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.
Welcome back, true believers! In case you didn’t know, this is Part 2 of my 2016 Year in Review for Heroclix. If you missed Part 1, no worries I’ve got you covered – You can read up on that one right here! Remember, these reviews are based entirely on my own opinions and musings. They don’t have to be broken. These are just pieces that either I really liked or did a lot of work for me throughout the year. Since this round will Have Joker’s Wild, there will even be some stuff that I look forward to using. Also keep in mind that I’m only using collector’s numbers if there was more than one named piece in the set.
Without further adieu, let’s kick off the final article of 2016 and look at the rest of my favorite pieces of the year.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man – August 2016
Thug – Who doesn’t love Thug? I got that Thuggin’ love. Seriously, could there be any piece better than this guy for 10 points? I say no. 4 Clicks with somewhat decent stats is a heck of a bargain for only 10 points, and the fact that he can join a themed team is pretty rad. I still really want to make a Baron Zemo Thunderbolts team consisting only of Thugs with the ATA to turn them all into Mystic characters.
Betty Brant – Those of you that played waaaay back in Energy Explosion surely remember Rookie Con-Artist. 11 points got you Perplex on click 2, and that’s what Betty Brant is. However, for 4 additional points, Betty nerfs opposing fliers and pushes even further into Support/Defend. Any time I need Perplex on a non-theme team, I grab Betty.
Overdrive – I’m going to be real here; I don’t think there’s a piece I used more or won me more games this year than Overdrive. This guy is just flat out wrong at how efficient he is. To me, the only taxi that rivals him is Renet Tilley from TMNT 2. First we got Vanisher and we were blown away. Then Overdrive comes out and totally runs over him, flippin’ the bird as he drives away. There is so much utility here from KO’ing ultra heavy objects to granting Empower, to carrying fliers that Overdrive is probably my overall top pick for 2016. If you don’t own him, GET HIM.
Speed Demon – I’ll admit, when I saw Speed Demon, I was pretty disappointed. He seemed like a reverse version of Quicksilver for 5 points more. Now, he’s one of my top picks, and I’ll almost always pick him over Quicksilver for his 20 defense. Sharing his attack with the Sinister Syndicate to get Prob is just dumb. He’s a wonderful speedster and at the Rare category, he’s pretty easy to get ahold of. I’ll give WizKids credit for designing a character that seemed so much like a clone and turned out to not be one.
Carnage – Carnage goes with Magneto as one of my top villains of all time, and I was stoked when I found out he was finally being remade. This maniac doesn’t disappoint and brings sheer terror to game for anyone under 100 points. He’s got incredible staying power and when paired with a possessor, I honestly think he’s one of the nastiest attackers in modern. I will 100% play him more in 2017 as I barely did this year.
Mephisto – Good lord, this piece is stupid-good. Paris Gordon did a great job on his design. Perfect at both point levels, Mephisto is a great support piece early and power player in the late game. Killing him off is extremely tough to do, and his power to give Prob in return for your soul (and -1 to defense) is awesome flavor for who the character is. This guy was my main pick in helping me secure my first true competitive win.
Frog-Man – What a fun piece Frog-Man is! For 35 points, you get so much value here. Bump an opposing character off elevation or into a wall? Sure! Bump your own guy 2 squares that your opponent didn’t calculate? Yep, that works! Frog-Man is a thinker’s piece, but he’s amazing in the right hands. And c’mon… He’s Frog-Man!
Spider-Man 049 – WizKids did a great job with absolution characters in that they were perfect depictions of who that character is that they never need to make another dial. This is the absolute Spider-Man. His dial is 100%, without a doubt, perfect for the character. He’s a bargain, too. Easily playable at 125 points, this Peter is all bite. Hypersonic with 12 attack dealing 6 damage is pretty nuts and really shows just how capable Pete is of taking his foes out. There isn’t a single click on this guy that’s bad. He’ll be my go-to for a long time.
Devil Dinosaur – Devil made the quite the impact this year and it’s easy to see why. Able to spawn a total of 9 tokens over the course of only 3 actions means Devil is providing you with so many tools as your disposal and so much hindrance on the map that it would be a crime to not pick him for a top piece of the year. He was the other crucial piece of my team that got me my win, and he’s just down-right solid for that 100 point cost. His mold is great too; who doesn’t love a T-Rex in a smoking jacket? Not me!
TMNT 2: Heroes In A Half Shell – October, 2016
Bebop & Rocksteady – These two always go together in my opinion, and if you only play one, you’re doing it wrong. Their dials are decent; not out of this world, but their traits to heal friendly villains when this miss is both wonderful and flavorful. I still haven’t gotten Bebop and I absolutely refuse to play only one of them.
Shredder – This Shredder feels more like a match for the Mirage turtles we got in the first set. He’s hyper aggressive, has staggeringly good values for his points, and he blows up when he dies making him a wonderful piece to just run, guns blazin’ into the frey. Unfortunately I don’t think he’ll see competitive play as a simple Outwit or Outsiders piece completely turns him into mush as his defense power to bolster his numbers is the only thing keeping him from eating it too early to do some damage as his bomb goes off.
Rat King – I wasn’t a fan of the first version of Rat King, but this guy is incredible. I feel like someone at WizKids doesn’t want to balance the Turtles figures on the same level as this guy feels like he could have been a Super Rare in any other set. Killer maneuverability and pretty much the best Mind Control piece in modern, I’m surprised he hasn’t seen competitive play yet. Maybe limited will be his time to shine. Regardless, this guy is tough to deal with and tough to KO.
Renet Tilley – Yeah, there’s not way this super taxi on meth doesn’t make my list. I still need her and it pains me every day that I don’t have her. Not only does she carry 4 people, a staple in today’s game, she pushes into board-wide Prob control. That alone is worth her point cost. Her numbers and powers aren’t bad either, and she produces a different threat during her entire presence. Someone on the design team has a thing for Renet. Also, that sculpt is just gorgeous. Top 5 of the year for sure.
Griddex – Although the original chases were amazing, I really dug Griddex enough to get him during release. His numbers are just plain stupid for his cost and his ability to change size really helps either smash from farther away while carrying a buddy to Empower, or turn his 19 defense into a 20 for range. Being able to hit for 10 damage on his turn is massive. His sculpt isn’t the best, but I dig this guy.
FAST FORCES – Rarely does a Fast Forces comes out that every piece warrants the purchase, but that happened here. I freakin’ love this set and I’m bummed I haven’t been able to play them yet. The April is killer and the best support a Turtles team can get. The Casey Jones (who I have played along with Griddex in the same game – super fun) is a monster and doesn’t take allotted actions, and the four brothers are absolutely the dudes I grew up watching on TV. There’s no way I could leave this out.
Joker’s Wild – November, 2016
The Atom – This was another piece that I really didn’t care for during spoilers. I figured he was just too meh and for a cheap Atom, I would rather play the colossal. However, once I played him on a JSA team with KC Green Lantern, I realized just how good this piece is. There’s so much bang for your buck with his incredibly low point investment, and a single use of Perplex makes this guy magical. I was wrong about him, so he’s earned a spot here.
The Flash – Paired with The Atom during spoilers, I had the opposite reaction; I was stoked to see this dial. He harkins back to Hypertime with the Unique Flash (which I still have) and I really dig that. There’s nothing to be upset about with his impressive first click for his low cost. I can see him making a showing with ID cards. Give this dude Precision Strike or +1 to damage and he’s going to be a total menace that won’t bum you out when he eats it.
Mr. Freeze – I had a tough time picking between the regular piece and the Fast Forces piece as their both very good. I ended up picking the regular version as his dial is just so much more unrelenting for 10 points less. The amount of stat decreases and control this version of Mr. Freeze brings is incredible, and I love how effective he is at slowing targets down. I really want to try him with Iceman to see just how insane their control can be when paired together. All he needs is a possessor to give him Running Shot (Hi Jocasta!) and he’s downright mean. He’s absolutely a contender for best sculpt (Man-Bat would win, but god I hate that dial with a passion).
The Penguin – Like Devil Dinosaur, The Penguin brings an army of Bystanders, although his are a bit slower to produce, are tiny so they don’t block line of fire, and he can create a ‘super’ version with +1 to their combat values. In those regards, he’s somewhat better than Devil, especially with only 40 points instead of 100 to put on your team. He’s going to be a big deal in limited as well as modern since token generators are pretty meta. He’s got a wonderful sculpt with those little birds hanging out, and the icing on the cake was the detachable penguin marker. So good!
Jakeem Thunder – I don’t own Jakeem, but man do I want to. Super Skrull was the first chase I pulled when I bought my first brick back in September of last year, and I learned the deadliness of pick-a-power characters. Jakeem isn’t quite as good as Super Skrull is, but he certainly has a lot of strengths. Because of my fondness for SS, I have to get Jakeem, and he has to be on this list. 5-Star figure all the way.
The Joker 060 – I knew one of the two Super Rare Joker’s had to be on my list as they’re both wonderful, and I opted for the HAHAHA Joker. He’s just too incredible for his point cost and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This guy oozes flavor and is a great piece. I still have yet to get him and I’m viciously searching for one. I cannot wait to play this guy next year.
Bizarro Green Arrow – The chases from Joker’s Wild really didn’t do anything for me except for two; Bizarrow and Bizjoker, and arrow wins out for my pick. This guy has already made a showing in the meta and he’ll continue to do so. He’s one of those pieces that makes you plan for him showing up, even if he doesn’t actually show. I’ve played him in one event and I was baffled by how stupid he was. The insane amount of misdirection and control he brings is unheard of, and he’ll be sure to turn some heads for the next few months.
FAST FORCES Harley’s Hammer – There’s no denying a 3 point light object that gives Giant Reach and Quake. When combined with a Hypersonic piece, you have no fear of Plasticity and that’s some magical stuff.
Marvel 2016 OP Kit / LE’s
Doctor Octopus – January OP Kit – Boy, did this guy have an impact on the meta. For quite some time, Doc was runnin’ the show with his double Flurry and it’s easy to see why. As long as Doc has some sort of piece moving him around, he’s basically a walking bomb, butchering most pieces in a single turn. I love this piece, and the inclusion of the Sinister Six in Superior Foes of Spider-Man just made him even better.
Mysterio – January OP Kit – If there’s any other piece I used as much as Overdrive this year, it was Mysterio. For quite some time, I considered him to be the best tie-up piece in modern, able to continually spawn Phasing bystanders that would self-generate. Top-dial Perplex makes him a beast, and the fact that his tokens also get the Sinister Syndicate team ability is just brutal since they have Incapacitate. I’m gonna have to get this guy out again. He’s just too much fun!
Rocket Raccon and Groot – Convention Tournament – I love Guardians of the Galaxy; I’ve loved them since reading them shortly after Civil War with the amazing Adnett/Laning run, and Rocket & Groot have had a special place in my heart. When I saw this sculpt, I knew that regardless of their dial, I had to have them. Luckily for me, they are quite amazing. Their point cost may be a tad high at 130, but you sure do get a lot out of them. Who doesn’t love a Bystander with Prob? I know I do!
DC OP Kit / LE’s
Martian Manhunter – February OP Kit – Batman is my favorite DC character, and Manhunter is pretty close behind him. Back in the day, I was thrilled pulling the Unique in a Cosmic Justice pack, and I’ve always been drawn to him since. This Manhunter doesn’t disappoint. Although I have him and have only played him once or twice, many of my friends have played him and he is a monster to KO. His values are incredibly solid for his points, and so many ways to avoid damage along with a STOP click, he’s just that good. His sclupt is a little meh in my honest opinion (and the fact that it was re-used for JW Green Lantern sucks), but this piece is just golden.
Green Arrow – April OP Kit – TW GF Green Arrow was pretty much the go-to sniper for a long time, until this guy showed up. With a staggering 12 attack for only 85 points, and the ability to pick whichever arrow will do the job best, Green Arrow is a fantastic long-range piece. Not only is he a solid ID card choice, he’s just a flat-out good piece.
Firestorm – July OP Kit – Wowzers, this guy is good! His numbers are pretty incredible for his points and the top-dial Perplex takes him into grand territory. The fact that he’s only 115 points means that he’s easy enough for Ultron drones to call him as an ID card character as well. The real reason Firestorm is a monster is his ability to burn out equipment (like possessors). That’s a really big deal and makes Firestorm go from just a pretty good ranged attacker to a nasty specialist.
Ace the Bathound – Convention Tournament – I love this freakin’ piece. There’s no getting around it or playing it down. 50 points is a joke: he easily is worth more than that with his overwhelming amount of support options. When paired with the TW Batman, life just becomes unfair. The fact that he’s Tiny and busts Stealth just adds to why he’s such a good piece. I talked about him last week and I just can’t get over how good this piece is. He’s also adorable. (I have a weakness for puppies)
Batman with the Bomb – Convention Exclusive – Yeah, he’s okay. His stats are decent. He’s got some Willpower. He can do some crazy Sidestepping. That’s not why he’s here. No, this Batman is here because it’s freaking Batman holding a bomb that gives other people the bomb like hot potato. Seriously, he’s classic. This is a piece that someone see’s and asks “what’s that for”, and then you tell them about Heroclix. He’s wonderful, and although I like the surfing Batman quite a bit (and more importantly the Shark!), this guy wins out. Plus, he’s a super solid ID card choice.
That’s it! Those are the figures which I liked the best from this miserable year. I hope you liked reading about which ones I picked and why I like them. What are some of your favorite pieces to come out of 2016? What are you looking forward to/hope they release in upcoming sets in 2017? I’m sure you all know that Deadpool has me incredibly psyched, and next year’s list will be kind of a mess because of this (I hope).
And with that, fair readers, it’s time to bid you adieu! I hope you all have a great New Year’s and that 2017 brings with it a little bit of sugar rather than all the spice (you spice?). Catch you next week in the New Year!
[Editor’s Note]: I’m off from work during this, so there’s a fair chance I won’t be able to write an article for Tuesday the 3rd. It really depends on how much time I have during my week off. Worry not! For if there is no article Tuesday, there will be one Thursday!