REVIEW: WizKids Marvel HeroClix Chaos War Expansion Set
Marvel Set Raises The Bar With Duos And A Triple...
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This year is the tenth anniversary of HeroClix, and WizKids Games has been celebrating by putting out a tremendous amount of great products. Coinciding with the Infinity Gauntlet tournament series much of this year has been devoted to Marvel Comics HeroClix, and that’s the inspiration for the latest expansion set: Chaos War! Packed with tons of Avengers and subthemes including Future Foundation, Pet Avengers, iconic villains, Hank Pym alter egos, and more, Chaos War combines great character choices with cool new and existing mechanics. We’ve been showing off Chaos War figures including the OP Kit featuring the Future Foundation (read all about it HERE), the Fast Forces pack (HERE), and the convention exclusive Giant-Man and Ant-Man super booster (HERE); today we’ve got an in-depth look at the booster set!
Chaos War is just the very latest set in HeroClix, an ever-growing miniatures game using high-quality figures pulled right from the pages of your favorite comic books. These large expansion set releases bring to the table dozens of new figures, exciting abilities and game mechanics, and more. Chaos War follows the standard release pattern with blind booster boxes containing 5 figures. Boosters are designed both for existing players and those just starting out, and anyone can pick one up to start collecting and playing right away. Like all “collectible” games HeroClix has different rarity levels with Chaos War featuring 15 commons, 14 uncommons, 12 rares, 11 super rares, and 8 hard to find chase figures.
The bulk of what you’ll find in boosters will come from the commons, but as always there are fun and interesting figures even at this rarity level. Army building is the name of the game with generic figures like the Iron Man Drone, Ultron Drone, Sentinel (especially sought after), Space Phantom, Masque Duplicate, Lava Man, and Shadow Council Soldier. Classic Avengers star appearing even among the commons with Captain America (in his new costume) and Vision, along with the civilian alter egos Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Donald Blake (Thor)! In addition to the criminal element among the generics is longtime villain and first time HeroClix figure Egghead. Finally, the last two slots in the common bracket, Hank Pym and Ant-Man, are devoted to one of the more interesting mechanics in the set, Hank Pym’s “Morph” - more on this in just a bit.
14 figures make up the Chaos War uncommons, and they’re quite a varied bunch. As always we’ve got some repainted and slightly re-sculpted figures in the form of swarm leaders like Madame Masque (from the Masque Duplicate), Jinku (from Lava Man), and Max Fury (from Shadow Council Soldier). The uncommon Ant-Man, this time representing the irascible Eric O’Grady, also utilizes the common Ant-Man sculpt and adds the distinctive shoulder harness. Meanwhile, the third Hank Pym incarnation of Wasp appears here, along with the first of this set’s two Black Knights. The Avengers are bolstered by the addition of team members and allies Sharon Carter, Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Wonder Man, and Wolverine, while Genis-Vell offers another Alter Ego option for the Incredible Hulk’s Rick Jones and the long-awaited Speed rounds out the roster of the Young Avengers.
Among the Chaos War rares are many more Avengers as well as more characters we haven’t seen for a while like Wasp (Janet), the other Black Knight, Tigra, and Quicksilver (based on Speed’s sculpt). Major heavy hitters return in new versions of Ares and Sentry, alongside updates to Spider-Woman, Thor, and a great new Hawkeye. Finally there’s new to HeroClix Victoria Hand and new versions of Nick Fury and Baron Zemo.
In the super rare category are no Fantastic Four members, unlike in the last couple sets, but there are a bunch of great villains including everyone from Loki to the massively powerful Chaos King himself! There’s also the flip-side of Sentry Void, The Unspoken from the Inhumans, Taskmaster, Morgan Le Fay, and Kang (who desperately needed a new version). Mr. Sinister also makes his triumphant return to HeroClix with an incredible figure courtesy of last year’s World Champion. But there is some light in the darkness; you’ll also find heroes Binary, Crystal, and everyone’s favorite Lockjaw and Hairball among the super rares.
The rarest of the rare are the chase figures, and Chaos War brings players a whopping eight of them! Distributed at roughly one per brick of ten boosters, they’re not impossible to find and you’ll frequently find them trading hands at venues with lots of players. Like in the DC set Brave and the Bold, these chases feature pairings in “duo” figures. On the tiny side there’s Ant-Man and Wasp alongside a single base non-duo symbol “duo” of Sentry and Void. Avengers pile on with classic team ups of Hawkeye and Mockingbird, Vision and Scarlet Witch, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man, and Thor and Hercules, while their enemies do the same in Dr. Doom and Kang. Last but certainly not least, Chaos War brings us the first ever “trio” figure: Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America together again in Avengers Prime! All eight Chaos War chase figures feature unique brown bases.
The quality of sculpts in Chaos War is excellent, and maintains the high standards we’ve seen from WizKids lately. As with the last set Galactic Guardians, the figures here are unique and feature a lot of character, even the generics and re-used sculpts. Just like at the lineup of commons in Chaos War with everything from the very “human” Tony Stark, Donald Blake, and Hank Pym, to the tall mechanical monstrosity Sentinel and the weird dinosaur lady Dinah Soar.
The Ultron Drone is, frankly, hot, and the Shadow Council Soldier has great armor and weapon details. Speed and Quicksilver share a body that’s a great example of how much motion can be captured in a miniature figure, while both have unique heads styled right out of the comics. Some other major standouts include Nitro with his enormous explosion effect, and the magnificent Sentry who lunges toward his opponents with a swoosh of energy. Among the super rares are several outstanding sculpts like the deviously slinking Loki, towering Chaos King with his intricate costume, and of course Mr. Sinister with his incredible cloning tank. No discussion of sculpts would be complete with addressing two of the chase figures.
Avengers Prime stands out for having not one or two but THREE new sculpts and they all look great, especially with Thor’s clouds and lightning. Then there’s Sentry and Void; it may not be the biggest or flashiest, but this figure has an absolutely stunning sculpt with really intricate details. It’s almost a shame it’s translucent as if it were painted we might be able to better appreciate the sculpt.
Painting too is very good across the board in Chaos War, and the figures have even fewer paint errors (that I’ve noticed) than in Galactic Guardians. WizKids continues to include lots of translucent plastic in different colors that look really cool as energy or flight effects, and these can be seen on figures like Ultron Drone, Vision, Speed and Quicksilver, Nitro, Genis-Vell, Wasp, Sentry, and more. Metallic paints show up quite a bit as well, like on Max Fury and the Shadow Council Soldier’s armor and weapons, the Masque figures’ masks, many of the bladed weapons in the set like Taskmaster’s sword, elements of costumes on The Unspoken and Chaos King, and many more. Some of the best looking paint work in Chaos War includes the simple yet effective pink and white of Dinah Soar, Egghead’s detailed suit, the layered colors in Nitro’s explosion, Thor’s detailed armor and Mjolnir, and Baron Zemo’s snowy base. And again, you’ll find nearly universally impressive paint applications on the super rares and chase figures.
As with all HeroClix sets, Chaos War brings to life interesting comic book characters that translate to interesting game pieces. This manifests in very different ways, everything from Captain America’s no-nonsense dial full of only standard powers all the way to Avengers Prime fully outfitted with a trait and three special powers. The Iron Man and Ultron Drones have the same minion power that keys off of nearby characters (Iron Man/Tony Stark and Hank Pym respectively, Ultron for both) and let them move for free, which can be incredibly effective for swarm teams. Similarly both Lava Man and Shadow Council Soldier perform better with their superiors nearby. The familiar “AE” mechanic is back to turn Tony Stark into Iron Man and Donald Blake into Thor, while all of the Hank Pym characters (Hank, Wasp, Ant-Man, and the convention figures Giant-Man and Ant-Man) can switch among themselves via their cool “Morph” trait. Another set of figures who can switch places via special traits are Sentry, Void, and Sentry and Void. Sharon Carter becomes a “Secret Avengers Coordinator” for Avengers teams, while Victoria Hand has a very interesting power called “Traitor, or Not?” that switches her to your opponent’s side but deals his figures damage! The powerful Mr. Sinister can bring back fellow Marauders from the brink of KO via “I Can Rebuild You, Mutant,” while Kang’s crazy “Timeline Reset” power lets you remove action tokens from all of your other characters (his point value or less) once per game. The most fun power names come with the duos of Lockjaw and Hairball with “Don’t Hit the Cat! Or the Dog, Really” and “Leader of the Pet Avengers... Plus Cat.”
Continuing the trend from Galactic Guardians and the recent Batman movie set, Chaos War eschews a Buy It by the Brick promotion in favor of a Marquee figure. This additional figure is available only to stores and comes in its own small. It’s up to the individual store to decide how to distribute it; many give it away with purchases of bricks or cases, and others sell it alongside Chaos War boosters. This set’s Marquee figure is #100 Vision. The third vision in this set, or fourth if you include the one paired with Scarlet Witch in the duo figure, this figure is a 185 point experienced version that utilizes the same sculpt as the others. Unlike those, however, this robot doesn’t just have a translucent base; the entire figure is almost entirely a semi-opaque milky white with a painted symbol on its chest. It’s also very capable in battle with 8 range, Phasing/Teleport with special bonuses against other Robot or Armor figures, un-counterable Impervious, Indomitable, and more!
In addition to the Marquee figure, brick and mortar stores were able to purchase OP (organized play) kits, designed to promote the game through tournaments and giveaways. The Chaos War kit contains the Future Foundation (Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Spider-Man, and Thing) in their white costumes and at convenient point values that make them a combined 300 point team.
Also included are two new special objects: the Iron Man Briefcase Armor and Tank Turret (the first ever Ultra Heavy Object)! Finally, the kit has a new double-sided map with the Negative Zone Prison on one side and the Avengers Mansion Grounds on the other. For a full breakdown of the OP kit check out our review HERE.
Players interested in Chaos War and its great cast of characters aren’t limited only to the booster set either. Also on sale at your local comic book or game store are two more Chaos War products: the Fast Forces pack and the Countertop set. The “FF” has six Avengers (Captain America, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Thor, and Wasp) that use the same sculpts from the main set but with different dials, point values, and powers. All Fast Forces are designed to make it easy to play teams right out of the box, and so the figures have point values that let you do this. The Fast Forces pack also comes with a double-sided map; this one lets you play on the European Castle and the Quinjet Hanger. We took an in-depth look at the Chaos War Fast Forces HERE. Meanwhile, the Countertop display has blind single figure boosters that bring you ten more characters based on Chaos War sculpts on new dials: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Space Phantom, Vision, Masque, Ms. Marvel, Ultron, Spider-Woman, and Wonder Man.
With its huge roster of popular Avengers characters and villains, powerhouses like Sentry, team builders, and generics, Chaos War is truly a set that has something for everyone. Marvel fans are already eating this one up, and the race to collect all of the chase figures is in full swing. With a full booster set, Fast Forces, Countertop, Marquee figure, and OP kit there are over 75 Chaos War figures to collect, and that doesn’t even include this year’s convention exclusive Giant-Man and Ant-Man Chaos War super booster! Whether you’re a longtime player or someone who’s just getting into HeroClix, you’re really going to like Chaos War and you’ll be seeing figures from this set played at your local venue for a long time to come.
Visit HeroClix.com for even more info as well as downloads of rules and maps!
Don’t forget, we’ve also partnered with WizKids to give away a full factory set of Chaos War! CLICK HERE for more info and to enter now.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids