Variable Repulsor Blast: Building a Modern Pauper Iron Man Team

Let’s take a little break from Avengers Defenders War and dig back into budget builds, or as I like to call them, Pauper. One of my absolute favorite new pieces is the common Iron Man from What If…, so let’s give this Tony a run for his millions of dollars.

Pauper builds are a lot of fun. They push folks to play things they wouldn’t normally try, restrict pretty much every single meta piece, and best of all, they have an extremely low cost of entry to play the game.

Even though the common Iron Man from What If… is good enough to jam on any LGS team, he’s a god in Pauper formats. His dial is incredibly strong for the points and does a great job of continuing the ‘one amazing common per set’ theme we’ve had running for about a year/year-and-a-half now. While he’s not quite as good as Cable (seriously, this guy is what all commons look to be), he’s very solid and I recommend you pick him up.

For today’s article, I want to go with the usual structure of talking about Iron Man and what makes him so great, and then before jumping into the team builds, I want to discuss what I believe is the right stipulations for a Pauper build.


Image result for iron man comics classic armor

Tony clocks in at 100 points even, a third of your build in a typical 300 point match. He’s got 6 clicks, 7 range with a single target, the Avengers team ability, and Flight which all seems okay but not astounding for that point cost. He does have two traits and a small array of powers on his dial. While he might lack Indom, he does have fantastic keywords with Armor, Avengers, Scientist, and Stark Industries, and three of those are actually quite strong with Avengers and Scientist being the obvious go-to keywords.

His dial is pretty steady, so we won’t have to worry about listing a whole bunch of stuff. Movement is consistent with 8 Sidestep for two clicks, 8 Running shot on three, 7 Running Shot on four, and his last two clicks have 7 Sidestep. His attack is completely vanilla with no powers and has two clicks of 10, two clicks of 11, and two final clicks of 10 again. For defense, Tony is certainly packin’; 18 Invulnerable up front, which drops to a 17 on click two, swaps to Toughness for three clicks, and ends on 16 Regeneration. Damage has only one power on his first, second, fifth, and sixth clicks which is Ranged Combat Expert. Numbers start at 3, drop to 2 on click two, jump back to 3 on clicks three and four, and drops back to 2 on his last two clicks.

For his traits, he has a shared trait with the common Thor from the set who is also very strong for his points.

FOUNDING MEMBER: When Iron Man is given a non-free move action he isn’t given an action token for that action.

This is a lot better than it may look at first glance. Some of you may read this and think that Iron Man basically has a full-movement move-and-attack trait, but that isn’t the case. Remember that characters can only be given one regular action a turn, regardless if they’re given a token or not. So if Tony performs a non-free move action, he can’t make an attack afterwards. Don’t feel down though as it’s still really potent. One of the biggest puzzles with Heroclix is moving your team up and being able to act without worrying about pushing the following turn (or locking yourself down). Iron Man says screw that noise and is free to perform regular move actions every single turn. This lets him essentially move freely across the board whenever he wants.

Keep in mind that if you do have two tokens, you won’t be able to use this ability because a character with two action tokens cannot be given a non-free action. Normal rules still apply to this guy, he just bends them slightly in his favor.

For his second trait, things get a little crazy for a common.

VARIABLE REPULSOR BLASTS: Before Iron Man makes a range attack, choose one of the following effects for the attack: Concussive Blast: The attack generates knock back; Focused Blast: The damage dealt can’t be reduced below 1; Sonic Emitter: Hit targets are given an action token; Assisted targeting: Modify Iron Man’s attack value by +1.

This is the bread and butter (why do we use this phrase?! I mean, bread and butter is good, but it’s honestly kind of bland.) This is our toast with jam. (MUCH better). The ability to change what Iron Man does before every single ranged attack he makes is very strong, and it’s not like these are crap effects – every single one is useful and helps him in the big department that is versatility. Knock back is always good, especially when you’re a ranged attacker. Making sure your attack always deals at least 1 damage is strong, although penetrating would be better. Giving targets action tokens can be incredibly powerful and is borderline busted on him. Lastly, increasing your attack value is bonkers.

Let’s say that the first three won’t help against the team you’re playing against. Okay, that means that Tony now averages an 11 attack throughout his entire dial, and has two clicks of 12. For a common. The fact that this guy can change what he does based on whichever encounter he ends up in is huge and really grants him some worth.


I really like doing my Positive VS Negative analysis on figures. I feel that those of you who don’t want to read my long posts can jump to this section and kind of get crib notes on the character in question.

Image result for iron man comics classic armor

Positives: Very strong numbers. Variable threat analysis trait. Avengers TA and his movement trait make him very easy to position and not very taxing. Flight. Good keywords.

Negatives: No move-and-attack. Expensive (points-wise). Lack of improved targeting. Pen/Psy or Outwit will completely ruin his day.

There really aren’t a lot of downsides to Tony. If I had to pick one, he’s a little expensive at 100 points, but you get so much bang for your buck that it’s honestly quite trivial. Just the fact that he can change how he hurts his enemies is easily worth his value and makes him a great primary attacker. If you can find a way to give him Running Shot, he’s a very nasty piece.

In order to make Tony succeed, we need a few things, but honestly not much. Although moving isn’t an issue for him, his engagements are rather slow. Because of that, I recommend either a good distraction piece that can get behind enemies (and not block lines of fire) and pint them down, or something like TK. Either of these options will allow Tony to move into position and uni-beam the crap out of anyone in his path. Obviously giving him Running Shot or even Hypersonic Speed would be great, but there isn’t much outside of Nightlantern that can accomplish this for us. Giving him Pen/Psy would also be very good to help him bust defenses. Alternatively, bringing some friends with Outwit to flat-out counter pesky powers could be beneficial as well. At the end of the day, the main thing to focus on is Tony hitting first.


As I mentioned at the top of the article, I want to briefly discuss what I believe a proper Pauper format is, and here it is:

Pauper Format

  • 300 points (400 MAX)
  • Commons, Uncommons, and Rares only.
  • Only figures are allowed.
  • Fast Forces are okay, but pieces like AoU Movie Hulk are greatly frowned upon.

Most of this is obvious to those of you familiar with the format, however I want to touch on the point cost. Most commons these days aren’t very expensive points-wise, so asking players to construct large teams is a little much. For folks like myself that mainly collect only a few things, that could be challenging to scrounge together a working team at something like 600 points without purchasing additional figures we don’t want to keep. On the other side of that coin, a newer player might not be able to build such a large team without just throwing everything they have into the team. This in turn completely destroys the concept of them learning how to build a team.

Limitations are good and they help us make some really fun teams.

Now then, let’s jump into the builds. I’ve got two for you today, one to match both point formulas and both are Pauper builds. First up, some science goodness!

Image result for science bros

300 Point Modern Pauper WI002 Iron Man Team – Scientist Theme

Although this is a Scientist theme, it might as well be an Armor theme team thanks to our two primary attackers rocking a suit of advanced armor. We know all about Iron Man already, so how about the others?

Technocrat is a fun piece, and I’ve written about him before. He has a very strong dial for only 80 points, rocks the Outsiders team ability, and can splash for some very big damage. Through my playtesting with him, I found that his attack value is fairly poor, but if you can get around that, he can be a powerhouse. He’s a very good fit with Iron Man as a great secondary attacker, and does a great job of neutralizing big enemy strikes thanks to his team ability.

Fitz seemed like an obvious choice and is usually in my scientist theme teams. While the morphing Hank Pym’s were a stronger 50 point piece, they’re no longer modern, so Fitz is the next best thing. With Sidestep, TK, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team ability to boost our range, and pushing into Perplex, Fitz has literally everything we need to make our team better. From throwing Iron Man out so he can make an attack from far out to boosting Technocrat’s attack value, there’s just no reason to not include him. Oh, and let’s not forget about the free H.E.N.R.Y. we get that will help boost our damage values up. He’s a fantastic 50 point piece.

When I was looking through pieces for Iron Man, I didn’t even think about scientist as a theme until I found Killebrew. Holy. Crap. This guy is AWESOME for Tony, and will probably be on every team with Iron Man that I can fit him into. Killebrew rocks because of his very nifty attack power:

MUTATION ENHANCEMENT: UNIQUE MODIFIER – When an adjacent friendly character hits, if its attack value is higher than its printed value, increase the damage dealt to one hit target by 1.

While Tony most certainly isn’t a mutant, this power seems to be made for him. Because of Iron Man’s ability to raise his own attack value (which happens before he even makes the attack), Killebrew naturally adds +1 damage to the attack. Why is this any better than Enhancement? Well, Killebrew has Stealth and Outwit, and has an absolute amazing power setup on his last two clicks. With Perplex and a killer Support power, Killebrew is an astounding 35 point investment for Tony. The best part is that Tony is a fantastic Taxi, so he’ll always be able to utilize Killebrew.

For the last slot on the team, I went with the main set Toymaster who’s basically like Killebrew but helps boost defenses to make sure someone doesn’t come and smash you after you’re tokened up. What’s really neat is that because he automatically raises the attack values of both by +1, we don’t even need to pick the targeting assist with Iron Man as this will combo with Killebrew. Check this out:

Iron Man sidesteps and drops Killebrew in Stealth. Technocrat flies up with Running Shot, carrying Toymaster and dropping him in Stealth so that everyone is kind of jamming in a four square box. For Technocrat’s attack, he goes up to an 11 from Toymaster, which buffs his damage up by +1 from Killebrew, and then he factors in his own damage increase, hitting with 11 attack and 6 damage. Then Tony takes a shot with Ranged Combat Expert. Without even using his assisted targeting, he goes up to an 11 attack and 4 damage before using RCE. He can then add fuel and use the assisted targeting for another +1 to attack, and then pour everything into damage from RCE, giving him a total 12 attack and 6 damage. Yeah, you’re hitting for 12 damage with just two figures. We didn’t even factor H.E.N.R.Y. and Fitz’ Perplex into this!

Toymaster doesn’t stop there, either. He has Support, but when he uses it to heal someone with the Robot or Armor keyword (which both Iron Man and Technocrat have), he increases the d6 result by 1. The synergy here is overflowing. Science!

This team is incredibly strong for only 300 points and I have a feeling it would absolutely destroy in a Pauper event. Next up, let’s take a look at 400 points, but this time with a little more AVENGERS!


Image result for iron man avengers comics

400 Point Modern Pauper WI 002 Iron Man Build – Avengers Theme

Remember how I said that tie-up pieces are a great option with someone that moves a little slow? Well, Hercules is probably the most beefy tie-up piece in the Pauper game. Charge, Plasticity, Super Strength, and KO’ing other people’s objects is really great, and Invulnerable and Indom will keep him a pain in the rump for a long time. He’s got great stats, great damage output, and is incredibly hard to deal with if he finds his way into your opponent’s force. I certainly hope that doesn’t happen… enter Vision.

I’ve talked about Vision a lot. Part of me thinks that’s because this truly is one of the best 50 point dials ever created, or because I’ve waited so long for a good Vision dial. Either way, he’s incredible and serves a very deliberate purpose on this team. Turn one, you fly into their team and deposit Herc in the back field (okay, maybe like turn 3), and then shift into ultra-dense mode and watch as people squeal with two gigantic brutes mucking up their plans. Need an exit? Shift back into low density and get outta there! Seriously, this Vision is a beast and if you’re playing Avengers in a Pauper game, he should automatically make the team.

Okay, I went a little out of order, so let’s cover Yellowjacket. Why would you not want this guy? Boosting a combat value for all your guys within 4 squares?! Really?! That’s just too good. While he does need line of fire making it a little tough to boost Hercules if he’s behind enemy lines, he can do a heck of a job boosting your ranged attackers. Heck, why not use the next piece taxi him into the back field so he can boost them up if they need it? I’ll gladly pay 60 points to boost 7 different figures.

I knew I still wanted some number boosting, so Falcon made his way onto the build. He serves as both a secondary taxi and has Enhancement to help Tony out some. He’s also got Running Shot along with the Avengers Initiative team ability, so he can actually be a decent little sniper. There’s nothing particularly grand about him, but he does the job we need.

When it comes to low-cost Avengers, it seriously does not get any better than the new Black Panther. 30 points for Stealth and Outwit is crazy, and the fact that he doesn’t burn your actions is icing on the cake. That’s really all there is to cover on T’Challa, except for the fact that if your opponent decides to base him, have fun with a monstrous close combat piece. He’s probably best buddies with Falcon on this team.

Rounding out the pack is Jessica Jones, another top-tier cheap Avenger, and quite possibly the best 15 points they’ve ever seen. A big problem with Iron Man is that Stealth completely stops him, and Jessica just says “no, we can see what you’re doing you idiot”. Since we really don’t need to make her a wild card, she’s also got a 10 attack on her entire dial. Seems like a score to me.

This team doesn’t have the dumb synergy that the last team had, but it’s got a lot more secondary and tertiary attackers on it, which some people really prefer. What’s really neat is that if you want to run this team at 300 points, just drop Hercules and you’re there!


I’ve been meaning to do Pauper for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to it and haven’t seen many pieces that really excited me like Iron Man does. What are your thoughts on these builds? How would you run them differently? Did I put too many eggs in one basket on the first team? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

That wraps up the week for Clix Fix. Unfortunately I won’t be able to post anything on Two Clicks From KO this week thanks to my promotion eating SO MUCH OF MY TIME OH MAN MAKE IT STOP, but the others on our team are going to try and put something together for Thursday, so make sure you stop by.

Regarding next week, there’s a slight chance there won’t be an article. See, San Diego Comic-Con is next week which is mine and the wife’s staycation each year, and the days leading up to it are very crazy as we try to prep everything. I’ll be sure to post on Twitter and let you guys know. Take care!

Image result for san diego comic con

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