WizKids Marvel HeroClix Giant-Size X-Men Expansion Set
The mutants are back in a big way...
For a great selection of superhero action figures and collectibles, check out fine sponsors BigBadToyStore.com, BriansToys.com, ToyWiz.com, ToyDorks.com, PastGenerationToys.com, Urban-Collector.com, SmallJoes.com, HobbyLinkJapan.com, and Sekaido.com.
To insure your action figure collection, get in touch with our sponsor Collectibles Insurance.
After the amazing year HeroClix had in 2010, it would take a lot to top it in 2011. In fact, the final set of last year was the DC 75th Anniversary Expansion (see our review HERE), considered by many to be the best DC set yet! So what would 2011 hold for the number one miniature game? Well, the first of this year’s major expansion sets was released just weeks ago, and it’s pretty darn impressive. With the pendulum swinging back to Marvel Comics, WizKids brought us the Giant Size X-Men Set celebrating the long history of mutants and “X” teams along with some special elements new to the game. Today we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the set and all of its different components so sit back, think of your favorite X-Men comic (whether that’s the 1963 original, “Giant-Size” in 1975, the re-launch #1 in 1991, or something more contemporary), and read on!
For those of you who may be new, HeroClix is an ever-growing miniatures game using high-quality figures pulled right from the pages of your favorite comic books. While there are various small Starter Sets and Battle Packs, the game really revolves around (and evolves with) the large expansion set releases, each bringing to the table dozens of new figures, exciting abilities and game mechanics, and more. Giant-Size X-Men (“GSX”) is sold in regular blind booster boxes containing 5 figures, and an all new Super Booster configuration that holds one of six possible colossal 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. GSX mixes things up a bit as far as rarity levels, with 17 commons, 16 uncommons, 12 rares, 9 super rares, the aforementioned 6 colossal figures in super boosters, and finally 4 special duo figures that appear once per “Brick” of 8 boosters!
The title of each set has varying degrees of influence on the theme of its included figures. Recent Marvel sets have featured character assortments overwhelmingly tied to their themes, from the Asgard heavy Hammer of Thor to the “swinging” Web of Spider-Man. However, even those pale in comparison to GSX, in which nearly every character was or is either an X-Men team member, X-Men ally, or X-Men villain. Of course, they still hail from different periods of comic book history and various teams, including some crucial figures that have thus far been missing from the game. Fans of specific groups like Nextwave, X-Men: First Class, the Hellions, the Brotherhood of Mutants, X-Force/Uncanny X-Force, and more are going to be very happy with this set! Let’s take a closer look at the figures in GSX according to their rarities.
As with every collectible game, the figures you’ll find most in boosters will be Commons. Thankfully, WizKids upholds their tradition of including some great characters and game pieces at this most plentiful rarity level. Build your swarm teams with the generic Purifier, Omega Prime Sentinel, Hellfire Club Guard, or Mindless One, or better yet go for the mutant who makes his own army with Madrox! Team building starts here as well with two of the three Reavers in this set and two members of Nextwave (former X-Force member “Boom-Boom” Tabitha Smith and Aaron Stack), while the X-Men get heavy hitters like Cyclops, Wolverine, and Emma Frost. In the common slot are also three young Hellions with groovy matching uniforms: Cypher, Empath, and Roulette.
Next up the rarity ladder are the Uncommons. As with previous sets there are a few repaints here including the Purifier leader William Stryker and the Hellions Tarot and Cannonball. The X-Men fill out their ranks with female warriors Psylocke and Rogue, and the girl power continues with members of X-Factor (Siryn) and Nextwave (Elsa Bloodstone and Monica Rambeau). Meanwhile, dig deep into X-Men history with fan favorites Gideon, Leech, and Ch’od. Of particular note is #031, the original Angel who now completes the “First Class” era X-Men team started way back in the Mutations and Monsters expansion! Last but certainly not least, the hefty Blob starts a run of Brotherhood figures.
Those mighty Brotherhood mutants continue into the Rares with all-new, great versions of Pyro, Mystique, and Sabretooth, and joining them are even more villains like the diabolical Stryfe, the Reaver half man/half tank Bonebreaker, and the immensely powerful third Summers brother Vulcan! Never fear, for where evil treads heroes can’t be far behind, and in this rarity you’ll also find an amazing Professor X, a new Iceman, and for its first time solo in HeroClix the dragon Lockheed.
Super Rares showcase some of the coolest and most powerful figures in the Giant-Size X-Men set, including the final members of some of your teams and characters who are one-man armies unto themselves! The Brotherhood wouldn’t be complete without its most powerful members, the charging behemoth that is Juggernaut and Magneto, master of magnetism. Even those two are dwarfed by the epic 297 point Phoenix, a figure that dominated in sealed competition. Also on hand is the final member of Nextwave, The Captain, as well as three Horsemen of Apocalypse in their altered appearances: Archangel as Death, Hulk as War, and Wolverine as Death. Rounding out the final figures are two more mutant women, the electric Storm and impervious Armor.
It’s been a few sets since WizKids has included chase figures (not since the Black Lanterns of Brave and the Bold); instead, they’ve included sub-lines of characters at a one per Brick ratio. The DC 75 set had White Lanterns, and now Giant-Size X-Men has Duos! Coming together in matched pairs are the odd couple Cable/Deadpool, Colossus/Wolverine reenacting their “Fastball Special” maneuver, the future spanning Cyclops/Phoenix, and star-crossed lovers Gambit/Rogue.
Finally, each Brick of boosters includes one Super Booster that contains a random figure from the selection of six Colossals. Bringing together several of the X-Men’s greatest (and biggest!) foes, you might pull one of two Sentinels (Mark II or Mark V), Apocalypse, Onslaught, Nemesis, or a Frost Giant. Even better, the two Sentinels actually have removable parts with accessories featuring victims in cool blast effects. The Mark II has three options (scorching Wolverine, firing a plasma blast, or posing with an opened hand) while the Mark V can either freeze Cannonball in a Frigi-Beam or shake its fist menacingly.
Always seeking to better their product, WizKids has created some amazing miniatures in GSX with examples of their best sculpt and painting work yet. The quality really stretches across the entire set, with great sculpts on common figures like the Omega Prime Sentinel, both Reaver cyborgs, and one of my all time favorites Tabitha Smith with her bubblegum and time bomb. More standouts include the fun “action” common Wolverine, Domino with her intricate harnesses and pouches, the incredibly lifelike Harry Leland. Getting into the really unique figures there’s also the cute-in-an-alien-sort-of-way Leech, the spiky armored Stryfe, Bonebreaker with his sweet half-tank ride, Archangel with a classic pose and wicked metal wings, and the Horseman Wolverine with his stunning costume. All of the duos and colossals are appropriately awesome, from Colossus’ metal skin to Onslaught’s massacre base, Apocalypse’s fantastic sculpt, and Nemesis’ outer containment unit.
Paint applications too are excellent for miniature figures, rivaling anything you’ll find on mass market toys. Naturally the characters range from clothing, armor, and uniforms to various skin materials like metal, ice, scales, and more. Each figure (with the exception of the repaints, and even they almost always have some differentiating element) is unique and comic accurate from the bright, some might say garish, clothing of the Nextwave members to the decadent finery of Frost and Leland. The Hellions have alternating red/black and pink/purple uniforms with glossy elements, while the Purifiers and Caliban are drab and dreary. Metallic paints are used on quite a few figures, from cyborg components on Pretty Boy and Aaron Stack to the weapons of Psylocke, Elsa, Archangel, and Cable/Deadpool. Translucent effects are also used frequently, including Tabitha’s bomb, Psylocke’s psychic knife, Gideon’s energy fists, Monica and Rogue’s flight stands, Pyro’s flame, Iceman’s body and ice cage, Fitzroy’s awesome energy portal, Armor’s force fields, and more. Out of the entire set, the best example of sculpt, paint, pose, and materials used has to be Magneto; not only does he look awesome floating in a maelstrom of debris, but his pose screams defiance at this enemies. Look closely and you can even see Hillside, New Jersey (real life home of WizKids) on the sewer cover behind his head!
In game terms, Giant-Size X-Men continues the trend of building on recent developments and supplying players with all new options. Rules-bending (and in some cases breaking) traits abound, with some really cool ones like Madrox’ ability to create dupes, Wolverine’s crazy healing factor (a holdover from his Web of Spider-Man version), Stryker’s shutdown of mutant team abilities, Rogue’s power absorption, Juggernaut’s mystical helmet, and Magneto’s “magnetic field.” My favorite, though, is Tarot’s “Major Arcana” that lets you roll each round to determine what crazy power combination she gets! Special powers continue to define complex characters and their abilities like Cyclops’ “Concussive Blast” (it’s not fire-based!), Domino’s “lucky shot,” Psylocke’s “psychic knife,” Elixir’s “healing touch,” and Vulcan’s “Omega-Level Energy Absorption.” You’ll also find more Minion powers in this set for commanders and their troops, notably the Purifiers and Hellfire Club Guards. Finally, each colossal comes with a double-sized card to contain all of its unique features. In the main set point values range from the miniscule 25 point Purifier to the almighty Phoenix at 297. The colossals range in points too from 100 at the Frost Giant’s lower level to the 600 of Onslaught.
With each new set WizKids offers a unique promotion: buy a Brick of booster boxes at a brick and mortar store and get a free (sometimes with a small shipping charge) figure not otherwise available. There have been a couple of variations on this, with GSX following the outline set forth by the Hammer of Thor set. Buy your boosters and you’ll get the Buy It by the Brick figure of Jamie Madrox handed to you! Representing the original Multiple Man, Jamie is a repaint of the 001 Madrox figure. He has an insane set of powers, granted by his re-absorption of his worldly duplicates. Even better, he can be summoned into the game when a common Madrox activates his “Multiple Man” power!
To get you playing HeroClix and buying boosters in stores, participating venues carry exclusive OP (organized play) kits full of special items you can’t get anywhere else. These are designed to promote the game through tournaments and giveaways. In the GSX kit you’ll find five Limited Edition figures, two 3D objects, and an exclusive double-sided GSX map. Each LE figure is a repaint of a base set figure, with X-Force versions of Psylocke, Deadpool, and Archangel, as well as unique versions of Cable and Karima (repainted Omega Prime Sentinel). The X-Force members are highly sought out for their cool dark uniforms and team playability, while Cable and Karima offer incredible options from the Sentinel’s stable power set and Nathan’s crazy late dial “Lord Protector of Providence” persona. The objects include the broken finger of Fin Fang Foom (don’t ask, just read Nextwave) and the incredible Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. Pick it up successfully and your character is granted the powers of Juggernaut with increased damage, Charge, Super Strength, and Toughness!
The Giant-Size X-Men map presents two new battlefields for your HeroClix main event. On one side is Madripoor Lowtown, the seedy dockside area of Marvel’s answer to Singapore. Appearing in New Mutants, Wolverine, and other titles, Madripoor is a rough and tumble neighborhood where super powered battles often break out. The new map features a docked ship, multiple buildings (blocking and elevated terrain), narrow alleyways, and hindering terrain formed from cargo and rickshaws. All of this combines to form a dynamic battlefield with varying avenues of attack and strategies for winning. On the other side is the living island Krakoa which first appeared appropriately in Giant-Size X-Men #1. It was the island capturing the original members of the X-Men that spurred Professor Xavier to recruit new mutants. The Krakoa map is one of the most unique produced by WizKids. It’s a maze of hindering terrain, at first seemingly perfect for stealthy characters. Along one side is beachfront property with water terrain, and on the other is some elevated leading up to a blocking terrain mountain. In the center of the map is an area with special rules, a Krakoa nerve center. At the end of each player’s turn, you roll for the island. Different numbers have different results from the island slumbering to massive earthquakes, shifting foliage, and even attacks by Krakoa itself! This unpredictability and danger has led to the oft heard statement after a game, “Krakoa won.”
With its great character selection, Super Boosters, and in-store Brick figure, Giant-Size X-Men was an instant success. Sold out at the manufacturer level even before the actual release date, GSX is very popular with both players and collectors alike. The colossal figures especially have great crossover appeal with their large size, high quality sculpts, and accessories. Don’t miss out on this great mutant –heavy set; check with your local comic book or game store to see if they have GSX in stock!
Visit HeroClix.com for even more info as well as galleries and downloads of rules and maps!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids