Marvel HeroClix Strategy Articles


Alpha Flight In Armor Wars
by Aaron Schantz

The new Marvel
HeroClix
expansion Armor Wars introduces a new armada of armored
adversaries. It also expands on Canada’s premier super team and long time
fan-favorite group, Alpha Flight.

With two new
additions to Alpha Flight’s roster, their own Alternate Team Ability feat card,
and a number of other cards that help round out the team’s strategy, Alpha
Flight is ready to fly.

Here are
three Alpha Flight teams ready for a fun game at home or a tournament at your
local shop:

300 Point
Team:

Alpha Flight feat card.

Aurora – Rookie, 50 points.

Northstar – Rookie, 52 points.

Puck – Experienced, 42 points.

Shaman – Rookie, 51 points.

Vindicator – Unique, 104 points.

(299 points.)

400 Point
Team:

Alpha Flight feat card.

Aurora – Experienced, 60 Points.

Puck – Veteran + Haymaker, 67 Points.

Sasquatch – Rookie + Double Time, 85 Points.

Shaman – Experienced + Protected, 74 Points.

Vindicator – Unique + Armor Piercing, 114 points.

(400 points.)

500 Point Team:

Alpha Flight feat card.

Aurora – Experienced, 60 Points.

Puck – Veteran + Haymaker, 67 Points.

Sasquatch – Rookie, 80 Points.

Vindicator – Unique + Armor Piercing, 114 Points.

Shaman – Veteran + Protected, 82 Points.

Crimson Dynamo – Veteran + Nanobots, 96 Points.

(499 points.)

The 300
point Alpha Flight team is a great theme team, and a rather capable one at
that. By playing the Alpha Flight Feat Card to give them an alternate Team
Ability, Alpha Flight gets some much needed help with their attack value. They
trade the free move option of the Avengers TA, but can make up for that with a
little help from Vindicator’s Leadership power.

This team is
very mobile, with 4 of the 5 members having move and attack powers. Brother and
sister team Aurora and Northstar lead the way with Hypersonic Speed attacks.
They can soften up opposition or knock key figures off support powers or
Stealth, leaving them open for Vindicator’s Running Shot. Puck will take some
maneuvering to get into position for his Charge attack, but he has the highest
attack value on the team, so he’s more likely to hit.

Shaman is
purely a support piece, not just for his Support power, but for all the powers
at his disposal. Use his Barrier to protect the team as they advance, and Incapacitate
allows him to act as an attacker as well.

This team’s
damage is a little low across the board, and they may have trouble if they face
Invulnerable or Impervious figures, but if you push Shaman once (probably to
put up a barrier), he will end up on Perplex and can boost his teammates’
damage values.

Adding just
a hundred points to the build total goes a very long way for this team. They’re
still just a 5 man team, but they gain a lot of offensive ability, partially
due to several excellent feat cards.

Surprisingly,
Puck is the big damage dealer on the team. His Veteran version gains Super
Strength so he can boost his damage with an object, along with the Haymaker
feat he has the potential to do 6 damage in one shot!

Vindicator
also boosts her offensive capability thanks to Armor Piercing. This card gives
her the ability to use her two ranged attacks to ping even Impervious figures
for a guaranteed click of damage. For an even more devastating attack, use
Energy Explosion with Armor Piercing to hit whole groupings of enemy figures.

Sasquatch
takes Northstar’s place on this team, and has the odd choice of the Double Time
feat card. But what that actually does is allow the figure to push quickly past
his activation click to get into action faster! Not a bad use of 5 points!

The
Experienced Shaman starts his dial with Perplex now, so he can immediately help
his team boost any stats they need a little help with. This version of Shaman
also starts with Psychic Blast and a good attack value, so he’s not relegated
to back of the board support anymore. He also has the Protected feat card to,
well, protect him. As the only figure on the team without any damage reducing
defensive powers, he could use a guardian angel card to keep him safe.

Finally,
Aurora continues to fill the roll of hit and run attacker, only this time she
starts with Running Shot and a great 8 range. And between the Alpha Flight Feat
Card and Shaman’s Perplex, she can do some real damage.

The 500
point team carries over a few things from the 400 point version: Puck and
Vindicator are unchanged and have the same feat cards. It was necessary to
shave a few points, so Sasquatch will have to push without the help of Double
Time. Shaman still has the Protected feat, but for this team he’s the Veteran
version.

The major
new addition to this team is Crimson Dynamo as a stand in for long time member
Box! Not only does this figure look like Box, but has similar abilities as
well. Even though he doesn’t have the Avengers Team Ability, his Attack Value
is strong and consistent, so he should be fine without the help from the
alternate TA. Crimson Dynamo-as-Box does have the appropriate Nanobots feat
card as well. This is great for this figure because his damage fluctuates
between 3 and 2 damage, so he’ll have plenty of opportunity to use the card.
That also means you can feel free to push him, knowing he’s easy to heal a
couple of clicks thanks to that card.

As with the
prior two teams, Shaman is a huge help in this version thanks to Outwit. In
addition to that, his range is up a couple points to 8, and his Attack is great
at 9 for several clicks. He’s now a full fledged utility piece with a ton of
options. He’ll be a big target as well, so Protected is still a great feat card
for him.

The Armor
Wars expansion also introduces a number of Battlefield Condition cards that are
excellent for these teams as well.

First and
foremost is the Assembled card. This gives a bonus to teams with 5 or more
figures having the same team ability. All 3 variations of this team can use
that bonus in addition to the help from the Alpha Flight feat card.

The 300
point team in particular will benefit greatly from the Armor Wars BFC. This
card will help out their low damage values by increasing damage dealt to
figures with damage reducing defensive powers.

Isolation is
a card that won’t hurt this team at all, but could certainly hurt some opposing
teams. It doesn’t help as much as Assembled or Armor Wars, but it doesn’t hurt
them at all either.

The one card
to look out for though is Inertial Interference Field. This is the BFC that
could really hurt this team. It affects attacks made with Charge, Running Shot
or Hypersonic Speed, and since there are a number of figures on each team with
those powers, they could suffer a big setback against this card.

Overall, the
Armor Wars expansion not only adds a couple team members to Alpha Flight’s
roster and gives them their own alternate team ability, but the feat cards and
battlefield condition cards seem custom made to help build up this team even
more. Go Alpha Flight!

Understanding Alternate Team Abilities

by Karl Markovich

WizKids
recently announced two new feat cards that will be released in the Fantastic
Forces
set – Thunderbolts and the Fantastic Four. These new feats are a new
“class” of feat card called Alternate Team Abilities. Obviously,
there has been a lot of discussion on the forums on how these cards work. Let’s
just take a brief look at how these new feats will affect game play.

Fantastic
Four – Cost 0

Prerequisite: Fantastic Four team ability

All friendly characters with the Fantastic Four team ability have
the following team ability instead of the Fantastic Four team ability:

Any member of this team may replace its defense value with the
defense value of any other member.

Well, that’s
fairly straightforward and simple. If I’m using a team with FF members, I can
play this feat and all of my FF members will pick up this new ability, which
allows them to share defense values – even when not adjacent to one another. Not
too shabby for costing me no points from my total build!

Looking at
the description a little closer, we can pull out a couple of more bits of
information from it. First, it says “all friendly characters” with
the FF TA gain this new ability. So you can’t split a portion of your team to
keep the old FF team ability while the remainder gains this new part. Second,
since the old FF team ability is replaced by this new one, any wildcards
copying the team ability will be copying the Alternate Fantastic Four team
ability (and you know you want your Spider-Man with Pounce to have an 18
defense!). But remember, the prerequisite calls for a character that already
has the Fantastic Four TA. That means you will have to have at least one
Fantastic Four character on your force using this feat in order for your
wildcards to have something to copy from.

Thunderbolts
– costs 5 points per friendly Avengers team member

Prerequisite: Avengers team ability

All friendly characters with the Avengers team ability have the
following team ability instead of the Avengers team ability:

After placing your force in your starting area, choose any one
team ability other than a wild card team ability or a team ability that can’t
be copied by wild card team abilities. Members of this team gain the chosen
team ability instead of the Avengers team ability, but their team affiliation
does not change.

Whew… that’s a mouthful. This feat
sounds a bit more complicated than the Alternate Fantastic Four feat at first
glance. However, it’s really doing the same thing: replacing the team ability
of your figures with a new one. With Thunderbolts, you are losing the ability
to take a move action and that action not coming from your allotment of actions
for the turn (the Avengers TA) but you have the possibility of gaining so much
more. For 5 points per Avengers figure, you can have those Avengers gain any
team ability other than wildcard TAs and TAs that can’t be wildcarded (sorry,
no Power Cosmic for your Avengers)! Imagine the possibilities: all of your
Avengers utilizing the Defenders TA when the unique Wasp is on your team (or
worse yet, Ant-Man!) or all of them picking up the SHIELD TA to boost each
others ranged damage, or using the Ultimates team ability so that Black Panther
can Outwit through Stealth or – well, you get the idea.

What are the
“finer” points of this feat? Well, like the Alternate Fantastic Four
it’s an “all or nothing” deal for your Avengers characters. Either
all of them pick up this new team ability or none of them do. And no splitting
Avengers for different team abilities either. Also, like the Alternate FF, any
wildcard figs copying the team ability would be copying the Alternate team
ability. If you chose Serpent Society for your Thunderbolts ability, any
wildcard characters on your team would be picking up the Serpent Society team
ability when copying a TA from one of your Avengers characters.

Here’s
something else to consider: characters using the Thunderbolts feat can interact
with characters that have the “natural” team ability that the
Avengers chose for Thunderbolts. Let’s say that you have a team that is
comprised of Avengers and X-Men. You decide to play the Thunderbolts feat on
your Avengers and choose the X-Men team ability as the new team ability for
your Avengers characters. Your Avengers character and X-Men characters would
now be able to exchange clicks of damage back and forth just as if they were
all X-Men team members!

One of the
things on the card that has a lot of people confused is that last half of the
last sentence… “but their team affiliation does not change”. What does that
mean exactly? Basically it means that although your Avengers characters are
utilizing another team ability, they are still Avengers at heart. Team
abilities that gain bonuses by declaring other team abilities (such as Ultimate
X-Men) would still need to declare the Avengers team ability and not whatever
the Avengers currently are using due to the Thunderbolts feat. Also, if your
Avengers were using Thunderbolts to utilize the X-Men team ability and they KOd
a Sentinel, the Avengers would not receive double the victory points as the
Avengers and Sentinel are not arch enemies.

I’ll leave
you with one final note on the Thunderbolts feat. In a tournament setting where
you play multiple rounds with your team, you can change the team ability that
the Avengers utilize with each round. If you’re playing a heavy Stealth team
the first round, you may choose the Ultimates team ability. In the second round
you may face a team that can dish out a lot of damage so you could opt for the
X-Men team ability for that extra bit of healing.

All-in-all
this will be a very usable card with a low cost. It will definitely make the
Avengers a force to be reckoned with – as they should be

Overview

The Marvel HeroClix Dark Phoenix doesn’t have a lot of new rules, but it is
exciting to talk about her, and a New Game Mechanics article gives us a great
excuse to do just that – so why not? Her elements will be familiar to those who
have played with the Big Figure rules (the Sentinel) and Galactus, but some of
her stuff is combined in different ways, so it’s better to cover it now rather
than later.

Point
Value

Like a Sentinel, Dark Phoenix has three different starting positions on her
dial depending on her point costs: 600 Rookie, 800 Experienced, and 1000
Veteran.

Starting
Click

Let’s take a look at Veteran Dark Phoenix’s starting click – that should help
explain some things below.

She has the
Power Cosmic team ability, of course. 10 Range, 3 Targets. Starts with Speed of
12 with Running Shot, Attack of 14, Defense of 19 with Impervious, and Damage
of 7 with Outwit.

OK, now go
wipe that drool off your chin.

Special
Rules

Dark Phoenix is not affected by the following powers: Exploit Weakness, Force
Blast, Incapacitate, Mind Control, Plasticity, Poison, Psychic Blast, Shape
Change, Steal Energy, Support, or any team ability that duplicates those
powers. She cannot be moved by Telekinesis, but may be the target of a
Telekinesis attack. She is not affected by knockback. She does not need to roll
break away, although characters adjacent to her still need to roll for break
away. She may be attacked by grounded, elevated, and soaring characters, and is
adjacent to characters regardless of elevation. She cannot be captured or
carried.

She can,
like the Sentinel, capture opposing characters.

What She
Does Best

Like the Sentinel, Dark Phoenix may continue to act every round. Unlike the
Sentinel, because of her Power Cosmic team ability, she does not take damage
for pushing every round. Which is great, because she has the Multi-Attack
ability:

Multi-Attack
(Optional)
: Give this character a power action. It may use two free actions
against up to two targets. These free actions may consist of power actions,
close combat actions, and ranged combat actions, though free actions used from
this power cannot be used to activate this power. Make an attack toll for each
attack, if any. Any damage dealt from one of those attacks is reduced by 1, to
a minimum of 1.

Now, keep in
mind she’s has the potential to move and shoot twice in a round. On her
starting click, she’ll have 12 Damage (with the Multi-Attack) to split between
a possible 6 different targets. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Dark
Phoenix does best.

Join us next
week for a complete Dark Phoenix and Nova sneak peek, with playtips, designer
notes, and more!

Giant Figures

by Aaron Schantz

It isn’t
enough that the new Marvel HeroClix: Mutant Mayhem expansion
includes 97 all-new figures. It also introduces three new game mechanics. These
aren’t just new powers or team abilities; they are game-changing new concepts.

Two of the
new mechanics, feats and battlefield conditions, are cards you can add to your
force to change how it plays. The third new mechanic, giant figures, is a new
classification of characters altogether, with their own rules and strategy.

The
inaugural giant figure is, appropriately enough, Giant Man, from his run in The
Ultimates
. Giant Man, and all future giant figures, operates under a
slightly different set of rules than standard characters do, the most important
being that they are considered adjacent to other characters for movement and
close combat purposes up to two squares away.

The door
doesn’t swing both ways, however, and while a giant figure is considered
adjacent to an enemy two squares away for those purposes, the enemy is not
also adjacent to the giant character. For example, if Giant Man moves two
squares away from Wolverine, the scrappy Canadian cannot attack Giant Man, and
would have to actually roll to break away in order to move closer and attack!
Meanwhile, Giant Man is adjacent to attack Wolverine all he wants.

Though there
are a lot of pros to being that big, it is not without its risks. The most
significant drawback for a giant figure is that standard characters do not
block line of fire to and from the giant figure. Additionally, figures on
elevated terrain and even at soaring level can get a bead on the big guy.
Another minor drawback is that giant figures cannot be carried or moved via
Telekinesis. On the upside, they are immune to knockback, they ignore hindering
and elevated terrain for movement purposes, and they fail to break away only on
results of 1 or 2.

Giant
figures open up a lot of new strategic possibilities. A giant figure can easily
control an entire section of the board by moving adjacent to a slew of enemy
figures and tying them up. A giant figure can block a hallway on an indoor map
or an alley between buildings outdoors. It can effectively shut down grounded
attackers by moving next to them and still be able to attack – while the
grounded attacker cannot retaliate. Giant figures can also attack enemies at
soaring level or on elevated terrain, where other figures on your team may not
easily be able to get.

A giant
figure will still have to carefully pick its movement path, and watch which
figures it ends up next to. The adjacency rules are for movement and close
combat purposes only. So an enemy figure with a ranged combat attack that is
adjacent two squares away can still shoot the giant figure, or shoot elsewhere
on the map. A giant figure is also more vulnerable to Outwit, because opposing
figures can more easily draw lines of fire to them.

Giant
figures bring new strategies that players will have fun figuring out,
defeating, and revamping. It’s also a sure bet that this isn’t a one-time deal,
as more Giant figures are sure to be introduced in later sets.

Ultimates Team Article

by Aaron Schantz

Sample
Team (400 pts.)

R Mandroid Armor (28)

R Sentinel Trooper (20)

E Captain America (89)

E Hawkeye (60)

V Black Widow (59)

U Iron Man (144)

The new Marvel
HeroClix
: Ultimates release brings several new power pieces (among
them – surprise! – Ultimates members) to the game. Here’s my suggestion for a
well-rounded and effective Ultimates-based team.

Typically, a
team of ranged fighters like this would have trouble against Stealth-heavy
opposition. Thanks to the Ultimates team ability, however, most of these
figures ignore hindering terrain, which exposes any figures hiding using
Stealth. The team ability also gives these figures an indirect boost in attack
value, because no opponent will get the hindering terrain bonus to defense.

Team leader
Captain America has a lot of attack options, including his trustworthy shield,
which gives him an indomitable defense. Plus, Cap’s Leadership can help the
rest of your team deploy quickly. Although one of Captain America’s attack
options is Charge, keep in mind that he can make a ranged combat attack farther
than he can charge – and no one can hide from him using Stealth. Plus, his best
defense is against ranged attacks, so getting him up close makes him more
vulnerable. On Cap’s second through fifth clicks, however, he gets Exploit
Weakness, so if he is going to battle a character with Toughness or Impervious,
he should get up close to deal the damage.

Hawkeye, on
the other hand, should always stay as far from the fighting as possible, using
Ranged Combat Expert to pick off his opponents. His buddy, Sentinel Trooper,
can both get Hawkeye into position to attack and contribute to his damage with
the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability.

The other
scrub on this team is little Mandroid Armor. This Clobberin’ Time
character joins this new Ultimates/S.H.I.E.L.D. team solely to lend his
Telekinesis to the mix. With a little Telekinesis shove, any of his teammates
can get a jump on its opponents and land the critical first attack.

Even though
the Ultimates team ability allows its members conquer stealthy opponents, it
doesn’t exclude them from sneaking around themselves. Black Widow can move
around the board unhindered by terrain, but still use it to hide thanks to her
own Stealth. That, coupled with Willpower, means she should be able to get up
close to your opponent quickly without being targeted. Then her solid attack
and damage values let her tear them up. If she takes a hit, she can leap away
thanks to Combat Reflexes or go out in a blaze of glory with some Running Shot
at the end of her dial.

The big gun
of the group is Iron Man. All of his big attacks are great options that can
soften up your opponent for the rest of this team to finish off. With Running
Shot, Iron Man can get a bead on nearly anybody on the board, and then he can
wallop them for 4 damage. Or if your opponent has a cluster of characters
hiding behind some Stealth guys, Iron Man can use his dual-target attack plus
Energy Explosion to tear up an entire front line.

Iron Man may
have some great defense, but don’t let his mid-dial Charge fool you: He’s still
best used as a ranged attacker. If he does end up surrounded by attackers,
however, his late-dial Pulse Wave will give him a chance to hit and damage
everyone in range.

For a
400-point team, this army doesn’t have a lot of characters. But each of them is
strong in its own right, and the Ultimates team ability goes a long way toward
making them even better. Because there is no “medic” on this team, don’t
recklessly throw these characters into battle. Instead, plan like Captain
America would – strategically and methodically – and then when you have your
opponent on the ropes, charge in and finish things off!

Cap’s Strategy for Effective Marvel Teambuilding

by CapAmerica24

Ok, so you
found out today that this coming Saturday your local venue is having a
tournament. The format: all Marvel, 300 points, no duplicates of named figures.
You think to yourself, “Where the heck do I start?” With so many
different figures, superpowers, and Team abilities out now, sometimes it’s hard
to know where to begin.

Let’s change
that.

In a
standard 300 Marvel team, I like to start out by choosing my “big
gun” figure. This figure is between 75-150 points and should be the focal
point of the team. In a standard 300 point tourney team, I don’t recommend
playing a figure more than half your build total, which is why I top off my
“big gun” figure selection at 150 points. Focusing too many points on
one figure can turn out to be a disaster.

On the other
hand, I also try to have no more than 7 figures on a 300 point team, in order
to fully utilize your actions (3 actions per turn, excluding leadership and
free movement actions). Therefore your “big gun” should be no less
than 75 points, or one fourth of your team. Spreading your points too thin can
make your team easy pickings for a properly supported Veteran Thor, Unique
Captain Marvel, and so forth.

For the
example team I’ll build throughout this article, I chose Unique Super Skrull as
the big gun – 127 points from the Clobberin’ Time expansion. He has a high base
damage of 4 to start, with running shot, energy explosion, and invulnerability,
not to mention the Skrull Team ability. This team ability gives you a 1 in 6
chance of avoiding your opponent’s attacks. It’s not super senses, but every
little bit helps, right?

Later down
his dial, Super Skrull becomes a close combat figure, gaining plasticity and
super strength to hold your opponent in place for a beat down! For his point
cost, Super Skrull is a very cost effective figure to build your team around,
and my favorite Marvel “big gun” figure. So I have 173 points left
for secondary attackers and support figures – plenty of room left.

Once you’ve
selected your big gun, it’s time to start looking at a secondary attacker or
two, figures who can hold their own with your opponent’s second stringers while
your big gun tackles your opponents largest figure. These figures should not be
much more than roughly half of your big gun’s point cost. Super Skrull is 127,
half of that is roughly 64 points. For my team I am going to select two of my
favorite secondary attackers, one significantly lower than Super Skrull, and
one roughly around 7 points more than 1/2 his cost: Unique Elektra from
Infinity Challenge for 36 points and Unique Moondragon from Clobberin Time for
71 points. Elektra provides an extremely cost effective way of producing big
damage with her 11 attack and blades/claws/fangs. Her 11 AV and 4 range with
two targets are nice features as well, along with stealth. Moondragon provides
a dual role for the team with her 10 range mind control, flight and telekinesis,
she functions as your team’s range backup for Super Skrull and your main mode
of transportation as well. The two of them come up to 107 points, leaving us
with 66 points for the last category: support.

Support
figures are used to serve a wide amount of functions for your team depending on
what type you choose. You might decide on a medic for healing, some probability
control, and some perplex, or maybe an outwitter, a medic, and a third string
attacker/medic hunter. Some people feel that all 4 of these support abilities
(outwit, support, perplex, and probability control) are necessary for every
team. I feel it depends on what characters you choose for your big gun and
secondary attackers. Also a cheap 3rd string attacker is never a bad thing,
especially if they lend a useful team ability to the mix such as S.H.I.E.L.D.
or Hydra. Let’s take a look at which of these 4 powers would be the most useful
to the team and decide which ones we should include or not.

Outwit.
Having Super Skrull do 4 straight damage versus 3 or 2 damage (after toughness,
invulnerability, or impervious) makes a difference. Also, being able to remove
an offensive power from one of your opponents’ pieces (such as
blades/claws/fangs, ranged combat expert, or super strength) can seriously
hamper their strategy. The cheapest option for first click outwit in Marvel is
still the Rookie Black Panther for 27 points. Black Panther’s Avengers team
ability and stealth also help keep him in an advantageous position as a line of
sight blocker for Super Skrull and the other attackers. For this team, he’s
points well-spent. Let’s include him, leaving us with 39 points for the
remainder of our support squad.

Support. The
ability to bring Super Skrull back to your medic and possibly heal him up to 6
clicks is a no brainer, right? Of course it is! 10 points for an experienced
Paramedic fits this team rather nicely, and leaves us with 29 points.

Perplex.
Super Skrull doing 5 damage, giving Moondragon a 10 range or 3 damage, or
giving Elektra a 12 attack to make it even easier to hit is certainly worth the
12 points you pay for an Experienced Con Artist. We’ll add her in leaving us
with 18 points.

Probability
control. Critical misses can always occur, but I don’t feel probability control
is necessary for this team. Your 3 main figures (Super Skrull, Moondragon, and
Elektra) have nice attacks of 11, 10 and 11 respectively, and with the perplex
boost from the Con Artist, they shouldn’t be missing much. Not worth it, at
least for this team.

So, we have
18 points left, giving us plenty of option. Rookie Quicksilver, a Veteran
S.H.I.E.L.D. Sniper, and Rookie Moon Knight are all good choices. Personally
for me, when I have 17-18 points left, the first figures I think of are Hand
Ninjas. These little buggers can increase the ranged combat AV’s of your attack
figures, and can be decent “clean up” pieces themselves. Since Super
Skrull and Moondragon are very range combat oriented, and Moondragon has
telekinesis to fling figures into the fray, I think a Veteran blades/claws/fangs
Hand Ninja is a good addition. Park him on an object next to Moondragon with
Elektra behind him. He’ll boost Moondragon’s AV to 11, and she can then either
MC a figure to walk over to base the Ninja and Elektra for some
blades/claws/fangs goodness, or she can fling one of them out with telekinesis
to possibly inflict a lot of damage. If he doesn’t make it back (which is
likely) you only lost 17 points – no big loss.

OK, the
final team is:

Unique Super Skrull 127 (big gun)

Unique Moondragon 71 (secondary attacker)

Unique Elektra 36 (secondary attacker)

Rookie Black Panther 27 (outwit)

Veteran Hand Ninja 17 [blades/claws/fangs version] (third string attacker)

Experienced Con Artist 12 (perplex)

Experienced Medic 10 (support)

300 total

That’s it,
I’m ready to go to the tourney on Saturday, and I’m bringing a team with a good
chance of winning!

Playing the Villains

By Kazzigum

Heed Doom’s
words carefully, dullards, for he is about to instruct you in the arcane
secret-science of creating the perfect villain team in the cosmically
insignificant game of HeroClix. Before delving further, however, let it be
known that Doom is fully cognizant of the irony inherent in attempting to pass
even a portion of his supreme wisdom on to knuckle-dragging simpletons. Yet,
even Doom is aware that one day he must move on to another plane or dimension,
for surely this one will eventually prove dull once conquered, so it is with
vain hope that he performs this exercise. Perhaps after having been exposed to such
brilliance, one of you will find the wherewithal to rise above his fellows and
strive for mediocrity, mayhap even adequacy. Ahh, what a legacy Doom sows!
Well, at least the exercise will serve as good a means as any for organizing
Doom’s thoughts on the matter.

Now, to
begin, let us briefly address the term ‘villain.’ Despite what narrow-visioned
pretenders such as Richards would have you believe, Doom is no ‘villain.’ The
word applies to miscreants, malcontents and self-serving criminals. Doom is
none of these things. Rather, Doom is a forward-thinking and aggressive
visionary. Doom knows the answers and courses of action necessary to solve the
world’s mutinous problems, and unlike his lesser human brethren, he has the
inner resolve to act. Unlike fools such as the ‘Avengers’ or the ‘Fantastic
Four,’ Doom understands that soft words and colorful platitudes do not solve
real-world problems. Ha, leave it to an egotist of Richard’s magnitude to dub
himself and his cohorts as ‘fantastic.’ Indeed, if they are so ‘fantastic,’ why
is the very world they pretend to protect experiencing the greatest strife in
millennia? When Doom rules, he will act, and all will be well.

Sadly, since
most ‘heroes’ of the world lack Doom’s all-encompassing vision, he is
ostracized from the community of humanity and termed a ‘villain.’ Bahh! No
matter. Fortunately for humanity, Doom foresaw these reactions too, and remains
undaunted. Still, due to this shallow thinking, Doom is often left with few
alternatives but to associate, cajole or use men and women who qualify as true
‘villains’ in the classical sense of the term. Such creatures have their uses,
though often the unpleasantness of such associations linger.

Thinking
like a Villain and Competitiveness

In order to create a truly representative villain team worthy of the name, you
must learn to set aside your preconceptions concerning HeroClix as a game, and
instead think like the villains themselves. This means that when building your
team, don’t just look at a piece for what powers it can bring to the table or
for how many points it costs, but instead consider the piece for what it
represents. For example, and it surprises even Doom how many of you miss this
basic principal, do not put ‘heroes’ (those misguided vigilantes that believe
they can save and protect the common people from said villains) on a villain
team. Why would even that droll, slack-jawed fool Spider-Man consent to aid the
likes of Dr. Octopus or Kraven the Hunter? Why would the admittedly
meagerly-powered Wasp aid such vile personages as Taskmaster or Red Skull? In
brief, they would not. And don’t even attempt to argue the tired ‘they might be
forced to cooperate due to circumstances’ or the ‘what-if’ scenario, Doom holds
not with these havens of idiocy. Excuses are for the weak. Besides, we are
discussing the creation of ‘villain teams,’ so if a character is unwilling to
aid in your nefarious plot, he is of no use. If you cannot grasp even this
simple point, Doom holds little hope that you can serve as any sort of protégé.

Now, calm
yourselves. This armored suit is not merely a fancy three-piece-suit meant to
impress the masses, and Doom has no qualms about destroying you. Yes, Doom
hears your cries. Competitiveness? Bahh! Is even one of you listening? We are
discussing the creation of villain teams here. Even the Richards’ whelps know
that the villains always lose; this is the most basic principle of comic books.
And wipe those smirks from your insolent faces, for as Doom clearly indicated
above, he is no villain. What’s more, though it has appeared that the so-called
Fantastic Four have bested Doom at every turn, this is but one of the
underlying ploys of Doom’s overall scheme. In reality, this is just part of…
Bahh! Why does Doom waste his time trying to explain poetry to sheep? Let us
return to the discussion at hand.

If you truly
desire to play a villain team, you must acknowledge the inevitable. You will
lose. Embrace the concept. Of course, as you are playing the villains, you will
never accept it. Denounce your enemies, claim victory from defeat and never
concede the battle. You see, villains always believe they will win, whatever
the battle, whatever the cause. Defeat never enters their mind, and this is why
so few ever create contingency plans (yet another example or why Doom should
not be termed a villain, as even his contingencies have contingencies). So, if
you really want to play the villains, ignore the facts. Competitiveness is not
your concern. Play the villains with pride and laugh in the face of reality.

Let us
quickly recap. Ditch the heroes and medics (true villains ALWAYS kill such
individuals whenever they are encountered, as everyone knows medical
professionals are all weaklings), stick with the haughty, vicious, and vile,
and never doubt your victory nevertheless. In the end, you will lose, you will
deny it, and all will be as it should be.

Villain
Teams: Fitting Them Together

Now then, let us examine the various villain groups in the Marvel universe and
how they can be molded to form the perfect villain team. While it is not
necessary to have a villain team adhere to any of the various existing
‘official’ villain teams, and indeed, there are numerous rogue villains, some
of these teams have inherent team abilities that can make this worthwhile.
Regardless, perfect villain teams are primarily constructed to maximize and/or
mesh the villains’ personalities, character flaws and individual manias so as
to form the most flavorful and memorable group. Whenever possible, it is always
a good idea to model such a team on actual observations of events in the
comics, or at least upon reasonable associations that can be extrapolated via
long observation of the comic genre.

Observe
while Doom briefly examines the various ‘official’ villain groups. Once Doom
has briefly commented on each of these teams in turn, he will then present
sample villain teams that can be created using these techniques to serve as a
demonstration of how this art is practiced. Note that these comments are
limited to the real-world traits of these various villains, as he is above game
mechanics.

    • Brotherhood. A
      conglomerate of genetic anomalies banded together in a vain attempt to rid
      the Earth of all ‘normal’ humans, leaving but these so-called mutants to
      inherent the world as the new, more advanced race or men. Were it not for
      the respectable magnetic powers of their leader, this group of twits would
      be laughable. On second thought, considering such charter members as Blob
      and Toad, whom had Doom not seen footage of them with his own eyes, he
      would have sworn were merely conjured from the imagination of the typical
      12-year-old boy, perhaps they are laughable.
    • Hydra. Though this is
      the actual name of an organization of misguided totalitarian exiles, the
      name in HeroClix seems to be used to represent any of a number of highly
      militant villain groups bent upon world conquest. While these groups are
      lead by a number of colorful individuals, the vast majority of members are
      little more that common paramilitary terrorists. Organized, but woefully
      underpowered individually. Shortsighted as well, since no conquest of the
      world is possible without dealing with Doom first. To date, few have tried
      this, which is just as well, as obviously such a confrontation is beyond
      even their combined power. Still, it might be interesting were they to
      make the attempt. Pity they’ve not a real brain among them.
    • Masters of Evil. A
      mishmash of super-powered villains of every power magnitude and intellect
      level, who periodically band together to attempt some nefarious purpose.
      Some of these individuals have access to such power as to be truly worthy
      of some respect. Despite this, it is difficult to view a group with such
      limited vision as these individuals with anything but contempt,
      considering the fact that their lack of creativity concerning their very
      name reveals their every intention.
    • Sinister Syndicate. A
      sorry collection of super-powered petty criminals and thugs, this group
      would be contemptible were it not for the fact that their typical schemes
      are so trite and/or silly, that they never fail to amuse Doom. Mostly
      inept and moronic by even Western-democratic standards, the group does
      contain a few individuals almost intelligent enough to converse with.
      Octavius, for example, might be bright enough to serve as Doom’s lab
      assistant (and those extra arms would allow him to hold several extra
      clipboards), were it not for the insanity. Indeed, nearly every member of
      this group shows signs of at least one mania. Pity.
    • Skrulls. Not really a
      villain group, this race of aliens merely has goals contrary to the
      typical earthling. Regardless, without their technical gadgets, they are
      little better than the common human. As such, they are not formidable.
      Doom is not impressed. Hmmm, they are green, however. It strikes Doom as
      odd that seemingly every ‘villain’ of note seems to, either be green, or
      wears a great deal of green. This is intriguing. Doom will need to
      investigate further.
    • Minions of Doom. As
      noted earlier, Doom in no villain. Therefore, his ‘minions’ cannot be
      either. What’s more, many of the individuals who belong to this ‘group’
      Doom has never associated with and never will. There seems to be little
      rhyme or reason to this so-called group, whose members range from a
      glorious pinnacle of human achievement (Doom, who incidentally, is not
      even a villain) down to the ridiculous balding toymaker that is Puppet
      Master. Doom is displeased that his name and image are so abused.

It is also worth noting here that just because there are
‘official’ villain groups, that does not mean that every villain belongs to
one. Indeed, the simple fact is that many villains belong to no specific group,
preferring to work either solo or to associate with various other villains as
circumstances and their whims dictate. As nefarious and untrustworthy
individuals (they are villains after all), even villains that do belong to a
specific group sometimes associate with those belonging to no ‘official’ group.
Sometimes even members of separate groups will set up temporary alliances in
order to achieve some dark purpose. With few morals to hold them back, villains
are an adaptable lot in regards to associations, so don’t be afraid to mix
individuals and groups together if it feels right. Just remember the cardinal
rule – villains don’t work with heroes (who are generally over-burdened with
morals). Having said this, there are however, several individuals who are
difficult to gauge. Typically ‘dark’ or ‘anti’ heroes, these shady individuals
walk such a fine moral line that they are often classified as either heroes or
villains – depending upon whom you ask. Often, such individuals are both heroes
and villains, with only their current agendas defining which role fits at any
given time. Examples of such individuals include Elektra, the Hulk, the Punisher,
and Sandman, though there are many more. Feel free to include one or two such
individuals in your villain team if you feel they fit the theme, though don’t
go overboard. Including too many of these ambiguous personages will turn your
‘villain team’ into a ‘dark hero team’ instead.

Very good, let us now examine the two sample villain teams Doom
promised earlier in order to witness these techniques in action. Cast your eyes
below:

The Sinister Six (300 points)

Sandman (E) 79

Kraven (E) 72

Hobgoblin (E) 53

Doctor Octopus (E) 44

Whirlwind (E) 32

Vulture (E) 20

Though fairly ineffective in battle, this team presents the
classic Sinister Six as near as possible considering the present Heroclix
models available. Only Whirlwind stands out as an individual who has never
actually served as a member of the team, though considering his personality and
powers, it does not seem so taunt a stretch. Besides, with a costume that bad,
even the classic Sinister Six members can rest assured that someone is dressed
just gaudy enough to draw attention away from them. The team does have the
advantage of the fact that all members have the Sinister Syndicate team
ability, and if played well, they could prove quite the nuisance.

Doom Needs No One! (296)

Dr. Doom (V) 198

Doombot (V) 38

Doombot (E) 33

Doombot (R) 27

Once more, it bears repeating that Doom is not a villain. But
thanks to the tireless efforts of men such as Reed Richards, the public has
made up its mind to the contrary. Very well, if everyone views Doom as a
villain, so be it. The above demonstrates the perfect Doom-centered team.
What’s that? Outwit you say? Doom cannot be outwitted by half-wits, and all
represented in this meager game are at best half-wits, with the possible
exception of Richards (and even he is but three-fourths a wit).

After examining the facts, it is painfully obvious that the
so-called designers of this game have woefully misinterpreted the power of
Doom. Doom obviously is not a ‘Minion of Doom.’ As the master, how can one be
one’s own minion? This oxymoron angers Doom. Retribution will be swift. In
addition, even a simpleton like Grimm can see that the Dr. Doom figures
presented in this game pale in comparison to Doom’s true power. Given the
game’s severe limitations in this regards, Doom would recommend at the very
least that all versions of himself be given the use of the Power Cosmic team
ability, though given the data, this too seems somewhat underpowered. Still,
aside from the actual models of Doom himself, which are quite nice actually,
the creators did do one thing right. Bare witness to this Richards – Doom (V) =
198 points. Mr. ‘Fantastic’ (V) = oh, what’s this? A pathetic 113 points? That
sounds just about right…

Lastly, all members of this team are adorned with the very visage
of Doom himself right on the base. What more could you ask?

Act like a Villain

So, by now, you should be well on your way to designing great villain teams for
HeroClix. But the lesson is not yet ended. There is more to being the villain
than merely assembling a cast of board pieces that are termed villains, with
power combinations that perfectly compliment each other. If you really want to
play the villains (and if not, why are you reading this?), then you need to act
like the villain. And no, Doom does not mean you should club your game opponent
with a folding chair and take his wallet. Focus. Rather, Doom means you should
take every opportunity to have your team act like the villains they represent.
Talk in the character’s voice. Say what you think he would say while making an
action with him. Gang up on weak and insignificant opponents for no other
reason than to do it – if your opponent is fielding any bystander tokens, these
make perfect victims. “Not a step closer, Iron Man, or the reporter gets it!”
Mock the heroes and team members of your opponent. And all the while you are
doing this, remember to not limit your comments to only those times when your
pieces perform well. Villains are often most memorable when they are losing –
which, as we discussed, you should expect. So, a well placed “Curse you
Spider-Man!” can make all the difference in really enjoying yourself.

Despite Doom’s reputation and near omnipotence, he too is a human
being. Doom understands that HeroClix is a game, and games are meant for
entertainment. You want to play the villains because it is fun, especially in
the comic universe. You don’t want to create animosity or to offend those you
play with, so limit your villainous behavior to the table-top, and make sure
your real-world opponent knows you are not insulting him. Ultimately, HeroClix
is supposed to be fun. So have fun being the villains, because without them,
super hero comics could not exist. Besides, if you the play the villains
properly and with relish, you will not be the only one to derive that extra bit
of fun. Trust the words of Doom, everyone loves a good villain.

This wisdom is brought to you by the great and powerful Doctor
Doom, penned by the scribe Kazzigum, in the name of the honorable and
peace-loving people of Latveria, whom Doom rules.


Increase Your Chance of Winning

By Reynold

Heroclix is a game that is
part strategy and part luck. The luck part comes mostly when rolling the dice.
Since the dice are a big part of the game, manipulating the dice is a good way
to win. Two powers help you manipulate the dice: Probability Control and
Perplex. Predicting the outcome of unknown events should be part of any
strategy, and Probability allows for prediction. Here’s a chart representing
probabilities of given rolls.

A roll of:

2: 1/36

3: 2/36=1/18

4: 3/36=1/12

5: 4/36=1/9

6: 5/36

7: 6/36=1/6

8: 5/36

9: 4/36=1/9

10: 3/36=1/12

11: 2/36=1/18

12: 1/36

The first
number represents how many ways a certain number can be rolled, and the second
number represents the total number of ways a pair of dice can be rolled. So
here’s a chart on important rolls in Heroclix.

Critical
Miss: 1/36 or 2.78%

Critical Hit: 1/36 or 2.78%

Knock back: 5/36 or 13.89%

Super Senses and Impervious: 2/6=1/3 or 33.33%

The top chart
just tells you the probability of rolling a certain number, but in Heroclix
we usually need to roll that number or better. Here’s that chart.

3 or better:
35/36 or 97.22%

4 or better: 33/36=11/12 or 91.67%

5 or better: 30/36=5/6 or 83.33%

6 or better: 26/36=13/18 or 72.22%

7 or better: 21/36=7/12 or 58.33%

8 or better: 15/36=5/12 or 41.67%

9 or better: 10/36=5/18 27.78%

10 or better: 6/36=1/6 or 16.67%

11 or better: 3/36=1/12 or 8.33%

12 or better: 1/36 or 2.78%

Probability
Control will give you another chance of getting what you need, and Perplex will
increase the probability of getting what you need.

Now that
we’ve done the math, it’s time to find out who is the best at making the dice
work for us. We’ll take a look at Probability Controllers first. Since Marvel
is the only one, until DC Unleashed comes out, our choices are so wide, but the
variety is great. The candidates are Black Cat, Calypso, Destiny, Dr. Strange,
and Scarlet Witch.

Black Cat:
Both the Experienced and Veteran version have Probability Control. The main
advantage of the Veteran (36 points) is she has better stats all around. With
four clicks of Probability Control, one click overlaps with Stealth. This
allows her to hide safely from snipers. The experienced version is the one I
usually use most because of the Spider-Man Ally team ability. Her stats are
slightly lower, but are decent enough. The Wildcard ability is what I think
makes her better. Experienced Black Cat only costs 32 points. Since both have
Leap/Climb, they are perfect for getting around for line of fire.

Calypso:
Calypso weighs in at 29 points at Rookie, 38 points at Experienced, and 46
points at Veteran. The experienced and veteran are both members of the Sinister
Syndicate. Their attack values are both 8. Calypso just gets better with each
version. The versions have 1, 2, or 3 clicks of Probability Control. But what
might make Calypso the one to pick is her Mind Control in each version.
Combined that with Sinister Syndicate and Probability Control, it’s near-impossible
to miss. The Veteran version adds a little spice with Telekinesis right after
losing Mind Control. Out of all the versions, I would definitely go with the
Veteran Calypso.

Destiny: All
3 versions of Destiny share the same stats. The only difference between each is
point value and how many clicks of Super Senses and Probability Control each
has. The Rookie has 2 clicks, the Experienced has 3 clicks, and the Veteran has
all the way down her “deep” 4 click dial. They are all members of the Brotherhood,
so they move for free. A major disadvantage is that they are not offensive at
all. They each have a 0 attack value and 0 damage value. Their appeal is their
point value: 20, 23, 29 respectively. So if you need Probability Control for
cheap, go for Destiny.

Dr Strange:
Each version may have Probability Control, but they don’t start off with it.
Strange is a Swiss Army Knife and should not be depended on to provide
Probability Control.

Scarlet
Witch: Scarlet Witch is famous for being the first Probability Controller, but
first does not always mean best. Scarlet Witch is a one trick pony. Her good
points are that her Rookie and Veteran both move for free due to the
Brotherhood or Avengers team ability. All but her Rookie version have
Probability Control all the way down her 5 click life; her Rookie only has 4
clicks of Probability Control. The Veteran shines with a range of 8 with an
attack value of 8. The rookie only cost 29 points, which leaves room for
others. My verdict is that the Rookie Scarlet Witch should only be used if you
can’t fit in Black Cat. The Veteran is strictly for Avengers-themed games.

Perplex is
one of the most versatile powers. Adding one to any combat value is very
dangerous, whether you need a boost of speed, or a target is just out of range.
The most common value I see perplexed is attack. There are many figures that
have Perplex, but I will just go in-depth on the ones whose main task is just
to Perplex. But here’s the complete list of characters with Perplex in Marvel.

Beast: The
Experienced and Veteran Beasts are solid figures and definitely team players.
The Experienced is a Defender, while the Veteran is an X-Men. With solid stats,
Perplex is usually used on Beast himself just to get one more space while he
Charges. The Experienced has 1 click of Perplex and costs 59 points. The
Veteran version weighs in at a hefty 80 points and boasts 2 clicks of Perplex.
I would go with the Veteran, not only for Perplex, but he also has Support on
his last 2 clicks. That power works very well with the X-Men Team Ability.

Con Artist:
The Con Artist has the distinction of being the cheapest Perplexer, with the
Rookie at 11, the Experienced at 12, and the Veteran at 16 points respectively.
All the Con Artists must be pushed to get on to their Perplexing click, and
that cuts into their already short life. The Veteran has 2 clicks (in the
middle of her 4 click life) of Perplex. Definitely a one trick pony, but what a
trick.

Doc Samson:
Expensive, but Doc Samson has the defensive powers to keep Perplex around and
good enough combat values to be able to use it on someone else. Of all the
versions, I think the Veteran is the best. With a natural attack value of 10
and damage value of 4, he will rarely need to use it on himself. With
Invulnerability and a decent defense value, he has little to fear when
traveling in the open.

Dr Octopus:
The Veteran version is the only version to boast the power of Perplex.
Leap/Climb allows the mobility need to get the line of fire. Willpower allows
Doc Ock to shift positions if needed. Super Strength and his attack value
provides enough damage to cancel the need to Perplex himself. At 66 points, a
decent buy.

Dr. Doom:
With any version of Dr. Doom, you should only use him for Perplex. The previous
statement should be read with a lot of sarcasm. This is Dr. Doom, a one man
army. Use him like one.

Gambit:
Gambit is a great Perplexer either at 44 points for his Experienced or 51
points at Veteran. He has Stealth so line of fire works one way for him. His
attack value tops out at 9, which is pretty good. Energy Explosion already puts
his damage value down to 1, so Perplex at your own risk with him.

Iron Man:
The Rookie version has Perplex on his last two clicks. His abysmal stats should
tell you never to use him for 117 points.

Mystique: As
you move up the experience rings of Mystique, you get more of the same. After
you lose Stealth you get Energy Explosion. Perplex will run from 2 clicks to 4
clicks. Her defense value is a little low, so position her with caution. Positioning
her is easy since all versions are members of the Brotherhood. I think her
points could be spent on better figures.

Patch: All
of Patch’s versions have Perplex on their last few clicks. That would be great
in the latter part of a game, but he also has Regeneration. I rather regenerate
my figure than boost some combat values. He’s too vulnerable with Perplex.

Storm:
Experienced Storm is the Storm when her powers were not reliable. This is when
she got the Mohawk. She starts off with Leadership before going into Perplex.
She is not only useful as a Perplexer, but she is more useful in the Leadership
role when playing the X-Men team.

Taskmaster:
Veteran Taskmaster only has 1 click of Perplex. At 75 points he does more than
Perplex. More of a support type figure, he is an excellent choice for
Perplexing. With a 12 attack value with Blades/Claws/Fangs, he’ll be Perplexing
his own teammates. He’ll have plenty of teammates because he is also a Minion
of Doom.

Venom: All
of Venom’s versions are definitely figures you throw into a fray. They’ll
either pump themselves up or help a teammate, depending on what kind of player
you are.

We’ve run
through all the figures that will give you another shot of making the roll you
need with Probability Control, and all the figures that increase your
probability of making a successful attack with Perplex. Mix and match as you
see fit. Remember the chart before you make an attack, because it might just be
better to do something else.

Ask Dr.
Vengeance

by Sonya-X

Dear Dr.
Vengeance,


My best friend is  pushing me too far. We used to have friendly little
games of skill, and now every time we play he trots out the same basic line-up
and kicks my tail.  What’s the point?  He’s got a thing for cheesy
combo teams that whack me with Annihulus and Firelord, Human Torch and Cyclops,
or Thor and Bullseye early and often.  It’s just a straight shooting
fest!  I mean, come on – everybody already knows that Firelord’s a broken
piece and taxiing in shooters is a pretty old trick by now. I’ve told him that
only a real lame-o would continue to use the same tactics every single time,
but all he cares about is that he’s winning.  It’s no fun any more- every
game degenerates into me taking massive amounts of damage while running around
with my tail between my legs.  Dr. Vengeance, I’m close to taking matters
into my own hands.  If I can’t start beating him on a regular basis, I’m
going to sneak into his stash while he’s sleeping, steal all of his Firelords,
and let them earn their names in the toaster oven.  Gaah!  I can’t
take it any more!  I need to teach this jerk that he can’t push me around
like that.  I want to crush his forces, see them driven before me, and
hear the lamentations of his medics.   Help me, Dr. Vengeance.


-Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

It takes a
combo to kill a combo, I always say.  My suggestion is to put together an
even more horribly over-powered army yourself and then, when he’s tired of
losing to you, suggest themed games in the future where the forces each player
controls might actually be seen working together in a comic book that doesn’t
involve the Beyonder.  For that, I’m going to introduce my favorite combo
from the new set, the Mandarin Cannon.  (Vet Mandarin’s stats on first
click: Range 12, Speed 8 w/ Mind Control, Attack 11 w/ Incapacitate, Defense 17
w/ Energy Shield, Damage 3 w/ Outwit)

The central
theme of the Mandarin Cannon is applying the overwhelming versatility and power
of Perplex to an already powerful, versatile piece.  It’s actually fairly
simple.  In a nutshell, you want a line of cheap Perplexers raising
Mandarin’s stats to deific levels.  Luckily, in Xplosion we have
the cheapest Perplexer of all time- the Rookie Con Artist.  Oh, the
Perplex is a little hard to get, too, and they can get KO’d by a stiff breeze,
but if all you want is a little Perplex, they’re the way to go.  Besides,
if you like themed games, you can always pretend that they’re chanting cultists
or, my personal favorite, his lawyers and PR people.  Of course, you don’t
need Mandarin for this.  Feel free to use anyone who does decent damage at
range.  Mandarin’s in there for the combination of a high defense, good
attack, high damage, Outwit, and Mind Control.  Outwit is almost as useful
as Psychic Blast in this context, and Mind Control’s more of a fun option than
a main strategy, but a lot of other people would work, if a bit
differently.  Here I’ll sketch out a Mandarin-based team to illustrate the
concept.

In a
200-point game, this team might consist of:

1 Veteran
Mandarin (141 pts)

1
Experienced Con Artist (12 pts)

2 x Rookie
Con Artist (@11 pts each =22 pts)

1
Experienced Shield Medic (15 pts)

1
Experienced Paramedic (10 pts)

=200 pts

Mandarin
reaches a maximum damage of 7 (with 3 Perplexers and a S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic) at
range 12, and can bring down his opponents quickly.  As an option, the
Experienced Con Artist could be dropped to Rookie and the Paramedic exchanged
for another Rookie Con Artist, if you’d rather try fielding four people with
Perplex.

In a 300 pt
game, we can double our Perplexing, increase Mandarin’s odds with double
Probability Controllers (Destiny) and toughen up all of our weak figures:

1 Veteran
Mandarin (141 pts)

2 x Veteran
Destiny (@ 29 pts each = 58 pts)

6 x Experienced
Con Artist (@12 pts each = 72)

1 Veteran
Shield Medic (17 pts)

1 Veteran
Paramedic (12 pts)

=300 pts

But, since
that’s a little tough to maneuver (11 pieces on three actions a turn, with over
half of them not useful until they’re pushed) let’s also look into a slightly
faster variant of:

1 Veteran
Mandarin (141 pts)

2 x Rookie
Destiny (@ 20 pts each = 40 pts)

6 x Rookie
Con Artist (@ 11 pts each = 66 pts)

1 Rookie
Kingpin (24 pts)

1 Veteran
Shield Medic (17 pts)

1 Veteran
Paramedic (12 pts)

=300 pts

This
variation sacrifices the longevity of your support pieces for getting them into
position faster with Leadership.  This means that when things go bad, they
go bad faster, but at least you can whip out into formation faster, too, and
that formation is the key to victory for this team.  Incidentally, though,
if you happen to have a cheaper Leadership piece (and the only cheaper leaders
in the game are Limited Edition figures that you have to win in tournaments),
by all means put them in and spend the points elsewhere (upgrading the
Paramedic to a S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic, for example, so you can damage-pump twice).

You might
also be interested in swapping out a Destiny for an Experienced Black Cat or
Veteran Scarlet Witch instead of adding a leader to the team (and using
whatever points are left over for some minor upgrades).  Both Black Cat
and Scarlet Witch can provide Probability Control, but ‘Cat can tackle pesky
Leap/Climbers from elevated terrain, mimic the Shield ability, and get a
line-of-sight from on top of an air conditioner, while Scarlet might be able to
serve as back-up if someone manages to wax Mandarin.

Now, let’s
look into how we’d play this team, shall we?  I’m going with the 300 point
Kingpin variation, but keep in mind that most of this holds true with the 200
point team as well, except that it’s easier to handle three or four people who
require line of sight.   The key here is to do our damage without
exposing our weak support pieces.  Now, that can be a problem against a fast
ranged attacker like Firelord, so the first part of our strategy happens before
we set up.  The first thing to do is to prominently display Veteran
Mandarin as the cornerstone of your army.  People tend to be nervous when
going against unfamiliar heavy hitters for the first time.  Exploit
this.  Make a big show of going through his dial before you play.
Ask the Judge if Mind Control can be combined with Ranged Combat Expert (it
can’t – but if it could be, it could be construed to give him a mind-control
attack that also does two damage), if the Shield ability would let a Mind
Control attack do damage, or if his range of 12 extends his Outwit past the
usual 10 squares (it doesn’t) – it doesn’t matter, so long as you remind your
enemy that Mandarin’s an incredibly scary piece.  Remark on how amazing it
is that he doesn’t even hit his four-damage range until four clicks down.
If the map that you’re going to be playing on has a side that you don’t find
advantageous, measure out what squares a 12 range reaches from some likely spot
on that side and chuckle about it.  For example, if you’re looking at the
indoor map that came with the original Infinity Challenge starter, measure from
the opening to the room at the end of the main hallway and smile at the
prospect of having his Clix in a shooting gallery.  Do a practice set-up
of your army in that room, with a wall of Con Artists in front of Mandarin,
saying that “they just look better than a wall of thugs”. A little pre-game
gloating goes a long way.

Why all this
rigmarole?  Two reasons – one: you want him to be worried enough about
Mandarin to adopt a cautious strategy (giving you time to get your pieces into
formation), and two: you want to be able to pick the map, but might not happen
to be the high roller when it comes time for map selection.  Getting
someone else to give the outdoor map to someone plainly sporting a flying
range-monster is tough.  Another trick – since you did your practice
set-up on the indoor map (for example, though with some layouts, the indoor map
works better), you had the opportunity to either choose the seat or rotate the
map so that it’s already plain that you’re going to be on that particular
side.  Make sure that you pick as your fake “power side” the part of the
map that would actually be the side that you want when the map is
flipped.  When the other map is decided upon, be the one to turn the map
over.  Naturally, you’ll turn from the left or right instead of flipping
it away from you.  Great – that puts you on the edge you want. While the
second player has the right to select which map edge he starts on, most players
are lazy and will just go with whichever edge is in front of them if they’re
basically the same.  Just in case, start putting your figures out and
complaining about this new starting area right away and your opponent may be
too polite or opportunistic to ask you to move.  If, for some reason, he
chooses the map and it’s not one you like, don’t let him do the same thing to
you, though – you have every right to pick the best starting area.

Don’t worry
too much if you’re forced inside or are using an unfamiliar map.  These
tactics can be modified for use on pretty much anywhere (both indoor and
outdoor).  Just remember – what you’re looking for is a stable, defensible
position that will allow your support pieces to maintain line-of-sight on
Mandarin and keep opposing pieces from getting too close to them, while
providing Mandarin a wide field of fire.  Map corners are generally ideal
for this, as they cut off two possible directions of attack, and buildings are
great for protecting anyone who isn’t right next to the edge and giving most
attackers only one way to get to you (the stairs).

So what
now?  Well, first let’s get our default set-up in mind.  This is the
set-up that we would like if the map were blank, and we’ll modify it as we need
to.  It goes like this:

M D1
m1 D2
m2 C2
C3
C4
C5
K C1 C6

M = Mandarin

m  =
Medic

K = Kingpin

D = Destiny

C = Con
Artist

As an aside,
the 200 point set-up is much simpler:

m1 M C3
C1 m2 C2

I’m going to
be referring to the positions outlined above (in the 300 point diagram) as
‘final positions’.  That just means that you’re going to want to end up
with your team in a set-up something like that.  Your final formation will
probably look a bit different from the one above, because you’re going to have
to adjust for terrain.  The main points here- Mandarin is on point, backed
by medical personnel (the S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic adjacent for damage pumping),
Every Con Artist and Destiny has a line of-sight on Mandarin and as many medics
as possible, Kingpin is set up to slow down people if there’s an obvious entrance,
and Destiny is in the position among the support pieces most likely to get hit,
with another Destiny adjacent to her (This lets her get three tries at Super
Senses, and is the only thing that might keep a support piece safe from his
heavy hitters).  Remember, sometimes you just can’t give this many people
line-of-sight and provide Mandarin with adjacent medics.  You may have to
hold some of your pieces in reserve.

Selecting a
set-up area can be tough.  Elevated terrain is a great asset to shooters
of Mandarin’s caliber, but the buildings on the outside map that comes with the
starters all have yet more elevated terrain on the rooftops, which makes
positioning eight figures to all have line of sight on your shooter can be
tough.  Just remember that figures on elevated terrain can ignore figure
bases on lower terrain when determining line of sight.  This means that
you can pull off some version of the normal formation with any rooftop but the
purple one, but Mandarin is going to have to fly figures on top of that terrain
if it’s at least two squares wide, and they’re going to have to start there or
get there themselves if it’s less (since fliers can only deposit their cargo
into adjacent squares and squares on different elevations are never adjacent).
This could be another reason to try to fit in a Black Cat, in all honesty (as
she has Leap/Climb).

Other than
that, the only things that matter during initial set-up are that your
Probability Controllers are in the front rank, flanking Kingpin.  This is
important for rerolling failed Leadership rolls and because they may need to
help reroll attacks against Mandarin first thing if your opponent gets off to a
fast start.  When you place objects, place one on what will become the
shooter’s square, one to the left of that square, and one on the stairs (if
outside) or some other place where the enemy is likely going to want to go and
Mandarin can hit (if inside).  Most figures will have to stop when
entering hindering terrain, so this will slow people down.

Turn one –
Kingpin rolls Leadership – three times if need be (remember, he’s flanked by
Probability Controllers).  He’s going to make it 87.5% of the time, so you
should be able to count on having a rapid deployment.  For now, speed is
key.  Assuming that you have 4 actions this turn, for the first of them,
Mandarin takes his Medic and flies to the hindering terrain bonus provided by
the object on the corner of the building or wherever else he’s shooting from
(his defense is now 20 against ranged attacks), setting the Medic down on the
object to his left.  The next three turns involve moving Con Artists into
the squares next to their final positions against the bottom map edge if you
can, or some sort of protective barrier if you can’t, in accordance with the diagram.
Second turn, push two (or three, depending on whether you’re being threatened
enough this early in the game to feel a need to take a shot with Mandarin yet
and how many actions you have) of the Con Artists onto their Perplex clicks and
into their final positions.  If Kingpin was able to secure you another
action and you don’t need to take the shot, move a fresh Con Artist next to her
final position.  If someone’s getting close, Perplex Mandarin’s damage up
as high as you can (or add some of that Perplexing to range if they stayed just
out of the 12-square danger zone, or up his attack roll if you’re nervous about
hitting) and push him to attack (first Outwitting any defense if the opposing
character was foolish enough to move within 10).  If you didn’t have to
use your Probability Controllers yet this turn, they can help make sure that he
hits with that attack roll.  Turn three – Move your remaining Con Artists
into the squares next to their final positions.  If there are any Con
Artists who are already next to their final positions and are just waiting to
be pushed, push them into place.  If you have any extra actions left, heal
Mandarin, take a shot with Mandarin, put the paramedic into final position, or
move Kingpin next to the stairs or doorway to act as a bouncer- after next turn
we’ll never need Leadership again.  Just remember that you want a clear
line of fire between the person fighting Kingpin and Mandarin, if
possible.  Any of those steps that you didn’t get to do, you can always do
next turn- as the only person who’ll have to move after that is Mandarin.
Turn four- make sure everyone’s in final position.  Of course, you might
need to mix this up a bit if the terrain forces you into a variant
configuration involving dropping a Perplexer on elevated terrain.

Now that
you’ve got Mandarin set up, the basic game plan goes like this: shoot anything
that moves.  Your first priority is killing Mind Controllers.  I
know, taking a hit from Firelord is really unpleasant, but he’s within Outwit
range if he’s hitting you, so you can cut that five damage down to three, and
Mandarin’s got two medics right behind him, with Perplexers to up their chances
and Probability Controllers to increase the odds of getting a good Support
roll.  Mind Controllers, furthermore, can force Mandarin into the center
of the board, away from his support team.  Granted, he’s still a nasty
customer all alone, but it puts him into boatloads of danger that he could just
as easily avoid.  Your next priority is to KO any figure with Explosion or
Pulse Wave – these powers are notorious for being able to kill quite a few
smaller characters with one punch.  Since your Con Artists only have one
good click, a single Pulse Wave can put a gigantic crimp in your game.
Just remember that few people keep these powers for long and they have to be
well within range of Mandarin before they can hit the figures cowering in the
back row.

After that,
keep in mind that six Con Artists can Perplex Mandarin’s damage up to 9 (3+6 =
9, which the S.H.I.E.L.D.Medic can pump to 10), he can Outwit defensive
superpowers, and in a pinch, you can divide some of those bonuses up so that he
can hit for four points (using the Shield ability) at a range of 18- which
means absolutely anything on the board, if you’re in position.  For that
matter, this also means that he can Mind Control at a range of 18- which might
prove useful.  His 11 attack is quite respectable, but if he should miss,
just use Probability Control.  With the ability to roll his attack three
times, he hits an 18 defense slightly more than 92% of the time – which goes to
just under 98% if his attack is Perplexed up by one.  Take out your
opponent’s heavy hitters (not many things are still standing after 10 clicks of
damage) and pieces that look like they can menace your support staff.  If
there’s nothing exposed, start destroying blocking terrain to deny your enemy
cover.  Don’t worry too much about Stealth if you’re on elevated terrain –
it only affects a rooftop sniper if the stealthy figure is actually in the
hindering terrain, and stealthy characters rarely have the range to be
effective on their side of the board.  Since most of the stealthy types
are close-in fighters, you may need to take them down hand to hand if they get
too close.  That’s okay – if need be, Mandarin’s hand-to-hand attack is
fairly nasty as well.  Don’t be shy about pushing Mandarin – you’ve got
the Support and the extra actions to heal him up fairly regularly, and it’s
well worth it when he can make an auto-kill with almost every shot.  If
someone does make it to the rooftop or into your room, Kingpin should tie them
up so Mandarin can get a shot in.  In the worst case scenario, you can
afford to lose a few Con Artists.  Assuming that your enemy can only kill one
a turn and you can also kill one figure a turn, then the trade is often more
than worth it.

There you
go, Frustrated!  I hope that unleashing the power of a new set upon
your nemesis will prove to be exactly what you need.

-Dr. Vengeance

Ask Dr.
Vengeance

by Sonya-X

Dear Dr.
Vengeance,

I’m going absolutely nuts. My roommate’s a timid little weasel. Every game, we
spend five times as much time maneuvering as hitting each other. We’ve both got
some good pieces, but I’m not stupid enough to walk into his set-ups and he
won’t stand still while I pummel him. I thought that this would be a pretty
cool game, but it’s got to be the most boring thing I’ve ever seen playing
against this guy. How do I get some action going? If I advance my pieces into
his territory to try and stir things up, he mows them down in nothing flat. If
I sit back and try to draw him out, I just about die of boredom. Dr. Vengeance,
I need to beat this guy so badly I can taste it. I want to make him cry. I want
to dance as he cradles his broken, KO’d figures in his hands. I want to hear
him waking up at night whimpering when he remembers the thrashing that I gave
him the day before. But most of all, I want to do it in half an hour or less.
Help me, Dr. Vengeance.

-Bored in Cleveland

Dear Bored,

It looks like you’ve got one of two problems. Either you’re both extremely
cautious, defensive players or your friend’s spontaneously channeling Sun Tzu
and you’re just barely staying out of his trap. It doesn’t really matter which,
as my advice is the same either way. You’ve got to take back the board. Why are
you letting him suck you into a game that you don’t want to play? If you’d
rather get to the “Hulk Smash” part of things, you’re going to have to force
him into the thick of battle before he can set up whatever strategies are
keeping you cowering on the other side of the board. For that, you need to
strike fast.

Force
projection is an important part of this game. It doesn’t matter how nasty
Spiral’s Flurry/ Blades/Claws/Fangs combo might be if she can’t get close
enough to use it. You don’t want to spend the entire game chasing after his
pieces. That’s why ranged attacks and taxis show up so much in tournaments. If
you can’t bring the hurt to them, you surely can’t expect them to walk all the
way over to you to get it. Putting together a team that can make itself be felt
across the board takes a little planning. Your main question with such a team
should be “how quickly can I cripple my opponent’s strategy?” Generally, this
means taking down a central piece. Unless your opponent is playing with a host
of low cost menacing pieces (a number of Blades/Claws/Fangs teams work this
way), there is going to be one guy that your opponent just doesn’t want to
lose. Your job is to make him lose this piece as fast as possible, which means
concentrating on force projection.

To this end,
look at ways in which someone can travel and attack on the same turn. Ignore
Charge. Charge is great in many situations, but it just doesn’t have the reach
we need. The highest Movement score of anyone with Charge is 10. Ten isn’t bad,
but charging with it only allows you to move five squares and then engage in a
hand-to-hand attack. The map is 24 squares deep. Five squares doesn’t cut it.
Running Shot, however, is a godsend. While the highest Movement score of anyone
with Running Shot (not counting Sentinels, who are just too expensive for team
play by the time that they get it) is also 10, Running Shot lets you make a
ranged attack at the end of a half move. As it turns out, the range of the
fastest piece with Running Shot (Veteran Human Torch) is 10, giving you the
ability to hit something 15 squares away. That’s better, but it still doesn’t
cross the entire map. Coming in second is Nightcrawler. As the only character
with Hypersonic Speed, he can attack anywhere within his awe-inspiring 14 move.
Pretty good, but not quite fast enough for a first-turn whammy.

What these
pieces need is some support. Fliers and Telekinetics make up for the range
these pieces lack. Rookie Mandroid Armor only costs 28 points, but is more than
capable of flinging someone 10 squares into enemy territory. Pair that up with
Nightcrawler or someone with a decent Running Shot, and you’ve got a first turn
attack. Assuming that you place your piece on the second rank of your starting
area so you have less board to cover (and assuming that your opponent puts his
on the map edge to make things hard for you), you only need a combined range
and half move value of 12, so range 10, move 4, or range 8, move 8 are our
cutoffs. The cheapest way to do that is Rookie Blizzard (range 8, move 8, and
Running Shot for 35 points). Unfortunately, Blizzard only does 1 click of
damage. While one click may be vital in some situations, it’s not much of a
whammy. You really need someone who does at least three clicks of damage. Why?
To get through Invulnerability. The only way to do that under a hundred points
is Veteran Human Torch (remember, Ranged Combat Expert doesn’t count- it can’t
be combined with Running Shot). If you have the points to spare, Annihilus and
Thor combine the first strike capability with some serious staying power
(Invulnerability) and (at least in Thor’s case) heavier damage. Of course,
Experienced Thor (144 points) and Rookie Mandroid Armor (28 points) pretty much
are a 200-point team all on their own (only leaving you 28 points left to work
out a plan B).

At first
blush, fliers might seem less useful for a first strike than TKers. After all,
the best movement that you can get out of any flier under 50 points is 8 (not
counting the Vulture LE Adrian Toomes, who can give you speed 10 for 30). There
are a few reasons why I still prefer flying taxis, however. First, a character
who’s been TKed into combat is stranded 10 squares away from his ride. A flier
ends up in an adjacent square to pull the other piece out of the fire if need
be. Secondly, a flier can set a passenger down in any open adjacent square-
including ones in front of the flier, effectively increasing the distance
traveled to nine squares. Third, and most importantly, Experienced Wasp is a
cheap flier. Why so excited about Wasp? Her Avenger status gives her a free
move. It doesn’t hurt that her defense is amazing, but the really stand-out
feature of Wasp is that she opens up the possibility of assigning every action
on your first turn to an attack.

Now, there
are only so many figures that can reach across the map on Wasp’s back (just
don’t try to picture it, the poor little pocket-sized Avenger sweating and
groaning, trying to cart these attackers around), as speed 8 from the second
rank can only drop someone off as deep as row 11 (starting on the second row,
moving 8 squares to row 10, and dropping off the attacker on row 11). This
means that our attackers have to cover 13 rows to hit someone in the last rank.
That’s still fine for Nightcrawler, but our shooters are going to need at least
a movement of 6 and a range of 10 (13 squares) or a movement of 10 and a range
of 8 (14 squares). As it turns out, that gives us the exact same list of
shooters doing at least three points of damage as using a telekinetic did.

It’s pretty
easy to see that, using our cheapest qualifying shooter (poor Nightcrawler only
does 2 clicks of damage anyway), we’ll never be able to take full advantage of
our capability to devote all of our actions to attack. Veteran Human Torch
costs 73 points and Experienced Wasp costs 33, for a total of 106 points per
attack team, and just barely too expensive to include two of them in a
200-point game or three in a 300-point game. Don’t worry, we’re not done yet.
There’s no reason that we have to give the second (or third) figure Running
Shot. Assuming that their respective rides set them down right next to each
other, the Human Torch can pick up the straggler before he starts the movement phase
of his Running Shot and drop him just before he takes it. Since he moves five
squares before he fires (to row 16), the passenger only needs a range of 8 to
hit the last rank of the opponent’s team.

This means
that, in a 200-point game, a team might consist of:

2 Experienced Wasps (@33 pts each = 66)

1 Veteran Human Torch (73 pts, for a total of 139, leaving you 61)

and Rookie Klaw (60 points) or Cyclops (55 points), both of whom can attack
with Ranged Combat Expert for four clicks at range 10.

=199 or 194 points

That’s a
possibility of seven clicks of damage against your opponent’s best figure
before they’ve even moved. It would go something like this: The Wasps start out
in row 2, with their payloads behind them. Wasp 1 picks up Human Torch and flies
8 squares to row 10 and puts her passenger down on row 11. Wasp 2 picks up
(let’s just say Cyclops for this example) and drops him on row 11 as well.
Neither of those movements took an action token, so for action #1, Human Torch
picks up Cyclops and begins his attack run. He flies three squares (he doesn’t
need to move his full half movement, and this puts the last row in his range
while keeping him safe from retaliation from people who don’t also have range
10) to row 14 and sets Cyclops down next to him (also to keep him safer from
retaliation). Human Torch can now attack the back row for 3 points with an
attack of 10. Action 2, Cyclops attacks, also hitting the back row if need be.
He does 4 clicks of damage with an attack of 9.

In the turns
to come, keep the pressure on your opponent’s high-end pieces. Take out medics
quickly to prevent your opponent from recovering from your attacks. If things
get tight, remember that Wasps block line of sight with the best of them and
are a real pain to hit. Putting Wasp in front of a piece with Running Shot
isn’t much of a sacrifice- the shooter can simply jog to the left and then let
loose. Keep your opponent reacting and stay out of reach of his tougher pieces.
Mobility is key. Try not to push unless the payoff is high- otherwise, you can
do seven clicks of damage every other turn to almost any exposed figure on the
board.

Or, for a
300-point game, you could try this team:

Vet Human Torch (73 pts)

Exp Firelord (81 pts) and either…

Vet Wasp (37
pts)

2x Vet Doombot (@38 pts each = 76)

Vet Avalanche ( 32 pts)

= 299 points

…or 2x Exp
Wasp (@33 pts each = 66)

Vet Doombot (38 pts)

Exp Avalanche (23 pts)

Vet AIM Medic (17 pts)

= 298 pts

First, why
did we swap out the Exp. Wasps? Well, we upgraded one Wasp because, when we
finished constructing the rest of the team we had five points left over and we
might as well. Her stats stay good a little longer that way. We exchanged the
other two for Doombots for three reasons. First, with the option to copy other
team abilities they still get the extra move so long as Wasp or Avalanche are
on the board. Second, while they have the same taxi capabilities as Wasp,
they’re better combat pieces (explosion being pretty handy and having a higher
attack value). Finally, they have leadership, which may be useful in getting
the taxis into the fray. Firelord was included for his time-tested ability to
do massive damage with unnerving accuracy. Avalanche was put in as a cheap
Barrier piece, to afford our shooters a little protection. He’s also not bad as
a late-in-the-game attacker. On the other hand, the second configuration leaves
us with a slightly weaker Wasp and secondary attack pieces, but adds a medic
(with an unbeatable 8 attack on her support roll) and gives the Hydra ability
to the Doombots.

Game play
goes like this (counting all squares away from player, so the row of squares on
the player’s edge is row 1): All Wasps/ Doombots start out on Row 2, Everyone
else is directly behind their ride (except for the medic, if any, whose job
consists of staying out of the way). First move: each Wasp or ‘bot picks up the
person behind her or it and flies eight squares deeper into the map, ending
their move on row 10 (Row 2 + Movement 8). This doesn’t take any actions
because she or it’s an Avenger. They put their passengers down on an adjacent
square on Row 11. All three passengers should now be adjacent to each other on
Row 11. Action 1: Torch picks up Firelord and takes a running shot. He ends his
movement phase on Row 15 (just out of range of any range 8’s on the last row),
puts Firelord down on Row 16 and takes his shot. He’s got a range of 10 and the
gameboard is only 24 squares across, so he can hit anyone in his opponent’s
front rank. With an attack of 10, he’s got a pretty good chance of landing his
three damage. Action 2: Firelord’s turn comes next. He’s on Row 16 and has a
range of 8, so he can also hit the 24th row if he needs to. With an attack of
12 and 5 damage, that’s probably going to hurt and almost certainly going to hit.
Action 3: Finally, we left Avalanche on Row 11. His job this turn is to erect a
barrier in front of your shooters to protect against retaliation. The furthest
shooter is 5 squares away on Row 16, so a barrier needs to go on Row 17 – just
barely within his range of 6 if you’re playing with the experienced Avalanche.
Veteran Avalanche has range 8, however, so feel free to double up the barriers
if appropriate (if all lines of fire from potential retaliators would have to
go through the same square). Even if they manage to shoot through the barrier,
your opponents have had to waste a valuable three damage attack on it and have
created some protective hindering terrain. Besides, Firelord and Torch both
have pretty good defense against ranged. Needless to say, whether you push next
turn or not depends on just how badly you’ve smoked the other team. If things
look grim, Avalanche can push and/or trade off with Firelord to keep your team
covered. Otherwise, it might be worth the push damage to do a combined 16 clicks
in the first two turns. Even Invulnerable characters would take 8 points from
that, and that’s enough to take the fight out of Veteran Thor.

After the
first turn assault, keep your force moving. Remember that Firelord goes down
fast. On the bright side, this means that your medic (if you have one) is going
to have better luck. Use Doombots to hit support pieces or, if you’re using the
line-up with the medic, to increase attack values against tough opponents.
Also, if using the medic, it’s never a bad idea to keep a taxi nearby to
deliver medical attention where needed. Keep the medic directly behind people
engaged in firefights or who end up pushing a lot- there’s no reason not to
heal as you go, especially if Doombots are generating extra actions for you.

Well, there
you have it, Cleveland. Let me know how it goes.

-Dr. Vengeance

All Purpose Avengers

by SentinelofLiberty

The Avengers
are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, banded together to fight the foes no single hero
can withstand. They run the gamut of superheroes in the Marvel Universe, from
ex-KGB secret agents and mutant terrorists to living legends and gods of myth.
In HeroClix, this much diversity can pose a challenge when selecting a
300-point team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to do battle with the forces of
evil. While the point costs of some of the Avengers can be difficult to
reconcile in a 300-point faction army, there are several useful and “realistic”
configurations of Avengers teams at this play level. This article deals with
the basics of the Avengers in HeroClix and one configuration of “All Purpose
Avengers” (with a S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic) at 300 points, and a variation on the
team.

The
Avengers Team Ability

One of the most powerful assets the Avengers have in HeroClix is the Avengers
Team Ability. This gives every member on a team with the Avengers logo the
ability to move without costing an action towards your actions for the turn.
What this means to a team of all (or mostly all) Avengers is that they can get
into position faster than most other factions in the game. The Brotherhood Team
Ability is identical to the Avengers Team Ability. The Avengers have 7 figures
with Flight ability, which gives you a wide range of choice for taxiing a
figure like Hawkeye for a running shot or Captain America for a charge when you
need that extra distance. And since a move action doesn’t cost any actions
toward your turn, you’ll definitely be able to pull off those kinds of tactics.

The
A-Team

This team consists of a good mix of characters with a wide variety of powers
and abilities to counter different threats.

1 Veteran Captain America 62 pts

1 Veteran Hercules 83 pts

1 Veteran Scarlet Witch 40 pts

1 Experienced Wasp 33 pts

1 Experienced Quicksilver 24 pts

1 Experienced Hawkeye 43 pts

1 Experienced SHIELD Medic 15 pts

Total: 299 pts

Veteran
Captain America:

Captain America is the glue that holds the Avengers together. While the Veteran
Captain America may not be the most powerful figure, he boasts good attack and
defense values, his defense further augmented by Energy Absorption/Deflection.
In the comics Cap is rarely out front. He usually backs up his teammates and
gives commands for them to execute. Used in this way on this team, Captain
America can be a last ditch powerhouse when the game is nearly over. Allow him
to make Leadership rolls for extra attacks, and Charge in for an emergency
rescue. As always, the Avengers have the power, but Captain America has the
way!

Veteran
Hercules:

The Vet Hercules is one of the best heavy hitters in HeroClix, posting at least
3 clicks of damage for most of his very deep combat dial. Hercules also starts
with an attack of 11, which is decent. Toughness goes nearly the length of his
dial as well, all but ensuring he’ll be around for a good while to aid the Avengers.
Hercules has a fair defense of 15, but be sure to cover him with ranged attacks
to get the most out of the Lion of Olympus.

Veteran
Scarlet Witch:

Scarlet Witch may be the clinch hitter on this (or any) team of Avengers! Wanda
isn’t the best combatant, with only a fair 8 attack to start, but she doesn’t
need to be. Probability Control is her stock in trade. On outdoor maps, try
starting her on elevated terrain and keep the Avengers where she has line of
fire to them for the re-roll. Use her 8 range for attacks against weaker
opponents when you need that extra click.

Experienced
Wasp:

The Experienced Wasp brings a little extra mobility to the otherwise grounded
Avengers. Jan’s point cost (33) makes her the best taxi in Marvel HeroClix
for the points, and she posts an impressive 18 defense. Her main job is to
carry Hawkeye into attack range, but she can also be used to block or carry
Hercules back to the Medic. Wasp’s 7 attack is poor, so don’t rely on her to
make too many unless you get into a tough spot.

Experienced
Quicksilver:

Quicksilver’s main job is to block for the other Avengers with relatively low
defenses, namely Hawkeye and Hercules. His 18 defense (with Energy
Shield/Deflection) makes him a good shield against long-range attacks. Quicksilver
also has Flurry, so make good use of it when an opposing figure is adjacent.
Quicksilver isn’t very tough, so be prepared to lose him eventually.

Experienced
Hawkeye:

The Experienced Hawkeye gives the Avengers a much needed range boost. Quasar,
Thor and Vision have long ranges, but they all cost well over 100 points to
field. At 43 points, E Hawkeye is a dedicated ranged attacker with a fair
attack value of 9, allowing him to hit most opponents with an average roll.
Keep Hawkeye in range for a re-roll from Scarlet Witch to boost his chances of
doing damage. When Hawkeye takes a few hits, he gains Running Shot and
Incapacitate. Make as much use of his 2 arrows as possible to tie up foes with
extra tokens. His attack level is poor (only a 6) at this point, but hopefully
your opponent isn’t in any better shape.

Experienced
S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic:
As S.H.I.E.L.D. often works with the Avengers in the Marvel
Universe, it is fitting for them to work with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in
HeroClix as well. Keep the medic out of harm’s way and use her to heal a
battered Hercules or Quicksilver if they can make it back to the starting
position.

This team of
Avengers features all the types of units that make up a well-balanced team in
HeroClix. They have the abilities needed to handle a variety of threats, as
well the mobility to outmaneuver the competition. Heed the battle-cry,
“Avengers Assemble!”

With A Little Help From My Friends: The Best HeroClix Powers To
Help You Win

by James Lynch

In Marvel
HeroClix
, the powers that do no damage whatsoever are often the powers that
win the game. There are innumerable strategies for dealing damage – focusing on
ranged attacks, melee-only brawlers, mind controllers, one heavy hitter and
some cannon fodder, etc. – but these other powers can easily tip the scales in
your favor – or cost you the game if you’re playing someone with them. And so,
here are the best supporting powers for HeroClix:

PROBABILITY
CONTROL

If there is one thing most gamers want, it’s the “do over,” the chance to get a
second roll of the dice when the first one had disastrous results. Probability
Control gives you that ability – and then some!

Probability
Control works equally well for offense or defense. When you’re on the attack,
use this power to turn a miss into a second chance at a hit (or to try and
increase a bad roll of your Blades/Claws/Fangs). When you’re defending, use
Probability Control to make someone’s definite hit into a possible miss; if
used on someone whose Super Senses failed, the attacker has to reroll to hit
and then has to get past the Super Senses again! And you don’t have to decide
whether to use it for offense or defense: Since you can use it once on your
turn and once when it’s not your turn, you can use it to attack and have it for
defense as well!

Probability
Control works for other areas too. If you rolled low on Support, Probability
Control gives you another shot for better healing. It can also make it harder
for your opponents to break away from melees with your heavy hitters. And re-rolling
your own Critical Failures is always a good thing!

And the best
thing about Probability Control is that it doesn’t require an action to use!
All you have to do is keep potential targets in line of sight for 10 squares,
and you’re set! The character with this power can still move, attack, and use
other powers while keeping the dice working for them!

OUTWIT

Most characters in HeroClix are selected for their powers – only the
lowest-point cannon fodder don’t have any – so removing an opponent’s powers is
great for reducing their effectiveness. Outwit lets you do that.

Outwit can
lay the groundwork for either a solid attack or stronger defense. If you’re
going on the offensive, taking away someone’s defense power is a great way to
set up damage. If you use Outwit to turn off someone’s Invulnerability, even
the one-point attacks will do damage! You can also use Outwit to keep Super
Senses from turning hits into misses, or to stop someone from Regenerating.

If you’re
behind in points, Outwit can blunt attacks against you. Turning off powers like
Blades/Claws/Fangs or Ranged Combat Expert can lessen the damage you’ll take
this round. Or turning off Super Strength can make someone drop that Heavy
Object, forcing the character to either move to pick it up (and skip attacking
this turn) or attack without it (and do less damage).

The only
downside to Outwit is that you can only use it once per round, so you have to
select whether to turn off an opponent’s offensive or defensive power. That
said, Outwit still lets you take away the very powers your opponents wanted –
and that’s a very good thing.

SUPPORT

It’s pretty rare in HeroClix that you can take out an opponent’s characters
without getting some damage in return. Used correctly, Support can let your characters
keep coming back at full strength.

Having one
or two characters with Support can almost double the damage someone has to
inflict on your team. After an opponent has scored a few hits on your
characters, send them back for some healing. If you roll well, your characters
can be back to full strength, and your opponent will have to start from scratch
at taking them out! Support is also ideal for getting back lost powers for your
characters. The Medics are fairly cheap, plus their Hydra or S.H.I.E.L.D. team
abilities will also help your long-range attacks.


None of
these powers will give you a victory by themselves, but when you combine them
with your heavy hitters, watch out! Probability Control gives you the chance to
turn around any die roll that didn’t work for you. Outwit can take away the
powers your opponent was counting on to take you out. And Support can remove
all the damage your opponent dealt, making your forces as ready to do some
damage as they were at the start of the game. Any team with at least one of
these powers will be a team to be reckoned with.

Top 10: Silent but Deadly

by RufusMcfdufus

Introduction: This list will rate
the top 10 Clix with stealth in Infinity Challenge and Clobberin’
Time
to determine who can move in the shadows without being scene and get
the drop on their foes before they know what hit them. In order to make the
list a figure must start with the stealth super power and cannot be a Limited
Edition figure.

10. Logan V
– Logan has one of the highest damage potentials in the game, and is easily the
deadliest on this list. It is his silence that causes him to fall in at #10.
Logan keeps his Stealth for only a single click, losing it for the equally
useful Flurry power.

Logan
benefits significantly from pushing off of his starting Stealth click. However,
this click is still very useful containing Toughness, above average stats and a
solid 3 damage. Logan is also able to be carried by fliers at this point. Taxi
him into base to base with a foe and let Logan’s fists fly to deal a solid 3
damage. Push him the following turn and he will gain Flurry for 3 clicks of
damage.

Let your
opponent beware: if Logan is hurt further he will release his claws and unleash
the Flurry for two devastating Blades/Claws/Fangs attacks. Those claws will
stay out the rest of the dial. However, the Toughness will disappear and he
will gain a hefty four clicks of Regeneration allowing him to get back to those
peak clicks. Beware though, his Battle Fury will not allow him to be carried
either out of or into the fray.

9. Captain
America E- This Star-Spangled Hero may not be able to dish out damage as
quickly as Logan, but he can do it from 6 squares away. Not just a hidden
shooter, Captain America is an affordable Leadership piece giving your team
those ever useful extra actions.

Should he
decide to leave the safety of his hindering terrain, Captain America has his
shield to deflect ranged shots, effectively giving an almost untouchable 18
defense at range. Combine that with his free move and he should have very
little trouble getting to his next hiding spot unharmed.

Finally,
once he is about to push up the daisies, the Cap gains the tide-turning Outwit
power, making him useful until the very end.

8. Nick Fury
U- Like Captain America, Nick Fury is a stealthy marksman and leader. What puts
him ahead of the Avenger is his double-shot. Fury is able to rain bullets on
two targets in a single attack.

Not only
that but as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. he can boost the attacks of his allies for
the price of an action, however he is better off having other S.H.I.E.L.D.
agents boost his own damage with his double-shot. Once Fury has come out of
hiding after taking a bit of damage, he gains Running Shot and Outwit making
him extremely useful. He keeps this amazing combo for two clicks, losing it for
Mastermind, which allows him to stay alive long enough to get back to a medic.

7. Black
Widow V- Black Widow may come as a shocker, but she’s got a decent attack of 9
and double-shot Incapacitate allowing her to give two opponents within 4 range
action tokens.

While she
only keeps stealth for a single click, she gains Leap/Climb for almost the rest
of her dial. This will allow her to quickly get back to a medic or allow her to
hide on top of a building. The Widow works best against teams with few pieces,
denying them actions and allowing you to swarm them.

6. Vampire
Lackey V- For a mere 20 points you get a piece with Blades/Claws/Fangs,
toughness and regeneration. Her only drawbacks are her battle fury and low combat
values, but for such a low cost you simply can’t complain. The Vampire Lackey
is one of the few “generics” in Heroclix that can not be ignored as you never
know when they may land a hefty 6 clicks of damage!

5.
Sabertooth E- Sabertooth is a savage beast, capable of utilizing his claws to
shred up any foe. His Toughness and Regeneration help keep him in the game.
Your opponent will have an extremely hard time putting this cat down.
Sabertooth also has the Brotherhood team ability allowing him to close in on
his foes without wasting valuable actions. This version of Sabertooth is a
prime choice when you need a stealth Blades/Claws/Fangs piece that can take a
good amount of punishment, for those battles that don’t need the subtly of
stealth you are better off with the charging Veteran Sabertooth.

4. Invisible
Girl R- While Sue herself is not exactly deadly, she can make sure the rest of
your team stays alive long enough to deal with almost any threat. With stealth
all the way down her dial and a defense of 18 with Defend she can keep everyone
around her alive. She is used best with Energy Shield/ Deflection pieces,
effectively giving them a defense of 20! Her team ability only benefits you if
you are using another Fantastic Four member and only kicks in when one of them
dies, and it is a nice safety net, but it is not that significant.

Sue’s E and
V gain flying but lose that starting defend for Invulnerability/Toughness of 9.
These pieces are best used as early taxis and should then stay out of harm’s way
until mid to late game where none can penetrate her 19 defense.

3. Black
Panther E- Stealth, Blades/Claws/Fangs and Outwit for 36 points. What is not to
like? This version of Panther is great for turning off opponent’s powers from
the safety of hindering terrain. If someone does try to get in base to base
with him, Panther can utilize his claws to defend himself. His main weakness is
against taxied close combatants and chargers.

When points
are tight and you don’t think you will need the claws, swap him for the Rookie
version which is 9 points less and has the Avengers team ability.

2. Wolverine
U- With stats out the roof it is obvious why Wolverine’s Unique weighs in at #2
on this list. Wolvie keeps his claws for his entire dial and has a starting
attack of 12! Stealth for two clicks, followed by two clicks of Charge, allows
Wolverine to sneak up (or be taxied in) and then leap out from hindering
terrain with Charge.

Like
Sabertooth, Wolverine U has both Toughness and Regeneration allowing him a good
amount of longevity. This is Wolverine at his best.

1. Elektra
U- The number one piece on our “Silent but Deadly” Top 10 list is none other
than Elektra U. At first glance she seems like a pushover, but for a mere 36
points she is a true steal. You get five clicks of Stealth, four of
Blades/Claws/Fangs, a starting attack of 11, 4 ranged attack with double-shot,
solid ranged damage of 2, and a starting defense of 16 she should never be
taken likely.

Elektra is a
true assassin, be it at short range or close up, your opponent will never see
her coming (if you plan your attack properly). Keep her in hindering terrain at
all times and either inch her up by foot or carry her with a taxi. Stay in the
shadows taking pot shots until one of your other pieces can tie up your
opponent so that she can close in unleash some serious damage with those
blades.

As a solo
piece she is great for taking out support units, but don’t be afraid to use her
to fight larger bricks and powerhouses with a friend or two. Pound for pound,
this chick is the sneakiest little assassin in the game.

Really, Masters of Evil Can Work!

by WarlordEarnan

I consider
myself to be a decent team-builder. I try to spend a few minutes each day
reading the various team-building forums, to both give my opinion and to see
what ideas other people are coming up with. One thing I’ve noticed is that when
anyone puts a Master of Evil on their team a number of people will immediately
tell them that the MoE team ability is useless, and to take that character off and
replace it.

After
reading these posts for a while I decided to take a long, hard look at the
Masters of Evil. I looked at the team ability, and the characters that have it.
I thought about how to make it work, and tried building teams. After some trial
and error, and more thinking about the game than is probably healthy (thank
you, boring job!) I came to a few conclusions, and ended up with a remarkably
effective team.

According to
the Powers and Abilities Card, this is the team ability: “Masters of Evil: When
two or more members of the Masters of Evil are adjacent to an opposing
character, they can all attack using only one of your actions. Mark any
character who attacks this way with an action token.” This is deceptively
powerful. It allows you to break one of the fundamental rules of the game by
letting multiple characters attack for only one action. Ideally you’d want to
have 3 or more characters attack for that one action in order to fully exploit
it. The question is who?

Infinity
Challenge
offers these Masters of Evil:

Experienced
Constrictor

Veteran Boomerang

Veteran Blizzard

Veteran Whirlwind

Veteran Mr. Hyde

Veteran Klaw

Veteran Controller

Experienced Kang

Veteran Kang

Veteran Ultron

Also, there
were 2 Limited Edition figures that have the Masters of Evil ability, those
being the LE Fred Myers (Boomerang) and the LE Yellowjacket. A cursory glance
at this list shows one big problem, being that a number of these figures are
more designed for ranged combat. Controller on his first clicks and Constrictor
are both short-ranged figures and close combat figures. Kang and Ultron are
both very expensive and should have teams built around them. Trying to utilize
the MoE ability with them would be difficult since you would have few points
left over, even on a 300 point team, and MoE figures in general run a bit
expensive.

Another
problem is that only four of these figures can do more than 2 damage. Ultron is
one of them, and I’ve already dismissed him as too expensive. This leaves
Whirlwind, Controller, and Mr. Hyde. Controller would be difficult to use in an
MoE team, because Mind Control does not lend itself well to group attacks. His
best clicks for this are in the middle of his dial, a tenuous position to be
trying to set up a combo from. Veteran Whirlwind is a good choice, with Flurry
and 3 damage to start, but an 8 attack really hampers his ability as a primary
attacker. We’ll keep him in mind though, since he could be a great finisher.
Mr. Hyde is a relatively stable character but he has a number of clicks of
Battle Fury, which would hurt the team while it is trying to set up the attack.
His attack is pretty good at 10, and before Clobberin’ Time came out, he would
be a great choice as a primary attacker.

Clobberin’
Time

only adds 3 characters to the MoE pool; Experienced Yellowjacket, Unique
Enchantress and Unique Titania. Yellowjacket is worth noting as she is a cheap
flier, but I’ll discuss later why she wouldn’t be ideal for the team.
Enchantress is a good character, but probably a little expensive and more of a
ranged support character. Her Perplex would be very helpful, so we’ll keep her
in mind. Unique Titania is an excellent character for this style team, though.
Her attack starts at 10, and her damage is 4. Invulnerability protects her, and
even if she takes some damage her dial is stable enough to take it.

Building the
team itself presents more challenges than just finding the characters that
would be effective using the ability. At first, it’s tempting to jam as many of
the Masters on the team as you can. In practice, this isn’t true. While you’ll
have a number of characters to use the ability with, you’ll end up wasting
activations getting your figures into position and you’ll also end up pushing
to get the attacks off once you are in contact

So, you need
the ability to move your characters into position without putting tokens on
them. You need taxis! This will effectively remove Mr. Hyde from consideration
for the team, since his multiple clicks of Battle Fury will give you nightmares
trying to set up the combo in the mid-game. But, there are still a number of
viable characters, so we’ll move on from there.

Simply
moving the characters into position may not be enough, though. We’re going to
shoot for a 300-point team here, since we want to get at least three Masters on
the team, and we need to be able to move them into position as well. Now we
need to start looking at the activation pool. We’ll have 3 activations at 300
points. This will let us move the team into position, but we can’t attack,
losing the initiative. This is a bad thing. You can toss a cheap Leadership
figure in, but then you’ll only get that 4th activation 50% of the time, and
you want more consistency than that.

This would
imply that the team needs at least one free move taxi. A taxi with the Avengers
or Brotherhood team abilities would leave one activation free for the team to
get the attack in, giving your team the initiative. This is a good thing.

So, after
all this, I have come to these conclusions. The Masters of Evil team ability
can be useful but it can’t be just tossed onto a team. You have to build a team
around it. While building the team, you need to find at least one Master with
at least an attack of 10 in order to be the first attacker in a gang attack. In
order to effectively use the ability, you will need taxis to allow your
characters into position without putting tokens on them. Finally, at least one
of those taxis will need to have the Avengers or Brotherhood team ability to
leave one action free to attack with.

With these
ideas in mind, it’s time to set on the wonderful task of building an effective
Masters of Evil team. First of all, we need to decide which of the Masters we
will be using. I already listed all the choices and some of their upsides and
downsides. In my opinion, Veteran Whirlwind is well worth adding to the team.
Masters of Evil combines very well with Flurry, since only the first attack has
to be on the common target. If he finishes him off, he can then make the second
attack on another opponent. However, as I already said, Whirlwind’s 8 attack
keeps him from being a primary attacker. He needs someone to soften the enemy
up first.

At 85
points, Titania is a bit expensive. Her attack of 10 is hardly stellar, since
it means that she’ll need to roll an 8 or higher to hit an 18 defense. Here
defense is pretty low. But she doesn’t degrade much as she takes damage and she
sticks around for a long time, which will give you ample time to run her back
to a medic. Unfortunately Super Strength doesn’t work well with being carried,
but her high base damage is what we’re looking for, and she can use her Super
Strength later in the game once you’ve dealt with the big, nasty threats.

As a taxi,
an Experienced Wasp is a definite. Her Avengers ability is solid gold, and her
18 defense just helps, since opponents may waste shots on her to try and
cripple her. A second taxi is also needed, and a Veteran Doombot fits the bill.
The Minions of Doom team ability will be very helpful, allowing him to move for
free and possible participate in an MoE attack.

Speaking of
the Minions, we still need one more attacker. The Minions of Doom offer
possibly the best pure offensive piece, and she’ll fit wonderfully into this
team. The Unique Spiral is another Flurry figure, giving her the same
advantages as Whirlwind and she has an attack of 10, giving her a similar
upside to Titania. She’s a huge threat, and may take your opponents attention
off of Titania, allowing her to attack later in the game where her weaknesses aren’t
as big a problem.

If we are
adding Spiral, then we need a Telekinesis figure on the team. Rookie Jean Grey,
while more expensive than a Mandroid, offers more to this team. She can be
pushed for Telekinesis, and she offers the X-Men team ability that the Minions
of Doom could benefit from. It’s slow, but it has some uses if you have the
time. One of my favorites is to apply the click of damage to a badly injured
member and heal a slightly wounded one, making the badly wounded one that much
easier to heal.

At this
point we have 16 points left, which is just enough for an Experienced AIM
Medic. AIM Medics are the way to go if you have the points, since the 8 attack
is currently the highest of all Medics.

Basically,
then main goal for this team is to jump on an overextended piece. You can make
5 attacks with one action and only three of them have to be on the same target,
meaning you can deal with a figure and its taxi with relative ease. One thing
to make sure of is that you leave line of fire and a good spot for Jean to
Telekinesis Spiral to. She is a critical piece, and can destroy the heart of
most teams. Don’t be afraid of running back to the medic to regroup, and be
wary of opponent’s long-range pieces. You have practically no ranged support,
so you’ll have to play carefully around them.

Here’s the
team list, for easy reference:

U Spiral 56

U Titania 85

V Doombot 38

V Whirlwind 41

E AIM Medic 16

E Wasp 33

R Jean Grey 31

300 points

I hope you
have fun with this list, and that I may have swayed your opinion about the
Masters of Evil. They’re not bad, they’re just misunderstood!

The Women of Xplosion

by The_Drop_Out

When one
looks at the check list for the latest Heroclix expansion, Xplosion, you
cannot wonder if perhaps this article should really be named: “The Xplosion
of Women”. This expansion has provided us with more female characters than ever
before. I asked Jon Leitheusser about this issue and here’s what he had to say:

Xplosion
has as many female characters as Clobberin’ Time did. But both of them
have significantly more than other HeroClix expansions. In those expansions, no
thought was given to the ratio of male to female characters. When I took over
with Clobberin’ Time I looked at the sets, realized they were woefully
few women in the set and formalized the process so that the set is split 60/40
male/female.

“There are a
lot of great female heroes and villains that deserve to be in the game, so I’m
making sure they are.

“At some
point, simply because there are more male characters than female characters, I
may have to change the ratio, but I’d like to keep it as is for the moment.”

As in my
previous articles, I’ll be examining the great female characters and why they
should be at the top of your list when you start looking for those key players
in your force. There are a total of sixteen female characters (with Shadowcat
doing double duty as a unique) being introduced in Xplosion: two
“generics” and fourteen “named” characters. We’ll go ahead and do a top ten
review of the figures I feel lend themselves nicely to a great playing
experience. Over all, each piece has great attributes and should be considered
for play, even those that do not make my list.

Number
Ten: The One Shot Wonders (Destiny, Boom-Boom, Con Artist)

Each of these ladies does one thing and does it well. And then basically does
nothing else. Each piece is fairly low in regards to point cost, so you get
what you pay for: a one trick pony.

Destiny has been introduced as the constant Probability Control piece for the
Brotherhood. Unlike her previous counterpart, Rookie Scarlet Witch, Destiny
sticks with the Brotherhood for each of her versions, but has no ranged attack
(not like she needs it with her Attack values and Damage values being zeros).
Boom-Boom is our Energy EXplosion figure for the expansion. She’s an
X-Man in her experienced version, and even gets a name upgrade in her veteran
version (Meltdown) while remaining with the X-Men.

Finally we have the Con Artist. The first character from Xplosion to get
the “broken” (or “borken”, take your pick) misnomer, the Con Artist is our
generic Perplex piece. Each of her three versions have Perplex in the middle of
the dial, so she’s not as big of a threat as first imagined. Nonetheless, the
Con Artist, like the others, is easy to fit into your team due to the relative
low point cost.

Number
Nine: Lady Deathstrike (#92, Unique)

The only thing this lady fears is a hangnail. Lady Deathstrike is one of your
basic Blade/Claw/Fang characters. She keeps the claws all the way down her
dial. She also starts off with a few clicks of Stealth and Toughness. After
taking a hit or two, her Battle Fury appears to show she’s in no mood to play
nice. Her point cost of 45 makes her a fairly decent mid-range figure that will
not break the bank. Her dial is fairly similar to the Rookie Wolverine from Infinity
Challenge
, so if you like him, you may want to give this piece a try as
well.

Number
Eight: Paramedic (#18, Veteran)

This beauty could easily have shown up in the number ten spot with the other
back-up pieces, but I felt she really deserved a spot of her own. This
character takes one of the most game-breaking abilities, Support, and does it
better than anyone else. For only twelve points, this character provides four
clicks of support and also has the highest attack values to back it up.
Starting at an eight, she keeps a fairly level attach value (ending on a six)
to help make sure your other team members will be patched back up and out on
the battle field again. She’s able to do this for a very low price because
unlike other Support pieces, she has no range and damage values of zero. She’s
a lover (of the tender-care type) not a fighter.

Number
Seven: Deathbird (#87, Unique)

Deathbird is an Outwitter’s nightmare. Her overlap of powers at the beginning
of her dial makes your opponent have a hard time deciding which is the lesser
of four evils. Her defensive value of 17, augmented by Energy
Shield/Deflection, make her hard to hit from range. She also has Running Shot
and Ranged Combat Expert out front so you get the option of hitting from a
distance for four damage, or jockeying for a better position and then smacking
for two. There is also one other factor to consider: Blade/Claw/Fangs.
Deathbird is one of the first flying characters with B/C/F (Sauron was also
introduced in this set), so we have to take a good look at its use. For those
of you who like to push, this becomes a fun combo. You can always use your
Running Shot to come adjacent to your opponent and still use your ranged attack.
Then next turn, you have plenty of options. You can either fire away using your
Ranged Combat Expert, or rely on the roll of the dice and let the claws fly.
Unless your opponent has two outwit figures around, someone’s going to feel the
pain.

Number Six:
Psylocke (#s 58- 60, R/E/V)

Psylocke, like Storm, suffers from a slight personality conflict. Her versions
truly represent the evolution of a character and how drastic changes can occur
in comic book personas. Her Rookie version represents the quiet, unassuming
Englishwoman who uses her psychic abilities to coordinate attacks with her
teammates. This is represented by the straightforward use of Enhancement. Her
later versions represent her “ninja” version. On these, she trades in her armor
(Energy Shield/Deflection) for a healthy dose of Blade/Claw/Fangs and Stealth.
Her Enhancement remains for her continued assistance with her teammates and she
gains Incapacitate later in her dial as well.

Number
Five: Phoenix (#95, Unique)

As the designer notes from her preview show, this is Jean Grey after she first
gained the Phoenix powers. This character basically takes the Jean Grey from
Infinity Challenge and gives her a boost. The additions of flight, a little
toughness out front, and higher stats all the way down the dial are just a
little of what has been improved. Perhaps the greatest upgrade is her ranged
attack…of 12! Never before has there been as high a range on a HeroClix figure.
Able to keep out of the range of your opponent’s Outwit, Perplex and Probability
Control, Phoenix can decimate your opponent’s force like never before. At only
85 points, this character will be seeing a lot of play.

Number
Four: Madame Masque (#s 40- 42, R/E/V)

I have no idea why, but I love the power combinations on Madame Masque. Her
initial clicks combine Stealth, Poison, Mastermind and Ranged Combat Expert.
Kind of an odd combo, but when analyzed, its inherent beauty comes forth. How
do you deal with her? You cannot hit her from range, due to Stealth. If you get
up close, you eliminate RCE, but then have to deal with Poison. Surround her
with S.H.I.E.L.D. or Hydra pieces and it gets even worse. She sheds her damage
to a lackey and then gets either her attack values improved, or gets to deal
additional damage. Simple, yet elegant. And only for a price range of 32 to 50
points.

Number
Three: Storm (#82-84, R/E/V)

As mentioned before, Storm’s versions have significant deviations from one
another. Both her Rookie and Veteran versions represent the weather-controlling
X-Man that we’ve all come to love. Both have Energy EXplosion, Energy
Shield/Deflection, and Ranged Combat Expert to represent her control over the
elements. Coupled with her flight ability, she becomes a fairly inexpensive
taxi (R at 35, V at 52) for the X-Men Team while still having some offensive
capabilities. Her Experienced version deviates from this, to represent the time
in her career when she had lost her powers, but was a very capable hand-to-hand
combatant. She has Stealth for three clicks and one click of Incapacitate. Her
damage stats are enhanced by two clicks of Leadership, followed by two clicks
of Perplex. At a mere 40 points, this will end up being a moders (?) dream
(Mohawk Storm, anyone??)

Number
Two: Shadowcat (#85, Unique)

Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I love this figure. The unique version of
Shadowcat is strikingly similar to her Experienced version, but with one added
element: Lockheed the Dragon! With the little purple guy in tow, Kitty now gets
a healthy dose of Energy EXplosion and an upgrade in her damage stats to
go with her newly added ranged attack (4). She keeps her Phasing (8 initial
movement) and Super Senses (17 initial defense) as in her regular version,
making her another great taxi figure for the X-Men team. All this for a mere 36
points. Probably the one unique I want the most.

Number
One: Electra (#86, Unique)

Go ahead, throw the over-ripened fruit or vegetable of your choice.

Done now?
Good. There is no way to avoid the fact that Electra is a tank, an expensive,
160 point tank, but a tank all the same. She has all the earmarks of a
supremely trained assassin like her previous Infinity Challenge version
(Stealth and Blade/Claw/Fangs) but has added Perplex and Super Senses into the
mix. Her stat values also rival her first unique version and we even get a
surprising bonus of Mind Control. When her MC powers kick in, her attack value
is still relatively high, placing her on the same level as all, but the most
accomplished mentalists. Add to that the fact that she can target two opponent’s
figures with the Mind Control attack (ranged attack only) and it just gets
nutty. She might be a bit on the steep side when it comes to a 200 point game,
but she provides so many different offensive options it might be worth a try.
The sheer intimidation factor of having to face her must also be taken into
account. How do you deal with someone like this? Only time will tell.

Marvel Heroclix Top Ten Female Characters

by The_Drop_Out

I love them
in real life and I love them in this game: women! Some have called them “the
weaker sex,” but you have to have respect for someone who can deal with the
pain of childbirth and come back for more. WizKids has done a fabulous job with
creating strong female characters for the game. Able to kick tail and take names
just as well (and sometimes better) than their male counter-parts, the top ten
female characters in the Marvel line to date will hear their praises sung.

We’ll take a
look at the entries in terms of their playability, point cost/value, and
overall effectiveness in regards to having a fun gaming experience. Due to the
limited availability of Limited Edition figures, I have decided not to include
them for consideration. One thing to note is that these are my thoughts on the
overall greatness of these figs. Feel free to disagree if your favorite did not
make the list. On with the countdown.

Number
Ten: Titania (CT #93, Unique)

Probably a little surprising to most people, Titania comes in at the number ten
spot for several reasons. Her low point cost (85) in relation to other “brick”
figures, coupled with her higher attack values and three starting clicks of
Invulnerability make her a great character. Her Super Strength and starting
damage value of 4 should make any opponent think twice about taking this Master
(Mistress?) of Evil for granted. Used as a cornerstone for your team, she’ll
definitely crash through the opponent’s force like a freight train. Titania’s
main drawback is her lack of any Movement powers. The absence of Charge on her
dial keeps her cost under 100 points, but makes it necessary for you to
consider a taxi for support. Overall, she’s still a great date for the price.

Number
Nine: Invisible Girl (CT #43, Rookie)

The release of Clobberin’ Time drastically changed the game environment.
New characters brought out new strategies and no one exemplifies that more than
the Rookie Invisible Girl. Coming in at a lowly 37 points, Sue greatly
revolutionized the way support pieces were seen and used in the game. Stealth
on all five clicks of her life make her a great character to field, but her
high defensive values (starting at 18) coupled with her Defend power have made
her the best friend of pieces with Energy Shield/Deflection. With Sue by their
side, these characters become almost impossible to hit due to their enhanced
defensive value of 20!

Number
Eight: AIM Medic (CT #15, Veteran)

The only “generic” character to hit my list, the AIM Medic blows away the
previous nurses we were coupled with and only for a one point increase. Our 17
points gets us a higher attack (8), higher starting defense (15) and a greater
range (6). The higher attack value is key to this character’s overall
effectiveness. Able to heal at a more consistent rate and also have better
offensive capabilities, this little lady will stay on the table longer and keep
your team there longer too. Of special note is the LE version. The consistent
high attack value (8) on all three clicks where Support appears makes The
Scientist Supreme one of the best healers in the game. Should you happen to
come across a duplicate, swing one my way, would ya?!

Number
Seven: Spiral (CT #92, Unique)

Ah, Spiral, the queen of Blade/Claw/Fangs. What is not to love? Flurry and
B/C/F on the same click make Spiral one of the most lethal characters out there
for only 56 points. Here ability to theoretically KO any regular character with
one action makes her a solid contender on our list. Add in the Minion of Doom
team ability and she becomes even more deadly. The ability to copy any other
team affiliation lends to endless possibilities. She would actually be higher
on my list except for one thing: Battle Fury. This is the exact same reason why
the Vampire Lackey will not be making an appearance. Spiral’s reliance on TK or
her own steam to get her around makes her a bit trickier to play and thus will
have to settle for lucky number seven.

Number
Six: Black Cat (CT #23, Experienced)

Hello Black Cat, goodbye Scarlet Witch. Felicia Hardy comes in and takes over
the Probability Control reign. One Shot Wanda is now a thing of the past. At 32
points, the experienced Black Cat gives us a great character. Her Leap/Climb
allows her to get to the perfect spot to utilize her PC and use it to maximum
benefit. Later in her dial she gains stealth, which can be of great use should
she need to get to a Medic for a little Support to pull her back up to her PC
clicks. Higher stats all around and the Spiderman team ability make her well
worth the extra three points over Rookie Scarlet Witch. Your opponent will
really know there’s bad luck afoot when this kitty crosses their path.

Number
Five: Wasp (IC #s 35 and 143, Experienced and Unique)

Choices, choices. I just had too difficult of a time deciding between the two,
so I’ll wrap them both into one slot!! Wasp was, and still is, one of the
greatest “taxis” in the game. Her free move via the Avenger’s team ability,
coupled with her relatively high defensive values makes her the epitome of
action conservation. The Experienced version costs 33 points and includes the
free move, defense of 18, plus two damage and the ever-abundant Incapacitate.
Her unique version only gets better. For eleven more points, you not only get
better stats, you also gain leadership. She not only saves you an action by
moving for free, she actually can give you another action to use. Plus she can
target two opponents while using incapacitate. Your opponent is going nowhere!

Number
Four: White Queen (CT #80, Experienced)

She might look harmless at first (she is showing a lot of skin after all), but
once she gets her mental claws in you, you are history. The experienced White
Queen costs 80 points and comes with many offensive and defensive abilities
that will easily show why she’s in the top five. Her dial starts off with Mind
Control, Psychic Blast, Super Senses and Leadership. Her oufit might be white,
but there is a whole lot of color to this psychic Clix. She boasts nice
starting stats and a great range of 8. Her greatest strength is her ability to
provide options. MC is always a great power, especially when you start off with
an attack value of 10. Being able to use the opponent’s own figures against
them is a great offensive strategy, but when faced with possibly having to take
a click of damage for those hefty characters over 100 points, the Psychic Blast
option becomes a very great alternate choice, especially when you are looking
at dealing 2 clicks of damage and you get to ignore Invulnerability and
Toughness. Her Super Senses will help keep those heavy hits from landing. Very
versatile piece.

Number
Three: Elektra (IC #144, Unique)

More Blade/Claw/Fangs in our survey, but Elektra’s skills go beyond Close
Combat. Elektra starts of with a very high attack value of 11 and knows how to
be a killing machine. Whether she’s carving up her opponent in close combat or
using her double ranged attack to pick off her opponent while hiding stealthily
in hindering terrain, she gets the job done. The greatest thing about this
assassin is that she doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg to take out her
target. At only 36 points, she’s easy to include in any point game and well
worth the price tag. Nothing frilly about this babe, just pure combat from head
to toe.

Number
Two: She-Hulk (CT #84, Veteran)

Sporting her Avengers icon, She-Hulk comes raging into battle at only 120
points. That price tag might seem a bit steep, but it doesn’t take a used car
salesman to rationalize every point. Super Strength hangs on for the complete
dial, as does her damage reducing powers (which is topped of by an
unprecedented four clicks of Invulnerability). Her greatest asset has to be
Charge. With a starting movement of 10, She-Hulk is gonna rock someone’s world,
especially after she picks up a heavy object (Soda Machine is my personal
choice) and adds that damage to her natural 4 clicks. If she ends up on the
wrong side of the beating stick, have no fears. With Leap/Climb on her dial,
she’ll be able to get back to a medic and be back up to peak performance and
ready to wade back into the thick of things and prove why she’s so sensational.

Number
One: Moondragon (CT #87, Unique)

She’s bald, she’s beautiful, and she comes in at number one on my list. There
is so much to love about Moondragon. She’s fairly low priced, coming in at just
71 points. She has a great range of 10 and will be putting it to good use. Her
initial two clicks of Mind Control are going to keep the opponent busy, while
keeping Moondragon back with plenty of breathing room. On those same clicks,
she also has Telekinesis, which can be used defensively to keep those pesky
Blade/Claw/Fang characters away. If you are more offensively minded, use her
high 10 attack value to fling heavy objects around, or get your friendly
characters out into the heat of battle. After losing TK, she’s still an
offensive beast with Psychic blast and a 2 damage value. Her Super Senses will
help keep her flying high, but should she take a few lumps, her Regeneration
will put her back to her prime. No running away for this woman.

So there you
have it. Ten great women that can easily be included in any force and well
worth their weight in gold. Hopefully a little food for thought. Will they
always be on top? After March, there’s no way to know. Xplosion will
surely provide us with many more choices and many more reasons to look at the
females and wonder why they even make male characters.

Many Dooms to Destroy You!

by Swix

My favorite
villain in all of comics has always been Doctor Doom. While I enjoy playing
with the Doctor Doom figure, nothing makes me quite as happy as seeing a swarm
of Doom (or at least Doom look-alikes) running all over an opponent. As
expensive as he is, though, you just can’t get enough of them/him on the board.
With that in mind, I constructed this Doombot team. Used appropriately, this
team is amazing, almost to the point of being broken.

Veteran
Bullseye 43 pts.

Veteran Doombot 38 pts.

Veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic 16 pts.

Experienced Black Cat 32 pts.

Experienced Doombot x 3 33/99 pts.

Rookie Black Panther 27 pts.

Rookie Doombot x 4 27/108 pts.

Rookie Invisible Girl 37 pts.

= 400 pts.

This team is
clearly built off the fact that Doombots are wild cards, and therefore get to
use any team ability your team has. Bullseye, Black Panther and the medic are
all there for their team abilities (and attack value in Bullseye’s case), and
even Invisible Girl contributes the Fantastic 4 team ability, though that’s not
her primary function. That being said, let’s see what we have to work with:

Eight
Doombots that move for free. Eight Doombots that attack with an 11 (because, as
we’ll see later, this team will always remain together, and will be able to use
the Sinister Syndicate ability to share Bullseye’s 11 attack). Eight Doombots
that can S.H.I.E.L.D. pump damage for ranged (or even better, Energy Explosion)
attacks. Eight Doombots that heal one click when any of them die.

All of that
together is good, but when they’re all defending with an 18, it’s shocking.
Fortunately, the Doombots have captured a young Sue Storm and are using her to
do just that by surrounding her at all times.

The strength
of this team is its versatility. It will rarely run into action deficiencies,
and it can whack you really hard whether in close combat or ranged (thanks to
the fact that Doombots fly and are always able to perform ranged attacks,
allowing them to use the S.H.I.E.L.D. ability). The important stats (defense
and attack) on this team never drop because they’re getting them from outside
sources so you can push all day and never worry about it (heck, if you push a
Doombot until he dies, the rest heal 1 click).

Here are the
weaknesses (and there ain’t many…):

Mobility:
This team really can’t move more than 6 squares at a time in order to maintain
formation. Once you’ve moved to the middle of the board, that shouldn’t be a
huge issue, but you’re probably not going to get the first shot, and sometimes
that can be vital. Particularly when dealing with…

Energy
Explosion: The team that stays together can die together thanks to this fine
power. If you have 8 figures surrounding Invisible Girl (and you probably
should), then with a well-placed shot your opponent can do damage to 6 of your
figures with Energy Explosion. Considering that one of those characters will be
Invisible Girl (and if she gets hit your defense drops…), Energy Explosion must
be stopped. That is why I take R Black Panther instead of R Quicksilver for the
free move. Yes, he keeps me from upgrading one of the R Doombots to an E
Doombot, but he gives me Outwit. Ultron’s looking to wreck the horde? Outwit
will make sure he’s only hitting one Doombot, and that’s just fine as far as
the horde is concerned.

Those are
really the only weaknesses of Many Dooms to Destroy You. Now let’s take a look
at a couple of things to remember about the horde:

Stick
Together

It’s in bold because it’s so important. Occasionally you’ll be tempted to send
Bullseye of on a quick-kill mission leaving the horde behind. DON’T. When you
split this team up, you lose way too much of what makes it good. Move Bullseye
and your Attack ratings drop from 11 to at best 8. Move Invisible Girl and it
becomes pretty easy to hit your team. Invisible Girl should always be
surrounded and the Doombots should always be linked with Bullseye.

Use
Outwit and Probability Control:

Keeping Black Panther alive is important, but you only have one outwitter on
this team, so you’ll need to keep him busy. Keep him near the edge of the
battle at all times so that your opponent doesn’t get to use his powers at key
times.

With 18
defenses all around, Probability Control becomes huge. Even Bullseye would need
a 7 to hit that, and the re-roll can make it tough. Thanks to Leap/Climb, Black
Cat can always get around to be in place to use Probability control, and thanks
to her Spiderman team ability, she’ll never use your actions doing it!

Wrapping
up:

This team is a lot of fun, and pretty powerful to boot. There are some DC
powers that can be thrown in to make it even more disgusting (Superman Enemy
comes to mind…), but as it’s written should suffice to wreck house more often
than not. Dr. Doom’s visage inspires fear throughout the Marvel Universe. If
you play this team a few times you’ll find it’s doing the same thing in the
Heroclix Universe.

Delving Into the 3rd Dimension

by TalonMC

Constructing
three-dimensional buildings and maps can add many new elements to your games,
the most obvious of which is a much improved appearance to the game
environment. Using 3-D terrain will also allow you the opportunity to create a
slew of new house rules if you so desire.

My personal
favorite perk to using 3-D maps and buildings is, by far, the customization
factor. With a selection of 3-D buildings and an empty gameboard, you can
create a completely new layout for every game you play! No more dealing with
the same old map features! You want a narrow alley between the buildings? You
got it! You want an empty lot? You got that too! The possibilities are limited
only by your own imagination.

Before you
can run wild in the city of your dreams, however, you need to construct it from
the ground up (“If you build it, they will come!”). While a lot of it
will be your own personal preference, below is a list of supplies and
suggestions that worked well for me:

    • Graph Paper
      Before any construction begins, it’s always good to have a plan. The first
      thing you should do is draw 2 templates on graph paper: one of a single
      wall and one of a roof on graph paper. It’s also a good idea to glue these
      templates to some thick card before cutting them out since they will be
      traced onto the foamboard sheets over and over (and over) again,
      which will cause much wear and tear on them. Since the HeroClix maps are
      divided into 1½” x 1½” squares, it’s best to get a pad of graph paper
      that’s divided into ¼” boxes. That way, you can easily draw correctly
      sized templates (1 HeroClix map square = 6 boxes on the graph paper).
    • Laminate Board
      No, this isn’t a piece of wood that’s been sealed in a large plastic
      sleeve at the local Kinko’s. It’s simply a piece of wood that was
      originally designed to be a piece of shelving, so it already has a smooth
      surface and doesn’t need to be sanded. I used two pieces of laminate board
      (each 2’ x 4’) to create a 4’ x 4’ gameboard which I then spray painted
      black. Any size and type of wood can be used, however. It’s totally up to
      you. Even an official HeroClix game map can work as your base if you just
      want to add some height to the map’s existing buildings.
    • Foamboard Simply
      put, foamboard (also called foamcore) is a thin layer of a Styrofoam-like
      substance sandwiched between 2 pieces of posterboard. Easily found at
      craft stores, it’s available in many different colors and several sizes …
      the most common of which appears to be 20” x 30” (which translates into 13
      x 20 HeroClix map squares with a bit of extra board left). The 3-D
      building structures (and sidewalk sections if you desire) can be cut,
      shaped, and assembled from sheets of foamboard.
    • X-acto Knife/Cutting
      Board
      You’ll definitely need a sharp knife to cut through the
      foamboard sheets seeing as how they’re usually around ¼” thick. Be sure to
      have a good supply of extra replacement blades…. Trust me, you’ll need
      ‘em. It’s always best to have a cutting board or some form of protection
      between the blade and the surface below. (You don’t want to scratch up
      your kitchen table, now do you?) The most important rule when cutting, of
      course, is always use the knife safely and be sure to cover it when
      it isn’t being used.
    • Rulers Since
      HeroClix maps are based on a grid, having a selection of rulers handy is a
      necessity. I used a yardstick (3’) to draw the grid in pencil on the
      painted baseboard and a smaller 1’ ruler for shorter measurements. Rulers
      also double as straightedges if you need a guide when cutting the
      foamboard.
    • Construction
      Paper/Gluesticks
      . If you’re as artistically challenged as I am when it
      comes to drawing free-handed, then construction paper will be your
      salvation. Once your buildings are assembled, they’ll need details on the
      outer walls… Things like doors, windows, signs, and architectural edging
      can very easily be cut from colored construction paper and glued to the
      buildings to give them more flavor (not that kind of flavor… stop licking
      the gluestick).

The best advice for anyone wishing to create their own 3-D terrain
is three little words: Preparation. Preparation. Preparation. (Ok, so
that’s one word three times).

Make sure your templates are the correct size and shape
<I<BEFORE< I>you trace or cut them out a thousand times! Also, plan
out exactly how your buildings will be assembled. One way of doing this
is to include pegs and notches (similar to puzzle pieces) in the plans for the
walls and floors… making sure the pegs will line up exactly with the notches
and hold the building together. This also allows you to easily disassemble
everything on the gameboard for storage without much effort. Another way to
assemble buildings is to simply tape the walls and floors together; however,
this method is best used if you plan on leaving your terrain out and not
storing it anywhere.

Once the dust has cleared and all is said and done, you’ll have a city
to call your own. If all goes well it’ll be everything you wanted … exactly the
way you planned it. Check out a city I built at http://mcurro.home.attbi.com/heroclix/terrain/newcity.htm.

Practical HeroClix Tips

by Sonya-X

All right,
you’ve got your first Starter in hand, you’ve figured out your team, and you’re
ready to go your local venue and do some damage. Sounds good? Sure. But you
might want to get a few more things before you go too far. While the Starter
might have everything that you need to play, it certainly doesn’t have
everything that you will probably want. Following is a good list of things that
you might want to bring with you if you’re going to a tournament and you’re not
sure what you might need.

    • Everything that you’d
      find in a Starter.
      Don’t assume that every venue is going to have maps
      for everyone already laid out. If you’re unsure, bring a map and item
      tokens just in case. You’re also probably going to need your dice and a
      click ring, and have a copy of the Powers and Abilities Card and rulebook
      handy, even if you could ask a Judge in a pinch. Of course, if it’s a
      Sealed Box event, you should be set.
    • A string. You’d
      be surprised at how often I’ve been the only one with a piece of string.
      Of course, you can try to eyeball it or grab anything with a straight edge
      for measuring, but nothing’s quite as good as string for quickly resolving
      line-of-sight questions. Unless you’re prepared to walk around with one loose,
      floppy shoe, bring a length of string with you. Heck, you can even bring
      some extra for the other tables and maybe win a few friends.
    • Three different
      colors of tokens.
      Why three? Because it’s easy to lose track of
      whether some piece with an action token next to it actually moved last
      turn or if it was simply forgotten. Use the same color for all of your
      pieces that move on the first turn, another color for the second turn, and
      so on; on your fourth turn, start over with the first color. It will also
      let you avoid getting confused about which figures acted this turn and
      which didn’t (especially handy if you’re using a bunch of identical
      generics). Personally, I’d suggest bringing a separate set in contrasting
      colors for your opponent, if he or she would like. It’s amazing how many
      people show up without any action tokens at all—they might appreciate it
      if you have some extra.
    • Tokens small enough
      to fit on a standard figure base.
      Oh, I know, this doesn’t always
      work. Some characters hog the base and you end up putting the tokens next
      to them anyway. In general, though, it’s really a lot easier to keep track
      of things when the tokens are on the base. Otherwise you run the risk,
      when figures are grouped tightly together, of losing track of which tokens
      belong to which character. This also comes up a good deal with effects
      that move your pieces when it’s not your movement phase (like knockback,
      mind control, and Telekinesis). I suggest trying those little mini
      M&Ms. They’re tiny, brightly colored (so you can also keep track of
      which one you used when), cheap, and taste better than most other token
      choices.
    • Something sticky.
      Maybe your group’s more careful than mine, but we find that object tokens
      tend to slide across the map. They (and the 3-D objects—especially the
      lamppost) also don’t deal well with heavy map creases. A little piece of
      tacky strip or slightly sticky putty goes a long way to keeping them in
      place while still letting you move them around when you want to. Don’t use
      tape, because it might mar the map surface. Tacky strips are usually
      thick, white adhesives made for securing posters to walls without ripping
      them, and putty variants are fairly similar. Make sure not to get anything
      particularly strong—remember that you’re going to want to move them
      around. Oh, and if you’re using someone else’s map and/or objects, make
      sure to ask before you do this! Not everyone likes his or her playing
      pieces gummed up.
    • A ten-sided die.
      This isn’t something that you’re going to need every time, but you might
      want to keep it in your standard kit if you play a lot of tournaments
      using the default tournament scenarios. Those scenarios are based on
      10-round games, and a ten-sider is a fairly handy way of tracking which
      round you’re on. Most game and hobby stores carry these, and a lot of HeroClix
      games get hosted in game and hobby stores, so a ten-sider should be easy
      to obtain.
    • Weights. Ah,
      there’s nothing like a new map for presenting you with 3-D topography for
      a 2-D game. Crisp, new maps don’t always lay right until they’ve been
      broken in. Speed this up by bringing a few slightly weighty objects to
      place on the creases in out-of-the-way sections of the map (just make sure
      to move them if the action migrates over there). In a pinch, a paperback
      book or a soda will do—it doesn’t have to be all that much. Whenever I
      have friends over for a game, I always use heavy stone coasters. The
      coasters help tame the map, and people get the hint about not leaving soda
      rings on the playing field.
    • A tackle box. One
      of the problems newbie clickers sometimes run into is how to transport
      their collections safely or in an organized fashion. Tackle boxes are
      cheap and have individual, crush-proof compartments for storing oddly
      shaped bits. It’s nice not to have to worry about someone accidentally
      crushing your collection. I’ve seen some people store theirs in shoeboxes
      or simply strewn like collectable plastic caltrops on the floor. It’s also
      nice to easily find both parts of fliers in the same place (a small tackle
      box compartment) and not have to root around in a box or bag to find the
      pieces that match. Believe me, this gets more annoying as your collection
      gets bigger.

Anyway, these suggestions should prepare you for most of what you
might run into out there. Don’t worry if you don’t have everything—in a pinch,
your fellow players will usually be nice enough to help you out if you forget
something. For instance, players in my area often forget string and action
tokens, so I always try to be ready to accommodate them. Most players appreciate
both the yumminess of the M&Ms and the ease of string for settling
arguments. Besides, surely you’ve heard the saying “She who brings chocolate
for everyone is a shoe-in for the Fellowship award.” Let’s face it, even the
disappointment of losing a tournament can be somewhat soothed by chocolate . .
. or maybe that’s just me.

Marvel HeroClix and Tempo

by Spiderman42

What is
tempo? Tempo is a measurement of speed. No, not the number of squares your
figure can move, but rather a conceptual speed. Tempo is a concept from the
game of chess that can easily be applied to HeroClix. After all, I like
to refer to HeroClix as “chess with super powers!”

In chess,
tempo is measured by how quickly you can get your pieces into an offensive
position, all the while your opponent is being forced into a defensive
position. The easiest chess example is attacking your opponent’s king and
forcing him or her to retreat that piece to safety. Because you moved your
attacking piece forward and your opponent had to waste a move retreating, you
have “gained” one move on him or her. This is known as “gaining tempo.” So how
do you gain tempo in HeroClix?

In HeroClix
each player is given the same number of actions per turn. Because HeroClix
is similar to chess (figures moving about on a grid for attack and defense),
you can gain tempo in the same way as chess: Force your opponent to waste
actions moving instead of attacking. Unfortunately, the idea is not exactly the
same because of the size of the play area and because the pieces are not
restricted in how they may move, as with chess. It is difficult to corner a
figure in HeroClix. The variety of powers and team abilities in HeroClix,
however, provide many options for gaining tempo beyond what chess offers. Let’s
make a list of some of the great ways to gain tempo in HeroClix.
Remember, tempo is a way of measuring the speed of your army’s offense versus
your opponent’s.

    1. Leadership for an extra
      action. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realize that if your
      opponent gets two actions per turn and you get three that you have a tempo
      advantage. It won’t take long to crush your opponent with an advantage
      like this. Leadership is an obvious choice for gaining tempo, but what are
      some of the less-obvious ways we can gain an advantage?
    1. Incapacitate to reduce
      your opponent’s actions with a specific figure. At first, Incapacitate
      appears to be a wash, meaning that it costs you an action to take away an
      opposing figure’s action. It’s in choosing the target of Incapacitate that
      brings about the tempo edge. Incapacitate a figure with a token on it and
      you force a push, but more importantly that figure must rest the next
      turn–buying you much-needed time against an angry Hulk!The best way to use Incapacitate is with a figure that has the ability to
      target two figures with one ranged action (e.g., Unique Wasp). You use one
      action to incapacitate two figures: one action token to give your opponent
      two action tokens. This is a great tempo advantage, especially if your
      opponent has only two figures!
    1. Mind Control to reduce
      your opponents’ actions and use their resources against them. Similar to
      how Incapacitate gains tempo, this tactic allows you to use your
      opponent’s figures against him or her. A great example is using Mind
      Control to make your opponent’s Unique Wasp attack her own team with a
      split-shot incapacitate! You use one action to use Mind Control, and then
      give your opponent’s Wasp one action to incapacitate two of your
      opponent’s other figures. One action versus three actions is an awesome
      advantage! Of course, you could also have your opponent’s Hercules turn
      and KO his Vulture taxi.
    1. Running Shot, Charge,
      and Hypersonic Speed–two actions for the price of one. Make the most of
      your actions. Why choose between moving a figure and having that figure
      attack if you can do both? These three powers have tempo written all over
      them; in fact, they should be renamed “Tempo Shot,” “Charging Tempo,” and
      “Hypersonic Tempo,” respectively. Each time you use one of these powers,
      you gain a measure of tempo over your opponent.
    1. Stealth + ranged attack
      = I can shoot you but you can’t shoot me! Gain tempo by attacking while no
      attack can be made in response. If your opponent has to waste time moving
      figures into attack positions while you are attacking him or her at the
      same time, then you are gaining tempo. I like to call these kinds of
      figures “snipers.” I can picture them hiding in a tall building or inside
      thick bushes and shooting an army to pieces before they have any idea
      what’s going on. Watch almost any war film and you will see a sniper
      gaining advantage on a group of soldiers. Experienced Captain America,
      Unique and Veteran Elektra, and Unique Nick Fury are all great examples of
      snipers.
    1. Defend. HeroClix
      characters get weaker (except Hulk) as they take damage, thus the tempo to
      their demise speeds up as they get weaker. With Defend, you can stop that
      process by lending a high defense value to a damaged figure. Although not
      an obvious example of tempo, if you can increase the number of times an
      opponent wastes an action on a missed attack, then you have gained tempo.
      Are there other powers can offer this subtle tempo advantage?
    1. Support and
      Regeneration. Healing damage can reverse the action of an opponent’s
      attack, or even better, reverse the damage taken from several attacks with
      one healing motion. If your opponent does 1 damage per attack and
      successfully attacks three times (resulting in 3 damage to your figure
      using three actions), and then you heal 3 damage with one action, you have
      gained “two” tempo.
    1. Avengers and Brotherhood
      team abilities. Free actions = wow! Each time one of these figures moves,
      you gain one tempo. These are simply amazing team abilities that you
      should take advantage of.
    1. Flurry and the Masters
      of Evil team ability as tempo gainers. Attack more than once for only one
      action! Imagine two Veteran Whirlwinds standing adjacent to an enemy
      figure, each using the Masters of Evil team ability in combination with
      their Flurry attacks to get you four attacks for one action! Now that’s a
      bargain.

Although there are many ways to gain tempo in HeroClix, I
challenge you to have each figure on your team give you an advantage in tempo
in some way. Here are some examples of great figure choices for gaining tempo:

Unique Wasp

This figure gains tempo in three ways! First she moves for free with the
Avengers team ability. Then she’s got Leadership to give your team an extra
action each turn. Finally, she can incapacitate two targets! For only 44
points, she is a great value.

Experienced Captain America

A fine example that Veteran is not always a better choice than Experienced. The
blue-ringed Captain moves with the Avengers team ability, has Leadership, and
has Stealth plus ranged attacks, making him an effective sniper. This great tempo
gainer costs only 47 points.

Veteran Whirlwind

As mentioned previously, he has Flurry to pummel an opponent with two attacks
for only one action, but in combination with the Masters of Evil team ability
you can go tempo crazy!

Unique Adrianne Toomes

Although this Unique version of the Vulture has only one tempo-gaining power
(Charge), it is important to note that very few figures with either Charge or
Running Shot can also fly. Compared to your opponent’s “taxi,” which has to
waste an action moving the big gun into attack position, your “Toomes taxi” can
use an action to move and attack. At only 30 points and with a movement of 10,
this figure is the best taxi in the game. Toomes also keeps Charge for three
clicks, allowing him to push without worry of losing this great advantage!

Veteran Doombot

Leadership is a great start to gaining tempo with this figure, especially for
only 38 points. Although flight is a great ability, it’s not the tempo gainer
that makes this figure special. The Minions of Doom team ability is a wild card
team ability. Partner Doombot with one figure from the Avengers or Brotherhood
to gain movement tempo, and with Masters of Evil to gain attack tempo.

A Final Note

I had the privilege of playing in a 100-point tournament last night. Only one
action per turn! I played with an Experienced Controller, a Unique Adrianne
Toomes, and a Unique Gabriel Jones. The tempo I gained with Jones’ Leadership,
Toomes’ Charge/flight combo, and Controller’s Mind Control was instrumental in
leading me to victory. One turn I rolled Leadership to gain an action (one
tempo). I used the first action to charge the Toomes taxi with Controller for a
move and attack (one tempo). Then I used the second action to Mind Control my
opponent’s Moon Dragon (one tempo). Using the Moon Dragon’s Mind Control, I had
my opponent’s Vulture attack Moon Dragon (one tempo). How much tempo is that?
In a one-action-per-turn situation, I gained four tempo. I am very proud to
have won, and thank you to WizKids for the awesome prize support they provided.

Top Ten Uses for a Thug

by Brother_Magneto

No figure in
HeroClix is as ignored and put upon as the poor Thug. His Rookie
incarnation has a measly 3 clicks of life, and only his Veteran and LE versions
do more than 1 click of damage. Most players overlook the Thug completely,
content to allow him to rest in a pile of Henchmen and Skrull Warriors at the
bottom of their boxes. But the spite directed at the Thug is unfair. For his
cost (6 to 10 points), the Thug is actually one of the most useful figures in
the game.

Why? No one
plays him. No one knows how to use him, and no one certainly knows how to
defend against him. Sometimes the smallest combatants are the most effective
just because they are overlooked in the heat of the battle. Strategies for
Thugs are built around this rule: Your opponent will always underestimate
the Thug’s usefulness
. That doesn’t mean you can build an entire army of
Thugs and expect to win a tournament, but it does mean that you can build a
force, include a Thug or two, and tip the game in your favor during a
tournament.

Aren’t
buying it? Read on, Grasshopper, and consider these Top Ten Uses for Thugs in HeroClix.

10: The
10-Point Advantage

Thugs are cheap. The Veteran and LE versions are tied for highest cost at 10
points, and the Rookie is all of 6 points. This means the player can round off
her team to meet point requirements for tournaments; sometimes that extra 6
points is all you need to come within spitting distance of the build total. On a
more complex level, it means that fielding a Thug and keeping him safe through
the battle gives you an ace in the hole. Even if your opponent should manage to
wipe out the rest of your force, most players won’t even waste their time
hunting Thugs, especially if you stash one in a far corner of the map, away
from the action.

The 10-point
advantage you get from your surviving Knuckles means that a loss is not
complete, and you may walk away from a massacre with a shred of dignity – and a
few points, to boot. I’ve watched many a player, after sweeping the first two
or three rounds, take second – or even third – place in a tournament simply
because they were routed in the final round, and the overall loss is often by 5
or 10 points. While this won’t be enough to save first place all the time, any
experienced player will tell you that every point counts.

9: Cannon
Fodder

This is so obvious that mentioning it seems redundant, but Thugs make great
cannon fodder. Get Knuckles out early – even taxi him into the action – and let
him run toward the enemy (adjacent, if possible). Your opponent is then left
with a choice: Deal with the Thug and waste an action doing it, or try to break
away and waste a move doing that. If you defer bringing in the cavalry until
Knuckles has done his job, your opponent will already have wasted a move, and
will be forced to push if he or she retaliates to your attack. This establishes
tempo, which is one of the key elements to winning a strategy game. If you
control the actions, your opponent will be forced to constantly respond to your
threats. Using the Thug proactively in the first or second round gives you
immediate control of the tempo, and the potential point loss if the Thug dies
is peanuts.

8:
Mastermind, Baby!

Any villain worth his or her salt will tell you that the way to create a
criminal empire is to make good use of your underlings. Whether you’re Dr. Doom
or Dr. Evil, at the end of the day you’re only as good as the Thugs on your
payroll. And what good are those Thugs if they aren’t willing to take a bullet
for the boss?

HeroClix represents this
precept with the Mastermind ability, through which a particularly strong
villain can assign damage to an adjacent ally with a lower point value. Because
Thugs have the lowest point value in the game, they naturally make great
targets for Mastermind. Rookie Thugs can take only 3 clicks before they fall
down, but the others can each take 4. In a worst-case scenario, your opponent
might deal 4 or 5 clicks of damage per round, so sticking a handful of Thugs –
say, five of them – around your Dr. Doom will ensure that the Leader of
Latvinia can shrug off five high-powered attacks – for a total of 40 build
points–about the cost of a single Doombot.

The trick
with Mastermind is to keep your pals close without letting them get in the way,
because it’s easy for underlings to start blocking line of fire if they get too
chummy with their boss. A good trick is to stick Doom on the edge of some
elevated terrain, Thugs behind him, so that he can squat and shoot and deflect
any incoming attacks to his hired muscle. While Doombots can take more
punishment, for the price of one Robo-Doom you could have five Mastermind
targets. It’s simple numbers, baby.

7: The
Old Bait and Switch

HeroClix is as much a game of psyche-out as it is strategy. If you can
shake your opponent’s resolve, the mistakes he or she makes – forgetting to
roll for Leadership, bad placement of figures in a melee, and so on – will
eventually lead to victory. For this reason, Thugs are great for the age-old
tactic of making your opponent wonder what you might have up your sleeve.

This isn’t
to say that you should waste your movements on a Thug; rather, if you are left
with a move at the end of a turn (or, even better, you planned only two actions
in a 300-point game), give old Knuckles a move and watch your opponent scratch
his or her head. This tactic should be used sparingly, and like the Jedi mind
trick works only on the easily distracted. But when your opponent focuses on
your Thug instead of his or her moves (or, hopefully, your other
actions), then you have succeeded.

6: Run
Medic, Run!

There’s nothing worse than the Firelord you just bruised, on the verge of
capitulating to your superior forces, flown back to a medic for some quick
healing. Instead of focusing your larger characters on KOing that annoying
medic, use your Thug to render it useless. Medics can use their Support power
only if they – and their targets – aren’t adjacent to an opposing figure. For
this reason, medics tend to hang out at the edge of the map. The great thing
about medics is that, even at the top of their game, they move about a fast as
an eggplant, which mean a well-rested Thug can get in their face and start
jumping around.

If the medic
attacks the Thug, it wastes the medic’s action. If the medic runs away,
Knuckles can give chase (and, in most instances, should have no problem keeping
up). Either way, taking away that healing ability – or turning it off at
crucial moments – is a great way to make sure that Firelord stays down when
he’s supposed to.

5: Wall
O’ Thug(s)

Knockback. HeroClix wouldn’t be the game of comic mayhem without blows
that make characters fly 40 feet across the map. The problem with Knockback is
that it can work for you as much as it can work against you. Because Knockback
ends when a figure hits another figure, and unlike blocking terrain no damage
is incurred for doing so, Thugs make great buffers for your own figures as well
as sticking points for your targets. This technique can be used only under
certain conditions, but with a little planning your Hulks and your Blastaars
are assured a chance to smack the opposition without unnecessary pushing.

It takes
mild-mannered Bruce Banner a few clicks before he becomes the hulking monster that
all players fear. If you park him in front of a larger figure and hope he’s
going to take some punishment, your plans will be for nothing if your opponent
deals him 4 clicks of damage with knockback. Put a Thug behind Bannner, and
when Magneto throws some pieces of metal at him, Hulk can smile and return the
favor on the very next turn.

4:
Assault on Sentinel 13

Can a Thug take down a Sentinel? What about Thanos or Nightmare? Sure he can,
though not on his own, of course, but after your main force softens up the
competition. Thugs make great mop-up crews, especially for a big fig like a
Sentinel. Sentinels cannot be healed. Their main advantage in a game is their
ability to capture, offering double (or even triple) the point value for taking
characters off the map. Away from their starting grids, however, Sentinels
become easy targets, and a few good blows will rapidly whittle them down.
That’s where the Thug comes in. Most players won’t waste their time trying to
capture the lowly Thug, so he can usually approach a Sentinel without worrying
about being taken away. Let the bigger guys do the work, and then let Knuckles
go to town on the big blue brute. The expression on your opponent’s face when
you take down his robot will be worth every second you spend planning this
scenario.

3:
Plug-A-Thug

Most players prefer the wide-open spaces on the outdoor maps, because they
allow maximum mobility. Sometimes poor planning means that a player is stuck
with no flying or Leap/Climb figures, giving the other team a distinct
advantage because the grounded folks have to take the stairs. Because the
stairs are only 1 square wide, this means that any opposing figures standing in
the staircase must be dealt with.

See where
this is going? Thugs make great plugs. Is your opponent’s medic sitting on top
of a building? Plug-a-Thug on those stairs. Did you lure your opponent’s
figures to your rooftop for a good beatdown? Your magic Plug-a-Thug makes sure
they won’t run away anytime soon. The best news is that this little bit of
mobile blocking terrain doesn’t block your figures – remember, you can
run through your own Thugs without a care.

2: Where
Do You Think You’re Going?

Mobility means victory in this game, Grasshopper. If you can’t move your forces
around the map quickly and efficiently, and your opponent can, you defeat is
all but assured. To that end, the Thug offers one of his most useful traits: He
forces opposing figures to make break away rolls before moving. In addition, a
strategically placed Thug forces your opponent’s figures to stop once they move
adjacent to him. Like chess, where pawn structure often means the difference
between defeat and a slow, squeezing victory, a careful arrangement of Thugs
will drastically rob your opponent of precious mobility and constantly force
those horrible break away rolls. Use Knuckles well, and you will be rewarded in
karma. Or victory points. Whatever you want to call it.

1: Human
Shield

Okay, from a human rights standpoint it’s awful, but no one ever said that war
– or strategy games with miniatures – was a walk in the park (unless you’re
playing the park map). I’ll make this point simple: Figures block line of
sight. Thugs are figures. Get it?

Any time you
don’t want an enemy getting line of sight on your figures – be it a figure with
Ranged Combat Expert, Energy Explosion, Outwit, or Probability Control – put
Mr. Thug into the line of fire. Remember, it doesn’t work if your attacker is
shooting from a rooftop, and if you’re trying to avoid damage from a
S.H.I.E.L.D.-boosted Energy Explosion then you need a little space between your
Thug and the rest of your force. Otherwise, this is the Thug’s most useful
trait. There’s nothing like shaking your finger at an opponent who doesn’t have
line of sight on your Logan with his Scarlet Witch when you just rolled 6
clicks of damage with Blades/Claws/Fangs. Use him to block line of sight today,
and you’ll want to thank Knuckles in the morning.

How to Survive a Sealed Box Tournament

by samebattime

The summer
convention season is approaching like a rampaging Hulk, torn clothes, green
skin, crazy eyes, and all. If you are a seasoned convention veteran, then you
know that most conventions have a mix of Constructed and Sealed Box tournaments
that await eager participants. What? You are not an eager participant? Could it
be that you are a first-time HeroClix convention player? Does the
thought of playing in a Team Constructed tournament scare the “battle fury” out
of you? Then why not try a Sealed Box tournament for your first taste of success?
You have the chance to open two booster packs that could hold the ideal team.
(If there is such a thing as the “ideal team.”) Still need a little coaxing
before you’re ready to sign up? Here are some ways to survive and even enjoy
yourself at the next Sealed Box tournament.

    1. Don’t get overly
      concerned with winning. There will be a lot of luck involved in what your
      booster packs hold. There will be very skilled players that have little
      chance of winning based on their draws. Conversely, there will be novice
      players who win games because of two great booster packs.
    1. After you open your
      booster packs, study your figures’ combat dials closely. Look at their
      values after one or two clicks. Some figures, like Blastar, Hulk, and
      Controller, get stronger after some damage. While other figures, like Dr.
      Strange, Super Skrull, and Logan, have dramatic changes in their powers
      and abilities.
    1. Look at the various team
      abilities that each figures has. Do any teams complement each other? No,
      not “I love what you’ve done with your hair, Moondragon.” By complement, I
      mean can you use multiple team abilities together? For example, two
      Sinister Syndicate members can share attack values, or two Masters of Evil
      team members can make two attacks but use only one of your actions. Or the
      sneakiest type of team ability of all: the wild-card team ability (Minions
      of Doom and Spider-Man) allows you to use your other figures’ team
      abilities.
    1. When assembling your
      team, try to mix three elements evenly: figures with a good range, figures
      with good close combat skills, and support figures. Most new HeroClix
      players underestimate the importance of support figures and just want to
      have as many attackers as possible. This is the most common mistake that
      new players make. Support figures are those figures that are not usually
      attackers. Figures like S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic, Wasp, Yellow Jacket, Scarlet
      Witch, Black Panther, and Mandroid Armor are all primarily support
      figures. What good is your heavy hitter if it cannot get close enough to
      attack? Wasp would love to taxi your “heavy” into battle with the Avengers
      free movement team ability.
    1. Experiment with various
      teams that you could possible build from your two booster packs;
      strategies that you haven’t thought about before sometimes become obvious
      when you experiment. Don’t forget to count the points when putting
      together your team. Try to get as close as possible to the point limit.
    1. When the games begin, if
      you have questions ask one of the judges. They know the game very well and
      want to teach others. While playing in a HeroClix tournament, it is
      very likely that you will learn some strategies or rules that will help
      you become a better player.
    1. Do your best. If you
      win, great. If you become a casualty of war and lose, then do what all
      great players do: Blame it on the dice.

The thought of that first tournament can be a little intimidating.
But once you start playing, your Spidey senses will stop going off and you can
enjoy the experience. Whatever you do, do not, do not be one of those
frightened people standing by just watching. You are good enough to play, so
get in the game and enjoy!

Using Nightcrawler Effectively

by abe_bb

Nightcrawler
is arguably the best figure that you can pull out of a Marvel HeroClix: Clobberin’
Time
booster. Almost every collector without one would trade his or her
left foot to get one. Those who have him guard him so tightly that they might
as well store him on a satin pillow behind some security lasers. But why does
everyone want him? Do they want him because he’s Nightcrawler–or because he’s
a great figure?

For all the
buzz, however, few realize his great potential. For 83 points, you get a
starting range of 14, Hypersonic Speed, a 10 attack, 18 defense, Super Senses,
and 2 damage. Nowhere else will you find a deal like that. When you use the
correct strategy, Nightcrawler is nearly unstoppable.

Nightcrawler
has two main uses: He can either move in quickly and take out any character
with the Support ability, or he can tie up the heavy hitters and their taxis.
Both options provide a unique opportunity for players that no other figure in
the Marvel game presents. Take the first use, for example. Most players
use only one medic at a time. With his Hypersonic Speed and damage of 2,
Nightcrawler can move in quickly, ignore any base-to-base contact, and strike
the medic for 2 clicks of damage on the same move. Even if the medic still has
Support, you can easily push your blue friend the next turn to finish off the
medic. Without a medic, your opponent cannot heal any of his or her figures.

For the
second use, Nightcrawler could also be used to tie up the heavy hitter of your
opponent’s team. With his 18 defense and Super Senses, he can stand up to most
of what your opponent throws at you. And with his 10 attack, he can hit and hit
hard. And even if Nightcrawler loses Hypersonic Speed, he still has Phasing.
This means that he will always be able to run back to his medic or taxi to get
better and get back in the game. With this method, you can use Nightcrawler to
soften up the opposition, get the blue guy out of the fray, and then get him
back in at the end.

Once you
decide what you want to do with Nightcrawler, you need a plan to go along with
your strategy. With a simple Rookie Vulture, you can carry Nightcrawler 8
spaces, then move him another 14 before attacking. This gives you enough range
to go clear across the board. You do not have to worry about Nightcrawler being
tied up, because he ignores the effects of base-to-base combat. And you don’t
have to fear pushing him once or twice once he’s in your opponent’s
territory–his defense and attack fall slowly. He has three clicks of 2 damage,
and with those three clicks his defense remains above 16. He loses Super Senses
and Hypersonic Speed on his sixth click, but he gains Phasing. Even then, he
still has 9 movement, and with Phasing he can ignore hindering terrain, other
figures, and even blocking terrain.

I like to
move Nightcrawler in quickly to two adjacent figures, usually a medic and
whoever is next to the medic. Use his Hypersonic Speed on the first turn to do
2 clicks of damage to the medic. With your second turn, do one of two things:
If your opponent’s medic still has Support, KO it first. If not, ignore the
medic and hit the opponent next to him.

The only
problem with Nightcrawler is just what makes him so powerful: He will be a
lightning rod to your opponent. Even if your opponent knocks him down, however,
he or she will have a hard time knocking him out. Use this time and
misdirection to move your other forces into position and launch a massive
strike.

If you
happen to pull a Nightcrawler out of your next booster, keep a close eye on it.
People will beg you to trade with them, offer you more money that you can
count, even offer to do your homework for a month. But don’t give in. The
speed, power, and defense of higher-point characters all packed into one figure
will astonish you and your friends whenever you use him.

Deconstructing Firelord

By: swix

Ah, Firelord. If you play HeroClix often (and if you don’t,
why don’t you?), then you’ve more than likely played a game involving Firelord.
If you play tournaments consistently, then you’ve almost definitely seen him in
action. This article will briefly take a look at why he’s played so often, and
then get into the specifics of playing with/against him.

Why, Why,
Why?!!!

Firelord has been the subject of debate with the online HeroClix
community for some time. Whether or not you believe he’s broken, I think
everyone can agree that he’s insanely efficient for his points. In all of his
versions he does 5 clicks of damage at range, and because he flies, he is often
able to deal this damage in close combat as well. He has great defensive
numbers early in his dial (when it matters), and later on these numbers drop
like a rock for five or six clicks, making him eminently healable. Add in a
wonderful attack rating (11/12/13 to start in his R/E/V versions, respectively)
and you’ve got the makings of a champ. He hits hard and often, and when he gets
hit he’s easy to heal.

Facing
Firelord in Battle

Firelord has three main weaknesses (none of them are glaring, but you’ve got to
find something to work with).

    1. Firelord drops out of
      his monstrous clicks quickly. The easiest way to take advantage of this is
      to use figures with high attack values that deal 3 or more clicks of
      damage (I know, that’s ideal any time, but it’s very important when
      dealing with Firelord). My personal recommendation for this is Veteran
      Logan. Park him next to Firelord and one “SNIKT” later Firelord
      is down to 10 attack and 2 damage (still with Ranged Combat Expert,
      though). If you get lucky and get Logan on an item, when Firelord hits
      back you’re on your best click (9 attack with Blades/Claws/Fangs and
      Flurry). Another good figure to use is Experienced or Veteran Black Cat.
      Why? You must hit Firelord first. If he swings twice for 5, your
      team will have a bad day. Black Cat gives you a reroll that will help you
      get in that first hit.
    1. Even in his Veteran
      version, Firelord has a range of only 8, so he can be outranged easily if
      you use good board awareness and positioning (it’s definitely worth
      counting out the squares against Firelord). Veteran Bullseye is great at
      exploiting this weakness. With a 10 range and a hefty 11 attack, Bullseye
      can normally get in a quick shot before Firelord can do anything about it.
      Firelord is then down to a 10 attack for 4 damage at range, and he
      has to hit Bullseye’s 18 (thanks to Energy Shield/Deflection) defense (19
      if you’re parked on an item, which you should be). If you’re running
      Probability Control (and again, if you’re playing against Firelord, you
      should be), that could be a tall order.
    1. Three stealthed characters
      can force Firelord to come into base contact. While this isn’t a huge
      issue for him, it can definitely help.

Playing Against:

V Logan: As mentioned before, he’s a good piece against a Firelord.
Stealth and big damage is a good combo for facing off with his Fiery highness.

U Moondragon: By far my favorite taxi for Logan. When Logan rolls into
Battle Fury, no worries, Moondragon can TK him over to Firelord to continue his
feast. Even more impressive, though, is that if you don’t get Firelord before he
gets back to the medic, you can taxi Moondragon in with her 10 range and she
can have Firelord smack the medic out of support.

U Wasp: If not the best taxi in the game, she’s in the top 2. Leadership
and a free move means your team will not be searching for actions, plus she’s
hard to hit with a stout 19 defense.

E Black Cat: Probablity Control, Leap/Climb and a free move (thanks to
the Wasp). ‘Nuff said.

V Bullseye: Reach out and touch Firelord with his outstanding range.

E Doombot: The perfect taxi for Bullseye. S.H.I.E.L.D. pump, attacks at
an 11 w/ Energy Explosion (thanks to Bullseye’s Sinister Syndicate team
ability), free move and toughness.

V S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic: Low attack, but with probability control that
shouldn’t be an issue. I’m willing to sacrifice that for the ability to pump
damage with my Wild Cards.

The general strategy of this team is to have two roving units who
easily control the center of the board. Wasp, Moondragon and Logan run
alongside one another and the Doombot carts Bullseye around. Wasp and
Moondragon might seem excessive, but I like the fact that if my opponent makes
a mistake, or the opportunity presents itself, that Moondragon can also be
moved into position for a key mind control. On top of that, late in the game when
orange pops up on Logan’s Damage slot, Moondragon still has a taxi and becomes
a full-time weapon very easily.

Using Firelord in Battle

By far, the most essential companion is a medic. Firelord’s quick drop in stats
and powers (and therefore usefulness) means you’ll need to heal him. Make no
mistake: When Firelord is on the board he’s got a huge red target on his back.
I would use a S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic for this purpose. This figure’s low attack
value is offset by the fact that Firelord’s defense value is atrocious later,
making attack value less of a concern.

The second thing that Firelord desperately needs is a taxi. While
extending Firelord’s effective range from 8 to 14+ (depending on the taxi) is
important, making it so that Firelord can move and shoot is game-breaking. If
Firelord must move and then push to do his 5 clicks, he’s just not that scary.
Veteran Doombot is one of my personal favorites for this task. Admittedly, a
low 8 movement is not ideal in a taxi, but the ability to S.H.I.E.L.D. pump for
6 on turn two makes it easier to stomach.

The last thing that makes Firelord nigh-invincible is Probability
Control. “Oh, you rolled a 9 to hit him? Do it again.” Your opponent must hit
an 18 twice, and that’s a really good thing for Firelord. Experienced Black Cat
is my personal pick for this purpose, mainly for her versatility. She’s got
great mobility with Leap/Climb, the Spider-Man team ability for S.H.I.E.L.D.
pumping, and free movement if the team is constructed correctly.

Playing As:

Firelord only needs to bring a couple of things to help him destroy you. By
far, the most essential is a medic. The quick drop in stats and powers (and
therefore usefulness) means you’ll need to heal him. Make no mistake: when
Firelord is on the board he’s got a huge red target on his back. I would use a
S.H.I.E.L.D. medic in general for this purpose. The low attack value is offset
by the fact that Firelord’s defense value is atrocious later, and thus attack
value isn’t too big of a concern.

The second thing that Firelord desperately needs is a taxi. While
extending Firelord’s effective range from 8 to 14+ (depending on the taxi) is
important, making it so that Firelord can move and shoot is game breaking. If
Firelord must move and then push to do his 5 clicks, he’s just not that scary.
V Doombot is one of my personal favorites for this task. Admittedly, a low 8
movement is not ideal in a taxi, but the ability to S.H.I.E.L.D. pump for 6 on
turn 2 makes it easier to stomach.

The last thing that makes Firelord nigh invincible is Probability
Control. “Oh, you rolled a 9 to hit him? Do it again.” While you probably
should phrase it a bit more kindly, that’s the jist of it. They’ve got to hit
an 18 twice, and that’s a really good thing for Firelord. E Black Cat is my personal
pick, mainly for her versatility. She’s got great mobility with Leap/Climb and
the Spider-Man team ability for S.H.I.E.L.D. pumping and free movement if the
team is constructed correctly.

Firelord’s response:

E Firelord: The lynchpin of your team. He’s big and bad and your mission
is to keep him safe so that he’s making people spin their team’s dials.

V Pyro: Pyro serves two purposes. One, he does a good job of hitting
people at range, and two, he throws up barriers that can help keep Firelord
safe. Firelord is you big gun, so anything you can do to help keep people away
from him is good, and the fact that Pyro can hit for 3 from 8 squares away
isn’t to be overlooked either.

V A.I.M. Agent: 8 range, 2 damage and the Hydra ability (which works
will with the taxi’s you’ll be using). All for 16 points. Yummy.

V Doombot x 3: 8 movement with S.H.I.E.L.D. pumps or HYDRA boosts. The ultimate
in versatility for a ranged team (which this is).

E Black Cat: She is, and should be, a staple on any team.

V S.H.I.E.L.D. Medic: Must… Have… S.H.I.E.L.D. pumps…

This team is designed to hit from far away. Pyro and A.I.M. agent
should hang out on the fringes of the board harrying potential threats to
Firelord, keeping Pyro a bit closer to make sure he can throw out a barrier
when it’s necessary. Make sure to position the Doombots well so that the HYDRA
ability isn’t wasted if you’re not S.H.I.E.L.D. pumping, too.

Conclusion

Firelord is good; there’s no denying it. If you’re going to try to win a major
tournament, you’re either going to have to play him or deal with him. I hope
this article will give you a starting point to playing him, or a different
viewpoint when it comes to trying to defeat him. If you’re just playing for
fun, I hope this article will help you find a way to have The Hulk crush
Firelord with a dumpster–or have Firelord burn that dumpster right along with
The Hulk!

Ten Most Underrated HeroClix Figures

by samebattime

Infinity
Challenge
and Clobberin’ Time have a lot of great figures, and I
don’t mean just Spiral and Nightcrawler. Here is a list of the ten figures that
most players do not even consider—and why they should.

10.
Doombot
(Experienced or Veteran) The key to the Doombot is its
flexibility. This is a relatively inexpensive figure that can do everything
because of the Minions of Doom team ability. Think of the possibilities: Get
free movement with an Avenger; share attack values using the Sinister Syndicate
team ability; add 1 to the attack value with the Hydra team ability; or attack
together using one action with the Masters of Evil team ability. Basically, a
Doombot and any other figure with a team ability makes your team tougher.

9.
Controller
(Experienced) He is an interesting figure because of his split
personality: Mind Control and Super Strength. Most Mind Control figures require
you to attack from a distance because of their weak defenses or poor close
combat stats, but not the Controller. If an opponent attacks him, he gets
tougher, meaner, and hits harder. Having this extra dimension allows you to
play him more aggressively.

8. Shield
Sniper

(Veteran ) A bargain figure. An attack of 9 with a range of 10 and Ranged
Combat Expertise included in a figure that costs 18 points? Incredible. She
offers cover fire at a reasonable cost. So go absolutely crazy and put 11 of
these on your next 200-point team. Well, maybe not that crazy.

7. Wasp (Unique) Sure, she
gives you free movement with the Avenger team ability, but she is so much more.
Leadership for extra movement, 19 defense for safe traveling even in the most
dangerous areas, and Incapacitate with two arrows, which allows her to slow
down or stop two opponents in a single attack.

6. Dr.
Octopus
(Rookie) The Dr. deserves serious consideration based on value
alone. He is a 22-point figure with Leap/Climb, meaning that he move more
freely, and willpower, which allows him to move or attack without taking damage
from pushing. His deadly tentacles attack at 9” for 2 damage.

5. Puppet
Master

(Veteran) You look at his dial and say, “But his attack’s only 7.” Look a
little closer and you’ll notice that he has the Doom team ability. So put him
next to a Sinister Syndicate teammate like Bullseye and increase his attack
value to 11. Mind Control with an attack of 11 is a lethal combination that rivals
Professor X for half the cost.

4.
Invisible Girl
(Rookie) Rookie Invisible Girl??? Are you serious? Absolutely.
She is the ultimate team player with an 18 defense with Defend. So put her in
the middle of your team and give everyone a defense of 18. Some figures become
easy targets after a couple clicks of damage, but not with Invisible Girl
nearby.

3. Ultron (Experienced) He is
a hefty 139 points but worth every single point. He has a high defense with
Invulnerability, a high attack with Energy Explosion, two arrows, and a range
of 10. Sounds great doesn’t it? But that’s not all; he has the Minions of Doom
team ability to give him incredible flexibility. He is without question the
best figure in both sets.

2.
Moondragon
(Unique) You can use her as an all-purpose taxi because she can
move anyone through Telekinesis or through Flight. She works especially well in
teams that have Battle Fury characters. She can deal damage up to 10 spaces
away or mind control them. She is simply a good mix of talent blended into one
great figure.

1.
Boomerang
(Experienced) The Sinister Syndicate team ability really sets him
apart from the other versions of Boomerang. Placed beside one of his stronger
Sinister Syndicate teammates, he becomes a powerful force. Energy Explosion
with multiple targets and a high attack value can pile up the damage in a
hurry. At 34 points, this figure is a steal.

Top Ten HeroClix Pointers

by abe_bb

Many players, both rookies and veterans, have a hard time building
their dream team. Building your winning team, however, can be an easy task if
you follow these 10 easy steps.

1. Determine Your Strategy

How do you want to win the match? Do you want to be able to slug it out in
close combat, or would you rather sit back and play sniper against your
opponent? Better yet, why not do both? On any given team, you want to have at
least two options available to you when it comes to defeating your opponent.
The four main groups that players build teams around are speedsters, bombers,
heavy hitters, and lightweights.

Speedsters are those that are able to move in fast, hit hard, and
get back to the medic before they get hurt too bad.

Bombers are those that hang back, avoid close combat at all costs,
and pummel the opponent from long range.

Heavy hitters are those composed of high-point figures that can do
massive damage in one attack.

Finally, lightweight teams are those made to wear out the opponent
over the long haul.

For a winning team, you should mix at least two of the strategies.
Have a figure or two bomb the opponent while your heavy hitters pound away. Or
use the speed of your figures to tie up opponents while your bombers hit them
from overhead. With a mixed strategy, opponents will have a hard time pinning
you down, and you will have an easier time adapting to the opponent.

2. Always Have a Way to Negate Defenses

No matter how strong your figures are, or how many times you hit your
opponent’s figures, if enemy figures have the Impervious, Invulnerability, or
even Toughness special abilities, you are going to have a hard time knocking
them out. Prepare in advance by using characters with strong defense-altering
powers. Outwit and Psychic Blast are two good powers to use to negate defenses.

3. Always Have a Spare Die Roll in Your Pocket

With everything that can go wrong during battle, from missing completely to
rolling snake eyes, it is always best to have someone on your team with
Probability Control. With it, you can change the tide of battle in only one
turn.

4. Taxis and Medics Are a Must

You should always have at least one “taxi” and one “medic.” Both are essential
parts of playing HeroClix. With taxis, you can move your snipers into
position, make sure you are in range of an opponent, or swoop down to save a
injured comrade. Medics, with their ability to heal your figures, can take a
near-death heavy hitter and make him madder then ever!

5. Be Flexible

Make sure that you have “reinforcements” on the side in case you run up against
a team you need different powers for. Switch out the heavy hitter for a taxi
and a sniper to fight against another heavy hitter. Or remove some lightweights
and put in a strong character to pound those weaklings! Any way you look at it,
being flexible with your strategy is a key to winning.

6. Watch the Team Symbols

Many players don’t even notice to which team their characters belong. When
building your team, make sure that you do not make the same mistake. You can
gain free move actions, increased firepower, increased defense, and even clicks
of healing–all by having people on the right teams!

7. Balance Is the Key to the Universe

Make sure you balance your team with both high- and low-point figures. Never go
into a 300-point battle with only two figures. Conversely, there is no reason
that every figure on your team should be under 50 points. Mix and match to
create the best results.

8. Don’t Forget Leadership

Leadership is a strong ability. It gives you an extra action as long as you
roll a 4, 5, or 6. That action can be used to KO an opponent or heal an ally.
Leadership occurs in both high- and low-point figures. Even a low-point leader,
like a Rookie Kingpin (24 points), is enough to give you that extra edge that
you may need.

9. Play the Day Away

Play alone or online if you have to, but make sure you test your team multiple
times before giving up. Try your team out against other teams that you have
made, and figure out whether it is your figures or your strategy that needs
revising. On the same note, try out your team on different maps, and with different
objects, to see how flexible your team is, and where you want your team to be
when the game starts. If you have a plan for your team in advance, it will
perform much better.

10. Revisit and Revise

After you have found a team you love–and that loves you–don’t be afraid to
alter it if it becomes obsolete. Revisit and revise your team often to keep it
fresh, and keep your opponents on their toes.

Aaron Schantz’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Team

By: Aaron “azs” Schantz

The new Clobberin’ Time expansion brings new figures, new
alliances, and new strategies that unite the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick
Fury, with old and new teammates. The Agent and Medic from Infinity
Challenge
join a Trooper, a Sniper, and the Mandroid Armor to help make
S.H.I.E.L.D. an effective fighting force.

Nick Fury adds his Leadership to this band of highly trained
covert operatives in order to fight off the villainy of the Red Skull and
Hydra, the Super Skrull and his army of skrull commandos, or anyone else who
threatens the status quo.

In Clobberin’ Time, S.H.I.E.L.D. goes from being a
background group to a group to be reckoned with. They support each other with
the S.H.I.E.L.D. ability, which allows them to add 1 extra click of damage to
ranged attacks when they’re adjacent to each other, and Nick Fury binds them
all together with his marksmanship and years of battlefield experience. Try out
the hard-hitting sample S.H.I.E.L.D. force below:

Nick Fury (Unique): 62

Mandroid Armor (Rookie): 28

Mandroid Armor (Experienced): 32

Medic (Experienced): 15

Agent (Rookie): 10

Trooper (Veteran): 17

Sniper (Veteran): 18

Sniper (Veteran): 18

Total points:200

Nick Fury is the heart and soul of this team. Use his Leadership
for an extra action to offset the cost of using the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability,
and back him up with his teammates. Put him in hindering terrain and let him
fire on your opponents using Stealth, then support him with the S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agent, whose sole purpose is to add 1 extra click of damage to Nick’s attack.

Set up one or both of your Snipers nearby, using the Agent to
boost their effectiveness. Don’t worry about pushing the poor guy—that’s what
he’s there for. Keep the Medic nearby so that you can heal figures who take
stray shots or push themselves too hard.

The Mandroids are S.H.I.E.L.D.’s big guns. Field them to handle
threats too dangerous for a regular Agent. Using their Telekinesis, they also
add some much-needed mobility to an otherwise grounded force. At first, you’ll
use them to move your team into position and attack in the same turn in order
to get a jump on your opponent. Then field them both to take on the
opposition—or keep one back to rearrange your position if the enemy gets the
drop on you. Also surprise your opponent by using Telekinesis to fling his or
her characters within range of Fury and his Snipers and to separate them from
their fliers. Then take them apart with your ranged combatants. Be careful not
to push your Mandroid Armors too early in the game, though, because they have
Telekinesis on only the very first click.

Feel free, however, to push Nick Fury as needed, because the Medic
will be there to back him up. He also gets some help later in his dial from
Running Shot and Outwit, which keep him mobile and dangerous. In addition, his
Mastermind power at the end of the dial will help him redirect damage to his
underlings and buy time for the Medic to offer some emergency battlefield mending.

The Trooper is going to be an unfortunate collateral victim of
this team. His job is to get out in the field to tie up your opponents. Use him
either to keep someone at bay and buy your team a turn or two of rest, or to
keep your opponent from shooting out of close combat. Toughness will help keep
him alive a little longer, and his high attack value will help him deal some
damage before he’s knocked out. The Trooper may not make it home for the
ticker-tape parade, but if you plan out your strategy carefully and think a few
moves ahead, you can lead Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos to victory on the battlefield!

Check out my other website at:

Fox Superpower List

6 responses to “Marvel HeroClix Strategy Articles

  1. cheap ball python morphs

    Nice info, beneficial and excellent layout, as share good stuff
    along together using plans and ideas, lord info as
    well as ideas, each of which I would like, thanks to provide such a tips right
    the following.

  2. I am no longer certain the place you are getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out more.
    Thank you for excellent info I used to be on the lookout for this information for
    my mission.

  3. På knull kontakt kan single finne oppegående sexpartnere som kun er ute
    etter erotiske eventyr, og dette med noen som deler samme preferanser som dem.
    Her kan dere arrangere sextreff og utveksle preferanser før dere møtes, på denne måten er dere mer eller mindre garantere å ikke bli skuffet over det kåte paret dere møter.
    Hva som gjør modne single så sexy og attraktive for unge single, er at de allerede har sett og opplevd mye mer – det gir god inspirasjon til fantasien.

  4. I’ve been browsing online greater than 3 hours today, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty price sufficient for me.
    In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good
    content material as you did, the internet can be much more helpful than ever before.

  5. Sei dabei und werde noch heute Teil der aufregenden
    fickkontakte. Wenn du dich in unserer Community registrierst,
    ist Dein nächstes Treffen nicht mehr weit. me ganz schnell die Liebe
    online finden und glücklich werden.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s