Monday, December 30, 2013

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Cable

So you've got Cable - What's the Dish?

As the first prize to be fought over in the AVX HeroClix campaign, you would think Cable would be a bit of a game changer, but is he worth scooping up on the secondary market if you couldn't win him?

At 124 points, he stacks up next to the likes of Gambit (118), Legion (119) or Bishop (140), but he has a surprisingly vanilla dial. Notably absent is the Sharpshooter ability which somewhat diminishes the return of his twin targets and 7 range if he gets based.

Cable also lacks any front loaded move and attack, which is going to require added effort in positioning to get a first strike in. Fortunately he has Phasing/Teleport and Indomitable, so if he is based he can just pop away to fire off a round from a safer vantage next turn.

Toughness and Shape Change round out his top dial defense powers, though he gets a thicker skin (with a worse defense) mid dial, alongside some Perplex and an interesting take on the Duo attack ability.

Perhaps the best feature on this figure is his Avengers-hunter trait, granting him a decent bonus against the A-team (and making that Duo attack even more valuable). He's also got the BFF trait for Hope, and the two of them come out to about 200 points even, making for easy modular team builds.

From the dial designs and powers it's easy to tell this isn't *everyday* Cable, but rather a snapshot of Cable from this distinct story arc, which may limit his playability outside of this series, especially considering the synergy (and points paid) towards his traits.

He's not a must have, by any means, but will help stack the deck in the favor of the X-Men… for now.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Cyclops

How does Cyclops hold up against an army of Super Soldiers, Gods and Monsters?

Starter set Scott "Cyclops" Summers comes in two flavors - and both have nearly the same power set! Because the two are so similar it makes the 50 point "Veteran" upgrade nearly obsolete. 

Consider - the 150 pointer is more fragile - a glass jaw in the literal sense with no damage reduction. He's best kept away from close combat, not that it matters - the combination of Sharpshooter and Improved Targeting are going to let him blast opponents regardless of base contact, walls, blocking terrain, etc. 

Both versions do 4 damage up front with Precision Strike. Both versions have Outwit and Leadership, with a special power that lets him remove tokens REGARDLESS of point cost, which makes him a must play with the Phoenix 5 in a high point game. 

Both start with Running Shot, but the cheaper version gets to add Knockback damage to his attack via Force Blast AND adds Force Blast as a free action. 

With all that in mind why pay the extra 50 points for what appears as a bit of a downgrade?

The pro side of using the costlier version is the added life and 2 clicks of 11 AV, a slightly better defense at range and a slightly longer range with Running Shot. Even in the 600+ point games, players are better served using the points to field more X-support than waste it on such a slight bump up for Slim.

At 100 points, Cyclops presents a threat on the battlefield without drawing too much attention to himself to make him a primary target. One big weakness this figure will have is his brother. Havok, from WatX's main expansion ignores all ranged attack damage from Cyclops and has the Avengers keyword, so watch out for sibling rivalry on the field.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Captain America

So how does that AVX Captain America hold up under pressure at 200, or even 100 points?

It's a gamble to field anybody at 100 points with only 5 clicks to back them up - considering the number of figures that can dish out 5+ in the under 100 point crowd, this is asking for a quick KO. That said, Cap has enough going on that not only can he be fielded at 100, it's almost always a better starting level over the 200 point line (with only 3 more clicks of life, and not much in the way of better stats). 

What sets cap apart from others in his point level to clicks of life ratio range is his Super Soldier trait that lets him pick a defense power at the beginning of the turn. As he's a ranged attacker, he can keep back to the edge of the fight and make use of his repositioning Leadership sp and Empower while giving him an optimized defense. Improved movement to reposition and shoot will make pinning him down difficult, and Willpower on his full dial stretches out those 5 clicks.

At 200 he's noticeably better with more damage reduction and slightly better combat values and he has more options with Leadership, but consider that special attack Incapacitate: I'm less likely to use it at 200 points when I've got a natural 4 damage up top.

With all the Precision Strike and Penetrating Damage available, Impervious and 3 extra clicks just doesn't feel like a worthy investment (consider that 5 out of 6 of the AVX X-Men starter figs have access to damage penetrating powers). When you're fielding those 700+ point Avengers teams, then maybe it makes sense to pull out the stops and drop the double-C-note Steve on the field, but anything lower is just asking for trouble.

The X-Men don't have a Super Soldier equivalent (Wolverine is playing on the Avengers side) - at best they have Scott Summers who has some similar Leadership abilities between his WatX uncommon which negates TAs, and his starter kit version which can pull tokens off the ~300 point Phoenix figures.

As far as team leaders go, Cap has the edge over Cyclops - between support powers like Perplex and Empower, and sheer durability, as well as options between defense types (ES/D or CR) it's hard to argue against 80+ years of military experience.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Avengers vs X-Men Overview

Pick a side - any side will do. 

In the Avengers vs X-Men HeroClix event WizKids, makers of HeroClix are asking players to take a stand with one of the two teams based on the popular comic story arc. Will you side with the Avengers, who fear that the cosmic Phoenix Force may consume the earth, or will you stand with the X-Men as the defenders of mutants who have been persecuted and are now an endangered species?

With the event release both sides have a starter pack featuring 6 figures that played a key roll in the storyline, but does any one side have an advantage?

Some might say the X-Men have an edge, especially if the Phoenix Force resource dial is used for comic accurate play and only allowed to be equipped to mutants. The Phoenix 5 chases just released in the recent Wolverine and the X-Men set are also power houses - nearly 300 points of Power Cosmic, traits and special powers that will give Tony Stark a run for his money.

The Avengers are no slouches either - with several big bruisers of their own (Thors, Hulks, Iron Men) they can dish out as much damage as Xavier's former schoolchildren. Scarlet Witch can effectively shut off the Power Cosmic, and the Earth's Mightiest Heroes may have more allies than Marvel's mutes. 

So let's take a look at a few game mechanics that might give one team an edge over the other.


In terms of game play - one team clearly stands out over the others for team building options: The Avengers have plenty of keyword company counting just from Chaos War with a total of 66 figures available as broken down.

Characters with the Avengers Keyword (main sets only)
Invincible Iron Man: 6
Thor: TDW  2
Wolverine and the X-Men: 1 (Havok)
Iron Man 3: 7
Amazing Spider-Man: 8
Marvel 10th: 9
Chaos War: 33

Total: 66

Meanwhile the X-Men have only 1 real big set to draw from (and unfortunately the upcoming Days of Future Past set won't be released before the end of this tournament cycle). 

Characters with the X-Men Keyword (main sets only)
Invincible Iron Man: 2
Thor: TDW  0
Wolverine and the X-Men: 29
Iron Man 3: 0
Amazing Spider-Man: 2
Marvel 10th: 10
Chaos War: 2

Total: 45

The X-Men have nearly no presence in Incredible Hulk or Galactic Guardians, while the Avengers movie set has almost nothing but these Keyworded heroes. This gives the Avengers a distinct advantage in team build formations by the sheer number of options - nearly double that of the X-men when you add in the GG, IH, & AVM sets.


If that weren't enough - the Avengers have a number of lower point filler pieces that the X-Men can't compete with - 25 point Mockingbird, 35 point Black Widow, 48 point Rick Jones, 33 Point Don Blake, and so on. If this was to be a fair fight, then judges should maybe consider including the GSX figures in X-Men builds for some events, which would be a big injection of options for the X-crowd.

The Avengers also corner the market on point filling ATAs - with 4 options based off their existing keyword. The X-men however, have no ATAs for their keyword and must skirt the edges of other Keywords like X-Force or New Mutants to fill out teams.

Do the X-MEN stand a chance?

it looks like the deck is stacked against them, but looks can be deceiving, and the X-men have a solid history as Marvel's scrappy underdogs. One advantage the X-men have is their team ability. It may not seem like much, but the ability to heal a click is a much better value than a free move action, especially considering the length and point cost of some of the newer dials.

Despite being underdogs, the X-men have a lot of versatility in the power sets available to the characters on the team. Figures like Legion and Hope Summers have a great synergy when used in constructed, and then there's the big daddy mutants like Magneto, and the Phoenix 5.

One other advantage the mutants have is access to Team bases - specifically the Strike Force Gold & Blue should provide some advantage, even with the newer changes to multiple attacks per game. 

It’s too early to count out Marvel’s Merry Mutants, so we’ll just have to take a closer look at the starter figures and the resources available to them throughout the event.