; just be ever mindful of your positioning with her, because she can get chewed up from range real quick. Her native 18 Defense isn’t bad by any stretch, but she has no reducers of any kind. Of course, even if she does go down hard, she still has her final Trait (CULL OBSIDIAN: When Proxima Midnight is KO’d by an opposing character’s attack, deal damage to that character equal to the last amount of damage dealt to Proxima Midnight. This damage can’t be reduced below 1.) to leave as a parting gift. Oh, and Ninwashui is kind of a fan.

The Shapeshifter:

Zombie Super Skrull

GOTG062 Super Skrull: This was the winning Primary Piece at the Dial H ROC event, I believe. He’s 170 Points and possesses all the same Zombie Traits that every other Zombie Chase has. Those alone make him pretty good, but what he’s really good at is mimicking that Green Lantern Construct ability! Super Skrull’s Trait (IT’S HARD TO EMULATE FOUR POWERS WITH HALF MY LIMBS: Give Super Skrull a free action and choose up to one each of standard speed, attack, defense, and damage powers. Super Skrull can use the chosen powers until your next turn. For each power chosen this way, place a Power token on his card. At the end of your turn, roll a d6 that can’t be rerolled, and subtract 1 for each Power token on his card and remove all Power tokens from his card. On a result of 1 or less, deal Super Skrull 1 unavoidable damage.) lets him actually choose up to FOUR standard abilities to pick up on the fly, and he does it all AS A FREE ACTION (not every Construct flip with the Lanterns is gonna be a Free Action). He’s a multi-tool for every occasion! And with his Zombie Traits, you frankly don’t care about taking one measly damage, since you have multiple ways to get it back!

And he teams very well with Headpool and some of the other Z-Virus figs like–well, we’ll get into that in Part 2 when we talk about some possibly overlooked figures!

The Ol’ Standards:

"I;m back?! My dear, I never left!"

“I’m back?! My dear, I never left!”

–IIM051 Iron Pharaoh: He is still a thing, going forward. I don’t know if there’s a piece I’ve discussed more on this site. He’s one of my favorites to use, and he’s not going anywhere until he’s rotated out. There’s not really a format that he’s not at least above average in. Krampus/Helspont teams (and, to a lesser extent, Shatterstar teams) are probably his main weakness at the moment, but even then, he probably still has a 40%-50% of coming out on top. I’ll take those odds if I’m matched up against a team designed to exploit my fatal flaw. And while he keywords are actually pretty good, the fact that you can play whoever you want with him in this environment only makes him better–he doesn’t have any NAMED keywords, so he was never gonna get those Theme Team probs anyway!

Shatterstar

–WXM010 Shatterstar: At 73 Points, he seems like he should be considered a Secondary Attacker. And on many builds, he probably will be. However, there’s a good chance that his team is going to revolve around him anyway thanks to his easily exploitable Trait (X PORTAL: Once per game, give Shatterstar a power action. Place Shatterstar and an adjacent friendly character of a lower point value in any adjacent squares on the map.) and the fact that, top dial, he can Charge 5 squares, has an 11 Attack with both Flurry AND B/C/F (Yup. If the rolls go your way, a 73 Point character can dish out 12 Clicks of raw damage on the second freaking turn no matter where your opponent is on the map. And once he’s up close and personal with an opposing figure, they’ll have to hit a 19 to Damage him (17 native Defense plus Combat Reflexes). Hell, you can run two of him and still have almost 150 Points leftover for the rest of your army. He’s that good. And just like the comics, he pairs really well with Rictor, especially since they both have top dial Charge (and Rictor pumps up their Attack values).

Highfather

–SLOSH052 Highfather: Yes, he’s still hanging around. He’s a supporting piece masquerading as a primary figure. His top dial TK , Prob and Support are somewhat useful, but the only reason he’s really played is his Trait (THE PACT: At the beginning of the game, you may announce a pact. If you do, the highest point character on your force and the highest point character on your opponent’s force (300 points or less) can’t target opposing characters with an attack until one of them has taken damage from an attack or they are the only 2 characters on the map. This ability can’t be ignored.). He can shut down Tentpole pieces, but it’s very rare in this environment that you’re going to find yourself facing a really heavy-costed piece outside of Kyle or Zombie Super Skrull. And even then, it’s not inconceivable that they won’t have a supporting piece who can get a shot in on Highfather.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I think Highfather is a losing strategy at this point. If you go this route, you will run into a few games where he guides you to an easy win. You may even make Top 8, but usually by then you’re gonna face some really well-put-together teams that will have not one but MULTIPLE answers for Highfather, and your day will be done right quick. But I have to include him on this list because he is still out there and you may run into him.

Helspont Krampus 2

WK002 Krampus/SLOSH042 Helspont: These guys come as a pair. An unlikely one, I grant you, but they’re pretty effective. The basic idea here is to use these two along with Blind Al. You Perplex Krampus twice with Blind Al and Helspont (who also has Perplex) to get Krampus to a 12 Attack, then you give Blind Al a power action to activate her Booby Trap power and expel Helspont from the starting area and deal him one unavoidable damage. The tricky part here is to find a spot to place Helspont that’s outside of your starting area yet adjacent to Krampus (not all maps will have a good spot, so winning Map Roll will definitely help you here). Then you activate Helspont’s 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 trade places with a key member of your opponent’s force who’s 199 Points or less. If at all possible, you want to choose someone who doesn’t have Shape Change, Super Senses or Probability Control (again, with no Themed Teams, Probability Control will be a lil’ easier to avoid) to take as many variables out of the equation as you can.

Then you activate Krampus’s special Capture Trait (NAUGHTY CHILDREN ARE MY HOLIDAY FEAST: Krampus can use the Capture ability. He can use it normally or, if the target is a higher point value, he must be given a double power action instead of a power action. When Krampus releases a captured character in his starting area, in addition to the normal effects, heal Krampus to his starting line.) and hope to all that is holy (or maybe unholy) that you hit. Krampus’s Attack Special gives him +1 to hit as well for each token on the target, so that will help you as well. With a 12-13 Attack, you should have a fighting chance against most figures.

You’ll probably have to wait through one round of clearing before you can release your Captive, but if you can succeed at all those steps, there’s a high probability that the game will be effectively over, especially if you were also able to take a Free Action shot with Helspont at another figure on your opponent’s team (and since there’s no chance of a Colossal-Sized Power Battery being in the way in their starting area in this environment, you should be good to go). Because Krampus never left his starting area, he’s still there, and he can release his Captive as soon as he has the ability to take a Power Action.

Now, if you miss with Krampus, you’re not doomed, since his Plasticity will keep most figures right where they’re at and he other Special Powers that grant him Super Senses and the ability to Perplex Attack Values down by -2, but you’ll also be giving your opponent a LOT more time to react, which is never good with this sort of combo team. There was also a ruling recently in the WizKids rules forum where they basically expanded the first turn Immunity rule to prevent you from doing this on your first turn; waiting until turn two isn’t exactly a dealbreaker, though–if you hit your rolls, crippling your opponent on turn two is just as effective as crippling him on turn one.

Hypersonic Speed is also a horrible matchup for this team (Speed Demon in particular, who people seem to have forgotten about so soon after his domination last season. But with his ability to cross the map in two turns, attack Krampus for 3 Damage AND also catch the creature in a Speed Cyclone Uplift, it’s possible he can KO Krampus in that token-clearing turn after he Captures someone but before he can release them.), but so far, we haven’t seen a ton of those figs show up in this specific Meta (outside of Super Skrull, who can gain it if he wants it). Having said all that, this is still a wickedly viable Build. I’d suspect you’d have much better results playing this than Highfather, at the very least.

The Best of the Rest:

Briefly, IIM001B Silver Centurion, ASM017B Brother Voodoo and WOL104 & WOL104R Guy Gardner are a few other figures you may run into in your ROC travels that are definitely still viable in the Meta.

Okay! So there you have it. Almost 5000 words on what you can expect to run into if you attend a ROC this season. Next time, we’ll discuss which former Meta figures you should avoid, and which figures and Builds you can try that haven’t really shown up yet this season.

Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

The Price to Play!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 08/10/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd… we’re back!

Sooooo much has happened in the last two weeks in the world of ‘Clix and sports. My Tigers traded at the deadline for one Mr. David Price! Yay! Then they squandered a pretty decent second outing from the Cy Young’er before going on to lose in 19 FREAKING INNINGS! Good gosh.  To be honest, I can’t believe our bullpen held up that long. Even Joe Nathan came through.

Still, it was tense, especially with the Blue Jays constantly on the bases.

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield could barely stand to watch!

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield during Sunday’s 19-inning marathon.

What else… what else… Oh, yeah, THIS HAPPENED!!

Cars were floating away down streets. BUT THOSE STUPID ORANGE CONSTRUCTION CONES DIDN'T EVEN BUDGE. WHAAAA....????

During Michigan floods, orange construction barrels become road buoys.

THE RAIN APOCALYPSE CAME AND WENT!! My Lord, that was a lot of water. In the 35 years I’ve been on this Earth, I have never seen Southeastern Michigan flooded before like it was today. Dogs sleeping with cats, cars being swept along streets BY THE TIDE (BUT NOT THE HOLLOW ORANGE CONSTRUCTION BARRELS–OH NO!! APPARENTLY THOSE NEVER MOVE!!)!! Just total insanity!

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like.

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like as well.

After a crazy day like this, I need something normal in my life. Something to restore the balance; something familiar, that’ll let me know life is getting back to normal. You know what? You know what I need? I could really use a…

 

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

(Whew! Okay! I can already feel things normalizing! Here we go!)

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–As always, Dial H for Heroclix was new for the past two weeks! Episode 55 dealt with some Sealed advice for War of Light Wave 2, and Episode 56 is a sort of survival guide for anyone going to GenCon!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is still stuck on Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is now… Episode 24!! It features an interview with Patrick Yapjoco-slayer recent ROC winner Kevin Afrooz as well as coverage of the Tulsa ROC.

Welcome... to the ROC!

–The ROC continues to streamline their system; they just offered a new breakdown (including costs and prize structure) to stores thinking about holding an ROC event.

–Weaponer of Qward has taken a ROC! Read all about the Bluegrass Mafia’s Super Qualifier (from Lexington, Kentucky) right here!

–A token team backed up by the Power Plant; Bill, Agent of A.I.M.; and a fistful of Weasels and Blind Als has taken the Tulsa Heroclix Group Road to DragonCon 2014 Super Qualifier!

–Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

 

Preview

–Still no official Previews from WizKids, which, again, is weird since GotG releases THIS WEEK! Still, we know a few things:

-The Rares are great! Thanos, like Darkseid in SL0SH, is just a Rare (and he’s got a “Thanosi” Prime as well). Gorr the God-Butcher also looks pretty powerful from the Rare slot. You can see a pretty good list of the expected figures (including ANOTHER Squadron Supreme Super Rare Prime) in the Forums at HCRealms.com.

–The Zombie Chases are, well… SEVERELY UNDERWHELMING at this point. Magneto (who I thought was just murdered by the Zombie hordes in that storyline–I don’t recall him actually becoming a Zombie, but whatever) and Mole Man have me a lil’ excited (more on them in a sec), but not much else. Many of the Chases have been at least partially spoiled. You can find an eBay auction for Zombie Skrull (not Zombie Super-Skrull–just Zombie regular Skrull) that shows part of his card; the other Chases we know about (Zombie Mole Man, Zombie Red Skull, Zombie Gladiator, Zombie Magneto and Zombie Morbius) don’t really move the needle too much.

Zombie Magneto seems decently useful; I’ve heard Zombie Gladiator is, frankly, hot garbage–a (maybe) 150 point character that somehow costs you 250 to field. Zombie Morbius doesn’t seem a heck of a lot different from his ASM version–pretty weak for his points until you get him back to Click 1 via Steal Energy, if you can. Zombie Mole Man seems like an 80-Point Zombie Taxi, although it’s hard to tell exactly what he does from that eBay picture. Finally, Zombie Red Skull is a fairly effective (although slightly expensive) Close Combat piece with some decent supporting powers if his teammates are Zombies or Hydra agents.

 

Wizkids

–Speaking of GotG, (surprise, surprise) it may not release quite on schedule due to shipping delays from China. And stuff.

(Honestly, with GenCon going on this week as well as many venues running War of Light Month 3, a one-week delay shouldn’t raise nearly the amount of complaints as it would have had there been nothing else going on.)

–In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, WizKids has finally responded to the popularity of the ROC, and it’s THIS!! If any of those seven locations was within three hours of Detroit (Chicago is like 4 and 1/2 on a GOOD traffic day), I’d be a little more excited about this…

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Okay, for this week’s Army of the Week, we’re gonna spotlight Joshua Earnest’s team from the Tulsa ROC we mentioned above.

Agency X

Team NameCall Us Whatever You Want, As Long As You Call Us Winners!

ThemeAgency X

Roster:

DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M.30 Points

DP020 Weasel27

DP020 Weasel27

DP018 Blind Al13

DP018 Blind Al13

DOFPH002 Sentinel Sentry x 342 

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot30

FIH002 Warbot (Rocket) x345

FIH003 Warbot (Machine Gun) x345

IIMR100 Power Plant (everything but Ice Blast)28

=300 Points

 

What We Like: The creativity! Joshua constructed a team where all of his primary, secondary AND tertiary attackers are Horde Tokens/Stacks! The actual figures he chose are the support pieces, an inverse of what we often see. Skadi’s Warbot can be devastatingly effective, particularly with Weasel backing him up. Since he’s Carry ability would most likely kill Skadi’s Warbot, I assume Bill, Agent of A.I.M. is there to move all the support pieces and the other Warbots (who have Toughness) into place and then make sure that they can all open up on their target regardless of line of fire. Because it’s technically a Theme team, each of those support pieces could use Theme Prob as well.

This is an army that would require a Master’s Degree in Positioning and Action Management to run effectively, but clearly Joshua was up to the task! This is definitely one of the most unique ROC-winning teams I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Bill and his High-Energy Finder Thing at the ROC or the Sentinel Sentry tokens, either. Well done, Joshua!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Guardians of the Galaxy lived up to the hype! Great flick, even greater box office. Highly recommended, although why we didn’t get a [EDITOR’S NOTE: Name redacted.] Clix in the GotG Movie Set from his appearance at the end of the post-credits scene is beyond me! I mean, he’s a Marvel character, he’s carried his own movie before, and he’s popular enough that he’s already had SEVERAL Clix in the past. Oh well–missed opportunity!

–How successful was this movie? Successful enough that Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Electric Bugaloo already has a release date! By the way, if I could buy stock in Chris Pratt’s career or the popularity of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, I would. Like, now.

 

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

Critical Missives:

–Okay, there was only one major article that dropped since the last Weekly Roundup, but it was a doozy! 4000+ words about ranking the Entity Chases from War of Light!

–As always, here’s another reminder that we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @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!! We’ll be back later this week with more and better coverage of War of Light (now that we’re knee deep in Wave 2), and we’ll be posting a Top 10 Review of Guardians of the Galaxy just a bit after that set releases!

Until then, stay safe (and DRY!!), and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

Heroclix – Now with extra Deadpool (A set review for Deadpool)

DEADPOOL-CANADA-HEALTHHABITS

About the Set:

I really liked the 12 attack Assassin subtheme (DP036 Bullseye, DP057 TiamatDP201 Deadpool) and 12 attack martial arts sub theme (DP031 Elektra, DP047A Shang-Chi, DP047B Cat). Actually, I like 12 attack on exceptionally skilled characters that have great story reasons for being that skillful or powerful.

Plus I hate missing.

The Chases are cool to have, but not so uber that my team of scrubs has no chance. Which is how they should be. There are some characters that are sub-par (DP002 Headpool), but for the most part it’s a very good set for sealed. Not too many unusable characters like I thought were in the Incredible Iron Man set. Even the weird ones that I’ve never heard of (DP024 Number One, DP025 Flag-Smasher, DP040 Doctor Bong) seem playable for their costs.

A Note on the Current Meta:

The current meta seems to be:

1. Play Shuma Gorath, Mole Man, and a power plant.

2. Play Splitlip, and the BOS.

3. Play Phantom Girl and the belt.

4 ????

My 5 Honorable Mentions for Best Figures in the Set:

*DP041 G.W. Bridge would have made the list here, but look for a different article featuring him soon.

5. DP059 Kingpin – I wouldn’t play this piece without a plan (like including DP021 Outlaw, FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot, SOG038 David Cain to make a good 300 point team). You need to use his white power a lot to make him worthwhile to field. A fun piece to build a team around, especially since he has the assassin keyword.

4. DP020 Weasel – The Weasel in the Deadpool set (who isn’t Pauley Shore – I double checked) is really just a walking relic. In fact, think of him as a hammer that walks next to your primary attacker instead of being equipped. The bonuses he gives are +1  to range, +1 to damage, and essentially +2 to attack! All for 27 points. He’ll mess up your theme team, but for what he brings to the table it’s worth it. Imagine playing two or three of him. Try using him to build (and then power) a doomsday weapon for AVM016 Red Skull.

Not that weasel...

Not that weasel…

3. DP038 Copycat – Mess up your opponent’s theme team. Grab his SLOSH048 Tellus. Have your opponent’s DP019B Evil Deadpool fight right next to yours. The more powerful your opponent’s figures are the better you will get In exchange. Anything under 101 points is fair game.

2. DP048 Blink – To make the most of her powers, the rest of your team needs to share a keyword with her. If they do she will be your team taxi and then your teams close combat expert. She has a way of moving around the board that is unique to her in all of HeroClix. If she had indomitable, she would be in my top 10.

1. DP202 Daredevil – He’s not too flashy, but he is very well rounded with both improved targeting and movement. He is also the only piece for the entire Deadpool set to have made a top 4 team at an ROC tournament.

The top ten figures from the Deadpool set:

10. DP019A Deadpool – Every time I have faced this guy in combat he has done well. Especially when equipped with this his DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?” word bubble. He has great up front stats and a long dial. His RIDICULOUS REGENERATION looks confusing, but it’s really just improved super senses (no damage on 4-6) that can’t be countered or bypassed with precision strike. I call that a great power. Compare him to similar IIM029A War Machine and you’ll see you get a lot more for that extra 10 points.

deadpool common sense

9. DP060 Superior Spider-Man – After a few turns of making and attaching DP099A Spider-Bot (Mark 1), the Superior Spider-Man is going to have +2 to all super senses rolls. (missing only on a 1 or 2). After that you can make DP099B Spider-Bot (Mark 2) for free and use the plasticity to hold opposing forces in place until Doc Occ has a chance to deal with them.

Electro: For when you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO ZOMBIFY EVERY M*TH*RF*CK*R IN THE ROOM--ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

Electro: For when you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAVE TO ZOMBIFY EVERY M*TH*RF*CK*R IN THE ROOM–ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

8. DP064 Electro – Electro is the best of the zombie chases because of his unparalleled ability to spread the zombie plague and earn food tokens for himself. Left unchecked your opponents forces will look they are in the Thriller video very quickly.

7. DP043 Black Talon – When SLOSH048 Tellus came out I said there was a way to break him and I just don’t know what it is yet. The same thing goes for this character. He’s very similar to the soon to be retired Mole Man, except he works with ANYONE. Want to get that wrecking crew team off the ground that’s never been powerful enough before? This is your answer. The same goes with just about anything else. Two actions in a one turn is really powerful when it can be used on anyone. For extra fun use him with DP019B Evil Deadpool whose low defense and high damage potential are perfect to be mind controlled.

Don’t forget he can also mind control your opponents characters at an 8 range. And with his trait even your opponents KOed characters are potential targets. I actually used his charge and BCF to KO an opposing character in sealed, but it felt like I wasn’t using this guy to his full potential that turn.

6. DP057 Tiamat – With Tiamat fronting your team I can see you winning 300 to nothing in short order. I can also see you whiffing the first couple of attacks and losing in short order. At his point level he is the whole team and if he doesn’t hit (and attack twice) then you could be in big trouble. On the other hand, his ability to mow down characters with soft defenses is nothing short of obscene. I played against him in sealed and lost 300 to nothing. You experiences may vary.

5. DP031 Elektra – HCrealm’s ‘Snake Eyes Again’ jokingly gave her the following trait, “Fanboy frenzy: Elektra can use every standard power in the PAC.” He wasn’t far off. On her 4th click she can use Charge, Flurry, Stealth, Blades/Claws/Fangs, Incapacitate, Precision Strike, Close Combat Expert, Exploit Weakness and Ranged Combat Expert. Add to that her improved movement and the fact that the first time she is KOed you can resurrect her and you’ve got a winner. She and four DP006 Hand Ninja are 287 points. That sounds like a lot of fun to me.

4. DP019B Evil Deadpool – You get a lot here for the cost and that’s the key. At 100 points he is likely your secondary attacker. If he gets a chance to regenerate even once then he’s worth far more that that. If you want to make this guy really work for you, you need to control the damage he takes to get him to his regen clicks and not past them. Mastermind looks like a good way to do that. Once Evil Deadpool takes enough damage stop sending it his way for a turn. It seems like IIM042 Iron Doom would make a good partner for this guy.

3. DP055 Deadpool – I took a while comparing this guy to DP049 Deadpool and Bob and in the end decided he brought more to the table. AVX014 Magneto showed me how fun running shot is with Pulse Wave. This guy has a better attack, decent defens and built in prob with his DPW003 “4th Wall? What 4th Wall?” word bubble for those times your opponents actually hit an 18-19 D. Magneto’s starting defenses are better, but “Thorpool” is much more dangerous mid to late dial.

2. DP047A Shang-Chi – With Improved movement, an awesome trait, and more offense this guy is just plain better than SOG039 Lady Shiva. He needs other close combat attackers around to get the best use out of his empower (like AVX102 Lei-Kung the Thunderer), but his stats and power level are unmatched in his price range.

1. DP051 Banshee – If he was 50 points more he would still be darn good. Banshee’s stats are great for his price range and his trait is very good, but the real reason to play him is his improved targeting: ignore elevated. That power is super rare and it’s never been on a figure even half this good. Imagine blasting someone from the other side of Wundagore Mountain while ignoring the mountain completely. That targeting advantage is what makes this character the best in the set.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: And for a slightly different take on the Deadpool set, be sure to check out HypeFox’s Second Opinion article!)