Inside Pulse 12

Review: Twelve Figures From the Captain America Heroclix Set (Captain America, Winter Guard, Secret Warriors, Black Panther, Black Widow, Sin)

There’s a new Heroclix set out today! The Captain America Set has been released, and with most of the figures and dials spoiled, I’ll be giving some initial thoughts and a rating from onme to five for twelve notable characters within the Common, Uncommon, and Rare slots in three different formats: Sealed 300 pts, Constructed (Captain America Only) 300 pts, and Constructed (All) 300 pts. All dials so far can be found at HCRealms.com right here.

001 Captain America – 89 points

General Thoughts: This is Bucky as Captain America, finally, and far better than the Gravity Feed Version – though for 89 points, he’d better be. He’s got a way to deal 3-4 damage every turn and his Attack bottoms out at 9, that only for three of his seven clicks. The assumption here is that you shoot with him for 4 Damage, someone hits his 18 with toughness, knocking him to Ranged Combat Expert. This means he’ll be likely be based when hit again, and can use Close Combat Expert. He’s going to take damage and it is very likely he will die quickly, but he deals so much pain out that, unless you roll poorly, he should be worth it.

Sealed: In sealed, with Perplex, he’s a very strong play. Running Shot gives him an effective 10 Range, which is huge for this set, and he’s the cheapest figure to have that kind of swing. His damage should go through the set’s few Invulnerable plus figures without too much trouble, while still having high enough Attack to handle the Energy Shield and Combat Reflexes crowd. Rating: *****.

Constructed (CA Only): He’s a good constructed play for this set thanks to the Howling Commandos, Avengers, and Soldier keywords. Ursa Major, Dirk Anger, Nick Fury, Steve Rogers, and Captain America (Rare) are all exceptionally strong plays with him without getting too expensive either in points or finance. Sue Storm and Falcon are also notable as TK and a Taxi respectively. Rating: *****

Constructed (All): For his cost, I’m not sure he brings enough to the table in a Modern Age game. Avengers is one of the strongest competitive plays in Heroclix and has multiple similar figures for a slightly cheaper cost, notably WoS Spidey and HoT Captain America, or even this set’s Rare Captain America. Still, this is the one of those figures who can play a support role thanks to Perplex, so that’s still useful for pretty much everyone. Actually, he’s the only Modern Age Avenger to go to for Perplex top dial without breaking the bank like Secret Invasion Dr. Strange or Iron Man, so that earns him a nice little boost. As SI Spider-Man is absolutely deadly with Perplex, this still leaves you with 170 points to round out the team.

Soldier is also becoming a pretty solid team, and Cap (and Dirk Anger) adding Perplex is a big reason why. Then add Killowog from the GF set, a ton of enhancement and low cost attackers (like the Checkmate Knights from range), close combat guys (Warlord), Leadership (Nick Fury), and Probability (Domino). There’s even low cost (HoT Captain America and SI Thing) and high cost (Baron Zemo, Cable, Noh-Varr) figures to build around. Of course, they’re so good, do they really need the perplex? Same for Avengers – it’s good, and another option, but not a necessary one at nearly 1/3 your build. Rating: *** ½

006 Black Widow – 85 pts

General Thoughts This is getting reviewed because she’s a high profile re-make that was needed for the Modern Age. She’s not a terrible piece by any means, since a 6 range, Avengers TA, and the ability to Thunderbolt ATA that into another TA is nice, especially with permanent stealth. However, since Talia from Brave and the Bold was as an 83 point spy, Widow has huge shoes to fit in.

Sealed: In sealed, I’m not sure why one would use Widow. T-Bolts ATA isn’t in play, so she’s just a stealthy shooter. That’s nice, but without Psychic Blast up top and from only 6 range, it’s not that great. When she finally gets PB, it’s with 9 Attack after a push… I’m not sure she has the values and powers in the right spots to be a secondary attacker. With no support powers, that’s what she’d have to be. So, unless the pulls are bad, there’s no reason to use her. Rating: **

Constructed (CA Only): She’s going to get a decent rating here, if only because she makes Thunderbolts work for this set. With Luke Cage a beast, and Fixer great for Perplex or getting items in, she’s an easily justifiable play. You can use her to help as a Stealth Shield for Cage to get into spot, while Fixer’s Perplex makes her damage worthwhile and offers both a taxi. Shield and Avengers in this set both offer enough more options to where she’s on the outside looking in, and Spy, for her for this set might as well just be Shield. Rating: *** entirely for Thunderbolts.

Constructed (All): Avengers is stacked, so she gets no use there, as is Shield, since her Stealth isn’t a TA that can be copied. Thunderbolts is nice, but other Avengers can do it, or just outright bust Stealth. She could be useful in Thunderbolting Mystics for some Spider-Allies that are also Avengers to borrow, but that’s quite limited, especially for 85 points. For Spy, she lacks support powers for practically her whole dial, seriously, I can’t imagine a time to use her and not BnB Talia. Well, at least she can work as a TA batter thanks to Thunderbolts. Rating: **

011 Jack Flag – 64 points

General Thoughts A cheap tie up to help me fill out my Guardians of the Galaxy teams, Jack’s Indomitable makes him useful for destroying soft targets. He ends up a solid, mobile piece (thanks to Charge) with good values (10 and 9 attack for 5 of 7 clicks) and reasonable Defense that’s easy to improve (Hi, Defenders TA).

Sealed: Sealed, Jack’s usable mostly for his Defenders TA and who he can share it with – R Captain America, likewise a Defender. Cap gets hit onto Combat Reflexes relatively quickly. If Flag is played safely, he can help make those CR clicks a real pain. Besides that, though, there are better choices for his point. Rating: ** since it will be so hard to pull both Jack and Cap.

Constructed (CA Only): In the Cap set, you specifically build for him to go with R Cap, but that means that you’re foregoing theme, since they don’t share a keyword. He’s got no one to really pair with this set, but could see some use as a finisher for those Cap hurts. Rating: **

Constructed (All): Here’s where Flag has a chance to shine. He helps multiple Modern Age Guardians teams, especially as both he and Bug create really good tie up, and he costs the same as Rocket Raccoon. He pairs notably well with Star-Lord (boosting) or Groot (being boosted by) for Defensive purposes. Still, he’s not essential for the Guardians, being a late add to the team, and the other two in his point cost add something more to the team with the same Defense. Bug has Exploit Weakness, and Rocket Raccoon has Probability Control, so even at what he’s made for, he’s mediocre. I fully expect a re-make in the Guarding the Galaxy upcoming set. For Warriors, Flag isn’t much better. Hammer of Thor has a ton of ridiculous Warriors, and for 9 points more, Elsa Bloodstone of GSX and 14 points less Warlord of DC75th are each much superior. Rating: *

0014 Luke Cage – 98 pts

General Thoughts Over the years, Luke Cage has become an A-List Avenger who stars in multiple books. A click figure didn’t represent that until now. This is a deadly brick who can deal out 6 Damage turn 1 with a heavy object, charging from 5 away with 18 Defense Invulnerability. Leadership at his figure’s cost means he can benefit from both removing tokens and adding actions to the pool, while mid-dial Flurry with Willpower keeps him swinging. He’s even more versatile thanks to the Thunderbolts ATA, which allows him to Mystic damage enemies or X-Men TA heal or numerous other options.

Sealed: Sealed, this guy is nearly a must-use. With ranges so short, his 5 Charge should get him first hit for 6 Damage, especially if he hides behind someone. Unless you’re facing Quasar or Maelstrom, you’ve just crippled a big gun. He’s also 98 points, so if you’re worried about Mastermind or Outwit, there’s plenty of ways to fit in enough Range to take those out. Rating: *****

Constructed (CA Only): Cage, along with R Captain America, are the reasons to play Avengers in this set. We covered him being a necessity for Thunderbolts under Black Widow, but as a Hero for Hire, he and Widow would have enough extra points for the T-Bolt ATA. With Falcon as their third, and thanks to being able to release Red Wing, they can both be carried at once with Falcon working as a meat shield thanks to his Combat Reflexes. Rating: ****

Constructed (All): Cage is the Avengers and Thunderbolts version of SI Thing. What he loses in Charge Range and Your Ever Lovin’ Pal, he gains in Thunderbolts allowing him options. If you’re running an Avengers team and don’t have the 60 extra points to spring on Namor, you use Luke Cage and are fine. Thunderbolts? All they ever lacked was a close-in beatstick. With their awesome range (Moonstone and Bullseye) and tie up (Venom, Penance), Cage is the next step in getting this team to GenCon level… at least until the new GSX Moonstone is widely released with her similar dial, less Damage, Outwit, and Flight. Rating: ****

021 Phobos – 59 pts

General Thoughts: Phobos is a stand in for the rest of the Secret Warriors as he’s the mostly likely to be used anyway. He’s a fantastic piece, so that doesn’t hurt, and he has usable keywords beyond the expected. His Charging Blades is already pretty good, but when you add in that he can push to get Force Blast that has a 50/50 shot of free, non-self harming Mind Control, he’s absolutely a steal. He may only be 5 clicks, but his Attack starts at 9 before going up to 11, Force Blast automatically hits, he gets Probability Control, Regeneration, and the lowest Damage he can ever deal if he hits is 4? Plus his dial is a bit longer thanks to 4 clicks of Toughness. He’s among the most meta-effective figures in the set.

Sealed: Phobos is a must use if pulled. All of what is detailed above for 59 points means he fits anywhere but with Quasar. He is notably good with Maelstrom, but is also a great piece of tie up for absolutely any ranged figure in the set. Rating: *****

Constructed (CA): Constructed, within the set, limits Phobos the to Secret Warriors if on theme. That’s not so bad, as they are this set’s Hellions – all good individually, but deadly together thanks to the short range of the set. Do you go after Phobos for his huge damage and free MC? Good, then face Stonewall’s Impervious light (Invulnerability and Shape Change) as he charges for 5 damage. If you fight that, Quake can toss you back with 2-square range Quake that deals 1 penetrating damage, Hellfire can do the penetrating Energy Explosion to a few enemies, Slingshot picks off support, and the entire team moves into position for free thanks to Nick Fury, who, by the way is the currently rare top loaded Outwit to keep big damage (Super Strength or Ranged Combat Expert) and move and attack (Charge) away. They’ll have trouble with Maelstrom and Quasar, but so will everyone else in the set. Beyond that, they’re tough to beat. Rating: ****

Constructed (All): Since Secret Warriors is only in this set, you’re going generic keyword to otherwise use Phobos, or, of course, off theme. His Deity Keyword pairs well with GSX Storm and her TK, HoT Sif and her transportation, HoT Valkyrie and her transporter symbol, and HoT Thor and Pluto to keep folks away. It’s not a ton of options, but all of them are very good pieces. Warrior loses Phobos some mobility, as he loses TK, but opens up support with the Common HoT Valkyrie and another Asgardian, Sif being cheapest, to open that ability. Warlord, Elsa Bloodstone and other top pieces open up, as well. Phobos won’t be integral here, but he’s surely a top choice. Rating: ****

025 Sin – 57 pts

General Thoughts: Stealthed 4 damage (thanks RCE) for two turns in a row thanks to Willpower is good. Choosing to turn off Willpower and get to Outwit is better. For the same cost, though the 2 Checkmate Knights get you both at once with a longer range, so why bother with Sin? The trait! Sin can have Red Skull, Crossbones, or someone with MC given an action when she has one token to attack again. With proper timing, that’s 16 damage in 2 turns. Wow.

Sealed: In sealed, it’s going to be hugely difficult to manage her special power, meaning she’s just a good 4 Damage at Range. That’s useful at 57 points, but without pulling Super Rare Red Skull, that’s all it is. Een then, you’re giving 160 points of character tokens for a 57 point one to attack. Skull does, at least, boost Attack from range for his daughter thanks to Hydra TA and can Outwit to make her Damage penetrating, and Leadership to gain more attacks for Sin. Rating: ***

Constructed (CA Only): A lot will depend here on if you pull the Super Rare Red Skull, or, perhaps better, get the Gravity Feed. Both will make it likely you go off theme, but for the sheer damage, even if it’s fragile, it might be worth it. There really isn’t enough other Mind Controllers in the set to make the trick work. The other theme to use Sin with is Serpent Society. That’s a team without much damage, but with a ton of Poison, so push Sin and let out Outwit Damage modifiers for maximum Poison damage. Off theme, Nightshade, with a push, would be useful. Rating: ***

Constructed (All): Off theme, three characters to get the best use out of Sin are 1. LE Bruce Wayne from BnB, 2. Empath from GSX, and 3. Doctor Destiny from Arkham Asylum. Wayne is 33 points and this is the only use he will get. Empath is 47 and, if hit enough, will also get Perplex and Double Target Incapacitate. Destiny is 99 points, but is Indomitable, so he won’t push, and can use Probability Control to help make sure attacks hit. There is, of course, also Red Skull, and Golden Age, 47 pt Avengers Crossbones is an easy, stealthed way to use this ability, as is pretty much an older Red Skull. If she can be combined with Anti-Stealth, Sin is absolutely deadly. Rating: *****

027 Nightshade – 72 pts

General Thoughts: Okay, Nightshade is all about her Special Power which allows her to give Blades -1 Damage and Battle Fury to anyone adjacent. That person cannot then attack Nightshade, nor does Outwitting the power cancel it. That means Nightshade absolutely shuts down any non-Hypersonic Speed figure she can base. With the right support, this could be the best defensive figure in Heroclix.

Sealed: She’s a must play, just incase you go up against Maelstrom or Quasar. She makes herself safe and takes away their range, allowing your team to pick them apart. It’s a start of turn move, so she has to survive once to use it, but it’s still incredibly dangerous when she bases someone with a token or two, or who has less than 4 damage. TK and positioning will be hard to pull off without a meat shield, so look for Stealthed characters to get her into position. Once she’s in position, range and Close Combat are gone. The enemy must break away or clear. With range and Stealth, she’s deadly. Rating: *****

Constructed (CA Only): In this set, if on theme, MODOK’s 11 is awesome. Mentallo allows figures to be Mind Controlled into position, Armadillo can Tie up, and MODOK can become a threat too big to ignore for Nightshade. Scientist allows Maelstrom to Incapacitate to get her into position, while Klaw can protect her for a turn with Barrier and Fixer can longer with Stealth and Carry. Rating: *****

Constructed (All): This is where we get mean. Scientists go back atop the Meta thanks to Incap (Black Suit Spidey, Spider-Man SI), Barrier (Tomar Re, Floronic Man, Cosmic King), Stealth (Black Suit Spidey again, Fixer), TK (Cosmic King) and Nightshade. All of these options are cheap enough that DC75 Flash, Klaw, or MODOK can do big damage for a win. Rating: *****

31 Steve Rogers – 99 pts.

General Thoughts: The biggest addition to Avengers in the set isn’t Luke Cage, or the upcoming Rare Cap, but it is Steve Rogers. He’s likewise the biggest addition to Shield swarms, granting them free move as Avengers. Add in 20 defense at range, 3 Damage, 12 Attack and Running Shot… Wow. His 7 range seems strange until you realize how easy it will be to boost him to a 10 using Shield.

Sealed: No thanks here. As great as his attack is, this is the one time that he’s not guaranteed allies to really benefit from his TA sharing, given that he’s not likely to get enough of either TA to make a huge difference. Still, the Attack and Defense numbers will keep him handy until he’s based, but when he is, he badly needs to break away, because he’s done being useful. Rating: ***

Constructed (CA Only): In the set, you could do worse than building around this figure. Enhanced by Maria Hill, range boosted by a taxi like Falcon, and protected by a tank like Captain America 001 or Luke Cage, he could win some games. Shield swarms will depend on the Gravity Feed’s Shield Sentry, but at 45 points, a swarm of 4 of them seems really dangerous. This build doesn’t seem likely to be dominant with only these sets available, but will be very good. Rating: ****

Constructed (All): Constructed for everyone is where we get nasty. Free moving Madrox is only the start. Cl Nick Fury, Quake, Gorilla Man and generics really benefit. In bigger games, with Nick Fury removing move tokens, they benefit even more. But this is better for Avengers. HoT Cap can easily get to a 16 range thanks to this. Thorbuster and War Machine likewise get huge boosts, and, somehow, multiples of SI Spider-Man got more dangerous. Rating: *****

037 Black Panther – 128 pts

General Thoughts: This is a major figure I’m torn about. He looks cool and will be effective, but 128 points worth of effectiveness? There are a lot of Blades, a good amount of Exploit Weakness, big attack values, solid mobility, but the SP’s seem to add a lot of cost for I’m not sure a ton of value. Storm gives him Support and allows her to use Support on him. That’s nice if you can pull it off, but won’t be happening regularly. The other SP is Outwit that can’t be countered. I’d prefer Outwit that went through Power Cosmic (more comic accurate) or Blades with a re-roll, or even Stealth with his opening charge. Is Outwit being countered really that big a problem that it’s worth him being 20-or-so more points?

Sealed: Sealed, I probably wouldn’t use Panther. Despite having 8 clicks, a bad Super Senses roll in the wrong spot will make him dead fast. He also doesn’t have the damage for his points, with Blades being, as always a crap shoot. Using his super Outwit on Defense isn’t bad, but since countering Defense doesn’t really happen, it seems a waste of its special ability. Rating: *

Constructed (CA Only): In this set for constructed, I’m not sure why you bother. There are cheaper Outwit. There are cheaper Blades. There are better protected big point Rares (Klaw, who would be reviewed here save that he comes up so much anyway – in set, he’s good not great. Out of set, Mr. Fantastic and Researchers make him great. There, review done). Rating: *

Constructed (All): Okay, so he sucks for his set, but can he be useful otherwise? Outside of set you get exactly what he needs to be good by using Storm and Mr. Fantastic. Given that SI Thing is so much cheaper with the same Keyword, that’s not ideal, but it’s at least better. Rating: **

040 Captain America – 83 pts

General Thoughts: This double-based, awesome Cap is costed just a bit too well to be perfect. At 5 points less, with 1 base, he’d be among the best figures in the game. As is, his 20 Defense at Range, Defenders TA, 11 Attack, 3 Damage, Charge or Running Shot Choice and Indomitable all make him a force to be reckoned with. But seriously, where the hell is the Leadership? When the power was useless, every Cap got it. Now it’s great and it’s not on either of the two major Caps.

Sealed: You must use this guy in sealed. Figures are going to have to work to hit his 20 Defense at Range, while he can shoot for 3 Damage from 6 hexes away, or from 8 away , he can shoot for 3 damage on two different targets. With his back Attack, and that he can then Charge, grab the Shield, and do it again all make him a major problem for anyone without more than Toughness, and the majority of this set lacks more than that. Rating: *****

Constructed (CA Only): With Bucky boosting his damage, he’s great. With Shield agents boosting Range or Damage, he’s great. He lacks a touch of mobility, but Falcon even fixes that on theme. His Defense tanks a bit fast, but if he’s your secondary attacker, you’re in great shape. Rating: ****

Constructed (All): Constructed, this is a guy to play with other Defenders. The All-Winners Squad gives him Namor to leach from. Avengers keeps Namor, adds Dr. Strange, SI Spider-Man, WOS Spider-Man, and Sandman. Spider-Girl and Iron Fist benefit from Cap. Soldier, however, is the key, as it allows help back and forth to Punisher, Bug, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, and Hitman, immediately making that a separate, viable keyword. Even in past, without worrying over Defense, Gideon, Cyclops and Phoenix, Lila, AA Flash and Per Degaton are all pretty nasty. There are awesome combinations here. While I don’t expect them to win GenCon, they’re still regular tourney competitive. Rating: ****

043 Darkstar – 98 points

General Thoughts: TK! Finally, in this set, someone has it! Sure, it’s expensive, but at least it comes with Barrier/Toughness, 3 Damage, 8 Range and an 11 Phasing Taxi. This can also be pushed to a 3 Damage Psychic Blast and 10 Attack, rather than 9 for the TK.

Sealed: Darkstar is must play. TK is a gigantic advantage in pretty much every way in sealed, from mobility to Stealth busting. When you add in all the other stuff above, this is a figure that can front a team, or, thanks to Barrier and TK support like mad. I’d even give teams with her the best shot of beating the Maelstrom/Quasar bricks. Rating: *****

Constructed (CA Only) Winter Guard are good largely for Darkstar. The Indomitable Crimson Dynamo being tossed around and blasting for big damage, while Red Guardian is tie up with 3 Damage and a long dial… that’s just outright deadly. Darkstar can even Barrier to protect Red in close or Dynamo at Range, pushing to get Psychic Blast and become the teams secondary attacker. She does make nearly any team better though, just by virtue of her power set. Rating: *****

Constructed (All): SI Hercules has someone to TK him in for his 5 Damage each Flurry now. With Goliath, that’s even 300 even! In general, she makes Soldier teams, the quality figures of which we’ve been through several times, most cheap, far better. With a few Black Checkmate Knights and some Warlords, this could be dangerous. Rating: ****

047 Dirk Anger – 71 pts

General Thoughts: When you realize Dirk might offer nothing more than Leadership and Perplex, Dirk is overcosted. This character, however, turns off enemy TA’s within 4 squares. Given that he’s Stealthed, a lot of Power Cosmic figures will have trouble dealing with him. Even HSS speed ones can have that Outwit once their PC is done protecting them. With a bit of Barrier, he’s even tougher to get to, and all the while he can Perplex and, from the second click, he add an extra 1 Attack to those with Special Powers.

Sealed: Since the two most dangerous pieces in sealed are Quasar and Maelstrom, and he’s one of the 2-ways in set to really simply deal with them, yes, you should play him. Beware, though, as Quasar can TK objects at him and his use is limited if you don’t pull Outwit, as well. Rating: **** since you need that Outwit.

Constructed (CA Only) Well, this is one way to guarantee that Outwit – build for it! Just stick him with an Outwit character – Sin works – and if not facing a deadly TA, then use Leadership to remove tokens and Perplex and boost Attack after 1 push. He also goes well with Darkstar to toss him into place.Rating: *****

Constructed (All): Usually, you just want TK and Outwit, though you’re less likely to run against Power Cosmic or, really, any truly deadly TA this way. Pretty much everyone on Nextwave has a Special Power, though, if you want to be thematic. Rating: ***

That’s it for today! Check back early tomorrow for a discussion of the Super Rares!

Tags: , , ,