Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dial Review: Iron Monger

Iron Monger Returns! 

But is he a dud like last time? Let's examine.

Like the set's marquee hero, Monger comes in two point values - but without the major scale up in price associated with the set's namesake. At 140 points players can opt in for a solid bruiser, while for a mere 25 points more they can pick up two powerful clicks upgrading the villain to Mastermind, Stealth, and Outwit.

At first glance this dial is as deceptive as the character of Obidiah Stane -  on the surface a 10 attack is not much to brag about, until you factor in the Psychological Warfare trait which makes it easier for him to single out a target by lowering their defenses.

That 10 attack is also steady as the steel of his suit, maintaining itself for the first 6 clicks before dropping down to 9 on the last two slots. It's effectively a 12 attack, when all is said and done.

Iron Monger wants it all, 

and he's not afraid to take what's yours and make it his own. With the Corporate Takeover trait not only does he get to pick an opponents team ability to use, but makes it so the opponent cannot use that ability, making Stane a remarkable silver bullet for pesky TAs like Mystics, or Batman Ally.

Mastermind lost some luster with the addition of Precision Strike, but at least this armored executive can skulk in the shadows and force opponents to come to him.

The options with this figure are wonderful: players that don't pull good Mastermind fodder in their boosters aren't relegated to play at the starting point, and can skip those top dial slots, jumping forward to open with some Running Shot/Psychic Blast.

The biggest drawback on this figure is lack of Indomitable - Stane doesn't possess the Willpower of Tony Stark, and it hurts him in the action department, where he's probably going to have to push several times in a game to remain an effective attacker.

The Monger dial represents a slower to act brute than Stark's more mobile Iron Man, requiring him to set up the board and plan his strikes methodically if he wants to win.

For the comic accuracy crowd the piece has great flavor with the "Use Your Greatest Weaknesses Against You" giving him a bonus against Tony Stark or Iron Man.

Because he has a shorter range, I'd want to play the Stealth version of Monger first and foremost to draw my opponents in. And there's the rub - This set's Iron Man couples improved Targeting: Ignores hindering and Blocking with Precision Strike, so it's going to be hard for Obie to get the drop on Anthony.

To succeed, Iron Monger will need to get close enough to Outwit the Precision Strike and make the most of his Mastermind. Given the mobility of Iron Man, it will be just as easy for Tony to fall back and land a first strike later.

Rating the complete package - sculpt, dial, playability - this figure receives high marks. He may not be able to go toe to toe with Tony, but he is a formidable opponent capable of dominating the battlefield outside of the board room.

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