WizKids HALO HeroClix
Master Chief returns to HeroClix in a big way...
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Halo is one of the biggest video game franchises in recent history, with no fewer than six record-breaking games out thus far and more planned. Halo: Combat Evolved first debuted back in 2001 on Xbox and PC, spawning the series' worldwide domination. Halo is credited with bringing the first person shooter genre to a level previously unheard of, as well as making it a household term. In the original game trilogy, players take control of the Master Chief, a super soldier outfitted in distinctive heavy armor and equipped with a vast array of weaponry (including those taken off of his defeated opponents). Halo is further distinguished by its expansive multiplayer system which has evolved throughout the series, as well as its armor customization with colors, emblems, and more.
In the old days of WizKids games there was a Halo miniatures game that used the HeroClix “clicking” base design but was otherwise incompatible. It was popular as a standalone game mostly because of the great sculpts of its figures, but like all good things faded away. This week, however, WizKids is bringing back Halo in a huge way! Recent releases of Gears of War (see our stories HERE, HERE, and HERE) and Street Fighter HeroClix (see HERE) have paved the way for an all-new Halo HeroClix set of figures that are now fully compatible with the mainstream game and all of its expansions. In this set you’ll find plenty of Master Chiefs, other UNSC troops, lots of Covenant aliens, the dreaded Flood, and much more!
Like the major DC and Marvel HeroClix expansions, Halo comes to you in a full 45 figure set packaged in blind booster boxes with five characters apiece. The boosters come in two art styles with the front panel showing either a Master Chief or Elite (they’re otherwise identical). The boxes give you some details about the set and show off some of the figures including a Spartan, two Master Chiefs, some Covenant, Flood, and the amazing chase Master Chief on Ghost figure.
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. Within the Halo set you’ll find the usual breakdown of rarity levels with commons, uncommons, rares, super rares, and the elusive chases. Let’s take a closer look at a sample set of figures pulled from one brick (10 boosters) of Halo! The ratio here appears to be good and spread out; out of 50 figures pulled the division of unique figures ended up being 12 commons, 11 uncommons, 7 rares, 3 super rares, and one chase figure.
Of course the most ubiquitous figures seen coming out of boosters will be the commons, and for that reason WizKids packed this rarity level full of fun soldier types so you can easily build your armies. They vary nicely too, with basic Marines (equipped with both SMGs and Battle Rifles), the more advanced ODST (Magnum Pistol), and a few elite Spartans differentiated by weapons and colors. If you’re more of a Covenant guy you’ll be collecting the Brute (Brute Shot), two different Jackals (Plasma Pistol and Beam Rifle), an Elite (Plasma Rifle), and the Drone (Plasma Pistol). Finally, the third side of the intergalactic conflict rears its ugly head with the Flood Infection figure.
The uncommons pave the way for more powerful troops on all sides and feature the entrance of the Master Chief! As you’ll see, the Chiefs are spread out across the rest of the rarities and vary greatly in their colors, weapons, poses, and special abilities. At this level there’s one more Spartan (Plasma Rifle) and no fewer than four Master Chiefs in all with weapons ranging from Needler Rifles to Dual SMGs. Fighting the outbreak of humanity in space are pairs each of Grunts (with Plasma Pistol or Fuel Rod Cannon), Elites (with Carbine or the Zealot variety with Energy Sword) and the awesome Arbiter with Needler Rifle. The Infected Marine and Infected Elite round out the Flood at this level.
At the rare level we see more specific characters from the Halo universe as well as some of the coolest weapons. First up is the awful Flood Carrier, the most powerful of that faction’s figures. The Covenant gets a huge boost with a standard Grunt wielding Plasma Grenades, Brute (with Spiker Rifle), two Cloaked Elites (with Energy Sword and Carbine), two Honor Guard members (Brute with Stave and Elite with Energy Sword), and a second Arbiter with Particle Beam Rifle. Finally, humanity gets leaders and elite units with Sgt. Johnson (with Shotgun), Cortana, and two Master Chiefs (with Shotgun and Brute Shot).
The power level of the Halo figures continues to rise as we look at the amazing super rare figures. There are Fists of Rukt for everyone as the massive weapon is wielded by both Tartarus and Master Chief. Each side also gets another Energy Sword-armed Cloaked combatant with the Master Chief and Arbiter, while true leaders emerge in the Prophet of Regret and the Master Chief and Cortana combo!
Finally, there are a handful of very difficult to find chase figures representing some iconic versions of the main Halo characters. If you’re looking for a lower level Master Chief that brings to life one of the coolest multiplayer versions, look no further than the Oddball figure; he carries no weapon but hefts the Oddball skull! The previously previewed Master Chief and Arbiter duo bring the best of both worlds to the battle in one formidable package, while the Master Chief on Ghost is another force to be reckoned with.
Remember when I mentioned that the old Halo game had some really nicely sculpted figures? Well for this new set WizKids brought back some of those molds, and the new sculpts are even better! This is really one of the best looking sets they’ve produced, with so much interesting variety between the armor styles, alien flesh textures, and intricate weapons. The quality isn’t reserved for just the most rare figures either, with great examples of the sculpt and pose fine tuning down to the common slots with the Mjolnir-armored Spartans and the Brute and Drone with their varied fur and chitin textures. Likewise the armored figures and aliens in the other rarity levels continue to shine. Of particular note are 017 Elite Zealot crouched and ready to attack with his resplendent golden armor and shimmering energy sword, 020 Master Chief with Battle Rifle who’s jumping down from a bullet-ridden wall, the massive 032 Brute, and the Covenant leader 041 Prophet of Truth with its odd alien design and hover chair. Nearly all of the figures in the set are captured in powerful action poses perfect for recreating the video game’s fast-paced combat, with notable specimens in the rock-vaulting Cloaked Master Chief and the chase Master Chief about to hurl the Oddball skull! Finally, the Flood figures are truly nightmarish with twisted limbs and diseased parts erupting from their infected bodies.
Between the different versions of the Spartans, the various aliens, the clear Cloaked figures, and the brightly colored Honor Guard units, the Halo set has a wide color palette that’s much more refined than you might expect from a video game franchise. The paint work is very well done across the board, further accenting the excellent armor and weapon sculpts and inhuman designs of the Covenant and Flood. Spartans come in white, red, and blue varieties, while all Master Chiefs wear the iconic olive green. The details are excellent, highlighting the joints and underlining of the armor that they wear as well as the different materials of their weapons. The aliens all look like they stepped right out of the games, with Elites in multi-colors, brown and black Brutes, yellow Jackals, gray Grunts with their different colored outfits, etc. This set features plenty of metallic paint (especially on guns, visors, and the Zealot’s armor) and translucent materials. The latter shows up in grenades and energy swords, though most dynamically in Cortana and the Cloaked combatants. No discussion of the paint work on the Halo set would be complete without calling attention to one figure in particular, and that’s the 030 Elite Honor Guard. Truly alien in every way, this guy piles on the heavy armor with splashes of red, blue, yellow, green, and black, and then adds a translucent blue energy sword on top of all that!
As a fully-compatible HeroClix set, Halo offers tremendous new options for bringing UNSC, Covenant, and Flood figures to the game. Each figure has the standard combat dial in its base along with a corresponding card that will explain any special powers or rules (again, all based on and compatible with the mainstream game). Halo does bring some new and special features that further emphasize its unique flavor, most notably in the new Team Abilities and the Grenade mechanic. Most of the Halo figures fall into two broad categories represented by new Team Abilities. United Nations Space Command (UNSC) bolsters allies and their firepower by granting +1 to the range value of adjacent characters. UNSC troops can also be given a power action to provide an adjacent ally with a turn-long +1 to damage! On the other side of the war, the Covenant Empire TA lets those figures carry each other, and individuals can even carry two figures at a time as long as both have lower point values!
First seen in the Gears of War HeroClix set, the “Throw a Grenade” mechanic returns here! Just like in Gears the Halo figures that can use them have a special symbol on their base (this time a normal grenade icon). Similarly, the card will tell you how many grenades that figure adds to your pool and which types he can use. The Halo figures can use Frag (does higher damage and knocks back adjacent characters), Thermite (destroys blocking terrain and walls), Flashbang (no damage but places action tokens), and Plasma (no initial damage but “sticks” to a figure and deals damage later).
Halo figures display a nice variety of powers that correspond both to their individual fighting styles and armor types. Spartans and Master Chiefs all have some damage reducers (mostly Toughness with some Invulnerability), and a surprising amount of Super Senses. Attack powers depend on the weapons used, from Energy Explosion on SMGs and the Brute Shot to Blades/Claws/Fangs on Energy Swords. Likewise, the heavily armored Covenant troops often show Toughness or Super Senses, though the Grunts generally have to rely on their numbers or Energy Shield/Deflection in the case of the one wielding Plasma Grenades. Weapons tie to attack powers as well, with interesting combos like Penetrating/Psychic Blast for the Beam Rifle and Quake for the Prophet’s late dial raging attack. Special Powers abound as well, with some especially cool ones like the ODST’s “Orbital Insertion” (Phasing/Teleport from your starting area), the Drone’s “Ambush!” (Stealth and situational Charge/Running Shot), 009 Spartan’s “Double Pistol Whip” (Flurry and a possible free repositioning attack), and the Prophet of Regret’s “I WILL Complete My Sermon” (Perplex and Probability Control).
This Halo set is absolutely ideal for the HeroClix player who likes both games, a perfect chocolate and peanut butter combination. Any HeroClix player will find worthwhile figures in this set, and it’s going to be a lot of fun pitting Master Chief and his Spartans against the likes of Superman and Green Lantern or Wolverine and the Avengers. The Halo HeroClix boosters are available now at your local comic book and game stores; go pick up a few and build your UNSC and Covenant armies!
Visit HeroClix.com for more info, galleries, and downloads of rules and maps.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games