Welcome to Chase or Pass, a series that talks about the expensive pieces from sets and whether or not you should chase these pieces down or pass them up. This is the second article in the series, and the first reoccurring segment since the relaunch back in June. Today we’ll be covering both of the 15th Anniversary micro sets with What If… and Elseworlds!
Man oh man, we’ve gotten a ton of Heroclix product in the last 3 months, and it’s showing no signs of stopping. Now that the 15th Anniversary sets have both been released, we still have The Mighty Thor and Undead to go next month before things finally slow down again and we’re left with the typical quarterly set release. I felt that I would wait for both the 15th Anniversary sets to release before I covered the chases and save them for one big article rather than two smaller articles, and I’m sure you’re glad I did so as you got more original content in the mean time!
As this is only the second article in the ‘Chase or Pass’ series, let me give you a refresher on how this works: I’ll chat about a chase series in depth and highlight their strengths, weaknesses, and whether or not you should get them. Each chase will have two different ratings: casual and competitive.
Casual will cover games with friends and your everyday LGS (local game store) play whereas competitive will cover potential WKO (Wiz Kids Open) and ROC (Realms Open Championship) play. Some pieces will be good for both, some for only one, and some might even be poor in general.
For today’s Chase or Pass, I already mentioned that we’re going with both the 15th Anniversary sets to match our previous 8 chases of Avengers Defenders War. Usually sets will have a theme for their chase line, and the 15th Anniversary sets had two distinct themes: Venom possessed heroes and The Dark Knight Returns. Both of these themes are strong with a little more abstract skeleton like the Marvel chases and a regular ‘series’ chase set like The Dark Knight Returns. Both of these were highly coveted series by fans, so I’m sure some of you are excited to see this.
Let’s jump in and get all shiny in the Anniversary sparkles!
90 Points, 7 Clicks, 3 Range (Single Target). Spider-Man Team Ability. Monster and Spider-Man Family Keywords.
Poison is a great primary melee attacker in that he has pretty strong values, does a fantastic job of locking up his targets, and always deals penetrating damage thanks to his special damage ability A Stinger That Could Break Rock. With the return of the Alien Symbiote trait, Poison has a lot of utility that people tend to forget about when just looking at his dial. Penetrating Poison is a big deal, especially when combined with Plasticity, and the fact that he actually increases his damage when his target can’t use a reducer actually increases his effectiveness.
Of course, the problems with Poison is that outside of Shape Change, he really doesn’t have anything to keep him alive, so he’s rather squishy. He’s also relatively slow and can be tripped up easily with terrain. The other issue with Poison is that his fantastic pog generation is only on three clicks deep in his dial, meaning there’s a very rare chance that the pog will even come into play. Had he possessed that ability as a trait, Poison could have been an all-star Chase. Still, the Wild Card can make him even more disgusting of a character granting him Mystics to make him painful in all aspects of the game, or something more defensive to help keep him alive.
Casual: This is where Poison shines. He’s very good and has a deep dial, and won’t generate scowls or be accused of “meta-play”.
Competitive: Unfortunately this version of Peter isn’t really worthwhile for competitive. 90 points buys you a lot (like Al Jhor Dan or Goblin King at 75 points with ID cards), and he doesn’t do anything particularly special. If his pog ability was a trait, he could potentially see ID card play.
190 Points/100 Points, 10 Clicks/5 Clicks, 0 Range (Single Target). No Team Ability. Brute and Monster Keywords.
This is an odd chase because it’s one of the few that is borderline useless on his full point value and amazingly strong at his lower point level. While 10 clicks is pretty fantastic, a 10 attack is pretty abysmal for anything over 100 points, let alone 190. At his 100 point level however, you lose Charge, but you get an insanely beefy Flurry, 12 attack Super Strength, and 5 damage with Battle Fury, and he drops to an 11 for three of those clicks before going back to 12 with Flurry the entire time! While he’s a little hard to get into the fight as he can’t be carried, he’s standard size, so TK is a great option. He’s also got Indom, so he can easily just waltz into the fight and destroy everything around him the next turn. He’s also got pretty fantastic defense powers with Invincible on three clicks which drops to Symbiotic Bonding granting him Super Senses, Toughness, and Regen. Add this to his Alien Symbiote trait and you get a very nasty attacker with loads of damage.
As I mentioned, the lack of mobility on this guy is pretty much his biggest weakness, but is easily overcome. His biggest downfall is probably the fact that he doesn’t have any good keywords meaning you probably will never theme team him, and he trips up on literally every piece of terrain. If the Hulk ID card was still legal, this would probably be the absolute best melee call-in in the entire game.
Casual: Like Poison, this is where Venom Hulk shines. He’s incredible and a lot of teams won’t know what to do if they don’t have an Outwit to gun him down quickly. The lack of Charge will keep people from being upset you dropped him on the table.
Competitive: There’s just no way that Venom Hulk will see anything outside of LGS play. He’s slow, easy to counter, and predictable. There are much better bricks for under 100 points.
90 Points, 6 Clicks, 5 Range (Single Target). No Team Ability. Asgardian and Monster Keywords.
Perhaps the strongest of the Venom chases, Venom Thor has quite the dial and power setup. Unlike the others, Venom Thor has Flight which gets around all their weaknesses which is map choice. Without proper Keywords, theming these chases is very difficult, so Flight is a huge factor. He’s got marvelous attack values with an average of 11 and two 12’s on the dial, and opens up with Running Shot and some fat damage. Like the others, he’s got the Alien Symbiote trait, making your opponent stay away from him as they probably don’t want to get caught up in his Plasticity, and allows him to always use his Running Shot. The real money on Venom Thor comes from his special attack power, Constricting Tendrils. Granting Poison is nice, but it’s the effect that when he does use it, all characters with Tendril tokens (see his Tendrils trait) are placed adjacent to him before he deals the damage. That makes Venom Thor an amazing ranged attacker that can essentially yank pieces away from their opponent’s force and dog-pile on them, resurrecting the old theme of killbox.
The only problems with Venom Thor are his lack of Willpower and poor keyword choices, although he does bring Asgardian to play meaning you might actually get to build a named theme team with him. His dial is actually very strong and has some fantastic staying power with an ending double click of Flurry and Steal Energy, complete with huge attack values. He’s a sinister piece that I’m a little surprised hasn’t seen much play.
Casual: The first time you play him, your opponent probably won’t mind. The second time you play him, you might feel a little dirty and your opponent might be a little bummed. He’s very strong and can be the centerpiece of a very deadly team.
Competitive: The fact of the matter is that Venom Thor is simply a little too expensive for what he does to be competitive. There’s so much more you can do for 90 points and Thor requires a few things to go right for him to truly be effective. Still, I would love to see someone use him to great effect as I think it’s entirely possible.
100 Points, 7 Clicks, 6 Range (Single Target). No Team Ability. Brute, Monster, and Soldier Keywords. Improved Movement: Elevated Terrain.
This version of Frank is a little confusing; on the one hand, he’s a great stealthy attacker with his typical high attack value of 12. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to go into hindering terrain as it slows him down getting out of it. I’ve never understood how a character can ignore buildings but not shrubbery for movement purposes. Anyways, Frank has a decent kit with Alien Symbiote to add some more defense and the fear of basing him to stop his ranged attacks, but he also has Any Disguise Or Weapon I Need For My War On Crime With Only A Thought (man, that’s a huge name) that can really help in any situation. For his ranged attacks, the Perplex will help him either land more damage or strike farther away, while if he does get based, you get Exploit Weakness to tear through defense.
Frank’s other clicks are all very useful, and he gets a little more flak than he outright should. His attack value averages on 11 just like Venom Thor, and even has three 12’s throughout. His damage is consistent and he always has the possibility of dealing a huge chunk of clicks in the right situation. Indom also keeps him mobile and on top of his game. Perhaps Frank’s greatest weakness is his actual poor ability to be a ranged combatant and favoring more of the brawler role, which we’re not used to with the Punisher. He certainly has the best keyword of the bunch with Soldier able to solidify a pretty strong team composition.
Casual: This guy is totally a casual powerhouse that will catch people off-guard. He’s probably the most well-rounded of the bunch and is absolutely the most surprising.
Competitive: There are just too many holes in his kit to make Frank a competitive player. Pieces that have these great values and no way to get into the fight without more points to get them there need something more than what Frank has to make them worth their investment. Sadly, he’ll never see anything more than LGS play.
100 Points, 7 Clicks, 5 Range (Single Target). Batman Ally Team Ability. Batman Family, Future, and Gotham City Keywords. Improved Movement: Hindering Terrain.
Like Venom Punisher, Batman seems to be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to this theme. His values are quite incredible (11 is his lowest attack value), he’s got Indom, and Outwit on nearly his entire dial. On top of that, his trait, The Dark Knight Returns: We’ve Always Been Criminals is downright fantastic, letting him blink into hindering terrain after actions resolve on a non-free action. This Batman does exactly what the caped crusader is all about and does it surprisingly well.
Perhaps the reason Batman is getting a bad rap is because of the Charge on his front portion of the dial rather than Running Shot, which I think we’re all relatively use to with the character. This inherently makes you risk Batman as he’s offered no real choice but to charge in and potentially get destroyed on the following turn. Since his blink into hindering is his only true saving grace, he’s very map dependent, and can be fairly easily lured out if your opponent decides to stay in certain areas. He’s a somewhat dependent Batman and I think a lot of people don’t like that aspect.
Casual: He’s simply incredible for his points and brings an awful lot to the table. Often times map choice won’t be as crucial for casual games, so he’ll do quite well.
Competitive: While Batman does a few things quite decently, he doesn’t really excel at anything in particular. Aside from strong attack values, he doesn’t bring anything new and fresh to the competitive scene, and as such will probably never see big tournament play.
45 Points, 4 Clicks, 3 Range (Single Target). Batman Ally Team Ability. Batman Family, Future, and Gotham City Keywords.
Robin’s dial is… it’s there. She has a pretty lackluster set of powers and values for her point cost with an average of a 9 attack (via rounding from an 8.5), 17 defense with no reducers, and 1 damage on her entire click. Her powers aren’t much better either. The Batman ally team ability is her only real defense but she does have Shape Change when she’s in clear terrain. She’s also got the weirdest Perplex that is completely situational and doesn’t let her target herself. Honestly, her dial is really hot garbage.
Where Robin succeeds is her ability to produce two different vehicle bystanders. While the Bat-Wing is a worse version of Overdrive’s Charged Up bystander, the Batcycle is actually quite good, granting Running Shot to anyone on your team, as well as protecting them from being one-shot. Combined with a piece like KC Spectre, Robin can really help make figures that aren’t mobile work out well. But is that really worth it? Again, you’re getting a very lackluster dial for the points and Carrie will probably end up just sitting around while her pog is what you’re essentially paying for. But if that’s the case, why not just run the Sky-Cycle for 5 more points?
Casual: I foresee this being the only place Robin is played, and strictly for fun or theme. The lack of Running Shot on her chase Batman partner is solved and makes a nice thematic duo.
Competitive: There’s just simply no way she see’s play. If transportation is what you need, Overdrive and Renet Tilley are way better options. No figure that needs Running Shot is going to be worthwhile if you have to drop an extra 45 points to give them said power. If you’re going that route, why not just play someone with Running Shot?
80 Points, 5 Clicks, 8 Range (Single Target). No Team Ability. Gotham City, Martial Artist, and Star City Keywords. Improved Targeting: Elevated Terrain, Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters.
The ID card game is undergoing quite the change this summer. First we had Cosmic Spider-Man from What If…, and now we have the Chase Green Arrow. This guy is flat out nuts. With crazy values like an average 11 attack and 3 damage and Nick Fury level improved targeting, there’s not much better in the ranged department for the points. The big reason he’s such an important character would be his special attack power, Kryptonite Arrows, which says that whenever he hits a character (not damages), they can’t use defense powers until your next turn. If you aren’t aware, that means he only stops powers that show up on the defense slot, not something granted via possession, trait, or anything else (meaning you can’t blow through Impervious granted form Eclipso or a Jakeem that chooses Invincible).
What makes Green Arrow such an incredible call-in character is his first trait, The Dark Knight Returns: Not Hiding Anymore. If Ollie is in clear terrain, he gets Sidestep and opposing characters can’t draw lines of fire to him unless they’re within 3 squares of him. That means you have almost no risk in bringing him in, using Ranged Combat Expert to give +2 to damage, and sniping someone with 12 attack and 5 damage anywhere on the map with literally no fear of giving up 80 points with his squishy dial. Regarding playing him on the field, he’s a little slow, and since his other trait won’t let him make ranged attacks when he has 1 action token, it’s virtually impossible to use him well without TK or a taxi. He’s pretty much an ultimate ID summon or bust.
Casual: If you’re playing him on your force rather than an ID call-in, you should be fine. While he does a ton of damage and is a tentpole’s worst fear, his trait makes him very difficult to position without getting destroyed before he takes his shot.
Competitive: More than any other character on this list, this is the one you’ll see on competitive teams. ID cards just went yet another power ranking shift with Green Arrow taking one of the top 3 slots. While he won’t do much against Jakeem, he nails just about any other tank to the wall. There’s a reason you can’t get him in stores under $100.
230/110 Points, 9/5 Clicks, 9 Range (Single Target). Superman Ally Team Ability. Kryptonian, Metropolis, Politician, and Reporter Keywords.
While I’m under the impression that the BvS Mass Market Exclusive Superman is better, this Superman is borderline the best Supes ever printed. While his average attack is an 11, he sports two 13’s on his dial, and his damage stays high with Super Strength for most of his dial. What separates this Superman from others isn’t just his numbers, it’s his trait and special movement. A Symbol Of Authority… And Obedience gives Supes either KC and prob protection, pulls action tokens, or screws you over if you roll a 1, which you probably won’t, especially since you don’t have to use this trait. Pulling tokens from a monster like this is dangerous and makes up for the cost of most of your force since you’ll almost never be outactioned. His movement power We Must Not Remind Them That Giants Walk The Earth is insane as it grants him Stealth and full-movement Charge if he starts in hindering terrain, meaning he gets around the new Hypersonic rules that won’t let you make object attacks. When the new rules shift, a lot of Superman pieces will sort of die off because their damage will tank quite a bit, but not this guy.
Once he gets to end-dial, he can actually heal back up to his second 13 attack value, so he’s hard to put down too. His lower-point dial is strong, but realistically, you should just suck it up and play him at 230 for full glory. The only real weakness to this Superman is that aside from Stealth, he has no Outwit protection, so a decent piece like Accountable will be able to hack his kit from far away and render him helpless, and the fact that you only get 70 points to work with for the rest of the build. He does have decent keywords, so a theme team is entirely possible. Just make sure you pick an outdoor map with lots of hindering and very little blocking terrain.
Casual: You’re a monster and everyone will hate you for bringing him to the game. Big bruisers like this that have Stealth to guard them from retaliation always leave a salty taste in people’s mouths.
Competitive: There’s a slight chance that some folks play him, but I don’t think it’s very realistic. The big play in competitive is calling in Nick Fury for a game-changing shot, and Superman is VERY susceptible to this. Still, with a good TK piece, Superman could potentially hit someone just outside their starting area and KO them in one shot. The fact that he can smack Jakeem for 4 damage after Invincible is a big deal, and with that 13 attack, he probably doesn’t care about that Prob he’s got, especially if he rolls a 5 or 6 on his trait.
That wraps up our second article in the ‘Chase or Pass’ series. I hope you liked it and I certainly hope this helped you decide on which chases you want to spend your money or trades on. None of us like dropping huge chunks of change on this game, so I really do hope these articles save you some dough.
What are your thoughts on these chases? Do you think I hit the mark or did I make a complete goof? Let us know below!
Next weekend is the start of ROC States, and I’ll be attending my first event that requires travel at DJ’s Collectibles in California with none other than Aaron himself as the judge! If any of you are attending, please come say hi! I would love to meet you and befriend more of the clix community!
See you all next week and remember, the real fun begins when you’re Two Clicks From KO!