At last, I was able to run a keyword-themed team of Secret Avengers recently as planned.

Steve Rogers (Captain America) 99
Sharon Carter (Chaos War) 45
Ant-Man (Chaos War 026) 43
Valkyrie (Fear Itself) 130
Black Widow (Captain America 006) 85
War Machine (Hammer of Thor) 137
Moon Knight (Amazing Spider-Man) 109
Beast (Giant-Size X-Men) 95
Nova Prime (Galactic Guardians) 150

RUN THE MISSION: Secret Avengers is a range-focused team, with six of the nine pieces starting with Running Shot. But it can’t hang TOO far out, because with only one starting Perplexer and relatively low damage output, Outwit from Beast is all but necessary for success. Fortunately, this team is loaded with the SHIELD team ability, thanks to Rogers’ “The Focal Point” trait granting the TA to all adjacent Avengers. It gives the short-ranged members a little more reach and the low-damage shooters a little more oomph when needed.

DON’T GET SEEN: With Sharon Carter’s trait, a veritable wall of Stealth can be built. Moon Knight has his own Stealth, sometimes, and Black Widow, all the time. Rogers’ Leadership is key, and Valkyrie’s can help a bit in the early game.

SAVE THE WORLD. Nova Prime and War Machine work as long-ranged one-two punches with 4-damage Running Shots. But I expect Val to do a lot of the KOs, especially with help from Rogers’s sky-high AV and Moon Knight’s starting Perplex.


MISSION ONE: To beat Dominique’s Hulked Out Heroes (with ATA) plus Amadeus Cho and Don Blake. I foolishly picked the Alien City map — one with almost no natural hindering terrain — against it. So much for “Don’t Get Seen.”

Key moment: Ant-Man tying up a Utility Belt-equipped Hulklops. The easily KO’d O’Grady triggered Valkyrie to Hulklops’ side and she Flurried him near to death to seal the win. Also KO’d IceHulk and, nearly, both Wolverage and Hulkmariner.

MISSION TWO: To beat Morrison’s armored team of Iron Men (Secret Invasion #024, 10th Anniversary #012 and Iron Man 3 #200), Rocket Red (Batman), Batman (beyond), Rookie Mandroid Armor, Doombot 5953 and a 70-pt. Iron Man Drone on the enemy’s home field of the Bell Tower — another site all but devoid of hindering.

Key moment: Again warping to the side of KO’d Ant-Man, Valkyrie soon joined him in Valhalla after heavy fire from multiple shooters before she could even make an attack, leaving me in a deep 178-point hole. But now I was ready to counterattack with multiple uses of SHIELD-enhanced ranges and damages. One by one, I took down two of the Iron Men and Batman for a solid comeback victory, 353-273.

MISSION THREE: To beat Matthew’s new-set Teen Titans consisting of Superboy (026), Red Star, Nightwing (022), 50-point Robin (001), Wonder Girl (008), Solstice (013), Red Robin (018) and a Utility Belted Kid Flash (039). He won map and picked my least favorite: the Gridreality Park.

Key moment(s): An immediate Running Shot with 13 range (War Machine + three SHIELD deputized by ol’ Focal Point himself, Steve Rogers) sent Changeling running to Kid Flash in the back, who was able to freely heal him back. But the heal dealt KF Teen Titans TA damage, making his alpha strike much less injurious.

This put much more of the impetus on Red Star to carry the early offense, and he only left himself open to counterattack by my team, which took full advantage of the copious hindering terrain to stay Stealthy. Took Red Star, Changeling, Superboy and Nightwing, losing none.

RESULT: 3-0 for a 2nd-place tourney win (couldn’t match the victory points of a Justice League team base force, though). Definitely a far cry from the failures of years before with this team.

Top ten’s coming next week, but as I plan to run a Modern Age variation of this team one more time before this year’s retirement phase kicks in after the weekend, look for a final wrapup on Secret Avengers soon.

Another installment of the photographic record of how HeroClix figures with Super Strength can hold — in some way — their own object tokens. Here are a couple from Man of Steel that aren’t actually named Superman:

Nam-Ek (Man of Steel 010) has a typical giant-size figure’s hold on the token. Not very secure but an easy-to-achieve one, at least. (His sculptmate Nam-Ek (104) does not have Super Strength.)

The below representation of pre-cape Superman rounds out today’s look:

Just tilt the Clark Kent (Man of Steel 009) figure back a bit until you can wedge the token under his crossed arms and in the stat slot.


Next week: The Top Ten figures I’ll most miss from Modern Age when the latest waves of retirement hit July 1 (and 10 I WON’T miss).


One rarely thinks of Superman without thinking of Super Strength. Naturally, most versions of the character have the power.


Superman (Man of Steel 001), shown above, does NOT have Super Strength. But he does share a sculpt with Superman (Man of Steel 101) who DOES. Hence, the photo above.

There’s a far older piece actually named Man of Steel (Collateral Damage 222) that belongs in Token Totin’:



He and identical setmate Superman (Collateral Damage 218) hold the token securely under the cape.

Tomorrow’s my birthday, so I may skip updates. Token Totin’ will continue Thursday with more Man of Steel.

Continuing this series talking about DC feats and BFC cards that I went back and customized with artwork for fun. (Here’s a link back to the original concept.) Today, Card Arts continues with the Legion of Super-Heroes set’s cards.

First, Defiance:


A big ol’ shot of the LSH charging in was called for here. But this image, from the Legion of Three Worlds limited series of 2008 actually post-dates the card’s summer 2007 release (breaking one of my original rules). But I’m too lazy to go back and actually change it to the image it probably should bear:


We’ll live, I think.

Here’s the feat from the set, Drag:


This was one (using art from the 2004 Legion series) that I passed on initially because the text squeezed out almost all room for the text. It’s why I didn’t add art to Thwart in the Origin set’s rotation in this series. And looking at what I attempted, above, you see how I won’t be doing this **** again.


So much for LSH. Next time, Card Arts continues with the first BFC of 2007’s Justice League.

More token-holding action in Teen Titans. First, behold the biggest brat of all comics, Superboy Prime (Teen Titans ):



Objects fit neatly between his cape and left armor tubing.


Not to be outdone, the REAL Kryptonian hero Superman (066) makes his appearance in Token Totin’:




Next week, Token Totin’ will continue down this path to highlight the Man of Steel.


More token-holding action in Teen Titans, after a bit of a long break. (Longer than intended, actually, as I meant to publish this last Tuesday. Button didn’t work — or my BRAIN didn’t.)

Here’s a look at Aquaman (Teen Titans 015), the king of the seas, and a gal who dresses like she ought to be swimming in the seas, Fairchild (003):

Both grip their tokens high and hard.   Gizmo (044), who doesn’t actually have Super Strength but can get it temporarily via his SP, has a great hold: It’s wedged upright under his left pistol.


More to come Thursday, maybe. Recently suffered a hard drive crash — my first ever — and lost a lot of stuff I was planning. But Heroclixin’ shall endure!!!

Continuing this series talking about DC feats and BFC cards that I went back and customized with artwork for fun. (Here’s a link back to the original concept.) Today, Card Arts continues with Origin’s Feat cards.

The next feat of the set is Entrench:


Umm…yeah. How do you really illustrate that? I chose the JSA’s junior windbag, the air-controlling (and loquacious) Cyclone whipping up a counter-twister to stop a rockslide or something.

They can’t all be winners.


That concludes Origin’s feats. Next time, Card Arts continues with the cards of the first Special-Powered set, Legion of Super-Heroes.

Continuing this series talking about DC feats and BFC cards that I went back and customized with artwork for fun. (Here’s a link back to the original concept.) Today, Card Arts continues with Origin’s Feat cards.

The next feat of the set is Compel:


A cover image from “Legion of Three Worlds” was an easy choice. Almost as though I were compelled to do it.


Next time, Card Arts continues with the next Origin feat.

Last month’s Top Ten looked at the powers and abilities themselves. But now we’re looking at former loser pieces that actually might see a little use, and a few that were okay but now are much better, and maybe one or two that go from pretty good to top tier.


 Stranger (Galactic Guardians 043)

His only real weakness before was a low AV for his over-200 price. Now, with RCE/CCE, that’s handled. Also, he has access to the new pink powers of Sidestep, Precision Strike, Invincible, or Empower enabling him to, respectively, get a tad of free movement either before or after attack, , make his attacks stick, minimize the penetrating damage foes throw at him, or boost teammates in melee.

He’s only #4 because he was already quite good and the change still won’t propel him to top tier.


Nomad (Captain America 016)

Before, his Energy Explosion was a total waste. Now he’s dealing the 3 damage AND the splash damage. Later, he picks up Close Combat Expert to help his punching, and Incap grants still more options. All of a sudden this former loser appears to have quite a bit more going for him than just Running Shot and Willpower — enough to make him the #3 Most Improved despite just 4 range and no keywords.


Ken (Street Fighter 021)

Every single click has an improved power. On click #1 alone he can use the improved Force Blast to pushback with a fireball. Or SP Quake to clear crowds and move for free. Or pump his AV +1 or 2 in close against a single target. Then there’s RCE on the alternating clicks.

Ryu (020) is the same, but Ken gets the #2 slot for being 10 points cheaper and having the additional Quake power.


Maul (Batman 024)

He made the Worst of 2012 list, deservedly so. But with the change to Close Combat Expert, his one crippling weakness, a terrible late-dial AV, is GONE. So push him with abandon, happily boosting his AV to double digits as he smashes with objects (thus keeping his damage value at 4 or higher). Sure, opponents might try to counter the SP, but they’d also be leaving his defense alone and shrinking him from giant size to boot. This piece is definitely the one that goes from zero to hero in a big way.


I’m sure there’s some I forgot or overlooked, especially since I used my own “Worst of” lists as my starting point before expanding to pieces like Ryu and Ken who weren’t bad before but just had their whole dials upgrade. What are YOUR picks for Most Improved?


Last month’s Top Ten looked at the powers and abilities themselves. But now we’re looking at former loser pieces that actually might see a little use, and a few that were okay but now are much better, and maybe one or two that go from pretty good to top tier.

Numbers seven through five:


Element Lad (Arkham Asylum 037)

One of the more powerful Legionnaires in the comics, Element Lad’s HeroClix representation is based on his WEAKEST version from the comics, with a dial to match. Fortunately, the 2013 rules give him a little boost.

Double Incap is fine, now that that power’s been given some teeth. Barrier is also fine. But his 4 range on his SP — two LESS than his printed 6 — is NOT FINE. Still, in a game where Smoke Cloud has new meaning, it’s nice to be able to disperse it for free. Legion Lost ATA can get around the lame 9-or-lower AV if you’re playing a Legion-only team.

Element Lad has gone from that one Legion piece you’d probably leave off even from an “Every Single Legionnaire In HeroClix” team to one to consider. Enough to get to #7.


Iron Man (Chaos War Fast Forces 001)

Actually, the non-flying Iron Man only rates as improved on his Alter Ego dial. Tony Stark (Chaos War) can switch to a click with anti-Stealth, Force Blast and Ranged Combat Expert — AND you can move him 3 squares free upon transformation. If you pair him with any Avenger-keyword piece over 41 points, you can keep him from being one-shot (due to the SP “stop” click) and Regen back to that fantastic AE starting line.

He’d be higher on the list if not dependent on the Stark figure, whose singular contribution of Outwit is much less useful in the modern game. Still enough to rate #6.


Mandarin (Avengers 061)

Before, his Outwit was something of a liability, wasting his 12 range. Now he’s in a small club of figs that can counter from that far out. Too bad he must push to use his full roster of SP-granted powers: Energy Explosion, Incapacitate, Mind Control, Barrier, Force Blast, Quake, Smoke Cloud, and Telekinesis, most of which improved. Fortunately, he can use either Barrier or Mind Control to make that push worth doing.

Still not really a winning figure but definitely better. It’s #5 on the list.


 Let’s wrap this up: Numbers four, three and two forthcoming.