ADVANCE REVIEW: WizKids Marvel HeroClix Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack
Special Pack Kicks Off Fear Itself Event...
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The HeroClix world has been pretty focused on a certain Dark Knight lately, but come June that all changes. Last year featured the incredible Infinity Gauntlet tournament series, and the follow up Marvel HeroClix event is fast approaching: Fear Itself! Blasting out of the 2011 storyline of the same name, this new six month series features a whole new set of figures, epic prize figures, special features, a killer finale prize, and much more. When Sin, the Red Skull’s daughter, finds a magical Asgardian hammer she unleashes Odin’s older brother and a scourge of fear upon the Earth, nearly resulting in its destruction. The most courageous heroes step up to become the Mighty, facing off against the fear-spreading Worthy while Thor confronts the Serpent in a prophesied final battle. We’ll be digging further into Fear Itself here on Figures.com soon, but today we’re going to take a look at a brand new HeroClix offering that’s starting out this event, the Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack!
Distinct from what we’ve come to expect in the way of Starter Sets, Fast Forces, and even Mini Games, the new HeroClix Scenario Pack is a unique new offering first seen in the Fear Itself series. Related to the overall event but a standalone product, the scenario pack brings you two figures, a special object, two maps, custom dice, new Campaign: Fear Itself rules, and tokens, all unique to this SKU. Blitzkrieg U.S.A. includes Skadi and Captain America, Skadi’s Hammer, maps of Washington D.C. and Manhattan, dice featuring the symbol of the Serpent (antagonist of the Fear Itself storyline), and tokens (horde and bystander)! All of that is packaged in a new box style with the sleek black presentation of the upcoming Fear Itself tournament boosters as well as cool clear windows for nearly 360 degree views of the figures, object, and dice.
Unknown to many, the villain Red Skull fathered a child in the hopes of creating a worthy heir. To his everlasting disappointment his progeny was female, and only the intercession of Susan Scarbo saved the infant Sinthea Shmidt. The girl was raised to be devoted to her father and shared his hatred but also his genius intellect and terrible cunning. After a lifetime of trying to live up to her legacy, “Sin” sought out one of her father’s greatest failures: a magical weapon summoned during World War II that he was subsequently unable to use. At the outset of Fear Itself she finds this very item, revealed to be an Asgardian hammer. Sin alone is able to lift it, and magical energies transform her into the demigod Skadi, daughter and devoted servant of Cul the Serpent! As Skadi she grows in stature and power, wielding her hammer and garbed in traditional Asgardian armor.
The first figure of the Worthy, Skadi definitely lives up to the moniker with a killer sculpt! Striding over a huge mound of debris, the Asgardian-transformed villain is captured in mid swing as she brings her massive hammer to bear on the enemies of chaos and fear. She has a very unique look with her armor and green outfit with excellent detail work like the segmentation on her arms and legs, the “stitching” pattern on her chest, and layered look of her belt and loincloth. Skadi’s uncovered head looks fierce and alien with wide eyes and bald pate except for the massive and tightly tied ponytail. Her hammer has tons of subtle detail too, from the wood texturing of the shaft to the decorations on the pommel and the cracks and wear on the head, while her base features smashed rock and broken building materials. Skadi’s paint job really makes her eye-catching with bright green clothing elements decorated with yellow, brown, and gray interspersed with silver armor. While her hands are normal flesh tone, her creepy head is bright red with unearthly white eyes. Skadi’s hammer captures the weapon’s unique look with brown for the wooden shaft, gold for the decorative elements, and silver for the business end.
Skadi clocks in at 200 points, a major investment on a standard 300 point team. She’s obviously big and strong, but does she pull that much weight? It’s clear from her combat symbols that she’s a “grounded brick” with no range but Indomitable to give her plenty of actions to get into the fight and deal damage. Her “Skadi’s Hammer” trait is pretty awesome, giving her permanent Charge and Exploit Weakness and ensuring that her allies won’t be entirely without aid if she leaves the battlefield; when Skadi is KO’d or replaced her hammer special object appears and friendly characters get a bonus to pick it up! On top of the traited Charge Skadi has three opening clicks of Flurry, then four straight clicks of a Revert power that lets you replace her with a “Sin” character (especially useful if you suddenly find yourself requiring range or a different power set). The Worthy’s Attack track shows great numbers and alternating pairs of Quake and Poison clicks. Likewise Skadi’s Defense is excellent and follows the standard brick progression of Impervious, Invulnerable, and Toughness with a bonus of two final clicks of Regeneration. Damage starts at 4 and never drops below 3; there are no powers on this track but remember her traited Exploit Weakness for penetrating damage on every click! Skadi also has a “rookie” 150 point starting line and the keywords Asgardian, Brute, Deity, Hydra, and The Worthy for team building options.
Standing up to the fearsome Skadi is the ultimate patriotic hero, Captain America! This incarnation is not actually Steve Rogers who most people associate with the moniker, but his protégé James “Bucky” Barnes who took on the mantle when Rogers died during Civil War. “Bucky Cap” offered a new take on a traditional superhero, carrying on the legacy and famous shield while adding a pistol and his bionic arm to the mix of Captain America’s bag of tricks. Bucky had a lot to atone for from his years as the brainwashed Winter Soldier, and dutifully served as Cap and member of the Avengers when Skadi descended upon Washington D.C. with her Warbot horde. The hero would bravely stand up to the Asgardian-powered threat but fall in combat, seemingly mortally wounded in a hammer strike that spread fear throughout the world. While he secretly survived and returned to the Winter Soldier identity, Bucky’s public “death” galvanized Steve into returning to the stars and stripes to defend the U.S.A.
When James took over the Captain America identity, he did so while keeping the legacy of his mentor alive by wearing a new and unique costume. This figure represents the final appearance of this version of the character, and it portrays the hero courageously advancing against Skadi’s forces, planting one foot in front of the other and holding his iconic shield at the ready! Bucky’s Cap suit features boots, a suit ending in rugged pants, a belt with pouches and weapons, gloves, and cowl. All of those elements are present here, with great sculpted elements on the clothing, equipment, and musculature. As good as all of that is, though, I really need to spend a moment talking about the paint job. WizKids has made great strides in painting over the years, consistently elevating the genre and producing beautiful miniatures. With Fear Itself though, as evidenced by Cap here and the figures on display at GAMA, they have hit a new level. Captain America has a great paint job with everything you’d expect in his black, red, white, and blue costume with all of the appropriate details like the metallic sheen of the blue, gray and black utility belt, and trademark shield. But the tiniest details here are perfected in ways we rarely see, especially his eyes with their cleanly applied outlines and irises.
Bucky as Cap has shown up in HeroClix twice before in the set named after that hero with versions at 50 and 89 points. Fear Itself Captain America here is 88 points of fighting fury, ready to stand up for his country no matter what the cost and fighting best alongside other Avengers and Soldiers. Jumping right to his combat dial, we see that Cap has decent speed with three front-loaded clicks of Charge and two rear-dial clicks of Running Shot that go well with his 6 range. His seven click dial has great Attack values (two 11s, four 10s, and one 9) and front-loaded Super Strength that gives way to three clicks of the Special Power “Inspiring Defender” that boosts allies’ defense values. Speaking of Defense, Captain America starts with two clicks of Invulnerability then switches to Toughness, and finally Energy Shield/Deflection as he goes from toe-to-toe combat to run-and-gun. Leadership appears for his first two clicks and Close Combat Expert the last two, while in between are three clicks of a special power giving Cap Support with an added bonus of nearly automatic healing on characters of fewer points! Finally, Bucky Cap has a very appropriate and useful trait called “Death? Of a Hero” that says when he is KO’d you can increase the combat effectiveness of an ally, even more so if said ally is Captain America or Steve Rogers.
If you know anything about Fear Itself, it should come as no surprise that this (and pretty much every other) product includes a weapon of the Worthy, in this case Skadi’s Hammer! Starting with this item and extending through the event, new special objects feature sculpts that incorporate a base, giving them a much cooler presence on the map and providing crucial information like what you need to roll to pick them up, and how many points they cost.
Skadi’s Hammer is an 8 point Relic that looks exactly as it did when Sin found it in the comics: a massive hammer with a very distinctive shape resting on a pile of ice. In this case the “ice” is dark blue translucent plastic mounted on the new style base. A character can pick up the hammer on a roll of 5-6 and gets supercharged when it does; the hammer grants Charge, Exploit Weakness, and Toughness, and its attack value is increased by +2!
And that’s not all. Like the other upcoming Worthy hammers Skadi’s can attach to and interact with the Book of the Skull resource dial coming in Fear Itself month one so make sure you’re among the first in your player group to start your hammer collection.
The Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack comes with a double-sided map featuring two of the major confrontation sites from the comic storyline. One of the very first was none other than Washington D.C. where Skadi and her mechanized Warbot forces descended to attack our governmental buildings. That fateful battlefield is represented by an outdoor map with the feel of the area in front of the Capitol building (or other monument or edifice). Along one long side is the elevated entrance to the building, with blocking terrain representing the structure itself at the edge. A small reflecting pool provides some water terrain at the base of the platform, and inside each starting area are two cherry trees in full bloom (hindering terrain). Scattered asymmetrically around the battlefield are military tanks (hindering terrain) and the wreckage of smashed Warbots (blocking terrain), offering plenty of places to hide or set up your attacks.
Flip the double-sided map over to reveal the next major locale from Fear Itself, Manhattan! Another outdoor map, this one captures the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps with a large street intersection that resembles Times Square. There is a lot going on here, so let’s take a closer look. Starting areas are on the shorter sides as usual, though on the tank side (rows 23 and 24) it’s centered while on the billboard side (rows 1 and 2) it’s divided into the corners. Between those is a huge pyramid of blocking terrain jutting out four rows that depicts a tower of video screens showing the Serpent’s campaign of terror. Both long sides of the map are similar buildings with video screens, with rows of blocking terrain going from A7-A24 and P7-P24. The rest of the arena is littered with cars, taxis, tanks, and Warbots providing lots of hindering and blocking terrain. Any battle that takes place here is going to necessitate a lot of moving and maneuvering through the busy city street and will be really fun for grounded armies advancing through the chaos.
Besides the expected figures, special object, and map, the Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack comes with some very cool extras. 40 tokens arm your forces on the one side with multiple types of Warbot hordes and unique Damaged and Skadi’s versions, and on the other with brave servicemen and women of the military and police along with a panicked lawyer. If you’re unfamiliar with the use of bystander and horde tokens, look no further than the included Campaign: Fear Itself scenario rules! This four page document translates major events leading up to and during the epic storyline into easy to build and run HeroClix games. From Sin and Baron Zemo discovering the Book of the Skull all the way to Thor’s catastrophic battle with Nul and Angrir, the campaign rules give you team builds, suggested maps, alternate rules for “Extreme Accuracy” as well as “Additional Win Conditions,” and even bonus options for solo play! All six scenarios feature locales represented on maps from this set or Fear Itself prize kits, and optional build rules include this pack’s tokens, figures, and object as well as upcoming figures from Fear Itself.
Finally, and not least, WizKids has included a pair of dice, but these are no ordinary six-siders. Swirled purple with bright yellow pips, the dice feature the Serpent’s unique Asgardian symbol on the “6” side!
The Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack will be arriving on game store shelves in May (see your local store for pricing), and as a separate Fear Itself prologue item will be available to everyone regardless of tournament participation. With everything you see here the pack is a great addition to your collection, and I highly recommend you check out the campaign rules and optional solo play scenarios for even more fun. Lastly, if you like this format (and you will) keep your eyes open about halfway through the Fear Itself series when WizKids releases the Mighty Scenario Pack featuring an Uru-empowered Iron Man, Spitlip, Uru Forge, more maps and tokens, and Avengers “A” dice!
Stay tuned to Figures.com for more HeroClix reviews coming soon!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of WizKids Games
Re: ADVANCE REVIEW: WizKids Marvel HeroClix Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack
Re: ADVANCE REVIEW: WizKids Marvel HeroClix Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack