This spring/summer is seeing an awful lot of new sets releasing. Instead of our typical Storyline Organized Play series, we’re getting two 15th anniversary sets. The first of these, Marvel’s What If? released yesterday, and today I’ll be doing a breakdown of the set.
I know that last week for the initial article of the soft relaunch, we had a rather lengthy article. Unfortunately reviews are a little lengthy as well as we have a whole set to get through. However, because this set is legal for World’s, which is happening next weekend, I figured it would be best to get this set review up as quickly as possible. Thankfully this set is only 50 figures (plus 6 from the starter, 1 LE, and 1 Colossal LE), so that should help.
If you’re familiar with my reviews, I typically rate figures on a 3-point scale. For Two Clicks From KO, we’re going to keep things on a 5 point scale instead with 1 being poor and 5 being amazing. I’m not going to get into decimals or anything; just whole numbers, and each will be easy to spot as you run down the list. This will help those of you that know the set but aren’t completely sure whether a figure you’re looking at is worth it or not.
Before jumping into the review, here’s a small disclaimer: these reviews are based on constructed play, not sealed. There’s already a fantastic series on the Realms about each set and how the figures are rated based on sealed play, so I suggest you look into that if you’re wondering who to draft for your sealed events. While I may say something along the lines of “this piece is pretty good for sealed”, the score itself will be based on their constructed capabilities. Lastly, remember that these are opinions (and only mine). Just because I don’t score a figure highly doesn’t mean they’re bad. I am in no-way telling you to avoid certain figures.
Okay, let’s have some fun and get into this review.
001 Spider-Man – I really like the 50-60 point characters as they give us a chance to play full comic-teams in 300 point games. With that said, this is a pretty darn good Spider for 55 points. With solid numbers, improved movement for hindering and elevated, Wild card, and the potential to deal 4 damage with Hypersonic Speed, this is a really good budget Spider-Man dial. He’s also got pretty good keywords too. The 9 attack at mid-dial is a little scary, but he’s an overall strong showing. Score: 3/5
002 Iron Man – Wiz Kids has been throwing us some really strong commons lately, and this Iron Man seems to be the number 1 pick from the set. While 100 points is a little high in points, his threat assessment is very strong. With the Avengers team ability and a trait that doesn’t give him tokens when he moves, it really doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have Indom, and can actually manuever through the field every turn. No attack value under 10, good damage potential, flight, and versatility make him a solid common. Score: 5/5
003 Punisher – This guy is a throwback to the first showing of Punisher back in Ultimates. While I love the nature of this dial, he just doesn’t wow me in any way. Sure, you’re getting a possible 11 attack, 3 damage for only 40 points, but I’d rather just play the 30 point Hawkeye from Avengers Defenders War. Score: 2/5
004 Daredevil – Like Punisher, you could argue that you’re getting some decent value for 40 points with a Stealth attacker that can token people down, ignores hindering and elevated, and has an 11 attack. But then you realize that he’s slow and doesn’t bring a lot of meat to the table. For 10 more points, I’d rather play the ADW version. Score: 2/5
005 Thor – This dial is a little more dangerous than it seems. Unlike Tony, Thor starts with Running Shot which makes him a little more deadly, but he’s also 10 more points. He’s also easier to hit with only a 17 defense. The traited Energy Explosion with 3 targets is really nice, but will see a decrease in power with the new rules coming out. I like that he has that special attack his whole dial that can really make his final clicks hurt quite a bit. He’s not special, but not bad either. Score: 3/5
006 Iron Lad – It feels like Iron Lad is trying to accomplish a lot on his dial and it kind of goes a little haywire. He starts off with a decent set of powers but with lower values with a large point cost. He’s got some nice survivability at the end of his dial with an auto-healing mechanic, and traited Mastermind to help mitigate damage, but it doesn’t seem like enough to push playing him over Iron Man for the same cost. Score: 3/5
007 Oni-Hulk – 25 points for a piece with Super Strength, possible 10 attack, and 3 damage with Battle Fury? Seems like a good idea. Past keyword makes him a very efficient body blocker and nuisance for theme teams that like range. He’s pretty darn good for his points. Score: 4/5
008 Punisher Squad – While it may seem like they’re only useful with the Punisher of S.H.I.E.L.D. Uncommon, these guys are actually pretty great for S.H.I.E.L.D. teams in general. For 30 points, you get the team ability, Stealth, and Ranged Combat Expert that can scale elevation and can shoot adjacent characters. With a single Perplex to attack, you’re looking at 10 attack 4 damage for just 30 points that hides in Stealth and has 18 defense against melee. Seems pretty good to me. Score: 4/5
009 Dr. Stark – There seems to be some backlash in terms of two of the strongest Marvel characters merging into a 45 point support dial, but I think he’s a lot stronger than folks give him credit for. A full dial of Prob, the Mystical keyword and Mystics team ability alone warrant his cost, but you’re also getting Plasticity to keep folks next to him and eat attacks and Willpower for added positioning. With his swap trait (that all the amalgams have), you could easily sub a piece that isn’t helping you for a full dial of Prob. He gives options and is a pretty decent support piece for Mystical. Score: 4/5
010 Iron Rick – Rick Jones has some nice protection with a Super-Super Senses (that only completely fails on a 1 or 2, and gives Invul on a 3 or 4), but his lack of move and attack is frustrating. Indom will help, but should he take a hit, he’s instantly downed to a 9 or 8 attack and potentially 1 damage. I would much rather play the common Iron Man from ADW for the same cost of 55 points. Score: 2/5
011 Molly Hayes – This dial is about as perfect as a common can get. Invincible for two clicks with Charge and the Avengers team ability to let her position with out taking actions from your pool makes her a pretty good piece for 50 points, but her special damage power makes her just disgusting. Molly can use Close Combat Expert as a close combat action, and with her native 10 attack and 3 damage, she’s either going to hit with 11 and 4 or take a gamble and go 10 and 5, all for 50 points. Oh yeah, and she auto-knocks back 4 squares on a hit. This piece is incredible and you should absolutely get her. Score: 5/5
012 Chase Stein – Very mediocre dial on this character, although the Perplex is kind of nice and always outweighs somewhat low numbers. He’s got the same special defense that Iron Lad has on the back end of his dial and ramps up the same, but has no powers to back that. If you’re going Runaways or Young Avengers, he might be worth it for the Perplex, but that’s still a long shot. Score: 1/5
013 Jessica Jones – Not only does she not count against theme if you have Cap, she gains their keywords! A melee piece that flies, boosts range for your friendlies, and pushes into Perlex is pretty sweet, but she’s a tad expensive to be worthwhile outside of sealed. At the end of the day, Jessica is about 10 points too expensive. Score: 2/5
014 Spider-Man – We’re basically getting a vanilla dial that ignores elevated terrain as his special Super Senses will almost never be used. He’s got decent values, but I’d honestly rather play the common for a whopping 35 points less for the same amount of health, although this one is a little higher on the survival side with ES/D. Score: 2/5
015 Iron Man – Tony is a 40 point paper weight with this dial, basically acting as an Enhancement piece that gives Armor characters an additional +1 to their damage. However, if you can make it to his last click, he becomes god-like, especially at this point value. Still, it seems like an awful lot of work to accomplish this. Score: 2/5
016 Punisher – I’m going to be Frank here (I’ll see myself out): this dial just isn’t good. With no movement help whatsoever on his first click, a very conditional attack buff, and totally lackluster damage, this is a hard pass after all the Punisher’s we’ve gotten this year. Score: 1/5
017 Daredevil – Like Jessica, he gains all keywords of The Kingpin, which could be nice with the new Super Rare we got in ADW that is surprisingly difficult to KO. If he sticks with Kingpin, he gets a +1 to attack, but that forces you to move them together. He’s just too conditional for his own good, and again, lackluster compared to the ADW versions. Score: 1/5
018 Thor – This dial actually has some bite with a huge 12 Charge, 4 damage, and knockback that ignores Charge and Combat Reflexes. He’s got good defense powers, but low values, and a lack of flight is very perplexing. 100 points is an awful lot to pay for this piece, although with his Indom, he could do some work with careful planning. Score: 2/5
019 Captain Britain Iron Man – I like that they gave him a pay-what-you-want defense power. Indom with Running Shot is a really nice, and the fact that he can use it three times in a row is a pretty big deal. For 55 points, he’s not too shabby, but he’s a little overcosted at 70. His low attack values on his back half make him a rough bet. Score: 2/5
020 Oni Leader – Let’s face it, you’re only going to use this character with Oni Hulks. By himself, he’s a bloated Outwit piece for 75 points. Sure, getting to use Outwit maybe twice a turn is okay, but not for his cost. If you’re running an Oni-Hulk team, he could be decent as he gives them a +1 to their attack values. Score: 1/5
021 Punisher of S.H.I.E.L.D. – This version of Frank is actually not too shabby, and can be very nasty with his minions to help out. On a closed off map like the WizKids Offices, he’ll be able to shoot around corners while still staying safe around walls. On a map with lots of elevation, he booby traps all higher elevation than ground level. He’s got some okay values and a potential to really hurt higher point figures. Too bad he’s a tad on the expensive side. Score: 3/5
022 Dr. Stark – This feels more like the two characters combined! Although he has lacklusher attack values (9 on half his dial) for 115 points, he does have Mystics, flight, Prob, and lots of Perplex. The main caveat to this version is that he has traited ES/D making him hard to hit with his Impervious, and he completely shuts down Pen/Psy, Precision Strike, and Pulse Wave within 4 sqaures. He’s a bit costly for what he does, but he’s got a little potential. Score: 3/5
023 Iron Punisher – Most people are going to see that 12 attack Pen/Psy with 6 range and 9 Running Shot for 100 points and say “oh yeah, this guy is awesome”. I look at him and see that after his second click of nasty, he falls flat on his face. If you can manage to keep him healthy, he’s totally worth the 100 points. If there’s a single piece with penetrating damage on the other side of the field, you’re going to be upset you dropped 100 points on him after just the first strike. Score: 3/5
024 Karolina Dean – She’s got decent attack values with only one click of 9, pretty good defenses, a big swing with 7 range and 10 Running Shot, and nerfs ranged damage to herself and adjacent friendly characters, while sharing her 18 defense and Enhancement. She’s a team player, and she’s pretty darn good. My only gripe with her is that she has no reducers meaning that if she gets based, she’s going down hard. Score: 4/5
025 TV’s Spider-Man – He’s a nuisance, but that’s about it. With the ability to keep his defense very high, he doesn’t really…. do anything aside from that. He’s tough to take down, but you want him living in the later end of his dial with Outwit. He’s very bloated for 70 points. Score: 1/5
026 Spider-Man – While the Uncommon was ranged-heavy, this spider prefers melee combat, and as long as you keep two tokens off of him, he’s going to be tough to put down. The 10 attack up front is troubling as you’ll want to push into click 2 with 11 attack and Perplex, but then you lose his awesome movement power and give up his traited Combat Reflexes. His dial seems very counter-productive. Score: 2/5
027 Iron Man – With a trait much like Spider-Man, Tony picks up ES/D rather than Combat Reflexes. His first click is pretty solid, and he ages pretty decently. I’m a little confused why he has Toughness mid-dial before jumping up to Invulnerable. I just don’t see a reason to play this version over the common. Score: 2/5
028 Punisher – Low defense might seem scary, but the damage this version of Frank can put out is pretty shocking. He also makes wonderful tie-up pieces that have a chance at putting out a fair amount of damage. Every click on this Punisher has strength, and at 60 points, he’s the go-to from this set if you need one. Score: 4/5
029 Daredevil – Lawyer Daredevil is pretty lackluster. With low movement, low defense, low damage, and no improved movement, he’s going to have a very hard time hitting anyone. While his Outwit/Perplex combo is rather nice, I’d rather play a dedicated support piece for less points. Score: 1/5
030 Thor – Finally we get some power combos that make sense on Thor with Running Shot, Pulse Wave, and good numbers with 11 attack and 4 damage. However, with another 17 defense on the thunder god, he’s brittle. The lack of Indom is troubling as well. His dial ages okay, so that’s some decent news. My issue is that in order to actually use his special damage power, you can’t use Pulse Wave unless you want to hurt your own pieces. Another piece in these rares that has counter-productive aspects. Score: 3/5
031 Nico Minoru – I like this dial because there’s virtually nothing here to bog down your power choices. With just Willpower, you aren’t predisposed to picking certain powers, meaning Nico can fill in as whatever you need her to be every single game. HOWEVER, a certain Super Rare came along in this set and completely shattered her dreams of seeing play. I’ll rate her decently though because she’s still a decently strong 75 points, and she’ll be pure bliss for Runaways/Young Avengers teams. Score: 4/5
032 Victorious – This guy feels like he’s from a completely different set with his power suite. With his neat form of Running Shot that can be Stealth instead and shutting down Prob, he’s actually a decent attacker. His cost is a bit high for him to shine, but he’s still a fairly decent piece. His keywords are a bit lacking with just Future and Robot. Score: 3/5
033 Spider-Ma’am – While I love that May can completely lock down melee attackers within 4 squares (if she can hit), she’s brittle and doesn’t really do anything else. I can’t help but give her a decent rating because how cool is it that we have May in the costume? Also, the power names are fantastic. Score: 3/5
034 TV’s Daredevil – Celebrity Matt is actually a fairly terrifying lockdown piece at just 30 points. Wild Card gives him some added options and since his only keyword is Celebrity, you have no stigma about having to build a theme team. If he had a single click of 18 defense, he would have been solid. Score: 3/5
035 Daredevil, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. – This guy is a massive team player for S.H.I.E.L.D. teams, and can actually do a lot of damage on the right build. You can potentially pump out 6 damage and 9 range on this guy, along with his Sidestep to Stealth to keep him safe after taking a shot. At 60 points, that’s a bargain. If you aren’t playing S.H.I.E.L.D. teams, he’s a pass. Score: 4/5
036 Captain America – Cap gets a very respectable dial here. Both ES/D and Ranged Combat Expert traited means that Cap is harder to put down and hurts more than it seems on paper. Killer attack and damage values, along with Indom keeps him a threat for his whole dial. His reverse Leadership is really solid, too. Score: 4/5
037 Gertrude Yorkes & Old Lace – The dial might not look like much, but putting out a pog with Charge, Blades, and Empower that takes 6 separate hits to take down is a big deal. The awesome Leadership power will also make her an auto-include on any Runaways/Young Avengers team. Score: 4/5
038 Cosmic Spider-Man – 11 clicks for 275 points with all the improvements, Power Cosmic, and Wild Card is a fantastic bargain for Cosmic Spidey. His values are great, his powers rock, and he’s got some great keywords. Naked damage is a little annoying, but is certainly a nit-pick. At 175, he’s a brutal harass piece that does fat damage, and even at 75, he can be a killer ID Call-In or nasty sniper. This is a fantastic dial and the triple point values makes him a tentpole that you can always work around in any point value game. Score: 5/5
039 Peter the Hunter – Not only does Peter the Hunter have a way to keep himself from dying, he heals himself back to click 1 whenever he KO’s someone of 50 points or more. That’s not hard to do with Charge, Blades, and Exploit. Peter here is a melee piece that has no reason at all to not jump into the action and if you manage to hit, you’ll be highly rewarded for it. With the new rules coming out, he has no risk at all as his Blades roll will always be safe at his printed 3 damage. What makes him even better are the 4 pogs he summons, with one having Outwit! This guy is incredible and easily worth his low 90 point cost. I’m surprised he isn’t over 100. Score: 5/5
040 Goblin King – If you’ve been paying attention to this set at all, you already know about this figure. Already primed at the new king of Modern, Goblin King here is going to be a stupid-strong piece that is going to dominate tournaments for the next two years. While his 275 point line isn’t the best (he loses out to Cosmic Spider-Man in dial alone), his 175 and 75 point lines are just gruesome. The fact that he can be paired with fellow power-picker Jakeem at 75 points is insane. Power Cosmic sets him up to be the ultimate power piece as nothing will be able to stand in his way. Expect big things from him. Score: 10/5 (okay, 5/5, but you get the idea).
041 The Advocate – This piece reminds me of the Super Rare Faust from Superman/Wonder Woman a bit in that he likes to teleport around. However, with only 3 range, he has to get really close to do any real damage. Mystics and high values with Exploit make him decent, and the back end of his dial is pretty scary, but he feels very passable. Score: 3/5
042 Punisher of the Strange – Sniping through Stealth is enough to get a nod as we aren’t seeing that too much these days, and he’s actually got a pretty darn good dial to back that. His power combinations are strong, and the Mystics team ability along with Mystical and Soldier keywords make him a big team player. 100 points isn’t much to pay for this dial. His trait that stops healing is very situational though, so I would just look at his dial. Score: 4/5
043 Peace Machine – It feels like Rhodey is about 15 points undercosted. First off, TK has sort of died off as we aren’t seeing it nearly as often as we used to, so he already makes a blip on the radar as he has the Soldier Keyword (which doesn’t usually get TK). Second, he’s got Sidestep and Flight making him a great taxi. Third, he’s got 19 defense with Toughness and Indom. Fourth, he has Outwit which gets crazy-good with the new rules. Fifth, he makes all damage over 3 become 3 instead. There’s nothing about this piece that isn’t good. He is a super-support, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Score: 5/5
044 Thordis – Charge, Flurry, and Sidestep with 8 movement and Flight, 11 attack with Super Strength, and 4 damage is a terrifying piece. Big defenses make her a strong combatant and a STOP click at the end keeps her from being one-shot, although she can’t be healed once she gets there. What’s odd is that she picks up 6 range, but only on the clicks that she has Flurry. Again, very counter-productive. Still, she’s a pretty good attacker. Score: 4/5
045 In-Betweener – He seems like a very fun piece, but don’t expect to see him in any real games. With a lack of move and attack at a whopping 222 points, he’s very conditional. His trait and Mystics team ability make him a very nasty target to hit, and he’s got a great power-steal mechanic that can really help his fairly lackluster dial. Prob and Perplex on all damage slots is strong, but again, the lack of mobility for his point cost lowers his playability quite a bit. Score: 3/5
046 Scarlet Centurion – With all the Avengers that are around, Centurion seems very good with an average 13 attack for Mind Control. He’s also got a very strong Incap that counters all powers a piece has. The problem is that the rest of his dial doesn’t match his point cost. He’s a one-trick pony with a very high cost and not very many ways to accomplish what he wants to do. He’s slow, and if there aren’t Avengers on the map, he’s not particularly good. 8 clicks is nice, and he does have some durability, but again, he just doesn’t do anything very well. Score: 2/5
047 Poison – Poison has some terrific pairings, and the fact that all damage he deals is penetrating makes him a very vicious attacker, even more so when he hits someone with a reducer. He’s got great values, good powers, is a Wild Card, and has the potential at the end of his dial to pop out a very strong pog, capable of dealing 12 penetrating damage (which he can do, too). The symbiote trait gives him more power as he can come-and-go as he pleases, and stops his prey from running. Score: 5/5
048 Venom Hulk – While his 190 point line is actually god awful for a chase, his 100 point line is pure money. 5 clicks that starts out with 9 Flurry, 12 Super Strength, 18 Invincible with Indom, and 5 Battle Fury makes Venom Hulk a nasty secondary attacker. Although you can’t carry him and he has no improved movement, you can easily TK him and get him into position, and Indom will allow him to base someone (which his Plasticity will make sure they stay put). Score: 190 Points: 2/5 | 100 Points: 5/5
049 Venom Thor – Super solid attack and damage values, Flight, and great power combinations makes Venom Thor one of the best ranged fighters to come out in a while. What makes him even better is his special attack power combined with this trait, in that anyone he hits from range gets a tendril token, and then they’re pulled in to him for Poison on the next turn. This turns him from a standard ranged piece to a combo maker as he first throws down 4 damage, and then delivers his prey to the rest of the team to beat on. If you can find a way to give him Pulse Wave or Energy Explosion, he becomes incredibly stronger. Score: 5/5
050 Venom Punisher – With attack values that are classic Punisher seem good, the lack of mobility on 100 points isn’t. Stealth is fine, but without the ability to ignore it, he’s tripped up on his own journey to get into the fight. Exploit and Perplex can give him some solid damage, but again, he’s limited in where he goes and what he does. VP’s strongest asset is that he’s a threat on every click, even if he can’t directly do some damage early on. Score: 3/5
Starter Set and LE’s
100 The Captain – It’s always a bummer when your melee piece gets locked down and forced to fight a low-point tie-up goon. The Captain here doesn’t care about that as he simply knocks back everyone around him before moving. With pretty strong values, good reducers, and the ability to knock back characters around another Avenger, this version of The Captain is pretty strong. He seems a little stronger than his rare counterpart. Score: 4/5
101 Spider-Man – This feels like a very mediocre Spider-Man dial in that it doesn’t really do anything specifically stronger or better than any of the other options we have in Modern. For the same points, why not just play the Super Rare from Superior Foes? For his 50 point line, why not play the common from this set for 5 more points? He’s not terrible, he just doesn’t do anything grand. Score: 2/5
102 Iron Man – Like Spider-Man, he feels weaker than his common counterpart in the main set. He’s got some decent values and okay powers, but the common is so much stronger for the same cost. His 50 point line is decent though with 10 Hypersonic and 3 damage, but only 4 clicks is a little worrisome. Score: 2/5
103 Punisher – This version of Frank actually isn’t that bad, with automatic Stealth wherever he goes, Indom, Wild Card, great values, and pretty decent powers. While he doesn’t have anything too exciting going on, he’s a solid pick, although the ADW Fast Forces Punisher is a much better option for 25 points less. Score: 3/5
104 Daredevil – If this Daredevil has an 11 attack on his 100 point line, he would be solid. As-is, he’s mediocre. Why doesn’t he have any kind of improved movement when he’s Daredevil? Wild Card is nice to help him out, and the Prob is super cool, but the fact that he’s stronger on his 50 point line is odd. Even then, he isn’t particularly good. Score: 2/5
105 Thor – 100 points for a ranged piece with Sidestep and Empower/Enhancement is a lot to pay. 8 clicks is nice, but he’s not going to generate any real aggression with just 3 damage and no Pen/Psy or Energy Explosion. He’s very bland, and two clicks of ES/D is very strange for Thor. On his 50 point line, 80% of his dial has a 9 attack. How is that possible? Score: 1/5
106 Nico Minoru – Nico feels like she was slapped into this starter set as she doesn’t go with the theme of the other 5 pieces. Just like the others, she’s very passable with a bloated cost and lackluster values and powers. 100 points is a lot for TK, and at her 50 point line, she loses that power. You might want her for Prob, but at that value, you can get Dr. Stark for 5 points less along with Flight. Score: 1/5
G001 Ameridroid – Rather than looking over the entirety of the colossal dial, which almost no one plays, I’m going to rate him at his low cost and retaliation dial. At 125 points, he’s got a decent dial with consistent attack, defense, and damage, but his reducers drop like a rock. Chances are you’ll get smashed through that Invincible so hard you won’t even see his other reducers. Prob is nice to have on a colossal, and Indom is always good. For his retaliation dial, he only has a 9 attack and Close Combat Expert (which you probably won’t ever get to use), but what’s neat is that he doesn’t have to actually hit with the power in order to be useful. For 15 points, you get a piece that can essentially move an opposing character 8 squares away and then block line of fire and movement for the rest of their team. That’s very strong. Score: 125 Points: 2/5 | Retaliation Dial: 4/5
That wraps up our What If? set review. Overall, I’m really shocked that for such a small set of only 57 figures, so many of these were the same 5 characters. Among this set, we got between 5 and 8 different versions of the same character, which in my opinion is completely out of line. This set had a lot of promise as there was virtually an infinite amount of possible characters that could have been included, and instead we got the same 5 characters over and over again, and a lot of the amalgam characters are tame or flat-out boring.
Let’s look at some analytics. Out of the 57 figures, we had the following ratings:
Poor (score of 1): 8
Okay (score of 2): 14
Average (score of 3): 14
Good (score of 4): 13
Excellent (score of 5): 9
That’s using Venom Hulks’ 100 point dial and Ameridroid’s retaliation dial. That means that means that 37% of the set is good or better. Only 37%. That’s pretty low. This hasn’t been a very strong showing for Marvel which is a bit of a bummer for me.
While we did get some incredibly strong Meta contenders in Goblin King, Peace Machine, Peter the Hunter, and even Cosmic Spider-Man, the entirety of the set feels like a pass. Hopefully DC will up the ante next month with Elseworlds as we haven’t had anything since The Joker’s Wild.
What are your thoughts about this review? Feel that I missed the mark on a few pieces, or did I judge some things too high? What are you looking forward to the most from this set? Let us know in the comments!
I’ll see you all next week, and remember, the real fun begins when you’re Two Clicks From KO!