ADVANCED LOOK: Marvel HeroClix Galactic Guardians GIGANTO and MASTER MOLD
New Marvel set debuts a giant green monster and Sentinel-spawning robot...
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With 2012 comes a whole new world of HeroClix. Last year began a series of Marvel expansions designed to tell a story across most of the next year (and coinciding with monthly Infinity Gauntlet tournaments). First came The Incredible Hulk set complete with several different versions of everyone’s favorite gamma-powered hero, his allies, and enemies. But in April, things will get even bigger. The next expansion is Galactic Guardians featuring the “cosmic” characters and storylines of the Marvel universe. In addition to the regular-sized five figure boosters (and a Fast Forces pack, single booster Primer set, and an in-store marquee figure), Guardians will also feature the return of the Super Booster. First offered with 2011’s Giant-Size X-Men expansion, Super Boosters are massive blind booster boxes containing “colossal” figures. While the GSX versions held a variety of 2x2 square based figures, these new ones will feature a mix of those and some enormous 6x3 figures, all of which are both fun to play and perfect for displaying along with your Marvel toys and statues. We first debuted Galactus and Uatu the Watcher (read our first look HERE), and today we’re revealing two more: Master Mold and Giganto, the Mole Monster!
[Note: these Mole Monster and Giganto figures are prototypes; the final production versions may vary slightly.]
Another creation of the famous duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Master Mold first appeared in the pages of X-Men in 1965. Noted anthropologist Dr. Bolivar Trask believed mutantkind a threat to humanity and built the Sentinels, enormous robots designed to hunt and kill them. After the initial attack didn’t go as planned Trask revealed his ultimate creation, a super-sized version of those robots called Master Mold. A multifunctional mechanical monstrosity, the device is a sophisticated computer, a large Sentinel itself, and at the same time a Sentinel factory capable of producing more of the robots. Over the years Master Mold has come close to wiping out mutants, returning from certain destruction again and again and using many forms of attack. However, at every turn the X-Men have thwarted it and they will remain vigilant for any further Sentinel aggression.
Master Mold appears for the first time in HeroClix form in Galactic Guardians, making a big impression. It joins the rarified rank of the 6x3 colossals (along with Galactus), with a footprint significantly larger than the standard 2x2 square-based Sentinels. Seated on an enormous throne-like chair, Master Mold is nearly 8 inches tall and over 5 inches wide. Taking cues from the character’s classic appearances, the robot looks like a giant Sentinel with an enlarged head and more defined facial features. Not just sitting back to let its minions destroy the X-Men, Master Mold leans forward at the waist to reach out with its right hand and operate the machinery of its chair with its left. The colossal figure has an excellent sculpt full of technological details, especially at the joints between the Sentinel’s huge armor plating. Even the heavily reinforced sections are grooved and decorated with human-like anatomy from neck musculature to abdominals and more. Master Mold’s face has humanoid features with wide, plane-like surfaces that evoke a decidedly inhuman countenance. Its hands, too, are very well done with individually sculpted fingers and more mechanical bits in the wrists. In contrast to the robot’s intricate sculpt its throne is made up of smooth panels, though it has its own character with ridges at seams, unique control mechanisms, and a cool triangular pattern on the back.
Like its overall design, Master Mold takes the basics of its color palette from the standard Sentinels and adds its own touches. Its armor is purple and burgundy, with bright silver appearing on the mechanical joints. The super-computer’s enlarged helmet (complete with “chin strap”) is blue with goldenrod piping, and its face is a very pale tan with black eyes. Master Mold’s monstrous chair is an all over dazzling yellow. It’s worth noting that this colossal has one point of articulation: its right hand has a joint at the wrist enabling you to turn it 360 degrees. It’s a cool addition that lets you play with the look of your Master Mold.
As a HeroClix figure, Master Mold has some really fun features. Like other colossals it has multiple starting point values so you can play it at different power levels. The three dials in its base are “Retribution” at 200 points, “Creation” at 600, and “Extermination” at 700. You can also play Master Mold at 900, 1300, and 1500 points by combining the dials as explained on its card. At all power levels the Sentinel has the colossal damage symbol, Indomitable, and a 10 range with two targets. The “Advanced Sentinel” Trait gives the robot Multiattack and immunity from Mind Control, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, and Perplex no matter what point value you start with, and it has further special Traits at each level of power and an additional fourth dial.
When played at the 200 point Retribution level Master Mold employs the “Retribution Virus” that marks figures that do 2 or more damage to it. At the start of the Sentinel’s player’s turn those with a mark and every enemy figure adjacent to them take 1 penetrating damage! Upgrading to Creation and Extermination we see the real purpose behind the robot: unleashing more Sentinels upon the world. The “Sentinel Manufacturer” Trait is the first to make mention of the figure’s fourth “Factory” dial. Master Mold can be given a power action when the rest of your force is under 300 points to bring into the game one figure with “Sentinel” in its name and the Robot keyword! This figure must have a point value equal to or less than the number showing on the Factory dial, which goes from 50 to 300. Production can be further increased via the next two Traits. “Sentinel Factory” uses a power action to turn the Factory dial one click and use Manfacturer as a free action, while “Sentinel Assembly-Line” does the same but with two clicks to the dial for the cost of a double power action (and no pushing damage thanks to Indomitable).
At its different starting point values Master Mold brings plenty of solid stats and effective powers. Extermination begins with 12 movement Phasing/Teleport, 12 attack Penetrating/Psychic Blast, 19 defense Impervious, and 5 damage with Perplex. After the initial burst of movement the robot’s speed drops to a 4 that stays stable until two final clicks of 6. Meanwhile, the movement track sees a succession of powers including Plasticity to keep foes engaged, Flurry to dish out more attacks, and the Special Power “Factory Relocation” that lets you place it up to 12 squares away if it’s showing after the figure takes 3 or more damage in a single attack. From the starting 12 attack the numbers bounce around between 12 and 10 until click eleven with two 9s, two 10s, and a 9 from there on out. Powers alternate between PsyBlast, Pulse Wave, and Telekinesis to move your Sentinel army, and late dial it also employs Blades/Claws/Fangs and a four click run of Steal Energy to regain health. Defensively Master Mold very slowly winds down from a 19 to a 16 with a fairly typical progression of Impervious (six clicks), Invulnerable, Toughness, and Regeneration; coupled with a full twenty clicks of life it’ll take a lot to bring down this Sentinel. Damage starts high with two clicks of 5 Perplex, then eight clicks of 4 with Outwit, Exploit Weakness, and Perplex, then the rest of the dial at 3 with more of the same powers.
Creation at 600 points takes a slightly different approach with starting 12 movement Phasing/Teleport, 12 attack Energy Explosion, 18 defense Impervious, and 4 damage Perplex. After the first click it’s straight vanilla 4 movement until the final three clicks return to 12 with Phasing to get out of the fray. Attack values are very steady, declining to a 9 only on click 10, with the rest of the dial a mix of 9s and 10s. Three straight clicks of EE give way to three of Poison and then a long run of “Micro-Electric Rays” that give Master Mold Energy Shield/Deflection, Quake, and Steal Energy! At click twelve it’s back to EE for six clicks. While the defensive powers follow the usual trend, the numbers bounce back and forth between 18 and 17 all the way until click eighteen and the three final ones with 16. Damage drops to 3 at click seven and 2 at click 14 before returning to 3, with lots of Perplex, Exploit Weakness, and “Psycho Probe” that applies an action token to any enemy that dealt Master Mold damage in an attack if it appears when actions resolve! The 200 point Retribution dial keeps things interesting with starting 10 Phasing, 11 attack Quake, 18 defense Impervious, and 3 damage Ranged Combat Expert. Consistently sporting powers to use in melee and at range, this version of Master Mold alternates power sets with mid dial Mind Control + Energy Explosion then Plasticity + Penetrating/Psychic Blast, and finally Phasing + Steal Energy. Numbers are nice and consistent except for the by now expected 4 movement between starting and ending 10s.
Joining Master Mold in the Galactic Guardians colossal lineup is another classic Marvel villain, Giganto the Mole Monster! Created by (you guessed it) Lee and Kirby, the giant beast first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four in 1961. The result of Deviant science gone horribly wrong, the various monsters called Giganto were used to attack the surface world and thus came into conflict with Earth’s mightiest heroes including more than one incarnation of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Avengers, and others. Mole Man and the Moloids have appeared in HeroClix since way back in 2003’s Critical Mass expansion, and with Giganto they get a ‘colossal’ boost!
Like Uatu, Giganto stands upon a 2x2 square HeroClix base. However, while the Watcher is a diminutive figure only slightly larger than standard, the Mole Monster towers over the battlefield at a truly impressive 9 ¼ inches! In fact, while the 2x2 base is only 3 inches wide, Giganto’s feet span well over 5. Be careful when you move him during a game as he will very likely kick over the opposition. The Deviant-created beast is roughly humanoid with a lumpy body covered in thick armor-like skin that forms overlapping plates and spines. Its huge feet are tipped by four powerful claws while its five-fingered hands look like they could easily tunnel through the Earth. Giganto’s wide, monstrous face lacks intelligence but projects ferocity with deeply set eyes and a massive open mouth.
If you’ve seen any photos of the Mole Monster you’ll know that it has a really cool sculpt that brings to life the odd texture of the beast from those old Fantastic Four comics. There’s tremendous variation across its body from the fleshy bulk of its chest to the clearly defined plates and layers on its back. The lack of human-like musculature makes Giganto’s powerful limbs resemble flowing mud, especially where the arms end in one huge balled fist and one grasping hand (both complete with thick fingernails). The claws on its feet have great texture that captures the look of thick, unevenly grown calcium deposits. Beyond the figure itself, Giganto stands on a very intricate base of smashed rock. While the Mole Monster has a great sculpt, the paint job, while good and certainly accurate, doesn’t really go a long way to emphasize it. When the creature first appeared way back in the 60s it was depicted in pretty uniform green, and so that’s how it looks here. Giganto is one shade of rich green, with the only colors breaking it up the pink of its tongue and the yellowish-white of his nails, talons, and eyes. The gray rock base with white accents also helps to add a little more color to the sea of green.
As with more traditional 2x2 colossals, Giganto has multiple point values/starting lines in the same dial, and it has a lot: 100, 200, 300, and 400. No matter where you start it, the Mole Monster has the aquatic movement and colossal damage symbols along with a star denoting some cool Traits. “Surprise Tunneling” lets the monster use Phasing/Teleport when in not in elevated or water terrain; its speed becomes 10, it creates debris at the beginning and end of its move, and it can use Quake for free! Giganto can also “Sink the Building” once per game turning an adjacent area of blocking terrain into hindering and dealing damage to figures who were next to it when it came down. Beyond the Traits, the figure has a very straightforward dial with no Special Powers.
At 400 points, Giganto starts with strong stats and a familiar “brick” power set with 10 move Charge, 11 attack Super Strength, 18 defense Impervious, and 4 damage Exploit Weakness. As the movement numbers slowly decline to 6 the creature alternates Charge and Flurry, ensuring you’ll see some of each no matter which point value you use. Attack numbers switch between 11 and 10 for most of the sixteen click dial, only dipping to 9s in three of the last four and one final 8. Attack powers follow a progression of three clicks of Super Strength, three clicks of Blades/Claws/Fangs, three clicks of Quake, three clicks of B/C/F, and four clicks of Quake. Defensively Giganto is a tough customer with alternating 18s and 17s for most of its dial and damage reducers all the way. Finally, a full dial of 4 and 3 damage overlaps with Exploit Weakness on the opening three clicks and seventh through tenth.
When Galactic Guardians Super Boosters are cracked in April players are going to have a lot of options for their high point colossal games, and collectors will have cool statues to display along with their Marvel toys. Giganto will be a great straightforward bruiser crushing its opposition and always looking for the best opportunity to “Sink the Building.” Meanwhile, Sentinel fans will be fielding Master Mold especially at its higher point values to take advantage of its Factory dial to spawn robotic agents of destruction while it “relocates” around the battlefield and eliminates mutants with a variety of powers. Like Galactus and Uatu, these two figures bring new flavor and mechanics to the colossal set without being overly powerful or boring. Of the remaining two Super Booster figures only Dormammu has been revealed, so there’s still one surprise out there.
The easiest way to get these colossal figures is to preorder a “brick” of eight boosters and one Super as that’s the only way they will be shipped to stores. Each brick has an MSRP of $139.95, so Super Boosters by themselves (if you can find them) will probably sell for about $40 or so. As always, you can get your HeroClix fix at your local comic book and game stores! For more information (and a store locator), check out heroclix.com.
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Re: ADVANCE LOOK: Marvel HeroClix Galactic Guardians GIGANTO and MASTER MOLD