Monday, 13 January 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men Battle Report: Month One

The first couple of issues of the AvX comic event dealt with Wolverine bringing the Avengers to the X-Men’s island home of Utopia; a nation off the coast of San Francisco which housed over half of the X-Men. Captain America came with a demand for Hope Summers, the potential host of the Phoenix Force. When Cyclops refused to give the girl over, a SHIELD helicarrier became visible overhead, with a TON of Avengers. With the majority of both teams facing off against each other, everyone knew that things were going to start big.
And that’s where this event will begin. The Brighton Heroclix Community are split into two factions, Avengers and X-Men. Both sides will play off against each other using teams of 600 points, taken from a selection of 2,000 points each player will bring to the table. If a character is knocked out in a round, they can’t be used again. When people fall, they fall HARD. Everyone will see it all four rounds though, so if you can’t make a team of 600 points you can buy back dead units costing points equal to how many points of enemies you’ve knocked out so far.
Each fight is timed, and whoever can knock the most amount of points out of the other team wins. The amount of points you knock out add up at the end to settle any ties, so a total wipe is obviously the best.
Both teams have a selection they have to stick with, the characters (not necessarily the miniatures) from the Avengers Vs X-Men Starter Sets. The Avengers have to have a version of; Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Thor & Wolverine. The X-Men have to have a version of; Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto & Namor.

Here is where I begin to suck. I picked X-Men because I’ve been a fan of them since I was five and, ahem, liberated a UK reprint of X-Men #23 from a doctor’s waiting room.
I borrowed a 10th Anniversary Emma Frost and Storm from one player and Bishop, Psylocke & Professor X from another.
My total forces were:
Bishop, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Gambit, Husk, Kid Omega, Longshot, Magik, Magneto, Namor, Professor X, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Storm and Sunspot.
My plans were minimal at best. Telekinetics like Kid Omega, Magik and Magneto could move people into battle, as could Shadowcat (who is also able to hide and outwit folk). Colossus, Husk, Namor and Sunspot are bricks who deal okay damage and absorb a lot. Emma, Psylocke and Professor X do mind control, while Bishop, Cyclops, Longshot and Storm are brilliant ranged attackers.

Fourteen people turned up to a hall in Littlehampton; seven Avengers, seven X-Men. We were told the rules and an additional incentive… If one of the mandatory characters kills another mandatory character, the team will earn 200 more points. Or, if Cyclops or Captain America take each other out, that’s 400 bonus points.
The maps were laid out, the beach at the X-Men’s island home of Utopia. If more Avengers teams won, then the next map would be the inside of Utopia. If more X-Men won, the Avengers would be driven into the sea and play an underwater map.

My first team were: Bishop, Emma Frost, Longshot, Magik, Shadowcat and Sunspot. Bishop would provide ranged attacks, Emma could mind control and lead the team. Longshot has ranged attacks and rerolls from his luck powers. Magik and Shadowcat are good transporters. Sunspot was there just as the cheapest brick character.
My enemy was Paul R, with Black Panther, Dr Druid, Dr Voodoo, Hyperion and Scarlet Witch. A surprising about of mystics, who Magik would be better at hurting thanks to a power I thought would be useless.
The game started with a setup which looked like both sides would split their teams into two. I entirely took the rooftop and Paul sent Black Panther to collect a Phoenix shard on the beach for his team. I had Emma Frost take the Cyclops Phoenix shard, allowing her to fly and be poisonous to people. My characters clustered together around cover, made better when Scarlet Witch came up to try and knock my people off the roof. I used her as cover while my team crept into position. Hyperion, Marvel’s evil Superman, ran around punching people, but I managed to use probability control to stop him affecting me at first. Emma took a punch to the face with a bin and reached a ‘stop click’ where the massive 7 damage was frozen at 2 while she turned into living diamond. A great hit turned into pretty much nothing.
 Bishop targeted the magician and former VCR repairman Dr Druid and blew his face off. He went on to shoot Scarlet Witch off the map. Sunspot was sent ahead to block Black Panther and Hyperion. There’s a mechanic called, ‘breaking away’ where people need to make a die roll to get away from base-to-base contact with an attacker. Hyperion could easily but Black Panther was stuck there, empowered by the Phoenix but hiding behind a motorbike. Sunspot lifted the bike, beat him into unconsciousness and time was called.

I’d won through elimination, having lost no pieces and killed three. Paul had some bad luck and scared the life out of me with Hyperion, a 275 point powerhouse who would be the most expensive piece I fought that day.
The X-Men had won the most fights (all but one) so we drove them into the sea.

My first team were good, but I thought I’d change things up, especially with it being under the sea. I made what turned out to be a squad full of jerks; Bishop (future aspirant babykiller and one of many murderers of Professor X), Emma Frost (former villain and adulteress), Gambit (Marvel’s premiere pick up artist), Longshot (who is Longshot) and Namor (pervy former villain who spents most of his time in his pants talking smack to people). Namor’s a brick who gets better in the water, Gambit and Longshot make with the nice ranged attacks, Emma and Bishop were great characters in the last game.

I fought Matt Hardy, one of the organisers and fellow fan of niche super hero comics. He brought along Beast (splitter!), Hulk, Spider-Woman, Tanarus and Thor.
Things… they went bad fairly early on. Namor carried Emma to just under a cliff where they could try and hit Spider-Woman… who turned out to be hiding. Thor started flinging his hammer most of the way across the board while Tanarus was able to snipe from what was my starting area. Tanarus smacked Namor to the middle of the map and almost to death. Bishop decided to teleport over to Thor and block him from making any more ranged attacks. The Hulk picked up a random object (a rare underwater desk) and beat Longshot up with it.
Gameplay stopped as there was a shout of triumph at another table. Cyclops had knocked out Captain America! Bonus points for us!.
Gambit managed to penetrate The Hulk. What? There’s nothing filthy about that, penetrating damage goes through thick skin… I’ve no idea what you were thinking about. Beast killed Namor before he could heal, the Hulk healed his damage and Emma fell to Tanarus. Gambit’s sleazy pick-up lines were not enough to stop Spider-Woman kicking his butt. Bishop just about killed Beast and Thor before being surrounded by all the other enemies… Time was called and I put all of my team but Bishop on the table of dead characters. A shameful loss against some tough characters.

Back to the beach, I took: Bishop, Husk, Magneto, Psylocke and Shadowcat. I’d missed having the ‘Outwit’ power on Shadowcat, which stops someone’s power for a turn. Psylocke’s mind control power could turn enemies against each other. Magneto was pretty huge so I thought I’d take him along, and Husk was a tougher brick than Sunspot.

I fought Ash, a fairly new player. He had a team of: Ares, Daredevil, Donald Blake, Luke Cage, Moon Knight and Spider-Girl, who inexplicably was an Avenger despite being an alternate future daughter of Spider-Man. Weird.
Of all the games, this was one of the most frustrating. A melee tangled up everyone in the centre. Husk ripped her skin off and became invulnerable to help her tie up Luke Cage. Ares shot apart Magneto after Daredevil outwitted his invincibility. Psylocke managed to mind control enough of Ash’s forces (mainly Spider-Girl) into punching Moon Knight into paste. It sounded like he had fun powers based on his multiple personalities, but he never got to use them.
Donald Blake tried to heal his team but after picking up the Cyclops Phoenix Shard, Bishop was now poisonous. This meant that at the start of my turn any enemy next to him would suffer damage. Donald had taken one hit and decided to kill himself pushing to heal an ally rather than simply fall at my hand.
And then there was Daredevil. I love his comics, but he was a nightmare. He had a power called ‘super senses’ which meant that when an attack hit a d6 would roll with a 5-6 meaning that the attack actually missed. Daredevil kept passing this roll and avoiding my shots. Worse, he had a special power which made every successful super senses roll hit someone next to him as he deflected my bullets into my own men. I was annoyed, I doggedly went after him and never got a hit in, all while Magneto suffered. I won by a measly 40 points. Husk was essential to tie people up, Shadowcat was unfortunately punched out of usefulness and Bishop was again, my most valuable player.

Two wins and a loss. I needed to make this count. The words of warning from Matt and Jacob, the organisers, was that things were scarily close between the Avengers and X-Men.
My team were: Bishop, Cyclops, Magik, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Sunspot. I almost fielded Husk instead of Cyclops but I really wanted to try the figure out.

I was fighting Vince, an old friend since the days of the much-missed Doomtown card game. His team were; Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Valkyrie and Wolverine. I immediately went for the throat by insulting his love of the Defenders and his choice of putting Valkyrie on the team. He had four of the mandatory characters on the table, all I needed to do was have Magik KO one of them and that would be more points for my team.
We fought in the Utopia Indoor map, having had less success last time. This was an indoors map with some hindering terrain and a massive office in the middle.
I took my team all in one direction to the right and got cocky. I used Shadowcat to move Cyclops to where he could get a potshot at Wolverine. It worked for a moment and Bishop teleported himself into place for a follow-up shot as I couldn’t let Wolverine go without a lot of damage. The version being played healed a point of damage each turn, so if I dallied then my effort would be for nothing.
As it turned out, that was the high point of the battle. After Valkyrie, Iron Man and Wolverine were all pushed and immobile I sent in Sunspot to tie them up, only to have him beaten down fairly quickly. Psylocke moved into position only to be hit by Spider-Man who was darting around the map. Shadowcat kept using her trick of incapacitating people for free after moving, phasing through Iron Man whenever she moved so that she would always have a free attack on him thanks to her powers shorting his armour out. It wasn’t enough. I managed to beat a few figures down but not knock a single figure down.
Iron Man killed Cyclops in one shot, blasting through walls as he went. My luck fell away with any attempt to force Vince to reroll only giving him BETTER results. That led to Wolverine gutting Psylocke mere seconds after she finally killed Spider-Man. Shadowcat and Psylocke were my last fighters and sadly not enough. I lost my entire force for the first time in the tournament.

The bonus points for people knocking out named figures were tallied. I’d contributed nothing, or if you wanted to be technical about it, I contributed -200 points to my side by Iron Man killing Magik in the fourth round. The results were added up and by a weird fluke both sides had managed to get exactly 2,000 bonus points in their kills.
With all of the points of knocked out figures added up, this meant that the Avengers had scores 7,541 points and the X-Men had scored 9,429. The X-Men had won the day!
In overall results, I was placed seventh out of 14 combatants. A decent enough place given my irregularity at playing.

The prizes were handed out. At the start of the game everyone received a Phoenix Force resource dial which could be used in future games to bestow little chunks of the Phoenix to people. The Avengers were all given a Namor Phoenix Shard (which gave flight, poison, X-Men, Avengers and Defenders team abilities to the holder). The X-Men were all given a Cyclops Phoenix Shard (which gave flight, poison and ranged combat expert powers to the holder). For winning, the X-Men were all given Namor shards, too. That may provide a bonus to us in the next battles.
The top player and the best X-Men and Avengers players were all given a limited edition Cable miniature. There was a fourth left over which was given to a random player, and that turned out to be me!
So I’ve left the first match on the winning side with a bunch of prizes. A great game, despite bad luck and overextending my forces doing me in on the final game.

The next match will be The Search For Hope in a month. Five shorter matches with 300 point teams all looking for Hope Summers. The X-Men won this fight, but can they keep their success going?

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