Monday, January 9, 2012

HeroClix: Incredible Hulk figure reviews!

I wrote the following in the hopes that it would help me remember, play and face the dials that I might see in the Infinity Gauntlet Month One Event for HeroClix. As that tournament was a sealed event using boosters from the Incredible Hulk set, this information really is only useful now in such a setting. However, leftover product from said expansion is so inexpensive that recreating such an environment amongst friends for funds is now entirely feasible! (Note: I apologize to those who were brought here whilst searching the names of characters mentioned herein, but were looking instead for information concerning them in a non-HeroClix context.)

Common Hulk has nine clicks. His best clicks are four and five – so try to hit him for two or three, and then hit him again hard. Consider Outwitting Charge first because he has no range, and then he won't be able to move-and attack. Offensively, Perplex down his defense – and defensively, Perplex down his damage.

Bruce Banner has five clicks. He only has Outwit and Toughness on his first click – so unless your opponent plans to transform him on his final three clicks, just finish him off quickly.

AIM Agent has four clicks. He has Perplex on his first two clicks, and gets Support after that – so do two damage quickly, because Support is only of limited usefulness in this set.

Hulkbuster Soldier has four clicks. With Armor Piercing versus figures that have four or more damage, he's a nuisance piece for sure – so knock him past his first two clicks of Running Shot and Toughness at your first opportunity.

Humanoid has four clicks. With no range, and no move-and-attack abilities (although he gets Willpower with The Leader), he can be safely ignored in the early game.

Hulk Robot has nine clicks. He's got Willpower, and his powers can't be Outwitted. His best clicks are clicks three, four and five, because he gets Charge. Try to just hit him for one, and then follow up with a big hit for four. Shape Change on his first click will make him hard to hurt at first. On click five, he loses Invulnerability and gets Toughness instead – so get him there quickly.

She Hulk has seven clicks. Although her best click is her second, she's going to bring the pain on each and every click. She loses move-and-attack on click three, and also only has Toughness for defense – so try to use that to your advantage. Hit her for four damage straight up, or Outwit her first-click Invulnerability and hit her for two.

John Jameson has five clicks. Your opponents will probably have already pushed him once to get to his Toughness and Super-Strength on click two by the time you get to him – so you will probably have to hit him for at least four to put him down for good. He's only 39 points though, so outside of him throwing objects for a long-range attack – or an opponent planning on transforming him into Man-Wolf on clicks four and five – he can safely be ignored.

Man-Wolf has seven clicks of life. Whatever you do, don't land him on clicks three and four! You'll just be doing your opponent's work for them. Either hit him for four up front, or hit him for just one and then follow up for three or more afterwards. If you've got Outwit, use it on Charge for his non-Star God clicks – then you can just avoid him. If you end up needing to get rid of him quickly however, remember that he gets two chances to dodge on his first click with Super-Senses and Shape Change.

Charging Punisher has six clicks. His defense is completely bare on clicks one and three – so try to either hit him for three twice; or for one, two, and then three. Don't let him base you, though, because he gets Blades on his last three clicks! Outwit his Charge to keep this from happening – or Blades, if it's already too late for that...

Psychic Blast Punisher, with six clicks, is the bane of our existence in this tournament. Eliminate him immediately – preferably by throwing objects at him, because he's got Combat Reflexes on clicks one and four. He loses Psychic Blast by click three – so make him your primary target until you whittle him down to that point.

Thundra has seven clicks. She'll be after your big gun with her special power – so do everything you can to keep her from basing your best figure. She drops down from Invulnerability to Toughness on click three – so either hit her for four up front, or Outwit her Invulnerability if you can. Be aware that she picks up Outwit on clicks five and six – and although she won't be a threat alone by that point, she can use it to make the rest of her team that much more dangerous.

Abomination has nine clicks. As one of the few figures with Aquatic in this set, he's going to be one of the characters to beat in tournament play. Defensively-speaking, the very first thing you should Outwit is his move-and-attack abilities (whether Charge, or Special Power); with Indomitable being a very close second. Offensively, he loses Invulnerability on click four (and Super-Strength on click five) – so barring a timely assist from Outwit, try to hit him for at least five up front. His final two clicks, clicks eight and nine, feature Regeneration – so either finish him off if you can, or Outwit it if you're able.

The Leader has six clicks. He's a very unusual character in this format. He's got an entire dial's worth of Outwit, a natural range of seven, and ranged attack powers on every click but his second. On his first click, he can use TK to move based characters away from him – so be cautious when not Charging to base him. He's also capable of dealing penetrating damage on his final four clicks (even up close, with Pulse Wave, on clicks three and four) – so he's always a potential threat until he's been eliminated. Take out his Mastermind fodder first, if at all possible – then hit him repeatedly for as much damage as you can.

Skaar has seven clicks. His dial's unusual in that, while his best clicks are his first two and his final two, the middle of his dial is relatively weak for the points. Every effort should be made to knock him onto his third click – on clicks three, four and five, he can safely be ignored. Be mindful that his defensive powers get bumped up a notch whenever he's adjacent to blocking terrain – which potentially gives him a chance to dodge on clicks one, two and seven. Oddly enough, his best click – click six – is his second-to-last: Charge, Blades and Exploit Weakness! Defensively-speaking, you should Outwit Charge whenever it appears.

Lyra has eight clicks. She's incredible for the points – and because of her Marquee write-up, everyone will be using her. She gets conditional Probability Control to re-roll her own attacks on her first four clicks! She's capable of dealing at least three damage for a whopping six clicks straight – and she doesn't lose Charge until click four. Barring Outwit to remove her first-click Invulnerability, you're going to need to hit her for at least five up front to really even weaken her. Defensively-speaking, always Outwit her movement powers... even Leap/Climb on clicks four through eight!

AIM Renegade has four clicks. Although he's a generic figure, you shouldn't under any circumstances underestimate the threat that he represents to your team! If your opponent places him next to a character that has range, this figure will be sharing the Hydra team ability and Enhancement on clicks one and four; and if if this figure is out on his own, he'll be pushed onto clicks two and three for cheap Outwit! Either way, eliminate him quickly – and always try to make room for this figure on your own teams.

A.I. Marine has four clicks. Although he can't hurt any figure with Invulnerability or better, he might take some players by surprise on this map with his Aquatic movement. After an initial click of Toughness, his defense on clicks two through four gets significantly better in close combat with Combat Reflexes – and he gets a chance to dodge on his final two clicks with Shape Change! Note that, although he becomes a significantly greater threat once transformed, he also loses Aquatic on Movement. However, he also boosts the AIM Marine Hulk's Attack value – so the likelihood both would be played together if pulled is also high.

Black Tarantula has seven clicks. He is capable of damaging figures with Invulnerability or better on every click except for clicks two and seven. He's got a single starting click of Invulnerability himself – so consider either Outwitting that, or else just hitting him for three (arguably his worst click). He loses Running Shot on click three, and picks up Charge instead – so Outwit Charge to keep him from basing you, or Blades if he already has. Outwitting his Special Power on Movement on clicks five and six is a no-brainer if he's already in base-to-base contact; otherwise, Outwit Regeneration on clicks six and seven, so that he can't heal. Don't forget that he's also got a range of six!

White Tiger, with six clicks (and the possibility of four more), is going to be a difficult figure to deal with in this format. A Stealth'ed Perplexer (albeit one with no other defense) on clicks one and two, your first inclination might be to baenseer – but beware, because she becomes an insane close-combat juggernaut on clicks three through six! At that point, your best option will probably be to peck away at her from a distance with thrown objects, etc. Try your best to get her onto click five as fast as you can, as soon as you can – if your opponent still has some other good figures in the game, then he'll be a lot less likely to bring her back into play! If you wait until she's the last figure standing, however, he'll get no penalties for having done so...

Uncommon Daredevil has six clicks. Knocked past his first click, he loses Outwit – which, with only two Damage of his own, he'll be using exclusively to help out the rest of his team. He loses move-and-attack by click three – and with his range of four, you can afford to save him for last until you've dealt with the rest of your opponent's team (although he does regain Outwit briefly on click five). There are several reasons why it would be best to attack him from range (Combat Reflexes, Close-Combat Expert and Super-Senses that deals damage if you miss) – but you shouldn't let that keep you from finishing him off if you get the chance.

Matt Murdock has five clicks. Only his first two clicks have Outwit – so try to hit him for at least two damage if you can. Beware of opponents planning to transform him into Uncommon or Rare Daredevil on clicks four and five! There are, however, two sets of circumstances under which you might want to consider playing Matt Murdock yourself: 1) he ends up being your only real option for cheap Outwit, and keep Uncommon Daredevil on the sidelines to potentially transform into; or 2) you can play both him and the Rare Daredevil together!

Uncommon Punisher has six clicks. Outside of clicks four and five, which both have Ranged-Combat Expert with two Damage, this Punisher can't even hurt the Invulnerability plus set – of which there will be many in this format. Remember that he has has an eight range though, so that you can keep your more fragile pieces out of harm's way. Needless to say, just keep him away from clicks four and five – and ignore him until all greater threats have been eliminated.

Jigsaw has five clicks. With an entire dial's worth of Willpower, he can act two out of every three turns – which makes him great on your own teams for just 35 points, but not so hot on your opponent's. Try to keep him off clicks three and four, which have Blades – otherwise finish off bigger and better figures first, because they're worth more points.

Rick Jones has four clicks. He's a wildcard, which is worth remembering if your opponent plays him alongside either Rare Daredevil or Ghost Rider. Although your opponent will probably push him to get Perplex on click two, remember that it will only take three damage to eliminate him at that point. After Toughness on his first click, he picks up Combat Reflexes on clicks two and three – by which point it would be best to either hit him from range, or ignore him outright. Absolutely consider playing him with A-Bomb, if you pull and decide to use the latter.

Hercules has eight clicks. He only has a single click of Super-Strength – so either Outwit his Invulnerability before you attack, or try hitting him for only three damage. He gains Impervious on clicks three and four, but he loses move-and-attack abilities on those same clicks – which means that, although you'll be safe from reprisal, you'll probably still have to eliminate him to win the match. He regains Charge (but drops to Invulnerability) on clicks five and six – and he also picks up Willpower on clicks six through eight, to keep attacking you turn after turn. Do everything you can to stay out of base-to-base contact with him – which may mean Outwitting Charge instead of Invulnerability on the clicks that he has both.

Amadeus Cho has five clicks. He has Outwit on all of them, except click four – he gets Probability Control on that click (and potentially on his first two clicks as well). He's got an entire dial worth of Energy Shield/Deflection – making hitting very difficult to hit at range. On clicks two, three, and four, he has Psychic Blast with a range of seven for one damage – which makes him dangerous, even for your figures with damage reducers. Although you shouldn't ignore immediate threats in favor of him, you should still try to eliminate this figure as soon as you're able.

Red Hulk has eight clicks. He's dangerous all down his dial – albeit somewhat less so when he hits his final two clicks, clicks seven and eight. Top dial, you'd have to hit him for seven up front (or six if you've got Outwit) to even decrease his threat level to an appreciable degree. He's got Outwit and full-movement Charge for his first three clicks – so if you can hit him for four up front (or three after Outwitting Toughness), you could land him on his least-dangerous click. Clicks five and six, however – with Charge, Impervious and Super-Poison – are his very best... so keep him off of them at all costs!

General Thunderbolt Ross has five clicks. I can't imagine that anyone would use him except in conjunction with the Red Hulk – but if they should, he's completely useless by click three when he uses Willpower. He can transform into the Red Hulk on clicks four and five, though – so be careful not to do your opponent's work for them.

Doc Samson has eight clicks. Again, it is highly unlikely that your opponents would use him in this format – but there are some things you should be aware of about him, just in case they do. He grants nearby friendly characters immunity to Outwit throughout his entire dial – so it may be worthwhile to take them out of the equation first. He doesn't gain his Super-Mind Control power until click three – and with zero range and no move-and-attack powers until his final two clicks, he can safely be avoided until you're ready to face him. Remember that Mind Control has a default range of four – so hang back further than that, and try to hit him from range if you can. And don't trust that your opponent wouldn't willingly take feedback damage just to Mind Control your big guns either!

Rare Daredevil has seven clicks. This figure is going to see a lot of play thanks to his glowing Marquee reviews write-ups – so your need to learn his dial will be two-fold. First, and most obvious, is that he's a Mystic – so if you're going to trade clicks with him, you'd better be damn well sure that you're doing more than just one damage! With a range of zero (except for clicks four and five, when he picks up Mind Control), and an entire dial's worth of Exploit Weakness, you really need to attack him from range if at all possible (even if you have to use up an object to do so)! By click four he loses Leap/Climb and Super-Senses – but he does pick up Toughness, so keep that in mind. His best click is his second, which your opponents will probably push to – so attack him with impunity from that point forward.

Shanna the She-Devil has five clicks. The thing about her is, her potential damage output is much higher than her point cost of 45 would otherwise suggest – so you underestimate her at your own risk. You'll have to attack her in base-to-base contact on her first two clicks if she's in hindering terrain – but she's got three clicks of Blades, and boosts her damage by one when you do so... However, she's one figure where it really pays to play keep-away: She has no way of dealing damage from range on her first two clicks, and can safely be avoided on those. She does pick up Charge and Willpower on clicks three and four, however...

Tiger Shark has eight clicks. With Aquatic movement, and move-and-attack powers on ever click (the first four of which being full-move Charge), he is absolutely one of the three figures to beat in this tournament. If you do end up facing him, Outwit his Movement powers each and every turn if you can. He loses Invulnerability by click three, and finally drops down to just Super-Senses by click seven – so don't be reluctant to press the attack... especially considering that, with the Masters of Evil team ability, he can attack you each and every turn that he's in play!

Man-Beast has eight clicks. He's got such an unusual dial layout and set of powers that he's going to be the most difficult figure to get a handle on how to play well against in this tournament. Absolutely be sure to eliminate his Mastermind fodder before you attack him, if you can! It's a toss-up as to whether your opponent will keep him in Stealth, with Blades, on his first click; or opt for Outwit, Psychic Blast and condition-specific Mind Control (with a range of six) on his second click; but either way, his Defense gets bumped up to Invulnerability on clicks three and four! When he finally loses Outwit on click five, he's much less dangerous – but you shouldn't count him out entirely just yet! On clicks six, seven and eight, he alternates between Psychic Blast, Blades and a final click of Psychic Blast, respectively – so try to hit him hard on his first two clicks, and then beat a strategic retreat.

Wolverine has six clicks. At only 70 points, with two opening clicks of Exploit Weakness, he could potentially be this set's giant-slayer... if he got a move-and-attack ability before click four, that is! As is, with zero range you can safely ignore him while keeping him from basing you, and/or just attack him from range. When you do hit him, try to do just three damage (two if you've actually bothered to Outwit his Toughness) – he picks up Charge and Blades on clicks four and five! Speaking of Outwit, be sure to Outwit his Regeneration on clicks five and six – that way you can knock him out and gain victory points for having done so.

Joe Fixit has eight clicks. At fifty points less than the Common Hulk, he does still bring some interesting powers and stats to the table. His first click is his best click by far – it has Charge, Super-Strength, Invulnerability, 4 Damage and 11 Attack – so when facing him, knock him off his first click immediately. Beware his ability to throw objects with an added Incapacitate effect on clicks two, three and four! He's got a move-and-attack ability on every click except for three, four and eight – so it may be worthwhile to Outwit these to keep yourself safe. Don't help your opponent by knocking him onto click eight, which has Regeneration – you'd just be doing him a favor! Get him to click four, where he trades Invulnerability for Toughness, and you shouldn't have much more trouble out of this figure for the rest of the match.

Ghost Rider has seven clicks. Like Rare Daredevil, hes got the Mystics team ability – but unlike that figure, you may actually want to target this character first. Here's why: If you didn't damage any of your opponent's other figures the turn before, then the Penance Stare Special Power doesn't work. This figure's best click is his third – it's got high combat values, Charge, and Invulnerability. With only Toughness to protect him on his first two clicks (and again on clicks five and six), try your best to bypass his Invulnerability clicks (clicks three and four) entirely. Don't forget that Ghost Rider, despite not having his bike, has a range of four – and that he gets Regeneration on his final click, click eight!

Spider-Man has seven clicks. The Spider-Man team ability could make him a nuisance to deal with if he's been paired with either Rare Daredevil or Ghost Rider. He does have a range of four with two bolts – and he's got Leap/Climb on every click except his last one, click seven – so you will have to decide whether or not it's more advantageous to attack him from range on the fly. Beware clicks four and five, which have double Incapacitate – it's got the potential to rob you of actions, and can hurt even Impervious figures that are still vulnerable to pushing damage. Outwit Super-Strength on clicks one and seven; Incapacitate on clicks four and five; and Super-Senses when you need to be sure of hitting him, and you'll be fine.

Caiera has seven clicks. With four opening clicks of Charge, she's immune to knockback damage for more than half of her dial. She's also got three clicks worth of Impervious, followed by four clicks of Invulnerability – which means that she reduces all damage dealt to her by two, when she doesn't avoid it outright. She's got Indomitable – making her a threat on two out of every three turns. She can make otherwise mediocre figures exponentially better by giving them and 18 Defense when in base-to-base contact – and that's a Trait, which can't be Outwitted. She picks up Perplex on click three; Steal Energy on click four; and Close-Combat Expert on click five. She even has a range value of three – so be sure not to forget about that!

A-Bomb has eight clicks. Like Caiera, his entire dial features Invulnerability or better (Impervious on clicks one, two, and three; Invulnerability on clicks four through eight) defense. He's also got protection from ranged attacks (but not from Outwit) whenever he's adjacent to walls or blocking terrain. In addition, he gets straight-up Stealth on clicks three and four – and Exploit Weakness on clicks three, four, and five, to make sure that the damage he deals up close actually sticks. With a range of zero, it's crucial that you Outwit his Charge on clicks one, two, five and six if you can. By clicks seven and eight, he drops down to Leap/Climb – so attack him from range at that point, because he can break away automatically from your big guns. Also try to remember that he does not have Indomitable – so try to use that to your advantage.

Ka-Zar has six clicks. With a range of five, he can't simply be ignored to start out with, like Shanna the She-Devil can. Two clicks of Stealth up front guarantee that he's going to be planted firmly in hindering terrain – but he's even more dangerous up close, due to an initial click of overlapping Blades and Combat Reflexes. His most vulnerable clicks are clicks three and four: He keeps Blades, but picks up Leap/Climb to break away – and he only has Super-Senses to protect him. Take care not to knock him onto clicks five or six – he gets Stealth back, and has a wicked combo of Psychic Blast and Close-Combat Expert to ensure that he's dealing damage at range or up close. Try not to forget that he has the Duo attack ability available to him as well.

Black Bolt has 10 clicks. He leaves room on a team for 107 points worth of other figures – as if he wasn't dangerous enough on his lonesome! With flying, three bolts, 9 range and Sharpshooter, he is absolutely one of the top three figures to beat in this tournament. Even Outwitting his Silent Scream Special Power on clicks one, three and five is no guarantee of safety – he can simply push to pick up Psychic Blast on clicks two, four and six! Basing him is no good – Pulse Wave ignores adjacency, and the Sharpshooter ability ensures that he can even make a ranged attack in base-to-base contact. With two starting clicks of Impervious – and Invulnerability on clicks three, four, five and six - it's going to take everything you have to defeat him. Be sure to Outwit his defense before launching an attack against him with your big gun – you don't want him to avoid a big hit for six or seven by getting his Impervious roll, after all!

Outback Hulk has 10 clicks. If you remember nothing else about this figure, it should be that you must not, under any circumstances, land him either on or near click ten! I don't care if you've got to push to KO one of your own figures, it'll be worth it if you can knock him past that last click. The rest of his dial's no slouch either: He's got Indomitable; he can hit at range or up close for penetrating damage on clicks two, three, four and five; Toughness doesn't show up until click six of his dial; and he regains Impervious on clicks four and five! He's got move-and-attack abilities on his first four clicks – though it may be prudent to Outwit his defensive powers (which are as follows: Impervious on clicks one, four and five; Invulnerability on clicks two and three) and eliminate him as quickly as possible.

Red King has 10 clicks. Remember that, as a giant, you should always have line-of-sight to him for Outwit and/or ranged attacks. He treats figures up to three squares away as though they are adjacent – which is crazy-go-nuts with his special knockback power that deals two damage to any figures who bump into each other on clicks two, three, four and five! In order to keep yourself safe, you should Outwit his Charge first on clicks one, four and five; and then his Impervious on clicks one through three, and Invulnerability on clicks four, five and six (in that order). Remember that he does not have Indomitable – so if you take away his move-and-attack abilities, he's going to have to push to even damage you, if you keep a safe distance away from him!

Cosmic Hulk has 10 clicks. If you see one of your opponents pull this figure, then pack as much Psychic Blast and/or Exploit Weakness onto your team as you can. Remember also that his Power Cosmic team ability renders all your Outwit useless – so don't overpay for that ability, just to have it on your team! He's got a range of five, and Running Shot with a 10 on Speed for his first two clicks (and Hypersonic Speed, of all things, on clicks five and six) – so do everything in your power to keep your big guns at least eleven spaces away from him, if he can take an action next turn (and with the Power Cosmic team ability, he probably can)! His least-dangerous clicks are clicks five and six – although he's still doing four damage at range with Hypersonic – and remember that, with no other figures on his team, there's absolutely nothing stopping him from using Pulse Wave on clicks three, four, seven and eight! He also finally loses Impervious on click five – dropping down to Invulnerability instead – so if you can wear him down to that point, then at least he'll no longer be able to avoid any damage you deal to him entirely... You've got an uphill battle ahead of you – so good luck, my friend!

(Note: I ran out of time to compose brief write-ups for the set's chase figures: the Hulked-Out Heroes.)

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