ADVANCE LOOK: WizKids Games Marvel HeroClix Galactic Guardians - GALACTUS & WATCHER
Super Boosters return with larger than life cosmic characters...
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With a flurry of releases at the close of this year and even more on the way in 2012, Marvel Comics is a driving force in the HeroClix phenomena by WizKids Games. More popular than ever, the superhero-based miniatures game continues to add great characters as well as new mechanics, continually expanding its scope for longtime players and offering plenty of fun for new ones. 2012 will see quite a few Marvel HeroClix releases with an Infinity Gauntlet theme running throughout most of the year. After this month’s Hulk set (and accompanying Fast Forces pack and single figure boosters), April will be a month jam-packed with new figures under the Galactic Guardians banner celebrating the “cosmic” characters and storylines of the Marvel Universe!
In addition to a full booster set with over 45 figures joined by its own Fast Forces pack and single booster Primer set, Galactic Guardians will bring back the amazing Super Boosters! First offered with 2011’s Giant-Size X-Men expansion, Super Boosters are massive blind booster boxes containing “colossal” figures. And while the GSX versions held a variety of 2x2 figures, these new ones will feature a mix of those figures and some enormous 6x3 figures. Today we’ve got your exclusive look at two of the upcoming Galactic Guardian colossal figs: Galactus and Uatu the Watcher!
[Note: these Galactus and Watcher figures are prototypes; the final production versions may vary slightly.]
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, Galactus is one of the most powerful (and largest) characters in the Marvel Comics universe. The last survivor from the previous universe, the explorer Galan was reborn during the Big Bang into an enormous being who survives by draining the energy from entire planets. Part of the “Power Cosmic,” Galactus is a force of nature and a unique piece of the fabric of the universe, putting him above such concerns as morality. In recent history he has consumed Sakaar (homeworld of Skaar), defended the universe from the encroaching Cancerverse, joined the God Squad to combat the Chaos King, and confronted Odin of Asgard. To find suitable feeding grounds and interact with lesser creatures, he continually creates Heralds by investing in them some of his nearly infinite power. The most famous of these is of course the Silver Surfer, though there have been quite a few including Air-Walker, Firelord, Terrax, Nova, Stardust, and more.
As the biggest (and some would say baddest) dude in the Marvel Comics Universe, Galactus has appeared in HeroClix before and pretty much defined “ultimate power” in the game. With that in mind, any new version would have some big shoes to fill, both literally and figuratively. So how does the new “Big G” stack up? Let’s take a look at his official info from WizKids:
Like the original Critical Mass Galactus and its reprint in the Avengers, the new G001 version is a 6x3 base colossal figure, the largest type in the game. He stands approximately 12 ½ inches tall and has an outstanding sculpt. While the older versions may be taller at around 15 inches they had a weird, stiff pose and pretty cartoony features. Not so with G001, who has a much more natural stance shifting his weight across slightly bended knees and reaching out with his left hand to annihilate his enemies. From the twist in his torso to the angle of his neck and the coiled strength in his right arm, Galactus’ pose really captures a feeling of movement that is so often lacking in large scale figures. The sculpt further heightens the effect while adding a ton of personality. Big G’s suit has changed little over the years and still embodies some... fanciful 60’s mentalities, but is presented here in the best possible light. There’s musculature in the relatively exposed thighs and elbows and detailed anatomy in the joints of the fingers (clutching on one hand, clenched on the other), while the rest of the cosmic being’s body is covered in layers of padding or armor. The layering effect is really well done on the torso and especially the big guy’s “skirt,” while deep grooves mark the lines in his armor.
G001’s proportions are much more humanoid with satisfyingly thick and heavy boots (that actually look capable of supporting him). His iconic helmet is recreated with all of the requisite details, and the face is extremely well done. Long gone is the flat, oddly smirking face of the original; this Galactus has a complex face sculpt with a serious, frowning expression, deeply set eyes, and lots of detail from the cheek structure to the creased forehead showing through his mask. Of course, no Galactus would be complete with his intense color scheme and this one looks great in blue and purple with just the slightest bit of flesh tone on his face and black-surrounded solid white eyes.
In game terms, the original Galactus is generally considered unbeatable and not all that fun to play, with the second version slightly more fair. G001 Galactus is no slouch in the power department, but promises a very different sort of game play. To start, while the previous figures had a pretty standard three starting point value scheme (Starving at 600, Hungry at 1200, and Mighty and 1800), G001 offers even more options. Thanks to multiple dials and your choice in how to combine them, Galactus can be played at 300, 600, 900, 1200, 1500, or 1800 points! Each of the three dials has its own title (“The Cosmic Balance,” “The Devourer,” and “The Hunger That Dooms Worlds”), adding even more flavor to the figure. At all power levels Galactus has the colossal damage symbol, Power Cosmic team ability, and a 12 range with 3 targets, and that’s just what’s printed on his base! You’ll notice a Trait star on all three dials as well, which gives Big G a variety of special powers and functions.
Played at a lowly 300 points he is “The Necessary ‘Evil’ of This Universe” and gets the Mystics team ability and immunity to Exploit Weakness and Mind Control. At 600 and 900 points, though, the Traits really stack up. As a universal “Fundamental Force” Galactus can use Multiattack and is immune to the aforementioned Exploit Weakness and Mind Control. WizKids really went the extra mile to represent the real feel of the character from the comics with his “My Herald” Trait granting him an ally 150 points or less that you can select from your own or one of your opponents’ figures! Like the original 6x3 base colossals this Galactus has a fourth dial on its base. While the previous Big Gs had a Counter or Timer for added game effects in certain scenarios, G001 has a “Herald Dial” that his player can turn to grant his ally an additional power until it’s turned again. Finally, “You Shall Not Harm My Master” gives Galactus a Revenge token each time he takes damage; at the beginning of his turn remove them to give the Herald as many free actions as there were tokens.
When it comes to powers and stats, G001 Galactus is pretty amazing - extremely powerful and fun to play. “The Hunger That Dooms Worlds” starts with 12 movement Phasing/Teleport, 14 attack Penetrating/Psychic Blast, 20 defense Impervious, and 7 damage! In that dial his speed never drops, and Phasing/Teleport appears five times. The attack track is an asymmetrical horseshoe, dipping to a low of 10 but hitting 14 again on click 20. That’s right, this dial has a full 20 clicks of life with only a tiny printed KO symbol and a red line next to the green starting line! Attack powers alternate between PsyBlast, Pulse Wave, and Energy Explosion for 9 clicks before a run of EE, and then a steady PW/PsyBlast alternation at the end. Defensively Galactus is protected by 10 clicks of Impervious and 10 clicks of Invulnerability, and half of his dial sports Perplex! Defense numbers horseshoe like attack from 20 down to 16 and back to 20, while damage drops to 5, spikes mid-dial to 6, and returns at the end to 7.
“The Devourer” at 600 points is a slightly different animal with starting 12 movement Phasing/Teleport, 12 attack Pulse Wave, 20 defense Impervious, and 6 damage. This sixteen click dial has even less variation in numbers with unchanging 12 movement, attack values of 10-12, defense 18-20, and damage 4-6. After four starting clicks of PW Galactus gets personal with Quake before switching back to range with EE and end dial Penetrating/Psychic Blast. Defense works steadily downward through Impervious to Invulnerability to Toughness before rebounding all the way back up at the end, and ten more clicks of Perplex are sure to frustrate your opponent! At a relatively minor 300 points “The Cosmic Balance” still brings the pain with starting 10 movement Phasing/Teleport, 13 attack Energy Explosion, 19 defense Impervious, and 6 damage. Ten clicks of life see another unchanging speed track with intermittent Phasing, a rebounding attack with ranged powers, Impervious-Invulnerable-Toughness, and four interspersed clicks of Perplex.
It’s inevitable that people will make comparisons between G001 and the Galactus figures that have come before, not to mention the G-on-G battles that are sure to take place as players put them through their paces. While you can say that “they don’t build ‘em like they used to,” G001 is sure to please a lot of people with more variation in the appearance of powers, interesting U-shaped dial patterns, options and flexibility with Perplex, and of course the brilliant Herald mechanic! Not only that, but thanks to the multiple dials and the way they can combine this is a Galactus you can use in battles ranging from the standard 300 points to the biggest epic fights between colossals at 1800.
From one of the biggest movers and shakers of the Marvel Universe we now focus on someone who prefers to stay behind the scenes. Predating Galactus by three years, Uatu (first known simply as “the Watcher”) first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four in 1963. Revealed to be a member of a race of Watchers who observe the lives of species and major events, Uatu inhabited the Blue Area of the Moon to keep tabs on Earth and humanity, a much bigger job than even he could have foreseen. While Watchers are tasked with non-interference, Uatu has on many occasions tried to influence events in favor of his chosen subjects, though not always with the results for which he wished. Because of his sacred oath, Uatu has long been considered a character that could never be translated into HeroClix, with the frequent mantra “what could he do?” Well folks, WizKids has answered that question!
G005 Uatu is a smaller 2x2 base colossal figure on par with those from the Giant-Size X-Men expansion. Though able to disguise himself or turn invisible, the Watcher appears here as he most often has over the years: a humanoid in ornate robes with an overly large, bald head. Uatu by himself is about 3 ¾ inches tall as he hovers over a small portion of the Blue Area of the Moon, and all together with his base he’s about 5 ¾ inches tall. The character in the comics has always sported a pretty unique look combining elements of an infant and an old man, and this figure mirrors that. Uatu floats at attention, his left arm holding his bunched up robes as he stares straight ahead and chronicles all things.
The Watcher’s sculpt is incredibly intricate with tremendous detail on the clothing from the creases of the robes to the sun-like symbol on his chest. Uatu’s right arm is impressively muscular, and the corded sinews of his neck stand out as though strengthened by holding up his enormous cranium. Speaking of which, the Watcher’s head has a smooth dome above a heavily ridged forehead, cavernous eye sockets, and humorless expression. The cosmic observer’s robes are decked out in deep blue and white with bright yellow elements on the chest and gloves. His slightly pinkish skin tone gives way only to the dark recesses of his eye sockets around solid white eyes that see all. Beyond the figure itself, the Watcher hovers over a really cool miniature replica of the Blue Area with cyclopean architecture and an uneven, cratered surface! Uatu hovers by means of a clear plastic support strut extending from the tower behind him; especially from the front the presentation looks great.
Like other colossal figures, the Watcher has multiple starting lines at different point values; unlike most others, Uatu has two separate incarnations sharing the same dial. Here’s how it works: Uatu is playable at 400, 200, and 50 point increments, each with the colossal damage symbol, Power Cosmic team ability, and 12 range with 3 targets. At 50 points Uatu has the trait “I Am Only a Watcher” giving him unprecedented freedom in placement. It also prevents him from healing or making any attacks, and every time he uses a support power he gets a Broken Vow token that could cause him unavoidable damage. In return, he has a six click dial of solid 10 movement Phasing/Teleport, 0 attack, 18/17 defense with Super Senses, and 0 damage with alternating Perplex, Probability Control, and Outwit!
Totally separate from the “I Am Only a Watcher” dial is the 400/200 incarnation which is... something more. Starting at 400 gives Uatu the trait “A Conflict Worth Watching” that lets him move adjacent to an enemy who just dealt a friendly figure for 3 or more damage AND give it an action token. He also begins with 14 movement Phasing/Teleport, 9 attack Smoke Cloud, 2 damage Outwit, and 17 defense with the special “Power Negating Force-Field” that grants Energy Shield/Deflection and Toughness and counters all powers on an opposing figure that missed Uatu with an attack! The Watcher only gets tougher as he unveils the full extent of his power over the rest of his dial. His entire dial sports 14 Phasing/Teleport, and the rest of the starting stats stay constant for four clicks (with Outwit switching to Perplex after two) before things start to change. Click five sees Uatu trading 9 attack Smoke Cloud for 10 attack Incapacitate and upgrading to 3 damage Probability Control. Then he drops the Force-Field for Invulnerability as his defense hits 18, concurrent with some Support. Mid-dial the attack hits 11 with the special “Vast Psionic Powers” of Barrier, Mind Control, and Penetrating/Psychic Blast linked with 4 damage! Click number ten is the 200 point starting line, where Support gives way to Enhancement. Just a few clicks later Uatu gets his final upgrade with Pulse Wave, Impervious, and the special damage power “You Have Involved Me to Your Peril” that modifies the defense of opposing characters within 6 squares by -2! On top of all of that, the “Watcher’s” final click reaches its zenith with 12 attack, 19 defense, and 5 damage. Non-interference, indeed!
Uatu is definitely more of a “finesse piece” than most other colossals, but he’s a blast to play with some very different roles depending on which point value you choose. At 50 points he offers lots of support powers and the ability to start just about anywhere, but with the threat of personal retribution for acting on behalf of others. 400 points gives him a long dial with increasing power and a neat trait, while 200 points brings Uatu to the field as a powerful PsyBlasting, Pulse Waving terror with increasing stats!
Galactus and Uatu the Watcher are great additions to the HeroClix game, and serve double duty as fantastic (and inexpensive) statues of very popular Marvel characters. At just over 12 and under 6 inches respectively they’ll look great next to a variety of other Marvel toys, both action figures and the wide variety of mini-figures. Big G and the Watcher are just two of the six new colossal figures that will debut in the Galactic Guardians set coming in early April. There will be only one Super Booster per “brick” of eight regular sized boosters, so players are urged to “buy by the brick” to make sure you get your hands on at least one. As always the figures are blind packed so you won’t know who’s inside. Oh, and for those of you planning on literally “weighing your options” let me just say that Uatu actually feels heavier than Galactus! Of the remaining four WizKids has revealed Dormammu (2x2), Master Mold (6x3), and Mole Monster, leaving one currently unknown. With this heavy-hitting lineup they’re sure to sell out fast, especially since any one you pass up may hold the mighty Galactus! Each brick of 8 regular boosters + one Super Booster has an MSRP of $139.95, so Super Boosters by themselves (if you can find them) will probably sell for about $40 or so. As always, you can get your HeroClix fix at your local comic book and game stores! For more information (and a store locator), check out heroclix.com.
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin