Sceritz and I frequently meet for games the way me and Lenny have on multiple occasions. This time I suggested that we play our Top Ten Favorite lists against each other’s.

 

Cyclops [Uncanny X-Men 033] 85

Frog-Man [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 048] 35

Batman [Batman and His Greatest Foes Fast Forces 001] 75

Luke Cage [Civil War Storyline 011] 70

Alloy [World’s Finest 058] 300*

Spider-Punk [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 062] 75

Element Man [World’s Finest 040] 100

Goliath [Civil War Storyline 029] 90

Jakeem Thunder [Joker’s Wild 053b] 140

Grace [Joker’s Wild 031] 125

=1095 points

vs.

Iceman [Uncanny X-Men 051] 110

Spider-Man [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 049] 100

Rogue [Uncanny X-Men 052] 150

Mary Marvel [World’s Finest 041] 150

X-23 [Uncanny X-Men 037] 100

Mephisto [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 046] 130

Beast [Uncanny X-Men 050] 100

Wonder Woman [Batman V Superman 003] 105

She-Hulk [WizKids M16-005] 115

Spider-Gwen [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 052] 95

= 1155 points

 

To even the points exactly, I added an alternate favorite I considered for my top ten: Patriot [Civil War Storyline ]. 60 points exactly made both our teams 1155 points.

 

Sceritz got map choice and selected Jean Grey Institute Indoors. He huddled his force in the room next to the stairs, forgetting that Element Man can get TK, thus giving me first shot with Jakeem.

I took it.

Landed a double-target shot on both Beast and Mary Marvel, dealing 2 to each.

That’s where I lost the game. RIGHT THERE.

It wasn’t that I overextended with Jakeem, because I had a nice backup maneuver to bounce him behind a wall of other figures. Especially after I chose Plasticity with him next turn to prevent the still-dangerous Mary Marvel from any of her Hypersonic attacks.

It wasn’t even that I didn’t move Alloy up far enough, allowing Mephisto to shift the big robot aside just enough to allow X-23 to get a crippling strike on Jakeem.

It wasn’t even lost when Iceman froze Jakeem long enough for me to lose that lead attacker in short order.

No, it was lost when Alloy got Outwitted and KOed in a single turn a few rounds later.

It was when Cyclops got Outwitted and crit-hit off the map.

It was when Spider-Punk got his Senses countered and died in a single turn after making his sole attack.

It was when Bats and Goliath both couldn’t land a hit on a 17 DV Combat Reflexes and no one with range could land a shot on the bare 17.

It was when Batman got his Reflexes countered to finally take a hit.

It was when Element Man got Poisoned to death after his defense got nullified by Outwit.

It was when Luke Cage and Goliath and Grace all got countered and killed.

Sceritz had one source of Outwit and it was Beast and he DID ALL THAT STUFF IN BLUE

It was a classic game of Avalanche FAIL for me: where a very small decision, not even a mistake, snowballs into a seemingly inexorable loss.

If I’d known dealing Beast just two damage instead of all four was going to cost me all the above, I’d have made a very different decision. And because of this game, I always will.

———–

It wasn’t all bad. Frog-Man scored his first KO by bouncing Spider-Gwen into a wall and tokening almost the entire remaining force.

And the whole game was great fun. A chance for us to play forces full of figures we love?

 

* Sharp readers with a memory for point values may have noted that I misremembered Alloy’s full cost as 300 instead of its actual 275. So I was running at a 25-point deficit despite the addition of Patriot. Knowing I had 85 points to work with instead of 60, perhaps I would have chosen No. 4 F.U.N. fig Crazy Jane [World’s Finest 019] at 75 points. Even better, because I could build to the point total exactly, No. 1 F.U.N. fig Stilt-Man [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 013] with 5 additional Leg Extensions would have been viable.

In honor of my city’s pro football team’s surprisingly good season culminating in a Super Bowl berth, I put this team together for a 500-point “Heroes and Villains” scenario:

Falcon [Civil War Storyline 023] 70

Falcon [Avengers Assemble 017] 75

Falcon [Captain America: Civil War 008] 85 + “I’m With Cap” 5

Falcon [Captain America: Civil War Starter Set 004] 95

Captain America [Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD 049] 130

Redwing [Captain America: Civil War 007] 20

+ Avengers Response Unit ATA 3 x 6

= 498 points.

It faced a mostly Sinister Syndicate team of Boomerang, Shocker, Lizard, Venom and Baron Zemo, all on my House of Secrets indoor map. My opponent chose the house end of the map, forcing me to go upstairs to him.

 

HOW IT WENT

He tied down AVAS Falcon early with Venom, effectively neutering him with Plasticity. I in turn sent Cap’s Pigeons to frustrate Boomerang’s shooting opportunities. Civil War Falcon engaged early but couldn’t finish. (Like the actual Atlanta Falcons team. :( :( :( )

But the Running Shooters of the Falcons were able to get around Venom for some key shots. KOs: Shocker, Boomerang, Zemo. I lost Civil War Falcon and pigeons.

So at least ONE Atlanta Falcons team didn’t lose last weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So yours truly, Rurouni KJS, joined fellow guests Will Holland and K.J. Foster on Edward “darklogos” Shelton’s Starting Over podcast for his annual Black History Month” episode.  The theme of this episode is centered around a hypothetical scenario: Build a team consisting only of black/African-descended/LOOKS like black characters.

It was recorded on the MLK Day holiday and is constantly derailed by each one of us.

It was awesome.

It’s actually the second time I’ve guested on Ed’s show. The first was back in June 2013. We didn’t meet until ROC World Cup 2015.

Among the topics discussed:

  • Our five black HeroClix of note for our Modern Age all-black teams for the event
  • Characters who are surprisingly black in comics and clix. We are all surprised at least once
  • Our 300-point teams for the hypothetical scenario
  • Lots of Blue Marvel hate*
  • Lots of love for War Machine**
  • Characters who got invited to the teams but maybe shouldn’t be
  • Our 500-point teams
  • Our 1000-point teams***
  • Black characters we really want to see made

 

The link to the 90-minute conversation is below. I’m the one whose voice seems to be recorded at a higher volume than the rest. Note: My screen name is pronounced “roo-ROH-nee” but the first syllable is so light that it sounds like “Roni” on the cast. And although we share a pair of initials, KJ is not me.

 

Here’s the link to the YouTube hosting channel and the episode!

 

* Actually, there’s a third reason to play Blue Marvel, one that’s REALLY the reason to play him: On a comic-accurate Mighty Avengers or The Ultimates team.

** I don’t express it on the podcast, but my dislike for War Machine [Age of Ultron 026] is of course well-documented.

*** Things got so animated that I never offered my picks for the 1000-point all-black-everything team I’d have run.

  • Captain Universe [Avengers Assemble 036] 165
  • Black Panther [Age of Ultron 045] 140
  • Jakeem Thunder [Joker’s Wild 053b] 140
  • Puff Adder [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 035] 100
  • XS [The Flash 004] 82
  • Technocrat [Joker’s Wild 024] 80
  • Spider-Punk [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 062] 75
  • Bronze Tiger [Joker’s Wild 026] 60
  • Tattooed Man [Joker’s Wild 020] 60
  • Perry White [Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 015] 40
  • Amanda Waller [Joker’s Wild 012] 25
  • Diggle [DP16-010] 25

= 992 points, enough for a War Machine ID card. I opted more for swarm than tentpoles. In particular, this is a build where Captain Universe can shine more brightly than usual, acting as a TKer and Prob fig early before hulking up to more cosmic level later. Note the absence of Blue Marvel.

I also completely failed to give shout outs to my Atlanta, Ga., player base. Here is my mea culpa.

 

OK, Sceritz has his favorites. Me, I had a much harder time picking faves this past year. Almost nothing leapt to the fore in 2016, not the way they usually happen. I also wasn’t inspired to just list the latest versions of my favorite superheroes and super-villains like usual, especially because these new dials didn’t blow me away.

I had to boil it down to this question:

“When I see this figure in my storage box, do I immediately wish I had a team it could be a good fit on?”

That cleared up the fog considerably. So by that simple measure, here’s my Top Ten FAVORITE pieces released in 2016

 

NO. 10

Cyclops [Uncanny X-Men 033]

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He took a hit in playability when WizKids ruled that his SP Leadership was only a little special (being able to remove tokens from X-Men in range). But I don’t care. He’s a longtime favorite character of mine and a version in his latest (last?) costume with a solid dial. I don’t often field X-Men teams, which is why he hasn’t gotten much play. But he’ll be the first I consider when I do go with a Modern X-Men squad. No. 10 favorite of 2016.

 

NO. 9

Frog-Man [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 048]

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He made the F.U.N. list for good reason, and that alone makes him a favorite. The Spider-Man Fam keyword is so loaded now that he gets crowded out a lot. But he’s still No. 9 on my list of faves.

 

NO. 8

Batman [Batman and His Greatest Foes Fast Forces 001]

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I don’t usually like running Gotham teams, which is why Heroclixin’s No. 10 F.U.N. fig stays off the map for me most of the time. There are also much stronger Batman figures in Modern Age. But I want to run this version a lot, so he’s my No. 8 favorite of 2016.

 

NO. 7

Luke Cage [Civil War Storyline 011]        

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I played the heck out this piece during the Civil War OP events and he led to many a top finish for my Anti-Reg teams. If he had Indomitable, he’d be on so many more teams. No. 7 among my favorites.

 

NO. 6

Alloy [World’s Finest 058]

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I almost added all the Metal Men because of Alloy’s ability to split into the whole team, one that is surprisingly solid. In fact, these figures almost took a slot on the F.U.N. list., but I wanted to avoid the eight-way tie.

The more I looked at the team, when considering my favorite list, the more I realized that I mainly want to play Alloy, whether I plan for the end-dial split or not. So the big robot amalgam is my No. 6 favorite.

 

NO. 5

Spider-Punk [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 062]

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I dithered about adding this piece. It’s a little too meta for my F.U.N. tastes yet rather glass-jawed in that context. I don’t have an especial affinity for the character, either, outside of its being another strong addition to the Black Box.

But when I asked the question, it was undeniable: I always want to play this piece, even if I don’t. And so Hobart Brown wall-crawls high onto my list of favorites of 2016.

 

 

NO. 4

Element Man [World’s Finest 040]

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A late addition, even though he appeared in the first set of the year. But when I saw how doggone F.U.N. hewas, I knew he had to be high among my faves.

 

NO. 3

Goliath [Civil War Storyline 029]

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I paid a pretty penny to acquire this piece rather early in Civil War OP’s life cycle. As a dial, he’s less than great: a big target and a lot of points for what he does (he works like Luke Cage but 20 points more with less survivability. I hate to see it fail and so rarely field it. But he scores so high on the “do I want to play this” scale that he’s my No. 3 favorite of the year.

 

NO. 2

Jakeem Thunder [Joker’s Wild 053b]

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So super meta that I’ll almost never run it — I can’t be That Guy — but that doesn’t stop the desire to always run it. Also the most expensive figure by far I’ve ever bought; had to sell another high-dollar piece to raise the money. Once I get a proper JSA again, it’s on. No. 2  favorite of the year.

 

NO. 1

Grace [Joker’s Wild 031]

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Out of nowhere, this Outsider I didn’t care one whit about sprang to be my favorite piece of 2016 for all the F.U.N. reasons I noted on the Top Ten F.U.N. list of that year. She’s going on every Outsiders team I’ll ever build of 300 points or more. She’ll make any Amazons team (that’s not a Diana’s Wardobe all-Wonder Woman theme). I may need to build a new “ginger gals” squad.

 

Last year, I decided to replace my long-standing Top Ten Favorites list for the previous year with the Top Ten F.U.N. list, a more useful feature for readers and for the blog’s mission. But I still have my own faves I want to share. And new contributor Sceritz has his picks (in no particular order) as well.

I’ll let the new guy go first:

 

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Iceman [Uncanny X-Men 051]

I am a sucker for definitive figures, as well as those that tug on my nostalgic heart strings. Iceman is both of those. The Uncanny X-men set was undoubtedly my favorite set and Iceman was my favorite figure from that set. 18 defense with Invulnerability with the literal ability to freeze enemies solid? You just can’t beat that, especially for the point cost. He’s a force to reckon with until the end of his dial, and he maintains 3 damage for the duration, so it’s best not to take your eye off of him until he’s K.O.’d (not to mention the ability to Regen).

 

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Spider-Man [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 049]

Spidey! Gosh I can’t be happier with this Spidey! Web lockdown, Super Strength and a veritable slingshot maneuver with HSS, and a traited S. Senses that can’t be stopped by PS. How can you beat that? He’s JUST like Spidey. Plus with the free attacks and CCE on the later ends of his dial, he is dangerous to the end for only 100 points! (However 99 might have been more accurate to keep him from using Ultra Heavies. That’s a bit much)

 

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Rogue [Uncanny X-Men 052]

Definitive Rogue! Steal Energy that allows her to steal power, stop clicks with monstrous powers for 150 points? It’s really hard not to put her on most X-men teams for the pure fact that she’s such powerhouse like the Rogue that I’ve read in all the comics. I really like the ability to steal powers and combine them with those that she already has. Very powerful.

 

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Mary Marvel [World’s Finest 041]

Are all the top figures showing up on my favorites? I hope not! I’ve always liked Mary Marvel more than Shazam! So seeing her with a dial like this that doesn’t stunt her power is amazing. She squeezes every once out of that 150 and packs a terrifying punch. Never forget that stop click and possible top dial Regen!

 

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X-23 [Uncanny X-Men 037]

Laura Kinney is my favorite comic book character, period. I did my own take on her dial, which admittedly may need to an increase in point value, however, THIS dial is very, very representative of her ability and deadliness. Do not let her into charge range when she’s top dial. It may cost you the game.

 

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Mephisto [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 046]

Paris Gordon! My dude knew the right figure to make! I used this at the Realms Open Championship World Cup and he did not disappoint! The ability to move character’s one square and making deals is priceless, but again it’s how much like the character from the comics he is that appeases me. He is indeed the type to watch from the sidelines before revealing his true power, and this figure represents that. Furthermore, he is very appropriately costed, especially given how difficult it is to take him out, and how easy it is for him to return to the fight.

 

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Beast [Uncanny X-Men 050]

My stars and garters… this is Beast. Outwitting opponents in mass, extremely agile, and super strong, all in 7 clicks. I have already played several games where he proved to be an MVP, and being an X-man fanatic, I’m always tempted to put him on a classic X-man team.

 

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Wonder Woman [Batman V Superman 003]

I love Wonder Woman. There’s no doubt about that, and there are several figures of her. What I like about this one is how much of a powerhouse she is packed into 105 points. The top dial Charge, Flurry with Blades and Battle Fury to avoid possible Shape Change is deadly, and it fits her well.

 

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She-Hulk [WizKids M16-005]

She-Hulk is another favorite of mine, and with several clicks of 11 attack and 4 damage with super strength, she is a terrifying 115 points to see across the board from you. Especially when teamed with the proper support. She makes Defenders teams very fun.

 

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Spider-Gwen [Superior Foes of Spider-Man 052]

She’s a new favorite character of mine, and one whose dial I think represents the character very well. She is basically an alternate universe Spider-Man and she fights like that in her own way, also sporting a S. Senses that can dodge PS as well as the ability to come back from near death because “She’s not dead in this universe!” I love. Excellent 95 points.

 

Next installment will be sitemaster Rurouni KJS’s picks, the 10 figs that give me particular joy to run.