REVIEW: WizKids DC HeroClix Teen Titans Expansion Set
New Set Brings Classic And Modern Characters, Introduces Team Bases...
While the current monthly HeroClix tournament series challenges players to confront Fear Itself, the latest regular expansion set for the game takes us deep into the DC catalogue with Teen Titans! Celebrating the ultra-popular “junior” team of heroes, this new expansion includes Titans (Teen and otherwise) from all eras, cool villains, characters we haven’t seen in a while and some who have never been “clixed,” and even Super Boosters containing new team bases that let you field entire groups of characters together or separately via the SwitchClix mechanic. With sub-themes like the Ravagers, Young Justice, Fearsome Five, N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Justice League, and more (not to mention a really cool lineup of chase figures), the Teen Titans set truly has something for everyone and a lot of fun figures. Great sculpts, cool translucent effects, and comic accurate paint jobs make these figures excellent representations of your favorite characters, which look great on the battlefield or on your shelf or desk. Read on to see what you’ll find in the Teen Titans set, available everywhere now!
Teen Titans consists of several core products headlined by the booster set. Each standard booster is a blind box containing five figures, and it comes in “bricks” of 8 boosters plus 1 Super Booster (containing either a colossal figure, large team base, or two small team bases - more on these later). In addition there’s a ten-figure “Primer” (single figure blind-packed boxes) featuring characters from the main set with new dials, a six-figure Fast Forces pack featuring the Ravagers, and the Organized Play prize kit. We’ll start with a look at the booster set figures, highly collectible with 17 commons, 17 uncommons, 14 rares, 12 super rares, and 6 chase figures.
With such a wide range of figures from different eras, each rarity level of Teen Titans has a variety of unique characters. So, what will you be pulling the most in the commons slots? Many teams are represented here with Robin and Kid Flash of the original Teen Titans, Fairchild of Gen13, Arrowette of Young Justice, Jinx and Mammoth of the Fearsome Five, Wonder Girl and Solstice from the current New 52 Teen Titans, Osiris of Villains for Hire, and Aquaman from the Justice League! As always there are some very handy generic characters for army building, in this case a quartet of the evil Psion, Gordanian, N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Soldier, and Blood Brother Acolyte. The commons are rounded out by Red Star and Grymm, plus the Prime version of the generic Gordanian: the transformed Beast Boy (in Gordanian Form)!
Next up in the boosters are the uncommons, which continue to build up the headlining teams with some great heroes and villains but without any generics. The lineup starts with Li’l Lobo and his Prime version Slobo, clones of the “Main Man” Lobo and members of Young Justice (along with fellow uncommon Empress). The classic Teen Titans add “disco” Nightwing with his awesome high-collared outfit, while modern New 52 Titans Red Robin and Superboy join the party. Perennial favorite Beast Boy pops up again, this time in a tiger form. The Ravagers add their own Beast Boy (in red) and scientist Fairchild along with Lightning, while Cyborg anchors the New 52 Justice League. You won’t find only heroes, though; Red Hood is a great anti-hero while Shimmer and Dr. Light represent the Fearsome Five and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. grows stronger with Centerhall, Rose Wilson, and Leash.
Teen Titans’ rares do a great job of hitting all of the bases as well, with the only team largely represented being the Ravagers with the rest of the team: Terra, Thunder, and Ridge. Going down the line you’ve also got the high-flying Green Lantern (Justice League), down and dirty Grunge (Gen13), elite archer Arsenal (Outlaws), ultimate strategist Deathstroke (Villains for Hire), morphing Changeling (classic Teen Titans), modern Kid Flash (New 52 Teen Titans), Secret (Young Justice), and diminutive Gizmo (Fearsome Five). Rounding out the bracket are cyborg Brainiac Indigo of Prime’s Titans, Ravager (son and Prime version of Deathstroke), and a character that people have been waiting to appear in HeroClix for a very long time, Static!
Villains start making their presence felt more and more as we get into the highest rarity levels, really making an impact in the super rares. The nefarious N.O.W.H.E.R.E. organization adds the reality altering Omen, vicious killing machine Warblade, and grand master Harvest. The Fearsome Five get their final member in the psychic powerhouse Psimon while classic Titans villains Brother Blood and Blackfire (Prime version of her sister Starfire) get long awaited updates. On the side of good are fun new versions of Red Tornado and The Ray from Young Justice, a powerful classic Starfire, The Flash from Justice League, and New 52 Teen Titans members (and newcomers to Clix) Skitter and Bunker.
While the bad guys definitely made an impression in the super rares, they’ve completely taken over the elite chase level with Prime’s Titans! From the last storyline in Teen Titans before the New 52 come the team Superboy Prime put together to take on the pesky heroes. The sextet all come with unique yellow dial bases that really stand out and proclaim “hey, there’s a chase here” when you pull one in your booster. The lineup includes the vicious telekinetic Headcase, boyfriend/girlfriend combo Sun Girl and Inertia, Atomic Axe-wielding Persuader, Beast Boy nemesis Zookeeper, and of course the big bad of several storylines Superboy Prime in a well-deserved new version!
Each brick of Teen Titans contains one Super Booster with untold treasure inside; actually, you’ll find one of six different configurations, all aimed to please. The most striking and playable right out of the box is the set’s one new colossal, Trigon. An immensely powerful demon and the father of Raven, Trigon is a frequent foe of the Teen Titans and has appeared in HeroClix before as a mere giant. The colossal version is a 2x2 base monster that stands 8 ½ inches tall on a massive pile of skulls! He’s a solid pull and a fantastic display piece. Other than Trigon, you’ll find the all new team bases in the rest of the Super Boosters.
Team Bases capture just what you’d expect, entire teams that can be played as one in HeroClix as never before. Utilizing the new SwitchClix mechanic first seen in the Batman Gotham City Strategy Game, you can pop (certain) figures off of their individual bases and attach them to their respective team bases! Each booster also comes with some figures to start your team, though you’ll need to fill in the rest of the slots with figures from the regular booster set. In the Teen Titans you’ll find large 3x6 bases of the New Teen Titans (which comes with Cyborg, Raven, and Wonder Girl), the Justice League (with the “trinity” of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman), baddies Titans: Villains for Hire (with Cinder, Cheshire, and Tattooed Man), and classic Wildstorm super group Gen13 (along with members Burnout, Sarah Rainmaker, and Freefall). Each of the former come one team base per booster. The final configuration and a very popular pull is one booster containing two small team bases: classic Teen Titans with Aqualad and Wonder Girl alongside the Outlaws with modern Starfire! Each base gives you some cool terrain or specific locale that grounds the characters and makes it unique, from the Justice League’s Watchtower to the backdrop of the Titans Tower for the titular team.
The sculpts in Teen Titans are quite good, with lots of unique stances and action poses to highlight the different characters, their powers or physiologies, and even classic artwork and comic cover images. Even if you’re not a hardcore fan who’s read every comics you’ll immediately recognize the iconic characters as well as the important aspects of even the minor ones by the way they look. There’s no mistaking the military stance of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Soldier, the charging ferocity of Mammoth, or the mischievous expressions on the faces of Li’l Lobo and his weaker clone.
There are so many great sculpts it’s hard to call out just a few, but here are some of my favorites. Robin and Nightwing capture Dick Grayson’s energetic and acrobatic style perfectly, Arsenal and Arrowette show off their different archery styles, Solstice positively oozes a smoky texture in contrast with her smooth body, and New 52 Fairchild strides forward purposefully as she leads the Ravagers. Both alien generics have cool looks, with the classic Star Trek-like Psion and the freaky armored lizard man Gordanian. Wonder Girl shines with a particularly nuanced sculpt showing off her outfit and hair, while Red Star combines solid clothing elements with a cool fire halo. Figures like Centerhall and Indigo pack in a ton of subtle sculpted details, while others like Red Tornado and The Ray are immediately striking with their loud effects. Other favorites of mine include the multi-limbed Skitter, Harvest with his intense wings, Flash and the other speedsters with their wall-like Speed Force trails, Burnout’s flame body, the incredible energy swirl of Sun Girl, Superboy Prime who hovers while blasting his enemies with heat vision, and the awesome Red Hood who climbs down stairs while simultaneously shooting a pistol and swinging a sword... and looks great doing it!
Hand in hand with the sculpts are the increasingly detailed and accurate paint jobs WizKids is cranking out, and that’s an absolute must in a set as colorful as this one. Teen Titans is full of bright, vivid colors befitting the classic artwork of George Perez as well as some of the more expressive New 52 designs. Likewise there are great examples of characters defined and brought to life by their paint jobs, like the demonic visage of Grymm, the bright neon “Tron”-like costumes of the young Ravagers, or the loud colors of Static’s superhero outfit. The 90s Gen13 characters all shine with their bright, clashing colors, and Deathstroke and his son Ravager stand out with their unique color schemes. There’s an interesting sub-theme of tattoos and body art in this set, and look no further than Grunge, Arsenal, Shimmer, and of course Tattooed Man to see the detail in their ink. I’m a big fan of the use of metallic paints on HeroClix figures, and there are some shining examples of that here, most notably both versions of Cyborg and figures like Warblade.
Translucent plastic is also used to excellent effect on a number of figures from Red Star’s fire to Solstice’s entire being, Bunker’s psionic creations, the energy of Lightning and Thunder, flight effects on Superboy, The Ray, and Red Tornado, and much more. I’ve got to call attention to the speedsters Flash, Kid Flash, and Inertia again for the cool mix of translucent plastic and painted effects on their speed trails.
Beyond the high quality of the individual figures, the team bases really shine as presentation and display pieces. Each base has tons of character from Gen13’s urban landscape to the Villains for Hire’s control room, the Outlaws’ little slice of the All-Caste cave, and more. They’ve got just as much personality without the figures attached, but once they are you can see all of the cool special effects in action like Kid Flash’s speed trail, Aqualad’s incredible water spout, Sarah Rainmaker and Osiris’ lighting, Tattooed Man’s dragon, Starfire’s flame trail, etc. Immersion in the scenes also bring out some of the unique details of figures like Cyborg, whose pose is cool normally but seamlessly blends in with his team base environment and makes him part of the story. More than anything else we’ve seen from WizKids in recent history, these team bases are an incredible way to display and enjoy these characters!
Game mechanics in Teen Titans skews mostly toward the familiar, notably with yet more forms of Beast Boy for his Morph mechanic (adding the tiger, Gordanian, and Changeling to the list that already includes a basic Boy, cheetah, bear, t-rex, pterodactyl, and dolphin). Two of the generic figures (N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Soldier and Brother Blood Acolyte) have cool Minion powers that key off of leader characters in this set, Centerhall and Brother Blood respectively. There are no Alter Egos in this set, but there are options for team building on an individual level with several figures with multiple starting point costs; this is especially prevalent in team base figures. Also absent from Titans are removable game elements. Prime figures are familiar to players by now, so expect enthusiasm when they see those unique green rings in their boosters. Many figures come equipped with Improved Movement, again a familiar sight after the Batman and Amazing Spider-Man sets. Of course, the major new mechanic here is the team base. Each base comes with a tri-fold card that explains how they work in general, along with the specifics for that particular one. Unless otherwise noted you must have at least three figures attached to a base at the beginning of the game, and attached at all times. Bases have their own combat dials along with an asset dial that offers special benefits depending on which members are currently attached. During the game you can even pop off figures for “solo adventure” as they rejoin their SwitchClix dial and act independently!
One of my favorite things to check out with a new set is all of the interesting and useful new Traits and Special Powers on the figures, especially those with cool names! Fairchild references her classic Gen13 skimpy costume with the Trait “My Clothes Always Rip & Then Everyone Stares” giving her permanent limited Shape Change, “Wonder Girl’s Lasso” grants the character by that name the special object, Li’l Lobo’s has automatic healing with “Unfraggin’ Stoppable,” Justice League Cyborg can act “through” an object in range with “Connected to Every Computer,” the villainous Dr. Light’s “No More Kids In Costumes, OK?” weakens him when Teen Titans are adjacent, Indigo shuts off an opponent’s power actions via a “Cybernetic Causality Loop,” Static uses “Trashcan Lids” to aid him in evading attacks, and Superboy Prime screams “Why Should You Live When My World Is Dead” and brutalizes anyone with the audacity to heal near him. Meanwhile the Psion’s Special Power “Sadistic Vivisection” lets him mark characters and deal them automatic damage, the Brother Blood Acolyte’s “We Shed Our Flesh For Him” supercharges the generic with his leader nearby, Rose Wilson is “A Killer Among Killers” and deals penetrating damage against characters with higher attack values, “Moving Too Fast” lets Kid Flash essentially teleport up to an enemy to hit him and them zoom away, as an “Insane Engineer” Gizmo can remove objects from the game to grant powers to his allies, Bunker’s “Purple Fists” let him use a trio of cool powers, and the Outlaws team base espouses the motto “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later!” to deal penetrating damage at the beginning of the turn and Outwit at the end.
In addition to the standard booster set, Teen Titans follows the recent release scheme of including a Primer Gravity Feed set of single-figure blind boosters and a six figure Fast Forces pack. The Primer consists of Red Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Red Hood, N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Soldier, Brother Blood Acolyte, Solstice, Rose Wilson, Leash, and Grymm; these figures feature the same sculpt as their main set counterparts but with an all new dial (and in the case of Red Hood another SwitchClix option for his Outlaws team base!). The Fast Forces also brings you new options for characters, this time with the Ravagers Fairchild, Beast Boy, Thunder, Lightning, Terra, and Ridge.
That set also includes a double-sided map of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Arctic Base and Teen Titans Tower Grounds! Finally, participating stores should now have their Teen Titans Organized Play prize kit. With limited edition goodies like the Ravager figure, Robin Uniform, Harvest Staff, and Wonder Girl’s Lasso items, there’s lots of cool stuff you should be trying to win at your local venue’s games. In addition the kit comes with another map featuring the Crucible and Teen Titans Tower: Great Hall! For an in-depth look at the Ravagers Fast Forces and Teen Titans OP kit check out my review HERE.
Teen Titans is a very fun set with a wide variety of character types and a great mix of classic and modern, good and evil, and modest and powerful. Beyond the standard stuff, though, the team bases of this set are an incredible new addition to the game and really emphasize the collectability and display factor of HeroClix. Especially if you’re a fan of any of the teams here you should pick up a Super Booster or two and try your luck at pulling it; the bases look great on your shelf and take up a lot less room than a bunch of action figures or statues. They’re even really fun to play, too!
Visit HeroClix.com for even more info as well as downloads of rules and maps, and check Figures.com regularly as we continue our exclusive reviews of new HeroClix!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids