Tabletop Review: Halo 10th Anniversary Heroclix

Halo 10th Anniversary Heroclix
Publisher: Wizkids Games
Release Date: 09/28/2011
Cost: $11.99 for a five figure booster pack.
Get it Here: Wizkids Games Retailer Locator

Since I purchased my first DC Heroclix Hypertime Starter back in 2003, Heroclix has been one of my favorite games.I’ve spent many an evening playing in tournaments, engaged in superhero combat. When I started the game there were only Marvel and DC characters. Then we received one set of Indy Comic Characters. Besides that, the game never did expand outside the superhero genre. All that’s changing though. It’s been two years since NECA purchased Wizkids from Topps and re-launched the game. Under NECA, Heroclix is expanding beyond comics books. This year has seen a twenty-four figure Street Fighter set and a ten figure set from Gears of War. Both were introduced in August, bringing video games into the Heroclix universe. For the next video game edition of Heroclix, Wizkids had something bigger in mind. September saw the release of a forty-five figure set celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Halo. Master Chief is finally apart of Heroclix.

But wait? Didn’t the Topps version of Wizkids release Haloclix before? Yes, there was a Halo Actionclix game. Now, while Master Chief and the Spartans were on clix bases, they were not compatible with Heroclix. They were a stand alone game. But with the release of the Halo 10th Anniversary set, Batman can finally team up with Master Chief to battle Dr. Doom and the Covenant. Now the question is would Batman want UNSC backing him up or would he better off calling Squirrel Girl? Let’s find out as we take a look at the Halo 10th Anniversary set.

As I mentioned earlier, the Halo 10 Anniversary set is a forty-five figure set. This is smaller than your typical Heroclix set which usually runs around sixty figures. Out of these forty-five figures, TWELVE of these are Master Chief. Four of those are uncommon, one is a rare, and four of the seven super rare figures are Master Chief. Even all three chase figures involve Master Chief. That’s a lot of Master Chief. Over a quarter of the set is Master Chief. You are getting a variety of Master Chiefs with point costs ranging from 42 points to 200pts, so you should be able to find a Master Chief to fit any United Nations Space Command team you may run. For some players, having twelve of the same character is a problem. You’d often hear Heroclix players complain about certain characters appearing in seeming every set. They’d say things like, “Do we really need another Spider-Man figure when we still don’t have Aunt May, Herald of Galactus?” For me, this isn’t an issue with this set. I’m not a huge into the Halo universe and back story, so I’m not really familiar with a lot of the figures in the set. I do know Master Chief though. For me, it is nice pulling a figure I recognize. When you pull a bunch of figures you don’t know, it’s a bit of a letdown. Especially in a set like this where a majority of the figures are generic characters. Even though Master Chief is over a quarter of the set, you shouldn’t end up drowning in a sea of a green armored friends. None of his figures are common figures and most take up the higher rarity slots in the set, so you shouldn’t pull many dupes of Master Chief outside of perhaps the uncommon Master Chief with Needler Rifle. For example, in my brick, which is a pack of ten boosters containing five figures each, I pulled six Master Chiefs. Only one of them was a duplicate figure.

This set lends itself very to a squad based play. You are not going to find a one figure wrecking crew here. No 300pt Superman or Black Adam figures here. The highest point figure is the 200pt Master Chief Arbiter duo figure. They possess Running Shot with an 8 movement, 10 attack with Energy Explosion, 17 defense with Invulnerability, 3 damage with Outwit, and a range of 7 with two target and the Duo Attack ability. Not bad, but not a world beater by any means. Three damage is the highest printed damage in the set, so don’t go around expecting a bunch of one hit kills. It’s not happening. But, if you line up your team properly, you are able to do a lot more damage than at first glance thanks to the types of special powers included.

Now I’ll cover the two new team abilities introduced, The Covenant Empire and United Nations Space Command (UNSC). The Covenant Empire lets you carry a figure, but only if they are using the Covenant Empire team ability as well. Now here is the really important part though. You can carry two figures into combat if they have a lower point value than they figure doing the carrying. This is huge for The Covenant Empire as they have several figures that gain an attack bonus when adjacent to specific characters. The twenty-six point Grunt with Plasma Pistol gains +1 to its attack when adjacent to another character named Grunt. So as long as you keep him with a buddy his meager 9 attack becomes a respectable 10. Being able to carry two figures around the map makes it easy to create and keep these sorts of gunner’s nests. It also gives you a one up on map positioning as well. You’ll be able to move more figures around the board on a given turn, and be able to fully mobilize your entire team quicker than your non-Covenant Empire opponent.

The other new team ability, at first glance resembles the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability, but is functionally different. The UNSC team ability modifies the range of all friendly characters by one. Also, this happens automatically. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability requires a character to be given a free action to increase an adjacent friendly character’s range value. Also an adjacent character must be making a range combat attack. This is a subtle but huge difference. UNSC is far less limiting, letting you benefit from an increased range even if the power isn’t a range combat attack. The power also lets you modify the damage of an adjacent character for range combat attacks, if you give this character a power action. Again, this is similar to the S.H.I.E.L.D team ability that lets you give the character a power action to increase the damage of an adjacent friendly character making a range combat attack by +1. The different is a matter of timing. The UNSC increases the range combat damage first – then you declare your attack. With the S.H.I.E.L.D. team you declare the attack, then increase damage. It’s a subtle thing that probably won’t mean much most of the time, but may be an instance where the timing does matter so doesn’t forget it.

In this set you’ll find a lot of 6 range with 2 or 3 damage. Only eight figures have a range higher than 6, so you’ll find yourself often exchanging fire in fairly tight quarters. This is where the squad based tactics come in. Positioning becomes key in these tight quarters. Being able to line up shots and the same time limiting the return fire is essential. As well, the power selection of the set really lends it to the old adage; the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Individually there are some nice figures, but you lacking what some people may call broken figures, like a Web of Spiderman Nightcrawler or Arkham Asylum Metron. For the figures in Halo to shine, they really do need to be paired with other Halo figures.

As for the sculpts of the figures, they are very nice. The sculpts are dynamic and the characters are easily identifiable. You’re finding the same sculpts used repeatedly with a different paint job slapped on. Even the twelve Master Chiefs are distinguishable by their different poses and weapons. However, while no sculpts were reused in this set, most of the sculpts in the set are reused from the Halo ActionClix game. I believe out of the forty-five figures in this set only seven are new sculpts. The rest are ActionClix retreads. So if you’re a big Halo fan who already owns the ActionClix figures and have no interest in playing Heroclix, there’s not much of a reason to buy booster packs of this set since you already have most of the figures. It would be far easier to purchase the seven new sculpts as singles if you were only interested in figure collecting.

I’ve also found durability to be an issue with these figures. In my unboxing video, two figures were broken out of the package. Well, the number of broken figures has increased since then. When removing the figures from the box, a Super Rare Arbiter broke off his base. Also the Master Chief hanging off a wall, broke when turning his dial, and I currently have a Spartan with one foot loose from its base. So out of fifty figures I have five broken figures. That’s a 10% break rate and they all happened on the day I opened the boosters. That’s really disappointing. From reading online I’m not the only one having a broken figure problem. Fortunately Wizkids does have a product replacement program for broken figures, but Halo currently isn’t eligible for the program. So until it is, I’m just going to have to live with my broken figures or repair them myself. The figures are also placed backwards on the bases compared to most Heroclix. Normally a figure will be facing the towards their combat values. All of the Halo figures have their back turned away from the combat values. This isn’t a big deal, but as someone who likes all of their characters facing this is annoying my OCD side.

There are some printing issues as well. The Master Chief with Shotgun is a Rare figure but the base of the figure is labeled like a Super Rare. So I mistakenly thought it was a Super Rare in my unboxing video. At least that’s an aesthetic misprint and does not affect gameplay. I do feel sorry for the person that trades for it thinking it’s a Super Rare when it is only a rare figure though. I also noticed that the darkness of the print varies on the character cards. Some are darker than others. It’s not a big deal; the cards are still readable and don’t detract from the gameplay, but it is just another sign of QA issues with the set.

Overall, production issues aside, I do like the set. The set feels different from your normal Heroclix set since it involves a military squad based theme. Instead of have one figure dominating the board, you have to build a team and use them as a team to be truly effective. But depending on the type of player you are depends on if you should be picking set up. If you’re a Heroclix completest, like me, you’ve already bought this. If you are a heavy tournament player with an eye for the World Championship Tournament at Gen Con, you’d be better off buying something else. You see Halo 10th Anniversary, as well as all non-Marvel and DC sets, are banned from Modern Age play. So you cannot play Halo figures in the World Championship Tournament. Also if you a have a venue that primarily plays Modern Age Tournaments, you won’t be able to play Halo either. If you venue plays a mix a Golden Age and Modern, or you only play casual games, then it’s worth buying a few packs and seeing if you like the different style of play it brings. If you are the Halo collector, the sculpts are nice and worth collecting if you do not already own the Halo ActionClix game.

Halo 10th Anniversary is a nice set and effectively captures the feel of a tabletop game based on a first person shooter. There are some production issues and the figures do seem kind of fragile, the only saving grace being the Wizkids Figure Replacement program. Even with the productions issues it is worth taking a look at for the squad style of play the set lends itself too. Besides, you have to admit it would be kind of cool to have Captain America and Master Chief kick some alien butt.

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