Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Magik

One might think that Magik would be the answer to the Avenger's Scarlet Witch, but one would be wrong.

Both are mystical and support pieces, but Illyana is more of a glorified team transport.

At 75 points, she's going to see a lot of use on X-Men teams for her TK power alone - mostly because her combat values really suffer from downward spiral syndrome. A 9 av drops off to 8, where she's better suited to using Barrier and Outwit or her Teleportation Discs for team support than trying to hit a high defense. Rear dial she picks up a little more bite with her Soul Sword in play, but can't quite hold her own.

The 50 point upgrade looks like a mirror image of her WatX version starting with Probability Control, Pulse Wave and ES/D. The dial feels a little too unsure of itself - it doesn't know what it wants to be. With a range of 5, Pulse Wave is severely limited (especially if she's trying to cart teammates around with Teleportation Discs or act as an XTA healing battery).

She's going to have to get close to use ranged attacks, reducing the effectiveness of her ES/D as well. The special power feels somewhat limiting given the scenario - there's few Avengers that have a Mystic keyword, many Mystics don't have damage reduction AND she's got Pulse Wave which is a better option for dealing with the Mystic TA.  This New Mutant might have been better served by outright ignoring the defense powers on Mystical figures, or having a "feedback-feedback" power like Shimmer from TT.

Whatever the case, of all the dials in the set, this one feels the most phoned in - a variation on the 100ish point figure fans got in WAXM down to mimicking the opening click of PW/ESD/PC. If the X-men could be said to have one dud dial this is it, however unlike Iron Man (the Avenger's resident dud) Magik can do something useful on most of her clicks without needing to make an attack roll.

At the end of the day this New Mutant is not one you build a team around, but one that fills out a quota or acts as a TK crutch to get the bigger, better attackers in play faster.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Colossus

It's almost hard to believe we've gotten 8 dials/starting point costs for the armor X-Man in the modern age. From the Fear itself SR to the WXM duo & Chase. Now the AVX starter brings in two more versions of the "roided up" Juggernaut empowered mutant sting guy.

As the second X-Bruiser in the AVX set Colosso-naut brings a little something new to the brick-fight with an SP that lets the X-Men use their TA as a free action.

Like Namor his dial doesn't change much on either starting line, but it may be worth the 50 point upgrade for the 18 Defend alone, a power which just seems to be exponentially better with every point above 17. 

WIth a thick skin, and lots of damage reducers it's a fair bet he won't be KO'd easily, especially if he's able to manipulate the X-men TA or acquire additional free healing from a figure like Forge. Peter also maintains usefulness with both Plasticity, Empower, Sidestep and wall-busting providing a few other tactical options.

Either price point is a solid entry level, but as mentioned before there's so many other versions of the character floating around, and in modular increments (the 100 point Common, the 150/295 point Phoenix Five chase) that it will probably come down to force build budget making the final call.

For the cost, it's hard to imagine one wouldn't take a ranged bruiser like Magneto or Cyclops over this walking I-beam, but he does fill out the niche of beatstick well, and should be a tough nut for most opponents to crack.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Scarlet Witch

Wanda's most expensive HeroClix version to date also has the one thing most people will be talking about - the team ability siphoning trait that acts as a foil to everything from Power Cosmic to her own mystics TA.

It's hard to see beyond such an altering game effect, but the Scarlet sister has more going on.

At her most expensive investment she has the best defense, with Stealth and Energy Shield giving her extremely good chances of dodging a ranged attack. Two more clicks of life may not seem like much, but it will most likely mean an opponent is going to take at least two clicks of feedback damage dealing with her.

Better still, Psychic Blast and Sharpshooter is going to be a nasty pairing as she won't be shut down by base contact and when not based will be able to shoot around opponents to prioritize targets.

That said, most people are likely going to field the lesser version piece for the support prowess - Perplex and Probability Control is just too good of a combo to pass up over the 150's plain blue reroll. Add the TA canceler and you've got a great support/nerf piece worth an otherwise hefty investment.

Wanda's combat values may not been needed much in the earlier, 300 to 400 point grudge matches of the AVX events, but you can bet the Witch will make appearances later in the series, as bigger totals will mean more Power Cosmic Phoenix Force figures.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Spider-Man

The Avenger Spider-Man takes center stage, but can Marvel's premier non-mutant super hero he hold his own against Professor X's proteges?

One thing's for sure - Spidey-fans finally get a Spider-Man worth the buzz - improved Super Senses, improved movement, and a host of great support powers worthy of the wall-crawler's rich history of displayed abilities.

Like all starter figures, Peter has two entry levels. There's times players will want to start on the second, 100 point dial for up front Perplex and penetrating damage, but the arachnid provides an amazing upgrade for a mere 25 points, increasing mobility, defense and damage potential in one fell swoop. 

Stack a wild card TA on top of it all, and you may have the event's best all around figure. The X-men have an advantage in the TA department, but Spidey evens the odds with his ability to borrow TAs which should come in handy during the mixed sealed + starter figure events, copying Mystics, MoE, or even the XTA.

With all the bells and whistles on the 125 pointer, it's hard to imagine a situation where a player would want to use the 100 pointer - the increased defense alone is all the extra luck Parker needs to stay in the game and ahead of the competition.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Thor

The son of Odin presents a figure players won't feel bad about paying an extra 100 points for a mere 3 click upgrade.

With a huge swing of his hammer, Loki's big brother owns the skies with ranged attacks raining down penetrating lightning strikes on multiple targets.

Up close he's just as intimidating with a 12 attack, 5 damage and Super Strength. Like Iron Man, there's plenty of versions of goldilocks in modern age, but the AVX starter really sets itself apart.

Even at the 100 point level Thor doesn't miss the mark - Running Shot with 4 damage from a Pulse Wave will greatly soften up the opposition especially on single targets. His biggest vulnerability - Stealth - is easily countered with the Pulse Wave, and his damage values remain strong even to the end, where he can always split his targets for the penetrating damage trait and feel like there's a point to not using Pulse Wave all the time.

As one of two taxis for the Avengers, Thor brings much more to the battle than his ironclad ally in both combat stability and defense and should see plenty of play at both levels, depending on the build value.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Magneto

How do you rate a figure like Magneto that could arguably take on all the Avengers by himself?

Time and again, Magneto has run afoul of the Avengers - and his family ties with the team run deep. Magneto was the centerpiece behind the team's original X-Men vs Avengers event back in the 1980's, so it's no wonder that the master of magnetism has returned to trouble earth's mightiest once again.

In terms of HeroClix, it would be easy to design a 300 to 400 point powerhouse - the GSX SR, the Marvel 10th anniversary Rare, and even the WaX Prime all make for great tentpole versions of the Brotherhood founder, but the Starter set delivers something in between tent pole and team player.

It's interesting seeing a version of Magneto that defers to Scott Summers. Full of free action powers, this former Brotherhood founder is one of the few figures that stands out as being a far better investment at his most expensive starting line. 

It's hard to go wrong with better attack, defense, and damage capabilities. Invincible is a pain to hammer through, even more so with the XTA to back it up and heal any damage that just occurred. He starts to drop like a stone on click 5, which is another reason to spend the 50 points for an upgrade - one good hit on the 150 is going to push him past Invincible and Pulse Wave immediately where he'll pick up Outwit. 

Outwit and Enhancement make for good team support, but players will want more than just support from a 150 point Investment. Free Action force blast leads to some fun scenarios - blast an opponent away from the master of Magnetism, then target them with a ranged combat attack and cause even more knock back while making the best of the ES/D trait.

The other big problem with the shorter dial version is the lack of synergy among many of his powers and abilities. For instance - you want to have figures adjacent to use Leadership, Enhancement, and the XTA, but you won't want friendlies around when Mags decides to Pulse Wave.

It's good to have options, and the mutant magnet provides plenty, but he'll really see return on investment at the 200 point starting line.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Iron Man

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Iron Man

Yet another version of Shellhead, the AVX starter lacks the bells and whistles one might expect of a character that thought to make an Anti-Magneto armored suit, and ends up bringing a rock to a gunfight.

With 2 starting levels, the 150 point upgrade sees no improvement in attack values or defense on the top starting line, but does provide some opening Psychic Blast with a solid 4 damage. Push to click 2 and choose one of two support powers to use, but lose the mobility of move and attack.

Even the 5 click, 100 point tin can Tony is underwhelming. He'll scatter the non-Charging opponents with his knock back trait and EE combo, but he can't take the punishment that Cap or Thor can at the 100 pointer level, and will be stuck rolling for Regeneration more often than attacking.

There's so many better versions of the armored Avenger in modern age right now that the only reason you'll field this bad boy is if you literally have no better choice readily available. This may be the biggest upset and disappointment from the entire AvX series.

Considering Tony took down Magneto, it wouldn't have been out of place to include either the Mags-busting armor (strait out ignoring ranged combat attacks just as the WaX Havok/Cyclops do) or if that was too specific an advantage give him the option to choose an opposing character to ignore ranged attacks, or even choose a power that can't effect him during the battle.

As is this Shellhead is a dud, and will be riding the bench most of the fight. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Emma Frost

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but in a fight is Emma worth her karat weight, or is she a lump of coal?

The 5th version of Emma Frost in the past year doesn't bring anything "new" to the character - players can choose to start in her diamond form at 100 points, or spend 25 points for an upgrade to her Mind Controling, Enhancing "softer" version. 

Both dials are fortified by power counter protection, which is especially appreciated on the 5 click deep shorter dial that starts with damage reduction. 

From the aspect of utility she may be the best "split" dial in either starter as the true benefit to Emma is her ability to fill multiple roles on a team - whether players need a close combatant or a ranged attacker either dial can be plugged in to a force with ease.

She has a full dial of Outwit on every click as well, in addition to a dash of Enhancement and a dab of Probability Control making her an excellent supporting cast member that can also hold her own in a fight.

While she's not a tentpole like Thor, she can make any X-team better just by being there and pulls her weight with the ease and grace befitting the character's personality.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Wolverine

The X-man has turned Avenger, but does that give his adamanium claws an even sharper edge over his former teammates?

As the figure with longest dial in either starter set Logan is also possibly the safest investment - protected by Stealth and Damage reducers, it's going to be hard to drop the furry Canuck in two or even three hits at his top dial.

With three distinct starting points to choose from players have plenty of options. Do they want the "shouldn't ignore me" disposable 75 point grind house tie-up piece, or a slightly more durable hack and slasher? Both R & E dials start with Charge/Claws/Exploit making him a serious threat to the thick skinned. 

At 175 points you're really paying through the nose for a mere two clicks more life, even if it comes with his best attack and toughest damage reduction. The problem with the Vet is his lack of move and attack - he demands to be used with TK at that point (or drop a hammer on him). Stealth is great, but has diminished somewhat in value with Improved Targeting (and really, Sharon Carter can give Logan the same benefit without breaking theme).

Like Cap, I feel the maxxed out Weapon X is best suited for bigger games where he can be an effective nuisance and distraction without taking away points that would be better spent elsewhere. At 125 points players will have the best return on investment.

8 clicks of life, Indomitable and with two clicks of Regeneration, Weapon X presents a greater threat with opening Charge, Exploit and Blades. The deeper dial makes all the difference on the battlefield, especially because he can self heal. Shave 50 points off and players are left with a very fragile throw away threat.

If you don't care about first strike so much those 75 points may be better spent on the Fast Forces Wolverine, a 7 click deep threat with many of the same attributes (TA, keyword, regeneration) that's likely not to get KO'd in one shot.

Surprisingly there's not a trait or ability that gives him some kind of "Inside Information" against either team - ignoring opposing figures for movement purposes if they share a keyword might have been appropriate, as those that know him likely wouldn't stand in his way. Wolverine has both Avengers and X-Men keywords so I suppose it is possible to play him on either side, though for comic accuracy he really belongs with the A-team.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men - HeroClix Figure Review: Namor

The fisher-king returns with another team - this time he joins the X-men, though he's been known to flip flop between several other companions - Defenders, Avengers, Invaders, Dr. Doom, Dark X-Men, and so on.

It's hard to top the power of the Secret Invasion brute - the Charge + Flurry monster that gave respect to the words Imperious Rex. So how does this version of the wing footed water breather hold up?

The Avengers have ranged heavy hitters like Thor and Iron Man, the X-Men have cornered the market of close combat bricks with the likes of Namor and Colossus. At 150 points he has one of the longer rookie dials at 6 clicks deep, and very high damage potential as well, Charging in with a Heavy Object and his 11 attack for a potential 6 penetrating damage. With Indomitable and Flurry in play, he's going to be flailing arms like an octopus turned boxer capable of taking out several opposing figures in a very short amount of time. 

Upgrading 75 points doesn't see much progression in combat values - he's got the same 11 attack, same 4 damage, same Charge. His defense hikes up a notch as does his speed and with 3 extra clicks it will be harder to KO him, especially if he can work in that end dial Regeneration.

Namor is impressive at either level but almost surely requires some TK positioning to get the first strike, and his return on investment in. 

Which one is better? 

Ultimately it depends on the build total - at lower force builds players will be putting more eggs in one basket with the 225'er, but in higher point games he's almost a must include for his longevity and stamina. In any case neither one should disappoint anyone but an opponent.