Superman (Superman #001)
That the Last Son of Krypton tops the list probably comes as no surprise to anyone who played HeroClix at all last fall. Superman was a terror.
- He compounds the best-in-game power combination of Hypersonic Speed and Super Strength with Outwit, Superman Ally TA and excellent combat values on his first click (and two more on various points of his dial).
- He’s Indomitable.
- He’s got the Scientist keyword, one of the best in the game.
- Even on his other clicks, he’s blessed with some Charge, some Running Shot+Psychic Blast, some Perplex.
Seriously, his only problem is his sky-high 300-point cost. A second price-point of 150 trades that weakness for a relatively glassy jaw — he’s only got the one Hypersonic, Super-Strong, Impervious and Outwitting click on top. It’s not much of a weakness, given the 150 points he can now fit on the team to help him out.
Super, indeed. He’s the Top HeroClix figure of 2011, hands down.
Check out Heroclixin’ next week for a brief Top Ten Addendum (two installments, tops) that was going to be a list of Honorable mentions, but has morphed into something a bit different.
Then, after that, look for Heroclixin’s Top Ten WORST ‘Clix of 2011. Should be fun.
Magneto (Giant-Size X-Men #053)
Nearly a year ago, I pegged the Master of Magnetism as a virtual shoo-in for this Top Ten of 2011 list, and despite a lot of powerful competition, he nearly claims the top spot. Here’s why:
- Running Shot, 10 range and 2 targets make him a supreme shooter. Especially due to…
- …his Energy Shield/Deflection-granting trait “Magnetic Field.” That 18 DV becomes as high as 21 if he’s got hindering terrain to help him.
- Also, occupying debris markers boosts all his already impressive stats +1 — again, courtesy of his trait.
- He also carries up to 4 friends with the trait, making him very team-friendly for a tentpole.
- His “Magnetic Mastery” SP granting him twice-in-a-row Telekinesis also is good for teammates. But the other bonus — that hurled objects deal +2 damage — makes him doggone scary with heavy objects on the board. That’s 10 clicks he can deal in a single round!
- Oh, and while he has great range, no one else does if they target him. His “Magnetic Shield” SP halves opponents’ range.
- Later in his dial he gains great standard powers like Ranged Combat Expert, Pulse Wave and Perplex, ensuring he’s always useful.
His Brotherhood TA isn’t very useful for him, though. And he’s a bit weak in close with only Toughness for survival — compounded by the fact that his powers compel foes to get in close if they can. But even that works to your advantage if you ensure that Maggie’s carrying a friend or two who’ll benefit from enemies wandering into their fighting zone(s).
And that’s why Magneto practically tops the list: at 189 points, he’s tentpole-priced but still just cheap enough that he can fit on capable fighters besides himself. Moreover, his abilities allow him to either support those allies or to carry the load himself with equal aplomb. Such power paired with flexibility makes Magneto the best HeroClix of 2011…save one. See what’s up with that one tomorrow!
Captain America (Captain America #040)
On the surface, wall-Cap seems an odd choice to be so high on the list, lacking the sheer might and versatility of the likes of Prof. X or Magog. But the Sentinel of Liberty totally deserves his spot.
- First, his base starting stats are solid across the board. 10 Speed, 11 AV, 18 DV and 3 damage. Charge and Toughness round that stuff out.
- But it’s his removable shield that puts him in elite company. Granting Cap Energy Shield/Deflection, it makes him a very difficult target at range. He’s got an effective 8 range and ability to deal 3 to two targets even though his natural damage is only 3.
- Indomitable ensures that he’ll be able to move up and immediately act next turn without taking pushing damage .
- Later in his dial, he shifts to Combat Reflexes and some Close Combat Expert or Exploit Weakness to make him particularly dangerous in close.
- Finally, there’s Outwit at the end to keep him a vital part of the team.
His DV does suffer a bit after the first click and it often feels like a waste not throwing his shield. Trouble is, doing so always exposes that weak DV, his only real weakness. But given his 83-point cost, that’s a weakness he’s well able to cover with teammates (perhaps wildcards able to share his Defenders TA?) he can easily fit alongside himself. Being a force unto himself on any team for an economical price, Cap winds up the 3rd best HeroClix of last year.
Who’ll the first runner-up be? Perhaps a contemporary of the Living Legend…
Magog (Superman #035)
The anti-hero of Kingdom Come blasts his way to a high point on the Top Ten because:
- He’s about as dangerous a grounded Charge figure gets with his 12 AV, Super Strength and 4-damage Exploit Weakness. That’s enough to KO a lot of enemies outright…
- …which activates his “Excessive Force” trait, allowing him to immediately make a whole ‘nother free action. (In fact, before wiser, calmer rulings prevailed, there was talk of this ability not being limited by the global “once-per-turn” rule on free actions, which led to a lot of one-turn massacres of short-dialed opponents.)
- Mid-dial, he switches to a ranged focus via Running Shot and Pulse Wave, but remains utterly deadly in melee with Close Combat Expert.
- Defensively, he’s well-armored with Impervious, Invulnerability or Toughness all dial long.
- And even though basing him is one of the last things many foes really want to do, his Kingdom Come TA makes that a difficult proposition. It’s especially useful on his end-dial…
- …when he shifts focus to healing and defending via his SP. He can use Support, sharing his low DV for the action, or use an adjacent ally’s higher DV to help him better stay alive.
This is where I usually list the character’s weaknesses. Magog doesn’t really have any, other than his DV only peaking at 17 and being a boot speed character at 172 points. If that’s all that’s wrong, it’s no wonder he’s one of the very best figs of 2011.
Next is a less powerful but much cheaper piece…a blast from the past.
OK, time for the Top 5 clix of the year!
General RAAM (Gears of War #009)
Starting off the top 5 is this ugly guy from Gears of War. His starting 6 Speed and 16 DV would seem reasons enough to keep him out of the top 25, much less among the very best. But as we’re seeing, 2011 was all about the Special Powers and Traits; RAAM is loaded with them.
- Grenades. He throws both the standard and favored Frag variety (3 damage, plus 2 splash) or Ink (1 penetrating) and adds +3 to the pool (giving himself 3 shots with the power even when run without other GoW or Halo pieces with Grenade pools);
- …which he can throw for free after a move action, thanks to the Speed SP “Grenade Scatter.” Suddenly that 6 speed don’t look so bad, especially with…
- …Starting AVs of 11, 12, 11 and 11, respectively. His 8-click dial never drops below 9 AV.
- But he doesn’t even have to move to take it to the enemy. If he’s got no action tokens, he can use free Smoke Cloud (at his regular 8 range, natch), then roll a 5-6 and deal 1 damage to folks in that cloud.
- His starting Invulnerability ramps up to Impervious on clicks 2 &3 along with a rise in DV. He’s never without at least Toughness.
- Mid-dial Outwit and late Blades/Claws/Fangs round out the General’s skills.
- Auto-knockback and Phasing/Teleport offered by his Locust Horde TA has its uses.
- As does the Indomitable ability.
151 points gets you all this in a piece all set to team up with fellow Locust Horde, Soldier or Warrior keywords. In spite of his poor Speed, he definitely earns his ranking at #5.
The next one is not so ugly, but not so pretty, either. More to the point, he has a rep for leaving his enemies particularly ugly…
Cyborg Superman (Superman #034)
This evil part-clone/mostly robotic double of Superman emerged as one of the strongest pieces of the year thanks to the following…ahem…upgrades over previous iterations of the character:
- Running Shot and 4 damage enable a first shot, while his Impervious and Shape Change give him a solid chance at thwarting first shots.
- But it’s his “Mental Backup” trait that gets him on the list; he can heal for free by “eating” a single object within six squares, held or not. It’s a nifty way of getting clicks back and nerfing nearby enemy Super Strength in one free action.
- Being Indomitable ensures he’ll have actions to spare.
- And another SP gives him a free chance to use Telekinesis (but only on objects).
- As a Superman Enemy, he’s got the ability to use Outwit as well.
If not for his average-for-140-points AV, he’d be higher on the list for his sheer survivability. He also needs to be able to use his TA to get his points’ worth fully. Fortunately, while he’s a good chunk of a standard team, he’s not so expensive that he can’t easily fit on that extra help. But even alone and as is, Cyborg Supes 2.0 is totally Heroclixin’s #6 Best Figure of 2011.
Almost a perfect opposite to the highly physical, bombastic #8 of the Top 10, is the cerebral, mobility-challenged…
Professor X (Giant-Size X-Men #036)
The telepathic founder of the X-Men, with his rather anemic stats, seems an odd choice to make the Top Ten list. But it’s all about Special Powers and Traits these days, and his “In Contact With Cerebro” trait is a doozy enabling him to make:
- Penetrating/Psychic Blasts
- Mind Controls
- or Outwits or Perplexes…
- …all from the safety of his own starting area, so long as he has a friend with the same keyword to channel his line of fire through. Even basing said friends won’t prevent the Prof from blasting away for penetrating damage.
- Given that his X-Men, Illuminati, Scientist and even New Mutants keywords supply him with a large variety of quality teammates to draw from, he’s become a game-changing figure.
He’s still relatively low in the list partly because he’s limited in the teammates he can use. Also, a few silver bullets have emerged in the game that prevent him from holing up in his start zone quite as safely anymore, and his very average numbers won’t save him from their assault. But none of those pieces come close to making the Top Ten. Therefore, because, he does what few other pieces can — absolutely force the opponent to reconsider their usual style of play — he’s worth the #8 spot on Heroclixin’s Top Ten Best of 2011.
(Or did he only make me think so? Hard to be sure around telepaths.)
Next: number SIX.
Number 9 was a tie starring a pair of ranged beasts — one mobile but soft and the other tougher but less dynamic offensively. Both are trumped (barely) by this mid-cost but demigodly brick:
Hercules (Hulk #026)
Zounds! The Lion of Olympus smashes into the list for the following advantages:
- Starting with 10 Charge, 11 AV, 4 damage and Super Strength, enough to put a hurtin’ on any of the game’s pieces.
- Invulnerability to start might seem misplaced over his mid-life Impervious. But it’s actually rather genius, as a light hit lands him on his great Attack SP; a harder one, on Impervious as well.
- That SP, “Are You Worthy Of ‘The Gift?'”, gives Herc an effective +1 AV against nearly every foe he’s likely to face. Only if his target has lower stats in every slot (except range) does he suffer the -1 AV penalty.
- He has Plasticity and Close Combat Expert on most of those clicks, too, so there’ll be little chance of escape from him once he’s ready to bestow the ‘gift’ upon you.
- Late-dial, he gains Willpower and +1 DV from range via his “Coward, Come Closer” SP. Both enhance use of his Flurry and Toughness.
- Finally, we can’t overlook his assorted keywords (especially Avengers), his Avengers TA and the +1 AV bonus he gets when paired with his lil’ pal Amadeus Cho (even though the youngster didn’t rate this Top Ten at all).
If Herc has a weakness, it’s that his natural damage is tiny bit low for his 131 cost (only having the single Super Strength click hurts, as well), though he’s nowhere near overcosted. He also might have a little trouble finishing off weaker peons due to his SP’s limits. But that’ll be a rare enough concern that this versatile brick of an Avenger is a lock as Heroclixin’s #8 best of 2011.
Number 7 will be about as diametrically opposite of ol’ Herc as you can get…!
The #10 HeroClix is a little guy who’s a big help to shooters…which leads us across universes and genres to…
Legolas (Lord of the Rings #004)
The elf prince of Tolkien’s epic fantasy brings epic-scale range ttacking ability to HeroClix. Here’s why:
- Range is still king in this game, and with three targets, Running Shot, 3 damage and +2 AV coupled with Sharpshooter ability, he’s royally effective at shooting even the most Impervious or Invulnerable of foes.
- The same SP that boosts his AV when shooting also boosts his damage when hitting multiple targets (as long as he deals at least 1 damage to all).
- He’s also got “Flank,” an interesting Epic Action power allowing him to use Phasing/Teleport (but only along the edges of the map) and carry multiple characters with him (up to 5, if the build total allows). With his 10 range, he can control a board very effectively.
- Mid-dial, he gets even more dangerous to bricks with Penetrating/Psychic Blast. Late-dial, he’s dealing Ranged Combat Expert damage.
Legolas is simply an angel of death disguised as an elven archer. But his 130-point price is a high cost for seven clicks of zero damage reduction. Moreover, his range costs a lot as well; similar melee ability (think SI Iron Fist or Gamora) is 60 points cheaper!
With that in mind, I considered another strong range piece, leading to a tie at #9.
Guardian of the Universe (Green Lantern Fast Forces #005)
The diminutive cosmic-powered mentor to the Green Lantern Corps doesn’t look like much, appearance-wise, and lacks some of the mobility that Legolas sports. But he’s got all he needs to make the list, namely:
- 10 range, a value increasingly rare in the modern game;
- Impervious defense for a few clicks, sliding to Invulnerability for a few more;
- Penetrating/Psychic Blast, enabling him to bypass those defenses with contemptous ease;
- Phasing/Teleport to move into position with similar effort (i.e., none)
- Outwit during the early clicks to deactivate whatever power or ability that could threaten him until next turn, when he’ll use his Indomitable ability to push and attack.
- Even getting hit will only make him force rerolls with Probability Control or exploding you with Pulse Wave.
At 150 points, he’s good enough to be a light tentpole and still have room for a strong ally or two. The lack of moving attack ability keeps him low on the list, but the sheer danger his early clicks represent are enough to make Guardian of the Universe tie as Heroclixin’s #9 most playable piece.
Stick around in the coming days for the rest of Heroclixin’s Top Ten figs of 2011.
At last, starting today, I’m counting down the top ten HeroClix released last year. Let’s jump right in!
- Like this, only…blue.
A.I.M. Renegade (Hulk #017)
Wait…WHAT? He’s a weakling alone, only sporting a minimal 1 damage at a mediocre 5 range and poor Attack Values. What’s this peon doing here? Well…
- He’s great for fellow shooters, sporting the range-friendly Enhancement power and Hydra team ability.
- Similarly, he’s got a starting click of Barrier to help shield his adjacent shooting pal for a turn.
- His Scientist keyword is one of the best, and he gets a nice bonus to his own AV and damage when targeting foes who share his keywords or team ability.
- But best of all, he’s just one short push away from two clicks of Outwit!
- He’s a total utility machine for only 34 points, leaving lots of room for lots of shooters.
Naturally, he’s weak alone and will need a lot of pals to get his own points’ worth. But that’s the nature of all support pieces, and he’s just about the best of this year. Because he’ll make any team more competitive, he’s Heroclixin’s #10 most playable piece of 2011.
Next up is one of those shooters who’ll benefit a fair amount from being his teammate. Check out who it might be tomorrow.