It’s the end of the year! Rather than Team Builds, or going over winning teams, I want to take this final week and just talk about my favorite pieces that were released.
2016 was a pretty awful year. Tragedies. Celebrity deaths. Politics. Politics. It just wasn’t fun. Heroclix was pretty great though! We got some really neat pieces this year and the sets were on-point as WizKids took a new direction in how they wanted figures and the game to play, not to mention that I finally decided to start writing and Clix Fix was born!
World’s Finest was a bit of a last hurrah for the sets that were stuffed with highly capable figures without gigantic point costs (and boy did it not disappoint with Kingdom Come figures). Once Uncanny X-Men released, it was clear that WizKids was shortening dials, scaling back on abilities, and pushing the game to more of a team-based concept rather than one man armies.
Overall, the new strategy has worked pretty well. Reception has been mostly good for this new generation of figures, and the meta game is a bit more dynamic than it was when Batteries were around (okay, yeah, ID cards are kind of a mess, but there will always be something to abuse). It will be interesting to see what we get in 2017. So for this last week of the year, I want to just look at my favorite pieces througout the year. This doesn’t mean that these were the best pieces by any means; just my personal favorites. Be they work horses that pulled more than their fair share of weight, their dial was just fantastic, or they were phenomenal pieces. Basically, this is my list, and it isn’t a statement on anything out there, just personal opinion. Also, I’ll only use collectors numbers when there are more than one named piece in their respective sets.
Let’s do this!
World’s Finest – February, 2016
Shifting Focus Superman – Yeah, I kind of grouped 4 different figures for my first selection but I couldn’t pick just one as they kind of go together. These pieces were just awesome and brought a brand new and wonderfully clean mechanic to Heroclix. The value this guy brings to the table is unmatched, and even though I hate Superman and Batman looked to be a little more cost effective at 60, I always turn to these pieces. Be it the 19 defense that gives out a +1, or the aggression and flight of the Hypersonic Speed piece, or the unmatched raw power of the Super Strength version, there’s no doubting the power these guys brought.
Element Man – I didn’t play Element Man too much this year, but when I did, he was great! I love pick-a-power pieces, and what really makes Element Man is all the stuff he has traited; Plasticity, Shape Change, Giant Reach, and Phasing/Teleport. He was also the first Outsiders piece I owned once I got back into Heroclix and I had never used the ability before. 100 points is a lot, but he’s worth it.
World’s Finest – The last of the Duo Pieces it seems, these two kicked ass and chewed bubble gum. Pulling them in sealed borderline guaranteed your victory as their power was off the charts. With the Batman Ally team ability and protection from Outwit and Perplex, they’re extremely hard to counter play. Even their 75 point, 3 click form is incredible. Plus, that pose is just rad.
Kingdom Come Green Lantern – I didn’t want to just list all the KC pieces, so I just chose my favorite and it has to be this guy. 20 defense. 20. freaking. defense. that can’t be countered or lowered. His dial was just solid for his high point cost and he has arguably the best isolated dial with 9 range Perplex without LOF. I never felt more powerful in modern games than I did when this guy was on the board. His sculpt was my favorite too. How can you not love this:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – April, 2016
Raphael 001 – Although he’s my least favorite of the Turtles, this guy kills it and set a new bar for 50 point pieces. We hadn’t seen this level of aggression for that low of points in a long time and his dial is pretty perfect (as are all of the Mirage common turtles). He’s able to dish so much damage for such a small investment that there was no reason to pass on him.
Michelangelo 002 – Raph was good, but Mikey was king. Having a 50 point piece handing out two tokens is nuts, and bringing Empower to the party puts him over the top. Like his other brothers, his dial is packed full and he never has a bad click. They all dish sick damage throughout their entire lifespan. Raph might have the damage, but Mikey brought control to a 50 point common, and that puts him on the top for me.
Krang – Can’t deny it, this piece is devastating. The sheer terror he brings to the table and unmatched alpha strike damage is enough to warrant a spot here. Krang is so good that when I piece together a team that I want to play competitively, I always in the back of the mind ask myself “but how does it deal with Krang”. He set the standard for alpha strike this year, and I was thrilled that this big, ugly android body with a brain in his tummy did so well.
Chase Turtles – Unfortunately I never got any of these guys, and I’m trying to get ahold of Raph and Mikey, but I had to add them. These 4 took the already insane commons, added 25 points to their cost, gave them traited Stealth and Impervious (if next to each other), and packed their dials even tighter with crazy good stats the whole way through. These guys were a dream and I’m kind of bummed I never tracked them down.
Uncanny X-Men – May, 2016
Nightcrawler 002 – Kurt is about 2 inches away from Deadpool as my favorite character in comics, and this piece was everything I wanted for him. Not overpowered (hell, not even that powerful), this version of Kurt was the tie-up piece he should have been so long ago. Ditching the idea of a crazy-good Hypersonic piece, this feels like Nightcrawler. He plays like Nightcrawler should. If he teleports close-range, he can make an attack. If he wants to, he can go all the way across the board, but it takes more out of him and he forfeits that same attack. With his 18 Combat Reflexes, you never feel bad about throwing him out there and being that pain in the side for a piece with no Breakaway help.
Storm 003 – Good god, this was one hell of a common. Flight, Stealth, Perplex, and free Smoke Cloud every turn that later gets Pulse Wave? Sign me up. I’ve used this Storm so many times and whenever I’m building an X-Men team, I 100% of the time instinctively reach for her. There’s just so much value to her low cost.
Iceman 051 – For years, people has been clamoring for a really good Bobby Drake, and boy howdy did WizKids deliver. On top of probably the best damn sculpt to ever come to the game and a gorgeous Clix FX base to match, Iceman’s powers and dial are incredible. His ability to lock down teams was pretty much unheard of and he was so damn good that an Iceman team took 2nd place at WizKids Worlds. I’ve used him a few times and I always, always feel dirty when I do.
Digital render used. Regular photos just don’t show his majesty thanks to the clear plastic.
Quicksilver – He completely changed our perception about what a cheap Hypersonic piece could do. Not only could Quicksilver use Flurry rather than the regular attack, he could attack two different targets, and set himself up later to hit something else the following turn without taking a large risk. Picking up Precision Strike meant that you couldn’t escape his damage and with his big speed numbers and X-Men team ability, it was really tough to take him out. If there’s a piece I felt more dirty than playing than Iceman, it’s Quicksilver.
Magneto 062 – Mags is up there with my favorite characters, and I’ve always dug his AoA look. This dial does not disappoint; from his trait to build a theme team with whoever you want if they’re 150 points or less, to his metal scrap markers giving him unparalleled damage in a subsequent turn, there’s nothing this version of Magneto can’t do. It’s the perfect dial for the character to me, and I’m extremely happy I tracked him down at release.
FAST FORCES Jean Grey – There’s just no way this piece doesn’t make the list. Free Action TK is nothing to sneeze at, and I’m sure anyone who has used her knows this. From the potential to use TK anytime you wish even after carry, to being able to yo-yo your primary Hypersonic attacker (Hi Quicksilver!), there is simply no other piece in the game that provides the board control for your force that she does. 50 points is a damn bargain.
Civil War Storyline Organized Play – June, 2016
Spider-Man 013 – Until Superior Foes would come along, this was pretty much the best Spidey you could get your hands on, and even so he’s still amazing for the points. He set a new precedent for Spider-Man moving forward; traited Super Senses, something that ever single Peter Parker should have. The only thing I didn’t like about this Spider-Man was his lack of Willpower as I think that no other Marvel character has the commitment and undying drive that Spider-Man does. Still, this was a great dial for the points.
Punisher 025 – This is Frank Castle. Multiple attacks, rolling multiple dice to make sure he hits, Willpower; he’s got everything you could ever want in a Punisher. His values are staggering for his points and his powers, and with the Spider-Man Ally team ability, Frank plays well with a lot of friends. When he’s teamed up with his Punisher Van, he’s absolutely sick. I never need a new Punisher again.
Taskmaster – I love Taskmaster, and I love how perfect the character plays in the Heroclix format. This was a new take on Taskmaster and it came out incredibly well. With the Masters of Evil team ability for him to copy, you get a piece that never gets tired. He never stops attacking. His values are a tad on the safe side for my liking, but the Swiss army knife you get with him is so freakin’ worth it. I like this dude so much I’ve thrown my Chaos War Taskmaster into my trade box. With possession, this guy is downright evil. Oh, and he’s got the Thunderbolts keyword. Joy!
Venom – I remember when month 1 was running, this guy was $60, and for good reason. Traited Leap/Climb, Sidestep, and Steal Energy made him really tough to deal with, and his values are really great. Indom within a SLOP that heavily lacks it was a big deal, and the fact that he can peel his own tokens made him hyper aggressive. I love playing this piece with Proteus since his Steal Energy can help to offset that unavoidable damage.
Speedfreek – When I first saw this piece, I immediately thought about what he was going to do with the Meta, as I saw a lot of folks online did. Unfortunately, he never got the change, but I love him nonetheless. Every time I play Speedfreek, it goes pretty damn well and every time I play against him, I always make sure to prioritize him. Only 4 clicks is a little scary, but he’s got some amazing defense powers.
Captain America / Iron Man 101 & 102 – I thought I would group them together since they’re pretty much mirror images of each other with Cap favoring close combat and Tony favoring range. It’s pretty simple why they make the list; three freaking stop clicks for 80 points. How is this possible?! Even with their low movement, these are my go-to versions of these two characters. They really shine with Possessors to keep them around even longer than they should. It doesn’t help that they’re pretty vicious too.
Night Nurse – What a healer. That’s really all there is to say. I have to give it to the piece that made me look at Moira MacTaggart and say “yeah, okay, it’s time to put you in storage”. 20 points for this dial just isn’t fair.
Namor – Straight up, this piece rocks! Token generators have seen a massive upswing and I feel that Namor has gone overlooked. His dial is incredibly good with no bad clicks to be found and crazy-good damage once he losses the ability to summon Atlanteans. His ‘lord’ ability to buff all Atlanteans is probably my favorite part about him. I don’t think I’ve ever had him take a single click of damage before. That sclupt is pretty jazzy, too.
Captain Ironmerica – Beefcake! This What If? piece does it all; range and close combat! Traited Invulnerability is a lot more deadly than it seems and although his points are a bit high, every time I field him, I feel like I’m running a damn train over anyone who gets in his sights. Every damn click is vicious and when he’s paired with some good backup, he’s neigh unstoppable. Plus, he had the absolute best mold in Civil War (sans the AWFUL job they did on the stripes of the flag)… Okay, Black Panther’s was pretty good too!
Digital render used. I can’t stand the actual painted stripes of that flag.
That wraps up Part 1 of my favorite figures from 2016. Remember, this doesn’t mean other figures weren’t good; these are just my favorites. I had some trouble with Civil War because I liked so much of that set. I know there’s a lot of figures there, but it’s very near and dear to my heart (I started reading comics with Civil War).
Join me Thursday for the last article of 2016 and Part 2!