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.

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