Last week Several weeks ago, we wrote of a F.U.N. team of characters from April with the word “black” in their names. It worked out, so we tried another version in August:

Black Widow [Avengers Assemble 065] 200
Black Panther [Age of Ultron] 140
Black Knight [Age of Ultron] 115
Black Manta [Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes 039] 97
Black Lightning [Batman] 87

Black Canary [Streets of Gotham 003] 62
Black Talon [Deadpool] 60
Black Death [Kick-Ass 2] 35

= 769 points

The basic strat was to use Black Talon to Mind Control a teammate and jumpstart the offense that way, while using Black Death and Canary as timely tie-ups. But I was going to have little time to execute, as I had to go to work in a little over 2.5 hours.

FIRST, I faced Aaron’s DC team of Superman, Batman from Trinity War (Wait, didn’t we DO this already?), New 52 John Constantine, Cosmic Boy [Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes 001], Lucius Fox [Batman] and Aquaman [Trinity War 018] at 60 points.

Turning Points

  • The Canary in the Mine: Superman immediately used his X-ray eyes to KO Canary in a single shot when I misjudged Batman as the true threat instead of as the TKer of Supes. Oops.
  • Aquaman? Doesn’t He Just Talk to Fis—AH, MY SPLEEN!!!!! I got a tad too aggressive with Black Panther, leaving him within Charge range of the 60-point Aquaman, who got double-Perplexed to a 13 AV to rather easily hit BP for 6 after an aces Blades/Claws/Fangs roll. At least I later scored a KO of the sea king myself.
  • Carrying the Plague Almost Kills Me: Black Widow taxied Black Death to block one line of fire, but really I should have walked the 35-pointer to base Batman.

Superman escaped to consign me to a 60-62 loss for an 0-1 record.

 

SECOND was Lenny’s themed team of Justice League Dark: Frankenstein, Tim Hunter, John Constantine, I Vampire, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid and Blue Devil, all from the main Trinity War set. This was exciting; I’d never seen them all played together before!

Turning Points Lessons Learned

  • Never overextend Black Panther. You’d think I’d have learned from last game. But his ability to hide from line of fire can lead to overconfidence in his effective 19 DV. He took a first critical hit blow from Black Orchid — after a rerolled crit miss! — and Frank cleaned up for the first score of the game. All because I wanted to Outwit the Vampire’s Charge to protect Black Widow, who’d roundly missed her attack on Blue Devil. I didn’t take into account all the other Charge characters who could and did attack.
  • Never gum up line of fire. I had a lot of range on my team. But my overaggressive Panther placement led to enemy melee forces and my own brawler Black Knight blocking my firing lanes. Thus I couldn’t effectively get Black Manta and Lightning into the fray…OR use Black Widow’s “smoke” trait to get cover where I needed.
  • Never Leap/Climb the Stealthy gal out in the open… right in the Outwit’s face. While I kinda needed to get Black Canary where she could do some good, I may have chosen a different spot. Speaking of choices:
  • Who to hit? Blue Devil? John? Or Xanadu? Canary had based all three. I chose the Devil. And missed. NEVER CHOOSE THE DEVIL.
  • Never say die. Things begin to turn around. At last, my shooters got a clear LOF to Zatanna, and thanks to the Outsiders TA, we take her. And then Tim Hunter, as well, followed by Constantine! Victory is at hand.
  • …until, at the last minute, Madame Xanadu shifts to successfully reroll a Charging Frankenstein’s miss into a 6 BCF one-shot kill of Black Lightning as time expires. Xanadu haunts me.

Xanadu dies in every game I see her in now.

 

FINALLY, Morrison’s Avengers on the old Cap Helicarrier map: Deadpool [Thunderbolts Fast Forces], Captain America [Avengers Age of Ultron 102], Iron Man [Mutations And Monsters 200], and 100-point versions each of Hank Pym [Age of Ultron], Spider-Man and Thor [Avengers Vs. X-Men], and Hulk and Iron Man [Original Avengers].

Turning Points

A Thor Too Far. Morrison overextended Thor and I took those points early on.

…Failing Even In Undeath. Using Black Talon to revive Thor, I tried to single Pulse Wave Spidey. But…crit miss.

HULK SMA…oh. A potentially Panther-crippling Charge was wasted on a bad attack roll, which left the rest of the game in little doubt. I lost Black Death, Manta and Talon but got Hulk, Iron Man and Pym for the margin of victory. 1-2.

This team suffered for a total lack of Probability Control. Wish I’d remembered Black Cat [Deadpool 023]! I also didn’t realize special objects were allowed; I would have included an Opened Hydrant for Black Manta’s benefit.

By piece:

Canary: Mostly dead weight. Black Cat takes her spot from now on.

Death: Still a superb tie-up blocker. He’s always on this team.

Lightning: Outsiders TA is solid, but he’s soooo soft. I like him too much to leave him off the team, though.

Manta: Another fixture on the team, able to serve as taxi, shooter, wildcard.

Panther: Much more of a finesse fig than I initially appreciated.

Talon: Again, the piece that makes this a surprisingly competitive F.U.N. team.

Widow: A beastick that this team usually lacks. The Smoke Cloud is clutch.

____

No promises on the next article. That bit me last time.

 

For the first time in some years I got a chance to run the Runaways on a team, back in spring 2014:

Victor Mancha [Web of Spider-Man] 96
Nico Minoru [Hammer of Thor] 84
Xavin [Galactic Guardians] 75
Karolina Dean [Hammer of Thor] 55
Gertrude Yorkes and Old Lace [Hammer of Thor] 54
Dagger [Amazing Spider-Man 003 ] 45
Chase Stein [Hammer of Thor] 45
Molly Hayes  [Hammer of Thor] 43

= 497 points. It faced a squad right out of a Runaways comic book:

wreckingcrew

Thunderball, Bulldozer, Piledriver and Wrecker, all from the Invincible Iron Man set and all but the first at full power. And here’s how it went.

I got map choice and picked one of the Blitzkreig maps for the elevated terrain to avoid the Crew’s Charge range. It worked out pretty well; Victor got quite a few Running Shot+P/PBlasts off, and Chase was repeatedly able to evac the team before the Crew could get in on the team.

In fact, despite Xavin being stuck in the start zone and thus fairly easy pickings for the Crew to beat up, it was looking so much like a runaway win for the Runaways that my opponent was ready to concede this friendly side game. But persuaded him to play on.

I should have taken the offer.

Wrecker started smashing the blocking terrain on the roof I was retreating along and he and Piledriver moved in for huge hits on the kids with the additional heavy objects thus created. And so the Runaways fell to the Wrecking Crew.

Tight, fun game that was only a die roll or two from maybe going the other way. It truly underscored one of Heroclixin’s mottos: Don’t ever give up, even when it looks as though the game is lost.

A few weeks ago, I posted about this Soldier team:

Batwoman [Batman] 61pts
Captain America [Fear Itself] 88pts
Falcon [Winter Soldier 006] 105pts
Aldrich Killian [Iron Man 3] 35pts
= 289 points.

I got to run it during a bye round recently. I chose the Utility Belt to fill out the remaining 11 points for an even 300 build. Here’s what it faced:

Flash [Flash 201] 110pts
Golden Glider [Flash 207] 100pts
ARGUS Researcher [Flash 205] 40pts
Rag Doll [Flash 208] 50pts

= 300 points of longtime clix friend Paul’s brand-new Flash Gravity Feed figs.That’s a fast, if weak, Hypersonic Speedster, a dangerous wildcard Poison+Outwit taxi in Glider, cheap Stealth Outwit from ARGUS and one MORE Outwit fig.

I got map choice and selected a newish indoor one with walls and blocking and hindering for my crew to work with.

HOW IT WENT

Early on, I set up the force in hindering far enough from Flash’s 14-square swing that he would not be able to hit and run with impunity — or Killian at all. When the time was right, I used Batwoman’s Radar Monitor to take Glider’s Calculator TA to gain another Hydra TA ally to help with Falcon’s inevitable Running Shot.

Unfortunately, it missed. So I had to rely on my contingency plan of using Killian to block Flash’s path with Barrier for two straight turns — thanks to successful Leadership on Killian — and try to set up a proper Charge with Cap.

But Cap was exposed on the back end after ARGUS moved around to Outwit him and he took a blow from Flash, who retreated to safety. ARGUS, too, was safe from my followup shot because of Stealth, and here’s where I made my game-destroying rookie critical mental miss of the day: rather than using Falcon’s FREE SIDESTEP to taxi Batwoman a square forward where she could threaten the ARGUS Researcher next turn, I did nothing but Perplex and clear.

In short order, Falcon was wounded, Cap forced to retreat, and Killian was based before he was able to start healing. With Glider closing in, I had to push to KO ARGUS in a hurry.

In the end, that was the only points scored, so the win was mine. But I was clearly against the ropes, needing a second wind from my healer to be able to deal with the speedster still out there on his best clicks.

In the end, I still like the flexibility of this team, although it’s a little bit too defensive for my liking. I may try it out again in a future 300 Modern Age event.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Heroclix fans. Once you’re done with your Black Friday shopping, come back to your browsers for Heroclixin’s particular brand of consumer excess: Another round of Figure Flush of never-before-played pieces.

Some years ago, I wrote about wanting to play a team of nothing but different version of Robin, The Boy Wonder. Well, I did this past weekend, with the following team:

 

Robin [Arkham Origins] 72 + Batman Family ATA 4
Robin [Arkham Asylum] 66
Robin [Streets of Gotham 048] 59 + Batman Family ATA 4
Robin [DC 10th Anniversary] 52 + Batman Family ATA 4
Robin [Batman Classic TV] 50 + Batman Family ATA 4
Robin [Brave and the Bold] 43 + Lunge 5
Robin [Crisis 001] 35
= 398 points.

The scenario was no figure greater than 100 points and no resources.

But this team went 1-2 ONLY because I won a roll-off in the 0-KO first round. It’s that terrible. For so many reasons.

 

  • Leadership only on the CHEAPEST character. The extra action was welcome on the swarm team, but was otherwise a waste.
  • Too many without Stealth…
  • …particularly the mobile fighters.
  • 2 damage all around with little exception.
  • The only 3 damage was on immobile attackers.
  • One Perplexer.
  • NO OUTWIT AT ALL.

 

If only I’d followed my own advice from this very blog, written in early 2011:

At 79 points, he’s a lot, yes. But dumping the marginally useful Batman Family ATA in favor of maybe a couple more Lunge feats would’ve carved the room. Or I could have used Robin [Teen Titan 001] either at full 75 points to get better Leadership or at 50 for cheaper opening Outwit.

The point being, it’s no good having a swarm team when the swarm can neither hit nor damage opponents.

I mean, this is how bad this team was: Heroclixin’s Number Three Worst Fig of 2013, Battle Guy 009, mopped the floor with it along with others of his Justice Forever squad.

This performance is quite the opposite of the first time I ran an all-Robin team, which was built something like this:

 

Robin 79 (Crisis veteran)
Robin 66 (Arkham Asylum)
Robin 43 (The Brave and the Bold)
Robin 35 (Crisis rookie)
Robin 30 (Batman Alpha)
Boy Wonder [Crisis LE] 40

=300 points. It did surprisingly well, most notably taking on a Lex Luthor/Brainac duo fig back in 2010, when all these were still Modern Age. I should have remembered that stealthed Outwit was the only reason it could function.

Future builds will look a bit like this:

Lead Outwit: either Crisis Vet Robin or TT Robin at either cost. The latter doesn’t start with the power on his top price, but can push right onto it. he also has both Batman and Titans TAs, and a special power granting either Incap or free Smoke Cloud.

Cheap tie-up swarm: in Golden Age, this is B+B Robin or no one. In Modern, the 25-point TV Robin can fill this role a little better at nearly 20 fewer points.

Damagers: if used more aggressively than in this game, the Arkham Origins Robin could work. I did a lot of early Sidestep with him to save actions when I should have run him near the front lines to threaten foes much sooner.

Perplex: This team needs it bad. Arkham Asylum Robin is good for it in Golden Age. Modern Age limits me to Streets of Gotham 012 Robin, a short-lived 100-point bloat with the power traited. I might just settle for 10th Robin’s Enhancement instead and trust in Outwit to nudge up damage output for melee.

____

This weekend, AvX is mercifully coming to an end. I am so sick to death of seeing those same 10 starter figs on the map all the time. Perhaps I’ll do a post on the few teams I did like.

 

 

 

LegionWeAre

So about a month ago, I boldly took a somewhat overmatched Legion of Super-Heroes team to a Top  8 finish in the highly competitive Realms Open Championship qualifier. I decided to try out a new Legion team for another big tournament with big prizes on the line.

Superboy [SLOSH] 100
Cosmic Boy [201] 70
Phantom Girl [008] 72 + Utility Belt 13
Science Police Officer [004] 45
= 300 points.

Young Supes is the main attacker, of course. His anti-Stealth TA and Running Shot and 4 damage all lend weight to the role. Cos is the main supporter with his Telekinesis and Perplex and Leadership that can even benefit the higher-priced Boy of Steel. But the linchpin of the team is P-Girl, who A) could shut down relic/resource engines and B) via the Batman Cowl, give the team Batman Ally TA to boost the defenses against range.

FIRST ROUND
vs. FI Iron Fist 007, WX Magneto, 50-pt Enchantress, and Wonder Girl 008, on the Hall of Doom map.

Turning Point
Handcuffs on Iron Fist tied him up for enough rounds to gain a narrow LOF on him. As he was the most dangerous figure on the other side, taking him down more or less sealed my win.

SECOND ROUND
vs. FI Hawkeye, WX Hope Summers, Maggia Goon x 3, Book of Skulls. I took the Hall of Doom again.

Keys to the game
He Hammered up, buying me time to set up alpha strike to Energy Explode Hope and ping Hawkeye off Running Shot, which helped a lot later.
Shut down the hammers with Phantom Girl, preventing their later use and abuse.

THIRD ROUND
vs. Fantomex + Belt, Jinx, Spiral. Same map, because I like it. But…

…Almost lost this one. Got baited into blocking Spiral’s portal, confident in Bat-Stealth. But didn’t notice Night Vision Goggles, and suddenly P-Girl was half-dead! Also, I set up Science cop too far out to affect the fight with his SP.

PG survived to lock up Fantomex’s use of Belt to slow him down long enough for Superboy and Cos to gang up on Spiral for the KO before time ran out.

FOURTH ROUND
didn’t happen. At this point, it’s me versus my friend and ride to the venue, Charlie. and both of us are gassed and not at our best and we have a 90-plus-minute drive ahead of us. He offers to concede the win — I have the points advantage and because, to use his words, that’s how bros bro — and the judge allows it.

His team, which he said was inspired by my earlier ROC team: P-Girl + Belt, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, Motorcycle + GCPD, Science Police Officer 004, I think. We’d be using similar tech on our teams. Mine has a slight edge on pure firepower but he’s got the advantage on maneuverability and actions thanks to GCPD. Charlie also has way better Utility Belt items than I do.

Honestly. on paper, I think he’s got this one. But I’ve been wrong before.

Anyway, I get a trio of Con Exclusives I’d never owned, Charlie got some trade fodder, and Nate, the one I defeated in round 3, was able to get the one piece he wanted most of the whole prize collection.

This past weekend I found myself taking another little road trip to a big tournament to play for F.U.N. and prizes. And again, I found myself trying to compete with this F.U.N. team:

Lizard [Amazing Spider-Man] 88
Vixen [Streets of Gotham] 74 + Justice League: Generation Lost ATA 3
Alyosha Kraven [Amazing Spider-Man] 70
Beast Boy [DC 75th Anniversary ] 60
Cosmo [Galactic Guardians] 52
Catwoman [10th Anniversary ] 35
Flock of Bats [Batman 99c] 18

= 400 points. This time around, even the themed team tactic was banned. But the force’s basic integrity was still intact, so I ran with it again. Let’s see how it did:

ROUND ONE
vs. an accidental Mystical team of Madame Web, Astral Dr. Strange, Brother Voodoo, the 50-point Enchantress and led by the 225-point Malekith [Thor: Dark World 004]. I was first player and chose the Karnak map from the Watchmen Crimebusters Fast Forces set. The starting areas are on the long edges of the map instead of on the ends.

Turning Points

  • As in my first match in the ROC a few weeks ago, my opponent made a First Round Immunity blooper again, thinking that my moving a single figure on my force meant my whole team was fair game. Why is this basic rule so misunderstood? Now I had an easy first shot on his big piece.
  • Whoa, Did I Say “Easy?” Malekith had a 20 DV from range because he Perplexed his defense and was sitting on the heavy object I’d placed during setup. Why, oh why didn’t I pick him as the target for Justice League: Generation Lost ATA? Without the hindering boost, I’d have felt better about shooting with Vixen instead of getting close — especially because with Cosmo’s PD TA and Enhancement, he’s a normal 18 instead of 20 to shoot for 4 damage. Then I could follow up with a TK’d Lizard Charge to tie Malekith up at a minimum.
  • What happened instead was misses, misses, misses thanks to way too much Prob Control and then Brother Voodoo wreaking his havoc on my formations with Mind Control.

Lost all but Catwoman, Cosmo, and a Flock of Bats, which was perpetually at least ONE SQUARE TOO FAR AWAY to do ANYTHING. 0-1.

ROUND TWO
vs. Phantom Stranger, Question, Pandora. Again, I picked Karnak.

How It Went
He immediately jumped on lil’ Catwoman with both Question and Phantom Stranger after I moved her out to a light object. I didn’t intend her to be bait, but I took the opportunity to blast him with a TK’d and Enhanced Vixen. Unfortunately, Catwoman failed to KO Question with a followup and fell quickly, leaving a clear LOF for Lizard to be Outwitted.
I repositioned to take on Pandora but there was a lot of dice futility. Lucked out that my opponent rarely used Poison.
I eventually got Question and Pandora but it was a desperate fight to stay ahead against an almost full-strength Phantom Stranger with most of my remaining figs all chewed up. A terrible move with Vixen — including forgetting HER Poison — KOd her and lost me the game.

Until I did the math and noted that 77+60+35 is still less than the 200 I’d scored. 1-1.

ROUND THREE
vs. 30-point Loki [Fear Itself], 50-point Scarlet Witch [Chaos War] and 319-point Cosmic Spider-Man [Web of Spider-Man]. I lost map roll and got stuck in a very-walled-up map whose name escapes me.

What the hell do I do against that?
I knew my only chance was to close on him as soon as possible, especially after my opponent’s opening move gave CSM view of the entire map. So:

  • Immediately I switched Beast Boy to Pterodactyl to carry 3 animals and poised him to do so just out of starting area. 0-moved Alyosha Kraven. Vixen JLA-free-moved as far out as possible, just in CSM’s range, carrying and placing Cosmo in front as bait, maybe. Finally, I used the free-action-move then a normal move action to get the Flock of Bats next to all his team.
  • But Loki pushed and easily KOed the Flock, making me want to say another word that shares a lot of the same letters as “flock.”
  • Thus free, CSM shot Vixen for 5, despite her Super Senses.
  • Got a lucky Regen with her [this was Vixen’s Best Move this match] as BB taxied the rest within Charge range of a pushed CSM. I had a CHANCE now of at least making a fight of it!
  • …until Scarlet Witch Barriered in the room. No chance.
  • …until Lizard Charged a wall, so Kraven could attack.
  • Then I free-action-moved BB to cart Catwoman near CSM and SWitch.
  • Here’s the Turning Point of the match, though: CSM chose to stay and fight rather than risk a Hypersonic Speed breakaway failure — THANK YOU, 2013 RULES CHANGE! — so I was able to swarm him. But between misses and Blades rolls and Prob Control, he and SW survived some 20-30 attack rolls! That bad luck was offset by superb fortune on Regen rolls, though, and eventually Cosmic Spider-Man fell, at which point my opponent conceded.

Back to another top 16. And again, I ran a Legion team in the 300-point finals. How’d it do? That’s a tale for next week.

A few weeks ago, I learned that most of the regular players from the venue that I judge at had decided en masse to attend one of the Realms Open Championship qualifiers in a neighboring state, resulting in a likely empty venue that weekend. So I decided to come along and enter the tournament for fun (since I’ll be part of the judging staff at said ROC event at DragonCon, I can’t really compete in the finals).

I also kinda wanted to prove to myself that I could play this game at a high level after all these years of playing almost entirely for F.U.N., but I didn’t really expect to go 3-1 in the first round to make the finals. Fortunately, I had brought a team anyway:

Saturn Girl [Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes 202] 102
Cosmic Boy [Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes 202] 70
Sun Boy [Superman] 79
Jubilee [Wolverine and the X-Men 047b] 33
+ Legion Lost ATA 16
=300 points.

 

ROUND ONE

I faced Brother Voodoo, Wonder Girl [Teen Titans 008] x 2 and 50-point Enchantress [Justice League].

I got map roll and chose one I brought, the Farm from Battle for Smallville, knowing it was full of hindering terrain and that I would pick Batman Ally with the Legion Lost ATA. That would force Brother Voodoo to base me to Mind Control any of my team and give it an extra layer of protection from being forced to enter the Wonder Girls’ kill zone.

Turning points

I immediately benefited from my opponent’s unfamiliarity with the map and his careless positioning that blocked his line of fire for Telekinesis. That gave me the chance to set up quite safely in a large patch of hindering terrain and he was forced to set up a bit outside my easy range.

I got a break when I rolled 6 with Cosmic Boy, allowing for a Turn 2 Running Shot Pulse Wave of almost his full team by Sun Boy, taking Bro V and Enchantress off their frightening opening Phasing and TK clicks and removing the initial threat of being Mind Controlled into the twin Wonder Girl killbox — especially when Cos was able to TK Sun Boy back to safety.

This forced the other team to close in if it were to have any hope of winning now, which played into my game. Despite losing Jubes, the Legion managed to wear out the enemy for a win.

ROUND TWO

Faced Iron Pharaoh, two Chaos War Scarlet Witches and Brother Voodoo + Heroes for Hire ATA. It was a team I had no answer for, as Pharaoh could hide in a corner behind perpetual Barriers while his Falcon Outwitted and shot me, Stealthy or not.

I tried using Mystics to discourage attacks, but taking 1 damage isn’t a thing when you can deal 5 every shot. It didn’t help when Cosmic Boy was one-shot after being Outwitted then knocked back into a wall with a doubles roll.

I then revised my initial strategy of rushing in as quickly as I could, instead splitting my team to prevent one from being Mind Controlled to hit another. But that didn’t work, either, as the enemy was able to isolate them. I did get a KO of a SWitch, thanks to Sun Boy getting hit to a Willpower + Pulse Wave click, but it was the only points in a futile, losing effort — especially when I forgot Brother Voodoo’s Poison SP and based him with the unarmored Saturn Girl. That left Jubilee utterly outmatched and, in short order, dead.

In retrospect, because my team was not built for speed and there would be no preventing at least one KO from the enemy team, perhaps I should have instead have chosen Suicide Squad with Legion Lost ATA and pushed them all to get as near as possible, trusting in the TA’s healing to keep the remaining members in fighting shape. Probably not enough for a win, but at least I’m not a fish in a barrel being fired at with a shotgun.

Still, despite the crushing loss, this team made it to a Top 8 finish, proving that yes, I can still play this game pretty well despite playing for F.U.N.

Next week: The team that got me to the finals in the first place.

Merry Christmas to my readers! I gift you with a blow-by-blow battle report of a recent HeroClix game I played.

So most of the time I’m just glad to be playing, trying new figs, building goofball themes — y’know, having F.U.N. But after all the mental errors and straight up FAIL I recounted in last week’s report, I decided to go hard one time with a team designed to straight-up beat faces in. 

I know, not exactly “goodwill and peace on Earth,” right? But this is just a game.

WarMachineComic1

War Machine [Invincible Iron Man 029a] 245
Forge [Wolverine and the X-Men] 90
Rescue [Invincible Iron Man 002] 65
=400 points on the nose. This prime version of War Machine is a tentpole designed to get the alpha strike and never get completely outactioned thanks to the double power action SP, his Indomitable and his Retaliatory Strike trait. He’s ably backed by the Telekinesis-using Rescue, who nearly guarantees that first strike, and Forge, who serves as a secondary attacker if needed.

I tested the team first in one of the FAIL efforts from last week. It was there that I realized that not using the DPA Alpha Strike was a mistake, one that probably cost me that game. Landing Bane [Arkham Origins 021] on his “stop” clicks would have set him up nicely for Forge’s followup KO (Forge being one of the few characters able to deal with Bane’s end dial with no difficulty). But instead Bane was able to heal and later deliver the game-ending blow.

Thus forewarned, I face Bill’s Animal team of Alyosha Kraven, WATX Wolfsbane, IIM Snowbird, Cosmo, ASM Lizard and 30-point FI Loki on the Soul World map. He’s got a Gamma Bomb, too.

I’m not at all afraid of the Bomb, because Forge can dismantle it via his SP to remove an object to gain Perplex. But I don’t go for it because it’s bait for a TK+Charge threat from the other side. I instead fly Forge and Rescue to a spot seemingly safe with elevated between us.

That first decision nearly costs me the game thanks to my first User Error: I’ve fallen into a bad habit of eyeballing ranges and lines of fire instead of focusing and actually counting squares. I’m very good at lines of fire and use it to take opponents by surprise. I need to be more vigilant about the ranges, though, because I’M the one who gets jumped.

In this instance, Snowbird uses a Kraven-granted free-action move to fly over the mountain to get within Sidestep range of Rescue to claw her. Lizard follows up with his own attack, landing her on her last click and keeping her from acting. That’s due to my second User Error: Thoroughly forgetting that the adjacent Forge could heal her one click FOR FREE through his trait. So even though she was doomed, she still could’ve attempted a last-gasp push to Incap either of her assailants. Who knows? It might have saved her.

Instead, though, next round, Forge just cobbles Perplex from the light object he’s on. War Machine uses Alpha Strike to first move next to Forge, then to Running Shot and carry him away into the water so no Charge figures can reach either for a few turns. With 2-arrow Sharpshooter, War Machine can fire at both Lizard and Snowbird.

BOTH hit their Shape Change roll.

Two more Shape Changes would succeed, leaving only the 0-point Guyladkin lion pog as a target for Forge’s sole attack before he is overwhelmed by the animals closing in.

And then there is one: War Machine all alone, with the Gamma Bomb about to explode at the cost of only one of the enemy (Loki).

The rest of the match is a lesson on never giving up. War Machine manages to KO Lizard, Alyosha and Snowbird without a great deal of fuss, leaving only a wounded, Battle Fury-laden Wolfsbane in the lake and Cosmo on mid-dial against a still-Invulnerable War Machine. Cosmo attempts and lands a Mind Control to move WM next to Wolfsbane, who claws him onto Hypersonic Speed clicks

Here, then, is my final User Error, in retrospect. I choose to HSS away to finish her off with Precision Strike instead of, well, finishing her off with Precision Strike right there. But I roll a 1 on the break attempt and she doesn’t miss her next chance.

I came to win and am instead 0-1 in a game that, in Bill’s words, I was not supposed to lose. But that’s what happens when mind and dice both fail.

__

The second and third rounds go much better for me, as my long-out-of-the-game opponent Jocelyn is thoroughly outmatched — she’s running Shadow King, Deathlok [WATX 011a], Longshot, Korvus and Pepper Potts cum Rescue — and Paul A. isn’t prepared for the assault of War Machine.

He’s running Thor, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch and Magik, all of the Avengers vs. X-Men starters and all at their lower point values. He forgets to call Mystics during his turn for his wild card Spidey and I blast him (though it doesn’t matter, as the adjacent Forge would have healed WM immediately of the unavoidable damage anyway) off the map and Thor, with the second Alpha attack, into near-uselessness.

Paul makes the mistake of retreating to what he thinks is safety instead of first attempting to heal Thor when he has the chance. Thus my whole team gets a turn to set up for the endgame, and the win.

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The eventual winning force was a team led by Fear Itself Dracula, whose Stealth may have been the perfect counter to War Machine’s range attacks. But if Drac were forced to attack outside Stealth, he’d be open to Retaliatory attacks which could prove the difference. It’s a shame we couldn’t face off to see which would come out the winner.

Overall, I wasn’t disappointed in the team’s results. WM turned out to be stronger than I expected, and both supporting pieces very much made the big prime work. And despite the fact that the team was meant to go harder than my usual F.U.N. builds, I still had the F.U.N. factor going:

  • It didn’t use resources. Resources are rarely any F.U.N.
  • It still rocked most of the STOPP formula [Support, Telekinesis, outwit, Probability Control, Perplex] and had great synergy, from Forge’s armor heals to Rescue’s ability to carry the wounded War Machine at need.
  • It had an Armor/technology theme going for the Neato part of the equation.

Hope your Christmas is or was beautiful. Look forward to the start of 2014 next week and beginning of Heroclixin’s annual best of series of series.

One of the things that keep me humble is how badly I still manage to muck up in this game after all this time.

Part of the reason is that I’m always, ALWAYS trying out unfamiliar figures. Other times it’s due to straight-up mental error.

And then there’s dice.

Evil, capricious, uncaring dumb DICE

Evil, capricious, uncaring dumb DICE

Take this weekend’s fight using the new AvX Spider-Man at 125 points and the No Man’s Land Batgirl I’d finally got. I didn’t make any real misplays with either. He just managed to miss about six of the seven or eight attacks he attempted with objects, while she missed or critically missed her early Flurry tries and had her 18+ DV easily tagged. Add to that a Deathlok with an aversion to successful shooting and it’s a wonder that I clawed 2 victories out of the three, nearly making it to the sudden death final match.

So yeah, sometimes the dice just kill ya. But more often, it’s massive user error, like in the Iron Man Marquee. Here’s my sealed team:

Guardian 100
Dreadnought 50
Justin Hammer 54
Shaman 92
= 296 points. I fight my bud Paul, who’s fielding Controller, Mandarin+Black Light ring and Iron Man 038. I’ve got his whole team on their last or next-to-last clicks when I decide not to Outwit Iron Man’s Pulse Wave, thinking he won’t risk catching his Controller in the blast. But I forget that even though Dreadnought, a giant, has been punching at Controller, the smaller enemy is not tied up and thus pushes to move away for IM to single-target Shaman with knock back to KO him (thanks to the crit-miss push from a few turns earlier). Lesson Learned: Just use the Outwit, fool!

It gets worse. As sharper-minded readers have already noticed, Paul’s team outweighed mine by some 80 points. That’s because this event was 400 points, not 300. ARRRGH!

I was allowed to add to my build for the next two rounds — a Sasha Hammer and the Hammer Industries ATA. And while I handily won my next two rounds, I never once thought to use her trait that keys off a friendly Justin Hammer.

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Unfamiliarity hurts me a lot. The next day, I ran a whole game with The Penguin [Arkham Origins] without thinking to use his Outwit special. Worse, MUCH worse, I was running Iron Monger [Invincible Iron Man] on the same team, in total obliviousness to these traits:

  • CORPORATE TAKEOVER: Iron Monger is a wild card, but can only copy the team ability of an opposing character instead of a friendly one. When Iron Monger is copying a team ability, opposing characters can’t use that team ability.
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE: Iron Monger can use Perplex, but only to modify opposing character’s defense value by -2.

Both might’ve helped in a match against an Avengers Initiative shooter. But the match was really a training session for a new player, so maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t go balls to the wall this time.

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Sometimes the FAILfactor comes in my choice of team build, as in this force for an 1100-point “Make a theme” event. I went with this:

all the things

The Thing [Secret Invasion] 100
She-Thing [Secret Invasion] 50
Thing [10th Anniversary] 128
The Thing [10th Anniversary] 82
Thing [Galactic Guardians] 140
The Thing [Fantastic Forces] 83
Thing [Chaos War] 70
Thing  [Clobberin’ Time] 75
Benjamin J. Grimm [Secret Invasion] 100 
Angrir 235 + Lunge 5
+ FF ATA 
+ Generator
+ Eleha’al Vine

There were no theme team bonuses, so I lost map roll and ended up on the Bioshock Infinite starter map, one that is pure hell for a boot speed team like this one. The Things just got shot and shot and shot at before ever getting into Charge range, and then missed all their attacks.

There's those dice again.

There’s those dice again.

The Lesson Learned in this match was also my User Error. I hid only my best attackers too far off to the side, which blunted my attempts at counterattack with the others. I also didn’t push nearly enough, which meant the Fantastic Four TA was basically worthless (to say nothing of the FF ATA, which requires, oh, ACTUALLY LANDING ATTACKS to get the KOs to activate the thing).

I should have hid ALL my force off to the side, to limit lines of fire to the Things. Then, perhaps, the enemy would have to venture within the Charge range of several Things rather than just one or two.

As it was, though, the combination of a disadvantageous field and matchup, bad play and and worse dice equaled a perfect storm of FAIL.

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The last example involves Resources, which are difficult to handle in the best of circumstances. In this case, I’d retreated my tentpole fig to a rooftop to avoid a coming counterattack from a close-combat foe while remaining in LOF to make my own followup later. But I’d neglected to check whatever was showing on the Book of Skulls resource dial, and so I inadvertently remained in sight of an Outwitter…who WASN’T an Outwitter when I ended my turn.

I HATE resources, because of the Lesson Learned: When a Resource is on the team, characters no longer do what they’re designed to do. So assume they’re dangerous and always ask what a so-equipped foe is capable of now.

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Tomorrow, some Token Totin. Then Friday, the long-awaited fate of my Wolverine collection, past, present and future.

At last, that 900-point Golden Age opportunity to run this team came about.

Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor 055) 145 + Not So Special 3
Valkyrie (Fear Itself 005) 130 + Contingency Plan 12
Mirage (Wolverine and The X-Men 004) 75
Valkyrie (Sinister 048) 71 + Not So Special 3
Brunnhilde (Sinister 204) 69  + Not So Special 3
Valkyrie (Sinister 047) 60
Samantha Parrington (Hammer of Thor 101) 55
Mirage (Fantastic Forces 007) 55
Valkyrie (Sinister 046) 44
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor 012) 38 + Invigorate 10
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor 012) 38
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor 012) 38
+Book of the Skull 27
+ Defenders ATA 24

=900 points.

FIRST it faced a team full of Halo, Gears of War and Bioshock figs on the Bioshock starter map. Squeaked out a win by KOing Dominic Santiago before my opponent could lay into my bunched-up team with grenades. 1-0.

NEXT, I was against an Avengers team of a pair of Iron Men, Dr. Druid, Scarlet Witch and the Fear Itself versions of Wolverine and Black Widow. This team was optimized to abuse the hell out of the Book of the Skull. But my zero-point loss was mainly due to a colossal mental CRIT FAIL: Me completely forgetting to use the Defenders ATA that I’d built the team to use in the first place. It was the difference between a hit on Wolverine that would’ve crippled him and the actual miss that allowed him to use the penetrating Poison and Exploit Weakness and B/C/F that KO’d the top Valkyries in one short turn. UGH! 1-1

FINAL game was against an overmatched team of LOTR figs. Even here, I barely managed to eke out enough victory points to win.

RECORD: 2-1. But I didn’t even clear 200 points on the day.

This team performed well below expectations. What went wrong:

  • I couldn’t figure how to use the generic Valkyries well enough. Taxis or medics? I should have run them just behind the fighters, then pushed them to evac the wounded for healing.
  • I had a plan for Mirage, then I did totally the opposite. She was to be a lead shooter and Shape Changing/Camouflaged bait. Instead, she was always in the back, stuck with bad LOF. I needed to cart her to the front with a teammate and let her Sidestep into action from there.
  • Forgetting that Defenders ATA. Not only on the big attack but on the small ones, too. More than once, I opted not to make attacks due to low AV when I shouldn’t have worried. Speaking of attack values…
  • Not So Special on the wrong character. It needed to be on moving attackers like either R or E Valkyrie from Sinister or R Mirage instead of on Brunnhilde, who barely ever made an attack and could benefit from the ATA anyway.
  • The hammers slowed down an already slow force. Without Willpower, it almost doesn’t seem to be worth the effort to equip. I think I may have been better served by fielding one more generic Valkyrie for more taxi/medic action.
  • This mostly melee force’s need for cover kept the ladies from truly swarming their targets, which was a real problem down the line. Once the enemy was actually in Charging range, there were no squares left to Charge to!

Future builds will likely not open the Book. Instead, Mirage will have Camouflage again and there’ll be that fourth generic Valkyrie. Rookie Val will be gone. Contingency Plan may well be doubled up at the expense of Not So Special.

THE VALKYRIES WILL RIDE AGAIN!!!!!!