Read the introduction to the series here.

E001 THE JUDAS CONTRACT

Based on the classic Teen Titans tale in which Terra (the blonde with the glowy hands) breaks Changeling's heart (he's the green kid). Poor guy's been unlucky in love ever since...and this was, like, 1984 or something.

And now we begin looking at the DC Event Dials, starting with those pulled as the non-figure element in the Crisis set.
TURN THE DIAL: At the end of each round.
WHAT IT MEANS: This short dial will be done before you know it.
SUSPICIOUS ALLY (Brown, slots A-C): At the beginning of your turn, choose a friendly character. The character is a wild card until the end of the turn. The character can use any other team ability it possesses, if any, but can use only one team ability this turn.
WHAT IT MEANS: Build in some offense-oriented team abilities on your team: Superman Ally, Avengers, Titans (natch) for your Suspicious Ally to copy.
AMBUSH! (Red, slots C-D): When an attack roll is made, if the attack is unsuccessful but the result of the attack roll is doubles, give an action token to the target if it has zero or one action token.
WHAT IT MEANS: Willpower, Indomitable or Power Cosmic/Quintessence will defend against this condition, but it’s not going to break you if you don’t plan for this.
BETRAYAL (Black, slots D-F): At the beginning of your turn, choose an opposing character. You can immediately give that character an action as a free action. For the duration of the action, the character is considered friendly to your force and opposing to your opponent’s force, and any of the character’s canceled powers return for the duration of the action. You can’t attack that character this turn.
WHAT IT MEANS: Whatever game plan you started with? It goes pear-shaped here when your opponent gets the effect of free Mind Control for an action. Keep your eyes open for unexpected openings.
TITANS TOGETHER! (Green, slots F-G): At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 for each friendly character that has one or two action tokens. On a result of 5 or 6, remove all tokens from the character. The character can be given action tokens this turn.
WHAT IT MEANS: A chance to press or recover whatever advantage was gained or lost during BETRAYAL.  This effect will be in force at the endgame once the dial stops turning.
SUMMING IT UP: This E-Dial is pretty low-key. It will reward a wildcard abuse team (minus the wildcards) and characters who ignore pushing damage, but beyond that it won’t punish the average team build.
Next time we’ll look at another dial that inspired this event dial series: Identity Crisis.

E100 PLANET HULK

It's more than just a trophy for winning the Mutations & Monsters tournaments back in Fall '07.

Read the introduction to the series here.


WHAT TO BRING: see “The Setup.”

THE SETUP: When building their forces, each player can also choose characters with a combined point value of up to 200 points per 300 points of the game’s build total; no character chosen this way can have a point value more than 40 points. These characters are reinforcements. They remain outside the game until called upon by the Rebellion effect.
WHAT IT MEANS: This event dial absolutely must be built for in advance. It’s one of the reasons I wrote this series of articles!
TURN THE DIAL: Immediately after the resolution of a critical hit, and at the end of any turn in which a character takes 4 or more damage as a result of a single action, and at the end of each round.
WHAT IT MEANS: Despite the length of this dial, it will move fairly quickly.
EXILE (Black, slots A-F): When a character is 4 or more squares from all other friendly characters, modify its defense value by +1.
WHAT IT MEANS: Field advance tie-up pieces to base enemy snipers and prevent them from attacking your team, or use the bonus to be aggressive with your main attacker(s) if that’s your style of play. Consider taking extra advantage of this effect by combining it with the LONER feat if you’re not running a keyword theme. Keep in mind that the Rule of Three will come into play and possibly nullify the defense bonus if an affected character has, say, Combat Reflexes or Energy Shield/Deflection. You’ll want to avoid running characters with powers or Team Abilities that require adjacency such as Mastermind or Justice Society if you want to use this effect.
OBEDIENCE DISK (Cyan, slots B-F): All characters’ Willpower are ignored. When a character uses a special power, give it an additional action token after the action resolved (the extra token deals pushing damage normally).
WHAT IT MEANS: Absolutely avoid using Special Powers like the plague…unless the character has the Indomitable ability, Power Cosmic/Quintessence, or some other means of avoiding pushing damage other than Willpower. Even in these cases, this effect prevents you from getting the usual extra round of actions, so it may be better to forget about using SPs entirely. Strongly consider going with some old-school non-SP’d pieces in this game!
GLADIATOR (Red, slots C-J ): Any character that can’t use or doesn’t possess Blades/Claws/Fangs can be given a power action to use Blades/Claws/Fangs as a free action, but the maximum result of the roll to replace its damage value with this effect is 4. If damage dealt to or taken by a character is not otherwise reduced, roll a d6 when the character takes damage. On a result of 4-6, reduce the damage dealt by 2.
WHAT IT MEANS: A character with high attack value but low damage potential would be good for this.
ANARCHY (orange, slots I-O): When making an attack roll, roll 3d6 and choose two dice to be the result of the roll.
WHAT IT MEANS: More attacks will succeed during this phase, so if you’ve been biding your time, this is the moment to strike! If you’re running a themed team, you may want to use your bonus Probability Control rolls now, especially given the next condition coming up immediately…
REBELLION (yellow, slots J-X): At the beginning of each player’s turn, that player must choose a character from his or her Reinforcements and put it into his or her starting area. Once the character enters the game, it is considered part of the player’s force.
WHAT IT MEANS: Those extra 200 points of characters begin to enter the game and will remain until the end. If you’re running a themed team, your new Reinforcements have to match the keyword or they will break the theme when they enter and cause you to lose any unused bonus Probability Control rolls, so either A) build some or all of them into the theme or B) use up the PC rolls before adding the keyword-unfriendly pieces to the match. Also, build them to make an impact to the game. (I recommend Perplexers.)
ALLEGIANCE (Blue, slots K-S): The first time (only) Allegiance shows in the slot, each player must choose a character to be the Leader of his or her force. Friendly characters adjacent to their Leader modify their defense values by +2. If the Leader of a force does not have an action token at the beginning of its controller’s turn, it must be given an action that turn.
WHAT IT MEANS: Because you gain a defense boost for adjacent allies, it might be prudent to build in a highly mobile Reinforcement piece to enter the game first to act as Leader. That way, it can immediately back up (and, perhaps, taxi out of harm’s way) wounded primary pieces.
POSSESSED BY THE SPIKES (Green, slots N-T): Once during each player’s turn, one of his or her characters can be given a power action to use Mind Control as if its range value were 6.
WHAT IT MEANS: Pretty straightforward. No way to build for this; it adds an element of randomness to the late-game action.
CHEMMING (Gray, slots T-X): When one of your characters has resolved an action, you can give the action token for the action to any friendly character that has zero action tokens and that is 8 or fewer squares away from your character and to which your character has a clear line of fire.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is Warbound-plus! The Indomitable (or Power Cosmic/Quintessence) character(s) you fielded for the OBEDIENCE DISK effect will pay off big here both as a giver or recipient of tokens. Willpower works, too, but you’re less able to plan for using it at this stage in the game. Also note that this is in force until the end of the game.
ARMAGEDDON (Brown, slot X): At the beginning of each round, roll a d6. Deal all characters penetrating damage equal to half the result.
WHAT IT MEANS: Because this is a red-lined event dial, there’s no escaping this deadly effect. Regeneration might be helpful, but really, the best bet is to try to get as many KO points as you can before ARMAGEDDON does everyone in.
SUMMING IT UP: This long event dial is a blast. Aside from the Reinforcements effect, it’s not too unfriendly to most any team build you can cobble together. You just have to make sure you have enough cheap pieces in your collection to act as Reinforcements.
Since we’re going in chronological order, the next installment will begin reviewing the first DC dials from the CRISIS set. Look for it soon!

E006 TIME BOMB

THE SETUP: Up to four time bombs can be played in this game. Beginning with the second player and continuing around the table, each player places one time bomb event dial in any square of clear or hindering terrain that is also 4 or more squares from all starting areas and other time bombs. If there is no square in which a time bomb can legally be placed, it can’t be played.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is the only dial so far that can be used in multiples, and, as such, is a tad more collectible than the rest.
MORE SETUP: A square occupied by a Time Bomb is considered to be hindering terrain. A Time Bomb can’t be moved or destroyed.
WHAT IT MEANS: You can’t do this. :)
It also means more squares for Stealthy figs to hide on! But note that occupying does not equal adjacency, so this character would not be able to defuse the Bomb (or, weirdly, even be affected by its detonation).
TURN THE DIAL: At the end of each turn, roll 2d6 and subtract from the result the number of other Time Bombs on the battlefield. Turn this Time Bomb if the result is 6 or more.
WHAT IT MEANS: The clock is ticking, but not at a predictable rate.
EXTRA WIN CONDITIONS: 30 additional victory points for each Time Bomb defused to the team whose character defused it.
WHAT IT MEANS: It’s another way to win. But since you may well spend many more points trying to defuse Time Bombs, it may not be worth it. You decide.
CAN’T SMASH…WHICH WIRE TO CUT? (red, slots A-H): A character adjacent to this Time Bomb can be given a power action to make a close combat attack roll. If the attack roll is 14, this Time Bomb is defused and removed from the game. If the result is 11-13 or 15-17, turn back this Time Bomb once.
WHAT IT MEANS: You may want to field pieces with mediocre Attack Values. This is because, statistically, 7 is the median roll and you’re aiming for an exact result of 14. These characters should be cheap and devoted solely to your “bomb squad.” Also note that even most failing rolls will help keep the Bomb from reaching the next condition, DETONATION!
DETONATION! (yellow, slots D-H): At the beginning of each players turn, that player rolls a d6. On a result of 1 or 2, this Time Bomb immediately makes an attack using Pulse Wave as if it had an attack of 10, a range of 8, and a damage value of 3. after the attack is resolved, remove this Time Bomb from the game.
WHAT IT MEANS: You’ll still want to field a defuser or two. Although the latest HeroClix rules prevent adjacent characters from making ranged attacks, the Time Bomb is not a character and would thus still be able to Pulse Wave. In this worst-case-scenario, having at least one defuser there would minimize the damage to other characters (or at least only sacrifice itself if the only piece in range).
SUMMING IT UP: Time Bomb is a simple, mostly unobtrusive event dial. More than any of the others, Time Bomb is like playing a Battlefield Condition.
That wraps up all the e-dials one could pull in Mutations and Monsters boosters. Next is the grandest one of all, the first Limited Edition dial: PLANET HULK! Be there!

You said it, Quill. My total Guardians of the Globe win-loss record to date: 7-5, plus an extra in the win column for the theme played by my buddy Lenny against a fairly solid force.
As I like to do with campaigns like these, here’s a breakdown/review session of the pieces used.
Adam Warlock

Vowing cosmic vengeance upon the tanning salon that sprayed him orange instead of the savage sun-kissed brown HE PAID FOR.

Both a strength and a weakness for the team. He’s priced like a tentpole but powered like a support player and difficult to know how to use as a result. The best solution, for me, was to run him as support and one of the team’s few taxis until the mid- to late-game, when he could weigh in with his offense. Not sharing keywords with those who really could use his Perplex keeps him from being an effective Brilliant Tactician on this Guardians of the Galaxy theme, but he’s otherwise quite featable with Contingency Plan and Invigorate, either of which makes him excellent in that early supporting role. Recommended for only for builds over 500 for this theme.
Bug

Still ticked that he's *tik* not on the "A-list."

He was largely inconsequential tie-up in most of the games I played with him. But his mobility (Leap/Climb to get in any position), defense (Super Senses with a 17 to loan to Star-Lord in particular), damage ability (Exploit Weakness makes him impossible to safely ignore) and surprise 4 range makes him worth every point. He’s filler, but he’s gooood filler. Like the cream in a Twinkie. Feat him with Lunge, if anything. Fine for any size GotG build, especially the keyword themed versions.
V Drax

"....."

Lacking the keyword and tentpole-heavy in points, Drax is only there for the comic accuracy and my desire to play a neat mod. The trouble with Drax is that he’s a damage magnet. Because he’s another piece that’s impossible to ignore (Charge, Exploit Weakness + Super Strength to start), opponents are going to concentrate a great deal of fire on him. He’s got to be run as a team player. If you throw him out there alone like you might other grounded bricks in his point range (or even those much cheaper), he’ll get murdered. Resist the temptation to push him off that first click to get his Outwit until you’ve got all enemy shooters tied up somehow…he has a lot of soft spots in his defense. In addition from cheap defensive feats like Protected and Alias, use Unstoppable and Cannonball to give him maximum flexibility when he does make his move. Only for larger builds.
Gamora

Couldn't decide whether to go to the convention as She-Hulk or Red Sonja.

It’s quite a boon to the GotG that the Deadliest Woman in the Universe is a member. She’s just the fellow brawler that Drax needs to be most effective; while the enemy tries to collect Drax’s points, Gamora tears them to shreds. But again, that’s the challenge…using them together. For as good as Gamora is, she just can’t hold it down alone with her total lack of damage reduction. She NEEDS Protected. Play her in 300 and up. Too bad she doesn’t have the keyword.
Major Victory

YAY, eBAY!!!!

10 range and 3 damage and Impervious on his first click is about the only thing worthy on this piece. Well, there’s some Leadership, too, but he’s maybe the third piece you’d reach for on this team for that power. Thus, he’s utterly unpushable. But if he does lose that bit of life, at least he’s got Energy Shield/Deflection to help. Another good thing about him? He has a 17 DV to loan to Star-Lord via the Defenders TA. But he might work even better with the Guardians of the Galaxy alternate team ability (ATA) feat, which makes that Impervious uncounterable. And Contingency Plan is a fine fit as well. He’s best saved for keyword-specific builds of any size.
V Mantis

The ultimate Vietnamese ex-pat.

As I wrote a few posts ago, Mantis was just lost points, mostly, only offering what the far cheaper, more synergistic Bug does much better (mobile tie-up and close combat). She can be brutal, true, and I’ll fit her on if I can (and I certainly will once we get a proper Groot in the game to make the team’s second incarnation) but she is the first dropped if room’s needed. She’s a bit more effective with Lunge, which she can use most of her dial.
(I don’t have her anymore, but Celestial Madonna, Mantis’s LE version, is actually a more comic-accurate piece for the team and a tad cheaper, if less outright effective a fighter.)
Moondragon

Always reminds me of the bald chick from the first "Star Trek" movie. ALWAYS. (Probably because she was the first bald woman I'd ever seen, and it was about the most interesting thing in that snoozer of a film to an 8-year-old.)

Like her dad, Drax, Moondragon is another piece that lacks the GotG keyword yet still belongs. 10-range Psychic Blast is what she’s about. Perplex on her 2nd click and TK mid-dial makes her very push-friendly. And then she turns into the Dragon of the Moon, with renewed powers and stats. A bit expensive (nearly twice the old Moondragon’s cost) but fine for the higher-point GotG teams despite lacking the keyword. No feats.
Rocket Raccoon

There was a video game called Awesome Possum. And if Rocket were an opossum, that's what he'd be called. But he's not. But he still is awesome.

Leap/Climb-ing Probability Control and 17 DV with Super Senses make this critter indispensable for the theme. In between forcing rerolls and loaning his defense to fellow Defenders, his 8 range keeps him in the fight. Getting hit only turns him into an Running Shooting Outwitter. Excellent combination of secondary fighter and support piece. Lunge is the only feat to consider with him, if any. He belongs on all builds; the only reason to leave him off the team (he’s actually the only member to have stayed on active duty without interruption) is if you need more natural 3 damage.
Phyla-Vell

Butch? Or...?

Top-loaded Perplex wouldn’t seem the best use of her high points, but that’s what Phyla’s good for, and it’s not as pathetic as it sounds. For example, since she’s one of the team’s main taxis, it’s good that she can boost the defense of her fare or herself during that round she’s not attacking…and being able to make herself a nigh-unhittable 20 DV at range (in hindering terrain) isn’t a bad way to pass the time. Moreover, she can still make herself useful when she’s got two tokens after using Power Cosmic to push for free (being the cheapest fig with the TA to date) and shoot someone for 3 or 4 (again thanks to Perplex) with her high 11 AV.
‘Course, all that paints a day-glo bull’s eye right on her chest (um…literally), so she needs Protected in case her high DV and Super Senses both fail and she would take 5 or more damage. But if she’s NOT taking 5 damage, just take the hit and and get Hypersonic Speed and thank your opponent with beatdowns two of every three turns. The new Elite Sniper feat is quite good on her as well. Do not ever use Guardians of the Galaxy ATA on her unless your plan is to push her to Hypersonic Speed with all haste.
Star-Lord

Guardians MVP (Most Volleys of Projectiles)

I’ve mentioned him needing defense help from his teammmates over and over, and it’s true. He’s very soft and very short-dialed for his near-100-point cost. And with Gamora and Phyla hogging the Protected feats, you might not have room for another. Compounding the problem is that Star-Lord’s Running Shot makes him a key attacker ahead of the bigger-pointed but stationary Adam Warlock and Phyla-Vell or the melee-oriented Drax and Gamora, especially on  builds too small to accommodate Moondragon.
His SP “Galactic Marksman” is good enough to counterbalance ALL that.
It gives him the choice to boost his AV +2 against a single target or his damage +2 against two. And here’s where the seemingly wasted passive big-point support pieces show their worth; Adam’s or Phyla’s Perplex + Galactic Marksman allows Star-Lord to have his cake and eat it like a sugar-starved depressed fat kid. And suddenly this fragile, 9 AV piece is blasting for 4 clicks all over the place again and again (because he’s quite pushable). Basing him doesn’t help; he’s a Sharpshooter with Combat Reflexes. And hitting him may only knock him into Stealth (thanks, perhaps, to those Combat Reflexes and their little-used voluntary knockback feature) and Ranged Combat Expert for continued 4+ damage. Feat him with Contingency Plan and field him in any size build over 100.
I own, but didn’t play these:

Big early 90s hair. Timeless plunging neckline.

R Aleta (Supernova): Actual Telekinesis would double the team’s effectiveness. Barrier, too, could help the ground-pounders a lot. But she didn’t quite fit the theme I was going for, so I opted her out. Unless you’re trying to do the same, you should put her in every GotG keyword team you can over 100 points…she’s only 51 points!


Talk to the Cosmic Kirby Hand™, suckas!

V Starhawk (Supernova): Though he boasts an extreme 12 range and Running Shot to start, his opening AV is markedly inferior to the similarly-costed Phyla-Vell’s. But he, too, gains Hypersonic Speed mid-dial, and his attack numbers ramp up nicely. He’s probably a stronger piece with the Guardians of the Galaxy ATA or either Elite Sniper or Trick Shot. Save him for 400 and up if you’re going with the keyword theme.

RE Vance Astro  (Supernova): The Rookie is kinda junk with lowish DV and AV and damage despite the decent 8 range and Incapacitate. The Experienced adds considerable cost but gains two starting clicks of Invulnerability and 3 damage to make him the most durable and damaging of the three versions, actually. But the lack of the shield just makes him less fun, in my opinion. :) Stunning Blow is an OK feat to use, though I hate to add points to him. Save him for old-school GotG builds.

Ooooo!! Iz COMIK ACCURITE!!!!!

Yondu (Supernova): Cheap Running Shot + 3 damage and Energy Explosion. Potential candidate for Elite Sniper, though adding nearly 40% to his cost for one click up front (’cause who knows if you’ll EVER see the two RCE clicks later) might not be the wisest investment. Fits with old- and new-school GotG but one of the last I tend to pick, frankly.

So that wraps up my mini-campaign using this team I cared not a whit for only three scant months ago. Such is the nature of HeroClix’s ability to promote the properties it’s based upon. Though I intend to return immediately to the Event Dials series, I may be playing a Guardians-centric team in this weekend’s floor events, so this series may not be entirely over! Hope you’ll be here to see.

After improving an anemic 1-2 record to 5-4, it was time for the final test of the Guardians in a 300-pointer.
Phyla-Vell 138 + Protected 8 + Alias 3
Star-Lord 90 + Contingency Plan 12
Bug 44 + Lunge 5
= 300 points.
FIRST MATCH against Morrison’s Avengers:
Dr. Strange 149 + Brilliant Tactician 20
Captain America 72 + Vendetta 6
Spider-Man 50
I won the map roll and threw us in Prison to blunt Cap’s range advantage. Morrison turtled way too long to get the useless benefit of Dr. Strange’s Defend (since, as I kept telling him, Strange cannot share his Perplexed-up defense with Cap). Gave me a chance to shoot Cap off Running Shot and force Strange to come after me. That didn’t work out for me at first, as Bug and Star-Lord took hits and became mostly useless.
But when their retreats forced Strange to base them, Star-Lord scored a major Ranged Combat Expert hit to put Strange on his late dial. Sole survior Phyla-Vell managed to KO Strange for the win.
SECOND MATCH against Lenny’s Martial Artists:
Daredevil 81 + Stunning Blow 10
Gamora 73 + Protected 8
Captain America 72 + Contingency Plan 12
Hand Ninja 38
He picked the Docks. I picked the land end to squeeze his approach. Wasteland was my BFC. And I gave him a fright with a Star-Lordly Running Shot at Captain America RIGHT PAST the Ninja he thought he was hiding behind (because the Sharpshooter ability ignored enemy figs for line of fire, even if they’re stealthy). Lenny’s themed PC nullified the hit, though, so I used my backup plan of immediately taxiing Star-Lord across the water where Gamora could not reach, and Captain could not Running Shot without blowing Contingency Plan tokens on his range. While Lenny took lonnnng turns trying to figure what to do, Phyla-Vell took alternating shots at Gamora and Cap, Perplexing Cap’s damage down every turn.
Unfortunately, Star-Lord had nowhere to run and couldn’t fight back effectively and eventually Cap hit him enough times. Once he was gone, I really had to go on the offensive again and just didn’t have the time to make up for the lost fighters with Phyla.

This is how Round Two SHOULD'VE ended. (Only without the talking raccoon.)

THIRD MATCH against Paul’s Monsters of Asgard:
Ulik (Hammer of Thor) 118
Rock Troll 45
Rock Troll 45
Rock Troll 45
Fire Demon 33
Swarm 11
Paul set up a sudden Charge up my stairs using the Rainbow Bridge that would either sacrifice Bug and/or Star-Lord or render Star-Lord and Phyla-Vell unable to counterattack. So I decided to spring the trap, hoping Bug would hit Super Senses and cause Ulik to waste his Meteorite.
He didn’t. Took 5 to the dome, fortunate not to be one-shotted. (I really should have used Phyla-Vell as the target to absorb the hit with Protected.) Worse, I’d set up in a manner that kept Star-Lord from seeing more than one enemy, so he couldn’t help much beyond minor shots on a single Rock Troll.
Bug went down, but then Paul made his big mistake by Charging and flying into base with Star-Lord. His Combat Reflexes-enhanced defense dodged the attack and his Galactic Marksman SP allowed him to steadily dispatch both Trolls (Phyla was enough to handle the Fire Demon). Meanwhile, Ulik was forced to tromp around to the back stairs.
Phyla blocked that access for some time, her DV being high enough to weather many attempts to hit her. In fact, she took far more damage from Ground Zero misses than from Ulik. In the end, I wiped Paul’s team and only lost Bug. 2-1.
Total Guardians of the Globe win-loss record: 7-5. Not bad, considering most of the losses were very close matters or the result of cheating*** or gross user error**** or both.
***The “cheating” was the not-themed team of Martial Artists. Lenny himself fessed up to that blunder the next day.
****The worst user error being the blunder into the shock barrier, even worse than the non-use of theme PCs.
I’ll wrap up the series with a character-by-character wrap-up. See ya then!

I’d fielded pre-built Guardians of the Galaxy teams at the 800 and 1000-point levels, coming away with a successful tournament record. But with other players not quite ready to leave that Saturday evening, we played on in a three-way “shock the turtle” (in which the map’s playable zone shrinks with each turn, forcing characters toward the center or take a click of damage) battle royale, me with still another Guardians of the Galaxy team:

Star-Lord 90
V Major Victory 84
Rocket Raccoon 65
Bug 44
+ Guardians of the Galaxy ATA 16
= 299 points of unOutwittable themey goodness.
Paul and Lenny fielded, respectively, Robots and Martial Artists**:
Skull-Brother 75
Ahab 68
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
and
Daredevil (Hammer of Thor) 81 + Stunning Blow 10
Batman (Justice League) 75 + In Contact With Oracle 10
Robin (Arkham Asylum) 66 + In Contact With Oracle 10
Hand Ninja (Hammer of Thor) 38

(We had a fourth player but he had to leave before we completed the 2nd round of turns.)
I won map roll and picked the Smallville map, starting on the building-heavy side. I did all right at first, Force Blasting a Hand Ninja into the open. But my Bug basing Daredevil got Stunning Blown into the activated shock barrier and I badly mis-moved Major Victory into the barrier to lose Impervious without ever taking an attack.
Meanwhile, Star-Lord was doing a bit better, taking shots at Skull-Brother and Ahab. Rocket Raccoon also scored a crithit off a building on Daredevil, that was sadly nullified by a themed team Probability Control**. (I thoroughly forgot to use any of my theme PCs.) The Major fell to the shock barriers after defending against encroaching Phalanx; Star-Lord, to Batman’s fire. Soon, only Rocket Raccoon was left among DD, some Phalanx, Skull-Bro and Batman. Only DD and RR were left when the entire field was electrified, and DD had the longer dial for the win.
This was a fun but disappointing game for me. Three extreme, game-shattering lapses on my part — the Major Victory self-damage, the illegal theme team I didn’t catch (I’m usually good at that), and my ignorance of my own theme PC — led to my defeat.
**Of course, it WASN’T a themed team. That Batman lacks the Martial Artist keyword. Even after checking to see if Robin had it, we all missed this one.
Then, Lenny and I stayed late to play another game. I ran some unused pieces: Destroyer, Seth + Protected, Volstagg and Thor, Frog of Thunder. Which would appear to go against the theme of this series, except that Lenny played:
Phyla-Vell 138
Star-Lord 90
+ Contingency Plan 12
Gamora 73 + Protected 8
V Mantis 67 + Alias 3
Rocket Raccoon 65
Bug 44
for 500 points of more Guardians of the Galaxy goodness! I wasn’t mad at ‘im. :)
We played on the Days of Future Past map, a good one to play the Opened Hydrant in, giving Frog of Thunder excellent cover and thoroughly blunting the threat of a Charging Gamora. Too bad I put Volstagg just outside the water, giving Gamora an easy shot at him. Destroyer managed to beat her to her late dial but Gamora lived on. Frog got Star-Lord, Bug and Mantis, Seth got Rocket, but a Hypersonic Phyla-Vell with an Outwitting Gamora couldn’t be stopped in the end. Frog and then Seth fell.
Those were Saturday night’s GotG battles, and my record now stood at 5-4. One more tournament, on the following Sunday afternoon. Would my planned 300-point team maintain the winning record or flop badly? Watch this web address…

Hey, this is like the opening shots of one of those '90s Batman films. Only cool, actually...AND NO BAT-NIPPLES!

Back from Christmas and continuing the series.

Next day was a 800-point game using the Ragnarok event dial. Here’s the team:
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
V Drax 184 + Protected 8 + Unstoppable 5 + Cannonball 4 + Alias 3
Adam Warlock (Secret Invasion) 160 + Contingency Plan 12 + Invigorate 10
Phyla-Vell 138 + Protected 8
Star-Lord 90 + Contingency Plan 12
Gamora 73 + Protected 8 + Maneuver 8
Rocket Raccoon 65
Lila Cheney 6
Lila Cheney 6
= 800 points. Threw in a pair of pogs because I had room (after nearly maxing out on the 10% feat limit) and because Lila, being a space-faring teleporter, will probably meet them sooner than later.
FIRST MATCH vs. Paul and his Robots:
Air-Walker 201 + Armor Piercing 10
Beta Ray Bill (Hammer of Thor) 159
Skull-Brother 75
Bi-Beast 73
Ahab 68
M-11 59
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
Phalanx Soldier 31
On the Asgard map, I had to dig through Phalanx hordes while weathering Air-Walker and Beta Ray Bill attacks. Was simply unable to finish off any piece over 31 points, and the final condition of the Ragnarok event dial erased all the victory points I did score. (Paul clearly built his team for this event dial, a point I will certainly make when I cover Ragnarok in my ongoing “Building for the Event Dial” series.) Lost both pogs, Star-Lord and Gamora. 0-1.
SECOND MATCH vs. Azul and his
Psycho-Man 151
Enchantress (Hammer of Thor) 141
Ronan the Accuser (Hammer of Thor) 130
Green Arrow (Crisis) 104
Gambit 90
Miss Martian 76
Amanda Waller (Arkham Asylum) 75
V Scourge 21
He was tired of the Asgard map (as was I), so he picked my Dockyard. I picked the land end to force him down the narrow causeway.
Had to deal with Psycho-Man first. Fortunately, one of the early conditions of Ragnarok gives Outwit and consequently offered a chance for Star-Lord to take an early, though unsuccessful, shot. That scared Azul enough, I think, to TK Psycho-Man to base and attack Star-Lord for solid damage. But the rest of my team was able to dogpile him for the first KO.
Azul’s relative inexperience continued to work horribly against him as he brought Amanda Waller and Green Arrow in close, leaving her without Mastermind fodder and him pushed off his Stealth click. That cost him Amanda (c/o Star-Lord). I was working on Ronan (actually passed up an easy KO of him to chase after a fleeing Green Arrow) when time expired. Lost no one. 1-1.
THIRD MATCH vs. Bryce and his
The Mighty Thor 286 + Spotter 5
Thor (Hammer of Thor) 226
Fenris Wolf 140
Hogun 96
Asgardian Warrior 37.
There was a Vendetta feat in there, too, but it was on The Mighty Thor and therefore mostly useless due to almost no characters with higher points to target.
This young but savvy player wasted no time attacking. On the Asgard map, I managed to dodge some big early damage with PC and Super Senses. When Fenris Wolf missed his strike, I took the opportunity to dogpile him with Gamora and Drax and Star-Lord for the first KO.
From there, Bryce’s rolls really went cold while I started landing repeated shots with Phyla-Vell (thanks to Adam’s Invigorate) to whittle down the Thors. Got a full-power heal on Drax to take him from near-KO to back useful. Wiped out the whole team, losing only my sacrificial pogs.
Win/Loss: 2-1 in this tournament, 5-3 overall. Not bad! (I somewhat wish I’d tried out the Guardians of the Galaxy alternate team ability for this game to defend against the “Treacherous Loki” condition that gives any character Outwit for a round. But…I didn’t. :p )
Still more coming from that weekend…keep watching this space!

After a somewhat disappointing debut for this team, I decided to drop Mantis to make extra feat room (and to make it a true Guardians of the Galaxy #1 team, as she was not a field operative of the team). She filled her role on my team as a decent L/C tieup piece and meat shield, but was otherwise just lost points.
This was for a 1000-point 50% Hammer of Thor floor format.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
V Drax 184 + Protected 8 + Unstoppable 5 + Cannonball 4 + Alias 3
Adam Warlock (Secret Invasion) 160 + Contingency Plan 12
Phyla-Vell 138 + Elite Sniper 20 + Protected 8
Moondragon (Hammer of Thor) 134
Star-Lord 90 + Contingency Plan 12
Gamora 73 + Protected 8 + Maneuver 8
Rocket Raccoon 65
Bug 44 + Vampirism 12
= 988 points.
FIRST MATCH I missed because I was late. :(
SECOND MATCH was against newbie A.B. and his
Wonder Woman (Arkham Asylum) 248
Ragnarok Surtur 233
V Maxima 160
Hercules (Secret Invasion) 142
Ulik (Hammer of Thor) 118
Malekith 91
R Destiny 20
…which, I’m again noting too late, was an illegal team (1012 points AND less than 50% Hammer of Thor).
I put us on the Prison map from the Sinister set to cut down on his Telekinesis advantage. The close quarters worked exceptionally well for me, cutting off Destiny’s ability to force rerolls with Probability Control and giving my Sharpshooters Star-Lord and Phyla-Vell plenty of targets. A.B., an inexperienced player, also played too conservatively, never committing Wonder Woman or RagSurtur to the fray (after maybe overextending with Ulik). I only KO’d Ulik, though Hercules and Malekith each were a single hit from defeat by the end. I lost only Gamora’s Protected.
THIRD MATCH was against Chad and his
Thor (Hammer of Thor) 226
Heimdall 149 + Fortitude 25 + Repulsor Shield 25
Enchantress (Hammer of Thor) 141
Ulik (Hammer of Thor) 118
+ Fortitude 25 + Repulsor Shield 25
Sif 93
Malekith 91
Thor Girl 81
He picked the Days of Future Past map and I started outdoors, setting up the Kinetic Accelerator behind some blocking terrain to guard against early Running Shots from Thor. It almost didn’t help, though, when the Indomitable Thor took a pushing Running Shot anyway. Fortunately for me, it was a critical miss.
Now Thor was open to fire from Phyla, Moondragon and Star-Lord. Gamora, though, was stuck unable to attack thanks to Heimdall (who’s immune to most move & attack powers) blocking one route and poorly-placed hindering terrain on my part blocking the other.
I took an early lead by KOing Ulik but subsequent losses of Star-Lord and Bug and an inability to finish off Thor made this a much closer match — two points! — than it appeared. Still, ugly wins still = wins. Got a Blood Oath feat as the sole undefeated player and brought the GotG overall record to 3-2. But I’m not done yet…!

From left to right: Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Adam Warlock, Drax, Phyla-Vell. All coming to an 800-point HeroClix game near you.

This is a love story.
When Hammer of Thor’s release was still some weeks away, I barely had a clue who any of the Guardians of the Galaxy were (besides already-made members such as Mantis, V Drax and Gamora). And aside from Rocket Raccoon, I didn’t care one whit. I didn’t read Marvel’s “cosmic” titles and had no interest in starting.
But as more info on the set began to filter out, I found myself intrigued more and more by both previously unknown characters and the ones I knew.
Then I saw her.

Now I'm a believer!!!!

I was so impressed by the sculpt alone (let alone the solid dial) that I got interested in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic. And, in a scant six weeks or so (thanks in large part to my friend and fellow player Lenny loaning me the majority of the series for one of those weeks), I’ve become a big fan. All because of my love-at-first-sight with Miss Phyla-Vell above.
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to play this team for weeks but didn’t want to do it halfway. I also had to reacquire Vet Drax from Supernova first…

The dial is right...but the sculpt isn't.

and then I wanted to modifiy him to match his current look:

Better now.

Turned out great. One day, I’ll do a post or series of posts featuring all my mods. I’m hardly the best out there, but I like my work.
Here’s the team.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
V Drax 184 + Unstoppable 5
Adam Warlock (Secret Invasion) 160
Phyla-Vell 138 + Protected 8
Star-Lord 90
Gamora 73 + Protected 8
V Mantis 67
Rocket Raccoon 65
= 798 points.
FIRST MATCH vs. Charlie (RockMan on HCRealms) and his team full of classic Avengers:
Thor (Hammer of Thor) + Protected + Inside Info
Iron Man (Secret Invasion) + Protected
Giant-Man (Avengers)
Captain America (Hammer of Thor)
Hawkeye (Avengers)
Quicksilver (Avengers Super Rare)
Wasp (Avengers Super Rare)
Scarlet Witch  (Avengers Super Rare)

…and some other cards I can’t recall. He picked the Dawn of Time map. I picked the wrong side. Tons of hindering terrain forced my crew to assemble in a wide kill zone where Thor and Iron Man could take easy shots and get easy rerolls from Prob Controls. I’d have to hope my Kinetic Accelerator would give Gamora enough of a boost to get to someone. (An ideal build would’ve given me some way of double-teaming her with Drax. But no, not this team.)
Complicating that early-strike idea was Quicksilver swiftly moving to base Gamora and Mantis. Simply could not have that, so Drax Charged him to KO with the Meteorite. (Didn’t mind doing it because Drax has his own Exploit Weakness to work with.) Thus freed, Gamora got enough extra speed from the Accelerator to get to Iron Man. But her attack was Probability Controlled into a miss, and that’s all she wrote aside from tying up Tony for a while longer.
Mantis got healed by Adam Warlock after taking a hard shot from Iron Man but fell to Thor once she got back in the field while Drax pushed and utterly failed against Giant-Man. Stuck on Combat Reflexes and unable to Outwit any Avengers of note, he sucked massive damage straight to KO. Star-Lord took it even worse when a Perplexed Thor one-shot him.
EDIT (01/5/10): And now, as I recall, Charlie’s Earthquake BFC going off didn’t help much either!
Never quite got Star-Lord, Phyla-Vell or Rocket Raccoon into the fight for real…landed a shot on Iron Man but that was it. I lost Drax, Star-Lord, Gamora, Mantis and only got Quicksilver and a Protected feat. 0-1.


SECOND MATCH vs. Lenny
Thor (Hammer of Thor) + Fortitude + Protected + Alias
Beta Ray Bill (Hammer of Thor)
Heimdall
Sif
Spider-Man (Hammer of Thor)

Again I was forced onto the Dawn of Time map, but I picked a better side this round, giving me a little more cover and him only one direction of attack. Star-Lord again took an uru mallet to the face, but thankfully this was only for 5 damage, sending him to Adam Warlock’s healing ways.
This time Drax was the first to Accelerate to Thor, using Unstoppable to run through the water. But he was forced to waste his Meteorite on an adjacent Asgardian Warrior when Thor got his Alias roll.
Gamora came next (once the others cleared out the other A. Warriors shielding Thor) and the whole team began to work on Thor as Heimdall and Sif moved in to support him. Beta Ray Bill got some killing shots on Drax but gave Star-Lord something to try Galactic Marksmanship on so he could lay some big hurt on Thor (once Phyla and others got Spider-Man out of the way).
Thor whiffed a couple of key attacks and breakaways, sealing his fate. Got Thor, Spidey and both Asgardian Warriors (to my losses of Drax, Gamora and Mantis again) for a win. 1-1.


THIRD MATCH vs. Derek
Thor & Loki
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor Super Rare)
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor common)
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor common)
Valkyrie (Hammer of Thor common)
Asgardian Warrior
Asgardian Warrior
Asgardian Warrior
V Hand Ninja (X-Plosion)
I won roll and picked the Space Map. Gamora got an early Charge on Thor & Loki but Shape Change thwarted her. Star-Lord got a much lighter shot on them.
Asgardians surrounded the big duo, forcing me to whittle them away. Poor Mantis, on the map’s rooftop, took down a generic Valkyrie but was woefully overmatched by SR Valkyrie. Rocket Raccoon tried to gain a rooftop vantage to PC, but only got Outwitted once Gamora actually got to hit Thor & Loki to that point in their dial.
Drax pushed and Charged in for a crit hit on Thor & Loki that was nullified when they made their Shape Change again (retroactively, because it’s non-optional). Drax was gone before the next turn, shot in the back by SR Valkyrie and Charged by Asgardian Warriors.
Gamora, on her Flurry+Blades click, rolled a 1 & 2 on the attacks. And then game was over after she was gone. I was incredibly mortified to realize that her base 3 damage would have KO’d Thor & Loki and won me the game instead of losing it — even with the Mystics feedback!
KO’d 2 Warriors and Valkyries each but lost Drax, Gamora and Drax…AGAIN.
These results were less than optimal: 1-2. Mantis and Gamora and Drax were casualties in every game. Gamora did her part despite her loss, but Drax really underperformed because I was just too reckless with him, pushing to make his attacks almost every time.
I kinda found a rhythm by the last game: taxi Gamora to the Kinetic Accelerator on turn one with Phyla, Charge on turn 2 then get Drax on the Accelerator for a push Charge with a Meteorite. I wasn’t able to do this plan of attack in round one and paid for it. Also flubbed it in round two. Almost pulled it off in the last one but Thor & Loki’s Shape Change is a killer and a half.
Even better would be to taxi Gamora first with Phyla, then Drax with Adam, hopefully scoring a 1-2-3 KO with 1) a push shot from Phyla, 2) an Accelerated Charge from Gamora, opening the Accelerator for Drax (hopefully) and 3) Drax coming in with a heavy a turn later.
I was now determined to win with this team, though, because they were still pretty competitive; it was more user error than anything that doomed me. I had a 1000-point game the next Friday and an 800-pointer Saturday. Both would be GotG builds…I SWORE IT*!!!!
*(not really. But I DID play a LOT more GotG teams. Watch this space for more on the space-farers!)

M+M E005 CIVIL WAR
Based on the 2007 Marvel Comics crossover, this dial is, in my opinion, just north of unplayable in the current game environment. Why? Read on…
THE SETUP: Before the beginning of the first turn, each player must declare his or her force to be either Pro-Registration or Anti-Registration.
WHAT IT MEANS: You get to choose to be either handicapped (Pro) or advantaged (Anti). This will become clear. Note that nothing here prevents both sides from picking the same affiliation.
TURN THE DIAL: Immediately when any character is captured, and at the end of a round in which any character was knocked out.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is a slow-moving dial for players with defensive styles.
STAMFORD EXPLOSION (yellow, slot 1): At the end of each player’s turn, that player chooses one of his or her characters adjacent to an opposing character and rolls a d6. On a result of 1, that character must immediately use Pulse Wave as a free action as if it had a range value of 12.
WHAT IT MEANS: This effect can [I]never happen[/I] in the current game environment since Pulse Wave, a ranged combat action, cannot be used in adjacency! Even when the dial was released, only flying characters (or boot speed characters IF based by a flyer) could still use Pulse Wave in adjacency.
REGISTRATION ACT (red, slots 2-10): All characters on Pro-Registration forces ignore any team ability they possess. They can use the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability, and they can also use the Capture ability, but they can’t release captives.
WHAT IT MEANS: Pro-Registration side pretty much gets the shaft. Any team abilities that served well in the early game are gone and replaced by the SHIELD ability, which is practically useless for this game unless you field characters with some sort of anti-Stealth Traits, feats or Special Powers. Being able to Capture without getting the points for it is also largely pointless thanks to the later BREAKOUT condition. The upside is that an aggressive Pro-Reg team may be able to win the game early with a combination of Captures and KOs. It’s a risk-reward ratio that may be worth considering, so field characters with Willpower/Indomitable and who can ignore terrain to best chase down the rebels. Plasticity could also yield dividends for Capture attempts.
REBELLION (blue, slots 2-10): All characters on Anti-Registration forces ignore any team ability they possess. They can use Stealth, and move actions given to them don’t count toward their controller’s available actions for the turn.
WHAT IT MEANS: Essentially, they get the Batman and Avengers TAs, making the Pros’ SHIELD TA utterly useless. The free move also enables the Antis to outmaneuver the Pros. Anti-Regs will want to field fliers and auto-breakaway powers to help movement through hindering terrain. Ranged attackers are also important since being based risks Capture — and Phasing/Teleport or Plasticity are good guards against that, as well. One more tip: cheap sacrifice pieces, such as pogs, can speed up the slow-turning dial if key pieces do get Captured.
BREAKOUT! (orange, slot 10): All captives are immediately released.
WHAT IT MEANS: Any Pros who Captured early in the game will find themselves instantly tied up and the Anti-side will gain a hefty second wind. One more reason not to go Pro.
DETENTE (black, slot 10): At the beginning of each player’s turn, he or she rolls a 2d6. On a result of 10-12; the game ends immediately.
WHAT IT MEANS: The game may suddenly end at any time.
SUMMING IT UP: Civil War simply doesn’t work so well under the game’s current rules. The STAMFORD EXPLOSION will never go off unless the rules are changed. Players will never pick Pro-Registration if given an informed choice (unless they just like a challenge). And if the teams are small enough, the final slot may never be reached. Overall, although Civil War is fairly easy to pick up and play, it can be terrifically UN-fun for the sucker who picks Pro-Registration. But if both pick Anti-Registration, the spirit of the dial is lost.

At LONG last, I continue this series. (See the other parts here.)

M+M E005 CIVIL WAR

For the record: my head was with Iron Man. My heart, with Cap. And my middle fingers were up at Marvel for writing both JUST out of character enough to all but ruin the otherwise interesting premise.

For the record: my head was with Iron Man. My heart, with Cap. And my middle fingers were up at Marvel for writing both JUST out of character enough to mess up an interesting premise.

Based on the 2007 Marvel Comics crossover, this dial is, in my opinion, just north of unplayable in the current game environment. Why? Read on…

THE SETUP: Before the beginning of the first turn, each player must declare his or her force to be either Pro-Registration or Anti-Registration.

WHAT IT MEANS: You get to choose to be either handicapped (Pro) or advantaged (Anti). This will become clear. Note that nothing here prevents both sides from picking the same affiliation.

TURN THE DIAL: Immediately when any character is captured, and at the end of a round in which any character was knocked out.

WHAT IT MEANS: This is a slow-moving dial for players with defensive styles.

STAMFORD EXPLOSION (yellow, slot A): At the end of each player’s turn, that player chooses one of his or her characters adjacent to an opposing character and rolls a d6. On a result of 1, that character must immediately use Pulse Wave as a free action as if it had a range value of 12.

WHAT IT MEANS: This effect can never ever happen in the current game environment since Pulse Wave, a ranged combat action, cannot be used in adjacency! Even when the dial was released, only flying characters (or boot speed characters IF based by a flyer) could still use Pulse Wave in adjacency.

REGISTRATION ACT (red, slots B-J): All characters on Pro-Registration forces ignore any team ability they possess. They can use the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability, and they can also use the Capture ability, but they can’t release captives.

WHAT IT MEANS: Pro-Registration side pretty much gets the shaft. Any team abilities that served well in the early game are gone and replaced by the SHIELD ability, which is practically useless for this game unless you field characters with some sort of anti-Stealth Traits, feats or Special Powers. Being able to Capture without getting the points for it is also largely pointless thanks to the later BREAKOUT condition. The upside is that an aggressive Pro-Reg team may be able to win the game early with a combination of Captures and KOs. It’s a risk-reward ratio that may be worth considering, so field characters with Willpower/Indomitable and who can ignore terrain to best chase down the rebels. Plasticity could also yield dividends for Capture attempts.

REBELLION (blue, slots B-J): All characters on Anti-Registration forces ignore any team ability they possess. They can use Stealth, and move actions given to them don’t count toward their controller’s available actions for the turn.

WHAT IT MEANS: Essentially, they get the Batman and Avengers TAs, making the Pros’ SHIELD TA utterly useless (except in conjunction with a Special Power or Trait to draw lines of fire despite Stealth). The free move also enables the Antis to outmaneuver the Pros. Anti-Regs will want to field fliers and auto-breakaway powers to help movement through hindering terrain. Ranged attackers are also important since being based risks Capture — and Phasing/Teleport or Plasticity are good guards against that, as well. One more tip: cheap sacrifice pieces, such as pogs, can speed up the slow-turning dial if key pieces do get Captured.

BREAKOUT! (orange, slot J): All captives are immediately released.

WHAT IT MEANS: Any Pros who Captured early in the game will find themselves instantly tied up and the Anti-side will gain a hefty second wind. One more reason not to go Pro.

DETENTE (black, slot J): At the beginning of each player’s turn, he or she rolls a 2d6. On a result of 10-12; the game ends immediately.

WHAT IT MEANS: The game may suddenly end at any time.

SUMMING IT UP: Civil War simply doesn’t work so well under the game’s current rules. The STAMFORD EXPLOSION will never go off unless the rules are changed. Players will never pick Pro-Registration if given an informed choice (unless they just like a challenge). And if the teams are small enough, the final slot may never be reached. Overall, although Civil War is fairly easy to pick up and play, it can be terrifically UN-fun for the sucker who picks Pro-Registration. But if both pick Anti-Registration, the spirit of the dial is lost. Ultimately, like the storyline it’s based on, Civil War ends up being a self-contradictory mess.

EDIT (3/15/10): So at a friend’s suggestion, I played this event dial and picked Pro-Registration anyway as a challenge. Though the STAMFORD EXPLOSION condition was duly ignored (since neither of us were playing any Sharpshooter characters), a knockout came fairly early in the game to activate the REGISTRATION ACT and REBELLION effects. That’s when I learned the full power of even the nerfed Capture ability to instantly remove a heavy hitter from the board with a single hit. Because the Civil War dial is so long, a Pro-Registration can get a great deal of mileage from this ability. So this addendum to the article advises: Pro-Registrationers should field  Lunge-equipped Leap/Climb pieces with Combat Reflexes to act as captors. Anti-Registration forces should not tentpole.

Next in the series, I’ll get off the soapbox and show you how to set Time Bombs…the harmless kind found in HeroClix, of course. See you then!